Cruising Support

Cruising involves so many different skills and supportive people that it’s no wonder few people in the world attempt this lifestyle. At any one time there is said to be approximately 3,000 boats living as we are.

After and Iowa Visit, this is Just too Pricey

After and Iowa Visit, this is Just too Pricey

We were in Panama City doing some provisioning for our trip back to Kuna Yala and hit a big snafu.  We had taken the local express bus to Panama City and grabbed a room at the Hotel Las Vegas. A little

Outside Atrium, Las Vegas Hotel, Panama City, Panama

Outside Atrium, Las Vegas Hotel, Panama City, Panama

retro and in a safe area for exploration by foot. Roger came and picked us up the following day for making our rounds.

We found a rigger that thought he might be able to get the Tachometer cable put back together so we left the broken cable with him. We were near Blue Whale the boat W/ and I traveled across the isthmus on so we went and said “Howdy” to Logan and Caroline. Blue Whale had been hit by lightening about a month ago and they were in the middle of replacing and repairing the damage. Then on to Price Mart a large SAMs Club like store for mucho supplies. That purchased and loaded we then found a great hardware store where we finally bought  some Joint Compound for plumbing and a few other hard to find  hardware items on our list.  Check out was pretty US normal till I gave them our Credit Card. Declined.  I said “Please try again”!  I had just paid the balance  off  (online banking is a bonus for cruisers) and knew there should NOT be a  problem. Declined again.  We paid in cash and then left the store complaining about credit cards and VISA in general . This the third time in as many months as we’ve had the card shut down.

The first time was before we left Panama, we had started ordering spares to be delivered to family in the states. I had to call the number that is almost hidden on the back of the CC card in small print;  I finally connected  through to our bank and had the card turned back on.  No problem. The card worked  again for the next almost 8 weeks. Then we’re back in Panama and I’m at a another local hardware stored. Declined. Damn. Now just a side note: the card has not been out of our hands nor out of our vision at all since in Panama. And it seemed to be someone in the US trying to order stuff with our card  number, not a Panamanian.

We emailed our contact in the states (Rob)  and he gets it straightened out so we’re back in business. Rob works  for Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union and we’ve been exceptionally lucky to have him as a contact and the Credit Union as a back up. He and they’ve been essential in our ability to continue our travels.  Two weeks after the experience in Colon we’re now in Panama City and we have the same credit card fiasco.

That evening we call the number on the back of the card and there were half a dozen fraudulent charges being attempted. I don’t know the algorithm that the credit card companies use but it seems to work well for us. None of the charges made it to our account, however they felt that the number had been compromised somewhere and they were shutting the card down. Oh! OH!

Now we’re a quarter of a world away from the states and they; the people I was talking to  wanted to send a new card to our stateside home and we would get it in 7-10 days. This was not good. We had hoped on leaving the marina in 7 – 10 days and going where we don’t need a CC  but where we wanted one for possible emergencies.  I informed them (the CC evening number of the company that watches for fraudulent charges) of our disgust with the situation as 7-10 days at our US residence where we won’t be for quite some time will not be any help. The only thing the great and only Visa could do was to give us the number of our financial institution to call…the following day when they opened.  We would have to wait.

We emailed Rob with the situation and the phone numbers they had given us and asked him if there was a better number or contact  for us to talk to.  The following am he promptly replied, had already contacted one of their people (Amanda) at Suncoast and informed her of the situation.  What  joy to finally talk to someone who cared. Amanda was thoughtful and worked  to  help make sure we would be able to  get provisioned and she said that she would have the new cards sent to Panama via FedEx. we should have them Monday  and to let her know.  She gave us the tracking number as soon as she had it and we followed the package  to Panama and back to the US!

W/ said “It’s back in the US”, so Monday we weren’t real happy. We had tracked the cards to Panama and then Sat the tracking number showed that they had been sent back to the US!  FedEx came through however, Monday was a holiday in the US but I contacted FedEx  through their online Chat. There I was directed to FedEx Panama – English and we called them. FedEx  said the package would be delivered this afternoon. We kept our fingers crossed. The tracking  number shows the package in the US and the agent in Panama said it was here and scheduled for delivery.

That afternoon FedEx showed up at Shelter Bay Marina and we had our new cards and new numbers.  A special thanks goes out to Rob and Amanda at Suncoast for their extraordinary help in making sure one of their members has the best travel / adventure experience they can.

In cruising you need support, be it a financial institution, tax accountant, home base, or friends that can provide emotional and sometimes logistics support. We’ve been blessed with all the above and because of that we’re still out here, still trying to see if the world is really as big as my 7th gr geography teacher said.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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