East or west? We’ve on our way to this point for several months now. We have conveniently avoided making any concrete plans but now that we are at the canal, the Big Decisions must be made. There are many options, naturally.
A. Go on to Ecuador. Everyone here says that Ecuador is where the pot of gold lies. Armed with a pair of rubber boots, Ecuador is rife with possibility. We could just go down for the season and head back to Panama later on; this would set us back another year for the Caribbean, however.
B. Go on to Ecuador and then keep going across the South Pacific! Galapagos, atolls, Fiji, scurvy… My god the mind boggles. Sadly, I’m just not feeling terribly excited about thirty bleedin’ days at sea. All at one time and more than once. (Cheyenne = pansy.) Reading Jack London’s ‘South Sea Tales’ didn’t help, what with those stories about hurricanes hitting atolls with no more than six feet of elevation. Climb a coconut tree.
C. Stay in Panama! Panama is great and there are lots of uninhabited islands to gunk around. But. No.
D. Cross the Canal. Now we’re getting somewhere. Sorta expensive and a hassle though. Payoff better be good.
E. Cross the Canal then do a bit of cruising possibly in the keys off Honduras or San Blas before making all speed for the Mediterranean! Hmmm, that’s interesting. But what route should we take?
F. Panama – Providencia Island (Colombian) –Roatan – Yucatan – Not Cuba Because It’s Illegal – Not Florida In Case We Had To Stop In Cuba For Some Sort of Emergency And We Are Now Fugitives From The Law – Bahamas – Bermuda – Azores – Lisbon, Portugal – Some Other Places – BARCELONA, Spain.
G. Put the boat on a boat and beam it direct to Someplace, Europe. Like on deck of a cargo ship or on a container ship. We’re checking into it but helpful people in the shipping industry are mighty elusive down Panama way. (Is this cheating?)
H. Sell it and buy a boat I can actually stand up in. (I’m just kidding.)
Anyway, minds are changing almost daily and as it is, we’re leaning for the canal crossing since nobody will get back to us with any concrete information about shipping a container. We have to get a larger motor in order to get through the canal; our 6hp can push us at 4.5-5 knots but only in perfect conditions and the prop does not stick down into the water far enough; we would be able to go upwards of 8 knots probably if we had the 9.8hp (plus, it has a longer shaft). It seems stupid to get a motor just to cross the canal but having one that actually buried the prop in the water behind us would be a huge improvement; also, the 9.8hp has a charger attachment and functional remote controls to the [center] cockpit so a single person could potentially drive the boat without having to run back and forth to adjust gears or the throttle (what luxury!).
The only thing I worry about is having it take forever to extract our motor from Panamanian customs. If this happens, maybe we’ll take a side trip down to the Darien to decompress while waiting.
Or go to Ecuador.