Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another Day in the Anchorage

One thing that I really like about Panama is that it is the cross roads of the shipping world. Ships from every part of the world are sitting at anchor, going through the canal or dropping off cargo for transshipments. There are cruising boats from a wide swath of the world here: US, Canada, France, Chile, Belgium, Chile, Poland, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hungry, Japan and host of flags I don’t know.  The boats don’t all look like the cookie-cutter plastic boats that we typically see in the US. Above is a Meer (or maybe Mir) 30, Dragonwing. Note that it is Junk rigged. It has no stays to hold the mast up and the sail is like a typical Chinese junk of old. Dragonwing was built in South Africa as a junk rig. Most of the Meer’s were built as standard sloop rigs. The owner, Ben, is from Hungry. He is leaving Panama soon for a jaunt down the coast single handed: Galapagos, Easter Island, around Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands. Then to Brazil to sell the boat and head back home to his family. That’s some trip on a junk rigged, singled-handed, 30 foot boat that only sails downwind.

Above is a Panama Canal Police boat cruising through the anchorage – just checking out who’s in town. There is a ‘Causeway’ that separates the anchorage we are in and the Panama Canal. It was built with the dredging material from the canal and connects a few small islands. On the other side of the Causeway from our anchorage is the Balboa Yacht Club. It has a club house/bar, fuel dock and a host of moorings for boats to tie to. The moorings suffer from constant canal traffic and wakes.
A few days ago there was a cocaine bust by some not so brilliant smugglers at BYC.
One Colombian and one Panamanian were arrested early yesterday morning, Friday, by the National Police and the Naval Air Service (SENAN). It was 5:00 am when a patrol of the National Police passed through the area outside of the Balboa Yacht Club on the Amador Causeway. Suddenly, the police officers were told a man had fallen into the ocean. The agents went to the area where the supposed victim was located, and found two packages of drugs. One person who was near the scene claimed the suspect argued with another man and fell into the sea along with a cooler. When SENAN members located the suspect, they also found 17 kilos of cocaine. And with the help of divers they located a 9 mm gun with 11 rounds of ammunition, and seized a boat the other suspect had in his possession, along with another cooler with 12 more kilos, inside of the 7 foot boat.

We got a 25kt blow through the anchorage the other day. Here’s a sequence shot of one of the semi-derelict steel fish boats cruising sideways through the anchorage after their anchor started dragging with a Guatemalan cook/caretaker on board and no engine. This time it was no hurt, no foul.

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