Friday, December 31, 2010

Hike from Hell!!

Can you see the mud? 
 Okay, I have to remember, time and time again, hikes with Dennis can be really, really bad!!  He decided we needed to be off the boat, let's hike from Red Frog Beach to Wizard Beach.  Tried it last week, with flip flops on, and that wasn't really a good thing.  Mud everywhere.  Okay, now we're ready -- Dennis with his Tevas and me with my Keans.  Started off nice and sunny ... then the rain started again.  Got to the beach and the tide was amazingly high.  Hmmm, this should be interesting.  Off we go, striding away on new paths.  Well, the one path we had been down before, enjoying, taking pictures of sloths, seeing a monkey and, wow, a calabash tree... little bit different.  Ants all over the path, and as fast as we walked, they were on our sandals and biting.  Running down the path to the water to get rid of them!  The walk over to Wizard Beach was pretty bad.  We didn't have walking sticks and it was really, really muddy.  Lost my shoes a couple of times in the mud, and Dennis even had to go back to retrieve one. 

Yeah, and Dennis thinks this looks like fun!

Wizard Beach is beautiful, but really no different, as far as I was concerned, than Red Frog.  I was determined that I was not going back the way I came ... we were going to go over the hill to Bastimentos Town, which had to be easier.  NOT!!!  While the horrible mud hike over to Wizard was about a half hour, the walk to Bastimentos Town was almost 2 hours, at times pretty well crawling through the mud on hands and knees.  Yep, got to give it to my husband, he knows how to show a girl a good time!!!

DW cleaning off his sandals again

Finally got down to Bastimentos Town, hoping to catch a launch to Red Frog.  The one taxi boat there said he'd gladly take us to Red Frog ... then once we got underway said he had to go over to Bocas Town first to drop off the other 2 passengers, then to pick up some gas, then to Red Frog.  So ... 45 minutes later, freezing cold and wet, we were finally at the dinghy.  Yes, it rained all day ... so the good thing was that our water tanks were full and we got to take a hot shower! 

Red wine and comfy clothes are sounding real good!!!

Bocas del Toro

 Woke up Sunday morning, December 12th, and decided that this was the best the weather was going to be, so we put up the sails for the 25 miles over to Bocas Town.  The wind died again, so we motorsailed most of the 5 hour trip.  There were some pretty big swells coming into the channel and the sun was doing its disappearing act again, so we pulled around the reef and anchored off of Bastimentos Town.  Lots of taxi boats going back and forth, but quiet at night.  Once again, the winds and rain arrived and we were stuck on the boat for another 2 days.  Tuesday morning we picked up anchor and headed the 4 miles over to Bocas Town, anchoring just outside of Bocas Marina in lots of coral.    

Finally put the dinghy in the water and headed into town to check in with the Port Captain. Walked around Bocas Town -- what a wonderful, funky little town with hostels, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries everywhere.  Had lunch out and picked up some fresh produce before heading back to the boat.  The anchor chain was pretty noisy, rubbing on the coral on the bottom, so Dennis decided we should try another spot.  The biggest problem was that, once again, there was no sun, which made it difficult to see the reefs and shallow spots.  Well, 3 times later (remember, we have a manual windlass) we ended up in the same spot with a very tired Dennis.

Time to change anchorages again since we finally have a bit of sun.  Motored the 5 miles to anchor outside of Red Frog Marina.  Finally, good holding and quiet.  Lots of mangroves, but the bugs haven't been too bad.  We did find a new product to use which works better than any of the OFF that we've used. It's called Bay Rum, and in Panama you can buy it in either liquid or gel.  We have both, but I prefer the gel.  Put the liquid in a spray bottle and that works great too.  You smell like cloves, but it's certainly better than eau de OFF.  It's the best stuff I've ever used, since I'm the one who gets bitten all the time. 

Red Frog Beach

Allayne at the Red Frog Bar
We took the dinghy into the marina, saw George and Pixie on Silver Sea, who gave us all the local info.  Walked over the hill to beautiful Red Frog Beach where there's some fantastic body surfing and a restaurant bar at the end of the beach. I like it here!  Plus, you can pay the marina $35 a month, pick up their wifi, drop off garbage, get water and use their showers.  Those showers are really nice to use after an afternoon of body surfing with sand everywhere! If you don't want to take the dinghy the 5 miles back to Bocas Town you can catch one of the boat taxis over for $4 each, one way, walk around, do some shopping, a nice lunch, and then back to the boat.  We'll hang around here until the weather clears and then head over to some of the remote anchorages for snorkelling. For right now, at least we have the beach! 

