We had a pleasant stay at Isle Contadora, walking on terra firma, swimming, snorkelling and sleeping. One evening Kate & Paul invited us over for a dinner (roast chicken – OMG!) and introduced us to Andy & Sue, an English couple who sailed extensively around Ireland before coming across the Atlantic. We had a lovely evening swapping sailing stories over dinner and exchanging information about our respective next destinations.
|Seeking a safe spot at La Playita|
Here on the Pacific side of Panama, the sailing community is diverse. Some boats have just come through the canal; others have journeyed down from Vancouver or San Francisco. Most boats are preparing to cross the Pacific Ocean; the odd few are going the other way, like us; others plan to stay ‘local’ and travel to Costa Rica or Mexico. Every morning a local American sailor hosts a 30 minute morning radio call, welcoming new arrivals, wishing departing boats well, and facilitating the exchange of information about local goods and services like laundry, tours, stores to buy boat parts or suppliers to do boat repairs. It is a great way to meet people and get information, and has cut back on a lot of Google time as we trust recommendations from other sailors above any others.
On Sunday we got our first glance of the Panama Canal when we visited the Miraflores Locks Centre. The Miraflores Locks are one of three sets of locks in the Panama Canal, which we hope to pass through sometime next week with Ashling. It was fascinating to learn about the history of the canal, the traffic passing through each year and the plans for expanding its size and capacity by 2014. We even got to see the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship pass through while we were there.
|A container ship transits the canal with the Queen Elizabeth coming in through the second lane behind. You can just about make out some more container ships lining up in the distance.|