Saturday, February 16, 2008

Welcome to the ITCZ

Last night was the first time we've anchored since Zihuatanejo, and it was at a lovely cove on the southwest side of Isla Rancheria in "Coiba National Park & Special Zone of Marine Protection." That's in Panama. We left Golfito around 0800 on Wednesday and sailed through the night to reach our anchorage. Along the way while still in Costa Rica, we saw Casteele in the distance and had a nice chat on the VHF radio. We're making this passage to Balboa in the company of another sailboat, Orinoco from Vancouver, BC, and her skipper Jim. Jim is single-handing and happy to have some company. It's nice for us as well.

As soon as we anchored yesterday, John went for a swim and scraped the barnacles off the hull and rudder. There weren't many, but it's nice to be rid of them. Around 3:00 pm the park rangers came and collected $20 from us and gave us a permit, hand-written on lined notebook paper. That was unexpected: we thought we only needed a permit to go ashore. Before dark, we could see thunderstorms in the distance and headed our way, so we rigged our hatch umbrellas and John set up the rain collection system he built. We got drenched our last night in Golfito and didn't have either of these systems set up. Since we've opened up the front of the dodger, rain poured down on the companionway hatch and dripped inside. There we collected the rain water in buckets at the foot of the steps. This time we stayed nice and dry inside and collected the rain outside where it belongs.

We can expect daily thunderstorms now that we're in the ITCZ (Inter Tropic Convergence Zone). Märzen hates them, but we hope she'll get used to them. When it isn't raining, it's very hot and humid here. The fishing is good, though. John caught another dorado (dolphin fish) soon after we set out on this leg.

We'll be sailing all night again and anchoring tomorrow just this side of Punta Mala. Punta Mala is another of the infamous Pacific capes. We want to be sure to round it in the daylight because it's the turning point for all ships from North America and the Pacific going to or from the Panama Canal. That's a lot of traffic! We'll be hugging the coast to stay out of the shipping lanes. We also expect current and wind against us, but the weather forecasts say it shouldn't be too bad when we're doing it.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Sounds great guys. Love to see a photo or two. Cheers from Melbourne!