Monday, February 25, 2008


February 24, 2008 Sunday

Friday afternoon we went over to Bocas Marina to play dominoes.  Met new people and twiddled away a few hours.  It was nice, except that I managed to get another dozen or so no-see-um bites, even though I wore long sleeved shirt, long pants and high socks.  This is ridiculous.  Bocas del Toro definitely is not the place for me.

Now that we have made the decision to get out into the Pacific, I am ready to get moving.  The more we read, the more antsy I become to get started.  It is a long way to go by end of November and a lot to see and sitting here seems like wasting time.  We sent an email to an agent in Galapagos Islands but have not yet received his response.  From someone who is there now, we understand that it is now impossible to stop at Galapagos without an agent.  The port captain is now on a computer system that tracks every boat in Ecuador; if you are not in the system then he can’t clear you in; and the only way to get into the system is through an agent.  Seems simple enough and we don’t mind using agents.  Our experience so far has been that paying an agent to deal with the local authorities is well worth the money spent.  We do need to get over to Panama City to visit the French Embassy or Consulate and obtain a 90-day visa so we can visit French Polynesia with as little hassle as possible.  So I am anxious to get to Colon so we can get started on the things we need to do.

This week I made up a shopping list for groceries to last 8 months.  Good thing I already had a written inventory of all food on board to work from; this made it easier to calculate what would be needed to supply us for 8 months.  There are supposed to be only a few places to purchase limited provisions in the Pacific islands and everything is very expensive (like $10 for a box of breakfast cereal; $25 for 3 chicken breasts; $15 per dozen eggs; $20 for 3 tomatoes – all spring 2007 prices).  Goal is to have enough food on hand to last until New Zealand near the end of November and to arrive in NZ with empty freezer and food lockers because NZ is notorious for not allowing even canned meat or honey to be brought into their country. 

I prepared more “BeBe Brownies” mix and vacuum sealed enough to make 6 batches of brownies.  So it will be easy to make brownies while underway to satisfy those midnight watch chocolate cravings.  We have lots of instant hot cocoa pouches to go along with the nighttime brownie snacks.  The passage to Galapagos and the first part of the passage to Marquesas is supposed to be colder weather due to the Humboldt Current.  Heck, I get cold on overnight passages here in the Caribbean; so likely we will be really cold during those passages involving the Humboldt Current.  I also prepared homemade baking mix and have sealed pouches measured to make bake all those things one normally makes with Bisquick.  Bisquick is rarely available in the places we have visited so far, and I know it won’t be available in the South Pacific. This is a simple mix to prepare and very useful.  But when I made the first biscuits from this mix, I discovered that my supply of baking powder had lost its effectiveness.  That is a common problem in the tropics.  Baking powder expires rapidly; probably because of the intense heat and high humidity.  Now I need to remember to add more (new) baking powder each time I use one of these pouches of baking mix or brownie mix. 

Bill set up an account for us with Commanders Weather.  We have used Chris Parker for weather forecasting up until now, but Chris specializes in only the Caribbean and part of the Atlantic.  Commanders Weather does forecasts worldwide.  We will be able to contact them for passage planning anywhere.  I think we pay separately for each forecast, whereas with Chris we simply paid an annual fee and received passage planning via email whenever we requested, along with regular daily email forecasts.  This will make Commanders Weather be considerably more expensive; but, again, one of those services that it is well worth paying for.  We have met several people who have used Commanders Weather for years and recommend it highly.  We also will be using grib files which are received free via the SSB radio using either Winlink or Sailmail.  We have found these grib files to be quite accurate here in the Caribbean and are hoping the same applies to the South Pacific.  We simply radio a request for waves and wind for a specific geographical area, and within an hour we receive the grib file forecasts for that area for the next 24, 48 and 72 hours.  These grib files are overlaid on our electronic charts so it is simple to see what to expect for our planned route for the next 3 days.  Works great.

Electricity is off for this island this morning.  No dock power means no air-conditioning.  That means BUGS.  It is gray and overcast again.  There is a good breeze blowing right now.  Hope it keeps up (or even better that it blow harder) so that the no-see-ums don’t fill up the boat.  It is too hot to cover up on long clothing.  Think I am going to go lie in bed under a fan and cover with a sheet.  Oh, I cannot wait to leave Bocas and get away from these bugs.

