After our visitors we got down to business. Ordering and waiting for a new through hull. We were living with a wooden plug in our boat, hoping and praying that it would not break or fall out. We tried to wait patiently, attending the celebration of Carnival, exploring town and going out to anchor to clean Slow Dancer's hull. We joined the Nilaya crew to judge a buoy rounding for the Bocas Regatta Race. We enjoyed our three days in Red Frog Marina and used the infinity pool to pass the days. During this time we were also making many trips to town to stock up our food lockers to prepare for our journey ahead. This entailed riding a panga to town, shopping in a minimum of 3 stores and slogging it all back into a water taxi to the marina dock then down another dock to our home.
All the while, waiting for the right part. After the third time of ordering and waiting, we finally had what we needed! Only one month after the first order was placed. We enlisted the help of Francisco, a knowledgeable live aboard and with him in the water and Ken squeezed into the stern compartment with Dale running info between the two, the hole in our boat was fixed! This was cause for celebration!
We were set to leave the following day for the San Blas Islands. We were to meet Jim and Laura of Nilaya in Bastimentos and from there out into the Caribbean. In listening to the news, we were hearing about the Corona Virus and that it was showing up in several countries. So far, no cases in Panama. Wait….the morning that we left the marina, there were six cases in Panama City. The Kuna indians were closing the San Blas Islands as of the next week. Should we risk it? In discussing the matter with our buddy boat, we determined that we were safe where we were and we would wait for the San Blas to reopen. It couldn't be more than a week, could it?
We anchored in the spacious bay outside of Red Frog Marina on Bastimentos. We dinghied in to the island, walked the jungle paths and ate at a restaurant. We were also keeping up on the events unfolding in Panama. Within two days, Panama was no longer issuing cruising permits for anyone outside of Panama. They were also not issuing any Zarpes. A Zarpe is an exit paper issued by the country of Panama allowing other countries to accept you. A cruiser can't leave without one.
Within a week, all restaurants, bars and "non-essential" businesses in Bocas, as well as all of Panama, were closed. Residents (and cruisers) were cautioned to stay in their residences. Within another 3 days, we were given only one hour per day to shop for groceries. This hour was designated per your passport number. There was also 5:00 p.m. curfew. Anyone ignoring these edicts would be "detained" and issued a fine.
Since we travel with our home, we motored out to few other anchorages, snorkeling, swimming and passing time. After two weeks, we anchored outside of Bocas Town to use our daily hour to add to our food stores as well as take our trash and laundry to shore. Those chores done, it was again time to "self isolate" and anchor in a deserted bay.