Pacific Passage Preparation and Planning

Oh dear, for the past 2 months I have had good intentions of posting all about our wonderful San Blas experience, but it’s already the end of February and I still haven’t got around to it…..
With all the preparations for our upcoming Pacific crossing, not to mention the Panama Canal transit and our visitors, Cathy & David from UK, it has been a hectic few weeks. So the San Blas photos and story will simply have to wait…. for now….. but just to whet your appetite, here are a few photos :)

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We plan on setting sail within the next week to the Marquesas, French Polynesia, and there is still so much to do! We had an engine problem that has not yet been resolved, although we’re hopeful that Eric has finally figured it out. Fingers crossed on that one!! Plus our MPS (multi-purpose spinnaker) blew out when we sailed down to Las Perlas the other week after only just being repaired, yet again, in Colombia! First time it blew out was on the sail from Saldanha Bay in South Africa to Luderitz, Namibia back in late 2011.


Our first MPS repair in Walvis Bay, Namibia in 2012


Our most recent MPS repair job, done in Cartagena, Colombia, December 2015



We’ve had some great sails with this MPS though and consequently we decided it was not worth risking it on the long Pacific crossing, so we have ordered a new one from the sailmaker in Australia who made our original sails. It is due to arrive any day, along with our new watermaker! For 7 years in East Africa we used our watermaker daily and one of the greatest aspects of having it was that we were able to share pure, clean drinking water with people we met in isolated islands on our travels. It was a Godsend and in fact, we were once told we were sent from God when we rocked up to Okuza island south of Mafia island in Tanzania and gave about 200 litres of water to a group of fishermen who had been waiting for their supply boat, which had been delayed by a few days.

Okuza island, Tanzania. The thirsty fishermen are off in the distance, under the tree.

Okuza island, Tanzania

They had run out of food and water and were desperate, so we took one of them with us and dropped him off at an island further south where he was able to get transport to the mainland to go for assistance. With the El Nino year and lack of rain in certain regions, it made sense to finally replace our original watermaker, which broke down in southern Mozambique when we were heading to South Africa, late 2009. After numerous attempts to get it repaired Eric gave up and has been hauling water in jerry cans for the past 6 years! At almost 70 years old, I think it’s time he starts to take things easy, although he has other ideas….!!

It’s not been all work these past few weeks since we arrived on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal though. We’ve enjoyed a couple of weeks in Las Perlas islands just south of here and just by the anchorage in Panama City we’ve spotted sloths on a few occasions!

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During the next few months, as we sail in the South Pacific, we expect to have even more limited access to cyberspace than usual! We will have our HF radio email, which has been our trusty companion on each of our ocean crossings (Indian Ocean 2002, Atlantic Ocean 2012 and now the Pacific Ocean 2016). The best way to contact us is to send a message via our Contact us page on this website, as I have it linked to an email which will be forwarded to our HF radio email.

We do still have the IridiumGo, which I bought back in October, but I haven’t had a chance to really get it up and running, as I am still struggling with configuring and organising the new Windows computer after 8 years of living with Macs! Grrrr!!! We’ve been trying to sell the IridiumGo, as it was really a luxury item above and beyond our requirements and since our pirate attack and all the other expenses we were hoping to cash it up before we set sail, but so far no takers….. Maybe I’ll figure out how it works between here and the Marquesas! Wish me luck!