Monday, November 28, 2011

Shelter Bay Marina - Sewing Projects and Thanksgiving

Busy cutting material
It's hard to believe we've only been back in Panama for 5 weeks.  It's seemed like never-ending work -- well, at least for Dennis!  He's in the process of making a new dodger, bimini  and side curtains and doing an amazing job, but been very frustrated at times.  And this from a man who has patience!  Unfortunately, with the work he's doing, and all the rain, I haven't been able to do any woodwork.  Guess that will be my project for the new year in the San Blas.  Having the common room upstairs, with air conditioning, has been great for Dennis and Deb, from Sea Cycle, while they've worked on their projects and kept each other company.
And sewing

I've been cleaning and resting, still recovering from my episode with pneumonia.  Very frustrating to be so tired all the time.  We've been able to get a bit of walking in, but not as much as I'd like, mostly because of the rain.

Steve from LiWard (white hat),
recruited Frank, the Dock Manager
to play guitar and entertain us
Dylan and Mauricio before the
craziness of Thanksgiving dinner

Chris, Dylan, Mauricio and Gina

There's new management in the marina and hotel/restaurant, and the difference is unbelievable!  Chris Young is the Manager for the restaurant/hotel, with Gina as his Assistant Manager. Customer service 
is amazing with the wait staff of Rosa, Mauricio and Dylan.  Dennis said the other night that we might be spending more money on meals and happy hour, but at least we're having a great time.  How true.  They put together a Thanksgiving dinner, where The Dock Restaurant supplied turkey, gravy and cranberries, and the rest was potluck.  There had to have been at least 60 people up for dinner, if not more, and the food was fantastic.  What a fun, fun night!  Then, the lunch special the next day was open faced turkey
sandwiches with gravy -- well, who could pass that up?  Certainly not us!!

I'll post more photos when Dennis finishes his project.    ~~~_/)~~~

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Back in Panama

Early morning flight, so up at 3 a.m., made sure the condo was all winterized and ready to go, and now we're back to the boat in Panama.  Flew home in July able to check 2 bags, and now American has changed their policy?  Had good flights, a short connection, and our driver picked us up and had us at Shelter Bay Marina by 5 p.m.

The Panama Canal entrance
We've booked the hotel room for a week so that we have an air conditioned place to collapse after cleaning, and Chris upgraded us to a marina view.  We're happy, especially after going down and looking inside the boat.  Well, the outside was pretty bad too.  We were supposed to be gone 5 weeks and ended up 3 months away.  Never left that long without an air conditioner in.  Green and white are lovely colors -- just not inside my boat.  Met up with Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle and Brian and Sue on Darramy for drinks and dinner.  Up early to clean!!!

It was a lot of work, but by the time we checked out of the hotel room, everything inside and outside was clean.  There are little things left to do inside, but they're things that can be done while we're on the boat.  Dennis has started his sewing project - a new dodger and bimini.  On top of this, we met up with Matt and Jean on SuperTed and told them we'd help out with their canal crossing if they needed us.  They did, so we got ourselves ready for a Saturday/Sunday crossing.

Ready to go!
Woke up Saturday with a bit of a cough, but it will go away.  Had to be out at the Flats for 1 p.m., which is frustrating, because the advisor kept changing the time he was coming out, and made it to the boat around 6:30, in the dark and the rain.  Supposedly we were to go through at 7:30, but it ended up being closer to 8:30 ... in the dark and the rain, behind a tug and a Navy boat puking diesel fumes!  My cough got worse!  Everything went great, although the advisor was not happy that Matt wanted to center tie instead of tie off to the Navy boat and let them do all the work.  Let's see ... newly painted 57' Beneteau next to a beat up Navy boat.  No brainer as far as we were concerned.  Finally tied up in Gatun Lake around 10:00 p.m., had one drink, and off to bed.

Jose, Jean and Matt
Crew underway (sorry Sue)
Well, on Sunday the advisor was there bright and early at 6:00 a.m. and we were underway.  It's at least 4 hours across the lake, so I went back down below to have a rest.  The cough kept me awake most of the night, and the slapping of the waves against the side, since we were side tied to the buoy.  Went through the Miraflores Lock around 12:30, and anchored in the Pacific Ocean by about 2:00 p.m.  That was cool.  Staying on SuperTed one more night since transportation is easier on Monday than it is on Sunday.  Jean kept telling us she couldn't cook, but that wasn't true.  We had some great meals.  Thanks Matt and Jean for the great adventure on SuperTed.  What a beautiful boat!

Jean on SuperTed
Matt dropped us off at the dinghy dock Monday morning and we walked over with Sue and Stefan, their other 'crew', to Abernathy's, and then a cab to Albrook Mall, look around and take the bus back.  Picked up some cough syrup at the Farmacia and that seemed to control the cough a bit.  Back at Quatro Altos in time to catch the 3:15 bus back to Shelter Bay.  Didn't go to happy hour because we were exhausted.  An early night.