The electricity came back on shortly after noon and we were able to close up the boat and get back to A/C.  Good thing as it was hot and buggy until then.  Tonight was another potluck dinner.  I partially stir-fried some veggies and Bill finished cooking them down at “the cage” while he grilled some sausages.  This marina has something that we have never found at a marina before.  They have a fully-stocked kitchen in an area at the beginning of the dock that we all call the cage – because it has chain link or wiring all around the sides (to allow air circulation) and it is locked each night.  There is a refrigerator stocked with cold drinks and beer.  You take what you want and mark it on a tally sheet and it gets added to your bill.  They also have a microwave and a stove that anyone can use.  This is wonderful.  I use it for baking quite a bit – actually I prepare things and send Bill down there to light the oven and handle the baking part because I don’t want out there with the bugs.  This keeps our boat from heating up and also uses their propane instead of ours.

Adjacent to “the cage” is a TV room.  Has a ceiling fan and a couple of chairs.  Unfortunately, it also has millions of the no-see-ums that come up from beneath the dock through the slatted floor boards.  I sat down there for about 10 minutes when we first got here and watched BBC news and CNN, and got way too many bug bites.  So I won’t set foot back down there.  Darn shame, too.  Because I would love to be down there tonight watching the Academy Awards.  Oh well, guess I can read the results tomorrow on Google news.

Remember the snake that crawled onto our friends’ catamaran in the San Blas Islands last November or December?  We received an email from Melissa and Buddy on another catamaran named S/V INDIGO MOON.  They were anchored off the same island and a boa the same size also crawled onto their boat.  Has to be the same snake.  Melissa said the snake appeared docile but every time they knocked it into the sea, it would crawl right back aboard.  They finally got someone to take it ashore in a dinghy.  It didn’t come back after being placed ashore.  Strange coincidence.

February 25, 2008 Monday

This morning we received an email reply from Johnny Romero, the agent in the Galapagos Islands.  According to Johnny, the fees to visit the Galapagos will be:

National Park fees $100 per adult
Fumigation Certificate $120
Customs $30
Agency Fee $150
Permit for transit arrival $120
Port Fees $180

That is $800 just for the privilege of anchoring in a very rolly anchorage for 20 days.  Everything we do will cost extra and our boat cannot be moved from the main port anchorage.  No wonder so many cruisers opt to skip the Galapagos.  That is a little expensive.  We will not stay for the full 20 days; probably more like only a week to 10 days.  But I assume the fees are the same regardless if we stay fewer days.  Oh well, it is something I want to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A birthday party & we have internet again. Getting excited about upcoming Pacific!

February 18, 2008  Monday
Bocas del Toro, Panama

Still sitting at the dock at Carenero Marina.  Still cooped inside the boat with air-conditioning running 24/7 and not liking it here one bit.  There have been a couple of pot-luck or fish-fry dinners since we arrived.  There are only 6 boats here that are occupied; the rest are empty while their owners do land tours or visit back home.  I have cooked something for each of the dinners and Bill has attended to visit with the other cruisers, but I have avoided these get-togethers.  The very first night we were in this marina we attended a pot-luck and that was when I received the 100 or so noseeum bites that are still driving me nuts.  So I have become pretty much a boat hermit.

But tonight I will cover up in long pants and high socks and a long sleeve shirt so we can go over to Bocas Marina for dinner.  The restaurant at Bocas Marina serves a rib special on Friday nights and meat loaf special on Monday nights.  Meat loaf is not something we would normally cook on the boat so we plan to try it out over there.  Plus we should be able to bring a laptop and have internet access.  That will be a real treat.  This morning I bundled up and we put the dinghy in the water for a quick trip over to Bocas Town for a few groceries.  By the time we were back on the boat I was drenched from the heat.  
Hopefully tonight will be a cool evening so we can enjoy our night out.

Bill and I have been reading some of our Pacific crossing guides.  I brought many books about this area of the world when we moved aboard because I hoped we would sail there.  Now that we will soon be in the Pacific, we have lots to learn.  I already know a little more about it than Bill because I have read so many cruiser logs of Pacific passages and visits to the various islands.  This is all new to Bill.  He is reading about the optional routes to return to the States from either New Zealand or Australia without doing a complete circumnavigation as he has no desire to circumnavigate.  I don’t care one way or the other.  My main desire is to sail the South Pacific islands and visit New Zealand and possibly AustraliaThailand and Indonesia hold no interest for either of us.  I would love to visit Madagascar but the thought of sailing across the entire Indian Ocean just for that one place isn’t exactly appealing.  The northern route to return via Hawaii and San Francisco is rough and not something I would want to do either, but Bill figures that we would be so used to sailing in all kinds of weather by then that the heavy seas shouldn’t matter at that point.  Any way, this does give us options to consider in a year or two.

