fredag 9 maj 2014

Panama is very hectic


Hello, I can't believe I have not been updating here for a month, anyway it has been very hectic and me and my crew has some very nice and strange experiences behind us.

As planned south African Adeena joined me for the passage to Panama. ...

The trip went flipping well and due to the strong winds which made the little Swedish creation fly on the crests of the waves we made it in amazingly ten days. We had a great time, among the celebration of
 St Patricks day, catching a fish and spotting some dolphins we got a squad of flying fish emerging the boat. I just had one visiting my bed in my sleep but Adeena got hit several times in her head.

During the last 12 hours we reefed sails to arrive in daylight in the famous strait of Panama canal. Luckily it was not as busy as I thought it would be. Since we cruised in with our little dingy engine pushing us 2 knots forward, that was a relief.

Anyway we arrived safely in Shelter Bay marina where Adeena was suppose to catch her ride across the Pacific. I was busy trying to figure out what the cost was for the canal and how it was working.

Kiel canal, similar in size and even longer, where I just turned up paid the fee of 10 euros and went through with out a single problem seemed to be a totally different story.

After a couple of days Adeena found out that her ride, an American Lagoon (real boats?) was delaying it's trip by a year and going up to Florida. The south African flag was hoist in my mast and I can't honestly not imagine how all these preparations had gone without her, thank you first mate!

Colon, one of the most dangerous cities on the continent had to be visited several times to do supply shopping for the pacific. Dodgy place but we made it back and forth alive. Shelter Bay marina has given us a lot of ups and downs. Staying there and seeing all our friends on the other boats sail away through the canal was frustrating enough while fixing everything needed to be fixed.

We have at the same time got unbelievably amounts of help from other sailors. I can't count on one hand how many people has looked at the little cute beauty to engine struggling to run and definitely not being able to be reliable for a canal transit.

In the end to all of our surprise it was a bigger malfunction than feared. The fuel pump was broken, an expensive and time killing process. Rupert a very entertaining English delivery captain claimed that I must have done some very nice things in life to gain this Karma. Because on the hard, behind the marina office a little broken Yanmar engine was laying waiting to do some good, it had an identical fuel pump!

Among engine help we got a lot of food, a VHF and a new dingy before heading out of this strange marina. Thanks to everyone being involved to make the little Albin Vega continue its journey.

"With just over an hour remaining, we are still awaiting our new crew (regardless of boat size you are required to have a minimum of 6 people on board through the canal - always fun on a 27 foot boat) we still need to do an oil change; and we need to tests the engine properly, and load up the new dinghy someone donated us this morning. We're stressed. \We're tired. And we're sweating like gorillas, but we're doing it at last.

The fines for delays in the canal are up to 7000 US dollars and we dont have that; so if you have a moment today and tomorrow, say a little prayer for us/ hold thumbs/ cross your fingers/ post us a hug... we need all the help we can get!"

This was written by Adeena just before departing through the canal. Our line handlers showed up 45 minutes before scheduled transit and this would be the actual test run of the engine. This was one of the most stressful days of my life and I have still not calmed down properly at this moment.

Though sometimes you just have to live on the edge. Everything went perfectly well. My lovely engine made the requested 5 knots all through the canal and the experienced captain manoeuvred Yoldia like he hadn't done anything else in his life through the locks filled with current. Piece of cake!

Forgot, that if our circumstances was no bad enough, on the second day in canal our adviser tells us that we had to turn back since we just had one kleeth on the bow which would according to him be to less to control two lines. We explained that we already been inspected without problems and Adeena even pretended to cry for a moment explained how important this was and how hard we had worked to make the boat ready for the canal.

What a week.

Anyway, we are in the pacific! An American guy and a Canadian girl is joining for Ecuador in a week. Until then we are going to cruise around some Islands along the coast with Adeenas brother, just chill out and doing no boat work at all!

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