After two years of cruising, the state of the boat’s cockpit enclosure had degraded from “embarrassing” to “nonexistent”. On a centre-cockpit boat such as ours, the cockpit is in the centre, as opposed to in the stern, to allow for a massive master bedroom and ensuite bathroom. But because the cockpit is closer to the front we are much more exposed to spray and waves when we are bashing upwind, which we usually are. The Endeavour 42 is supposed to have a full wrap-around plastic enclosure with panels that can be unzipped and removed as necessary. When we bought the boat, two panels were missing, and the remaining panels were well-worn and cracked.
|Approaching Mainland Panama|
|Playa Blanca - Not sure about the namesake beach but the crystal clear water was lovely!|
As it turned out, that did not take very long.
|James asked me to make a face summing up how I felt about our time in Panama thus far...|
There are two main anchorages in eastern Panama: Puerto Lindo and Portobelo. Puerto Lindo has a marina and it rains a lot and is uncomfortably rolly in October. Portobelo has a town with a few shops, it rains even more, and is even more rolly. We split our time between the two and filled our days visiting with our friends on Lalamanzi and trying to improve our drinking water catching system. Most cruising boats that don’t have a reverse osmosis water maker have some way to catch rainwater. The coolest cruisers have a hardtop fibreglass roof over their cockpit with a drain that connects directly to their water tank. We, however, are not that cool and just have a tarp with a hole in it that drains into a bucket. Nevertheless with rain falling almost every day or night we were able to easily keep up with our water demands. Not to mention that rainwater tastes better than both marina water and bottled water!
|Spanish Fort at Portobelo|
|Waiting for Bananas to Ripen|
We spent some time visiting the howler monkeys in Puerto Lindo (which as an aside is not very "lindo" - Spanish for beautiful). I mastered making different kinds of curds - lime and passionfruit were by far the best. Banana curd should never, ever be made. I also started making homemade courtesy flags to fly in the countries we plan on visiting this season. This gave me great hope that we would indeed leave Panama one day. We celebrated James Birthday here and since there isn't a whole lot to do for a birthday celebration I decided to make him a sponge cake filled with homemade passionfruit curd. Panamanian flour and I just do not get along - the cake was as thin as a cracker.
We also made a couple of day trips to Panama City. The travel time from Portobelo is about three hours each way, leaving you a solid four hours for exploring Panama City. We had a hot tip on an Indian restaurant whose owner had immigrated to Panama from Pickering. The food was incredible and was as close to a taste of home as a curry made by an Indian-Canadian in Latin America could possibly be. The best thing about Panama City has to be its modern new metro system which can take you from one bland paved concrete neighbourhood of the city to another for a mere 35 cents! We skipped the famous Canal Museum in favour of a waterfront view of all the ships waiting for transit in the calm blue Pacific.
|Ships Waiting on the Pacific Side|
|Our Completed Enclosure!|
|No more getting wet underway...|
|Ship leaving the Panama Canal with a fiery sky|