07 April 2018 | Between Isla Providentia and Grand Cayman, W. Caribbea n
Four days in Columbia's Isla Providentia (250 miles north of Panama), this small volcanic island is the home of more motorskooters per capita than any place we've seen. On the downtown two city blocks, there is a constant stream of motorskooters going to the bank, the three grocery stores, the hardware store, the cleaners, a restaurant, Mr. Bush (the agent for cruising boats and very well known), and so on. Sue and I were nearly run down four times. We spent the second day with mv Crossroads friends Stan and Diane (Panama Posse members who are headed the same way we are to Florida). We rented a golf cart for the day, toured the perimeter road of the island, had a leisurely lunch at a fine restaurant on the beach, and successfully recovered from a flat tire a few miles from town. On the next day Sue and I went scuba diving with Sonny's Dive Shop. These were two fine dives on coral reefs. The first went to 67' Visibility was 100'+.. We saw corals, sea fans, feather dusters, sponges of various dimensions, reef fish galore, sting rays, a Hawksbill turtle, and a few gray reef sharks. Later we learned that the sharks had been fed lion fish, so they were expecting a handout. The second dive went to 35'. No sharks, but alot of coral and reef fish. The next day Sue serviced our furling Barient 27 winch. I worked with a fellow cruiser to re-fuel (8 jerry jugs 48 gallons) from the only gas station on the island. The big project for me was cleaning our hull top sides. When in Colon one night before leaving Panama, we stayed at an anchorage called The Flats. Bad idea. One of the Big Boy cargo ships nearby pumped its bilges, and there was a crude oil slick all over the anchorage and beyond. The sludge clung to Julia Max at the waterline and up for 12-18 inches. Of course it stained the white paint. So my big project was to clean off the sludge and stain. I decided to use paint thinner/mineral spirits. Getting the sludge off was quicker than removing the stain. I learned to work in a small area, clean and follow up with a dry clean rag before the stain set in to the paint. I removed most with about 5 hours into the project. Still some left to clean. Now we are headed to the Grand Cayman, about 350 miles north, a three day trip. The weather should be relatively calm, both wind and sea. This will be the second quarter of the trip to Florida.