Lynn and Randy body sufing

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Colon to Bocas del Toro

We finally left the marina Friday, December 3rd, once again with the assistance of Randy from High States (Lynn was off shopping).  Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle came to help, but Dennis was ready to leave and we were just pulling out of the slip and got to wave to them.   Once again, Dennis did a great job of pulling out of the slip.  Like I said in one of the last blogs, we were in a slip right next to the wall in 7 1/2 feet of water, (we draw almost 6 feet) and I was a little concerned about the rocks behind us. My hero pulls through again!

We've decided that since there's some pretty big swells still 'out there', we'd head the 6 miles east to Naranjo Abajo, wait for the seas to calm down a bit, and then get underway to the Bocas on Sunday.  Yes, there were some pretty big swells outside the breakwater, but once we got down to Naranjo Abajo, we tucked in behind the island, anchored in 15 feet of water and put a stern anchor out.  Ah, peace and quiet and no roll!

Happy anniverysary - 23 years - and we're headed up to the Bocas area.  Guess there's no steak, lobster and champagne tonight!  Left about 9 in the morning and started out with a pretty good sail, making 6 knots.  Unfortunately, that didn't last a whole long time.  Once we passed the Chagres we ran into brown water and a debris field that lasted probably 25 to 30 miles.  With all the rain we've had, everything was floating out there.  Mostly, whole trees!  About 4 o'clock it was like a line in the sand, the debris was gone and we had blue water again.  Thankfully, we won't have to worry about that overnight, since we've ended up on a moonless night.  Didn't time that quite right.  Actually had a pretty good night of motorsailing, with each of us taking 2 hour watches.  The beanbag chair we brought back from Michigan (Kelly gave us Parker's old one, and he doesn't know we have it!) worked out great for the passage.  We can stick it in the corner and get real comfy, listen to the IPOD, and stand up every song or two to look around.  Absolutely nothing out there all night, which was kind of nice.  Our planned anchorage was Escudo de Veraguas.  The wind died and we had about 2 knots of current against us, so it was a slow passage.  Just as we were getting close to the anchorage the skies opened up and the island disappeared.  Slowed down, waited for the rain to stop and then pulled in.  It's a great anchorage in north, northwest or northeast winds.  The winds were supposed to be west/northwest, switching to north/northwest.  We would be protected from the seas!  Well, that certainly didn't happen.  Started off west/northwest and then actually switched to the west, then to the southwest.  Four foot seas at anchor were not fun, so our time was short there!!!  The first night was good, the second unbearable, so we picked up anchor and headed over to Bluefield Lagoon.  Anchored off of Playa Raya, since we'd been told that the anchorage at Punta Allegre would have many people visiting us.  This whole area is inhabitated by the Ngobe Indians, who are obviously very big into farming.  The anchorage was pretty rolly, so we put a bridle on, which Dennis adjusted many, many times.  On the way into the anchorage we caught a King Mackeral, which we don't eat.  Dennis tried to let it go and get his lure back, which didn't work, so we gaffed it, put it in the dinghy and gave it to the first canoe we saw. 

Spent another few days on the boat, then the rain and wind stopped so we took a dinghy ride into Punta Avispa.  Paid a dollar to get rid of garbage, take a walk around 'town', got a few photographs and some exercise.

Panama has experienced unbelievable rain.  The Canal was actually closed for 17 hours due to flooding.  We almost went and anchored in the Chagres and waited for the next weather window.  Thankfully, we continued on.  A boat coming down from the Bocas on the way to the San Blas decided to stop just inside the entrance to the Chagres.  When they closed the Canal, they opened the floodgates, and Cielo was blown out of the anchorage and onto the beach, where they still are 2 weeks later.  There were mudslides in Portabello and deaths.  A Canadian man, with his Panamanian wife, her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild, were caught in one of the many mudslides and only the husband survived.  Very, very sad.

After 4 days in Laguna de Bluefield, it's time to head up to the main area of Bocas Town and check in.  Hopefully the weather will get better!!!    ~~~_/)~~~

Pigs under the store and the local church.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Okay, I'll fill in our trip from Colon up to Bocas del Toro next, but we wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Xmas. Santa and Tinkerbell (Brian and Sue from Darramy) came up singing Christmas songs, and we had a great Christmas Eve aboard Audrey Paige with them, Lynn and Randy from High States and Ron and Paula from Dovekie.

Look at that, Santa likes the same wine that I do!!!

Christmas Eve aboard Audrey Paige

We have a great internet connection so I was able to talk briefly to my cousin Marion in Scotland, and then a great conversation with my other cousin, Adrian, in New Zealand. I love Skype!

