Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bocas Marina

Deb, Brenda and John

Me and my friend!

Well, we did end up at the Calypso Cantina for Friday night ribs, having a great time with Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle and John and Brenda on Willow.  In fact, had so much fun, we repeated the night the next week, still with Mark and Deb, and joined by Brian and Sue on Darramy and Matt and Jean on SuperTed.  The first week was entertainment by two young guys called White Chocolate (reminded me of my late teens at the DH on a Friday night), and the second week was music again, along with a young girl doing martial arts with swords and Dyllan and Darion with their fire dancing.  What a crowd.  It really is a great place to hang out ... even with the no-see-ums!

We got the engine mount back and the weld is redone and reinforced.  Hopefully this time it will hold.  Unfortunately, when we were putting that back together, we discovered that the front starboard motor mount bolt was broken, eight months old.  Really?  This is getting to be really, really frustrating and depressing.  Oh, and then the bolt going into the engine block was stripped.  Isn't that special?  Can't hardly see it, need to fix it.  Had to put a heli-coil in.  When Jeff, the mechanic, came over to put the heli-coil in, Dennis told him not to put any tools where they would drop into the bilge.  He did .... they did.  He spent an hour on the boat, Dennis spent eight hours before he was finally successful in getting his heli-coil installation tool out of the bilge.  It was black, not metal, and didn't float.  Oh what fun!  It seems every time we have someone work on the boat, Dennis spends more time fishing stuff out of the bilge than they spend on the boat.  Last time was in Antigua when it was a cell phone dropped.

Jean, Allayne, Sue and Deb

Dennis, Mark, Matt and Brian
In between all this work, we have had some fun times.  Darramy called and said we all needed to get together for a happy hour in town.  Met up at the Bocas Hotel for happy hour and dinner with Brian and Sue, Mark and Deb and Matt and Jean.  Another really fun night.  It is a challenge getting back to the marina from Bocas Town in the dark, even with our lights.  Dennis decided he needed a break, so went out fishing for a couple of hours the next day.  Lost his lure and no fish in sight, but Deb on Sea Cycle came over and we had a great girls afternoon. 

Bocas Town looking right
Bocas Town looking left

We're stuck in the marina, but we're not shovelling snow!  Mark and Deb went up island to Starfish Beach, SuperTed went around the island fishing before heading over to Red Frog, and Darramy are taking us sailing with them Sunday for the benefit over at Red Frog Marina.  There's a shuttle back to the marina at 5:45, so it should be a fun day.  Unfortunately, one of the young boys was playing with matches and burned five homes down, so there's a fundraiser over at Red Frog where the fire was.  That will be the next blog. ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So, we motored/sailed all the way into Bocas Town and there just seems to be more vibration that usual with the motor. Something isn't right. Dennis spent a sleepless night, and then was up first thing Wednesday morning emptying the lazarette, pulling the stairs off and drilling holes to be able to see things clearly. Four hours later ... the engine mount we had had welded in Colon has broken. This is so not good! We now need to pull into Bocas Marina because we'll need power if we can't run the motor, which has to be hoisted up partway.

The good news is, Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle are going to be here in a day or two. We're excited to see the both of them again. We took the dinghy into town and then over to Bocas Marina to arrange a slip. Wow, what a difference from Shelter Bay. They're friendly, helpful, offer information. Chuck even walked us down the dock to see which slip we'd prefer, and then to the end of the dock to show us the best way to come into the marina. Okay, this staff needs to head down to Shelter Bay and give them lessons on how to treat people! Anyway, walking back to the dinghy we saw Mark and Deb sailing in. Said hi, let them anchor, we'll catch up later.

That night we met Mark and Deb at the Calypso Cantina for Happy Hour. (Paul from Winpipe, it's a Lats and Atts approved hang-out!) Had a great time catching up and stayed for dinner. We've tried different restaurants while we've been here but I have to say, Dyllan does an amazing job. The chicken lasagna was to die for!!!!  Check out the Calypso Cantina on Facebook.

Dyllan taking a break

Anchor up, headed into the marina around 9 a.m. I let Dennis take the helm for the shallow spots (although, we didn't see less than 10 feet). Three or four people from the marina helping us get in was nice. Unfortunately, the marina is in the middle of mangroves and I am being eaten alive!! We have coils burning outside and fans running everywhere down below hoping that the no-see-ums can't find us ... they're finding me just fine!!! Help, they're everywhere!!

I met up with Mark and Deb after we had everything settled in the marina and showed them around Bocas Town. Mark thought Deb and I had time to go shopping while he turned in his papers to the Port Captain. When I told him we'd wait, he was surprised when he was out a minute later. We wandered around town (he said he needs to send us ahead to scope things out and then let him know!) and then had lunch at the Riptide Restaraunt. It's amazing the things you can pick up here, and the prices aren't bad. From memory, less than US prices. While walking around town, all Mark could say is, "Now I know why people stay here". Luckily, Dennis went to the Calypso Cantina for the 'best burgers in Bocas', so I didn't have to cook dinner that night. That is the nice treat about being here - a meal out if you want.

Working away, and you can get out this
way if you wan!

When we were out at the anchorage, we were right beside John and Brenda on Willow, who we haven't seen in a few years. Chatted with them, and we're all going to meet up at the Calypso Cantina for ribs on Friday night.

The engine mount is off and on to Jeff on Homeward Bound, who is going to take it into the welding shop in town. Sitting here, spinning our wheels, not able to do anything, waiting for parts! Frustrating. My husband is spending his time on the internet looking up sites to sell a Bayfield 36!   :(            ~~~_/)~~~

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Anchor up!

