Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Blog Post 21 by Jon Sanders: I am on my way to Tahiti

I am on my way to Tahiti

Panama is in The Doldrums – weather wise that is.

Seems to be going well otherwise. (As long as you don’t stroll into the wrong localities).

On departure there was no wind, none at all. Flat calm. Calm as calm.

Lots of flotsam and jetsam in the water (to bang into).

My engine is a Yanmar 4JH4AE – does that make sense?  Nup, me neither.

In other words, 50hp (at 3000 RPM). When asked I usually say 40hp. More reliable. More than adequate.  Installed 2008 (9 years back) by Neil Rock. (Hi Neil).

Now June 2017 it has chalked up 5460 hrs. It has never missed a beat. Starts instantly and never stops. Excepts when one pushes the stop button, of course.

I have had an air leak in the new in-line fuel filter; I couldn’t fix it. Took it off. Connected fuel line to each other and rely only on the fuel filter attached to the engine. Yanmar has two sizes fuel filter that fit. I use the large size.

All my refuelling is done by jerry cans (‘Jerry jugs’ BJ Caldwell calls them), I can then see if there is any dirt. (Never refuel from the fueling barge at Benoa Marina Bali. That nonsense has been going on for years).

I stick to service per manual, i.e.: Oil change and new oil filter every 250hrs, clean exhaust mixing elbow every 250hrs, go in neutral from slow to flat out 5 times in succession before turning the engine off, etc., etc. per manual.

The Panama Canal is an engine reliability canal, trust me.

Panama City, towns, roads, rivers, and canal are all built inside a rain forest – some debris ends up in the Gulf of Panama. Every several years Perie Banou II and Jon Sanders likewise. With the Yanma churning at 1500 RPM, I do 6 knots in a flat sea. Change course a little here, a little there to avoid city-made litter, or a sodden tree trunk, or foliage monkeys once climbed.

Into the night. I can’t see nothing! On and on…

What did I bang into?

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I was due to depart [for the Canal] Monday. Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday

Blog Post 20 by Jon Sanders: Navigating The Panama Canal

As you are probably aware, I was due to depart, on Perie Banou 2, Shelter Bay Marina, Colon – Atlantic end of the canal – Monday 22nd May 2017.  Well, I didn’t, I went Tuesday.

Why? I don’t know. You get that. It was the same with two other yachts. All three yachts did the transit Tuesday.

The other yachts were a French-owned Lagoon 50 (ft) catamaran and a New Zealand owned Royal New Zealand Yacht Club 44.5 Beneteau. RNZYC is on North Island.

Paul Stratfold and his partner of eight years, Shiralee Fitzgerald, flew in from St Maarten Caribbean to manage and do the transit with me.

In Paul’s baggage were two oil filters and two fuel filters for Perie Banou’s 50hp Yanmar engine.

Paul did not declare them. Bad boy. (He is a good bloke – but then again I ain’t a Panamanian)

He got arrested! True

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Colon - Panama Canal

I am still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon, but not for long

Blog Post 19 by Jon Sanders: Panama Canal, but not for long.

I am still at Shelter Bay Marina Colon, the Atlantic end of the Panama Canal, but not for long.

PB2 tyre fenders – ready for the locks

Shelter Bay is the natural meeting place of lots cruising yachts. Their tall masts and rows and rows of furling headsails. Mostly American and European. They are a friendly bunch.

They wait, they wait and wait for their slot to transit Panama.

There is plenty of space to pass through. It is the limited number of advisors (obligatory on board), i.e.: pilots, that holds things up. In fact, it is obligatory to have a minimum of six on board.

The Skipper, called Captain in Panama; the Advisor (Pilot); and four Linesmen, to pay out and haul in the four dedicated long ropes provided by the linesmen or agent. The Linesmen can be your own crew, and it’s probably a good idea to have one or two professional Linesmen.

The locks are intended for ships. The big ships. The water comes in and out quickly with turbulence.

Rick, my Linesman – did I write “my”, more likely Paul’s Linesman – advised me

our transit is on next Monday, 22nd May ‘17

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Colon Panama

PERIE BANOU is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina, Colon

Blog Post 18 by Jon Sanders: Shelter Bay Marina, Colon

The city of Colon Panama is on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.

Colon remains, as with previous years, a dangerous city. But it is much cleaner and getting safer.

PERIE BANOU is tied to the relatively new Shelter Bay Marina, Colon. Good Marina, with services, some modest.

Balboa is the port for Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. The other end of the Canal.

If one looked at a map or chart of all of the Americas, (north, middle and south), and one wanted to cross the Atlantic to the Pacific one would be going east to west.

Did I get that right?

So, to go thru the Panama Canal, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, one would go west to east.

Did I get that right?

Yes. Correct!

How come?

The canal actually runs north to south, with Colon on the Atlantic side “west” of Balboa on the Pacific. Thought you needed to know that.