The sun finally broke through on Christmas Day, so we took advantage and had a great beach walk. Dennis went in for some body surfing, but it was a little rough for me, so I stayed on shore and chatted to Sue from Darramy. We did see a couple of sloths, a monkey and a red frog while we were hiking, and picked up a couple of small calabash.
The sloth, great hiking and the red frog

Back for a late lunch and then over for Christmas dinner on High States. A great day and a wonderful evening!!!

Hope everyone had a happy holiday! We certainly did. ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Boat Chores and Provisioning

Can't believe that we've only been gone a couple of months and we're back here with chores and provisioning to do again. Hmmm ... might have been all that time we spent snorkelling in the San Blas doing very little on the boat. My friend Brigitte always told me that if you were going to spend the money on staying in a marina, then you really had to be productive to make it worthwhile. I hate that that's still in my head 8 years later!!!!

A successful docking (although I was a little worried since we were in the first slip that I've only seen catamarans in!) and the first people to greet us were Deb and Mark on Sea Cycle. So good to see them again. Then, Lynn and Randy on High States wandered over. Old home week! Bob and Sue on Sunrise were doing a dock walk and stopped by and invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. We had met them this summer in the San Blas. For a change, the marina is full of returning Canadians and very few Americans. Shaun and his girls were having Thanksgiving dinner at Kelly's house, so we got to Skype them and see all those wonderful little faces. Wish the other two would download Skype so that we could see all the grandkids (yes, that means Tania and MA!)

Had an amazing dinner aboard Sunrise with Bob and Sue, Buddy and Lorraine (Black Dog), Lee (Serenity) and Steve (Better Days). Luckily those 35 Morgans are very spacious. Turkey, dressing, potatoes, cranberries, salad, appetizers and dessert (I made cherry cheesecake tarts). Everything was delicious and we had a great evening.

Bob carving the turkey
Dennis and Lee
Sue, Lorraine and Buddy

Spent a little longer in the marina than we wanted to because Roger wasn't available to run us around Panama City until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Took the bus into Panama City with Deb from Sea Cycle and had a very successful day of shopping at Abernathys, Price Smart and Riba Smith. The first is a marine/fishing store, Price Smart is a Costco type store, and Riba Smith a wonderful grocery store that stocks all kinds of US stuff. Since Deb and Dennis are the ones who do the fishing and the sewing, they did a lot of serious shopping and consulting while I just meandered. Hit a few hardware stores, material stores and others along the way before Roger dropped us off at the marina around 7:30 that night. It would have been sooner except for the fact that we were stuck for almost an hour waiting for the locks to clear before we could proceed across the bridge. Frustrating. And poor Roger had to not only turn around and drive that hour drive back to Panama City, he then returned first thing in the morning!

Spent Wednesday putting everything away and doing laundry, hoping to leave the marina Thursday morning. By the time we were ready to leave the wind had picked up and basically pinned us to the dock. We had planned on returning to the Rio Chagres, but Sunrise told us to be careful because, depending on the swell, the entrance could be dangerous. We hadn't thought of that since we were there in calm conditions last time. Decided to hike up to the fort, which marks the entrance to the Chagres, and check things out. After all, it was only 9 kilometres. Really, I think it was just 'a little' more than that. Luckily it was all paved road, and 2 hours later we were checking out the area. Saw a couple of tourist buses headed up and back, thinking, darn, missed a ride back down! Decided that while the anchorage looked good, there were some pretty big swells and, with reefs and sandbars all over the entrance, it wasn't going to happen. Saw a couple of buses at the Fort, but we had no money with us. Turned out it was a school outing, and the kids were having a great time playing Red Rover in the rain.

Waved to the bus drivers on our long hike back down, hoping to make it before dark. Oooooh, scary things come out in the dark here! About 20 minutes into our walk, now raining heavier, the first bus came back down, honking his horn, lights flashing (you've seen these buses on earlier blogs, they are so cool) and told us to get on, he'd take us to the bottom. Thank you, thank you to the bus named The Whip from the Sabanitas area. These kids are amazing - the bus is going full speed down this hill, around corners, while we hang on for dear life - and they're all in the back seeing who can dance the best. I'm sure that every muscle we have will ache tomorrow. Lynn and Randy were in the hot tub (well, semi-warm tub), so we went back to the boat, got drinks, and joined them in the rain.

It's been a busy time, but also a lot of fun in the marina. Peter and Eileen on Appleseeds are back as well as Brian and Sue on Darramy. Darramy shared their experiences in the Bocas, gave us some tips, and we'll meet them up there around Xmas time to hear more of their wonderful summertime experiences. Machu Pichu, Chile and a cruise to the Antarctic!