I spent all day yesterday reading logs of another Amel called Sabbatical3.  I had copied these blog web pages to a hard drive last October when we were in Cartagena and totally forgotten about it.  Sabbatical3 is on a circumnavigation are is exactly one year ahead of us.  They transited the Panama Canal on March 13, 2007.  We plan to transit March 13, 2008 (or as soon after as the agent can arrange).  It was interesting to read of the places they visited and the sail plans they used for the various passages.  We know that no 2 ocean crossings are ever identical and that we will experience different weather, but it was interesting nevertheless.  If we get internet access tonight at the restaurant then I hope to download more of their web pages.  In late September 2007 they had just reached Vava’U, Tonga via Apia, Samoa.  That was the last log available when I downloaded them in October, and I would like to read about their onward passage to New Zealand.

Our friends on FREE SPIRIT are in Miami for a couple of weeks for a family wedding.  They were kind enough to offer to obtain Pacific paper charts and country courtesy flags for us since Bluewater Charts is located very near to where they are staying.  Bill also is having the gaskets and O-rings for our engine shipped to them in Florida.  It took several friends and family helping us, and the gaskets and O-rings should arrive in Florida before our friends depart for their return trip to Panama.  Timing is very close.  If for some reason the shipment does not arrive in Florida before they depart, our secondary plan is to have these parts shipped via FedEx to Shelter Bay Marina; and we can return there to collect the shipment.  Another cruiser gave Bill some gasket making material and Bill was able to make the 2 weird shaped gaskets that we must have in order to reassemble the engine.  Then another mechanic gave Bill an O-ring to replace the one that was damaged when our mechanic took the turbo apart.  So we have replacement parts and can now reassemble the engine this week.  The gaskets and O-rings that our friends will bring back from the States will be spares.  Definitely want to have these spares on hand before we begin a Pacific crossing because who knows how long these substitute replacements that we are using to reassemble the engine will last.  They might last for years or they might last only a few engine hours.  Since we are talking about sailing more than 6500 NM before reaching a place where even simple boat parts can be obtained, we need to make sure we have everything on hand to be self-sufficient until then.  There will be nothing available until we reach New Zealand.  Bill is maintaining a very thorough Excel spreadsheet for our spares list; so, hopefully, we should be well set.

Late last June when we were in Isla Margarita, Rick on PANACEA gave us a bunch of music in mp3 format.  Yesterday Bill finally put these 1300 songs onto our iPod.  This adds to the 16 gigs of music that I had already put onto the iPod.  So now we have a playlist called PANACEA and we are thoroughly enjoying it.  Rick has put together an unusual combination of music – from Broadway musicals to country to zydeco to classical and everything in between.  Broadway musicals are really not our thing when it comes to music, but we are enjoying everything else, even the very old Frank Sinatra songs.  Thanks again to Rick.

February 21, 2008 Thursday

The photos with this blog are from Merric’s 5th birthday (from S/V FREE SPIRIT) on February 2nd.  They had a great birthday party with quite a few kids from other cruiser boats.  They had face painting, a game of balloon toss, bobbing for apples and the statue game accompanied by one of the dad’s on guitar.  Mary, the owner of Carinero Marina, also played her guitar and sang a few songs for the party.  There was lots of food and birthday cake, and the kids had a great time playing the simple old-fashioned games.   This is what little kids birthday parties should be like; instead of the currently fashionable big fancy expensive theme parties that are so popular back in the states right now.   

Internet has been restored to this island.  Yippee!!!   We have WiFi on the boat again.  

And the mechanic came today and reassembled our engine.  Things are going right today.  He used the gaskets that Bill had made.  We will have the correct gaskets on-hand for spares as soon as Paul and Michele return from their trip to Florida.   They are also bringing us other spares as well as paper charts and courtesy flags for the South Pacific.

We will remain in the Bocas area until the first week of March.  Have not yet decided if we will do a land tour while here or not.  Might be nice to see the mountains. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

“You will miss most of the rocks if you stay 1 mile offshore.”

