Fri-Sun, Aug 15-17th - Final Boat Chores before Perlas Islands

Throughout this whole confusing time, we were still trying to prioritize getting the boat ready to go to the Perlas Islands. As much fun as we had had, it was still intense to be back in a City. We felt compelled to "do" something every single day, even if it was to "have fun", but mostly we ended up working hard on the boat. We felt slightly more than sluggish when we got up Friday morning, and so spent most of the day talking strategy, feelings, and reliving the previous night's party.

On Saturday morning I got up early, determined to change the oil (top and bottom) in the outboard motor and replace the zinc and propeller. The propeller had been slipping and I didn't want to wait for it to fail in a deserted anchorage before fixing it. To do so I first had to rig a milk crate as a motor mount in the cockpit. Can't work on the outboard when it's on its storage bracket dangling over the water! It was straightforward work, but it didn't help when the weather went downhill. I had already started the oil changes when it started raining really hard in the anchorage. And worse yet, as I looked up and my newly waterproofed Bimini and Dodger, I could see that they were leaking! I mean, in places that had NOT leaked before I sprayed them with the waterproofing, it was NOW leaking!

For what it's worth, I had used two kinds of waterproofing, one called 3M 303 Fabric Guard and another from a company called Starbright. I would have guessed they were about the same stuff as I quickly scanned the ingredients. But in practice all of the areas I had sprayed with the Starbright were leaking anew. And none of the places I used the 3M were leaking. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Anyway, that dripping fabric really bothered me. As I finished the oil changes and took the old prop off and replaced it, I was wondering to myself where it would end. It seems sometimes like every day we get one thing done and two things break. As it turns out, the waterproofing was not that big of a deal, but at the time it really bothered me. I took the dinghy out for a spin and it worked great, so I dropped by GALLIVANT and chatted with Bruce for a while.

Later, we went over to GALLIVANT and had (many) cocktails with Bruce and Marianne, as well as Gene and Dan and, for awhile, Erin. We philosophized for several hours that night about cruising, specifically, when is it time to go? The general consensus was that you go when you're ready and stay when you're not. Everybody cruising goes a little crazy with the decision to stay or go. It's just not easy.

In the end, back on RHAPSODY late that Saturday night, we I decided that we would leave as soon as possible. Inasmuch as it was already late, and we wanted to leave early in the morning, we decided to stay in P.C. one more day and leave the following day, on Monday morning.

On Sunday I made one last futile attempt to take a cab and find some more of the 3M brand waterproofing, but of course nothing was open, so it was a wasted hour of taxi/city time. We checked our email at Bennigan's, I uploaded the previous webpages, and we made one last check of the weather before heading back out to RHAPSODY.

Back on the boat, we did the dinghy drill for the first time in 3 weeks, putting the dinghy on deck. The dinghy was really dirty from sitting in the city's warm salt water for so long. We took turns scraping the barnacles and washing the crud off the bottom. When it was done, we tied it down and put the oars, fuel tanks, and so on, away. We found a few more small chores to do before cooking dinner on the boat that night. I consulted the charts and books, and then finally, after dinner, we talked and decided specifically where we would be going. We chose Isla Pedro Gonzales, one of the larger islands in the Perlas Chain, because of it seemed to be one of the best protected anchorages in the islands from the prevailing southern swell.

We set the alarm clock Sunday night for 5:25 am Monday morning, planning for a 6:00 am departure from Panama City. After cleaning up and reading in bed for a while, we went to sleep, perhaps just a little bit excited at the prospect of new places, that, finally and once again, we were going to get to visit.