- Port of departure: Isla Parida, Panama
- Departure date sand time: Saturday, March 29 at 9:30pm
- Port of arrival: Santa Catalina, Panama
- Arrival date and time: Sunday, March 30 at 12:00am
- Total travel time: 1 day and 3.5 hours (27.5 hours)
- Miles traveled: 78 nm
- Average speed: 2.8 knots
- Engine hours: 1220.0 begin - 1223.0 end - 3 hours
- Fuel consumption: 31.4 begin - 30.2 end - 1.2 gallons used
- Fuel economy: 65 mpg
- Tides and currents: High at 9pm on Saturday - High at 9:45pm on Sunday - Tidal rip by Honda - Can't tell if there was a current helping or working against us between Isla Canal de Afuera and Santa Catalina.
- Weather: The forecast predicted W winds (6-8 knots) on Saturday night, switching to a NE wind (4-8 knots) early on Sunday persisting through the morning on Sunday, changing to a S/SW wind (4-7 knots) on Sunday afternoon.
A full day at Isla Parida followed by a night full of sailing. On our last trip to Isla Gamez we met a super friendly family from Isla Parida who brought us some fresh fruit as un regalo, a gift: bananas, oranges and the most delicious mangos I have ever tasted. In exchange we offered them some milk, one of my sweaters (for those "cold" Panama nights), and some fresh baked chocolate cake. Rosa, the matriarch, asked if we had any spare sunglasses onboard. Unfortunately we didn't at the time, but I told her we'd pick some up in the city. Seriously can't imagine a life on the water without sunglasses.
So anyway, fast forward, our friends Dave and Leiann on SV Chrysalis are selling their boat and whatever they can't fit in their backpacks, they're leaving behind. They gave us a couple bags of clothes and kitchen gadgets to bring out to the islands. After a walk on the island, we invited the family on the boat for snacks and to show them the stuff from Chrysalis. They have lots of other family members on Parida and told us that whatever they couldn't use, they'd find a good home for. Ebedelio was particularly excited about the rain gear because he goes out fishing during the rainy season and I don't know what he currently uses, but Dave and Leiann had some nice foulies (foul weather gear). He was absolutely stoked. I imagine it will make fishing during rainy season a lot more comfortable.
After their visit we fixed dinner and they went out fishing, as they do every night. According to Ebedelio, they've never not caught something (sorry for that double negative there). They swung by our boat on the way back to shore and asked us if we wanted some fish. We explained that without a refrigerator it's hard to keep fish fresh.
"Are you leaving tonight?" Ebedelio inquired.
"If the wind comes before 11pm, yes. If not, then we'll leave tomorrow."
"Well, we'll keep a fish fresh for you and if you're still here in the morning, we'll bring it over to." He reasoned.
"We'll bring it to you all cleaned up." Rosa chimed in.
"Sounds like a plan!" This family seriously can't get any nicer.
No fish for us though, because at 9:00pm the wind arrived and we were on our way by 9:30pm. The wind was blowing about 10-13 knots from the NE. I managed the tiller for the first hour and a half while we sailed E to clear several reefs and Islas Bolanos. Once we were out in the wide open water we turned to the SE, putting the wind on our side for a more comfortable ride. I roused Jeff and he took over for the next 7 hours. I love that he loves night sailing so much.
When I woke up we still had the vestiges of a NE wind, though it was gradually dying as the sky lightened. By 8:00am we were dead in the water. When I tuned into the Pan Pacific Net I found myself trying to piece together a story of SV Evenstar, which was taking on water off of Punta Mala. They had salvaged one battery to run their radio. All was well on board (considering the crappy circumstances) and the captain had already been in contact with the US and Panamanian Coast Guard. Very rarely is there emergency or priority traffic on the Net. I didn't need any more reasons to fear Punta Mala.
During my shift the wind vacillated between a light SE breeze and dead calm. Dead calm is hard for me to deal with...especially in this heat. I strung up the shade cloth we inherited from SV Chrysalis and did my best to try to keep cool. Lethargy set in at around 10:00am and I spent the duration of my shift like Tack, sprawled out in a semi-vegetative state.
Jeff was up by 2:00pm. During his 7 hours of sleep we only gained about 16 miles and our indoor temperature increased by 12 degrees. The rest of the afternoon was peppered with light SE winds, resulting in slow progress. Outside of Bahia Honda we experienced a tidal rip similar to the one we had experienced there before. The wind died in the middle of the rip and Jeff turned on the motor.
Eventually an E wind picked up between 10-13 knots - blowing in exactly the direction we wanted to go, naturally. We killed the motor and put the sails back up. The seas were all over the place, confused and choppy. Jeff and I were both just bundles of positive energy. Ha.
About 7 miles from our destination, after making minimal forward progress against the headwind under sail, we turned the motor back on and finished our sloppy ride to Santa Catalina. With no moon we had a difficult time scoping the anchorage, and apparently nobody here believes in masthead lights so we didn't see the other sailboats until we were basically on top of them. We anchored outside of the pack and I set to work making some comfort food - grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner at 12:30am. Livin' the life.