‘The Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea didn’t look much different to the Pacific, both oceans are a relentless mass of heaving water that has no emotional attachment or care for an insignifIcant sailing yacht, especially one trying to make its way fighting with the wind. In a strange way, now that we’d transited through the canal, we expected something different from the ocean – perhaps a more benevolent attitude or even a friendly gesture by allowing us an easy passage to Bocas Del Torro. No, what we got was a hard overnight slog, driven back by a fierce three-knot current flowing against nearly twenty-five knots of breeze – the kind of wind against current that mariners fear with good reason, one that creates a maelstrom sea deliberately thrown upon us to kick our backsides big time. ‘Welcome to the Atlantic,’ I thought to myself with grim foreboding…’
Dave – 2021
This blog describes both our transit of the Panama Canal and the trauma of returning to Sänna in Vista Mar after eighteen months of the covid pandemic. Our trials and tribulations were emotional and sometimes heartbreaking… though we somehow triumphed against the strangeness of the odds thrown against us…
October the 12th finally brought a COVID update from the president of Panama.
Land and air borders are now open, meaning that air travel into Panama is now possible though military and police enforced curfews are still in place. Security forces ensure that government imposed restrictions are strictly adhered to with the curfew hours of 11pm to 5am Monday to Saturday maintained. From 11pm on Saturday to 5am on Monday a full lockdown is in place, meaning that no one is allowed from their home for any purpose or travel. In Panama City, the volatile eastern provinces bordering Columbia, the Caribbean-side provinces of Colon, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro are each under stricter curfews – from 11pm Friday until 5am Monday it is almost a total weekend lockdown. The president fears lack of social distancing and increasing civil unrest will spread the virus in these higher risk locations.
Of course, this differs greatly from the new virus restrictions in the United Kingdom. So how does this leave us with Sänna still tied up in Vista Mar?
‘Right now, just like everyone else on this virus-ridden planet, we don’t know what is gonna happen. When we set out back in January from Marina Papagayo in the north of Costa Rica for the Panama Canal, everything was fine – the world then had not gone mad. Even when we sailed across Costa Rica’s southern border into Boca Chica there were few signs that in just a short while our whole adventure would tumble into this mind-blowing crisis. Only the Lord knows how this murderous Chinese bat virus is gonna change the insane world we now live in…’
Anchored in Golfito, in the south of Costa Rica, we were fine. We’d heard the virus was bad in other countries, but these places were around the other side of the world. In the two countries we were in touch with, the UK and the US, there seemed to be no panic or even any form of preparation, so we didn’t think there was much to worry about.
Then, over the next two weeks, everything went from bad to worse, then deteriorated even further – before the whole world then tumbled over a cliff…