sailing the Caribbean

Mission Panamania: Sailor Showers and Land Ho

Strange things happen out in the middle of the ocean. Our brains are overloaded with fresh air, our senses are on full alert and we have absolutely nowhere else to go.

There’s no internet to distract us and no Facebook or Instagram to piddle away the hours on. We’re left with no alternative but to be fully present. Live in the moment, aware and completely enthralled by every event of the day…and I do mean every little event.

We were warned that sailing voyages and cruising around the world changes a person.  I never knew what that really meant and I still don’t think I fully understand…but I’m starting to get an idea.

Every form of exploration leaves its mark on us.  Traveling North America by RV for seven years gave us a great appreciation for our home country and our neighbors to the north and south.  We learned oodles about the towns we visited, the small businesses we patronized and the incredible beauty around each bend in the road.  We gained a deeper appreciation for nature and the desire to preserve, protect and share its beauty.  Our home on wheels challenged us in many ways.  It made us aware of the resources we used and how best to conserve them.  We learned so much about ourselves and how much more we value experiences over possessions. All those land based adventures have no doubt changed us.

So, I expect the ocean will continue the education and broaden the landscape of discoveries.  We’ve learned boat loads already and we’ve only just begun!  The completion of this voyage feels like the beginning of something big.  I don’t know what it is yet, but I really like this feeling of anticipation.

This was a short stint at sea compared to what we will face while sailing in the South Pacific and beyond.  But even this small voyage was packed with big milestones.

sky porn sailing at sea

nikki wynn Sailing across the Caribbean sea

Longest Passage Sailed

  • We left Miami, Florida at 7:20pm on July 14, 2017.  We arrived to Bocas Del Torro, Panama at 7am on August 1, 2017.
  • 18 days total to complete the voyage with 5 nights spent at anchor. Anchorages – West Bay, New Providence (1 night) / Staniel Cay (1 night) / Georgetown (2 nights) / Great Inagua (1 night)
  • Total Nautical Miles Sailed – 1,610
  • Max Boat Speed – 16.1 knots (thanks to that crazy storm)
  • Average Boat Speed – 5.5 knots
  • Average Miles Per Day – 124
  • Most Miles Sailed In 24 Hours – 168

 sailing to panama route

To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

Customs and Checking Into Panama

Requirements, procedures and fees can change at anytime.  So, while we are sharing our costs and check-in process, yours could be drastically different.

  • Total Costs  – $116 for customs, immigration and agriculture (these visas allow us to be in Panama for 6 months).  $185 for our cruising permit (this allows the boat to be in Panama for one year).
  • Noonsite is well known for being great information and links for cruisers. I completely agree, here is the link to the page on cruising Panama – 
  • Information and Requirements on Traveling With 

A few tips from our Panama check-in

  • As Jason mentioned in the video, make sure you print 4 copies of everything.  Even if the agents said “I don’t need that paper, a few minutes later they’d ask me to print it anyway.”
  • Bring lots of cash in small bills because they don’t always carry change.
  • None of them had pens so they ended up walking out with all my pens (which was fine, and in the future I’ll get some Curiosity pens made to serve as swag. Apparently, they really, really like swag.).
  • Don’t be in a rush as they are on island time and will arrive whenever they arrive.
  • Oh, and make sure you have chilled soda and juice on board.  It’s not something we typically carry because we don’t drink it.  They all requested it and they seemed disappointed when all we could provide was water, tea or coffee.  They would not drink beer while working, but they happily took a can for the road when they left.

One thing we thought was interesting is the marina owners (and manager) said “you think that’s expensive…try having them come out to the anchorage.”  They were implying that the fees are greater for anchored vessels, which I don’t doubt as this area of Panama is all about tourism, and when officials see you not supporting the local businesses they might be inclined to charge more.  We can’t say for sure, but have no reason to doubt them.  They do have a lot of cruisers coming in and out.

Cell & WiFi

There is no cell coverage out in the middle of the ocean.  We use our Iridium Go with Predict Wind for weather and communications.  This is how we are able to download the latest weather reports, send emails and call family to let them know we are doing well:

Gear Used In This Video

    • All of our fave gear (i know we have a lot of new gear to add, I promise it’s coming soon) – 
    • Quatix 5 Watches: Garmin Wearables  These are the new blue watches we’ve been wearing.  We will share the full scoop on them soon because they are hands down our new fave piece of gear.
    • Chartplotter: Garmin 7612xsv Multi-touch  More on this soon too, we’re still learning and figuring it all out.
    • iPad Mount at Helm:  Using iPad Pro:   With These Sailing Apps:
    • Curiosity’s Underwater Lights, excellent for navigating anchorages with reefs at night: MIU15 in Ice Blue (Use discount code WYNNS for 7.5% off)
    • Entertainment at Sea, Kindle and Prime Unlimited Reading:
    • Fishing gear section coming soon!
    • Nikki’s Ukulele – I purchased this ukulele well over 8 years ago.  It’s a Mitchell that at the time was $150.  I have since carried the thing around never making it past the first couple of pages in my “learn how to play ukulele” book. I get busy and the ukulele sits in the corner collecting dust. So, I decided I have to either dedicate the time to teaching myself or let it go.  I really, really want to learn…so here goes the final attempt.  Wish me luck.