Still feeling really bad, with my temp going as high as 101.8, so decided on Wednesday to head into the Emergency Room at the Hospital.  Blood tests, x-rays, and I have bronchial pneumonia in both lungs!  No wonder I felt so horrible.  Penicillin shots for 3 days, oral antibiotics, pain meds for the coughing and cough syrup -- hospital visit and all drugs, $150.00 U.S.  Guess I have no choice but to relax now!

I'll get photos of  Dennis' project for the next blog.

                                                              ~~~ _/) ~~~

Monday, October 17, 2011

Time To Head Back To Panama

Celebrating my birthday with
Kelly and Charlie

Apollo, the best dog ever
Well, it's been an eventful summer, what with buying a condo, gutting it, putting it back together and buying furniture, but it's time to head back to the boat and do all the cleaning and painting (woodwork) all over again.  Had a wonderful summer, and Kelly and Char,  Shaun and Kali were great for putting up with us for the two months until we got into the condo.

It was a ton of work, but we love our new place.  Got into our old condo complex, buying a ranch instead of a townhouse.  Let's eliminate all the stairs we can!  The basement is huge, and with all the kids bringing old toys over, we lose them down there and have peace and quiet on the main floor.  And, I have to say, I love my new queen size bed.  That's not to say we don't love the boat, but since we've been living aboard full-time since 2005, with only a few breaks, it's a nice change.  The boat is for sale, but we hope to get one more cruising season out of her.  If it doesn't sell, we'll sail back to the States in April, put her on the hard in Georgia, and winter in the Bahamas until she sells.  We've done that before and loved it.

Heading back to Panama in a couple of days, not too soon for Dennis who is craving the heat!

Up on a ladder - I hate that!

Cody, I thought you were working

The living room before

The living room after

Dennis scraping the kitchen vinyl

Relaxing in his new lazy boy
with the dining room in the background

The Murray family

The Piehler family
My birthday necklace with
all the grandkids

Brooklyn wasn't tired

Parker and Brooklyn
ready for school

Parker is in there somewhere

Brooklyn, Madison, Ryenn, Taylour, Parker and Emmy
with Avory in front

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Home For The Summer

I'm not quite sure where this summer has gone ... all I know is that we've been really, really busy.  The first couple of weeks back was catching up with family and doing all that babysitting, then getting ready for Kelly and Charlie's wedding.

This is what we wake up to when

New bedroom set
New couch
In between time, we were spending a lot of time looking for condos.  We had a price range, and it was getting a little frustrating trying to find something in that price range.  Put a bid in on one place and got overbid with a cash offer.  Then, nothing else seemed to measure up.  We'd been driving around our old condo complex hoping to see if something came up, but no luck.  On our fourth trip through, we stopped to see one of our old neighbors who was sitting on his porch.  He told us about a woman who died in one of the condos behind him, that the daughter was putting it up for sale, and she lived in the homes behind the complex.  We knocked on the door, 'Sorry about your loss, but do you want to sell the condo?', took a look through and shook on the deal.  Unfortunately, we had changed our flights too early, and now we'll have to change them again!  But, we've got the place we want, near the bike path and the beach!  Now, spending lots of money on paint, flooring, carpeting and furniture ... but spinning our wheels waiting for the closing date.

Kelly and Charlie got married on Friday, August 12th, and then there was an open house on Saturday.  Busy, busy time, but lots of fun.

Charlie, Kelly, Parker and

Family photos

Nikki, Tara and Tania

Avory. Emmy, Brooklyn and Ryenn

With Tania and Kelly

Shaun and Kelly

After Parker's football game (photos next time!), we headed over to Tania and Rich's with Zack so that the boys could spend time together again.  After swimming and dinner, we went back to Kelly and Charlie's, and after a lunch at White Castle, the boys dropped me off at Shaun's for a couple of days while they spent guy time together, going to the gun show and then, supposedly to go shooting.  Well, I guess the law has changed and you have to be 18 now.  So, after I got back, we headed out to pick the boys up and Dennis took the gun to Chris and MA's, where they have targets set up.  The boys had a blast shooting, one more night at Kelly and Charlie's, and then took Cody home the next day.
Cody shooting
Zack shooting

Can't believe it's back to school time already.  Here's Shaun's girls, first day going to school!

