Air Power - Feb 2
Its been 4 fun days in the marina. We went on a tour of Panama City and took in views of the Panama Canal locks. We got a chance to take the trikes out for a ride each day. There is a nice boardwalk that runs about 2 1/2 miles along the waterway. They seem to be doing a lot of construction near us, for a cruise ship port.
The tides on the Pacific side contrast greatly with the Caribbean side. On the north side of Panama, the tides are pretty negligible. Probably about 1-2 feet. On the Pacific side, they are 16-18 feet. Each morning at low tide, there is a huge mud flat in front of our slip that fills in around noon, and fills up by 5 o'clock in the evening. Currently, due to a Lunar event, the tides are the lowest that they have ever been in the last 130 years. It goes on for several nights. Some of the boats were hitting bottom in their slips. Thats not good for mono-hulls. Some were leaning a little on their sides, and others the bow was raising up. This is not a good time to put stress on their keels, at the beginning of the Pacific crossing. I heard at least one of the French performance catamarans was touching. It was never a problem for us. Out of the 7 cats, we draw the least water. The 3rd wave of ARC boats have just finished their transit of the Canal. So to make room for them, we are anchoring out. This will make it easier for us to get an early start to the Las Perlas Islands. They're about 35 miles SW of Panama City. We'll hang out there for about 5 or so days, until the rest of the fleet catches up, and then on to the Galapagos Islands. I'll have to rub down the underbelly one more time, to make sure it is clean enough for the Galapagos Inspectors. I'm not going to let one barnacle ruin a day or two, while we move 50 miles off shore and have it removed.
We had somewhat of a sad good-by to one of our boats in the ARC. They were the first crew we met in St Lucia waiting for the World ARC to begin. The skipper/owner has to deal with a health issue which could put him on a year or two delay. The difficulty of having to make arrangements to have your boat returned to your home country, and getting taken care of yourself is something nobody would wish upon anyone. This is something that could easily happen to anyone of us, but we keep our fingers crossed it doesn't.
Dave & Jill