Monday, February 11, 2019

Shelter Bay Marina, Panama: Part 1 solved

        Nine tall palm trees swaying in the wind visible through the companionway in our slip at Shelter Bay Marina.  A cooling breeze blowing through the forward hatch.
        A passage is a problem to be solved with intelligence, preparation, planning, experience, perseverance, imagination, and our bodies.  
        Part 1 of the three part puzzle of finishing this voyage has been solved, and maybe Part 2, which may leave only sailing the 3,000 miles to San Diego.  Nothing to it.  Or maybe there is.
        On the Yellowbrick track the sail from Hilton Head appears methodical and easy.  It wasn’t.  The first Sunday we were blown back west 50 miles lying ahull in a serious gale.  I don’t know exactly how strong the winds were because my wind instruments had already died, but I believe we had wind into the 40s.  Then a few days later the Bahamas for a few hours became a dangerous lee shore that I could keep off of only by bashing our way north, when we wanted to go south.  And I had to fight strong shifting headwinds one night to get past San Salvador.  Plus a rather exhilarating line squall that caught me in the cockpit playing the mainsheet for exactly sixteen minutes--I timed it--the next afternoon.
        In addition to the wind instruments, 3 of the 4 tiller pilots have died, along with other things, and the fourth sounds quite ill, and the port pipe berth snapped rivets and pulled away from the hull.
        That has already been fixed by Alphonso, an old Panamanian, though not as old as I, who works in the boat yard here.  The yard sees no problem in putting GANNET onto a truck and driving her to the Pacific if I can’t get a tow across.  I have an agent checking into that.
        I’ve had fish tacos for lunch, an iced gin and tonic, and a long shower.  I hope for a good night’s sleep.
        The day’s runs add up to 1652 miles.  I did a lot of them with sheet to tiller steering  and paid the price for many with my body which is rather banged up.