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Old 08-07-2018, 15:03   #16
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

Ahoy Tarka!

First off... we love your videos and have been following along since your very first one.

Secondly, we concur with Paul L re: Ecuador. Great place to visit that most cruisers never hit and a piece of cake from there to the South Pacific.

Now as to your thoughts re: coming North. It's a bash but doable. We are currently in the Sea of Cortez. Hot as hell and very humid this time of year. (we have AC ) But even with that you step outside and melt. Plus, so far this year we have had 6 named storms here in the East Pacific with a couple of huge ones that luckily missed us. One TS hit Cabo and La Paz. This year looks like we may hit the end of the alphabet before it is over. It's a crap shoot.

We've done the Marquesas run 3 times, once each from Mexico, Panama and Ecuador. Much preferred the Mexico or Ecuador runs to that of Panama. And as to the Pacific Puddle Jump style of crossing, we prefer to not go with the crowd. It's an individual choice but we are not much on hold your hand sailing.

If you head up this way, let us know. West coast Mexico and the Sea of Cortez are beautiful. (and a whole lot less expensive than the Caribe) Other than that... where is the King of Bongo now?

Cheers mate!
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Old 08-07-2018, 16:07   #17
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

Hey, that's awesome! It's always nice to 'meet' a fan in the wild, and it sure doesn't happen very often.

How is the sail to Ecuador? It also looks like it can be against the wind and current at times. How are the anchorages?

I've grown very accustomed to the heat of the tropics being mitigated by the trade winds, but having been born and raised in Arizona, and knowing that the Sea of Cortez isn't too far away, I'm not sure I like the idea of turning the boat into an oven. On the other hand, we wouldn't be there until winter, so it should actually be quite nice, and maybe a bit chilly at night, that time of year.

King of Bongo is back in the Poland these days, spending some time on land. Alex is currently working full-time building small wooden boats and related items for customers, but he still does plenty of sailing.
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Old 08-07-2018, 16:31   #18
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

By December the Sea of Cortez is getting hit with Northerlies quite steady...best to head over to Mazatlan, Barra or Puerto Vallarta area for Christmas time onward.


Leave for Marquesas in late February will beat the Puddle Jump cluster fk in Hiva Oa and Fatu Hiva by a month.
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Old 08-07-2018, 19:03   #19
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

I have had a lot of friends that have ended up in San Blas Literally for the long term because the place is so cheap and friendly to cruisers. The call Costa Rica next door Cost-a-Rica because everything is so much more expensive there. Since you are behind the weather window for the crossing you may think about working your way up the coast to Mexico though. It is a beautiful place to cruise without question and you can leave with the Puddle Jump crowd when they take off. Taking off from Mexico vs Panama you cut off 1,000 miles of travel.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:43   #20
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

When thinking about the canal it can take quite a bit of time to get clearances and transit. I would say give yourself a month to 6weeks. Might be quicker but you do not want to miss your ideal window in the Pacific because of canal delays.
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:10   #21
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

Some random thoughts:

We found the San Blas to be the biggest disappointment of our circumnavigation. The islands and water are beautiful. The good anchorages are quite crowded and we found the local 'perma-cruisers' to be at best indifferent to those just passing through while; at worst they were quite hostile.

The sail from Panama to Ecuador we found quite easy but slow. Didn't see much current but winds were not very strong - wide ITCZ thereabouts.

If you can swing it go the Galapagos. It is not as expensive as some suggest. We went with the cheapest permit - one port and took a four day tour to several islands (company called Sharksy) that was aimed at cruisers and backpackers. I think it was something like $450 including transport, hotels and meals.

You can save money in Panama by making your own arrangements for the canal - no agent. You do need a local phone. I think the SIM card and airtime was about $10. In Colon, a dump overall, you can save money by not going to the marina. You can anchor at the boat club which is around the corner on the way to the cruise ship dock. No charge for anchoring but they do charge to use their dinghy dock which means your dinghy will be there when you return since it is in a locked compound. Main street and the canal authority area are perfectly safe in daytime. Rest of the city is dodgy. Taxis were $1 for two people to go anywhere in town. Money well-spent.

If you are worried about timing arrangements for the canal go to Colon first and make your reservation then go to the San Blas. Well worth a stop at Isla Linton which is about half way between Colon and Porlamar which is the entry into SB. Had an incredible Christmas dinner three at a French restaurant on the island. It was not expensive for what you got.
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Old 09-07-2018, 23:14   #22
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

The dry season on the Pacific side of Panama is from Jan to end of April and will coincide with the end of the cyclone season down under by the end of March. You would need to obtain visas to the Galapagos at least a year in advance and would be limited to just one island which is suffering the numerous years of human traffic. I think I recall heavy fines for leaving any trash so it must be taken with you when you leave. Peru would be great for visiting the Incan ruins. For that direct route from Panama, expect to bring extra fuel because you are likely to be motoring most of the way. Otherwise, you will be wanting to head West to at least 100 degrees W, which you may as well do from Mexico, avoiding the chubascos from the cordillero mountain ranges east of the Bay of Tehuantepec, by leaving Mexico at a point North of that large bay. Is there something in particular that attracts you to Panama?
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:01   #23
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

The more I read comments, books, and talk to people about sailing south or north from Panama, the less and less appealing it seems. We may still choose to go either direction, depending on the time we end up having, and our eagerness to do something a little different from the crowd.

Otherwise, we may re-consider the Galapagos stop, perhaps on the 20-day allowance that is being offered to vessels who have the Marquesas as their next destination in their paperwork.

Easter Island and Pitcairn have always seemed like unique stops, but I'm not sure how feel about the anchoring situation in either place.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:44   #24
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Re: Panama or Mexico to the Marquesas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryban View Post
.......

Otherwise, we may re-consider the Galapagos stop, perhaps on the 20-day allowance that is being offered to vessels who have the Marquesas as their next destination in their paperwork.

.......
The cost of clearing into the Galapagos just showing up is not much, or any, less than getting an Autografo before hand from an agent. The Autografo will normally allow you 3 ports and an extended stay. If you show up without one then you are at the whim of the Port Captain for how long you can stay, or if you can stay. You will also unlimited to one port. While you might see a consistent string of boats get 20 days, the Port Captains are regularly rotated, so a new PC might have different thoughts. I've seen boats told to just pack up and leave due to their actions on arrival.
You can contact an agent via email 6 weeks or so in advan e to get an Autografo.
For us Isabella was the best place in the Galapagos.
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