Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Intentions

Chewbacca under sail

Well, the plan was to leave Laguna Palos, go through the cut into Laguna Porras, then through that cut into Bahia de Almirante, on through the Crawl Cay area and out to Cayo de Agua.  It was a good plan to do something different ... unfortunately, the weather didn't co-operate.  Made it through the two cuts fine, with only one 20' spot, and sailed into the Bahia de Almirante with Chewbacca.  They headed up the bay and into Red Frog, where they'll leave the boat to go home for the summer.  It was starting to cloud up, and the Crawl Cay area has a lot of reefs, so we pulled in behind Johnson's Cay and relaxed.  It's been a busy couple of days.

Realized I had a bit of a phone signal, so downloaded our email for weather.  Cayo de Agua is out right now.  Not only is it going to rain for the next 5 days, there's going to be WNW winds -- not a good thing for that anchorage.  Good thing all plans are made in jello!  Decided that with the winds and weather we'd head back to the Red Frog anchorage, where at least we have great internet, walking, swimming and a place to hang out at Kayukos.   ~~~_/)~~~

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We're Invisible!!!!

Lifted the anchor mid-day Friday and back up to Starfish till Sunday morning.  Spent Friday and Saturday hanging out in the water with our noodles.  It's so hot!!

They're trashed
On Saturday night, I couldn't sleep (Dennis doesn't have that problem), so I was sitting reading about 11 p.m.  All of a sudden there was a pull on the boat, like something had hit our anchor chain.  Really, the panga couldn't see us?  Light on the bow, light on the stern and a light at the top of the mast, my boat is light coloured and it was a bright night.  I ran up on deck, yelling a few choice words.  The boat was dead in the water and they had torn the bimini off their boat.  Must have seen us at the last minute and swerved, because the only mark on our boat was white fibreglass on the anchor chain.  At first we thought they were drunk ... I'm going more for stoned out of their minds.  Put the dinghy in the water and Dennis went over to find out what they were doing.  One of the guys, for some reason, had jumped in the water and was having trouble.  Dennis hesitated a minute, and then helped him out.  I had put a call out on the radio to anyone in the BEN network, and both Mary, BEN 1 from Camrikaland, and BEN 13, Captain Ron came back.  Steve and Amy on Serenity were in the anchorage with company, and while Amy stayed by the radio, Rob (Red Frog Marina dockmaster) and Steve came over in the dinghy as well, mostly for moral support.  Mary asked if we wanted the police called, and Steve on Serenity thought it might be a good idea, since these two guys were not in good shape.  Amazingly, the police showed up within 45 minutes!  They took all of our information, plus asking the trick question of how old we were.  I don't know, you have my passport :)  Surprisingly, they didn't go and find the guys who had been towed to the beach by Serenity's dinghy.  I did show them the photos I had taken though.  Maybe they knew who they were?

Minus a bimini top

Needless to say, neither one of us slept well that night and were awake at first light to head down to Rana Azul.  Luckily we had a good track on our chartplotter because it rained the whole way there.  Our theory is, take down the rain catcher, there's lots of rain!

What a fun afternoon.  Steve from LiWard and Dave from High Spirits played guitar and sang, while George from Silver Sea was percussion with his golden egg.  Good food, lots of friends, a great time and the sun came out.  I think that might have been the latest Rana Azul has been open on a Sunday.  Everyone is usually out of there by 5 p.m., since they open at noon.  When we left at 6:30 and there were still people there.  Rumour has it, they were there till after 9 at night!
Steve, George and Dave

Maria finally getting a break and
visiting with Mary and Willie
on Twilight

Needless to say, an early night for us.   ~~~_/)~~~

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dennis' Birthday

Dennis, Mark, Randy, Lynn,
Deb, Rick and Carol

Happy birthday!

Happy 63 Dennis :) 

Lynn and Randy on High States are back from their visit to Canada, and Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle are coming back to Bocas to provision as well, so we arranged to celebrate Dennis' birthday at the Calypso Cantina.  Thursdays are usually guest chef nights, but the guest chef backed out, so Dyllan asked Dennis what he would like cooked for his birthday.  Their wonderful lasagna was his choice.  What a great place!   As we were having our drinks, Rick and Carol from Chewbacca arrived, so we invited them over to join us.  We met them in Shelter Bay back in November, where they had just purchased the boat and were heading down to the San Blas.

I made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing (my speciality, everything out of packages!) for everyone at the restaurant.  It was a great hit.  The best was Dennis' gift from Mark and Deb - everything a guy needs to survive!!

Dennis' favourite things!

