The Balboa locals tell us that the weather for our arrival was highly unusual. Our pilot was unable to transfer to the tug supply boat to go ashore, which is apparently unheard of. As he said to us, “shits happen”.
It took us 2 days to regain our equanimity but we have done so. As we sat at the yacht club bar listening to the rain, copious spirituous substances did the job for us.
Oh, and if there is any doubt about Gatun Lake crocodiles, check out this pic of one caught a few years back. It would’ve given even Maxine a run for her money, I reckon!
Now the weather is fine. A cool northerly and calm seas – said to be normal at this time of year – have brought peace of mind. Yesterday we extricated our fouled anchor from a mooring line and spent hours cleaning sticky mud from our chain before taking up on an adjacent mooring buoy. Now, while waiting for the prop shaft coupling rubbers to arrive from USA, we have been working our way through the countless shipboard jobs which just accumulate. And accumulate.
It is very early in the season and we are the only cruising yacht here. The Balboa Yacht Club is is a splendid spot to sit, just downstream of the Pan-America Bridge linking two continents. Every 20 minutes or so an ocean behemoth slides past us 100 metres away, coming from, or heading into the Panama Canal. It is obvious of course, but the relentlessness of the shipping serves to emphasise the extraordinary importance of this waterway. The Panama isthmus only rose from the sea 3 million years ago. Before that North and South America were separate, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were contiguous and none of this remarkable choreography of shipping would have been necessary.
Once again I find myself apologising to crew for cruising holiday delays. While this delay is nothing compared with the nonsense she put up with in Norway while we struggled with our engine, dear Maxine has been a model of insouciance and a great support. Today after we fill our gas bottles, she is servicing the genoa winches. What more could a bloke want?