in Panama and Coming Home!
24 May 2017
We arrived here in Colon, Panama on Monday around 0900. As we noted in our short position reports, the first day of the passage was rough with big seas and all but Dennis got a bit seasick. The second day was much calmer - no wind so we had to motor, but seas flattened out and we all recovered and could eat a bit.
We were buddy boating with our friends on Kali Mera (Herbert and Tadeya from Vienna). We spoke 4 times each day on the radio. One time we used SSB as the VHF transmission was a bit noisy, but we are such similar boats that we were within VHF range the whole time. Their boat is an Amel Santorin, the newer version of our Maramu, so 46' ketch, like us. We enjoy this couple very much.
We immediately needed to get rolling with our agent in Panama to start the process of checking us in to Panama and arranging all the paperwork for putting Libertad on the freighter. When we met with him, some of the fees sounded a bit high, so we put him on hold. Now that we have talked with the transport company United Yacht Transport, who contracted with this agent, I think things will get more reasonable. We are waiting to hear back from the agent.
Yesterday we got the news that the freighter is delayed. It won't be leaving Everglades, Florida until June 7, and with a 3 day transport, it will arrive here June 10. We do not want to sit here in this heat and humidity for 2 more weeks, so we are flying home to Santa Barbara this Friday, May 26. Dennis will fly back here a couple days before transport loading and move Libertad over to the freighter by himself. We are in Shelter Bay Marina and they are supposedly loading in the anchorage just outside the marina. Then he will come back to Santa Barbara and await delivery of Libertad to Ensenada....no date estimated for that yet, but the freighter makes several stops between Panama and Ensenada (Costa Rica and La Paz) so it will take some time.
In the meantime, we are preparing the boat for transport, removing sails, lashing down kayaks, stowing dinghy, eating/giving away fresh food, laundry, etc. And we are enjoying meeting yet another great group of cruisers.
Thankfully the marina has a pool and about 4pm each day, when we can't take any more of the heat, we cool off up there. Yesterday we took the marina shuttle into Colon....not a place where we want to be walking around - looks very scary. It was an interesting ride as Colon city is across the canal from the marina. On the way over we took a bridge that opens up periodically between boats going through the canal. On the way back we took the car ferry that makes the crossing at specified times. That allowed us to see the new larger canal. Six of us took a taxi from the marina shuttle drop off point over to Immigration and Customs at the port. Then we took a taxi back to the mall/supermarket where the marina shuttle would meet us.
All's well. We are very anxious to be home and see family and friends!