Above all else, Panama has redefined the word “hot” for both Rachel and I. I’m not totally sure why I’m surprised though – it is Central America, its supposed to be sauna like! After a pretty decent flight (free booze on the plane), we touched down and caught a taxi to a hotel in downtown Panama City. The next morning we met our driver for the day outside the hotel. Rogelio worked for the Panama Canal Yacht Club for 20 some odd years before its sudden closure at the hands of the Port Authority. He now provides taxi and local knowledge for cruisers who need to provision in the city before heading to points east and west. (Rogelio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, he is extremely helpful!) We went to the lumberyard and bought a few pieces of some unknown tropical hardwood to build a new spot to chill on the aft part of the boat. From there it was to the auto parts store for oil and then finally to the Rey Supermarket for major provisioning run number 2 of the trip.
$450 later we had loaded down the little Nissan van and headed east towards the Caribbean side of the country. Panama is one of the few countries where you can swim in two oceans in one day and be back home for dinner. An hour later we were perched on the end of the pier with a pile of groceries, wood, and luggage waiting for the launch to ferry us out to the boat. I could just see the white boot of the top of our mast. We finally had made it back.
Aboard we found the boat to be in decent repair. Some light mold on the teak in the cabin, a family of bees in the base of the mast and a few seabirds perched on the spreaders were the only uninvited intruders we found evidence of. Below the water, a light coating of algae and some barnacles on the prop, and unpainted underpinnings of the keel we’re all I found.
We set about cleaning the boat and getting the systems back up and running. The first project to tackle was building a new floor in our freezer. It seems the freezer and fridge were designed by people taking crazy pills. The freezer was bigger than the one we had at home and the fridge has a front entry door. These might be fine for life at the dock but in the tropics they’re downright terrible. My plan was to cut the freezer volume in half by building a new floor out of foam and fiberglass. Its not a forever fix as the entire system needs to be torn out and rebuilt but that can’t really happen now given our current situation. It took an entire day to build the new floor and the next day we started up the freezer.
This article was syndicated from Cruising – Beautiful Crazy Happiness