(Cayos Holandes, San Blas, Panama)
This morning we experienced our first choke-a-sauna (spelt phonetically as I have no idea how to spell it). These are semi-regular squalls that blow through the San Blas Islands parallel to the Panamanian coast. When the big, bad, black line of clouds first hits they pack a punch of 40 plus knot winds. This lasted about 10 minutes with around 40 minutes of rain and 30 knot winds to follow.
It was certainly good to experience in the daylight when we had visual reference points to gauge our anchor hold. Not that we were too worried. Our Rocna is a sand burying machine and has never gave us any reason to worry. That, and we back up on that thing like a Sir Mix-A-Lot lyric. Oceanna was going nowhere. Wish we could say the same about the ratty boat anchored next to us. When the squall hit all the boats swung about 90 degrees from our regular orientation. This put our neighbours right off the bow of Oceanna. And then as luck would have it their anchor began to drag. Fabulous.
Fortunately the captain was at the helm with the engine running and was able to keep their boat from blowing back into us. Sounds simple now writing it down, but near an hour of watching this boat struggling five meters off our bow while bumping our anchor chain with their keel was not an enjoyable experience. In the calm that followed the storm though, we were treated to our first view of continental Panama. The mainland mountains came out from behind their regular curtain of hazy skies.
On a better note, we rounded out our day substantially minimizing our degrees of separation to George Clooney. And Johnny Depp. And Keith Richards. Six degrees of separation – the theory that everyone is a mere six steps away from anyone else on this planet. Well, after a super fun night getting to know Jean and Celia, my steps to Georgey boy are now two. Jean to George. Oh the people you can meet when touring Europe with the Rolling Stones!