Everyone tells us that the French Polynesia food is very expensive. You hear stories about $10 cabbages and the like. So we spent two days hitting the Panama City stores with our $10/hour driver Deb. The big hit was PriceMart (aka Costco). Just like being in a Costco in the US – stack ‘um high and sell ém cheap plus $1.50 hotdogs. It took us 3 full dinghy loads to get everything back to the boat. The last dinghy trip was in a torrential downpour that was unusual for this time of year. We had to wait for that load to dry before putting them away.
We shopped at two different large grocery stores, Super99 and Riva Smith. It was good to see that things haven’t changed in the Super99 by Albrook Mall since we were here 2 1/2 years ago. There is still half a long isle dedicated to soy sauce and the belts on the checkout register still don’t work.
We now have dedicated lockers for Panama Beer and Tonic water. Lots of rice, Ramen noodles and a fair share of miscellaneous.
With a little luck we will checkout of Panama tomorrow and sail over to the Perlas Islands. There we’ll finish putting things away and clean the bottom. The Galapagos does an underwater inspection of the boat and will send you 70 miles offshore to clean it if they find growth on it.
Then its wait for a weather window to sail to the Galapagos. The basic weather pattern we wait for is when the ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone) moves north of Panama and fairly strong winds from the north pickup. Right the ITCZ is just south of us, but moving northward. This should give us a decent sail for at least the first day or two, then it will most likely be light air and we take what we get. We’re hoping the passage will take us about a week.