May 3, 2014-Sailing to Boca Chica
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
We departed Panama’s Las Perlas islands before lunch and in a nice south easterly set our course out of the Gulf of Panama bound for the Gulf of Chiriquri far to the west.
The Azuero Peninsula lay in the way. To get around it we had to clear three headlands: Punta Malo, then Morro de Puercos, and finally Punta Mariato. These three outcrops on Azuero Peninsula were reputed to be difficult and the forecast was for SW winds, on the nose, not the SE breeze we currently enjoyed.
So we expected the wind to switch around and our course would become a beat.
Well, we had plenty of time and the winds didn’t look to be getting stronger, so, if beat it was to be, we’d just beat, and off we went, close hauled on port tack, sailing at six and a half knots into the slowly clocking wind, sailing silently, each keeping our thoughts to ourselves as we wondered what night would actually bring.
But we were glad to be on the move. The season has changed and it was time to get going, maybe even a bit late. Our days in the Las Perlas were mostly overcast and grey and there were fierce thunderstorms and lightning each night. The anchorages which offered great protection in northerly winds were rolly in the swells from the south now that the northerlies were gone.
And there were the bugs! The rainy season brought bugs. Every night thousands of flying ants descended on us, determined to find a way in past our bug screens and far too many succeeded. We filled the trash cans with their bodies. Each morning we found hundreds more dead or dying on our decks. Sweeping them all off was a daily chore.
And our gecko was no help! Gecko? Yes, we have a gecko on board. He just appeared one day but he has not been out there eating bugs like we hoped he’d be. Instead he lurks behind the coffee cups.
Well, bugs, geckos, SW winds, and other adventures will probably keep us entertained as we work our way out of Panama and toward Costa Rica and the other central American countries and finally to Mexico, our destination this season.
Probably it will even be fun.
Well, that was a pipe dream, that we’d have a gentle beat around Azuero. Instead the wind died completely, the rain came in buckets, and we were surrounded by lightning. We motored miserably through the night.
Same story the next night: after a nice sail during the daylight hours, at night we had rain, lightning, (heaps of lightning), no wind, and tide rips. We motored again.
Finally, soggy and tired of the sound of the motor, we arrived in Boca Chica. Things immediately got better. The anchorage is quiet, the gecko has learned to eat bugs, and our water tanks are full (even if our fuel tanks are not) and we have friends here.
I quess we’ll go to town and do some shopping, and maybe try out the local bar scene before we head back out into the Gulf for more motoring, continuing on our way north.
Click here to see a few images, including our gecko.
Fred & Judy (and gecko), SV Wings, Panama