So, we're off to Naranjo Abajo tomorrow! ~~~_/)~~~

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On The Way To Shelter Bay ... Again!

Checked out in Porvenir with the Port Captain, and where the Congresso actually does now check your boat name to make sure you've paid the requisite fees. Luckily, we were still within our month time limit, so there were no extra fees there. Dennis headed over to Wichuhuala to pick up diesel for Infinity while I got us ready to head back to the East Lemmons. Chichime was way too crowded. A Kuna family paddled up -- please, no more molas! Instead, they had something new. A couple of calabash bowls that were painted like a traditional mola and one with a crab. Very interesting and, of course, I had to buy one. Actually sailed most of the way back to the East Lemmons. dropped off the diesel to Infinity, and got ready to leave early Thursday morning.

Up and underway just after 6:30 in the morning. All sails up, with the motor going to charge batteries and help fight that current. And then ..... all of a sudden ..... the hit of all hits!! The line is screaming, the reel is actually smoking, and Dennis is yelling at me to take in the other lines and head towards the fish, whatever it is, as it's already taken out 400 yards of line. I look behind, as he's going forward, and OMG!!!!!!!!! it's a huge blue marlin. A couple of years ago, off of Curacao, with John and Brigitte on board, we hooked a white marlin. That was a baby compared to this. I brought in the other lines, went below to get the camera and his fighting belt, then had to steer towards the fish. Wouldn't you know it, the battery was dying on the camera. Back down once again to get the other camera, only to see that it doesn't have much battery life either. Guess it didn't really matter in the end -- I have many talents, but steering the boat in seas, under full sail to follow the fish, and taking photos was quite a challenge. Got a photo of a really big splash and hope this video shows some of it. (Well, tried many times and for some reason I'm just not able to download the video). After 40 minutes, with Dennis drenched in sweat and blisters on his hands, we actually had the fish up to the side of the boat where we could cut the line below the leader, about 3 feet from the fish's mouth. If we had something to tag it with, it would be considered a tag, we were that close. It was longer than our 9' dinghy from eye to tail. Thrill of a lifetime for Dennis, but we did lose the lure -- darn!!

Next to the boat and the splash

Okay, all back together again, heading to Isla Grande. Five miles from Isla Grande we hooked a pretty good size Wahoo which, unfortunately, spat the hook out when it got up to the boat :(

Had a nice night in Isla Grande, up the next day to Portabello, and then on to Shelter Bay. Enjoyed our time in Portabello, catching up with Dick and Moira on Equinox and Tom and Rose on Sojourn. On to Shelter Bay where we were met at the dock by Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle, and then Randy and Lynn on High States stopped by. Boat projects and shopping are in our future! ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Back in the San Blas

Well, I've been a little slow getting out a new blog, but snorkelling every day keeps us busy! We left Isla Grande and arrived in Chichime late afternoon. Had a few hits on the line, but the only thing we managed to catch was the other fishing line, so that mess took Dennis awhile to untangle. Headed over to Porvenir to check in, but the Port Captain was away for a few days, so that will have to wait until we're ready. Motorsailed down to the East Lemmons to keep Gretchen on Infinity company until Frank got back from Hawaii. Dennis made his first fish kill with the new speargun -- about a 10 lb. dog snapper. Wonderful eating! Went over to Infinity to sail with Gretchen and Loki (the best boat dog) to pick Frank up in Carti. One of the pangas ended up dropping him off at the boat just off the West Lemmons, so we sailed outside the reef on the way back to the East Lemmons. Just outside the anchorage we brought in a huge blackfin tuna. They gave us a 1/4 of the fish, which was enough for 4 meals for us, and then had us over for dinner for more. Love tuna and Infinity!

The bad thing is, they've now outlawed the Kunas from selling alcohol in the San Blas, which is making for very creative ways to get your alcohol in. We were going to make a run up to Portabello and back to restock, but Lynn and Randy on High States were heading back to Shelter Bay to leave the boat and head to Costa Rica for their immigration time, so sold us all their excess! My excuse for not doing the same is that they have a bigger boat, therefore, more room. Works for me.

We stopped at the Central Hollandes and enjoyed the anchorage there, off snorkelling to the reef with Infinity. Beautiful! Very cave like and tons of fish ... and a couple of sharks. Then back to the BBQ Island area, over to the Cocos, and our favourite spot, Nabadup. Got lumpy with a west wind blowing in, so we motored over to the Mangles River and dropped the hook. Much, much better. Plus, it was a short dinghy ride up the river to do laundry. The rain actually stopped long enough to dry the laundry. Saw 3 pretty good sized crocs (and those aren't the shoes!) up the river. Made doing laundry challenging. Wash clothes, look out for crocs! Finally met up with Pam and Richard on Tisha Baby and spent a happy hour over on their boat. They have a guest coming in to Panama City, so I lent her my Price Smart card. When she came back she brought me a bottle of wine -- not expected but so, so appreciated!

