Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Approaching Golfito

We've enjoyed a pleasant, mostly downwind sail on smooth seas from Bahia Elena to Gofito, turning the engine off at noon yesterday and not having to start one again until after 1 am this morning. At last!

All that sailing eliminated any worry about having enough fuel.

But...hah-hah. When we did start the port engine, no raw cooling water came out of the exhaust port. We shut it down, started the starboard engine instead and, once it was light, I replaced the raw water pump impeller which had broken off two of its rubber vanes. It was a quick repair to add to the list for this passage.

As I started my watch at 0200, we had a deluge of rain. The boat got a nice wash, including the hoisted mainsail, which hasn't had a good rinse since we were last in Panama in the fall of 2016. Later during the night, I was treated to an amazing display of lightning, including a strike that hit the sea at what seemed like less than a mile away. The bolt looked as thick as the trunk of a good sized tree and the loud ripping thunder generated by it went on for ten seconds. From here to Panama, has one of the highest frequency of lightning strikes in the world. And we have a nice aluminum lightning rod that sticks up 63 feet above the sea. We use radar to try and steer around storm cells, avoid touching metal during lightning storms and put portable electronics in the oven, a Faraday cage that protects them, but that's about all we can do. The probability of getting struck is very low., but it happens.

We're eating well on this trip. Kim and I are taking turns cooking dinners. She has made some great meals, including last night's shrimp tacos. Her mango salsa is delicious.

One problem with our cooking, though, is the propane that we filled the tanks with in Chiapas is crap. It must have a lot of moisture in it, because the flame is nowhere near as hot as usual and often burns with some yellow. It takes what seems forever to boil water, fry an egg. I joked that it was like cooking over a candle.

So, in addition to refueling diesel in Golfito, we'll see if we can purge and refill our propane tanks, pick up some fresh vegetables and enjoy a dinner at a restaurant. I'm hoping we can do this without having to clear into Costa Rica or that the process can be expedited, as we plan on pushing off again tomorrow morning. Seems silly to spend hours dealing with paperwork for less than a 24 hour stay. We got away with not clearing in twice before when we were here, but I don't want to push my luck too hard.