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Old 02-10-2016, 08:57 PM   #1
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Default Best time to hitch a ride in Panama to cross the Pacific?

Hi,

I am planning to try and catch a ride in Panama to cross the Pacific.

Since I am currently in Argentina and will probably arrive to Panama in the mid of March or beginning of April, I have some doubts if there is a real possibility of finding a ride at this time.

Although I read (here: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/f35...ific-1272.html) that March and April is the time when boats leave to cross the Pacific, other users in this forum and elsewhere on the net say January - February is when most boats leave.

I would be grateful if somebody could advise if it is worth trying in March-April or should I wait for the next year.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:21 PM   #2
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I passed through the canal last March. Marinas at both ends of the canal were hosting "Puddle Jump" meetings. There were dozens of boats making preparations.

So, it's not too late. But, you are looking for a ride? If you aren't looking for a crewing position and have no experience, chances are slim to none. If you have no experience, you may not want to sail with a captain who would accept that.

I'm not trying to insult you and if you are experienced, you would not be too late in early March. My opinion is that after a boat has transited the canal, they probably already have their crews and supplies. The Shelter Bay Marina on the Colon side may be an easier place to find a boat. Many captains are looking for line handlers and you may find a crew position.

The problem with this marina is that it is remote. You may have trouble getting there without an expensive taxi ride. There is a hotel there, but rooms are $130 per night.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Tom.

I have 5000 miles of sailing experience in South Atlantic in three different boats where I was helping with sails, doing night-watches and steering the yachts, not much but better than nothing.

By the "ride" I mean an unpaid crew position, somebody who is crossing solo and needs a hand. Thanks for the tip about line handlers.

I travel on a bicycle currently so getting to the Shelter Bay Marina from Colon would not be a problem, the only worry I have that Colon is not a nice place, I heard, and not sure if it is possible to stay nearby the marina for several weeks, while looking for a boat, since paying 130 USD per night is not an option.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:26 PM   #4
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Colon is not a safe place. We took taxis everywhere and had them wait for us. A shuttle bus from the marina would also take us to a large shopping center. I never felt threatened, but every store had locked doors and you had to be buzzed in. So I guess it's not a good place to look for a hotel.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:58 AM   #5
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With the current strong El Nino you may well find boats departing a bit later then normal as cyclones form further east.
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