Another mix of days around here. Some wet and overcast (crap), the others clear and nice – but hot. I wasn’t too happy about said overcast days, but I made it out to the local internet hotspot – Panama Reef Divers. There I met a couple of fellow nomads – Amy and Austin.
Amy is English, Austin is American – Cuban and speaks excellent Spanish. I forgave Amy for being English, just to get that out of the way. They met over craigslist, in the United States, when she responded to one of his craigslist ads – they were both looking for a ride to backpack through a national park. Now they’re both in Puerto Lindo, Panama helping out at a local hostel. She (Amy) manages it and he (Austin) works there part-time doing minor boat work and anything internet/network related. I desperately needed to get my WiFi network set up onboard – so his skillset was appreciated by me.
That overcast day Austin showed me around the “town.” Which mostly consists of a couple of places to buy cold beer (one French, one Dutch), one place to buy a hot meal, one place to pray to God, a small tienda (super-limited store), and a place to buy fuel (Jose’s house – he drives fuel in from somewhere else and sells it here by the liter).
Jose has a minor racket going on – everyone needs fuel (boats, cars, motorcycles), and he’s the only one who sells it in Puerto Lindo. The good news – it’s not overly expensive. He really could gouge you if he wanted to – but the prices are fair to slightly expensive. It cost me about $125 to fill up the boat with diesel and my dinghy with mixed gas. And I had some diesel leftover. I almost spent that much every time I filled up my truck back home – down here that’ll last much longer.
Anyways – I ended up eating with them that night. They made octopus, it was delicious. They fed me ice cold beer as well. Bueno.
A Network Onboard
The next day I met Austin early to get the WiFi network set up onboard. Roughly 10AM. Life’s tough.
He’d agreed to help me wire and set-up my wireless network onboard (yeah, I know how that sounds). We poured sweat all day below-decks – fighting with some of the panels and figuring out how to get everything wired. There were times when I really thought we’d never get it figured out. But we did. I bought this system through Island Time PC – great stuff, simple to figure out and setup. The thing that took all day was running the wire from the antenna to the router (through the damn boat).
I now have a wireless network onboard, but I’m just out of range of Panama Reef Divers, where there’s internet intermittently between 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM.
Amy and Austin have also helped me figure out my laundry issue, procure local fruit from the “fruit guy” (a dude that comes through in a truck that yells into a megaphone every couple of days), figure out getting to Colon, and finding a local mechanic. Handy people to know.
My starboard engine is still acting up. There’s a short somewhere that’s causing the damn thing to start randomly. I’ve cleaned connections, checked fuses, and tried what limited trouble-shooting I’m capable of – to no avail. I have a local (German) guy coming out to look at it this afternoon, hopefully. It would make my week if he could figure it out. If he can’t, there’s a big decision to be made – and it could involve quite a bit of money. No bueno.
I have two other boat projects that I want to get done before leaving Puerto Lindo – hook up my AIS and play with the watermaker. When I say “play with the watermaker”, I really mean: flush it, take it apart, replace all of the O-rings, and put it back together. I have a feeling that both of those projects will take longer than I thought. Good news is that I can do it all inside, so rain or no-rain I can work on those projects.
There’s a bunch of shopping I need to do. I’d definitely prefer to do it in Panama City, so I’m seriously considering renting a car. I need some bigger stuff – like a BBQ grill, a kayak, and a couple more fishing rods.
Finally got some diving in as well. Turns out my French neighbor was right – the fish are small and smart. It’s also a bit murky right now with the recent rains. I’ll probably give it a shot again tomorrow.
Anyways – I’m off to try to make progress on those boat projects.