Day 129, Year 1: More Provisioning
Date: Thursday, February 23, 2006
Weather: Still Sunny and Warm
Location: Balboa Yacht Club, Balboa, Panama

What a busy day in the life. As always, we get up and listen to the radio nets. At 8 AM here there is local net on the VHF radio where you hear the news of boats in the immediate area. Then at 9 AM we catch the Pacific net where boats heading into the South Pacific check in. I think there are at least 15 boats headed to the Galapagos at about the same time as we are, and those same boats will be crossing to the Marquesas at about the same time as us as well. It is very comforting to get to know personally the folks that will be out there with us and to know that there are organized radio networks to keep us in touch.

The early part of the day was spent onboard doing laundry (Judy) and finishing the sun covers for our cockpit (Mark). We then headed into Balboa with Margaret and Patrick from Aqua Magic to get money for our Pacific crossing and to buy a new USA flag. We will now be able to fly the red, white, and blue, instead of the red, pink, and blue with holes. We have learned that it is very difficult to get change in the Galapagos, so better to go with small denominations of US dollars. That is what we got at the bank. We have also learned that you can use only Master Card in the Galapagos at ATM machines. Bummer. Our cards are Visa, so that is why we needed to make sure we had plenty of cash. Evidently you can spend the better part of a day waiting in line at a bank there to get needed cash.

Once we completed our errands in Balboa, we headed into the Cinco de Mayo Plaza. Margaret and Patrick needed Sunbrella from the fabric store where Mark and I purchased the Texalina for our sun covers. We went there and then headed to the 5-story department store that Barbara from Octagon introduced us to yesterday. Floor 1 is groceries, Floor 2 is the pharmacy, Floor 3 is the school supply store, Floor 4 is home furnishings, and Floor 5 is the hardware store. This really is a one stop shop, and we were able to get many of the items on our lists. We returned to the Balboa Yacht Club and had Patrick and Margaret over for dinner.

We have received word from the French Embassy that our French Polynesia visas are ready for pick-up, so that will be our first stop tomorrow. We will pick those up and then check out of Panama. Tomorrow at 3 PM is our last chance to do this until next Thursday because of Carnival. Everything closes, so by checking out tomorrow we legitimately can stay here until Sunday and probably longer. We will then continue shopping for needed items in various parts of the city.

On Saturday we might head inland to a small village that has the reputation of hosting a fantastic Carnival celebration. More about that tomorrow.