Thursday: We headed east to the more classic sandy cay anchorages behind the reefs. But first came engine issues. The starboard alternator is putting out low amps, like 10 instead of 80. We spent some time investigating this, but to no avail. Then the starboard engine failed to generate much thrust, when we needed it to clear another boat, in the process of raising the anchor. For some long seconds we were seriously thinking we might have another collision, or end up on the reef to leeward. (We’ve seen four boats on reefs since we arrived, and we’re told they are all recent…) And then the engine started running okay. Bad injector…? It remains a mystery, as does the alternator output.
These travails are nearly forgotten, as we are now anchored in a fabulously beautiful spot, the sound of distant surf on the reefs as a backdrop. A sandy palm-covered cay a short distance away; an unimpeded wind keeping things cool. We all had the feeling today that we have finally ‘arrived.’ Bread is baking; chicken is thawing; sprouts are ready to eat. As we have traditionally said on my boats, “This hardly sucks at all!”
Friday: Some work on the wind generator (successful), some snorkeling, some troubleshooting of the alternator (unsuccessful), and a lively social gathering aboard Chapter Two (big catamaran; easily accommodated all of us) of the four crews that left from Key West.
Saturday: A lively social gathering on BBQ Cay of (almost) all the BPO and Pacific Odyssey crews. So many names to learn, and who is on which boat!
As a small flotilla of dinghies pulled up on the beach of the tiny island we were greeted by a welcoming committee of two locals who demanded $3 per person to visit the island. This was unexpected; no one had money with them. Some thought it was fair, like a park fee (the island was nicely groomed). Others thought it was crazy and we should go elsewhere. Others thought it was reasonable, but questioned who the two were, and what right they had to ask for money. I went back to the boat (ours was one of the closest), and got money to pay for everyone, and suddenly everyone was “amigos” and we had a good time.
Sunday: We had plans to move on to cays to the east, but instead the entire day was spent learning about alternators and voltage regulators. Not an unpleasant day though. Wondering how the Patriots did in the Superbowl…
Monday: Sailed 10 miles southeast to another section of the San Blas islands. Took the dinghy up the Rio Diablo, which provided jungle-like scenery. Several dugout canoes on the river, paddling upstream to get water to bring back to the Guna island just offshore. We towed a very friendly young guy a mile or so up the river, and on our way back we towed two canoes a mile or so downstream. Another paddler laughed about how the others must be too tired to paddle. Everyone seemed to be very friendly. There were lots of birds, and it was nice to hear their calls in the tall trees. The island here is much more developed than the others we’ve been to. We bought some provisions at a store and we went to dinner at a ‘restaurant’ (where we were the only customers).
I know y’all want photos. We expect to be in Colon within a week, and hopefully a good wifi connection there will bring photos shortly thereafter.