Passage from Panama City to Golfito, Costa Rica

The nice, smooth ride lasted until around noon yesterday. Then we turned a corner, so the wind and waves were coming from our starboard (right) side rather than the rear. The comfort level was only modestly affected and it was still an overall pleasant ride. Throughout the afternoon, the wind speed climbed quite a bit. The wind was coming from the shore, and since we were paralleling the shoreline, there wasn’t enough fetch for the waves to pick up too much, but it did get lumpier. The dual stabilization probably helped. The day was sunny, bright and clear, which was a nice change of pace. Pretty much the whole time we have been in Panama, it has been gray, overcast and gloomy, so we were appreciating the sunshine. We enjoyed looking at Panama’s scenic mountain coastline while we motored along. As the day wore on, we saw less and less traffic.

We ran our generator almost all day, making water, doing laundry, and enjoying the AC. It is really hot out today, probably because it is so sunny. Eric checked the fan and shaft temperature several times, concerned that they had been running hot in Gatun Lake. The fan seems to be working great. The shaft temperature is actually lower than normal, and we assume it is because the water temperature is about 15 degrees cooler than it was in the Atlantic.

At about sunset, a big school of dolphins came to play with the boat. Usually they only play on the bow, but this set also played with the paravanes. They are a different species to what we are used to seeing. According to a flier we had picked up somewhere, they are called Continue reading Passage from Panama City to Golfito, Costa Rica

The Smithsonian Aquarium

We decided to go to the Smithsonian aquarium this morning. For some reason, we were under the impression it is on Flamingo Island. We walked all the way to the cruise ship terminal before we asked where the museum was and found out we were on the wrong island. The nice gentleman helping us told us the aquarium was far away and that we needed to take a taxi. We hopped in a nearby taxi and were very surprised when we were delivered back at the little shopping center by the dinghy dock. We had noticed the land on the other side of the shopping center is fenced in, but we hadn’t thought anything of it. It turns out the fence is around the aquarium. Oops! Oh well, we needed the exercise.

The entrance fee was only $2.00 each. The grounds take up the vast majority of Culebra Island. The aquarium is small, but the facility is a lot more than just an aquarium. There is Continue reading The Smithsonian Aquarium

Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal Museum

This morning, Christi finally started on antibiotics. She realized that if it hadn’t passed by now, it wasn’t going to go away on its own. She also made some meals to freeze with the leftovers from our transit. At around lunch time we headed out. Our goal for today was to go to the restaurant the cab driver couldn’t find the other day. Today’s cab driver had never heard of the place, which we took as a bad sign, but managed to find it with no problem. Unfortunately, it was closed for remodeling.

We walked to another restaurant a few blocks away that was also recommended by Lonely Planet. They serve French/international fusion type of food and our lunch was awesome. We ordered three appetizers: jumbo shrimp spring rolls in a yummy tropical fruit sauce; pan carmelized octopus in a sweet soy based marinade and served with a delicious avocado cream sauce; and shitake mushrooms stuffed with pork confit, vegetable, and panko persillade.

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We shared one main course, grouper in a rich, creamy coconut milk and curry sauce with broccoli on the side. For dessert we got passionfruit mousse. Everything was so good. We had been craving a really, really good meal like that ever since we left Bonaire. We even asked to thank the chef in person for such a great meal.

After lunch, we went to Casco Viejo to go sightseeing. The taxi took us through a neighborhood of all high rises, then turned into a very third world part of town. This area was Continue reading Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal Museum

Looking Around La Playita Anchorage Area

Today Christi woke up feeling better. Thank goodness. Fortunately, antibiotics didn’t seem like they would be necessary now. Jeff was leaving today, so this morning he packed up and got ready to go. When he was ready, we went to shore and had lunch at the closest restaurant to the dinghy dock, just on the backside of the shopping center we mentioned. As we were walking in, we saw the strangest thing. A car was towing a small airplane!

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The restaurant is a cute place — a round hut made of bamboo and palm fronds with a very high ceiling. We got ceviche for an appetizer. Ceviche is a dip made of small pieces of raw fish or other seafood marinated in lime juice and flavored with things like onion, tomato, cilantro, and chili peppers. It is a Mexican staple and we all like ceviche. Usually, you can’t taste the fish at all. Everyone makes ceviche a little differently. Some are amazingly good and you can’t stop eating them. Others are just OK. This one was pretty good, but not great. Christi didn’t have any, worried that raw fish might be too much for her digestive system right now.

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We all ordered fish, and the dishes came with Continue reading Looking Around La Playita Anchorage Area

Exploring Panama City

Christi was once again up very early with a sick tummy. She was worse than ever. She contemplated starting on antibiotics, but decided to give it one more day to pass on its own. The nice thing about being up so early the last few days is that she has seen some nice sunrises. Here is today’s.

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From where we sat, we could see four of the islands. They all seem to be Continue reading Exploring Panama City