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Old 29-04-2015, 07:40   #76
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
How does Panama charge the owners for removing their wreckage from the reefs and channels?

I know some countries may arrest the owner until settled (e.g. Belize) while others allow them to just jump on a ship or plane and go home (e.g. Kiribati) without paying a dime for the damage done.

What is Panama's official stand on this?

b.
Panama does not have a big say, if at all, in Kuna Yala as it is an autonomous region ruled by the Kuna Indians, who seem to be okay with just stripping it and leaving it at that.
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Old 29-04-2015, 07:48   #77
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

You mean we can't use just any old chartplotter in Panama? Oh the nerve! I'm going to report them to the electronic navigation only group on this forum! They will go out there and fix them!
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Old 29-04-2015, 11:34   #78
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Panama does not have a big say, if at all, in Kuna Yala as it is an autonomous region ruled by the Kuna Indians, who seem to be okay with just stripping it and leaving it at that.
This is how some cruisers and some Kuna people may see it.

Has anyone seen an official stand (or action) by Panama.

It is Panama, not Kunayalastan.

Inaction is some sort of action, but this may change in a heartbeat.

b.
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Old 29-04-2015, 16:51   #79
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
This is how some cruisers and some Kuna people may see it.

Has anyone seen an official stand (or action) by Panama.

It is Panama, not Kunayalastan.

Inaction is some sort of action, but this may change in a heartbeat.

b.
It is in fact a legally autonomous area, though still part of Panama and ultimately subordinate to its laws. Panama normally stays out of local Kuna affairs, but do have drug interdiction/border control officers stationed here. The Immigration officer in Porvenir is Panamanian, but the port captain is Kuna as are the other staff. No other Panamanian officials than these that Ive ever seen here.

The only enforcement actions I know of here by Panamanian authorities are drug busts, but I assume they get involved in any other serious crime too (which is exceptionally rare here in Guna Yala as is petty crime too).

Have never seen any action here by Panamanian authorities on wrecks or anything maritime (other than boats running drugs) and would not expect too. The most I would expect to see Panamanian authorities do is assist in a rescue (actually saw the drug interdiction guys assist some Kuna in a swamped boat recently).
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Old 01-05-2015, 16:33   #80
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

Just anchored in Cayos Diablos. Two wrecks here in recent months. One very prominently visible from the anchorage, high and dry on the reef to the east. Locals tell me that, again, they went up on the reef at night due to lack of sleep.

I find it hard to believe there are that many boneheads out there who make it this far...just to sail straight into the reef. Maybe in fact some of them are just running drugs (on drugs?) and don't really care what happens to the boat (be kinda nice not to die though)? Like all the ditched small aircraft we used to find diving in the Bahamas years ago?

Piloted over from Green Island using Bauhaus on my tablet...pretty damn slick. And eyeballs too of course...lots of shoals and reefs between there and here.
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Old 01-05-2015, 17:15   #81
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

Bernard Moitessier


From Wiki

Moitessier grew up next to the sea in Indo-China and left it at the beginning of the Vietnam War as a crew member of sailing trade junks. In Indonesia he purchased the dilapidated junk Marie-Thérèse in 1952 to travel slowly further to France by singlehanded sailing. On the first leg to Seychelles he had to stop her from leaking in the middle of the Indian Ocean by diving underneath the boat at sea.[1] After 85 days of sailing through monsoon weather he ran aground on Diego Garcia. He did not have modern navigational instruments, and was aware of his latitude via sextant observation but was estimating longitude and, as he tells it in "Sailing to the Reefs", neglected a three-knot ocean current, leading to the grounding. He was deported to Mauritius, because Diego Garcia is a military restricted area, and worked there three years before he could sail again in a boat he had built himself. This he sailed via stops in South Africa and St. Helena to the West Indies, but on a trip from Trinidad to St. Lucia he once again was shipwrecked due to physical exhaustion.
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:50   #82
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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... This he sailed via stops in South Africa and St. Helena to the West Indies, but on a trip from Trinidad to St. Lucia he once again was shipwrecked due to physical exhaustion.
And that seems to be a big factor here too. The seas off Colombia can be ugly...so maybe people just under estimate them, get fatigued and make dumb mistakes.

