After three months in Panama we knew our way round, understood the bus system and knew which islands had the best Internet in which bay. It was definitely time to leave. Our start was delayed by serious stomach bugs and then we had to clear out with the harbour captain and a clown wearing an immigration uniform and a straw hat, but finally we got away.
The wind was against us but we can sail up wind. What hindered our sailing was a police boat that intercepted us and gesticulated that we were to strike all sails and motor across the Canal entry channel. We were no faster with the motor and the nearest ship was far away so it made no sense but we complied until we reached the other side. A little later the wind died completely and we had to once again use the motor to stop us drifting on to the rocks of Isla Uraba.
By lunchtime Heidi had the boat clean and tidy, the fresh baked bread was finished and delicious and the home made yogurt was cooling. The first fresh water had been produced and everything was stowed to stop any rattling. We were lieing in the cockpit waiting for the wind. We read of people who take a few days to get in to passage making mode. It takes us a few hours.
In the evening we tried a new recipe. There was lots of cutting for Neill and lots of “magic” to be done by Heidi so it was a team event to create “downwind potatoes” – another delicious item for the menu at Restaurant Artemis.
During the first night we crossed a busy shipping lane. There were huge dark shadows passing in both directions in the moonlight, their presence signalled by navigation lights. We sailed between them feeling like a hedgehog crossing the motorway. The next day we were eating lunch when we spotted a Chinese freighter heading straight for us. A quick “panic jibe” and we watched him slide past rather than over us.
Either on the second or third day – no idea, at sea we are timeless – we were sailing downwind heading south. It was a sunny warm afternoon. All the days jobs were finished and Heidi was asleep in the cockpit preparing for the night shift. Suddenly, without any warning, an extra large wave dumped a ton of water over the stern. It drenched Heidi and knocked her to the floor (and thus in to the water) and then continued on through the companionway to soak galley, cooker, cupboards, battery boxes and everything in wet, sticky, salty water. First we cleaned the boat and then the Heidi.
Life is never boring at sea!