Out of quarantine at last
14 April 2021 | 09 22.025'N:79 56.642'W, Shelter Bay Marina, Cristobel, Panama
09 22. 025 N
79 56.642 W
Weather; dull and raining lightly, wind n/a, waves n/a
So today we should be able to go ashore and run free, as long as our second PCR test comes back negative.
Gerry started off with changing out the generator oil and cleaning out the oil strainer and replaced the generator fuel filter so that all the fuel filters on the boat are now in pristine condition and should be good to go for a while yet. I spent the morning doing the boring cleaning and tidying stuff in the cool interior. We waited patiently for the entire morning for the dock master to show up with the health nurse to take our second lot of swabs, by lunch time and having heard nothing from them Gerry called the office and asked what was happening about letting us out of quarantine. We got a muddled sort of answer saying that they would call our agent and see if he had managed to get us an exemption from the second test as our first was negative and we had no signs or symptoms of Covid - he would call us back. After an eternity we finally got a call to say that he would be coming to our boat now with the health nurse to do the test, not a word about the agent and the possible exemption! We didn't care as long as we got cleared today, this hanging around for no reason is getting a bit frustrating. We made our way out to the side of the boat where we were met and had our details taken (again) and the few brain cells that we still have were swabbed via our nasal passages (again), the dock master indicated that the results would be back in an hour, yeh right! We had lunch and then Gerry decided the best use of his time was to spend it having a nana nap. I went out into the cockpit and made a start on cleaning the isinglass enclosure which had become covered in salt water and was smeary, making it difficult to see through, following our passage to here. I was a little surprised to find that it was as difficult to clean as it was considering that we had taken them all down and given them a good spit and polish in Cartagena, I wasn't going to do that again in a hurry so I just cleaned off the salt spray and used a soft polishing rag to bring them back up to standard. I managed to get both sides done but it was starting to spit with rain so I left the back 3 windows for another day along with the hard windows which make up part of the dodger - they had their covers in place and I wasn't about to remove covers, clean the windows and then replace the covers, it was all too much for one day!
So much for the results being back within an hour, by 4 pm we still hadn't heard and I went to have a lie down and read my book, then at about 4.30 Gerry got a message on the phone to say the results were back and we were clear so we could end our quarantine. Gerry was all keen to get ashore and go for a walk around, I couldn't be bothered at this point and said let's wait and go ashore for an early drink followed by dinner at the marina restaurant, he obviously agreed to this plan as it was what we ended up doing. He did rush outside to take down our quarantine flag and replace it with the Panama flag to indicate that we are free of disease and can now wander ashore at will to catch Covid from the locals who haven't been tested or cleared (sarcastic much? you bet!). Just after 5.30 we headed to the marina and as we stepped off the end of the dock, with our trash bag in hand, we walked straight into Shona (of Cuzzy Bros fame) who was making her way from the yard where they are apparently on the hard having their bottom antifouled. It was good to bump into a friendly face who gave us the rundown of where to find things around the marina and how to get stuff organised - like the free bus to the supermarket where you have to put your name on a list and only 10 people can go at a time but there are 2 buses each day which seem to be well booked out. The same thing applies to laundry - you have to book to have it done, necessitating some planning ahead on our part or there will be nothing to wear! Shona was heading off to the shower block as they can't use their onboard shower while they are on the hard. They are staying onboard though which I think is both brave and insane at the same time as you can't use the sink as there is no way of draining it, the toilet is useable if you have a decent holding tank, you have to climb up a ladder to get on to the boat and then trust that it is securely held in place whilst you move around inside the boat at least 12 feet above ground level - it's not something that I would consider doing but I guess it's saving on the cost of a hotel/motel room for the time the boat is out of the water. Gerry dumped our trash and we headed into the bar/restaurant and had a drink and a good meal which turned out to be quite cheap. I know it sounds nuts but I was tired as all hell so after eating we headed back out to the boat, which by the way is at the furthest point away from the marina and we settled in for the night with loose plans to find out more tomorrow.