I was ready to post our blog update on Monday and discovered the pactor modem attached to our single sideband radio wouldn’t initialize. We’re anchored in Panama now and Rob had a chance to try with his machine this morning after unsuccessful attempts to troubleshoot with my computer, and his worked fine! Don’t have any idea why mine suddenly stopped and doesn’t work while his does, but here we are. So this is the last update I was going to post on Monday:
“I was about to wake Rob this morning at 4:00 when I noticed a boat approaching astern. Our radar told me he was coming at about 11 knots directly towards us. By the time Rob took over they were close enough to make us nervous, so Rob started shining our spotlight on our sails to make sure they could see us. Then they turned their very bright spotlight directly on us. We’re a little nervous about this part of the coast but hoped that the good guys weren’t using boats properly equipped with running lights.
Sure enough they got close enough and hailed us on the radio and said they were Ecuadorean Coast Guard. Rob replied that he wasn’t familiar with an Ecuadorean Coast Guard (we know they have a Navy, though) and they started asking questions about who was onboard and where we came from and where we were going. Finally they wanted to know our zarpe number and the name of the Port Captain in Bahia de Caraquez that had signed the zarpe, and when we gave them that information they turned off the spotlight, said thanks very much and headed back towards shore.
Today we were buzzed by a US Coast Guard C130 who did a low pass and just had a look. Seems to be a very busy place, this Columbian coastline! We’re still on track for an early Wednesday morning arrival in Bahia Pinas. Likely we’ll have to shorten sail Tuesday night and slow down so we arrive during daylight.”
So now it’s Thanksgiving Day, and as planned we made it into Bahia Pinas yesterday morning. It was a beautiful downwind sail the whole way from Ecuador, where we set the main out on starboard and the jib on a pole on port and never had to touch anything again. Then, sadly, we approached the ITCZ and the wind died. Then the rain started. And it hasn’t stopped. We’re sitting under a low pressure system that hopefully will clear up soon and allow us to explore beautiful eastern Panama a bit.
For Thanksgiving we’re using our good cruiser skills and improvising with what we’ve got. No turkey – no problem have chicken. Can’t grill in the rain – ok we’ll pressure fry it. No stuffing – well we have potatoes for potato salad. Now it’s starting to sound more like the 4th of July than Thanksgiving. Except that very special can of pumpkin I have been saving in my food locker. Do I really know how to make a pie crust – well no not really. And we don’t have shortening, but Joy of Cooking saves the day with a recipe that uses cooking oil. Do I have evaporated milk for the pie – well no but hopefully we can mix up some milk, UHT cream and powdered milk and make something similar. I still have to follow a recipe to cook but am finally learning to improvise when necessary!
I hope this blog posting finds you all having a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends wherever you may be.
Teresa, Rob & Maya
Bahia Pinas, Panama