Decided to head back to Green Island and met up with Frank and Gretchen again. Some great walks around Ogopsibudup and spear fishing to die for! So far this year we've done well between ourselves and Infinity. Well, okay, they're getting most of them! They're young, they can dive deeper and for longer periods of time. Dennis says that unless it's in less than 15 feet of water, he's not shooting!

We've decided to spend Christmas up in the Bocas del Toro area, so we're heading back to Shelter Bay to provision (much easier from the dock than the dinghy) and see Sea Cycle, who should be in the water by the time we get there. Hopefully High States will be ready to go when we are. If not, there's quite a few people we'll be meeting up there :)


Monday, November 08, 2010

In Portabello

Well, it's been awhile, so time to get to another blog. As I said, pulled into Portabello in the rain, got a good hook and relaxed. When we were here in July there was a new youth hostel just getting started called Captain Jack. It's run by Jack and Dennis. They've done a great job. Painted the building, happy hour every night, wifi available, meals, laundry and trips into Colon and Panama City. All the prices are reasonable and they're making Portabello a place you want to be. On the weekends there's music and street vendors set up and the food you can buy is amazing! Bought the most delicious roasted chicken with plantains for $6. Enough for 2 meals!

Jack in the back, with Dennis, his wife Negrita and baby Jacqueline

I finally got my new phone hooked up to the internet and it works fantastic. Well, it did until I decided to go with the shorter cord, put the phone in the same place, and watched it drop right on the internet connection and break off. So, fantastic for 2 days! Can't live without it now, so I was heading into Panama City by myself to meet up with Roger and pick up a new phone. Randy on High States came over in the dinghy and said that Lynn would go with me if I wanted. Ooooh, yes, a girls day out! Took the bus from Portabello to downtown Colon to pick up the Panama City bus, had coffee, wandered around Albrook Mall and then Roger picked us up to take us to Eldorado Mall where they have the store that sells the unlocked Nokia phones. He then dropped us back at Albrook Mall, where we wandered around the shops, had lunch, and then headed back. Had a great day! Got off the bus at Sabanitas to catch the bus back to Portabello and saved ourselves an hour by not heading all the way back to Colon. Randy was already up at Captain Jack's, so we called Dennis on the radio to meet us up there. Just after we got up there, the sky opened up. Dennis was a tad wet by the time he got there. Fantastic lightening display -- scary!

Lots of socializing done in Portabello. Went up for happy hour a few times, and then on a Sunday they have Mexican Train dominoes and a potluck. Well, neither Dennis or I have the attention span for an afternoon of dominoes, so we just went for the potluck.

John (Dixie) Lynn and Randy (High States) and Jeannie (Island Dreamin')

The swell got kind of challenging at times in the anchorage. We were lucky to be tucked in enough to be out of the roll, but just getting into the dock was scary at times. Our last day there we couldn't tie up at the music school because of the swell (the water was over the dock), so headed into the town dock. Not really fond of that because if you lock up, you're locking up to a tire they can cut away. Just headed in to pick up some more wine, eggs, a case of beer for Infinity and some great french bread.

Back to the boat, prepared to leave. Quite the swell leaving and not real fun, but made it down to Isla Grande in a couple of hours. Tucked in, anchored, went for a swim and out the next morning for Chichime. ~~~_/)~~~

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rio Chagres

Everything done, and we finally left Shelter Bay Marina around noon. Again, with help from Lynn and Randy on High States. How would we leave the marina without them? Called Port Authority, told them we were leaving the area, and they told us to watch out for ships. Of course, right when we were leaving, there was a huge car carrier ship sounding its horn for us to get out of the way. Okay, you have priority!

Got out of the shipping area and actually had a great sail, all three sails up, for about half an hour. Then the wind died and we motored into the Chagres. Foreigner was already anchored there, so we motored down, around the corner, and had peace and quiet, and relaxed from all the marina time.

Spent a week in the Chagres (including my birthday), just hanging out, getting boat projects done and dinghy exploring. Finally saw a toucan, howler monkies and lizards.
The challenge was when we were leaving to head to Portabelo - a large trawler had gone aground and run lines across the whole river. Luckily, we saw that they were all the way across at the last minute. Oh, and this is the interesting part of the river to navigate. Forty minutes later, they had lines in and we sailed and motored down to Portabelo. Of course, just as we entered the bay, the sky opened up. Good thing is, we've been here before, know where to anchor, and the rain felt good!! :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Shelter Bay

Amazing how there's always photos of the cool stuff we do, but none of the work. Guess that would be because we're so busy working, neither one of us thinks to haul the camera out.

