I eventually got away from Shelter Bay on 6th Jan, winds14-16 knots just right for a shake down sail and seas outside the breakwater after playing dodge the shipping, not too bad. However it took a long time to make Portobello, against wind and current with a few tacks thrown in, about 8 hours for 29 logged miles when the nominal distance is just less than 20. The clearwater buoy marking the entrance to the bay had disappeared since June, probably a victim of Otto and in the bay there were several wrecked boats, Otto being the late season hurricane that had hit the coast further north, the latest and furthest south hurricane ever recorded.
Another teething problem surfaced, this a hole in the heads outlet pipe spraying out dirty water! Though how a hole had suddenly appeared in a 4mm thick reinforced pvc pipe beats me. Shortening the pipe by cutting of the end fixed it but what a struggle to get the pipe back on – took about 3 hours!
Next day the strong winds returned, that have been an almost constant feature since arriving back in Panama. Unless these ease i will not have much chance of making San Blas. After a few days in Portobello I headed of for Isla Linton, just 8 miles away but by the time I arrived logged distance was 19 miles and time taken 5 hours. So much for beating into strong winds and big seas. The entrance was spectacular between surf on the reef on one hand and crashing waves on the rocks on the other hand.
In the morning I dinghied across to the island, didn’t make much progress into the jungle though. Returning towards the beach I was just sheltering from a rain shower under a Palm tree turned around and there were 2 monkeys sitting behind me not 2 feet away. They walked with me back to the beach, I was amazed at how upright they walked. One grabbed me around the legs, I was just a bit wary as had been warned they sometimes bite and one was obviously thinking of some monkey business.
Whilst at anchor here the weather continued unsettled, always strong winds, some heavy rain squalls and one knew the waves outside would be big.