We Made It To Panama!

Making it to Panama is the first of one of our major trip goals, officially, marked off the to-do list. I think this milestone location calls for an…

Updated Stats Page!

Days since leaving: 131

Nautical miles covered: 3,988

Number of countries: 8 transited, 5 actually visited

Number of nights spent at sea: 25

Number of anchorages visited: 31

Number of marinas visited: 7

Longest stay in one place: Chiapas, 32 days

Shortest stay in one place: Herradura, 4 hours


We are safely tucked into an anchorage outside of Panama City. We arrived just before daybreak on Thursday morning after three nights at sea. We had intended to do a two night run from Golfito to Isla Cebaco, then a one nighter to Pan City, but things were going well, and we weren’t overly tired so we just pushed through in one swoop. Either we are getting better at these long runs, or its true what other cruisers say: the first night is the worst, and then you get into a groove and its easier (read: you are tired enough to nap a lot during the day, so you can stay up all night), let’s just go with the theory that we are getting better at it, shall we? We have worked our way into a pretty good overnight routine, each taking a 6 hour shift. Most folks we know do 3 or 4 hour shifts, but Elan and I both love our beauty sleep, and find that getting one long uninterrupted sleep is more restful. Plus, this means I can cafenate before my shift without worrying about it keeping me awake when its my turn to sleep.
En route we had our usual afternoon/evening thunder and squalls, but that has become a routine unto itself. The person on watch alerts the other when the squall is a few miles away; the other closes all hatches and windows; grabs rain gear and PFDs (lifejackets) if they aren’t already out and stands by to put out rain catcher buckets if necessary. I’d love to say that these rain catchers are outdoors, but alas, they are indoors, to catch the interior leaks and keep our bed from being soaked. Haha.
We made it around Punta Mala, an area known for bad weather and strong currents, without incident. The dolphins in that area are especially acrobatic. They slap their tails and will repeatedly jump out of the water next to our cockpit. If I ever had the choice to live as an animal, I’d want to be a dolphin- now there is a species who knows how to have fun! I would have taken a photo, but I have been forbidden to take any more pictures until our replacement camera arrives this week. Someone (who, me?) filled up all of the memory on Elan’s iPhone and the computer with photos on this trip. 🙂
We arrived to the canal zone a few hours before sunrise, and were amazed to see a city’s worth of lights floating outside the canal. Container ship, after container ship, anchored out and waiting their turn to transit the canal. We maneuvered around them, and sped across the canal entrance channel to our anchorage area.
We spent our first two days in the city doing our best to be legal in the country, but finding the check-in process confusing and cumbersome. After 5 office visits and numerous taxi rides around town, we have checked in with all three authorities.
Yesterday, I spent some time with a tube of 5200 doing my best to locate and fill any potential rain/salt water leak sources on deck. I was proud of my workmanship for a smug 30 minutes until a rain squall hit and clearly demonstrated that I missed the majority of them. Such is the life of a boat owner. I am happy to report that one of the few leaks that I DID manage to stop was above our galley table, which is great considering that it will Elan’s sister Deja’s sleeping place for the next two weeks.

Deja and Jake arrived from Seattle yesterday, and we will hopefully get the ball rolling on our canal transit in the next few days. Adventures await!!

An Anniversary
I realized today, that the beginning of June marked one year of living on the boat. When I mentioned it to Elan, his comedic answer (said in all seriousness) was “Wow, has it been a year already?….. That feels like forever ago”. Well said, my dear, a lot has happened in the last year.

3 thoughts on “We Made It To Panama!

  1. You guys are making some awesome progress and memories! Glad to hear you’re back under way after your engine issues. Hope the journey continues to be filled with all kinds of great stories!!

  2. Talk about living life to its fullest, congratulations Elan and Ashley. This is the first I’ve seen your trip up close, thank you Dick! Loved the pics…I’m in the mood for pina coladas, parrots, leaky boats and fresh (really fresh!) fish….maybe not slashed dinghy or broken fingers, but that goes with the adventure, stories to tell many years later.
    Wonderful, cheerful writing, enjoyed mucho. Thanks for sharing! Aunt Marge Engel LaRoe

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