Roger picked us up from the airport, and was probably pretty worried since we were almost the last ones out from the flight. They had to check our bag for the knee pads. Cannot find any in Panama, so brought them from home. Everything else checked out, and then we were on our way to El Tapiz to drop off our foam for our new cockpit cushions. Really, with material and labor at $100, how can you go wrong? Seems to be an issue picking up our EPIRB which was supposed to be getting a new battery. They thought it was just having a vacation from the boat and it wasn't done ... 6 weeks later! After a couple of trips, it was decided to leave the money with Roger to pick up and deliver to Shelter Bay when he was there next.

Collapsed at the Milan after a busy day of travelling and running around on errands, and then, once again, Roger picked us up in the morning to drive us to Shelter Bay. Way too much stuff to travel on the bus with! Got into the hotel room, dropped all of our luggage off, and off to the boat to start cleaning. YUK ... mold everywhere! So glad we have 5 days in the hotel. After long days on the boat, at least we can go back to air conditioning and collapse. Dennis worked on the boat Saturday while I took the morning bus in to pick up groceries. Everything went well. Cleaning everything, getting rid of extras! Dennis was able to take the cutlass bearing out without dropping the rudder, and had the new one in the next day in 20 minutes. My hero!

We had the yard work on blisters on the boat while we were gone, sanding and filling, so once they were done I started with the bottom paint. Another Bayfield, Windborne III, has sanded down their waterline, put a couple of coats of hard paint on the waterline and then the ablative. I did that and I really hope it works. I hate when the waterline looks horrible when the ablative wears off!

Spent an extra couple of days in the hotel while we continued to put the boat back together. Yes, expensive, but we're heading back to the San Blas where we won't spend any money! The only unhappy experience was when they were putting us back in the water, the truck operator backed up too fast and hit the jackstands at the front of the boat. That resulted in 2 big chunks out of my new bottom paint (right to the hull) and smudged where the 4 jackstands were. I was not happy! I complained (yeah, go figure on that one!) and so far we haven't been charged for some of the yard work. Stay tuned!

Audrey Paige ready to go in after the touch-up, and a couple of the big SMUDGES!

Frank and Gretchen on Infinity came back at the same time we did, so we had a great time with them again. A couple of dinners aboard Audrey Paige and Infinity where there was way too much wine consumed! We even did dog sitting for Loki (the best boat dog) one day. Headed in on the bus to Panama City, where Roger met us to pick up our cockpit cushions (I love them!!!), take us to Price Smart, Riba Smith, and all the little things we need that he knows where they are.

Really did enjoy our time in the marina, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Lynn and Randy on High States pulled in to re-provision (it's much easier from the marina), so we got to catch up with them again. Burt and Marie Elena from Not So Interim were there, and met Karen and Ralph on Five Islands. They are really trying new things at the marina. Tony, the restaurant manager, is doing a Saturday night movie night, with restaurant service upstairs, and he rents the movie for everyone to watch.

Back in the water, provisioning, and off to the Rio Chagres! ~~~_/)~~~

Friday, September 17, 2010

Family Weekend

Our family ... top row ... Char, Kelly, Brooklyn, MA, Shaun, Emmy, Cody, Allayne, Dennis, Rich, Tania, Taylour
bottom row ... Ryenn, Parker, Zachary, Jake, Avory and Madison

Busy, busy weekend. Shopped all day Thursday for our family weekend, then I headed off to Shaun's to spend the night and watch the girls on Friday. We did our usual, off to the park for an hour or so, and then fun stuff at home until Shaun got home from work. Back to Kelly's to prepare my stuff for Saturday, to find that Kelly (love her!) had already made up my brownie mixes! Really, such a little thing made a huge difference in my work that night!

Arranged for the bounce house with the slide again through Wacky Zone for our family weekend. It was supposed to be a pirate house, but they double booked and we ended up with a bigger bounce house with basketball hoops and punch bags for the same price. This time, everyone was able to make it, except for poor Chris, who has too few weekends off and is still trying to put up siding on the house. Dennis' friend, Jerry (his brother's friend from childhood) was able to make it, with his daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Dante, and their daughter and son. I'm terrible, I forget their names, but they were adorable. Amy's daughter was 6, as were our Avory and Mady, so the girls had a great time comparing notes and having fun. Nine grandkids stayed over, along with Parker's friend, Liam (Jake went home with MA). I suppose we could have done more with them the next day, but we were just too exhausted! The kids did get to play in the bounce house again, since they didn't pick it up till around 2 in the afternoon. Dennis took Cody and Zach out to get White Castle, and brought some back for Kelly and Taylour. Charlie was smart enough to head out at 7 in the morning to go golfing.

