Saturday, May 20, 2017

San Blas Islands :Time to Say Goodbye
April 23rd & 24th
Leaving the San Blas islands in dead calm conditions we motored 42 miles west to Puerto Lindo. It was here that we hoped to pick up our Cruising permit for Panama.

We only had two bites at the cherry left to get it before we reached Colon, that being Puerto Lindo or Portobello eight miles further on. The Port Captain who issues the permit moonlights between the two towns and we had our fingers crossed that tomorrow he’d be in Lindo.
After anchoring we hopped in the dinghy and headed into the Linton Bay Marina to sus out where his office was and  ask around re the time the he might arrive. Being a Sunday the marina office was closed but the little floating bar was open and the helpful people there assured us that he’d be in his office around 8am.
It was a real shame that we’d not heard of Linton Bay Marina yonks ago as they have one huge travelift that is capable of hauling a catamaran with a beam of 35ft. We most definitely would have hauled out there rather than booking into Shelter Bay Marina in Colon. Sa la vie
Monday morning we were bright eyed and bushy tailed and at the port captain’s office at 0830. He was sitting outside and welcomed us into his office.  Twenty minutes later and $205 US poorer we had we had the all important piece of paper in hand  and off we went back to the boat, hauled up the anchor and pointed our bows to Colon some 23 miles further west.
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The closer we got to Colon the heavier the shipping traffic became and the alarm on our AIS never stopped alerting us to the fact that we were definitely not alone. 

At six miles out from the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal breakwall we made that monumental call on the VHF radio asking Cristobel Signal Station for permission to proceed through the breakwall. A short time later with emotional tears in my eyes we motored through the opening.
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After sailing the waters of the Atlantic and the Caribbean for the last  six years, six months and six days  it was time to curtsey and say goodbye. That chapter of our lives has came to an end and a new one is waiting in the wings to start.

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