Dec 29

Puerto Escoses

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In 1698 William Patterson, a cofounder of the bank of England, organized and financed an expedition to found a settlement in the bay of Puerto Escoses. The 1300 Scots who built Fort Andrew, of which today only ruins remain, ender up having a terrible time, faced with starvation and disease. In the end the project became a fiasco and after less than two years in the Darien, region those that remained alive returned to Scotland. Just after they left, a fleet with reinforcements arrived from Scotland and made a second attempt to survive. They suffered the same problems as the predecessors and Fort Andrew was given up for good in 1702. Of the nearly 3000 people involved, over 2000 died. Fort Andrew is hardly recognizable. This is the only attempt the Scots ever made to colonize in America.

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Sooner or later it had to happen, Today was that day a bit stressful I guess I should have studied the chart more. I felt pretty confident we have 3 navigation programs 2 guide books, we should be able to get around the islands  with out running aground. Nope as we headed between point of land and a small island where at least 30 men in Cayucos were  fishing. we started to see bottom. When I checked the depth it said 10ft. I slowed down and continued on 9,8,7,6 checked chart plotted said we are in the right place. Mistress needs 5ft 7in shallow on both sides hard to turn around. Left or right. I chose left we came to a stop, the keel in a sand bar. A  little while later an older guy in a dug out canoe came paddling over to us. I’m sure the first thing  he said is “ Its shallow here.” He spoke no English but a little Spanish I spoke no Kuna so Spanish it would be. We decided to put out a stern anchor line and winch ourselves free. We put our spare anchor line out the back of the boat, then into the dinghy. The plan was to row out to deep water then drop the anchor. Once it was set we would get to work. We did all this, which took about an hour then started winding the line became taut, so it must be doing something. Another small boat approached 2 young guys curious as to what was going on, some how they thought we had the anchor stuck not really paying attention to them they jumped in the water and pulled the anchor out of the bottom. They then took the anchor of tied the line on there boat and attempted to pull us off, with Mistress in reverse and them pulling we started having some success. Then suddenly everything stopped, the rope was around the prop. Now I think felt really bad, we were sick to our stomachs. They dove back in the water and started unwinding the rope some needed to be cut out. Another motorboat approached, we were becoming the local attraction. After 1 1/2 hours of diving, cutting,  and pulling fibers out of the shaft we finally had it clean again. By now it was in the afternoon, the tide was going down we were settling more into the sand, constantly boats of all sizes went by us to have a look, or offer words of encouragement in Kuna. We tried digging the sand around the keel til sundown. High tide was scheduled for around noon the next day. As it got darker the boat heeled more and more, listing 25 degrees on its side, bobbing gently it was like a funhouse inside, no level surface that we could sleep upon. At daybreak we put out the anchor again, and kept the line taught hoping the rising tide would pull us free. Every 15min we gave it a flew more turns. Around 11:30am we started moving slowly, the shell on the bottom which I had been staring at was now behind us. Suddenly we floated free  pulling on the anchor we moved to deep water but it seemed it was stuck a fishing boat came along the side of us with 4 men whom had earlier asked us for 500 to pull the boat off. We tried again to pull  the anchor it would not budge. we were drifting to shallow water again. One of the men wanted to dive down and lift it by hand. Too dangerous I told them to cut the line, they could have the anchor. I just wanted to get going. We headed toward an anchorage not far away to put the last days events behind us. As they say……. “Its all part of the adventure.”


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Dec 22

Puerto Perme’

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As we started to travel, we moved just 8 miles away from where we checked in to a small harbour called Puerto Perme it is a small pocket, protected from all sides with a reef and a beach. It looks just like a postcard. We enjoyed watching the pelicans follow the dug out canoas around the bay, while the boys fished with nets. seems like the men come  out at sunrise and the young boys fish in the afternoon. By all the laughter we heard, it is as much fun as it is work.

There is a Kuna village but we didn’t visit, we figured they don’t get many boats stopping here, it would seem like we are being nosey. We did go the beach, and sit in the shallow water attempting to cool off. Later in the evening we seen a pelican going across the top of the water at a strange angle when we realized the carcass was in the mouth of a swimming crocodile , just 20 feet in front of our boat.       THERE GOES THE SWIMMING!!!!


