From Karsten Staffeldt, Panama, May 2018
We are now getting close to the end of our Summer (Dry-Season) here in Panama, which is also the sailing season, and the Rainy Season will be present the following months to about November. June is also the start of the Hurricane Season in the Tropical Atlantic, The Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
The latest reports covering El Nino and La Nina in the Pacific indicates weak conditions or neutral covering the balance of 2018. Regarding transits of the Panama Canal during the past months by yachts and other small vessels no real change, and no immediate increase of transit expenses anticipated. In general little or no extensive transit delays experienced during this past season. Regarding the Panama Canal Pilots negotiations with the Canal Authorities covering more control of small vessels transits no developments to report. As usual reference is made to the Panama Canal Authority’s Customer Form ”Procedures for securing a Handline Transit of the Panama Canal” covering small vessels transit, inclusive yachts, (Rules, Regulations, Requirements and Expenses) which can be found on the Panama Canal Web-Site: www.pancanal.com (go to section ”Customer Forms”).
Cruising Panama without any significant changes, at times regulations somewhat confusing, specially relating to Immigration. The latest information Immigration Regulations for crew on non-commercial Yachts indicates that yacht crew will be cleared as other tourist and generally no visa required. Again it must be said the attendance at various Immigration Offices often inconsistent!!
Galapagos Islands, most yacht’s destination after Panama, I refer to my previous Newsletters and no significant changes has been reported.
Communication: Many yachts are contacting me for information and advise prior to their planned arrival to this area. Presently contacts via SSB voice radio not very favourable due to poor propagation and a weak Cycle 24, and to day more and more yachts are being equipped with specially Satellite Communication for receiving and sending e-mails, weather information and tracking etc., workable also when at sea.
Apart from Information covering Panama and Panama Canal Transits I can also provide weather forecasts for western Tropical Atlantic, west of 45W, The Caribbean and eastern Tropical Pacific, east of 145W.
Additional information can be found on World Cruising Club’s Web-Site: www.noonsite.com (previous Jimmy Cornell) and to Eric Bauhaus The Panama Guide 5th Edition (ISBM 978-9962-05-664-5).
Any Yachr is welcome to contact me for information etc. This is not a commercial service and I will assist as my time permits. I am Panama contact for various Scandinavian Ocean Cruising Associations (FTLF/DOCA, OSK &T JRSK) and also OCC as well as assisting WCC’s noonsite with updates etc.
In closing fair wind to all cruisers and cruising organizations receiving this Newsletter.
Panama City, Panama R.P.
Telephone: +507 260-6203 (Residence) and +507 6637 9287 (Mobile)
Radio: H P 1 X B M