Still surprising though the sheer number of boats that repeat this mistake here in the San Blas...like Lemmings over the cliff.
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Old 31-07-2015, 03:40   #83
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

How to stay off the reefs in San Blas Panama;

I've been cruising here in Panama a few years now and while navigation can be challenging at times I think most of us 'regulars' here agree that these wrecks could have been avoided if the sailors practiced basic prudence like;

1) Have the latest charts and know where you are.
2) ONLY sail in good light, use your eyes, don't trust your latest greatest digital charts. (don't be in a hurry either, or even consider approaching or moving inside the archipelago at night .)
3) Sail conservatively (respect lee shores and narrow cuts plus have a well thought out and practiced plan B (Sail or anchor) for when your motor dies.

I think those points 1-3 would eliminate 90-100% of the wrecks and not just in San Blas. The vast majority of boats that come to grief here fall into one of these groups;

1) I didn't realize how close I was to the reef / archipelago (inaccurate charts, fell asleep offshore in some recent cases, or approached highly fatigued)

2) My chart showed plenty of water all around me (still reefs here are usually easy to see during the day and the Panama Guide by Bauhause are MOSTLY accurate)

3) My engine died and I drifted onto the reef while I was trying to fix it. (this one is wrong on so many levels resulting from; not sailing conservatively, respecting the situation / lee shore, not having a plan to deploy ground tackle, sails, or even a towing dinghy in the likely event of engine failure.

I could probably give specific information to each of the wrecks discussed earlier in this thread, but as I look back, they all fall into the 3 categories above.

Take your time, pay attention, and be safe!
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Old 31-07-2015, 10:25   #84
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

All great advice.

Does anyone have experience with the new forward-looking sonar designed to warn about bottoms ahead of the boat? I wonder how well the would work for finding your way through poorly charted reefs.


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Old 01-08-2015, 14:58   #85
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
All great advice.

Does anyone have experience with the new forward-looking sonar designed to warn about bottoms ahead of the boat? I wonder how well the would work for finding your way through poorly charted reefs.


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Yeah, I just removed it, it's junk.
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Old 01-08-2015, 16:51   #86
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
All great advice.

Does anyone have experience with the new forward-looking sonar designed to warn about bottoms ahead of the boat? I wonder how well the would work for finding your way through poorly charted reefs.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
I had an older Interphase which I did not find very useful. It went with the last boat. Newer tech may be better. I think there is a recent thread on forward scanners here.

For the San Blas, and other tricky venues, I prefer my own eye balls and good charts (like Bauhaus), plus prudent operation as suggested above.

I have Bauhaus on my tablet now which is really handy as I can have it at the helm while picking my way into tricky/new-to-me areas.

Local knowledge from other seasoned cruisers (and there are plenty in the San Blas) is reassuring too. Got a waypoint from colemj last season of a mischarted patch reef.
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Old 04-08-2015, 22:19   #87
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

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Originally Posted by mstrebe View Post
All great advice.

Does anyone have experience with the new forward-looking sonar designed to warn about bottoms ahead of the boat? I wonder how well the would work for finding your way through poorly charted reefs.


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We have an older Echopilot unit onboard. It has turned out to be fairly useful. We primarily use it when poking around a potential anchorage at slow speed.
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Old 11-10-2015, 17:33   #88
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Re: San Blas Panama Wrecks

New to the area, we survived the San Blas islands a few weeks ago. Chart plotter comments are valid, our B&G had us on land when we weren't, and showed clear where it wasn't. Ok for major channels though. Bauhaus' Panama Guide 5th edition waypoints worked well for us, as did his chart details. Most alarming wreck was a recent schooner just outside Turtle Cay Marina. It's a narrow entrance into a small harbor, our first visit, we're 25' wide, and there is this big ship on the hard, right there, as it were. Poor advertisement. All went well for us. Story was his engine wasn't running well, skipper said it'd get him out of the harbor and he was a sailboat after all. There was some wind and seas. When his engine stalled just outside the marina, it took 3 waves to put him on the reef. Game over.
We met Erik Bauhaus on the Pacific side, nice guy.
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