I’ll dig into the individual pieces when I have a little more time and a better internet connection – but I’m happy to say that I received the 4 pieces of kit I really wanted – a Rob Allen Snapper 130 Railgun (complete with reel and reel line), a Rob Allen Tuna 140 Railgun with a double-flopper shaft, some (super high-quality) Rob Allen carbon fiber fins and footpockets, and (finally) that 3MM Open-Cell wetsuit I’d been wanting (my last one started to disintegrate). In addition to this, they hooked me up with a ton of spares – and perhaps more importantly: a couple of coozies.
The thing that I was most concerned with was a quality set of carbon-fiber freediving fins. Mine died in San Blas when I capsized my dinghy.
Remarkably High-Quality Freediving Fins/Footpockets
I’m a bit picky about fins and footpockets. They’re really important to deep diving (and for comfort). The footpockets I lost were my “soft” ones – meaning they were my all-day, go-to footpockets. And I was naturally skeptical about any other footpockets. You can imagine how excited I was, then, when I pulled out the Rob Allen carbon-fiber fins and footpockets and found them to be very high-quality and very comfortable.
The hardcore freedivers generally prefer a stiffer footpocket, as it transfers more energy to the fins. I’m not a hardcore freediver though, I’m a spearfishermen. As such, I need something that I can fight fish and current with all day without leaving blisters on my feet (even though that happens anyways when I’m diving hard). The Rob Allen fins and footpockets look like just the ticket.
Of course, with a hole in my finger that’s far from healed – I’m staying out of the water for a bit. I guess it’s good I’m taking some time to spend in the States – otherwise the temptation to try the new gear would likely be too strong. So, when I get back and whip S/V NOMAD into shape – I’m going to put the gear through the ringer.
I can tell you this – a Rob Allen speargun was my first speargun, and that very speargun is hanging on S/V NOMAD right now. It would be tough for me to have any better proof of durability, as I’m known for being hard on diving gear. And I would have sold it in the States if it wasn’t deadly accurate. If you’re looking for quality, affordable spearing gear that stands up to some serious punishment – look no further than Rob Allen spearfishing gear.
It sounds like I’m all booked up onboard S/V NOMAD. A couple of folks reached out after my last post, and if schedules work out I’ll have a full boat for the next couple of months (when I return). That’s cool with me, as I welcome the help. At the end of the day, I think paying crew makes sense if you’re a single-hander. They get a cheap ride in exchange for some helping around the boat, I get some help around the boat and split expenses. As long as everyone gets along, it’s a win-win.
At least in theory. The reality of it might be different, but this whole thing is one huge experiment – so we’ll see.
I should have been complete with all boat refit/repair by now. The hole in my finger and the associated infection have kept me from doing even a fraction of what needs to be done, though. That’s not a huge deal, but it is inconvenient. Pressing projects:
- I believe that I’ve lost my fuel pump in my starboard engine
- I have a couple of saildrive seals that need to be replaced
- I’m positive that my generator needs some work
- I still need to rewire my instruments and autopilot
- I’m going to replace my fresh-water cooled refrigeration in the galley
- My sailcover fell apart in San Blas
- I’m replacing my solar panels with the new Kyocera 140W panels
- Replacing the dinghy w/an 11′ (+) Caribe and a 15HP Yamaha, both new
- I need to go over the bottom and the props when I return
- My watermaker keeps flipping the breaker (but it’s back in operation, other than that) – I think this is wiring-related
There’s more – but it’s getting a little overwhelming. You get the point.
The real issue isn’t the work – all of that is pretty straightforward stuff. The issue is that it’s so much damn trouble to get parts/wiring/etc here in Puerto Lindo. I know many people like this place, but I deem it a major PITA. A refit would be so much easier in a first-world country, or at least in a major city of Panama. Make no mistake – Panama is a third world country. They don’t have a reliable postal system, they don’t have addresses (really), and the way Panamanians do business is nothing short of ridiculous. Most of them are crooks, and it’s hard to tell the difference between honest folks and crooks. Even the locals reference”Panama- time” as a real excuse for never getting anything done.
All of this is pushing me to get to Columbia or cross the Canal. The word on the street is that Columbia has three major exports: cocaine, pretty women that like boats, and cheap boat work. It’s kind of amazing how many single-handed white guys are running around with Columbian girls. It’s almost a given.
I’ll be in Houston Tuesday, and Austin by Thursday (maybe before). And there’s a little shindig on Saturday that you shouldn’t miss if you’re in Austin. Then it’s onto riding the motorcycles before they’re sold. And finally, hopefully, some down time to just relax in the A/C with a real internet connection. So I can do some work/updating on this site.