This was my fun for the day!

Sunlight, finally, and we're on the way to the Jackanally Cays.  Okay, who talked me into this?  Of course, as soon as we picked up the anchor, the clouds rolled over -- reefs everywhere!!  Dennis on the bow directing where to go (yeah, but it's still going to be my fault if we hit anything!), while I watch the chartplotter, the depth sounder and the water.  Don't know how good this photo of the chart will turn out, but all those light blue areas are really shallow water.  We didn't see any less than 20' all the way in, but I was an absolute basket case by the time we dropped anchor.  Why?  I don't know!  Brian from Darramy called as we were making our way through the reefs and had a chuckle at how stressed I was.  Glad I can amuse some people.

Anchored in good holding, on the outside of the mangroves, hopefully away from all the bugs.  Brian and Sue from Darramy were on their way back to the boat after visiting a French Canadian couple who have built a small house on the close island.  Did a short snorkel with Brian, enjoying getting in the water again.  Unfortunately, just as we were ready to head off to visit them, the sky turned black, the clouds rolled in and the rain came in sheets. 

Off for our village hike

Exploring in the river
Not quite sure what's up -- Dennis isn't feeling well, with a headache and sore back -- so while he napped 2 hours after getting up I re-organized the canned goods.  Felt better the next day and went dinghy exploring with Brian and Sue up the Salt River.  Were surprised when we explored a couple of little cut-offs, and then one led to a village of 500 people!  The sign said they were funded by the US (of course), and like Bluefields, there were nice homes, sidewalks, a school and stores.  There was also a sort of tourist center that did tours and hikes.  They stopped us to show us everything and how much different things would cost ... we were exploring, no one had any money!  They allowed us to walk around on our own when we explained we were just taking a short walk and had no money.  Met a young man from the Peace Corps from Pennsylvannia.  He's been here 18 months as a volunteer teaching English to the kids and, now that they're out of school, the adults.  In this little place there's actually 500 people, and 250-300 of those are kids.

Heading through the mangroves

Woke up the next morning and we're both sick!  I hate this.  Headaches and all achy.  I need to look up the symptoms for malaria and denge fever!  The weather is horrible, raining all the time, so we're spending a lot of time sleeping off our sickness.  Seems to be one day of sun for 3 days of rain.  GET ME OFF THIS BOAT!!!  I just want phone service and civilization again.  Took the dinghy over to the tienda (little store) at the Crawl Cay area - bread but no fruits or veggies.  Time to pick those up.

Finally, Tuesday, the 18th, there was sun again.  Instead of snorkelling, we picked up anchor, headed out of the reefs, through the cut by the Zapatillo Cays, out in the big water to do some fishing before we drop anchor by Bocas Town to re-provision.  Good fishing.  First caught a king mackeral, which we don't like so let go.  Then, something really big hit the Cuban yoyo, took the line out, dead pull on 200 lb test, then broke the 100 lb leader.  Hmmm, would have loved to see what that was!  Finally, another hit.  Caught a small blackfin tuna, amazingly on a surface plug, enough for one meal, but we're happy!

Motor is acting funny, have to check that out.  Pulled into the anchorage off of Bocas Marina, anchoring in what feels like a parking lot.  Clunk, clunk, drag, drag ... ooooh, hope that's a hook!  10' water - Dennis should be happy!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, can't believe it's actually 2011.  Where are these years going????  We spent a quiet New Year's Eve, dealing with the rain yet again.  Panache came on the VHF radio early in the evening and reminded everyone that using UTC (Universal time, the old GMT), New Year's Eve was actually at 7 p.m. local time.  Woo hoo, early to bed!!  There was a group from the marina headed over to the beach to ring in the New Year, but we just didn't think we'd make it up that late.  Plus, we're out at anchorage and they're tied to a dock.

Up at a decent hour on New Year's Day, did a few boat chores (they are never ending) and then headed over to the beach.  Ended up skipping the 'Black Eyed Peas' happy hour - it's a southern thing -- because we were late back from the beach and showering.  We've been enjoying our time achored off of Red Frog, walking (no more 'hikes from hell') and joining Lynn and Randy up at Bocas Bound, Jungle Lodge and Hostel ( for lunch, drinks, or both!  The food is amazing for a reasonable price.  Beautiful homes and condos on the island for sale and rent.  Check out the different links with Bocas Bound. 

A beautiful sunset at Red Frog

Well, it's finally time to pull ourselves away from the anchorage at Red Frog, with all the amenities and wifi, and 'get out there' again.  We decided not to do The Gap, even though we finally had good light.  There's lots of shoals, reefs and shallow spots around here.  I needed a good track to leave Red Frog and go over to the Bocas Town area, so out we went, travelling down the south side of Nancy Cay, down to Johnson Cay.  Pulled in late afternoon and, guess what, it started raining again.  This is getting really, really old.  The first day was good, since we had sunlight to navigate the reefs.  On day 2, the wind changed to the southwest and, once again, we were not in a good anchorage.  Dennis wanted to give it till 2 p.m. ... at noon, I decided it was time to move.  Motored around the reefs to the back side of the island and life was good once more.  Wind with no waves.  Unfortunately, it was another corally anchorage.  Not sure on how good we're actually hooked and get to listen to the chain grind away.  The rain has been coming in waves, so we haven't been able to get off and explore.  However, we saw the most amazing double rainbow.  Check out the photos!

The middle ... and for some reason I can't download the other part
... you can't see the end of the rainbow?

Talked to Darramy, and when the weather clears we'll head over to the Jackanally Cays. Hopefully better weather and good snorkelling!