It is odd to be on Diva in fresh water. We went for a quick swim yesterday and the water is clean and relatively clear, but you have to work a lot harder to stay afloat. The Chagres River is around 100 metres wide and 7-14 metres deep so it is easily navigated. It ends with a dam that is connected to the canal system and it is also used as overflow in the rainy season. We've been told the Canal Authority warns boats on the river before they open the flood gates, but then again, we've heard lots of "urban legend" equivalents about boats that weren't warned or didn't take any notice. But if you listen to everything people say you'd never get to go anywhere. It hasn't rained much here lately either, so we should be fine.
Recent wildlife experiences have been multi-sensory. Yesterday we saw dolphins while underway. We went exploring by dingy in the river and saw three long black monkeys (including a little one, awwww) in the trees. We've heard the howler monkeys roar often, including a dawn cacophony that was probably a morning greeting song in howler speak, but just sounded really noisy to me. See if you can find a howler monkey video on Youtube so you can get a sense of how they sound. It is a cross between a blizzard wind and a car motor.
This morning I also saw a toucan in the trees; I think he was looking for his fruitloops.
We coordinated this trip up the river with two other cruising boats: Moonshadow and Palvo Real. So in spite of our rather remote location, yesterday's evening included a robust game of Mexican Train dominos on Moonshadow (this is a good group game, by the way, remenicient of Uno and regular dominos) and tonight is chicken curry for all aboard Diva. Tomorrow we will probably head back out to sea and make our way towards Bocas del Toro on the west coast of Panama.
|Cruising along the Panamanian coast - photo credit: John Rogers, Captain of Moonshadow|
|At anchor, (we hope!) waiting to go through the canal.|
|The AIS targets - we are the red boat with the red line behind us (our track) and all of the yellow and green triangles are ships, most of them tankers.|
|Heading up the river.|
|Behind us, the catamaran Palvo Real, and Fort San Lorenzo on the hill.|
|Coming round the bend of the river. Photo credit: John Rogers|
|If you zoom in, you can see that I'm on the helm. Photo credit: John Rogers|
|So much Mexican Train fun! l-r, John Rogers, Anne Peacock, Deb Rogers, Tony Peacock, the Captain and myself. Photo credit: John Rogers and the self timer function on his camera.|