Monday, March 10, 2008

Leaving Bocas today

March 6, 2008  Thursday

We left the marina on Tuesday morning; motored a short distance past the Bocas Town anchorage and pulled into the Saigon anchorage.  Saigon did not appear at all appealing so we did a quick about-face and went a short distance farther to the Big Bight.  Several people had told us how very much they enjoyed Big Bight.  One couple said they spent over a month anchored in there and that there were no bugs.  Well, there did not seem to be any bugs during the afternoon; but there was a small swarm in the cockpit right at sunset.  We lit a mosquito coil in the cockpit and went below and did not experience any bugs inside the cabin.  I flash-seared the last pieces of the tuna that Bill had caught on our way here from Colon and we had a lovely dinner, albeit with way too much wine.  It felt so good to be back out on anchor instead of docked in a marina.

Wednesday morning we awoke at 7 a.m. to find literally thousands of no-see-ums swarming in our bedroom cabin, even though we had a no-see-um screen over the rear hatch.  At some point during the night Bill had opened the side port that goes from our bedroom to the cockpit.  Don’t know if the bugs all came in through that side port or if they had managed to get through the screen over our big rear hatch, but they filled the cabin.  I threw on long pants and shirt and we pulled the anchor and left that place as fast as possible.  So much for listening to people tell us that any of the anchorages in Bocas del Toro don’t have these nasty bugs.  If there are mangroves and the wind is still, there will be bugs around this entire area.  And some people stay here for years and love it.  We just don’t get it.

We moved back to the anchorage at Bocas Town.  If we are going to be bitten by bugs then it might as well be in an area where we can have internet access.  Plus, it is just a short dinghy ride to town from here.  Not to mention that there is a Mexican Train dominoes game played on Friday afternoons at a local bar/restaurant.  We went into town and did more provisioning and hit the ATM.  Panama is the last place where we can easily obtain US dollars.  We normally keep very little cash aboard since we go from one country to another and they all use different currency, but we will need US cash for several expenditures during the next 2 – 2 ½ months.  More about that stuff in the months to come as we venture westward.    

The bugs are not nearly as bad in this anchorage as they were in Big Bight.   Today was overcast with pleasant winds, so we took the opportunity to raise the dinghy and clean the bottom.  We raise it with a halyard and electric wench and tilt it upside down over the mizzen deck.  This makes it really easy to clean the marine growth off the bottom.  We put the outboard engine on a mounting on the rail and cleaned it too.  We had left the dinghy in the water almost the entire time that we were docked stern-to in the marina for a month, so the dinghy bottom did need scrubbing.  We used a paint brush to apply 50/50 Clorox water, scrubbed with a scrunge-like device, and rinsed with fresh water.  The gunk drained off well clear of the side of the boat as we had the dinghy raised and tilted.  This was the easiest dinghy cleaning we have experienced to date.  Now we will go back to raising it on the davits every night so it will stay cleaner longer.

Looking for the first weather window after this weekend to make the passage back to Colon so we can schedule a definite date to transit the Panama Canal.  Hoping to make the passage approximately next Wednesday if the weather cooperates.  There is a cold front off the Yucatan right now and that will need to diminish first.

March 10, 2008  Monday

Clearing out of Bocas del Toro this morning.   Probably go to Bluefield for a night or two, or we might go to an island about 45 miles away and stay there.  Best day for good weather for the passage to Colon is supposed to be Wednesday.  So should be updating again by this weekend.

We have stayed in the anchorage near Bocas Town for the past few days.  Winds have been pleasant and no bugs, and there was WiFi here; so seemed fine to just sit here.  We are both now ready to leave this place.

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