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Dec 15

Obaldia, ….Arrival to Panama, Oct.30/2017

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After an enjoyable night passage, we are in the border town of Obaldia. The town situated at the southern end of the country, is an easy access point for drugs and guerrillas, so has a high military presence, there is an armed guard post on the main dock.

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Checking into the country here was not easy, the love paper work, everything is written out by hand. Our first stop was to the guard, after looking over our papers, we were sent to immigration our directions were to walk to the palm tree turn left go over a wooden bridge, you should see it. simple !!! After getting totally lost, we ask a man who directed us to the right  place. When we got there, we were told to sit, we were the only ones in the office, the agent would be back soon.

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About ten minutes later a guy comes in carrying his lunch. He sat down at his desk, hid behind his computer and watched a TV on a table in the next room. about 30 min went by before he asked to see our passports. he the looked at every page and read every stamp. He then started filling out forms probably 4 papers for each of us, then gave us a e page form to fill out. Parents names, children’s names, ages, where are they all had to be written down. The best was shade of skin colour. luckily there was a place to get copies made just four doors away. They needed 3 copies of all documents. When we were finished we walked aback over to the guard post. the soldier looked over our papers then told us we now needed to report to the Port Authority funny it was 1 small street away from where we just came from. Upon arriving there we found it empty extended lunch hour. Again after waiting for awhile the port captain showed up filled he necessary forms all written out by hand, stamped and singed. We paid our fees and Mistress was welcomed to the country. Back to see the guard it was now mid afternoon and starting to rain, but he didn’t hesitate, “oh my god”….. more copies. Every new formed copied twice. When we finally in the rain, he inspected all our forms and documents before calling for an agent to inspect our boat. No answer, nobody wants to get wet… Manana, tomorrow, we will be inspected first thin in the morning. A whole day went by but we still must complete one last thing to be admitted to Panama. we stood talking to the guard who is learning English, impressed with my Spanish. We gave him correct pronunciation of words he was having trouble with.

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We returned to Mistress, to wait for morning.

Dec 08

Leg 1, To San Blas

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  We left Santa Marta at first light , having woke up at 6am. The winds were forecast to be light , so we knew it would be a motor-sail to Puerto Velero, 57 nm. SW along the coast.

Our friends Ineke and Mike were stationed at the end of the pier to wave us farewell.

Santa Marta has been a nice stop, we  are going to miss it. From here we have travelled all through Colombia, on their inexpensive transportation system.

Our last days have been busy, provisioning, and getting ready to travel. Our fridge was not getting cold, but under Mikes instructions and use of his hoses, we added more Freon, which solved the problem. With everything stowed away, our forward Vee berth packed with bags of water, and other odds and ends, we left the marina.

It felt great to be back on the water again, after staying 2 days 0ver our one year visa the wind and the waves felt so relaxing.

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About 5 miles out we had the Armada Nacional Coast Guard come along side, and  we were asked to stop, they wanted to inspect our vessel. Two officers along with their dog boarded Mistress than sat in the cockpit checking our documents. In the lumpy conditions, they cut the visit short, wished us a good trip, then returned to the inflatable. Soon after we discovered that our fridge was not working, again the temp soaring to almost 80. All our frozen and vacuum pack meats were spoiling. where we are headed to, the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama have very few stores. We are planning to stay one month, so the meat in the fridge was important.

The Magdalena river which travels from the south of the country and empties into the ocean at Barranquilla is fast flowing and littered with debris. Everything from household refuse,to vegetation to whole tree trunks come floating out just west of the city. We had to keep a good look out, and zig zag around the piles, some the size of a small Island. If we ran into one of these it would have stopped us dead in our tracks in the swells they were quite hard to see. It was a beautiful sunset, but our hopes of making it to the anchorage by dark ended watching the sun sink on the horizon.

We rounded Punta Hermosa in the dark, moonless night then followed the lighted channel to the anchorage other than a fisherman checking his net, we were the only boat there it was 8 30 pm, after our 12hr journey, we would tackle the fridge problem in the morning.

Turns out it was an easy fix, we changed the electrical control module, which luckily we had, but it meant we would have to stop in Cartagena to buy more meat.  Image00009 

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