Panana – More than a canal

Morning bread being delivered by hand.

We headed back to Linton Bay to get our Panama cruisers permit which we had been told can take up to three weeks to come through. We liked Linton Bay, especially the ramshackle cruisers bar that had an honour system for coffee and produced magnificent burgers and pizzas from a very humble kitchen. After a few days Ian from Blue Infinity turned up and we got a few boats jobs done while waiting for the permit to come through.

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Islands, jungle and a canal…Panama

Colourful, loud music, crowded and slow but…. so much fun to travel by bus in Panama.

It was a 2 day motor sail all the way to Linton Bay in Panama which was frustrating but we arrived in time to call into the marina office, pick up some parcels we had waiting for us and check into the country – all before dinner. We were spending a day or two in the marina while we waiting for Darryl to come in from the San Blas islands.

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Cartagena – hot hot hot..

Unbelievably good murals in Cartagenas back streets.

We arrived in Cartagena not knowing what to expect. Every time we come to a new country there is anticipation, excitement and a bit of nerves about the port entry, legal procedures etc but it’s always different and we are glad when we eventually find the right anchorage and get settled. Colombia need agents to check in so we called Maria (every lady in Colombia is called Maria we discovered!) And she sent a guy out who took our passports away, got them stamped and returned them to us that evening. We were now ready to explore…

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Guyana and the mighty Essequibo river.

Sunset on the Essequibo river

We sailed up the Suriname river heading for Guyana – a mere 250nm, leaving at the break of dawn as we were trying to get the current in our favour. The sail was uneventful and we arrived at the mouth of the massive Essequibo river about 4pm. Ian didn’t want to go up in the dark so we found a good place to anchor between two islands and settled down for the night. The Essequibo river is enormous. It is so big there are no bridges scanning it and it’s so shallow in places it becomes impassable. It’s the largest river in Guyana and the largest river between the Orinoco and the Amazon. I was amazed at its size, having come from the Suriname river which was about half a mile wide compared to the Essequibo which is about 9nm wide at its mouth. There are various islands in it, most of them uninhabited. We had to go up to Bartica – the only town boats can check in and obviously motor the whole way. This was going to take a full day so we rose early and set off.

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A new Continent – South America

Indian Summer in Suriname

Our roughly 600nm sail from Petite Martinique was awful. We hit current against us almost immediately and only just managed to sail as the winds shifted from ENE to ESE giving us only a small sail angle. We motored into horrible seas which made for a really uncomfortable journey and also a slow one. We passed only one ship though saw more on the AIS. The one bright moment was when we got a call on the radio from Brickhouse – Rebecca was coming up from Brazil and we were going to pass! That kind of close encounter with friends is very rare and so we passed within about 50m of each other frantically waving and yelling. It was so good to see her after 2.5 years – we may catch up in Trinidad later.

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