Alone Like a Rolling Stone

From slime and other mess

The final days of 2022 are numbered. Things are rather quiet at Linton Bay. The staff of the restaurant does not feel like working, the boss is in England for the turn of the year and so the restaurant is closed without further ado. We get a bottle of Chilean sparkling wine in the Chinese supermarket, a few chip bags (23g) and expect the new year on our Katinka. Also the fireworks are not very important, because after 15 minutes everything is over. There make the howler monkeys in the morning, a much louder spectacle. Honestly, we prefer it that way.

Lady Blue Linton Bay, Panama

By the way, the sailmaker kept his word and finished the sail in the old year. On New Year's Eve it is windless, so we take the opportunity and raise it. In the meantime, we have developed a routine for many operations on board, and everything goes a little faster by hand. So the genoa is in no time in the keder groove of the forestay retracted and rolled up. We are pleased, looks almost new. I have started to clean the hull. We haven't done anything to the hulls since April. We do have Coppercoat on it, but it still forms an inch thick slime. This may also be due to the long layups we've had this year. Three months of Aruba and almost three months of Colombia, have so left their mark. Also the chain and the bridle are, after longer stays in an anchorage, overgrown. When cleaning the hulls, I scare up numerous small crabs, which have found a home in the biotope created. I'm a bit sorry, but we have noticed during the joint trip, with the Flip Flop, that we have a significant speed loss, so the slime must go down. At the hulls I find times just five barnacles, which fall off almost by itself. It looks different there, at the rudders. I painted the rudders, at that time in Carriacou, with a conventional antifouling, in order to determine possible differences. Sea Hawk's antifouling, Island 44 Harder, was touted to me. The barnacle infestation is much greater and the things are hard to get rid of, so I'm quite happy with the Coppercoat. A few days later, when we move from Linton Bay to Shelter Bay Marina, it becomes clear that the cleaning was worthwhile. 

Breakwater Panama Canal Atlantic Side

In 15 knots of wind, I stand forward at the bow, with a brush and clean the anchor chain. After almost four weeks, once again, algae have settled into the chain links. Meter by meter we bring in the chain and I scrub with the brush. What a mess! But better than having all the shit in the anchor locker later. It takes us almost 40 minutes to get the chain in. We only succeed because the anchor bottom offers a perfect hold. Only when the chain is almost vertically down, the anchor breaks free. The last meters are then no longer covered by algae. With full steam we slam, the half mile, against. The wave is still humane due to the shading of Isla Grande. Out of the shading we set course west and later southwest and have "Following Sea". Our new old genoa is used and the engine is turned off. I love this calm that comes immediately after pressing the red button. With half genoa, we make progress at five knots, much faster than before. On the plotter, a myriad of red lines and triangles appear in front of us. We are approaching the roadstead off the Panama Canal. The big boats are in the way and take the wind away from us. What a mess! 

Roadstead off Panama Canal, Atlantic side

Even though, on the plotter, the roadstead appears to be an insurmountable obstacle, we find a way through it and sail to within half a mile of the breakwater. Five nautical miles from the entrance I call, Cristobal Signal Station on channel 12 and announce our coming. At the entrance to Bahia Limón it is quiet and we reach Shelter Bay Marina without any problems. But this is not a big problem if you listen to channel 12 all the time. Here one is always up to date about the ship movements, around and in the channel. The Shelter Bay Marina welcomes us friendly and we get a safe berth. Due to the membership in the Panama Posse, the berth fees are quite bearable. There is even a swimming pool. Various merchants offer fruits and vegetables. There is a restaurant, a small supermarket and accessories store. The marina office is very helpful and you will be put in touch with mechanics or electricians if there is a need. We want to prepare for the Pacific here. Although there are only 45 nautical miles left, it is still a long way to the Pacific. We are just digesting the first shock. So the trip through the channel, with all the trimmings, will cost us about 3500 US$. What a mess! Not only the transit fees have added up. The cost of Security, Fender and Lines, Line Handler, Agent, etc. have also increased by 25%. If you can save on the line handlers by finding your own, there is still quite a bit left over. 

Panama Posse Ship #203

The next thing to decide is whether we sail to Galapagos or not. That would be another 2000 US$. The permit has to be applied for six weeks before the start. All in all, this clearly exceeds our budget. Maybe we prefer Ecuador, or Mexico and next year Polynesia? We will see. In any case, we will not let all the mess get us down and will find a way that works for us. In this sense, we wish you again this year, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.


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