Portobello to Cartagena PassageSusan / morning showers, mostly cloudy, 86 degrees F
10/12/2011, Club Nautico, Cartagena
We concluded a fast 38 hour passage from Portobello to Cartagena this morning at 2am, dropping anchor in our usual place just inside buoy 50 in the Club Nautico anchorage. We had a filtered full moon to assist with seeing where the other boats lay, which helped tremendously. We plan for an average of 5 kts, so the passage would have been 50 hours, with us arriving in Cholon mid-day today, but we had nice south winds abeam and southeast winds aft of beam a little stronger than forecasted and sailed most of the trip. Seas were a mix of nice swell and swell with rolly wind driven chop. Only one squall line and it was during the day. All in all a nice passage on a route & direction known for tough going. In Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes he writes, Reaching the Atlantic coast of Colombia from neighboring Panama is not easily accomplished at any time of the year on account of the contrary wind and strong current. He goes on, A convenient stop en route is the San Blas Islands... During the rainy season there seem to are more calms with reports of cruisers motoring the entire way, and short periods of southern winds, and lots of squalls (which are not forecasted). The dry season winter months bring strong trade winds and accompanying seas. I wouldn't want to do this trip in strong trade conditions, even using the San Blas to get east because you may have to fight the Colombian counter current up the Colombia coast (we've had it both ways between Cartagena & Cholon). Back to this passage, we chose to go direct rather than spend several days in the San Blas to take advantage of the forecasted south and southeast winds and seas, and are pleased with the result.
08:00 Position ReportJerry Barber / Partially Cloudy / 82 degrees F
10/11/2011, Between the San Blas Islands and Cartagena
Good sailing so far and no need to motor, Yay!
Back to ColumbiaJerry Barber / Partially Cloudy / 82 degrees F
10/10/2011, East of the San Blas Islands, Panama
We left Portobello for Columbia at noon today.
Hasta Luego PortobelloSusan / mostly cloudy, 86 degrees F
10/09/2011, Portobello, Panama
With our Portobello / Pamama City reconnoissance done and Vida Dulce filled with fuel, provisions and supplies it's time to move back to the San Blas / Kuna Yala and then on to Cartagena / Cholon with a good weather window. We'll return to Portobello a few days before our friends arrive in Panama City for their week on Vida Dulce with us in mid-November. I spend the day storing the last of the items from our provisioning trips and making a couple of cook-ahead meals. We'll check out of Panama first thing tomorrow.
Fueling via JerrycansSusan / mostly cloudy with periods of rain, 86 degrees F
10/08/2011, Portobello, Panama
Portobello lacks cruiser services like a bank, ATM, chandlery and fuel dock but there is a former cruiser here that can supply fuel via jerrycans. We request 80 gallons of deisel and get sixteen 5-gallon plastic cans delivered to one of the docks late in the afternoon. Two trips with the dingy gets the fuel on-board. The only good thing about this method of fueling is it's slow enough to use our baja filter to insure only clean fuel is added to Vida Dulce's tanks.
Provisioning in Panama CitySusan / mostly cloudy, 86 degrees F
10/07/2011, Portobello, Panama
The freezer is empty, except for ice. In the fridge there's one egg, a few slices of bacon and some leftover sausage/olive pasta sauce. A container of rice, half a bag of dried black beans and two cans of tuna are the sole inhabitants of the pantry. A major provisioning is needed and we're in the right country to do it.
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