The Las Perlas Cruise 30.09.2013-8.10.2013

We moved into  the Flamenco Marina the morning after the transit although we had to wait until mid-day for the rain to stop. The marina  is situated on Flamenco island which is now at the end of a causeway from the mainland built using the excavated earth and rock from the Culebra cut section of the canal  to  shelter the pacific  exit of the canal . It is a lovely open palm lined road and great for an early morning run. Our cruise was delayed by waiting for our freezer to be repaired and for the rain to stop ,now the rainy season was starting with a vengeance .Janet and I went to the enormous Albrook mall to provision ,all the usual shops were there but the supermarket was the last one we came to as we had been dropped by the taxi at the far end of the mall ! We arrived back with a full  rucksack  in the pouring rain and at high tide so the lifting ramp  to the dock was nearly vertical !It was  a rather treacherous journey to the boat with the heavy trolley down the ramp and  then we  had to brave the rain and now floods  to the duty free shop for wine …we all agreed this was the lesser of two evils, getting wet rather than a wineless cruise !

By 30th September we were ready to leave and our first stop was Isla  Taboga about 7 miles away .The anchorage was a large bay easy to enter, scenic and near the town.Sadly closer inspection revealed a beach littered with rubbish and a shabby town  in need of a some paint. Maybe one day someone will realize the potential of the island for visitors. While anchoring we found that the anchor windlass took all the current from the domestic circuit and although working was not at full power. We decided to return to Flamenco rather than continue to Las Perlas as the islands are largely uninhabited so no help would be available there. We examined the electrics cleaned the main power switch but not much improvement but with the help of the fluke multimeter we found the fault was in the domestic circuit electric switch through which the power to the windlass circuit apparently runs .We were initially  misled by assuming some damage had been done during the freezer repairs but we only had to turn the domestic power switch a few turns and we had full power for the windlass and the electric winch ! Presumably some dirt was enough to block the large amount of power needed for the windlass circuit although the normal domestic requirements were being met .The multi meter once again proved a most valuable piece of equipment .On our way again and back to Isla Taboga for another night . The next day we sailed to the northern Las  Perlas but not before an early morning  squall which put us on a lee shore so we had to take up some chain to reach deeper water. We had a lovley sail to La Pecheca and anchored for the night .Swimming was only possible at slack water because of the strong current so we had to wait until the morning for that .The next stop was an anchorage between two islands Moga Moga and Chapera and we were treated to a display of whales playing that evening ,luckily not too close .

Our next and last island was Isla Bayoneta very tranquil and uninhabited with  beautiful beaches . We stayed for two nights as it was such a wonderful anchorage .The tides are significant so with so many semi submerged rocks it was interesting to see the scenery change as the tide rose and  fell .We enjoyed some land exploration and lots of swimming with Dale  and John doing a marathon swim from the shore at the height of the tidal current ,Janet needed rescuing in the dinghy as it really was a strong current .

The next day we left for Panama but had to motor all the way until a storm came as we were approaching with  wind thunder and lightening as usual ! We stood off until it had passed and then anchored at the municipal anchorage for the night.

Janet and Dale left on 9th October and we began to plan our next and last leg to Ecuador .

"Bird on a wire" in the marina

“Bird on a wire” in the marina

storm clouds over panama city

storm clouds over panama city

approaching las perlas islands

approaching las perlas islands

Island which appeared at low tide!

Island which appeared at low tide!

view from "disappearing island" with Baringo in distance

view from “disappearing island” with Baringo in distance

Amazing that this is what lurks under a few breaking waves only at high tide.

Amazing that this is what lurks under a few breaking waves only at high tide.

beach on Bayoneta island

beach on Bayoneta island

Pacific clouds- marvellous from a distance!

Pacific clouds- marvellous from a distance!

local fisher visits

local fisher visits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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