Making Up Lost Time

There are times in life when you group your time together. Shelter Bay Marina was a time of getting the boat fixed. The repairs for SeaQuil took about a month. You know you’ve spent too much time when the restaurant knows what you are going to order without asking you. We were all getting antsy again. I had fun at the marina and hotel, but at some point it felt like a prison. The places we stayed at had gates because Colon was dangerous. I was itching to get out. 

Mei Mei and I helped Dad fix the boat. We finished putting the shaft back in and next was the generator. Dad guided the generator, Mei Mei held back the hoses, and I lowered the generator. The operation was going smoothly until the spectra line snapped. Dad and I froze. Mei Mei said ouch and somehow got the 320 pound generator off her hand. We asked if her hand was alright. She came over to us and responded with I’m okay, but then she looked down at her hand. We stared at the goose egg on her hand. There was some blood from the ripped flesh. Then Mei Mei stated she was not okay. Dad announced that she had to go to the hospital. We quickly got off the boat and somehow Mei Mei was calm. She climbed down the ladder with one hand. Joel, a worker at the marina, helped get us a taxi. I ran ahead of Dad and Mei Mei to inform Mom and Bryan what just happened. Mom felt sick to her stomach when she saw Mei Mei’s hand. A crowd started to form around Mei Mei who was laughing a bit, such a brave sister. She wanted Dad to join her on her trip to the hospital. The taxi sped off with them in it. The last thing Dad told me was there is a problem with the generator, but do not touch it. I didn’t listen. Joel offered to help. I took him to the boat. I checked out what was wrong with the generator. It squished the hoses. I can fix this! I found a chain to hook the generator to the lift. Together Joel and I got the generator to sit on the stand without squishing anything. I left the rest for the next day. When we got back off the boat Mom wanted to make dinner. I would not allow Bryan or her to go up on the boat in the dark while the steps were out. If Mom and Bryan got hurt as well, our trip would be over. One hospital trip was already too much for the night. On our way back to the hotel, another boat on the hard named ‘Catching Up’ offered their boat for us to cook on. Together we made a big spaghetti dinner. Comfort food. Catching Up was very hospitable. The whole time I prayed Mei Mei’s hand was not broken. I refused to sit down until Mei Mei and Dad were back. Around 9 at night they came back. Mei Mei’s hand for not broken, thank goodness.

For the next few days I helped Dad get SeaQuil ready to go back into the water. On February 8, 2020, SeaQuil was back in and it was time to go. Our next adventure was Bocas del Toro. Anchoring was refreshing. The town, Bocas, was built on stilts and was literally on the ocean. The buildings were various colors. Caribbean vibes were oozing off the town. We got a new and reliable dingy motor. With it we were able to venture on land. On Saturday, Bocas Marina had a regatta for the crews. The day of the race was perfect. Clear blue skies and fair winds. Dad and Mei Mei were hired to take pictures for the race. It was a great show, about 24 boats. Bryan, Mom, and I watched from SeaQuil. It was exciting to cheer on the boats. One sail boat passed three catamarans. My favorite part was seeing all the boats’ spinnakers, their beautiful colors against the sky blue back drop. Perfect! 

Dad and Mei Mei met Ed and Nila who helped with taking pictures. We made friends with them quickly. They suggested that we should anchor in front of their house in one of the bays. That’s exactly what we did. SeaQuil was anchored in Shepherd Bay a few feet away from Ed and Nila’s house. They invited us into their stunning house. It was made all from wood which was built on stilts. The jungle all around it made it look like a tree house from the water. We spent three days eating fresh fruit and chocolate Nila made herself from the cacao tree that grew on their property. Bryan, Mei Mei and I played in their hammock and also, we got to hike around the jungle. The best of all we got to know Ed and Nila. We said goodbye to them with big hugs and thank you’s.

Ed & Nila’s house Shepard Island

Mei Mei and I got hit hard with bug bites. One morning I woke up with 12 bits running up the back of my leg. No seeums were the worse. You could not see them but you could feel them sting you. Then the next morning you would wake up with hundreds of little bites. It was time for SeaQuil to move on. 

Starfish Bay had a real beach. We hadn’t played on one in a while. On land we found a huge, orange starfish. We went back to Bocas town to provision. Then we were off to Zapatilla Cay #1. Mei Mei and I were on the bow on the look out for places where to water changed color which mean there were shallow spots. For an hour we navigated our way passed reefs. At Zapatilla Cay #1 we anchored in front of the island that looked like it came out of a post card. It had white sand beaches with palm trees growing out from it and was surrounded by turquoise water. We could see the bottom from our boat and the water looked inviting. We played in the water and jumped off the boat. Mei Mei and I found out we could free drive 19 feet. 

At anchor off Isla Zapatilla Cay

The next island was Escudo de Veraguas which was also breath taking. The crystal clear water was magnificent. Mei Mei and I took the dingy out for a ride. I got the dingy to a plane. It was energetic to go fast and feel the wind in my hair. There were huts on the island and the people who lived there came to visit our boat. They were curious and very friendly. At midnight we were off to Shelter Bay. The day was perfect for sailing! We took turns reading Where the Red Fern Grows. At one point we heard our fishing line. We had caught a fish and it was fighting. We were all excited for fish! But when Dad reeled the tuna in, all that was attached to the hook was its head. Something bigger took a bite out of it before we could get it on our boat. We were all disappointed. We were so close to having fish. We made it back to Shelter Bay Marina. 

Our time in Panama is wrapping up. 

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