Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cruising Costa Rica to Panama

We departed Costa Rica day before yesterday and headed south to Panama. We made a pit stop in Drakes Bay Costa Rica for a romantic dinner at their resort, however we were rained out. Major bummer! Hard to believe it's rained every day since we were here a week ago. At least it's not scorching hot, but humidity still abounds as my dreaded jungle hair is almost at afro proportions. 
Yesterday, winds were topping out at 30 knots and rolling waves were hitting us on the beam.. Rolly poly was an understatement, but luckily it subsided after about 10 hours. I've invested well in lots of Bonine!
Landing in San José. 
Our puddle jumper from San Jose To Quepos Costa Rica. Right behind our pilots.. Making sure they can walk a straight line and weren't boozin' it up at the airport lounge. (Just kidding mom!)
Checking out of Costa Rica on the boat with the customs officials.. Always paperwork and more paperwork... It's astounding! Now that we are "cleared", we embark upon a 450 mile "run" from Quepos to Panama which will include 2 overnight cruises. We will be removing the Costa Rican flag we have been flying and replacing it with a Panamanian one once we are "cleared" into that country. 
Our cruise was mostly uneventful, with the exception of our 2nd overnight run. In the middle of a late night movie, we heard a loud thud! We ran over a big log.. Luckily the props don't seem to be damaged, but we will be investigating them further. 
Watching a squall coming toward us... So much rain, but beautiful on the open sea! This is right where we passed Coiba Island.. I flew out of that island 15 years ago with special government permission as the dirt runway (covered by cattle) was run by the only island inhabitants.. Prisoners of a penal colony and they even carried my luggage! But that's another story...
Woke up today to following seas (that means smooth butter!) and sunshine.. Yay!!! However, after enjoying our morning cruise and watching all the boats heading to the canal.. I headed downstairs to take a shower and when I popped back up to the pilot house it was about to pour. So much for sunshine.

The plethora of boats was astonishing. Everywhere you looked...boat after boat. I took loads of pix, but the camera just couldn't capture and do justice for what the eye could see. It was a sight to behold and I can't even stand the suspense until we actually go through the canal in a few weeks with the fam! 

Our radar screen is laden with ship after ship. All of those orange blobs are freighter boats (which can range from 600-900' in length) with the exception of the fuzzy blobs in the middle..haha. That's rain. 
Here's another view.. All of the triangles are ships. If I click on a triangle on the radar screen, it will tell me the name of the boat, its size and where it's coming from and headed to. I love that part!
After hangin out in the "waiting room," we headed to Flamingo Marina, (snagging a slip was like pulling teeth... Muy popular here!) but we first had to hang out in the ocean (I'd prefer to call it the canals "waiting room") for about 30 minutes while we waited for a boat to leave the marina. This is due to the entrance being small, shallow and narrow. We then headed straight for the fuel dock (only 5' underneath us!) and finally to our slip. They are packed in here like sardines, so we only have a slip for a few days and then we will move to the Balboa Yacht Club to use a mooring over there. Never a dull moment! This is due to a storm surge they had this last year which wiped out a lot of their docks. Many of them are still in a state of repair. We don't have water or electricity to hook up to at this marina, but luckily we have our own generators and water maker. 

Here's one of the docks under repair. Luckily ours was finished so we didn't have to navigate this craziness!

The skyline of Panama City.. A mass of skyscrapers. There's some serious moolah $ being kept offshore I think!
The opening of the Flamingo Marina. 
Brad experlty navigating the marina entrance. 

The three amigos escorting us to the fuel dock. 

At the fuel dock. 
Brad and Danny supervising the fueling. 
One of our "agents" we hired to facilitate all customs paperwork and our passage through the canal. 
The garbage area of the marina.. Ick!
The local candy shop.. Where you can buy a lollipop. Mmmmm. 
A Panamanian Christmas tree.. Boy can they decorate. Haha! The tree is under there somewhre...

The local promenade which is full of people out to celebrate the Panamanian Mothers Day. 
A local restaurant where we enjoyed noshing on some Panamanian fritters. We Sat outside along the marina and enjoyed a nice lunch.  Olé!
And for those of you who've requested some mapping... Here we are!

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