August 23, 2020
So Ken and our friend Francisco got the new panels installed and we are ready for long-term anchoring. And the “lockdown”……surprise! We were just kidding! Seriously?! What the heck! Just weekends now.
We went to town and provisioned, then left Bocas Marina again. We were careful to reserve our spot in case of another “lockdown”.
Out to anchor…..ahhhhh! We jumped in the water again, kayaked, bar-b-qued, met a friendly fisherman who sold us lobster and met up with our friends, Jim and Laura. We spent two lovely weeks at anchor, with only one night-time storm that we weathered well.
Although we have a water maker, it uses power, which on cloudy days is in short supply. During the rain, we had buckets in strategic places to catch rain water. And so we live simply.
The airport in Panama City, which is the symbol of lockdown, was scheduled to open in May, June, July and now August 22. We had heard nothing to make us think that it would not open. Our plan is to head toward the marina near Colon, Shelter Bay, which is just inside the breakwater heading toward the Panama Canal. Here we will “haul out” and get bottom paint (it’s been two years already!), replace some through hulls and have a few things checked. Hopefully, after our work is complete, we will know if the airport is allowing people from the U.S. into the country. We are long overdue for a visit to family and friends. BUT…..our main concern is if we fly out, can we get back in?! As things in Panama are known to change on a whim, we are concerned to leave.
Well, August 22 came and went and no open airport. No notice, nothing. Now we are hearing rumors of September 22. We may not be able to fly back to the U.S. We are beginning to think that the many cruisers, back in April, that just high tailed it to Florida were right! No countries between Panama and the U.S. are open for cruisers to stop. We might have to forgo visits to the Colombian islands (San Andres and Providencia), Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Jamaica and take an 1,800 mile sail to Florida. Not fun to do 12-14 days straight, but it might be our only option. We will see…… But we can do nothing until hurricane season is over in November. So in Panama we will stay.
In the meantime, we are lining up the permissions to head the 200 miles to Shelter Bay. We need a Zarpe (permission to travel) from the Port Captain as well as a Declaracion Maritima de Sanidad (Health Certificate) from no one seems to know whom! This should be an interesting scavenger hunt!