We crossed the border as we rounded Burica point at 1:30 in the morning. Colin was asleep in the vee berth and the engine was running, so he never knew that I cranked Van Halen's Panama as loud as I could. First new country in 3 months. I've been here now for 5 days and I have a few impressions:
1.) The Ticos are flat out thieves and the Panamaniacs are first rate swindlers. They feel entitled to your money. They will never give change unless you demand it, not ask, demand. Entering their country was nothing short of a con. 5 offices, endless back and forth paperwork designed to break you down so they can slap you with another erroneous charge. I paid for a quarantine inspection that never happened, a buoy that doesn't exist, an after hour charge (it was 9 in the morning), 2 zarpes, a cruising permit and the privilege of anchoring (anchoring has always been free) in their filthy water. Then an additional $10 for land access. Such a sham.
The people are great though.
2.) They use American money. Fun to handle the old green bills.
3.) They are 1 hour off Costa Rica so that makes them the same as East Coast time. It's like going on daylight savings when you cross the border. The sun now sets at 7. That's a plus.
4.) Everything is much cheaper. Breakfast for 2 is $2.50, beers and cocktails in a bar are 50 cents, diesel is 60 cents a gallon less than CR.
I met Suzi 2 days ago in David and we set sail this morning for Isla Parida. Check it out on Google Earth. Looks amazing. We just landed a big eye tuna with enough meat to feed 6 hungry people, watched the dolphins swim off the bow and am now enjoying the new music she brought.
Today is another mile marker. It's July 1st and it was 1 year ago that I moved out of 802 Dover Court and into Barraveigh. I've officially been a liveaboard for 1 year now.