We had a lovely time hanging with Josh, in Linton Bay Marina and then the Guna Yala aka San Blas islands. Fun was had by all, with snorkling, spearfishing, and free diving mentorship by Brit & Sandy (SV Halcyon) and Jack and Fizzy (SV Carpe Diem of Ipswitch). We caught a lovely Albacore tuna (18″, 3.5 lb, skin strip baited feather lure for those who care) on the way from San Blas to Shelter Bay Marina.
We bit the bullet after being in Panama two years now, and went for our Panamanian residency. Among many benefits of being part of the 50 Friendly Nations, it allows us to have a multi-entry Visa permit, so we can stay in Panama longer than 6 months without having to leave the county to renew our Visas.
Passage planning while holding down jobs on-line
After a long awaited delay, our son Josh was able to join us for two weeks. Let’s say it was quite fun trying to schedule a full-day passage that works for three people, one who works full time, one part-time, and one semi-retired…during the Rainy Season. Know that when it gets really rainy here, the cell towers tend to shut-down, and when we have lightening, we try to unplug everything that could be fried and store things in the microwave or oven.
How to Stay On-Line During Rainy Season
Don bit the bullet and purchased a very cool Pepwave MaxTransit Category CAT 18 LTE router that automatically switches based on network speed between two local SIM cards: Tigo and Digicel. A major complication is that Panama has it’s own cellular band 28, that most other countries don’t use, ergo limited products that support it. You can find a great blog on this technology here on Seabits.com. Then, when things really go south, we then use T-Mobile and Google Fi on our cell phones as mobile hot-spots as well (Google Fi using Claro as the local carrier).
Windsurfing is making a comeback
A birthday gift to myself, I purchased a windsurfer repleat with two sails & rig (EPX 4.7 & Motion 6.5 Complete Rig), and a nifty Fanatic Viper 80 cm board. LiquidSurf.com delivered it to Felipe Serrano, our international shipping handler in Miami, Florida who brought it into Panama and ultimately to our boat in Linton Bay Marina. Other than being slightly damaged on the way due to insufficient packing materials combined with careless handling, all is well and I’m learning how to windsurf. (Don is quite good with two-part epoxy these days).
Pickin and Grinnin with our ukuleles
We finally downloaded Pickin and Grin’in Songbook, a terrific app for storing your playlists recommended by good friends and musicians, Stu and Steph (SV Matador). It autoscrolls while you play music, automatically transposes songs, and allow you to create set lists for favorites. As a result, I gave my well used Ukulele Bible , music binder made during COVID, to snorkle buddy Sandy (SV Halcyon) to continue her journey on the ukulele. Anyone thinking of learning ukulele should consider the Ukulele Bible author, Bernadette Teaches Music. Bernadette is a terrific beginner teacher and most of her stuff is free on Youtube. Josh appreciated the easy transition from guitar to baritone ukulele and we played music a couple of times together and with long term Guna Yala cruisers Breeze & Debbie (SV Blue Sky).
Odds and Ends
Here are a few pictures that cover the range of our activities recently.
Panama Canal anyone?
We still plan on making it through the Panama canal Fall 2021, but as we cruisers know, plans are written in sand, getting blown here and there by the winds of change.