44 nm back to Panama City and the Balboa Yacht Club - Summary of Pacific Panama

After 5 nights at Isla Contadora(making 27 days in the Perlas Islands),it was time to head back to Panama City. We made the 44 nm passage in about 7 hours, having to swerve out of our way to avoid a few thunderstorms on the way back. We pulled into the Balboa Yacht Club, located Canal-side, and took a mooring, at about 4:00 pm Saturday, September 13th.

Officially, this ends Part 4 of our Journey, as our time cruising Pacific Panama is over. From here we'll prepare to Transit the Panama Canal, go home and visit the U.S.A. for a little bit, and begin cruising the Caribbean side of Panama, including the San Blas Islands and Boca Del Toro, which we're looking forward to. Below you'll find a table with some statistics summing up our trip so far.

When we originally made our plans back in San Diego, we looked to our time in Panama with some trepidation. All we knew back then was that, for safety's sake, we had to be down "here" below 10*N by hurricane season and stay here six months. We had heard that we would be in Panama during rainy season, which we were not looking forward to, and we imagined how hot and humid Panama would be during the months of July, August, and September. I imagined getting tons of mosquito bites, and the trip thru Mexico and Central America thus far hadn't changed my mind about that. So overall our expectations were pretty low when we left Costa Rica and made our way to Panama almost 3 months ago.

Perhaps that's part of the reason we've been so pleased with our time here. It has turned out to be the nicest place we've ever cruised. Not only have the mosquitos been manageable (I haven't had a mosquito bite in over two months), but the rainy season, although wet, has proven to be more of a pleasure than a pain. Instead of the sweltering heat that we experienced in Southern Mexico heading into summer, as we've gotten down to Panama the temperatures and humidity have actually lessened a little.

I guess it could be because during the summer the sun moves up to 23 degrees north, and here we are below that at 8 degrees. For whatever reason, we have found the weather here in Pacific Panama to be quite nice. It rarely varies much from 83 degrees Farenheit, cooling a little when it rains, getting a little hotter when it doesn't. It has only rained a few minutes in the last week, and never did it rain for more than a day or two in a row. I would say overall that we have seen rain, on the average, of about 2-3 hours every 2-3 days. Not bad.

And we were not at all prepared for how nice a cruising ground this is. Most people don't know that Panama has nearly 300 islands, and Pacific Panama is filled with lots of interesting places to visit. Often we have not had to move more than 5-10 miles to go from one really neat anchorage to another. We have seen more white sandy beaches, beautiful clear water, and calm places to stay overnight here than in any other part of our journey so far. Not to mention that we've caught more fish here, had better snorkeling conditions here, and that the people of Panama have generally been very friendly and affable to us.

So, it is with some sadness that we leave these islands, the Pacific Ocean we have grown to know so well, and simultaneously, say goodbye to so many of our friends. Many have already gone thru the Canal, bound for Cartenega or elsewhere. Other friends will be staying here for a while before crossing the Pacific to Polynesia. Still others have had to end their cruising lives and return to the United States or Canada. We will miss them dearly.

Nonetheless, we have had a great time here. From our first visions of Paradise at Isla Parida/Gamez, meeting Bill and Arianna and Max and Vittoria at Ventana, and having our 4th of July celebration with WAHOO, KETCHING UP, and DELFIN SOLO, we have found Pacific Panama to be a special and magical place and have made many good friends here. Then travelling as a team with said boats, adding SPIRIT, and PIPE DREAM around Punta Mala, including helping KU work their way thru their broken propeller shaft saga, hooking up with JENNY, GALLIVANT, and CARAVAN again and partying down in Panama City, has cemented some of those friendships and times in place. Finally, getting to visit some of the many beautiful and remote places in the Perlas Islands, together with new friends WINDSONG, AQUASTRIAN, R DREAMZ, and LAUREN GRACE, has topped off our time here like icing on a cake.

Like I said to start, we're going to take a few weeks here in Panama City getting ready to go through the Panama Canal. I probably won't post webpages again for a while. But when we finally go through and get to the other side, I know we'll have more new, great adventures. But whatever else happens, we will always remember fondly the time we've spent in Pacific Panama on our RHAPSODY to Central America.

Memories of Pacific Panama
StatisticsPanamaTotal Trip so far
Miles Travelled on RHAPSODY4514225
Miles Sailed15 or 3%965 or 23%
Miles Motoring or Motor Sailing436 or 97%3261 or 77%
Hours Underway105 or 4.5 days584 or 24.3 days
Number of Places We Stayed Overnight91320
Nights at Sea016
Nights at Anchor 91215
Nights on Moorings034
Nights in Marinas065
Add'l Nights in Hotels05
Gallons of Fuel Usedapprox 250approx 865
Generator Hours165513
Gallons of Water Producedapprox 1200approx 3600
Watermaker Hoursapprox 150approx 450
Gallons of Water Capturedapprox 300approx 300
Dinghy Hours and Miles50 hrs, 90 milesapprox 150 hrs, 275 miles
MPG (not counting sailing)*approx 6.3 mpg
MPG (adjusted for sailing)approx 7.0 mpg
Number of Oil Changes (Motor + Gen)927
Number of Fish Caught8, approx 90 lbs20, approx 200 lbs
Beers Consumedapprox 684approx 1800
Wine Consumedapprox 12 litresapprox 40 litres
Tequila Consumedapprox 3 litres approx 15 litres
Rum Consumedapprox 6 litersapprox 12 liters
Longest StayPanama City, 23 daysMarina Chahue, 25 days
Number of New FriendsMany, Many
Number of Great ExperiencesInnumerable