Leaving and New Friends

Project Bluesphere.  We bonded pretty quickly.  I found out he’d sailed through the South Pacific and had some knowledge worth knowing.  He found out I had a car – and we both share a similar distaste for riding the bus into town.  That sealed the deal.

My last few nights in Puerto Lindo we traded off making dinner and generally shooting the shit on each other’s boats.  It was nice to have another opinion on boat maintenance, and someone with some mechanical chops onboard to walk me through my systems.  And his new wife Carla can cook!

It also turns out that Carla can do canvas work.  Convenient, as I needed a new sailcover for my main.  Hopefully we’ll be spearing and diving together a bit when I get back.  I have some tricks that I can pull out with two people in the water – and I’m dying to try my new Rob Allen Spearfishing Gear.  Rob, thanks again man!

An Infestation

I really hadn’t given much thought to infestations onboard a sailboat.  Like, for instance, roaches.  Or worse, rats.  I just assumed it was pretty unlikely.  Not the case.  In fact Alex and Carla had been fighting a rat onboard for a week or so.  I could tell it was stressing them out.  The rat was eating their food, likely chewing through their wiring, and keeping them up at night.  No fun. 

The last straw, though, was when the rat started chewing through Alex’s mainsail.  Jeez.  The good news is that Alex was pretty crafty making traps.  There were no fewer than 4 different kinds of traps onboard when I was around.

To make a long story short – the day before we needed to leave for Panama City (Alex and Carla were dropping me off at the airport) – Alex got the rat.  More specifically – Alex locked it out of the boat in the middle of the night, and in the morning he shot it with a speargun.  True story.  Here’s proof.  Never heard of that before – but it works, if you’re a good shot.

Leaving and New Friends

Alex vs the Rat

Back to Panama City

Alex needed to see a doctor in Panama City, I needed a ride to the airport.  The solution was pretty simple –  Alex and Carla come in with me, and drop me at the airport.  None of us have to ride the bus, we all get to Panama City.

Well – we got into a little trouble in Panama City.  First I backed the SUV up into a huge hole that was well-hidden on the street.  It completely bottomed out my suspension.  And, wouldn’t you know, the locals there knew exactly how to get it out – for a fee of course.  I don’t like the feeling that I’m being ripped off (getting the gringo treatment), but it’s better than having your SUV in a hole in a crappy part of Panama City. So the locals got us out, and we paid them.

Then I was having some trouble navigating through rush-hour in Panama City.  Ask anyone who has ever seen it – it’s complete and utter chaos.  If you’ve ever cursed the drivers in any American city, let me assure you – Panama City is horrible (but supposedly decent compared to other South/Central American Cities).  Well, I darted into an opening in a turn-lane.  It wasn’t a classy move, but I was still driving better than any of the locals.

Unfortunately for me, there was a pipsqueak of a police-officer that noticed I was a white guy with blonde hair, behind the wheel.  This means he wants to pull me over and write me a ticket, at which point he wants me to bribe him to not write a ticket.  But, of course, I don’t really care if he writes me a ticket – I won’t pay it.  I just leave his crappy city, and eventually his country.  I’ll repeat it – I don’t like being ripped off.  Alex and Carla were with me, and Alex pulled out an old trick – he started videoing the encounter.

The police officer got pretty defensive, and if looks could kill – Alex wouldn’t have walked out of that encounter.  I was legitimately worried the police officer might take a whack at Alex with his baton.  Rather, the police officer just handed me back my license and told me to get lost.  That’s a solid win for the visiting team.

And that was the last of the excitement.  Unless, of course, you consider waiting on a 2:30 AM flight exciting. I consider it a circle of Hell.

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