Cameras Used to Capture This Video

Dale and Justin

These guys are Patreon’s and won a place on this voyage from our recent Crew Call.  Want to see more from them?  You can find Dale and Justin here:


Thanks for joining us!  If you liked this video and want to help us keep the videos and posts flowing, check out our Say Thanks page. It lists out some ways you can show us some digital love and most won’t cost you a penny.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (35)

  • Drei

    Originally, a swallow was earned every 5,000 nautical miles. Due to the enhanced capabilities of today’s ships, a sailor earns a swallow every 10,000 nautical miles.

    • Drei

      Info from another site but none the less, you guys need to ink these:)))

      1. Swallow
      Originally, a swallow was earned every 5,000 nautical miles. Due to the enhanced capabilities of today’s ships, a sailor earns a swallow every 10,000 nautical miles.

      2. Shellback Turtle and King Neptune
      Like most naval legends, no one can say for certain the origin of “the Order of Neptune” or “Shellback”. Evidence traces the terms back at least 400 years. Sailors went from being “pollywogs” (inexperienced sailors) to “shellbacks,” or members of Neptune’s court, upon crossing the equator–and in so doing, endured intense initiation ceremonies. The tradition is still in practice today, though it is a much milder experience. The tattoo is traditionally worn on the back of a sailor’s hand or the back of the calf and is marked with the date he or she was initiated.

      3. Anchor
      The less common meaning is the sailor is a merchant marine. For U.S. Navy sailors the single anchor is earned after completing the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Similar to the crossing the equator, the Atlantic crossing is a mark of experience.

      4. Fully Rigged Ship
      Today such an elaborate tat marks a voyage around Cape Horn. “Rounding the Cape” was notorious for being one of the most dangerous voyages and was feared by even the most seasoned sailors. Traditionally, the tattoo is worn on the sailor’s chest or upper back.

      6. Golden Dragon
      The traditional Asian dragon, inked in gold, entered seafaring tattoo lore as the indicator of a sailor who had crossed the International Dateline. Upon crossing that line sailors were said to have entered “the Domain of the Golden Dragon.” Unlike the equator crossing, there is no induction ceremony attendant to the International Dateline crossing. But sailors who cross it still receive a traditional certificate and earn the right to wear the golden dragon.

  • Louise

    Congratulations on your longest sail! Well done! Just curious about how quiet the Leopard is at anchor as far as water noise on the hulls. I noticed in your videos in the cockpit while anchored that you can hear some slapping sounds from the water. Do you notice it? Does it bother you at all, day or night? Thanks!

  • Deborah Kerr

    Congratulations!! You made it safe & sound!! I knew you all would do it!! Those dolphins were giving you a nice warm welcome to their part of the world! I can’t wait to see what Panama looks like….the people, the culture, the food, the houses, cars, and boats…. the schools, churches, beaches….. and of course you guys always check out some grocery stores and markets…and bars!! Wish I were there too!! Have fun and keep smiling 🙂

  • Mark

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventures ~ it feels as if we’re right there beside you (As Jason referenced in his night log). The shots you take of the various conditions of the sea are as epic as they are stunning. It makes me realize the truth behind a favorite quote that epitomizes you all, “A ship in the harbor is safe…but that’s not what ships were built for.”

    Congratulations on a life well lived! But can you explain how Jason was able to call his Mom in the middle of the ocean?

    • Curious Minion

      Curiosity has a satellite system (Iridium Go!) that lets the crew stay in contact.

  • Tev

    You were wise to get out of the hurricane zone as I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Harvey. The people of Texas are doing what we do-helping each other. Stay safe out there in your travels and keep the videos coming as we enjoy seeing them. Look forward to seeing your explorations of Panama.

  • Kathy Weydig

    So proud of you two. This was your dream and you figured out gow to do it…… sail on!

  • Anita

    That was amazing! So happy you made it safely. I tell my husband about your adventures as if I know you. Well I feel like I do. Question – do any of you get land sickness after being on the boat that long? I generally don’t get seasick but I get the land sickness after. You have probably sailed enough now it doesn’t affect you. Have a wonderful time exploring and looking forward to the next video!

