After several emails, a short Skype conversation and many phone calls it was settled; Mat's friend Rachel would fly in as soon as possible and join us on our Pacific journey.
She flew in a week after Mat and we had planned to leave within 24 hours or so, but just before she arrived our 2.5 year old, 15 hp Mercury outboard quit working so we had to bring it in for repair. After several days of pestering the shop they finally looked at it and asked how long it had been under water. "WHAT? It hasn't been under water" said René. "There's corrosion on the inside. We got it going but it sounds a little funny and we don't know how long it will run" the technician replied.
Oh, that's just great. Just over two years ago we sold our 9 year old 25 hp Mercury that had never given us any problem beyond normal wear and tear so we could travel the Pacific with a new, reliable outboard. Seems our plan backfired. After running around with it a bit, making significantly more noise than it used to, it wouldn't start without the spark plugs being removed, dried and replaced. Obviously water was getting into it while it ran so René put a call in to the service department at Island Water World to see if they had any insight as to what was going on and what could be done about it. Anxious to get under way we didn't wait around for answers. We still have our back up outboard, an 11 year old 5 hp and "if" we can fix the 15 with some new parts we can have them shipped to Marquesas or something.
Five days after Rachel's arrival we weighed anchor from La Playita anchorage, motor-sailed about 33 nm and anchored between Isla Chapera and Isla Mogo Mogo in the Las Perlas island group. Along the way we saw a few sea turtles, a few rays jumping into the air, schools of fish splashing about and best of all, a pod of dolphins feeding. We took that as a good omen to the start of our big journey.
La Playita anchorage, Amador Causeway, Panama