Monday, February 28, 2011

Still Hanging Out ~~_/)~~

 While we're still hanging out in the marina, getting progressively lazier, Tamar from Xanadu stopped by for the photos of our afternoon at the Thai restaurant and chocolate place. I downloaded them on to her memory stick and walked up to the Calypso Cantina to deliver them. We sat and talked to Paul while she was busy researching waterproof cameras to have brought down by their company in a couple of weeks. That's the reason she needed our photos, is that her little camera was slowly dying, and having a camera brought down by company was a great opportunity to replace it.

A Piece of Eight

As we were visiting, an older gentleman wandered up looking for Jeff from Homeward Bound. Dennis went off to find Jeff, and then we had a wonderful visit with Retired Captain Giacomo Amoroso, who was a divemaster on Mel Fisher's expedition salvaging the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. Dennis, being a retired police diver, was absolutely fascinated, and spent a couple of hours listening to stories. The treasure from the Atocha was estimated at over 400 million dollars, and John (as the Retired Captain is known in English) was lucky enough to be there when they hit the motherlode. Absolutely fascinating! He's now one of the ex-pats living in Bocas Town.  Here we have Dennis holding John's Piece of Eight that all of the divers got, and then John wearing his.

Retired Captain Giacomo Amoroso

This is what I love about the cruising life. We'd never meet all of these interesting people without being out here! ~~~_/)~~~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Still Finding Fun Things To Do

Janette, Allayne Tamar and Dana
The view from the Thai restaurant

Tamar on Xanadu came up to the boat last week and asked if I'd be interested in a girls afternoon.  Oh, let me think about this!  Five of us hopped into a water taxi and headed over to Bastimentos for the walk up to the Thai restaurant for lunch.  Mmmmm, wonderful!  Kim on Kailani had to head back with her friend, so Tamar, Dana (Vida Libre) and I walked up the hill some more to the Chocolate Factory.  The last time we did this walk it was raining ... what a difference and such an easy walk!  I got the history from Tamar, but didn't write it down right away ... there goes the memory.  Anyway, Janette (from Aberdeen) and her South American husband opened up this quaint little place, harvesting the coco beans from their acreage and making delicious coffees and chocolates, jewellery and all kinds of neat stuff.  Oh, and a couple of adorable little boys in there too!  Had some interesting cold tea.  Something about some creature growing and doing stuff that made this tea great.  Fortunately, found out it was a mushroom like creature instead of an alien!  Interesting :) 

Kirkley, Marina Manager
at Red Frog -- and her
new little bundle

We were supposed to be picked up on Friday by Sea Cycle for a sail over to Red Frog.  Mark called on the phone -- poor Deb was really sick.  Mark and Nicole decided they wouldn't go because they didn't want to be known as the plague ship!  Lynn and Randy on High States had told us we were more than welcome to stay with them overnight if we didn't want to dinghy back in the dark.  Packed the two backpacks just in case.  We took the dinghy over, since it's only a 10-15 minute ride in good seas (which it was), dropped the backpacks off on High States and went into Red Frog to check in and receive our wristbands.  They're having a big party this weekend called the Red Frog Marina Expansion Party.  They've added 40 new slips, there's villas being built and in one of the villas there's a spa with yoga, massages and an infinity pool.  Oh, and free food and drink -- those magic words to a cruiser.  There was a full moon, so we were pretty sure we were going to head back in the dark, but Lynn had made up the quarter berth and had drinking water and glasses out for us, so we decided we'd stay.  What great hospitality, how could we refuse? Had a wonderful night socializing, and meeting up again with Frankie and Terry on Second Wind that we hadn't seen since our first trip to Curacao.  We stayed around long enough to win a hat and t-shirt, and then went back to High States.

Randy, George, Lynn and Pixie
High States and Silver Sea


Wow, their quarter berth is bigger than what we sleep in, so had a great sleep and stretched out.  Lynn fed us a great breakfast of pancakes, bacon and melon ... and for me, lots of great coffee.  Headed back to the boat for a lazy day.  How can we be so tired doing nothing????   ~~~_/)~~~

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fun Things To Do

While we sit here, waiting for parts, we are finding fun things to do and getting some work done on the boat.  I finally got the quarter berth cleaned out, washed down with vinegar and put some more teak sealer on.  Hard to get done while the guys are working on the motor and have the steps off and stuff all over the place.

