CTP – Blog 10 – Panama

On Tuesday June 14 we weighed anchor from Providencia at 7:50 am and we were rounding the sea buoy by 8:15 to begin our 260 mile final leg of the sail to Colon, Panama.

By the end of the first full day the seas had calmed significantly as well as the wind. Through the night we sailed passed all the lightning storms around us with only a little bit of precipitation, thankfully. We went down to a double reefed sail and the motor was on since there was no wind. Also, this way if we were to hit a squall we wouldn’t be caught unprepared.

The sky remained mostly cloudy all day and we dodged a few more squalls, until it began clearing up closer to sunset. By this point the seas were glassy with gentle slow rollers for waves. Puffs of clouds littered the sky as I imagined animals and objects out of them. An excitement and sadness crept in as I thought to myself, “this is the last overnight sail of the trip”! I embraced that night and sat through it in silence, filled with gratitude for everything I have received, the good and the bad.

photo of stevie vagabond sailing in the caribbean sea near Panama
Going into my final night-watch of the trip.
photo of the sunset in the caribbean sea near Panama
Sunset behind the clouds of the Caribbean Sea.

Then just before 1:30 am nearing the end of my night shift the engine light went on. I shut off the engine right away and the Captain woke up to check what had happened. The fresh water pump had broken. While the Captain looked for a spare I unfurled the Genoa and hoisted the main in little to no wind. Somehow we were still making 2 knots towards our destination with 45.9 miles to go, but our time to destination went from 8 hours to 30 hours.
At 6:45 the Captain had finished installing the spare fresh water pump and an oil change, and we were back on our bearing towards Colon, Panama with 36.7 miles to go.

Photo of a squall in the Caribbean Sea near Panama
Squalls were everywhere around us!
Photo of big container ships anchored near Colon, Panama
Coming into Colon, Panama with all the big container ships anchored in deep water.
Photo of Colon, Panama from the Caribbean Sea
The city of Colon, Panama under more clouds!
Photo of the channel markers to Shelter Bay Marina in Panama
The final stretch to Shelter Bay Marina.
Photo of the concrete barrier to the Caribbean Sea in Colon, Panama
These giant slabs of concrete separated us from the Caribbean Sea.


Arriving to Panama

We made it to Shelter Bay Marina just outside of Colon, Panama in the early afternoon on Thursday, June 16. It felt extremely good to complete another journey of my travels, and I was somewhat ready to move on due to a few very specific events on the boat in the last month and a half (altercations throughout the trip). I was not ready to “up and leave” just yet however, so I mentally prepared to hang around a bit longer and make sure the Captain was all set.

photo of the sunset behind San Lorenzo National Park in Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama
Sunset behind the San Lorenzo National Park from our dock in Shelter Bay Marina.

This didn’t last very long, and due to one more unfortunate situation I decided it was most definitely time for me to get going. Personally I am extremely grateful for the experience of yet another successful sailing trip, and I know it has offered me many valuable lessons that I will take with me forever.

Photo of chicken buses in Colon, Panama
My only photo from Colon, Panama (yes my GoPro kind of works still!)

Thank you all for following along on this #CrewingToPanama series and I look forward to sharing my future travels with you.

Stay tuned for some exciting new adventures to come as I wait for the arrival of Romi to Panama City!

Photo of Romi Burianova and Stevie Vagabond at Sequoia National Park in California
@barefootstories will be reunited again shortly!

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