|Matthew in front of Matthewtown.|
We launched the dingy and had to time boarding it with the swell. We ran out of dinghy fuel back while exploring the reef (I told Jared we should have filled up back in Georgetown), so we ended up having to row ashore this time. It was slow going, as we fought the huge swell passing abeam to us. Eventually, we landed ashore without taking on any water. After pulling Hermes up the beach and making sure all was secure, we set off to complete our list of errands. Stef and Zach walked the mile to the customs and immigration offices (they are no longer located at the Government docks. Instead you have to walk about another half mile to a warehouse building. Thankfully, it is clearly labeled Customs and Immigration). Jared completed the grocery shopping and getting fuel for Hermes.
A couple of hours later, we were back ready to launch into the building surf. 2 years of cruising and we've never had a mishap. Our luck ran out this time. This beach had a reef running the entire length of the beach out to sea. It is super shallow, so we couldn't get in until we were into deeper water.
As we were trying to launch, a huge wave overtook us and we were thrown back onto the reef bordering the beach. The dinghy was filled to overflowing, groceries floating about, and some shoes and things washing ashore. We sorted things out and tried again, with success. It was a nerve-wracking time and we swore we'd never try to go ashore in high surf again. This was just too dangerous.
Once back on board Roundabout, we put away our groceries (thankfully, no salt water damage, even the bread!). We thoroughly rinsed everything in fresh water, including the starter battery box. After drying everything, we were ready to take off.
We hauled anchor around 5pm and sailed off into the sunset towards Panama.
It took us about 5 days to arrive. Unfortunately, we arrived in the dark, which is never ideal. As this is a busy area, we figured the charts would be pretty accurate. They were and we followed in the lighted buoys and our chart to the anchorage just outside of the marina. We did not want to enter Shelter Bay marina in the dark.
The next morning, we pulled in and docked at the haul-out area, as we prepare to haul out to do some boat jobs. We are going to strip the entire bottom and apply fresh barrier epoxy and antifouling paint.
We are also going to change the seals and oil in our saildrives (we did the engines and generator oil/service recently). We hope to splash within a week or so, as we prepare to transit the canal on the 17th.
More of our adventures in Panama coming up in the next few posts. =)