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A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran
Day 1 to Galapagos
05/13/2011, 06 10.16N 080 41.36W

What a difference a couple months makes. Last time I made this passage it was March 10th and the NE trades were blowing almost to the equator. Now in May we have SW winds almost all the way between Panama and the Galapagos. Still it's good to be out of Panama, we stayed in a marina for the last 3 nights and every local boat has a guy washing and cleaning all day long every day. It's the only way to keep them clean. We must have washed Ovive at least 6 times while in Panama but the dirt just kept building up to the point that only a strong degreaser of another wax will make a dent now. Thanks to Colin on Seauge an Atlantic 55 berthed next to us for letting us use his internet to track our part. Just had to stop writing and go out to carefully cross over a net. Saw the fishing boat first and called him in Spanish but he did not answer. We made 150 miles motoring since we left Panama City at 1:45pm yesterday. Will properly be the best run of this passage as the headwind's will only get stronger. I would not advise leaving the coast of Panama so late in the day due to the numerous logs floating. Easy to dodge in daylight but a bit of a worry at night. I felt we had to leave or wait until Tuesday as the SW winds will start blowing 25 where we are now in the next few days. We shall see how the decision pans out in the coming days. So far the wind has been light enough to motor right into but when they pick up to 20 in the next day of two we may take a tack back towards Ecuador.

Waiting on parts
05/09/2011, La Playita, Panama City, Panama

We had an uneventful passage though the rest of the locks except for the rain. We spent 3 nights anchored at the Las Brisas anchorage on the north side of the causeway. Nice because we had free but not very strong internet. Not nice because the security situation dictates that we had to leave someone on board to watch the boat. We never left the dingy at the dock without locking it and only then if it was just a short time, otherwise we would have the person guarding the boat to ferry us in and pick us up when done. Sebastien and Lise-Marie even slept in the cockpit as one outboard was stolen from behind someone's boat several nights ago. Today after finding out we will be here until Thursday waiting on a new transducer for the depth sounder we have decided to move into the new marina at La Playita. At least we can all leave the boat and not worry about losing stuff. The air conditioning is nice as well with the constant rain we are having. No internet though. The winds between here and the Galapagos are going to pick up from the SW soon so we are not missing any good weather windows.

Underway again
05/06/2011, Lake Gatun, Panama

Not much to do yesterday in the hot lake all day. We did use the salt water wash down pump to give her a fresh water wash, and ourselves as we were afraid to go swimming with the alligators. We are headed to Miraflores locks with a lock time of 13:40 Panama time.

05/07/2011 | Irene Hungerford
I saw you Dean! ( all 4 of you on deck ) then it must have started raining. Rene
05/08/2011 | Ocealys crew
Bon vent les amis! Can't believe your back on the water.... We'll follow you on your blog. A bientot. Maude (Ocealys)
05/08/2011 | Ted and Gail
Great time down to Panama! Looks like all is going well , keep up the good work.
Stuck in the Lake
05/05/2011, Lake Gatun, Panama

Had a smooth transit through the Gatun locks last night and were attached to the buoy with two other boats by 9pm. One advisor showed up at 6am and another at 7am for the other two boats. But ours has called in sick. So we wait...maybe until tomorrow.

05/05/2011 | Tracy Frantz
We are friends of Dean and are watching your progress! Good luck to you. I laughed at Dean's email about the box lunch - with my cooking, the line handlers would definitely be calling! Fair winds!
05/03/2011, Colon, Panama

So yesterday several boats left and completed the first section to the lake where you tie up to a buoy for the night and await your next advisor who comes aboard at 6:30am for the next day's transit though the Miraflores locks. Only problem not enough advisors showed up for work so two boats were left at the buoy to spend another night. And to avoid a logjam at the buoy they have held us back so now we will go Wednesday. Another day in aptly named Colon. Forgot to mention yesterday that you can right click on the Pancanal webcam image to zoom in.

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Who: David, Alec, Emilie, Nathalie
Port: Tavernier, Florida USA
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