23 February 2012 | Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
e temp 21F, Wind NE@12-20kts
Well, we arrived here on Monday after two interesting days in Portobello. In brisk following winds we swept down the 20 miles to Colon, arriving outside the huge breakwater in early afternoon. Getting to the breakwater entrance required manoevuring through a fleet of ships wanting to transit the canal, some at anchor, others underway entering or leaving the hrbor. With the aid of our AIS we could figure out who was anchored and who was underway and in which direction. Taking advantage of a gap in the traffic we slipped into the harbor and across the traffic lanes and over to Shelter Bay Marina.
Here we were guided in to our berth in a marina bustling with boats coming and going, many preparing to transit the canal or having just completed a transit.
We were barely tied up when the boat next to us, from Monteral, saw our Canadian flag and asked about our home port. Learning we were from PEI, we learned we have a very good friend in common, Peter Griesbauer!
They were preparing to transit the canal for a Pacific crossing, and in the two days we were berthed beside them, we quickly became friends. Today we helped them cast off their lines, armed with huge lines and 10 tires (on a 40' boat), the standard fare rented for transiting the canal.
Estelle is now out of the water. We came here for two reasons, to have the engine checked out and to have thhe bottom painted. To do the bottom, we were hauled out, bottom cleaned and ready for paint, but no paint. For the last three days, the supplier has promised delivery, and says it actually was delivered once, but to the wrong person. But the net result is no paint. And we had the engine checked and bad news... no oil pressure. The options for fixing it are remove the engine, dis-assemble and clean the oil lines (plugged when our oil cooler failed in November) and re-install, or replace the engine.
So the short version is, no matter which option we choose, we'll be taking an extended break from cruising. But if we are to have probems in this area, this is the place to have them. Its a first class yard and we have heard lots of reports of satisfied cruisers.
The generator is an other story. In Panama, everything takes four times as much time to do as you would expect. I have made countless calls, sent countless emails, and still nothin definite. But we have more time now, so it may work out.
But tomorrow, we'll take a break from boat issues and head for Peru for 10 days. Then we'll return, make some decisions and move on.