We compared the process of buying a boat to giving birth, it's the most painful experience but oh what a wonderful outcome. After months of negotiations, surveys, re-negotiations, living in a 19 foot RV (Molly) for a year, the purchase is complete - time to celebrate. On March 27th, we left flew to Panama City, Panama, arriving around 2 a.m. We had scheduled a driver to pick us up at the airport and drive us to Shelter Bay Marina about two hours away. The driver was a no show. That's when we met Barney on the sailing vessel Ocean Fever. He gave us a ride to the marina in his rental car and we had a police escort the entire drive. I guess we looked a little lost at the airport and the Panamanian police quickly realized it. They offered an escort, but we politely explained we could find our way and declined the offer. Our adventure began just trying to find our way to the marina in the middle of the night. Luckily, the Panamanian police decided to follow us anyway, because we did get lost. They followed us from the airport for the entire trip to Shelter Bay Marina, redirecting us on our occasional wrong turns. It was such a nice gesture to have a police escort for our trip. It may indicate that travel on the roads in Panama at night is dangerous or, perhaps, we looked suspicious and they were protecting the Panamanians from us. We arrived at the marina tired but proud owners of a 47 foot Leopard catamaran (owner's version) which we named Gypsea Heart.
We spent a few days checking out the boat and provisioning as necessary (you know beer, wine, gin, etc.- the necessary staples). We also discovered our old friends Paul and Mary Margaret on Angel Heart and Nick and Josie on Jedi were also staying at the marina. We hadn't seen either couple in years. We enjoyed exchanging stories of our adventures and reliving moments we shared together and, hopefully, we'll see them again soon.
Our friend, Dave Hope, was so kind. He traveled all the way from the Outer Banks, North Carolina to Panama leaving his puppy (Rider) and partner (Camilla) behind to provide his skills, knowledge and good companionship to help sail the "new" catamaran safely to Bradenton, Florida. It was nice to have company and the extra pair of hands. Since we had little experience with stack packs and a full battened mainsail, Dave's knowledge was priceless. Thanks so much Dave!
We left Shelter Bay Marina on Friday, April 1st, headed for Providencia, Columbia. You know it's a thrilling and somewhat scary experience investing in a boat. Sure you do a survey and find things which require fixin' then there's the BUT ... but what didn't we find and what don't we know. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
|Here's our new home ... isn't she beautiful|
|Dave, Barney, me, Rankin, Mary Margaret & Paul|
|Nick, me & Josie|