Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ready to get back in the water

Pequeño Paraiso was very nice, and we would recommend it to anyone looking for a non-commercial base to explore Panamá. After more than two weeks there, I felt like part of Anita and Richard’s family. For a few days, Märzen and I were the only guests. John had to spend some nights at the boat because the traffic between the marina and the B&B was putting too big a dent in his work days. There is quite a bit to see in Panama City, and John and I spent a couple of days over the weekend playing tourist.

Last week we saw the people from Kokopelli from San Francisco here at Shelter Bay. We first met them in Mexico. I thought that was exciting because, since we’re going the “wrong” way, few of our former cruising friends are expected here. Then later the same day, John recognized a woman, Judy, from the wilderness first aid course we took in Connecticut a couple of years ago. We soon found out that Judy’s boat is BeBe (we had forgotten) and that I had corresponded with her husband, Bill, when we were investigating Shelter Bay as a place to haul out.

We’re also finally starting to see SSCA burgees. Bill and Judy on BeBe are commodores, as are another couple we met, Mike and Judy on Por Fin. As I sit here in the restaurant looking out at the docks, I see another associate’s burgee that wasn’t here when we arrived. I’ll have to go introduce myself later.

The big excitement at Shelter Bay is that they’re filming parts of Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond movie, on location here. A bunch of boats are being paid to anchor outside the marina for two weeks while they run speed boats in between them. Today they’re using the haul-out as a location, so that may affect whether we get back in the water today. We’re ready, but the filming could be in our way. I just hope we don’t lose our slip due to the delay.

There’s a back-up in transiting the canal because the canal pilots are staging a work slow-down. You may recall that we only waited a week for our transit. Now they’re estimating four-week waits. Boats and ships are congregating on both sides awaiting their turns. We heard that a 7% rate increase also went into effect March 1st, so we’re really glad we did things the way we did and got through early.

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