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To continue with the log of "WINDGIFT": I left off at 5/21/99. I mostly hung out around Playa del Cocos, with two trips to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, running up the total for the trip to 3,413 nautical miles. For some time, I had been running on misinformation. When I first got to Playa del Cocos, I asked the most knowledgeable person I could find about the laws. He said that if I and my boat left Costa Rica for three days at the end of each ninety days, I could continue that cycle indefinitely. It doesn't work that way. At the end of 6 months, you and the boat have to leave for 90 days. I had seen Nicaragua, so I came to Panama.
12/18/99
Left Playa del Cocos; motored to Marina Flamingo. 13 nm.
Talked to Pat and Brownell Chalstrom on "SURGE". Met Glenna and Patrick on "AILSA JEAN".
12/19
Motored to Bahia Carillo against 2 knot currents. 9*51.988'N 85*29.727'W 52 nautical miles. Bahia Carillo was my most bouncy, most miserable anchorage ever - even on two anchors.
12/20/99
Motored to Bahia Ballena 0700 - 1830
Caught in a rain storm at the entrance of Gulf of Nicoyo. Against a 2 knot tide. 9*42.366'N
85*.00.259' W. 81* water. 78* air. 47 nautical miles.
12/22
Had dinner with Pat and Brownell on "SURGE". He is a computer consultant, and will fly back stateside soon to earn more money to continue his cruising. Flipped the dinghy, landing in the surf. Tonight was the brightest full moon in 130 years.
12/23
Motored to Quepas, 0630 - 1700. 53 nautical miles.
83* water; 82* air
9*25.682' N 84*10.208'W
Trip total: 3,578 nautical miles.
Christmas, '99
Left Quepas at 0600. Motored in light and variable winds of 0 - 6 knots to Drake Bay; anchored at 1730. 0.5 knot current against me. 8*41.838'N 83*40.180'W 85* water. 82* air. 53 nautical miles.
12/28
Left Drake Bay at 0530. Light and variable and useless winds all day. Crossed panama border at 2245, 12/28. Up went the Panamanian courtesy flag! "WIND GIFT" reached its' Southernmost point rounding Punta Burica at the border, at 7*56'N.
Slept a few hours on sail at Bahia Charco Azul. Dolphins blessed me all night with their phosphorescent light shows.
12/29
Motored upriver to anchor at Puerto Pedregal at 0930. Some sort of fuel problem with the motor. Hand pumped with the squeeze bulb the last ten miles. 8*21.844'N 82*26.295'W
You can't swim in the river because of the giardi parasites.
111 nautical miles 3,742 total
Here in Panama, the boat can stay in the country as long as I like. I have to leave the country for three days every 90 days, but that's OK, because I want to travel the inland areas anyway. Food prices are about half as much as they were in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, they are the same as U.S. prices. The money unit in Panama is the Balbon, which is the U.S. dollar. Uh-huh; good ol' American U.S. cash dollars. That makes it easier on the arithmetic for the exchange rate.
And so, El Bucko remains a guest of Panama, for the time being. He hooked up with some enterprising fellows who are building a new Marina. By helping them out with surveying, depth soundings, and all of the jokes that he has learned to tell along the way, he has ended up with a free anchorage for "WIND GIFT".
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