February 13, 2008

The title of this log is a true quote from the Zydler Panama sailing guide regarding sailing off the island of Bastimentos in the Bocas del Toro area..  That absolutely cracked us up.  Guess you don’t need to miss all of the rocks, just most of them.  We had the electronic chart route tracks from another boat that visited here last year and we sailed right over their track.  This was less than one-half mile from shore but we felt okay doing that since the other boat didn’t hit any rocks and that boat has the same draft as ours.

When we arrived in the anchorage at Bocas del Toro we anchored right next to S/V BRUADAIR, a Hans Christian out of Kemah, Texas.  I have followed the website for David and Damon on BRUADAIR since before we decided to begin cruising and bought our boat, and we had some email correspondence over the past three years.  It was a pleasure to finally meet these guys.  They have been here since late April 2007 and will be departing very soon and off to Cartagena.  They have a beautiful boat; not our type boat because of so much wood that requires so very much hard work to maintain, but a beautiful boat nonetheless.

Within minutes of dropping our anchor we were visited by the Customs and Immigration officials, as well as the Port Captain.  They came aboard and we sat in the cockpit to complete the clearance paperwork.  Bill served them sodas and beer while I handled the paperwork since I am the official captain.  Everyone was cordial and it was the most pleasant and easiest clearance we have experienced to date.  It is supposed to be quite common for officials to come out to arriving boats, but this is the first time we have experienced it.  Would that all clearances could be so simple and pleasant.

Bocas del Toro is by far NOT my favorite place.  I am trying to not be too negative about this area but am not being very successful.  The reason is the horrible, horrible, horrible noseeums.  These tiny insects are driving me out of my mind.  Noseeums are one of the midge insects.  They are very tiny and one cannot even see them without looking extremely closely.  Hence, the common name of “no-see-um.”  These tiny midges bite like crazy.  Most people feel a sharp bite and then might get a tiny red dot on their skin which quickly disappears.  Not me.  I am hyper-sensitive to noseeums.  I don’t even feel the bites, but about 12 hours later very itchy hard welts appear.  These last 2 to 3 months (sometimes longer depending on the variety of the midge) and itch very severely the entire time.  They make large bleeding sores and seem to take forever to stop itching and heal.  Taking Benadryl for several days when the bites first occur helps reduce the reaction, and using Benadryl gel alternated with hydrocortisone cream helps best with the itching.  But these bug bites make me miserable.  I had been afraid this was going to be a problem because of the heavy vegetation in the Bocas area, and it definitely turned out to be true.  I got at least a hundred bites the first day we were in this marina.  That night we turned on the air-conditioning and I have remained closed up inside the boat ever since.  Now, that really puts a person into a pissy mood – itching like crazy and going stir-crazy inside a closed up boat for weeks.  Sounds just lovely, doesn’t it?  And this marina doesn’t even have internet right now because a boat anchor cut the underwater cable to this island.  So it is really, really boring.  BTW, I am the only person in the marina who is affected this way by these insects.  No one else understands why these bugs bother me so much; they simply find the bugs annoying.  But, then, they aren’t itching to death for months with dozens and dozens of bleeding holes in their skin. 

The good news is that when the wind blows then the midges cannot fly.  And yesterday afternoon the winds started to blow nicely and are predicted to remain up for several days.  So this morning we have turned off the A/C and opened up the boat.  Ahhhh, the beautiful outdoors again.  I might begin to like Bocas after all; we’ll see.  Insect repellent sprays and lotions have no effect at keeping noseeums at bay.  There is a local preventive called Nopikec that we are now using.   Nopikec is a soap.  You wet the bar of soap and work up a lather, which you spread over your legs and arms and let dry without rinsing.  It doesn’t smell bad and contains no chemicals or poisons.  It does make your skin feel somewhat sticky but it also appears to help a lot.  Not enough to allow me to go outside unless the wind is blowing, but enough to protect Bill from the bites.  Think we will stock up on several bars of Nopikec.

Yesterday afternoon we took the dinghy over to Bocas Town for a few supplies.  While there we ate spicy pork soft tacos at a Mexican “restaurant.”   These were served with finely chopped cabbage mixed with chopped jalapenos.  Lettuce is hard to find most of the time, so cabbage is the substitute.  Probably sounds yucky to those of you back in the land of plenty, but it surprisingly tasted pretty good.  This place also had enchiladas verdes (chicken enchiladas with green sauce) on the menu, but they were way over-priced so I passed on what is normally my favorite Mexican food.  Figured these enchiladas would not be anything like normal anyway, so better to make my own on the boat when the right ingredients are available. 

