Yesterday began with an exciting start off the island of Contadora in the Islas Perlas and finished with the slightly grimmer decision fourteen hours later to head back to Panama City. We suffered some damage to our deck which is serious but not dangerous and we are already discussing the repairs needed when we arrive back in Panama City tomorrow.
The Gulf of Panama is a really interesting place, even apart from the lovely Islas Perlas. It has very strong currents that come up from South America on the southern part of the coast and fly around the Gulf back into the Pacific on the northern section. Currents of four knots are not uncommon and we are experiencing both the positive and negative aspects of that as we were in the middle of a flooding current when we realised we had an issue. Slogging back at 3 knots upwind certainly makes you appreciate more the push we had been getting from wind and current.
The Gulf is also exciting for sea life and we were thrilled to see lots of leaping mantas and other rays and a very persistent pod of dolphins. We are currently on a whale watch as we understand they also come up from South America into the Gulf on this side. There are also a number of logs in the water which are difficult to dodge, they are not very large but certainly big enough to cause a bit of damage to a hull. We had a beautiful sunset and this is a picture of A Plus, an Amel 54 in our fleet, sailing into it !