Safe in Panama

If the first 24 had too much wind the second suffered from too little. Early in the morning the wind dropped and swung onto our nose. The forecast had hinted as such but we were eager to get out of Santa Mart while the going was good so we were prepared to accept a day of motoring as the price. We could have sailed to windward but the cost of Panama and the inaccuracy of the charts means you don’t want to make landfall at night if you can avoid it. So on went the motor and after and uneventful day and an even less eventful night we arrived in Obaldia around 10am.

Puerto Obaldia is the first Panama port, right on the border with Colombia and has a bit of a border town feel. The streets are paved with trash and the hold village has a scruffy kind of charm. The days of Colombia drugs violence have thankfully passed and the village feels safe enough with a strong coastguard presence.

After failing to flag down a passing fishing boat Teo and I dropped the dinghy into the water, put on the Outboard and headed into shore. After helping a group of locals launch their fishing boat they gave us directions to the immigration office. We were quickly informed that all members of the crew had to be present so back to Itchy Foot we headed to pickup Mia. Unfortunately the engine on the outboard would not start so we got a tow back to the boat. They then picked up Mia and dropped us back into the village.

Check-in timing:
Immigration: 10 minutes of filling in forms 30 minutes of waiting for the officer to type them into his computer. Customs / Port: 45 minutes of watching forms being filled in. Police: 10 minutes of discussing our plans and our time in Colombia.

We started the process at 11am and finished at 2pm. Then we needed to find a way back to Itchy Foot with a police inspection dude in tow. Unfortunately despite have two spare boats ready to go, the police weren’t interested in helping us get back to Itchy Foot. Long story short, we got back to Itchy Foot at 15:30, lifted anchor and got out of dodge. Puerto Perme was only 8 miles away and we wanted to arrive before dusk.

Shortly before sunset we had successfully navigated into this cute little bay and dropped anchor. Rewarded with a much needed beer and a quiet night onboard. Tomorrow we go explore.

Would I check in here again? Yes, but I would start the process first thing in the morning and make sure my dinghy engine works!

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