The best laid plans…

Flexible- able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances:

-(of a person) ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances

Oxford English Dictionary- Kindle addition

and so flexible we must be! We’ve arrived in Panama, (foregoing the San Blas Islands for the time being after learning that due to a shortage of ‘advisors’- (a person that takes you through the canal), there is an approximate 27 day delay on transit time once you get your approximate date of passage-you’ve got to be measured first and jump through a few other hoops before this happens). We’re using the services of an agent, in the hope of, and with a fair degree of optimistic positivity that we might get through a bit faster… and we still might. Time will tell. Mind you, the agent was supposed to arrive yesterday at 3pm and showed up at 6pm and the measurer who was coming between 9.30 am and 1.30 pm didn’t show up at all- the agent let us know at 2.30pm. Flexible- that’s the key!

Our previous ‘plan’ saw us in Tahiti by June, Mike flying out from there back to Bermuda to compete in a regatta. We’d be arriving in Tahiti AFTER having visited the Galapagos and the Marquesas. Considering that the trip across the Pacific is another THREE WEEK PASSAGE!!!!, it was always ambitious- now that plan is impossible. Why the rush? Well, it’s all driven by the dream of getting into the Pacific. Get there, then slow down and enjoy it. Sounds crackers, even to me. There are so many variables that need to line up and anything can happen along the way…The trip to the supermarket for example, read more below, oh and Lilly saw a crocodile in the marina today! I should just clarify that you don’t swim in the marina- she was in the pool at the time.

So hopefully we’ll see more of Panama.

I mentioned the trip to the supermarket… The marina provides a free shuttle bus- think Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone-

“Is this the bus to Cartegena?”

“Que”,

“I need to get to Cartegena”

“Que”

“Is this the bus to CartegeEEENNNAHHHHH!

Well not quite but I had a good chuckle a few times along the way. The trip can take and generally does take up to an hour. You have to drive through the jungle, (we saw monkeys run across the road), the bus then gets on a ferry across the entrance to the canal, (we sat behind a truck with some cows and several hands of bananas- sometimes you have to wait for a ship to enter or exit, once on the other side, you might get stopped by the cargo train loaded with shipping containers, (once or twice) and then on arrival to the shopping mall, you’ve got about 45 minutes to get into the supermarket and back out to the bus before the driver leaves, at exactly 14.45 to head back to the marina! Now I don’t know about you, but foreign supermarkets are a place of wonder! The first visit involves a lot of, ‘Hmmm I wonder where so and so is, or I wonder if they have x, y or z. 45 minutes is simply not enough time to wonder about much. So, yesterday, (yep I went yesterday and the day before) Seb and I caught a cab back instead- time for flexibility and wonder!!!!

DSCF1728
watching a ship come through the canal on the ferry to the supermarket

The measurer showed up yesterday and in a few days, we’ll have an approximate transit date- so new plans are being formulated, including going back to the San Blas Islands for a few days, today- F.L.E.X.I.B.L.E!

The trip across from St. Martin was quite good- we left on a Tuesday night and arrived the following Tuesday morning- 6 days 7 nights. A few times along the way I may have pondered the fact that we’ll soon be doing it all again but times 3!!!! The boat rolls and rolls and while I’m still trying to be one with the boat… some days it drives me nuts.

Meals were generally better received than during the Atlantic crossing. We didn’t have the routine debrief after every meal, discussing how ‘WE’ could spice it up or pad it out or improve it in some way. There was a bit more of that wonderful line from The Castle- “What do you call this love.”

Murray, (the person I mentioned last post) is a wonderful asset to the boat. His easy manner, good humour and wealth of sailing knowledge make him an absolute delight to have with us. We’ve given him a few opportunities to change his mind,        (you sure Muzz) but he seems happy to stay with us for awhile.

The highlight was Seb’s stitches removal day! No shortage of dramatic entertainment on the mighty Slice of Life! He was very brave I have to say and very interested to see his new scar.

As in keeping with the theme of this post, the auto-pilot decided to stop working on the Monday night so it was hand steering for the next 36+ hours. The conditions were very pleasant and we generally rotated every 1.5 hours. We had an incredible moon the entire way, making me feel like it was daytime. Seeing the moon still up and the sun rising was pretty special. We had a few dolphins join us for short periods and lots and lots of flying fish. One morning we found 18 on the deck- their plans certainly changed that evening and sadly they can’t be too flexible once out of the water!

I’ll leave it there for now- we hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. As always we are thinking of our friends and family across the seas.

Slice of Life standing by!

One thought on “The best laid plans…

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