In the meantime, there was a swap meet on Saturday night at the Calypso Cantina, and then a Valentine's Brunch on Sunday (the Cantina is closed Monday's).  Dennis sold some fishing lures that he hasn't used and six of his homemade ones, which we've had the most success with in catching wahoo.  He gave them a harbour warranty ... once you leave the harbour, the warranty is over!

Valentine's Day brunch was a great get-together with Bloody Mary's and Eggs Benedict.  The unfortunate thing was that the rain was like a monsoon.  Lots of wind and a ton of rain.  There ended up being about 20-25 people that couldn't make it, but we all still had fun.  Darion was Cupid, shooting arrows ... he was amazing!!!!
Hmmm ... would love to take these two home with me :)

Deb and Brian from Uhane


Captain Paul from Xanadu with Darion ...
I mean Cupid

Our Valentine's Cupid!


Mark and Deb's daughter, Nicole, flew in from Toronto, so we spent happy hour with them on Tuesday night.  They're showing her all the different anchorages and they think she's enjoying herself.  I'm pretty sure she is... let's see, warm weather and no work!  Wish we were travelling with them!  We met them in town on Wednesday picking up last minute goodies, while we were lucky enough to do the paperwork and get our Maritime Visa, extending our time another six months without having to leave the country.  It's something you can only get in Colon and Bocas (not the San Blas for some reason), and you can renew it 3 times, giving you basically 2 years in Panama without having to leave.  Works for us!

Nicole, Mark and Deb

We're hoping to sail to Red Frog with Sea Cycle on Friday.  Red Frog Marina is having a Marina Expansion Party with free food, drinks and lots of goodies.  We'll take the dinghy, meet up with them, and then dinghy back at night.  Looking forward to a fun time!   ~~~_/)~~~

Still Waiting On Parts

Here we are, mid-February, still in the marina.  Frustration upon frustration.  Re-welded the broken engine mount, replaced the broken motor mount, and spent four days and many hours removing the bent prop shaft flange.  It just wouldn't come off after Dennis spent two days hanging over the motor trying to remove the set screws, so he admitted defeat and called in the mechanic.  Jeff  is shorter than Dennis, so he can fit down in the bilge a little easier, but even he was complaining about how tight it was. 

Jeff's working hard and he also elects to
come out over the top of the engine!

Unfortunately, Jeff is the only mechanic and extremely busy, so we spend a lot of time waiting for him to show up.  The first day everyone was set to go and Isla Colon lost power, so there went any hope of using that angle grinder.  Then it was Sunday, Valentine's Day, and we had torrential downpours all day long, so he couldn't work then.  Monday, over to finish with the angle grinder.  No luck.  Screws out but it seemed to be rusted on to the shaft.  Jeff left and Dennis lubed everything up, let it sit for 24 hours, and they worked at it again Tuesday.  Finally, after using the saws-all and setting the towel on fire (thankfully, I was up at the Calypso Cantina visiting with Mark on Sea Cycle), the flange came off.  Jeff put the order in Tuesday for a new flange, but Marine Warehouse's idea of ASAP and mine are two totally separate things.  As of Saturday it still wasn't on my Visa bill :(

All squished in!
So, here we sit, finding things to do while stuck
in the marina with no motor. ~~~_/)~~~


Trying to get the flange off!

Dennis, with his claustraphobia getting worse, just could not have gotten into the spaces that Jeff did.  Money well spent!!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's a Small World

Well, we're still here in Bocas Marina, waiting for parts and new problems to pop up all the time.  This wasn't the way I wanted to see the Bocas.  But, while we're here, we're trying to make the best of it.  One day we rented bikes (haven't been on bikes in probably 10 years) and rode over to Starfish Beach.  Well, that was one hell of a ride.  Two solid hours later, up and down many hills, (walking the bikes up some of the bigger ones) we arrived up at the Bocas del Drago Channel.  Locked up the bikes and decided to walk down the beach a bit.  I really hadn't planned on walking far, but there was a young Indian girl carrying 2 large bags of ice ... she'd walk a bit, set them down, look around, walk a bit, set them down, look around.  We finally caught up to her and Dennis took the one bag from her.  Through the sand, around one corner, through the water, another corner ... he finally took the second bag from her and she carried his sandals.  We kept looking for Sea Cycle, because they were supposed to be anchored up here, but didn't see them.  A mile later we got over to Starfish Beach where this young girl's family had a beverage stand set up, and there was Sea Cycle.  Great phone service, so I called Deb and told her they could run, but they couldn't hide!  Mark put the dinghy in the water and we went over to visit.  Deb fed us lunch, we caught up and chatted away for awhile, and then, thankfully, Mark drove us in the dinghy down to the bikes, so cut a mile off our return trip.