Ryenn, Avory and Emmy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zack and Cody - Part 4

Had a good run and anchored in Portobelo around 4 p.m.  Checked the weather and decided we had better leave for the marina the next day, Thursday, since some pretty nasty weather was forecast for Friday.  Sid and Manuela from Paradise stopped by the next morning for a short visit, and we were underway by 11.  Dennis wanted all the sails out to dry them off after all the rain we'd had.  Once we got out of the harbor we had the best sail we've had all year, sometimes getting up to 7 knots, which is great for us.  Asked the boys if they wanted to come on deck for the sail - no noise, a beautiful day, light wind and calm seas - but they decided that they'd sleep again and come up when we got to the Canal.  Really, I didn't know it was possible to sleep that much.

One of the pylons for the breakwall
Both boys eventually came on deck for the last part of the sail and motoring through the big ships, into the Canal Zone and then into the marina.  Got tied up, Dennis hooked us up to power, I went to the office to register, and the boys discovered the swimming pool.  The last couple of days were hectic, running into the grocery store Friday morning for juice, pop tarts and bread, getting all the laundry done and everything bagged up with dryer sheets to keep the mold off.  Dennis took the boys for a hike, but they spent most of their time either in the pool or up in the air conditioned room with a TV.  Had Mark and Deb from Sea Cycle over for dinner before they left for their summer of hiking.

Cody in the pool
Zack in the pool
Checked with the hotel and somehow they didn't have our reservation.  Well, that's a pain.  I wanted everyone off the boat so I could do a last wash down with bleach and water.  That didn't happen, and we headed into Panama City a day early.

At the Lock
The boys with Roger
Luckily, they were able to take us a day early at the Costa Inn and there was a pool there as well.  Roger picked us up Tuesday morning and we did a tour of the Miraflores Lock, the Old Town and the bluff overlooking the City.  On Wednesday we took the free shuttle to Albrook Mall, where the boys did their shopping, until Dennis could stand it no longer and we headed back to the hotel and the pool.

View of the Pacific

View of Panama City
A ship going through the Lock

At one of the churches

The flag atop the hill --
as big as a basketball court


Luckily, all the luggage fit in the car!  Our Panama flight was on time, but the Miami flight was delayed for an hour, so that made our late night even later.  Zack's parents, M.A. and Chris picked us all up, and then dropped Dennis, myself and Cody off at Kelly and Charlie's around midnight.  Cody will be going on vacation with his family the next day, so his parents will pick him up here.  Dennis and Cody went off to bed and Kelly and I sat on the back porch drinking wine till around 2 a.m.  It's good to be home!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zack and Cody - Part 3

Watching a movie
We picked up the anchor Monday morning after breakfast and headed over to Cambombia.  Actually sailed!  It was hot, and after we anchored off of Nabadup everyone went into the water until the jellyfish and trash came in.  I don't remember all these jellyfish last summer, or all this trash!  Had lunch and then took the dinghy over to the little island off Cambombia to snorkel.  Saw only a couple of jellyfish, lots of lion fish and a big snapper that Dennis wasn't able to spear.  Back to the boat, collapsed, burgers for dinner and then the boys watched Shrek 3 when we went to bed.

The weather looked  questionable for travelling north later in the week, so we decided we'd pick up anchor after the boys took a trip up the Mangles River, and I baked more chocolate chip cookies. Planning to head to Porvenir to check out, up to Portobelo and into Shelter Bay early.  With the jellyfish in the water, at least in the marina the boys can swim.

Had lunch, it looked calm, no wind, so picked up the anchor and decided to just motor to Porvenir.  Only a minute or two of panic when I followed my track and found myself in 9 feet of water ... never saw less than 30 feet coming in.  ???  An hour out, looked to the stern and ... where the hell did that storm come from???  Dark skies, thunder, lightening, tons of rain and wind.  The boys went down and did their usual -- spread out and fell asleep.  Dennis took the helm in his raincoat, and I stood in the companionway, in my raincoat -- he was trying to see ahead and I was trying to judge the lightening and tell him to take his hands away from the helm.  Worst weather we've seen in forever.  A mile away from the West Lemmons and we couldn't even see the island chain.  Heard there were 35 knots an hour plus of wind, and I can believe it.  Finally anchored in Porvenir, watching while one of the local boats was trying to pull a catamaran off the reef, where they'd dragged during the storm. Took the dinghy into shore to check out with the Port Captain ... and the boys slept on.  The temp has dipped down to the low 80's, so no swimming :)  Again, dinner and early night.
A sunbow we saw underway

We were up early and underway by 6 a.m. .. and again, the boys slept on.  Dennis decided not to put any fishing lines out since we were ready to head home ... and the boys were sleeping.  About 9 a.m., while we were off the reef, we had hundreds of dolphins all over.  The boys hadn't really done well with the sailing part of the trip, so I talked Dennis out of waking them up, until he could take no more and woke them up.  They were thrilled.  Since they don't do well with the sailing part, we're doing a direct run to Portobelo, and then into the marina a couple of days later.


More dolphins

                                                Stay tuned for Zack and Cody - Part 4!