1) ABOUT AIS – Zihuatanejo, MX

Hailing Commercial Ships
When cruising from Isla Mujeres to Corpus Christi, we were hailed by a โ€œCrane Shipโ€ captain who had seen us on AIS. He was a โ€œgood ole boyโ€ from the south and he was quite chatty.ย  In the process of talking to him, he gave us this adviceโ€ฆwhenever you are in the vicinity of a commercial ship, cruise ship or anything a whole lot bigger than you, hail them on Channel 16 because they are so big and you are so small (and they are often not watching), that they wonโ€™t even see you on their radar or on their AIS.
When you hail them, there is a record of your conversation and you alert them to your existence.ย  Ask them if they see you on radar and AIS.ย  If necessary, be ready to give them a definition of where you are in relation to them. i.e. 2 miles off your port bow.
We do this on a regular basis and have actually had some nice conversations with some ships, especially cruise ship captains.ย  We also find that they respond more often to a womanโ€™s voice, so I am generally the one that does it.ย 

On the way south from Bahia Hadras, we were traveling loosely with three other boats, all of whom had AIS, but one only had receiving AIS, not sending.ย  He was under sail and was very difficult to see in the dark.ย  There was a commercial ship bearing down on all of us, so I hailed it and asked if he could see us.ย  It took him awhile and then he finally said that he did.ย  I alerted him to the fact that we were four sailboats in the vicinity and asked him if he saw all four of us.ย  That took awhile longer, he said that he did see us and that he would take evasive action given that we were all under sail.
I really enjoy hailing ships both because it is a safety issue and it if fun if you get a chatty captain, but also because it breaks up the night watch a bit.ย  I used to be hesitant to chat on the radio, but since I started hailing ship captains who donโ€™t know me from Adam, my confidence has increased to the point that I canโ€™t wait for a ship to come in range so that I can yak away.

John & Trish


2) Barillas Marina Club, El Salvador
13ยฐ 15.6562 Nย  088ยฐ 29.4645 W
(503) 632-1802 info@barillasmarina.com

It’s not just an anchorage – the have mooring, fuel dock and not a big river bar to cross and only 30 nm from Bahia del Solย 

Moorings are $ 45 for the first night and $ 16 after that – they have custom facilitiesย and immigration

And aย  lovely Restaurant, Transportation

Plus they provide transportation to go shopping, get to the airport, laundry, showers and a pool

It’s very relaxing and pretty

The also have fuel and water

Launch ramp next to fuel dockย 

Oscar & Nellita

MI PANGAย  ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท

3) Chiapas, MX Here is an overview of our tour. If it’s already been done by others, just pitch this.
The crews of Slow Dancer and Blue Oasis joined Miguel in Marina Chiapas for a day tour.ย 
First we went to the ruins at Izapa. Miguel was super knowledgeable about the ruins themselves as well as the Mayan and Aztec peoples.

After the ruins, we visited the small town of Tuxtla Chico. We walked through a beautiful old church and shopped a bit at the local market. Miguel is also knowledgeable about the plant life in the area and had us taste several fruits from the trees that we passed.

Next up was lunch. What an amazing feast! La Parra is owned by Josefina. This amazing woman has won competitions in several countries for her wonderful chocolate that she grows, roasts, grinds by hand and packages. We enjoyed tamales, quesadillas,ย  rolls and hotย chocolate. We enjoyed watching the making of tortillas over a wood burning stove. We also watched them make the chocolate. Next we traveled to Dona Petra’s kitchen to see the tamale making process. Best tamales in the state according to Miguel. We thought so too!

Lastly, Miguel took us to see the Guatemala border and then to Walmart for some last minute provisions.ย 

We highly recommend Miguel as a tour guide. His English is great and his knowledge of the area is amazing.ย  Plus he’s a really nice guy!

Dale & Kenneth


4) Long Term Stay in Costa Rica

Hi All,
Hereโ€™s the info re leaving your vessel in Costa Rica beyond the 90 day basic temporary import.

There is a process called Exoneration, which provides for importation of the boat into The country for up to two years, with no import tax consequence. The proviso is that you must enter into a contract with a marina in order for this to occur. The contract need not be for two years, but for a period of time that you work out with the marina. The vessel must be physically in the marina with which you enter into the contract, while the Exoneration paperwork is completed which takes between 14-18 days.ย 

When the Exoneration process is completed you surrender your original 90-day TIP, and henceforth the boat is in the country under the exoneration permit. With that in place, you can now leave the marina, under a zarpe that the marina puts in place and sail anywhere in Costa Rica and even out of the country and thereafter return, all under the auspices of the Exoneration. The obvious kicker is that you will still be paying whatever marina fees apply vis a vis your contract, assuming you donโ€™t leave the country permanently, i.e., terminating your marina contract and commensurate with that, your Exoneration Permit. It is permissible to change from a one marina to another during the two year period and your Exoneration permit transfers from one contract to the next. The Exoneration Cost, which is primarily an Agent Fee to put the paperwork in place, with the Agent weโ€™ll use through Marina Papagallo is approximately $800. BUT, Marina Papagallo offers to offset the Exoneration fee which some very attractive marina fee reductions in order to have our marina business. For a six month contract, the cost to us, net, is about what weโ€™d pay on a monthly long term basis for Marina La Cruz, Marina Vallarta, Marina Paradise Village, and the three marinas in La Paz, or El Cid in Mazatlan.

