Thursday, January 22, 2015

Preparing to cross the Panama Canal

Anchored in the Rio Chagres
After leaving Portobelo, we headed to Colon to prepare for our Panama Canal transit. When we used to go through the locks that separated Lake Michigan from the Chicago River, we just pretty much just went through when they opened up. There's quite a bit more involved with the Panama Canal.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Isla Linton and Portobelo

After the San Blas, we had a very unpleasant sail over to Isla Linton. The winds were still high and the seas were filled with 10-foot swells. We caught a mahi but Matt got seasick (for the first time on this boat) when he tried to fillet it on the side deck because the seas were too big to have him on the transom. Apparently the combination of the leftover head cold and having his head sideways was too much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Getting out of Dodge

Boogie boarding boat buddies
Being in the San Blas and seeing all the boats up on reefs reminds me of a story told to me by a friend about her friend ("Suzy"). Suzy had failed the road test to get her driver's license four times. But she had figured out her problem: "I just don't know whether to err to the left or to the right!" My friend's response was, "Oh, Suzy. You don't err..."

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What you mean 'we' white man?

Sand monsters! Photo by Marie-Claude Osterrath
Kuna men have told me on three separate occasions that I look like a Kuna woman. Actually, they have tried to tell Matt this, despite the fact that I'm standing right there and that I'm the one that speaks Spanish and even a wee bit of Kuna. The women may own the coconut trees but I get the feeling that the men are still in charge.
Photo by Marie-Claude Osterrath

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cartagena to San Blas


The water in the Cartagena anchorage is extremely icky. That is a nautical term that means gross things float through the dirty water and lots of stuff grows on the boat's bottom. After only ten days, our engines showed their displeasure by running hot (port engine) and stopping altogether (starboard) as we motored out of the anchorage. Our friends on Amelie IV had dark smoke coming out of their exhaust.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

She wants to lead the Glamorous Life

One of the many sculptures in Cartagena--Fernando Botero
The other day we were shopping for toilet paper because it might be hard to find in the South Pacific. We usually get Scott single-ply tissue because it is safe to flush in our hyper-delicate marine toilets. The store didn't have our normal brand and none of the toilet paper was labeled "safe for RVs" or anything similar. We found one brand that looked like it might fit the bill but couldn't be sure. So I put a piece on my tongue to see if it would dissolve quickly, which it did. So something for you to consider--that I ate toilet paper--the next time you're imagining that boat life is constantly drinking cocktails and watching the sun go down in paradise. There's plenty of that too, but then there are those moments which are pretty far from idyllic..

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cartagena, but not for Christmas


When we were in Grenada, various cruisers were planning to be in "Cartagena for Christmas." Besides the obvious alliterative appeal, Cartagena and Christmas go together. In early December, there were lights along the streets of the town center, trees in various plazas, and lights on the buildings. Santa and his elves were at the mall. There was a Christmas parade, complete with fireworks, which was followed by many more fireworks the next night. But, as it turns out, we have decided not to spend Christmas in Cartagena.