First of all, we wanted to thank family and friends for being there for us during these difficult times of COVID-19. When things started up early 2020, we realized pretty soon it would be musical chairs, and we didn’t want to be without a comfortable seat since this Pandemic could be a long time. So we checked S/V Enjoy into Red Frog Marin
a, Bocas del Toro, Panama and waited things out.
Living the dream
If you want to see beautiful people living the exact dream we just lived one week earlier, check out new friends, Jordan & Desiree, on their Sailing Project Atticus vblog, particularly this video
of their time on Isla Escudo de Veraguas. We even caught a similar small black fin tuna.
The difference was that we were the only boat there for 24 hours, and you can imagine the freedoms that might provide. As a result, no communal bonfire either!
Sailors and COVID-19
Contrary to what many of our fellow Americans were dealing with, Panama was quite autocratic in its approach to COVID. Things were shut down, we couldn’t leave the Marina by boat or by dinghy. Men and women shopped on different days, and based on their Social Security or other ID number. Weekends were locked down, curfews set from 9 pm to 9 am, and alcohol sales were prohibited. March 2020, flights were discontinued into and out of Panama except repatriation flights.
No exit Zarpes or boat Cruising Permits were being issued to allow for yacht boat transit. Friends sailed onto the South Pacific hoping things would clear up quickly, only to be stuck there not being able to continue their trip to New Zealand or Australia. Unless they had $50K to spend on boat work, they are not being allowed in these countries. As a result, several boats are facing boat insurance policies that don’t cover them there during the upcoming cyclone season.
June 2020, we took a US Embassy arranged repatriation flight back to the US to take care of family matters. The three day ordeal included securing a semi-private bus to take us over land from the Caribbean side of Panama’s Bocas del Toro through the mountains and down to Panama City on the Pacific side. This was a 10 hour, 4 check-point ride where our temperatures were taken and papers presented. We stayed in the US for 4.5 months quarantining quite seriously, but enjoying our time with family and every so often, a few friends.
Back in the saddle again
We returned back to Panama, taking 2 weeks to re-commission Enjoy including:
- taking the sails out of their mothball bags and putting them back where they belong
- wiping down the inside walls from from the my special spray concoction against spiders (peppermint oil, dish soap and water),
- removing roach gel and boric acid on tin foil packets
- removing CD disks attached to boat lines to prevent rats climbing aboard
- draining the water tanks, flushing with bleach water, and refilling using our filters
- pulling out our clothes and other items from dozens of airtight bags
- culling through all boxes and bags for donatable items, thereby lightening the boat to counteract the four 70 lb bags, two carry ons, and 2 ukulele’s we brought on board
Goodbye to Bocas, this time for real
Once we were a boat again, it was time to say good bye to our Bocas friends and start the adventure again. Spending two lovely days on Isla Escudo de Veraguas, we checked back into Shelter Bay Marina to ready Enjoy for the Panama Canal crossing. Stay safe!