Conditions yesterday started off well as we sailed north. Winds increased over the day, again right on the nose so we tacked all day. The past two days have been uncomfortable sailing and we're tired. We were pleased to drop the anchor at Isla Contadora in Las Perlas just as the sun was setting.
Knowing that the winds were forecast to drop during today, we made an early start this morning and have sailed well with a more comfortable angle on the wind than the past 2 days. At 3:30PM Panama City is in our sights, the sea is now glass and the wind just a whisper. We are crawling our way to the anchorage outside Flamenco Marina.
At this stage we still don't have confirmation of a haul out date despite best efforts by friends on our behalf. While Panama has a huge number of sports fishing boats and businesses, our experience has been that facilities and spare parts for sail boats are very limited. Despite going all over town last time, we had no success buying a common diesel pump impeller. Sure, expertise exits but they just don't carry the brands common to sailboats. Some sailors find it easier to fly home to the States to get the parts they need. We can't predict how long the repairs we need will take. The max prop is damaged, prop shaft appears to be bent, autopilot not working and we will see the condition of the rudder when we haul out.
Having seen the AIS signal, we've been able to make contact by radio with friends on Spectra and Jackster. They've literally just now anchored off Flamenco after completing their transit of the Panama Canal. Inspiration Lady is there too and Emily Grace is moored at Balboa YC. It's good to know friends are standing by in case we need their help to get in.
As I write, the wind and seas have picked up again, on the nose, from the north west 25 knots and gusting to 30. We've sailed (and involuntarily drifted) plenty of miles over this body of water, the Gulf of Panama. The trip odometer on our return to Panama City from Bahia Pinas shows almost 200 miles. Almost there, but not quite, we're hoping to be anchored by nightfall and looking forward to reunions with cruising mates. For now, we're tacking our way back.