Sea Cycle at anchor at Starfish Beach

My hope had been to catch a taxi back to town and ride the last mile.  Most the taxis here are small pickup trucks.  Seems they were all loaded ... actually made it back in an hour and a half.  There was one amazing tree with feeler branches down to the ground from about 50 feet up.  No photos because it was at the bottom of the hill and neither one of us were willing to get off the bike at the bottom of this large hill.  Finally made it back ... let me tell you, that last mile was the worst ... then a mile walk to pick up the shuttle back to the marina.  Needless to say, the next day we did absolutely nothing.

Travis with his Detroit Tigers hat and Dennis with
his Detroit Red Wings !
The good weather has continued, so a few days later we decided to take the dinghy on the 15 minute ride over to Red Frog and hit the beach.  No sooner did we get to the beach than the skies opened up, so we headed over to the Punta Lava for a lemonade and waited for the rain to stop.  Dennis went swimming in the surf, but the waves were a little too large and breaking for me to feel comfortable with, so I sat and read.  We were walking down the beach on the way back to the marina when we heard someone calling from behind us.  Dennis had his Detroit Red Wings hat on, and Travis had seen it.  Travis and Wilson were from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter that had been anchored in the bay for the last week.  So, we met Travis Thompson, originally from Port Huron, whose home is now in St. Clair Shores, right in our neighborhood.  He's stationed in Maine, with two months out to sea at a time, and shore leave to visit his wife and family in Michigan for short periods.  We've shared a couple of emails back and forth, so that's just really neat for us.  It's a small world!! ~~~/_)~~~

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Red Frog Benefit

Someone, somewhere, was looking down and granted everyone the perfect day for this benefit. For us, Brian picked us up at 10:15 and we motored with he and Sue on Darramy down to the anchorage off of Red Frog Marina. Sue made sandwiches, I had a cooler with some cold drinks and snacks and we headed over to the beach with Matt and Jean from Superted. Felt good to get in the water again.

Dennis actually caught a King Mackeral on the way over. We've been giving them away, but after seeing what the meat looks like when Brian was filleting it, he's decided we'll keep the next one to try.

When we came ashore, Pixie from Silver Sea said she'd love it if I helped out. We headed over to the beach for a couple of hours, back to shower, and then I helped out by being one of the servers. Everyone at Red Frog worked so, so hard. What happened was that a 9 year old was playing with matches and his home caught on fire (these homes are made out of logs and palm leaves), and with the wind, another four homes burned to the ground. There's five familes displaced, with between 30-40 infants, children and adults involved. Alkahest was the biggest donor. He charged $100 to go up the mast, do a rig inspection, clean the mast and rigging, with all proceeds going towards the benefit.

The village that burned down was right next to Red Frog Marina, which is one of the reasons they were so involved. I can't believe the work everyone from there put in. Steve and Patrick on guitar and vocals, with Andy on the bongos, put on a wonderful afternoon of music. Gary from Sea Feather smoked all the fish, and it was so, so good. A great showing and a wonderful afternoon. Missed the first water taxi back (Brian was getting a little worried that we'd be spending the night), but Pixie called the driver and he came back and picked the rest of us up that were in Bocas Marina.

This is my second attempt at this blog, once I realized that my movie hadn't turned out. That's Ray from Aventura juggling first with fire sticks; then eating an apple while juggling fire sticks; and then with the bowling balls. What talent. He told Dennis he was a street performer in San Francisco, and he sure put on a great show. The other photos are myself, Amy and Lili serving, and then Craig and George serving bar, along with their helper Juan. And, of course, the great band! ~~~_/)~~~
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