7. Sailing to Panama 2016  

After we returned to Grenada we spent two weeks of preparations on land before Bird of Passage was in the water. Main job was to clean the bottom and put on new anti fouling. Another job was to mount two new line clutches, one on each side, for preventers and downhaul. I also mounted a new transducer for the Simrad NSS-7 MFD which makes it possible to use it as a fish sounder.

Living in a boat on a boatyard is not as comfortable as when the boat is in the water. It is often noisy and dusty because of all boat jobs going on close to you and you need to climbe a ladder to enter your boat. On the other hand, it's easy to get in contact with your neighbours, they are all in the same situation as you, stuck on land.

One evening, the boatyard organized a food party. Local people and people from the boats meet and have a nice time together with lots of food and drinks. Tove took the opportunity to bye a new T-shirt.

Now and then, a group of goats managed to get inside the boatyard area. They were hungry and seemed to like the flowers in the plantations. The boat yard guard was not happy and chased them out through the main gate. Over and over again.

Every monday taxidriver Shademan runs a free tour from Prickly Bay Marina to Waterland, a well sorted boat chandlery in St. Georges, the capitol of Grenada. I took the picture above with Shademan and his old bus on the parking lot outside Waterland.

St. Georges is not a big city and the harbour is even smaller. In spite of that, big cruising ships come in frequently and their passengers fill up the town. Many visit the old fort where political leader Maurice Bishop was executed by radical members of his party. This event triggered the American invasion of Grenada in 1983.

In mid December, our oldest son Martin arrived to sail with us to Panama. We had some great days in Prickly bay and met many good friends like Tomas and Fredrik but Martin only had four weeks leave from his job so we had to set off for Panama.

A last picture from Grenada, the Spice Island. We had a great time there.

We left Prickly Bay the 19:th of December, spent Christmas at sea and arrived to Shelter Bay marina in Colon, Panama, seven days later. Martin did a great job. On this picture he is strapped with the safety line, just returning from some job on the fore deck.

Marine toilets seem to be a never ending problem for many sailors. One of the problems you have to deal with is the growth of limestone inside the outlet hose. Limestone slowly builds up until it blocks the hose totally. Only way to get it clean is to remove the hose and bend it over and over again so that the limestone inside cracks and falls out. It is easier to this when the boat is not moving up and down in high seas...

Venezuela is not considered safe everywhere and there has been pirate attacks so we decided to keep a "safe" distance to the Venezuelan coast. Columbia is safer but seas along the Columbian coast have a reputation of being rough so we kept the distance to Columbia as well. This gave as a route that started out in north westerly direction and then turned to west and finaly south west, 1200 NM from Grenada to Colon.

As usual I used my HAM radio to download GRIB weather forecasts every day so we could take advantage of what was coming. We had good winds, relatively strong, 10-15 m/s from behind and the sea was quite rough sometimes. On the other hand, we made good speed. 170 NM/day average with a maximum of 213 NM the last day. The fastest week for Bird of Passage so far.

We arrived to Shelter Bay Marina on the 26:th of December and then spent three more weeks together with Martin in Panama. We sailed east along the Caribbean coast, visited Portobello and Puerto Lindo. We also made exiting trips to Panama City and Colon with taxi and bus before Martin had to return to his job in Sweden. A great time and you can read more about it in The Log Book from 2017

  End of Panama 2016