For us, it makes great sense to do this, so we are. Weโ€™ll fly out of Liberia airport non-stop to LAX on Alaska Airlines at a very affordable fare. Liberia airport is a taxi ride from this marina. This region of Costa Rica is considerably drier than, for example El Salvador, or even Golfito, and the bottom growth comparatively is negligible. So, boat issues should be less than in Chiapas, or El Salvador, or even Golfito, and anywhere in Panama. And the bonus is, we can in the meanwhile and upon our return, sail throughout the country at will until northbound to Mexico weather suits our fancy.

Iโ€™m certain that Contract Offers differ from marina to marina, and probably even agent to agent, so all is negotiable. For those in Golfito, Miguel at Banana Bay, who used to be at Marina Golfito, was in a former employment capacity, a Costa Rican Customs official, and undoubtedly knows the ins and outs of this on par with Marina Golfito.

So, there it is. Weโ€™ll leave here in late October/early November and make Barra de Navidad for the annual Cruisersโ€™ Thanksgiving fete,๐Ÿ˜Ž
If any questions, shoot an email back and Iโ€™ll clarify. Ciao,

Bob & Sherry


5) Sumwood Channel, Bocas del Torro, Panama

Sumwood Channel is a convenient connection between Bahia Almirante and Laguna de Chiriqui.
It is also a beautiful ride between the mangroves. We cruised it from South to North.

We planned our route on Navionics charts. We checked the route against positions obtained from grid on Bauhausโ€™ photos and the ferry route indicated on Google Mapsโ€™ (!) sat images. Critical areas could be easily identified by lookout. Minimum depths recorded on approach was 8.5 m.

In the canal sometimes becomes shallow in the midst. If your attention is not distracted by the beautiful landscape, it may be easier to stay in max depths (bottom is mud …).

North of canal Navionics and grid from Bauhaus photos shows discrepancies. Nacionics Sonar Charts are of great help.

And for those, who still rely on Pat Rains ten year old revised edition 2017:
There are no buoys anymore in the Boca del Toro Canal (as correctly reflected on the chart in Bauhausโ€˜ book).



4) Casco Viejo, Panama

The gifts of Living in Gratitude ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป continue in abundance as we met with JAIME FIGUEROA the Tourism Ambassador of Panama and Alva, the proprietor of Panama House Bed & Breakfast this morning at the most quaint and personal B&B we were honored to spend time whilst in Panama City .. thank you Alva for sharing your home and family and hospitality with us . Thank you Jaime for your welcoming spirit to your Country and the stories, knowledge and passion you share. We look forward to coming through the Canal Sunday with the added information you enlightened us with. We also look forward to visiting with you soon. You live and share a fascinating life and weโ€™re honored to call you a friend. Till next time – Carpe Diem – live love and laughย 

Fantastic meeting with Our ambassador in Panama, jaime Figuero ! Beautiful person!
Jaime is sharing so much of his life and experiences and his passion for Panama !

To contact him email jaime@panamaposse.com

Ron & Karen


Every Monday UTC 16:00 LINE GROUP CALL

Our cruising season in the area and for the Panama Posse is NOV – MAY based on the hurricane season.
Most participants will be staying put after June 1. Thus our last weekly LINEย  call will be held Monday May 20. At this time the plan is to leave the LINE chat room open and but it will no longer be actively managed.ย ย  Everyone will have the choice to remain in contact with each other thru the chat room. When we start the new season in November we will open a new LINE chat room for the next seasons’ members. Download from https://line.me/en-US/

We will fade out the Panama Posseย  Facebook group over the summer and start the new FB group page in September.
Fleet updates will stop June and start up in October for next season’s posse. SOย  it’s time for you to ….

16 vessels have done so already https://panamaposse.com/2019-2020-vessels

If you are ready simply reply with an email and re-register (no new registration form to fill out)
and we’ll take care of the rest – or sign up here

We’ll meet in Barra de Navidad in October / November for an earlyย  December kick off ( right after Thanksgiving)

7) Las Perlas, Panama

Ay Caramba ! is in Isla Parida, two different anchorages. In the N, a good first stop at N 8 07.183 W 82 20.888 un 25 feet at +7 tide.

It was rolly in the evening.ย  The second spot near Playa Socorro at N 8 07.679 W 82 19.427 under 21 feet of water at +10. It turns out I Gamez is probably the better place for the current conditions. There’s an annoying swell that seems to be wrapping around the island, we’re exposed to it here. Isla Gamez at around N 8 07.722 W 82 19.062 ( just across) seems to have good protection for that.ย  SV Octopus Garden is there. They reported a little rolliness only when the wind went to the East.
03:40 Ay Caramba! – Juan A note to vessels leaving Golfito, you will benefit significantly from timing your departure with the ebb .. ๐Ÿ˜‰ + 1.5 kts.

Juan & Michelle


8) Panama Posse Swag … coming this summer …

9) Please reply to this email with
any updates – songs – pictures – alerts and we’ll include it in the next Fleet Updates

Happy Easter & Happy Passover to all from

Dietmar & Suzanne


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