Grandpa with Avory, Ryenn and Emmy ... Char, Kelly, MA, Taylour, Tania and Rich. ... Amy in charge of lunch with the little ones

Uncle Rich and Emmy ...Taylour, Tania, Cody, Rich and Maddy ... Shaun with Ryenn, Emmy and Avory

Ma, Zach and Jake ... Char and Apollo ... Kelly and Brooklyn

It's so great to have everyone together!!!!

Where has the time gone? Dennis had hoped to take Cody and Zach out to the gun range for some shooting, but just ran out of time. Took Taylour, Cody and Maddy home to Windsor on Monday; haircuts, last minute shopping and packing Tuesday; dropped off the rental car Wednesday, and Kelly took us out to the airport hotel; back to Panama Thursday.

Where did those five weeks go?

Monday, September 13, 2010

At Home In Michigan

While we were back home, drove over to Windsor one Sunday to take Taylour, Cody and Madison out for lunch. Went to our favorite, Swiss Chalet, and then Baskin Robbins for dessert. Dropped the kids off and had time to kill, so decided to drive down to Lakeside Marina and see if Paul and Mary on Winpipe were in the area. We thought they were members of the Yacht Club, so stopped in there first. Then checked out Lakeside Marina, and who was walking by, in full Scottish uniform, but Paul and Mary. He's a world class piper, and had been piping for an anniversary ... how unbelievable that they'd be walking by when we drove up! We had a drink at the restaurant while they went home and changed, and then had dinner aboard Winpipe and enjoyed a fantastic evening!

Paul and Mary, thanks for a great evening!!!

Grand Canadian Tour

Had a wonderful two weeks staying with either Kelly and Char or at Shaun's, and then decided to give them a break from us and visit our Canadian friends for a week.

Headed up to Brockville, Ontario, in the Thousand Islands, to visit with John and Brigitte. As always, tons of fun. The scary looking mermaid is Brigitte's new puppet! Got up, walked around town and then took a car trip, crossing over the Thousand Island Bridge to New York State; then drove down to Clayton, doing tourist stuff and taking two ferries back over to Kingston where we had dinner and ice cream before heading back home. The next day we got up and headed down to Mystic, their 35' Niagara. Just a short little motor to their yacht club's island, where Brigitte made lunch, we went exploring, played a mean game of Mexican Train dominoes, and then ate a fantastic dinner. Motored back to their berth, put Mystic to bed, and then ourselves!

Up the next day and after breakfast went over to see Brigitte's dad's beer stein and photo collection. What a wonderful 83 year old! Then, on the road again, heading to Toronto to visit with Mark and Deb (Sea Cycle) at their condo in Toronto.

Amazingly, hit no traffic and we were there in no time. Thought about going out, but just hung out, with a little wine, and caught up. What a view from the 49th floor down by the Lake!! Spent the next day on a walking tour and stopping by the Rustic Cosmo Cafe - Deb's cafe, now run by their daughter Nicole. Okay, if you're in Toronto, you need to stop by this place. Neat looking place in the artist district, and the food is amazing!! (They're on Facebook) That night we had a great time -- dinner at Mark and Deb's, and visiting with old cruising friends Cliff and Deb from Watermark, who actually live down the hall! Haven't seen them in about four years, so there was lots of catching up to do. A very, very late night! The next day Mark took Dennis on another walking tour of Toronto while Deb and I went shopping. I think Dennis actually likes Toronto now!

Time to travel again. Left Toronto and headed over to Lake Huron, where our friends Sue and Dan have a beautiful home. We were there about four years ago when it was still being built, and now we were able to see the finished result. All we both can say is -- WOW! They did a fantastic job. Dan had a second knee replacement two months ago, so we went on a short hike, which he was able to manage, and then had lunch in Tobermory. That little town sure has changed since Dennis and I were last there. Eeek ... Sue and Dan actually went in the lake for a swim. Dennis stood on the shore wrapped in a towel, waiting to go into the hot tub.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, so we said goodbye to Sue and Dan and headed back to Michigan. Took the scenic route all the way, including catching the ferry from the Canadian side over to Marine City in Michigan. That was so much better than waiting for an hour on the Sarnia/Port Huron bridge!

