Day 132, Year 1: Ready to Leave Panama
Date: Sunday, February 26, 2006
Air Temperature: 83 degrees F daytime, 76 degrees F nighttime
Water Temperature: 67 degrees F—Still Cool
Location: Balboa Yacht Club, Balboa, Panama

Today in a nutshell-Chico arrives at 0900 to clean the waterline of the boat while Mark polishes stainless on deck and Judy starts a laundry cycle, listens to the Panama Pacific net for weather information, and reviews e-mails received this week; 1030 Judy heads into the Balboa Yacht Club Bar to send e-mails and make phone calls via Skype; 1300 we meet Patrick and Margaret from Aqua Magic for lunch at the Balboa Yacht Club Bar; 1400 Patrick, Margaret, Mark, and I hail a taxi to take us to the Miraflores Lock Panama Canal Visitor Center; 1530 we return to the Yacht Club to drop off Patrick and Margaret, and Mark and I continue with the taxi driver to what is known as “old town” in Panama City to take pictures; 1630 Mark and I return to the Balboa Yacht Club and take the launch out to Windbird; 1700 Judy does the rinse and hang cycle of a laundry begun in the AM; 1750 Mark and I head back into the Yacht Club Bar via launch to send e-mails, search for needed supplies online, and to try and call family on the computer via Skype. We ended up staying at the bar until 1930. While e-mailing, searching the web, and calling family, we talked with other cruisers, danced, and had dinner. What more can you ask for?

In order to use Skype on the computer to make free calls to family, we have to sit on the curb just outside the restaurant/bar on shore. It’s great. We had beer and appetizers delivered curbside, and then when we finished the phone calls, we went back and sat at a table in the bar/restaurant and enjoyed the “live” Sunday night DJ. He was obviously from the US and played 60’s music while all of us danced and had a great time. From here on, I don’t think we will have this sort of gathering area for cruisers, but I’m sure we will find ways to meet on the beach and make our own music and food. I can’t wait, but I will miss the fun times we have had with other cruisers in the yacht clubs and bars along the way. I hope we will be able to recreate the fantastic atmosphere in the South Pacific.

The Panama Canal Visitor’s Center was interesting, but I kept thinking that “I’ve been here and done this.” The history of Canal building was interesting and the interactive displays of transiting were well done. But since se had just done this, much of the Visitor Center display was a repeat of what we have just done while transiting. I’m still glad we went as we were able to learn much about the history of building the Canal. After completing the tour and dropping Patrick and Margaret off at the marina, we had Oscar, our taxi driver to take to us to the old part of town to take pictures.

Before I knew it we were back on Windbird and I finished the laundry begun this morning. We then hailed a launch and went back to shore to talk with other cruisers and complete our e-mails and calls. We ended up having dinner and enjoying the music and dancing.

Tomorrow is the day to go to the fresh fruit and veggie market and to go to food markets for the last time. By the end of the day, we should be provisioned from here to the Galapagos for fresh food and from here to Tahiti for everything else. If all goes as planned, we will be leaving here on Tuesday morning.

060226 Day 132 Panama Canal Visitor Center
Day 133, Year 1: Slight Delay in Plans
Day 131, Year 1: Carnival in Panama City