Another big weekend down at Rana Azul - Steve on Liward will be singing and playing guitar on Sunday afternoon.  We were going to head down there Friday since we were all provisioned again (you know, the good stuff - bread, chips, beer and wine), but it was just so hot we headed back to Starfish Beach to hang out in the water, and we'll get up bright and early Sunday morning for the 3 hour trip down to Rana Azul.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bastimentos Boat Races

Anything that floated was a place to party

One of the party boats
What a fun weekend.  The Calypso Cantina had rented the houseboat Jampan and served great sandwiches with potato salad and, of course, drinks.  They also had another float boat for their great party weekend.  We spent some time there and then drove around the anchorage.  Stopped and visited with John and Nancy on DixSea, and finished off our time, with our cooler of drinks, aboard Salida.  I can't believe how many boats are anchored over here!

The races, naturally, were all running late, and I think we might have seen one go by.  Decided that on Sunday we would head over to Bastimentos way later in the afternoon. 

Back in the Red Frog anchorage, peace and quiet.  Made home fries and an omelet for breakfast, had a relaxing day, and then over to Bastimentos Town around 3 p.m.  Drove around the anchorage a bit ... so, so busy.  Changed our minds about going to shore since it looked insane, and headed back to Salida when Craig and Liz called us over.  What a fun afternoon.  Oh, and I want a catamaran!  Yeah, but that's not happening on our budget :(

So, so much fun.  George and Pixie (Silver Sea), Willie and Mary (Twilight), Kevin, Melissa and their 2 boys , James and Caleb (Solange 4), Barb and Bill (Babsea), Frankie and Terry (used to be Second Wind, now BEN 00), Juan was there from Arenas (what a great kid, so well behaved!),  Bill and Bruce (land based) and the folks from Teal Sea.  They had this great little sailing/pedalling boat that they let all the kids use.  Spent the majority of the time in the water (on a catamaran you can actually hide out from the sun under the hulls!) and, again, saw very little of the racing.  Just a fun, fun time!!!

Hiding out from the sun
underneath Salida
Caleb and Juan having fun!

Amazing  how those supplies go down.  Back to Bocas Town to provision again!  ~~~_/)~~~

Friday, April 08, 2011

Back To Red Frog

Provisioned in Bocas Town and off to Red Frog.  I'm still trying to get a good track between Red Frog and Bocas.  I hate seeing 17' of water under the keel.  Yes, isn't that too funny since we ended up anchoring in 10' of water -- Dennis' kind of anchorage.  When you have a manual windlass, shallow anchorages mean less chain out, which means less work for Dennis hauling it up.  It's wonderful -- no jellyfish in the anchorage so we can swim from the boat :)

Heading up the hill

Lunch at Kayukos

We're over here because this weekend is the Bastimentos Boat Races, and it's a short dinghy ride away from Bastimentos Town.  Also, there's the walking, swimming and meals at Kayukos, the restaurant at Bocas Bound, the hostel.  The beach is wonderful here, and we did a lot of hiking and body surfing. 
Saw a lot of people on the rented boogie boards and ended up buying 2 when we went back to Bocas Town.  Can't wait to try them out!!

The trail to Kayukos
 Next post, the races ~~~_/)~~~

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Didn't Mean To Go Back To Starfish

Time to leave, need to swim.  Picked up the anchor once the sun came out (amazing how you can see the reefs when the sun is out!!), made it safely through he reef and the cut, promptly turned to port to hopefully anchor at Agama Cay.  I don't care where we go, as long as we move when I'm bored.  Dennis pours over the guide books and charts, plotting our courses and entering waypoints.  Can't swim at Rana Azul, so he decided that Agama Cay, just off the mainland, looked like a good place to be.

Doing some walking
Looking over towards Starfish

Unfortunately, it looks much, much better in the guidebook than it does when you're there.  Where they showed anchoring in 15-20' of water, I was still seeing 55'.  To get to shallow water meant tucking in between the mainland and a mangrove island.  Hmmm, that means lots of no-see-ums!  Plus, the water didn't really look nice enough to swim in.  So, main back up again and out we go, back to Starfish Beach.  Had a really good sail going, passing Isla Shepherd and past Snapper Point into Bahia Almirante.  Finally ran out of wind and water, so started the motor up again and anchored at Starfish late afternoon.

Al and Joan from Break 'N Run

Seriously considered heading into the anchorage at Bocas to get a treatment from Jules on Ocean Mandalay, a chiropractor.  Not sleeping, can hardly move, agony!  I said to head to Starfish, hoping walking and swimming will help.  No, it's not, so after a couple of days we head back to the Bocas Marina anchorage for a couple of reasons ... Break 'N Run have arrived and are leaving again soon to head to Providencia and ports north, and I really need to see a chiropractor.