  • Roger B

    WOW! Great video. You had me glued to the video in anxious anticipation of your arrival and customs checks.

  • Valerie Mortensen

    You two are just amazing! Crazy, but
    amazing! I would never do what you just did…just finished. I am speechless. You are just the most amazing couple. Cheers to you…We hooked on to you while RVing full time for two years. Now your sailing, is, well,….amazing! You are so adventurous!! Safe travels and God’s Blessings!!

  • Bill Dennis

    You need to plan for the worst as mother nature can make your worst night mare in a heartbeat, just look at Texas and Louisiana now. How long could you live in an inverted Curiosity, will your water maker operate inverted in sea water, how long would it take to cut away your mast if and when it goes over the side, what are you going to use to slow down Curiosity racing down 40′ seas pearling it’s bows and pitchpoling. Once your there it’s too late if you aren’t prepared, no matter how many viewers and subscribers you have they won’t be able to help. It’s a big ocean and it can get nasty out there be self sufficient.

    • Daniel Lemaire

      «The mark of a great ship-handler is never getting into situations that require great ship-handling.»
      Admiral Ernest King, USN
      The best way to avoid the worst is to have a well maintained boat (which they do), a competent crew (which they are becoming) and not to tempt fate by getting yourself into sticky situations (which they always have done). Yes, s..t happens at sea, but being prepared, and prudent (as they are), will allow them to avoid most of it ! 😉

  • Sonny

    This is my first post here but I have been “lurking” since I found ya’ll just as you were starting to look for a boat. What an adventure you are on and thank you for allowing me to follow along ! I know this video is a few days behind so I wonder where you are now? I live in Panama City so if I can help you in any way during your time here please let me know. You are living my dream so this gringo wishes all aboard safe travels ! Cheers !

    • Hello Sonny. You can always see where we are now on the little map at the bottom left of any page of our website. We should be in Panama City for a couple days before the end of the year.

  • Pamela

    Your videos teach! That is phenomenal compared to a lot of travel videos. I am so looking forward to the ongoing adventures of Nikki and Jason. Please be safe and never not be aware of your surroundings. Most people are genuinely nice but there are some crazy people amongst us. Thanks for sharing your adventures and life. It is so appreciated!!

  • Doug Carsey

    Love all of your videos of your trip to Panama. I was getting a little concerned with the weather you were having and being really the first big adventure, but you made it like pros that you are. Love watching your cats, they are such a big part of your lives. We travel full time in our MH with our cat that just came down with sugar diabetes. How long do you plan on staying in Panama? Looking forward to many more videos.

  • Christin

    Congratulations on your arrival!! Such good info! I love seeing what Nikki cooks and what tools she uses in a relatively small space. Besides fish tacos, what did you guys eat for 18 days out to sea?!

  • Wendi B

    Congrats y’all ! Great voyage, so happy you can now enjoy the beautiful country of Panama. Nikki you crack me up asking for Dale to sing the Panamanian “Theme Song” ! ?? totally awesome !

  • Marsha

    Yay, so glad you made it safe & sound!

  • Martine

    Love the picture with you guys and the custom folks. Too funny!!! Congratulations on your voyage.
    Enjoy Panama :):):):)

  • Some thoughts on swag, pens and paper are great. Cokes and juice offered to customs is almost mandatory at every country. We also had beer to give or trade for things but about Marquesas we were advised not to offer or give away alcohol. Reason was many islanders have a drinking problem, and if offered they will accept and over do it, not showing up for work the next day etc. Village chiefs and senior officials at numerous places made that request of us.
    People loved magazines, reading glasses, large fish hooks, and customs always asked if we had caught any fish, which they gladly accepted. In Panama we traded magazines for lobsters, got discounts on molas with reading glasses, etc. Enjoy the country.

  • Robert Dawson

    Fantastic trip,thanks for sharing, you all had to be so happy and
    proud of your accomplishments.

  • Diane Sanderbeck

    Nikki, you and Dale were so funny on your night watch, a little punchy, eh? Long passages will do that to you. Y’all handled it like champs! Great dolphin video! I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll take those calm seas over the big waves any day. I’ve really loved following your adventures thus far. Blessings to all aboard Curiosity! ❤️

  • Pat

    You all looked really happy to have arrived…Great videos and the dolphins were wonderful

  • Mary

    You guys looked pretty whipped as the video started! The wave walls sounded pretty scary!

    The dolphins are amazing! I can’t wait to see them as close as you were.

    We are doing the hurricane dance. Lots of rain, winds died down.

    Camping, hiking and kayaking this weekend. Aunt Cindy and I had fun looking through all our photos from past adventures. Love ❤️ you!
    We will see you soon for a short stay.


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