Speaking of food, I am sorry to say that we have not found any special local foods in Panama that we would want to try again.   Everything is just sort of okay, nothing different and really good like the arepitas in Venezuela or the arepas in Colombia or the doubles in Trinidad or the curry pastries in Grenada (can’t remember now what those are called).  The Panamanian version of empanadas is thick dough that is very tough and oily.  The fillings are not as well-spiced as Mexican empanadas; just sort of bland and tasteless. The Panamanian version of tortillas is just plain weird.  Think of a normal Mexican corn tortilla overdosed on steroids---very, very thick and stiff; made from corn but crumbly and oily.  I have tried several thinking that maybe I was just buying bad ones, but they have all been yucky so I will not try any more.  There is a local fruit that is interesting.  It is called a mangostein.  This does not resemble a mango in any way.  It is hard and round and reddish and reminds me of a coconut; when cut in half the white inside is exposed, which is the edible part and is sort of slimy and sweet.  Not bad, but I definitely prefer regular mangoes over the mangostein.

Yesterday morning Bill had a mechanic check out our engine because it was smoking at high revs on our passage here from Colon.  Bill had already adjusted the timing and thought the smoking problem was solved but he wanted a real diesel mechanic to check it out.  This guy took things in the engine apart and cleaned everything.  In doing this he broke several gaskets and O-rings.  We were afraid this was going to happen.  We had some spares but not everything needed.  Bill tried to order replacements from the Yanmar dealer in Panama City and found that these are on backorder from Japan for at least a month.  This is very distressing news because our engine cannot be reassembled without these gaskets and O-rings.  So we are stuck here until we can find replacements and have them shipped to Bocas.  This is not the time to be stuck without internet access.  Surely these gaskets and O-rings are available somewhere in the States but we need the internet to find them.

This happened just days after we had changed our minds yet again regarding our next destination.  Last Saturday we notified an agent to arrange our Panama Canal transit for shortly after March 13.  Then, instead of cruising the Pacific coast of Costa Rico, Nicaragua and El Salvador as we were planning, we are going to the Galapagos Islands!!!!  This is a place that I am very eager to visit.  We were going to buddy-boat with Paul and Michele on FREE SPIRIT for a year on the western coast of Central America; then they were headed off to the South Pacific; and we didn’t know where we would go next—maybe the Sea of Cortez.  But both boats are sailing to the Galapagos late next month or early April – assuming we find replacement gaskets and O-rings for our engine.

If we absolutely hate the passage to the Galapagos Islands, then we will return via Ecuador.  That will be a tough return passage against both wind and current, but better than the alternatives of either going completely around the world or going north to Japan and Alaska and down the west coast.  If we do enjoy the passage to the Galapagos Islands, then we will continue onward to the Marquesas and the standard Coconut Milk Run to New Zealand.   Our longest non-stop passage to date was 460 NM hard-to-windward.  The passage to the Galapagos will be around 900 NM and half of that will be to windward.  Here’s hoping it is a calm passage with not-too-contrary winds against us.  The next passage to the Marquesas will be 3000NM almost totally downwind.  That would place us a little more than half-way to New Zealand.  So you can understand why we want to be certain about enjoying the first 900 NM passage before we commit to the next 3000 NM leg of a very long journey.

Now a few short history notes about Bocas del Toro:

The Archipelago of Bocas del Toro is located in the northwestern Caribbean corner of Panama, about 30 miles from the Costa Rican border.  This area is booming and rapidly becoming Panama’s main tourist destination.  We met a young couple at the Mexican “restaurant” yesterday who had flown down from Michigan, and the streets of Bocas Town were filled with backpacker-type younger tourists.  So this is definitely not just a cruiser destination.  Bocas Town has many bars and small clubs and the young tourists enjoy the nightly reggae and calypso “riddim” (local pronunciation of rhythm).  Lots of activities available to burn off that youthful energy.  

