Stray Cat and crew made landfall in Panama
on Monday morning at approximately10 am.
We pulled into a place called Miramar because one of our guide
books told us that they had a fuel dock, and that was important to us.
We spent six days making the passage from Jamaica to Panama, most
of it waiting for the trade winds to fill in.
We were forced to motor for a large percentage of the time, and
we were quickly realizing that by the time we were close to Panama, we
would be on fumes. We knew
that there would be no diesel available in the San Blas Islands because
they are so remote, so we were forced to change course to make landfall
about 25 miles from our original destination.
Our new destination was a small harbor town called Miramar, where
we hoped to refuel before heading to San Blas.
We shot the approach into Miramar – a reef on the
left and rocks on the right. We
made it around the reef and began to make our way down the channel
towards the few docks and buildings that we thought were our destination.
It seems that we were a little left of the channel, however,
because just after a local whistled at us and motioned us further to the
right, we lost water and the boat came to a stop rather quickly – we
were aground. So much for a
graceful entrance, but Capt. Mark stayed calm and skillfully used Stray
Cat’s twin props to wiggle off the ground and back into deep
water. Ok – let’s try
this again. We moved the
boat very close to shore and made a few inquiries about where we could
get diesel and gasoline – our first foray into our “Spanish to
Survive” course, and shortly thereafter we found what we had come for.
What we found in Miramar was a very small warehouse
near the water, with a dock that can only be described as “rickety”,
and a small store, or “tienda” run by a very cordial Chinese family. When we arrived all of the locals were on the dock loading
down with supplies to take to the small villages of San Blas.
We waited for a space at the “dock” for over an hour as they
loaded all kinds of sodas, beers, flour, sugar, rice, bananas and fuel
onto their small panga style local boats. It was finally our turn to move in, and thanks to some great
maneuvering and crew work, we pulled off the tight squeeze and tied the
bow up into the mangroves. After
a few “preguntas” from the young Asian man working the dock, down
the pier rolled the diesel – on a hand truck inside a 55 gallon drum. We positioned the boat on the dock to get close to the drum
and used a hand cranked pump to fill the port tank, but had to move the
boat off the dock and flip her around to get to the starboard tank.
We bought every bit of diesel they had which amounted to about 75
gallons, which we figured would be enough to last us during our trip
through the San Blas.
They also had groceries and supplies at the small
tienda, so we spent some time and money provisioning for San Blas before
we left. They had a limited
supply, but a few key items were necessary since we were picking up a
new passenger the next day and we were very low on food.
The prices were reasonable, the people were friendly, and our
first contact with Panamanian culture was pretty enjoyable.
It was a Godsend to have been able to obtain fuel, meat, milk,
cereal, soda, eggs etc.. Most
of all, though, it was very nice to have the long, windless passage
behind us. Vamanos
(We go) to the San
The approach to Miramar
There were lots of shallows in this bay
Stuart stands by the anchor controls and watches for
Homes in Miramar
Vultures are never a good sign
One of the local fishing boats in Miramar - under construction
Another boat for transporting goods & supplies
This is right about where we ran aground
We're here, Panama!
Where are we??
Local men loading supplies to be taken out to the more remote
area of San Blas
Stray Cat on the dock and in the mangroves
These local boats are made from huge trees found in the
Fueling up at Miramar
Stray Cat tied in the Mangroves
Fuel is good!
Mike & Stuart getting Stray Cat tied in to the trees
Capt Mark and our Asian friend taking turns using a manual pump to fill the
We were lucky that they had almost 75 gallons of diesel, we
took it all!
The Capt is always hard at work