(Note: for FTLF, OSK & JRSK, my Newsletter now in english as many
of my contacts to day are non Scandinavian).
NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2015
The Rainy-Season here in Panama is about over and the Dry-Season,
our Summer, from December to May, about to start. November is also
the end of the Hurricane Season in The Caribbean, Tropical Atlantic and
Eastern Tropical Pacific. The Dry-Season in Panama is the time of the year
most cruising yachts are visiting Panama and many passing through the
Panama Canal on their way west in the Pacific.
The Hurricane Season in the Caribbean and Tropical Atlantic has been
relative light with less storms than expected, whereas in the Eastern
Tropical Pacific storm activity has been quite active. Furthermore the
Pacific currently with strong El Niño conditions which expected to
continue into the middle of 2016 affecting the weather.
Panama is not affected to a great extend by El Niño and a relative
normal Dry-Season is expected. As far as the Panama Canal is concerned
the large expansion, with a new set of locks etc., is expected to complete
during the second quarter of 2016. The new Locks etc. are mainly for
large commercial vessels and will not affect the transit of small vessels
like yachts. During the past months extensive transit delays due to
scheduled maintenance work, but in order to minimize delays some
of this work has now been postponed by the Canal Authorities. At this
time it is not clear to what extend this postponement will affect transit
of all type of vessels, inclusive yachts, during the coming months, but
yachts should expect possible delays. Regarding transits in general for
small vessels I again refer to the Canal Authorities Customer Form
”Procedure for securing a handline Transit of the Panama Canal” which
can be found on the Panama Canal web-site www.pancanal.com . This
form has information and rules, inclusive tariff, covering small vessel’s
transit, inclusive yachts.
Regarding cruising Panama not with any great changes with the exception
of The San Blas Islands. The local Cuna Yala Congress has announced that
they are increasing the Cuna Yala fees for visiting yachts to a level which
is, frankly, outrageous and will only drive cruising yacht away. The new
charges should be effective January 1st 2016 but presently the situation
is quite confusing and being developed/discussed. Cruisers should check
before their planned call at San Blas Islands for latest status.
Previously I reported that it was not necessary to clear in and out
between Panamanian Ports however the Authorities has reversed
their advise and now it is necessary to clear in and out between
Panamanian ports where a Port Captain’s office established.
For Galapagos obtaining permission to call, clearing in and out, still
with frequent changes of the regulations. It is still required that an
agent is appointed and it is recommended that yachts contact an
agent before proceeding to the Islands.
For information in general covering Panama and Galapagos reference
is also made to World Cruising Club’s web-site www.noonsite.com
(previously Jimmy Cornell) and to Eric Bauhaus’s The Panama Guide
(ISBN 978-9962-00-637-4) 5th Edition.
Communication: Many Cruisers are contacting me for information prior
to their arrival to this area, mainly by e-mail, and to day many yachts
are able to send and receive e-mails also when they are at sea. The
conditions for SSB communication not favourable due to poor propagation
and a low cycle 24. Apart from information covering Panama and the Panama
Canal I can also assist with weather forecasts covering Western Tropical Atlantic,
west of 45 West, The Caeribbean and Eastern Pacific, east of 145 West.
Cruisers are welcome to contact me for information and help they may
require. This is not a commercial service and I will assist as my time
permits. I am contact here in Panama for various Scandinavian Ocean
Cruising Associations, OCC and assisting noonsite with opdating of
My best season wishes and a happy new year with fair wind to all
cruisers and organizations receiving this newsletter.
Panama City, Panama R.P.
Telephone: +507 260-6203 (Home) & +507 6637-9287 (Mobile