Real estate is hot here.  We have met at least a dozen cruisers who either already own local property or are searching for the perfect piece of land to build their retirement home.  The area is comprised of 2 huge lagoons, 8 major islands, 51 cays (small islands), and over 200 minor islets.  The last major earthquake in this area was 1991.  Bocas is reached via a regional airline direct from Panama City or via Nature Air from San Jose, Costa Rico.  One can also arrive at Bocas from San Jose by taking a bus to Changuinola, Panama, and then a water taxi to Bocas.  I think it is about a 9-hour bus ride and very inexpensive, which explains the popularity of this area for the backpacker youths.  Surfing seems to be a popular activity, as we have seen many water-taxi boats motoring around with young people carrying surfboards.   Don’t know where these people are surfing because we did not see any surf on our way into Bocas but it must be nearby.  Those annoying jet skis are also popular and available at several local resorts.  If the Port Captain of Bocas were smart, he would ban jet skis as so many of the Eastern Caribbean area have done.  Or he should at least restrict their use to areas less congested by dinghies, water taxies and anchored sailboats.

There is heavy vegetation on all the islands and the water is somewhat murky due to run-off from the mainland.  You can still see several feet depth but definitely not the crystal clear waters that we are familiar with in most of the Caribbean.  This area is well below the hurricane belt and rarely suffers any bad weather other than heavy rain.  Like the rest of Panama, there are 2 seasons:  the dry season from December through April, and the wet or rainy season from May through November.

Christopher Columbus discovered Bocas del Toro on his fourth and final voyage.  The indigenous people were various Ngobe tribes (there should be 2 dots over the “o” in Ngobe but this keyboard doesn’t do that).  Most of the remaining indigenous Ngobe Indians now live a subsistence lifestyle in remote communities.  They have not maintained their traditional way of life like the Kuna in the San Blas Islands of Panama.   The Ngobe are also called Guaymi and comprise 35% of the indigenous population of Panama

The remaining local population is a colorful mix of creoles, descended from the Jamaican blacks and Chinese and Colombians brought to this area by the now-defunct United States Fruit Company to work the banana industry in the late 1800s.  Even today bananas make up over 80 percent of Panama’s exports and the banana fields are increased each year.  Nearly a million tons of bananas per year are exported by the Chiquita Brands International Fruit Company in the Bocas province.  The language of these mixed race inhabitants is guarguari, a mix of Afro-Antilean English and Ngobere and spiced up with some French.  Most everyone also speaks Spanish and about 15% also speak English.  Theft is a common problem but nothing out of the ordinary.

As is common in most of the poor areas visited by cruisers, the cruisers here do various activities to raise money which is donated to the local efforts of educating the children.  Uniforms are required for the children to attend school and many families cannot afford the uniforms.  The cruisers hold trivia contests and auctions to raise money for a group called ESSO, which distributes the donations to the needy local families to buy backpacks, uniforms and school supplies.  Otherwise, most of the children would not be able to attend school.

Friday, February 1, 2008

First good fish! Arrived in Bocas del Toro.

February 1, 2008

09.19.950N, 082.14.814W  
Distance traveled approximately 185NM

We left Shelter Bay Marina around 10:30 on Tuesday morning and sailed overnight to Bluefield.  Enroute Bill caught a 20-lb big-eye tuna with the new rod and reel that Dallas & Jocko had given us.  A big eye is very similar to a yellowfin tuna.  We would never have caught that fish with our "Cuban reel" handlines.  The fish would have just snapped the line or broken the hand reel.  Letting the fish run with the rod and reel made all the difference.  Bill let it run and tire itself out before finally reeling it up to the stern of the boat.  I took in the sails and started the engine while he fought with the fish.  But Bill wouldn't let me put the engine into forward gear because that added more drag with fish fighting.  So the boat was wallowing quite a bit in the 7-ft swell by the time Bill got the fish bled and onboard.  This is the first really good eating fish that we have ever caught.  And it really was delicious. 

We spent one night anchored in Bluefield and then motored on to Bocas del Toro.  Winds were much too light to sail that day.  We got a high water temperature alarm as we were motoring out of the lagoon.   So we turned around and put out the sails.  After awhile the water temp problem seemed to resolve itself, so we turned around again and motored to Bocas.  Nearly went aground on a reef on the entry to the anchorage, but backed off before we hit anything.  Changed approach and entered from the bottom side of the anchorage without a problem.

Brought some of the fresh tuna over to FREE SPIRIT last night and enjoyed a wonderful meal with Paul and Michele.  Michele is a wonderful cook, better than me, believe it or not.  Now we must hurry over to get into Marina Carenero before the tide changes.  We understand that an underground cable has been cut and there will be no internet there, so won't be updating regularly if that is true.  We might leave the boat in that marina and go land exploring for a week or so.  Stay tuned.