As Dave had already arranged himself a transit crew, Val + I took the opportunity of missing out on this particular trip. First, we didn’t want to spend a whole day going thro’ the Canal again, especially with Dave, + secondly we had read a note about a boat going off to the South Pacific, which we wanted to check out. Unfortunately, the thing was out at Taboga, an island just a few miles out. Scott came out early to deliver the crew, so took us back to give us coffee +_ corn flakes, before dropping us off at Pier 18, where the launch out there left from. A pleasant enough journey out there, + we were able to hire a small launch to take us put to meet jack Hughes, captain of the “Alma de Libertad”. He seemed friendly enough, + invited us down. And the boat was lovely – attractively laid out, + comfortable. A little smaller than the Crusader, but you would never know from inside – 2 separate cabins, for a start. Jack told us he was going to Tahiti, and required $10 per day each, plus we needed $600 each to enter Tahiti. We could afford all this, just, but it didn’t leave us much headway. Jack rowed us back to the mainland, + we had a couple of beers at the local hotel, + chatted. The launch back left at 5.30, so we were left to our own devices for the afternoon. We wandered round Taboga, a surprisingly pretty place, ate a frugal meal of bread + spam, read, + I swam. Jack’s wife, Alma, came in on the ferry we were to leave on, + she added the unwelcome info that they required all the money in advance, in cash. Hm. They invited us out to visit next week, + we said cheerio, not feeling anything like as elated as we probably should have done. A nightmare journey back – ferry, then a long wait for the last train, then a for walk before collapsing aboard Crusader at 11.30.
A possibility, but already arriving with serious drawbacks – but at least it demonstrates that there are some possibilities out there, even though the season for transatlantic traffic for yachts is starting to come to an end.