This will be my 7th transit of the Panama Canal

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Bight Bay, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

Motored to Bight Bay, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands.

Blog Post 17 by Jon Sanders: I am back on the high seas

Left Nanny Cay Marina using the engine, motored to Bight Bay, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands.

In quiet weather, sailing, motor sailing, or motor boating, I can clip the tiller on quick and easy. Then clip the Simrad electronic tiller pilot. Then I steer electronically.

Just motored to the west end of Norman Island, The Bight. Electronic tiller pilot steering.

On Norman Island there are a lot of buoys for overnight hiring that are free during the day.

Because it is tropical, it’s hot getting the boat ready, plus I had to go to town to do clearance.

Me thinks I will grab a buoy for the night

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Perie Banou 2

I’m still here, parked a day or two at Cane Garden Bay BVI

Blog Post 16 by Jon Sanders: Road Town, BVI

Jon Perie Banou and the British Virgin Islands (BVI’s).

I’m still here, parked a day or two at Cane Garden Bay, BVI. Wonderful Bay, nice beach restaurants and bars. Cane Garden Bay is on the main island, Tortola.

Road Town, the capital of British Virgin Islands, is on the other side of the Island. To get from Cane Garden to Road Town (by taxi) is over hills:  big hills, with much vegetation; steep winding road – ears pop as one nears the top. More than 1000 ft up. (Near 1337 ft). Divide that by 3.3, and you have meters if you must.

The view is fabulous! Not just of the bay or Road Town, but of islands and islands in a vast blue sea:  BVIs and the overlapping US Virgin Islands. Just terrific!

From Puerto Rico (US) in the west, US VI’s, & BVI’s in the east are the Leeward Islands.

Like any other day, monitored by The United States Coast Guard (USCG), Puerto Rico, on emergency channel VHF 16, give warnings and alerts.

“Viz. Securitay, Securitay Securitay” (important warning)

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Cane Garden Bay

I am on the yacht and back ‘on air’ with the Iridium

Blog Post 15 by Jon Sanders: British Virgin Islands – Cane Garden Bay

I am on the yacht and back ‘on air’ with the Iridium.

My friend Paul Stratfold, with his partner Shiralee, plus the owner of the vessel he is captaining and his friend (another Paul from Hawaii), are on board the specially constructed 60 ft catamaran named Gizmo. Carbon fibre hull, carbon fibre mast, carbon fibre rigging, carbon fibre sails. There are no turnbuckles with the rigging holding the mast up, just Dyneema Lashing’s

They came from the French/Dutch island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, 80 Nautical Miles east of the British Virgin Islands.

Because of me, I think…

Paul can fix things. Gosh, the last thing on the planet I would say to Paul Stratfold, “Stop fixing things!”

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Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands

Ashore at Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands.

Blog Post 14 by Jon Sanders: British Virgin Islands

Sorry everybody, for the lack of communication. I somehow mucked up the Wi-Fi on this yacht. You get that. Do so!

I am now at a restaurant ashore at Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands.

32 days back, I departed the British Island of Saint Helena – clearing port, customs and immigration were simple. Easy for like me anyway.

A lot of yachts check into Saint Helena; some are circumnavigating.

Few or fewer yachts are going via Suez Canal, because of Somali Pirates (ransom) – my Visa Card is a bit useless to them. Also, ships (and yachts) must pass within a few miles, even less, of Yemen Islands and the mainland where there is Civil War; so more ships now go around the Cape of Good Hope.

But back to St Helena – British. The perimeter of Saint Helena Island is cliffs Read More

Jamestown, St. Helena

I have anchored off Jamestown, Saint Helena. A good place to be

Blog Post 13 by Jon Sanders: Jamestown

Well, I have anchored off Jamestown, Saint Helena. A good place to be. So it is.

Tied to a visiting yacht mooring; they are yellow or red. Red £2 per day under 40 tonnes. £3 for over 40, that’s not me – 9 tonnes. There are 23 buoys.

I made the usual approach calls on channel 16 to Saint Helena (Maritime) Radio; all easily done. Especially as Kelly Scott, PR at Royal Perth Yacht Club, had already advised the Port Control. Just like she would.

I have email and SMS on the yacht via Iridium.

I will, one day, stick up a hotel style sticker “this is a WI-FI zone”. Because it is

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JS on PB2 Blog 12

Fishing boats, quiet progress, and almost at James Town, British Island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic

Blog Post 12 by Jon Sanders: gentle heel of the yacht and quiet progress

I am on the ocean as I type. By the time you read this blog I should be tied to a mooring Jamestown, British Island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic.

Since last writing, the weather has been mild, with the wind behind, pushing me.

My mainsail – always one reef and wee jib. Progress good and comfortable.

One can get squalls, often more to the west than where I am.

Night time squalls, however

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