Another fun Friday night with Sea Cycle, Darramy and Break 'N Run. catching up on what they've been doing and wishing them fond farewell.  And, enough red wine does dull the pain!

An appointment on Ocean Mandalay Saturday morning, woo hoo!  Jules spent about half an hour massaging and adjusting my back.  I feel like a new person.  As she said, it will take a couple of days for all those tense muscles to relax, and she's right.  Soreness for a few days, but I can finally sleep.  I love chiropractors!!!!:)

We'll hang around for a couple of days, pick up fruit, veg and bread (yes, that is what our life consists of), and then head to Red Frog for some more beach time.  ~~~_/)~~~

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Visiting Anchorages :)

I love being out at anchor again.  Left Starfish Beach  mid-day for that 2 hour motorsail back to the anchorage outside of Bocas Marina.   Dropped the hook, had a swim, shower and relaxed.  Called Sea Cycle to see if there was anything they needed as we were heading down their way to Rana Azul Friday afternoon.  Zipped into town in the early morning, dropped off garbage, picked up some provisions, picked up anchor and on our way.  Had a great sail, with all three sails up ... for about 10 minutes.  Wind shifted and then died, so motored with the main up.  Made sure we gave the markers at Isla Cristobal a wide berth, and then headed down Bahia de Almirante towards Palos Lagoon, in what's called the Dark Lands in Tierra Oscura.  Started out a beautiful day, and then we watched the clouds and rain squalls rolling in.  Great, right when we have to go through shallow water and a narrow cut.  Visibility wasn't great, but luckily it rained behind us and in front of us.

Deb on Sea Cycle had emailed us some waypoints to get inside the reef at Rana Azul.  Do you know that the difference between the waypoints she sent me of 09.070N and 09.090N, and the way points that Dennis entered in the chartplotter of 09.700N and 09.900N, are the difference of making it through the reef or almost going aground!!!  Like I said, the clouds had come in, so you couldn't read the water.  Dennis was on the bow as I was following the waypoints.  Luckily, Mark and Deb were in their cockpit and wondered where the heck we were going, so Mark hopped in the dinghy to guide us in ... just as I saw 11', 7' 6' ... 3.9'???  We draw 6', but the bow is cut out in the front, thankfully, so that when I immediately put it in reverse, we, amazingly, didn't touch bottom.  Mark guided us in in the dinghy with his portable depth sounder.  We went over to visit later and Deb showed me her chart plotter, the waypoints, and her notes. Didn't look the same as mine. That's when I went back and checked Dennis' entries (yes, I guess I should do that every time!) and found out that he had made that 'little' error.  Oh well, safe and sound, I guess that's all that counts.

Captain Ron, BEN 13, in the white tshirt,
Ernie, the self-appointed mayor of
Tiera Oscuro, and land based people
having fun!

Had a wonderful dinner ashore at Rana Azul, run by Josef and Maria from Austria.  Josef greets you at the dinghy dock as Maria stands by the restaurant in her chef's outfit to welcome you.  Good home cooking, absolutely amazing and great prices.  Finally got to meet Captain Ron, BEN 13, who does the local weekend net.  As someone said to me, we don't have TV or radio, so the morning net is our little bit of entertainment.  Local weather, news, community announcements, boat tips, trivia.  It's fun!

Josef with Manhing and his cousin

To explain the BEN thing ... it's the Bocas Emergency Net.  For the most part they're ex-cruisers, but just a lot of ex-pats as well.  Captain Ron has supplied all of these land based people with antennas and VHF radios, which they leave on 24 hours a day, to be available in the case of an emergency.  There's doctors, nurses, mechanics, people with fast boats ... but they're all there, waiting to help in any way they can.  This is a fantastic community!

Peace and quiet and getting boat chores done.  The good thing is, free internet.  The bad thing is, can't swim, way too many jellyfish.  The big, ugly kind as well. 

The wood in the cockpit needs some serious work.  All the rain we've had in the last 2 months has made everything black with mold no matter how much I clean.  I'm now sanding everything down and going back to Cetol.  A lot of work.  Did real well on all the handrails and the eyebrow on deck, then rinsing everything down ... until that last bucket of water.  Bucket up, back out :(   Agony!!!!  Worked through it the next day.  Need to head back to Bocas Town to visit Jules on Ocean Mandalay, a chiropractor! 

Always a fun time at Rana Azul

Headed in to Rana Azul again on Sunday afternoon for their clay oven baked pizza.  There was a crowd over from Red Frog Marina, and had a short visit with George and Pixie on Silver Sea.  Hmmm, pain medication and red wine ... this might be working!   ~~~_/)~~~