The final stretch was just about the worst. Dave woke us up at about 3, since, much to our delight, we were chugging back into Balboa. He was his usual jittery self, of course – shouting + yelling, + the very opposite of the quiet efficiency we’ve encountered on other boats. Despite Dave blowing frantically on his bugle, no launch came out from Balboa Yacht Club to show us a berth – this was much as expected. However, there was a large boat occupying the fuel dock too, so all we could do was cruise round + round, in the dark, with Dave getting angrier + angrier. We nearly tied up to the entrance buoy – but eventually just found ourselves a mooring. Dave cracked open a bottle of champagne – Val + I took a token glass, then collapsed onto our bed on the cabin roof.
After a few hours sleep, I took the train across to Colon, to put under way immediately our search for a new boat. John + Barbara had left, Buddy was away, + some of the others already seemed to know about our misadventure – Dave had rung Ed. Still, a few people raised their eyebrows when they saw me, + (under orders) I had to fence a few questions. A lady called Jean was about the nicest, giving me a beer + a sandwich, + generally just being sympathetic. By chance, also made contact with an American couple, going to Santa Barbara, + that was a possibility. Nothing better tho’, so I took the train back. Discovered we were going for dinner at the infamous Scott’s, along with 3 other people that Dave had hired for the next day to transit (covering himself as usual.) They seemed alright tho’, – names Ron, Barbara + Tracey. And the meal was terrific. Scott was Nanciless, but had managed to provide a most wonderful spaghetti, with plenty of booze, +, (since I was able to get away from Dave) good conversation. Oh, I am so looking forward to being my own man again, rather than a mere adjunct of his whim.
Back again, and immediately into the hunt for an alternative means of travel. One problem is that, having spent the last six weeks or so around yachts, we are completely sold on that as the way to move on, at least from Panama, and anything else would seem like a comedown. Still, we shall just have to take what is available. In the meantime, we are in a (slightly more) difficult position with Dave and Monika.