Yes we are, or as well as we can be. What do we think you need to do when you get ready for a non-stop 3,000 mile passage?
While we intend to leave Panama from La Playita Marina, on the Pacific side of Panama City and head straight to the Marqueses Islands. It’s good to check weather, current patterns and route a way with maximum sailing, and shortest cut through the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which the famous Doldrums lie waiting for a boat like us to give in and turn on our motors. We use a range of planning tools.
For passage planning we use:
- OpenCPN – Don loves this application and for more information on this open collaborative navigation software, see Don’s post here about his presentations on it in Shelter Bay Marina.
- Sailgrib – I love this application. First, you set it up to know how you wish to travel. For example, we turn the engines on often when we’re sailing slower than 4 knots. You can create several options for leaving and it will route based on the weather, current, and charts you’ve chosen to upload and advises what % you’re sailing versus motoring so you can choose to leave later in the day, or go more North or South to get more sailing time in knowing how long it may take you in each scenario.
- Navionics – This is the gold standard for sailors and comes pre-loaded on the Raymarine chart plotter. As such, we keep this route displayed on our chart plotter, and keep a tablet next to it with one of the other route planner tools as a sanity check.
For weather we use:
- Predict Wind – This app uses 6 different global models for weather forecasts that can go out 10 days. The ECMWF model (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) can be different than the US NOAA GFS, or Global Forecast System (GFS), model. Forecasting is not always correct for small areas, and as you get out more days the error increases, so you need to read the different models and come up with your own conclusions regarding which model is most likely right at any particular time. For a higher membership level, the app provides weather routing and departure planning (tells you when might be to leave).
- Windy – Windy is a great app, it also shows all the weather forecasts for your selected area
- Weather routing professional – John & Lynn Martin of Ocean Tactics are sponsors of the South Pacific Posse of which we’re members. We will be using their experience as well to navigate changes in weather enroute.
Some might say it’s overkill, but indeed we use a range of communciation / safety tools as well. My blog COMMS / SAFETY EQUIPMENT ARE A CHANG’ING details the 8 different systems we use.
Provisioning without bugs
While food will always be available anywhere in the world for a fee, there are certain things that are harder to come by, or more difficult to get from a store to a boat via walking, then in a wet dinghy, etc. So, we purchased a lot of dry goods and vacusealed them, some canned goods, and a range of specialty items like Spelt and Rye flour that we love to cook with.
We still remove all the paper covers in case they harbor/feed cockroaches, roll the unrefrigerated eggs in coconut oil, microwave for 2 minutes all the rices to kill rice weavils, freeze the flour and pasta 3-4 days to kill pasta weavils, and store them in airtight boxes in case one of those buggers still stays alive. Oh, and store soda in a box in case it explodes, which it’s done in the past!
Looking back at my original blog from 2017 about provisioning, we aren’t doing much differently except we realized we hate canned vegetables!
Fuel & Water
While our boat has 2 84 Gallon plastic tanks, the forecase is for low winds and motoring for a good part of the way towards the Galapagos. After that, we should be able to pickup the famous trade winds and pull out our Parasailor. So, we’ve added an additional 12 jerry cans (60 Gallons) to our fuel bank, tied by the bamboo sticks I chopped down in the Panamanian jungle.
We have a watermaker and full tanks; time to go!
Checking out of 4 Years in Panama!
Who knew we’d end up staying in Panama an elapsed time of four years. Erick Galvez has been our agent the entire time, entering Panama, going back and forth 3x on Enjoy through the Panama Canal, checking out of the country for Costa Rica, checking us back in, and now–hopefully checking Eenjoy out of the country for good. But, I learned Never to say Never!