Back to Shaun's first, where we were welcomed with little girl hugs and kisses!! ~~~_/)~~~Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Home with family

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Shelter Bay and home

Oh, now I remember what I hate about putting the boat away. Had a good motor sail up to Shelter Bay, with only a slight confusion. We swore they said A2, when they said D28???? New management in Shelter Bay has not impressed me so far, but we'll see what it brings.

Didn't help that I was sick for 2 weeks before we hauled, but I did as much as I could, so there really wasn't that much to do once we were in the marina. Took the shuttle into Novey to compare prices ... we'll be better picking up things in Panama than bringing them back with us! Love it, there's a first!

Roger picked us up from the marina at 9 a.m., along with Dick and Moira on Equinox, to take us into Panama City. Dropped us off at the Milan, and then took Dick and Moira to the American Embassy to renew their passports. Then picked us up for our trip to La Tapiz and to drop our EPIRB off to get a new battery. What a successful day. They say there's no rain and lightning in Panama City ... whoever they are, they're lying! It finally calmed down enough that we met Dick and Moira for dinner at the Brew Pub and had a wonderful meal. Up the next morning to explore the city. Well, malls to see, phones to buy, etc.

Again, Roger picked us up early to take us to the airport to fly home. Great trip! Connections fantastic and Kelly was there to pick us up with Brooklyn and Parker just as our last bag came off the conveyer belt.

Kid time again .... loving it! ~~~_/)~~~

Friday, August 13, 2010

Leaving the San Blas

Like I said, where does the time go? Left Chichime at 6:30 in the morning and headed towards Isla Grande, going on the outside of the Escribos Reef. At the same place we hooked (and lost) a wahoo the last time, we had three hits at once. Brought in the hand reel and had a wonderful blackfin tuna. The other two hits were too small to keep, but, hey, we had a couple of really good meals. I went below to check into the 6209 net, said we were out here, but had to get back up to help deal with the fish. Got back on deck, looked around ... I thought we had a fish?? Somehow the line that Dennis had hooked through the tuna to bleed it had unhooked itself, so there's a shark out there enjoying my tuna dinner! :( And, no, it didn't come loose from the fish, it somehow, line and all, came unattached from the boat. I wasn't going to check into the San Blas net, but Angel Heart said he had heard us on the earlier net and wanted to know how the fish was. Sadly, I had to admit that we were now a catch and release boat.

Amazingly, had a pretty good sail most of the way, with full main and both jibs. Pulled into Isla Grande, relaxed and swam. Enjoyed a couple of days there, finally getting some walking in, but also a ton of rain. That's okay, filling the water tanks and getting laundry done.

Took the dinghy through the cut from Isla Grande to Isla Linton and realized, with good sun, you could make it through easily. Well, when we went to leave, the sun was hiding, so we went the long way around, dropping our anchor in 40' of water. Enjoyed our time catching up with Lynn and Randy on High States, Michael on Panda (Edie was back in the States), and a quick hi to Bob and Jeannie on Island Dreamin'. Sadly, we heard that Petra from Kokomo had been diagnosed with colon and liver cancer and they were hoping she would be well enough to fly back to Germany. I'm glad we stayed around for an extra day and were able to say hi to Peter (Kokomo), tell him we'd be back in the fall if he needed anything for the boat, and just give a hug. Life is short all!

And, speaking of stuff like that happening -- Lara from Antipodes, the boat we went through the Canal on, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She's had two surgeries and is now undergoing radiation. If you believe in the power of prayer, please send all you can her way! You can follow her progress at

Left Isla Linton and headed up to Portabello, where we had a wonderful time for a couple of days ... until I felt horrible! Well, okay, just a fever, cough and feeling really bad. Didn't eat or drink for five days. For anyone who knows me, that explains how bad I felt!!!! Really wasn't a good time for that, since I was trying to get as much done before we left as I could.

Our dingy trip up the river and a beautiful rainbow over the anchorage

We were able to watch a Dockwise boat sending off two small ships, and then the Festival of the Virgin Del Carmen, where they decorated the boats with yellow and white balloons and flowers and drove through the anchorage.

With the free wifi we can pick up from the hotel, this is a wonderful place to anchor. Only rolled once when the wind changed. Had worse roll in Isla Grande and Linton.

Also took a few bus trips in from the Linton area and Portabello. These buses are amazing. Basic school buses with the most amazing artwork you've ever seen. The photos we have here actually have an airbrushed photo of the driver's daughters!

Finally, time to leave and head into Shelter Bay Marina. The main sail is the only one left up still, for stability, while we motorsail up there.

Where does the time go?? ~~~_/)~~~