Showing posts from March, 2009

March 31st - Grand Cayman - Very Welcoming

Its hard to believe that we've been here 4 days. It is very strange to go from Spanish speaking latin countries where we knew we would get good ceviche and good local beer, because we knew 2 Spanish words, cervesa and ceviche, to Grand Cayman where we are tied up to a mooring just offshore of a Burger King fast food restaurant. I guiltily admit that we have already had 2 burger and fries meals in 4 days.
Arriving and checking in here has been such a pleasant experience. The greeting and welcome from the Port Captain was so professional and 'welcoming', the first Port Captain who has welcomed us into their port. The Customs and Immigration Officers came to our boat to fill in the forms, which they brought with them and would have been happy to photocopy our documents if needed, but we already had that taken care of. The 2 officers, a man and a women kept up a lively conversation in patois we had trouble following, but they included us and we had conversations about our teena…

Arrived in Grand Cayman - in one piece

Arrived at Grand Cayman – Yeah! Halleluyia – thank God I’m alive and that ‘YOU’ listened to my prayers through all of those lonely night watches when I sat at the edge of the bench in our cockpit for 3 hours watching the towering waves heading towards us and then leaving us sometimes to shudder in their wake, my job which I will not shirk no matter how nervous I am – which is to do a 360 degree search of the seascape to ensure our safety every 15 minutes. If there is something to deal with, such as a large freighter or an incredibly well lit cruise ship that’s a bonus, because now I have something to do other than worry and pray. I get to watch the ship through my binoculars to see whether its direction effects me at all. If it does then I want to know when I should start to worry about that fact – radar will tell me that, but mostly I trust my eyes and the fact that I learned what I needed to know about ship identification at night.

So this last 10 days since we left Christobal…

en-route - Panama to Grand Cayman

Saturday March 21st – Panama to Grand Cayman

“You’re going the wrong way”, those are the famous lines in the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles called out by motorists on the ‘right way bound freeway’ over to John Candy and Steve Martin just before they are sandwiched between two juganaut trucks.
We’ve not exactly been squashed between anything, but we are definitely having a very long upwind beat from Panama to Grand Cayman.
We left Shelter Bay Marina last Sunday 15th at noon, and it was clear as soon as we left the Panama Basin breakwater what was in store for us. We left at the beginning of a predicted weather window - 10 – 15 knots of easterly wind. The trades in the Caribbean always run easterly?? Not this week, they’re coming out of the north and sometimes a bit easterly at 15 - 20 and the accompanying waves and swells are keeping us at a steady 2 – 3 knots. Actually I shouldn’t complain, yesterday we sailed all day at almost a close haul and did between 4 – 5 knots.The wa…

Just about to head into the Caribbean

After 9 days at anchor in La Playita anchorage being tossed around constantly by freighters' wake, pilot boats' wake and just about everyone else who wanted to make the cheapskate yachties unconfortable we got our clearance to go through the canal. We found 3 line handlers to help us, one person per 'corner' line of the boat. A couple we met in the anchorage Sherrell and Eric on the SV Saranah and Jim from SV Gem. They were such good workers and obviously enjoyed the experience as much as we did.
It was a very long day, we got up at 0430 hrs, met with our 'advisor' who came aboard at 0630, locked in to the first lock at 0900, locked out at about 1800 hrs and dropped off our advisor Ivan at 1900 on the flats, which are on the other side of the northern Panama channel, headed over to the other side of the channel to hopefully find room in the only marina left standing, Shelter Bay Marina.
We ducked through all of the hazardous material freighters in the dark, but…

Islands of Panama - 4th March

Islands of Panama 4th March

Last entry in blog – 21st February – God that seems like such a long time ago, in miles its about 400, in experience it seems like 2000, some good and some bad.
We left Jimenez, our last stop in Costa Rica, heading for Panama, first intended stop Isla Parida, we had a fairly uneventful night trip, mostly motor sailing. There were a couple of anchorages to choose from around the island, but its always a bit of a crap shoot as to what the wind will do after dropping anchor. We chose the first anchorage and got tossed around most of the night. Glad to leave in the morning at 1030 heading for Isla Secas. We were actually having a great sail with 1 reef in the main and full headsail and mizzen, a good beamer doing 5 knots for a few hours, then we hit a pretty wide channel between an island whose name I have forgotten and Isla Coiba, a huge island housing 3 penal colonies and lots of wildlife. Not sure if the prisoners are aloud to interact with the eco-tou…

Jimenez - Las stop in Costa Rica

Last stop in Costa Rica – Jimenez

As we wanted to leave Costa Rica for Panama during the night, timing our arrival in Isla Parida around mid-day, we sailed across Gulfo Dulce from Golfito to Jimenez, which would give us an open bay to leave rather than the more complicated channel heading out of Golfito.

Our cruising guide told us that we would be welcome at the Parrot Bay Resort who have a great pier and dock where we expected to leave our dinghy. One of their security people came by to let us know that though we could anchor where we were we could not go ashore on their dock as it was privado/private. So we took the dinghy ashore with our lap-top to look for an internet cafĂ©. Landing was easy and we walked in the direction of Parrot Bay Resort, which was very aptly named as we saw many Macaw parrots, the big red green yellow and blue parrots that make a helluvalot of noise. We tried to get some video of them. We stood under their trees watching and talking to them. They are ver…