Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Busy Week...

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It has been a crazy busy week!  We have been in the marina for 2 months, but because we were waiting for parts and just generally lazy, we are now scrambling to get the jobs that need to be done...

Our friend Michelle is coming to visit us from Oklahoma/Mexico and we plan to sail around the archipelago while she is here... we relocated all the stuff from the lower bunk in the mid-ship port cabin, and made a berth ready for her...  Shelley has also rampaged through the boat cleaning more than she already does...

So this week I installed some bars in the hatches that we feel someone might try to crawl through.... 


We installed our new fridge.

We bought an awesome spinnaker pole for way more money than we should have...  We want a second pole for trade wind sailing which we hope to do when we cross the pacific in the spring...



We installed some mat material over the lazarette doors.  The scupper's around the doors are way too small when we take water over our deck, it gets everything in them wet (then moldy).
we have no plans to attach this stuff because we want to be able to remove it quickly when we went into the lazarettes.


We finished the new stainless steel exhaust for the engine on the scuba compressor. I also replaced the dinghy bilge pump battery, and installed a new electrical system combiner...  The old one was kinda fried....  Today I also installed a new (bigger) strainer on the waterline that feeds the water-maker, which should make it work a little better.

I have to confess that it wasn't all work...  We went to the local brewery where the were holding a local craft fair...  This is just the kind of stuff Shelley loves...  I sat quietly in the bench... We went for lunch with our friends, Robin (s/v Mermaid) and Jim & Laura (s/v Nilaya) 
and had a great time...
Our Favorite "CHINO" (Grocery Store)

Breakfast with my girl...

Our stuff arriving from Florida - THANK YOU Stan & Joanna!

The Local Brewery....



Walkin' home on the beach...


Smoothie truck!

I'm not sure what to say.....
I also spent some time showing Robin some basic chords so she could play her ukulele... 

Shelley and I also visited some local schools.  We made a 15 minute video and posted it on YouTube:


The last thing I will leave you with this week is a show off picture of our two beautiful Grand daughters, Olivia (the baby), and Mackenzie, who just celebrated her 4th birthday this week.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Few More Jobs Off The List...

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The weather this week has been really rainy.  This was all the excuse I needed not to do too much...

We did get to meet Lucy & John on s/v Maraki.  Meeting them is significant for two reasons.  First, They are a great cruising couple, and second the own a Dufour 12000ct exactly like ours!  In fact their hull number is 44 and ours is 43. As there were only 45 of these ever made it was a real treat to see what someone else has done over the boat's 35 year old life. Thier blog is here:



This week we also got another job looked after.  We installed mast steps up as far as the spreaders on the main mast.  It took a few hours but the job turned out really well.  The main purpose for these steps is to provide a good vantage point to look for coral heads and shallow areas when we are entering waters that are not charted well and/or are unfamiliar to us.


We are really looking forward to leaving the marina soon, but we will miss the awesome people who we have met while staying here in Bocas del Torro.  The people here have been so friendly and helpful.  They are also a wealth of experience and knowledge.  I think we have learned that when you allow other people experiences to become a part of your knowledge base you become a much better traveler in this crazy big world.  We have learned so much since we left Canada from so many people!
Out for our anniversary dinner!

Cocktails on "D" dock...

The Calypso Cantina - Happy Hour Beer = $1

The marina dog - we think he is about 14 years old but no one knows for sure...

We found out today that Raymarine has agreed the replace our auto helm under "warranty" and with luck is should be back by the middle of next week.  Whoo Hooo!!!

One last thing.  When we went to Panama City last month we had another problem that I have not said anything about.  That is we tried to withdraw some money at an ATM.  We tried my debit card and were unsuccessful.  Then we tried Shelley's card and were also unsuccessful.  Eventually we found a "Scotiabank"  our home bank, and after a few phone calls back to Canada got the problem with our cards sorted out and we were able to withdraw the money we needed....  After we returned to Bocas, we checked our balance online and discovered that the two transactions that failed in Panama City were actually TAKEN FROM OUR ACCOUNT!!!

Agitated and afraid we called the bank in Canada to explain the problem and instead of simply reversing the transactions, they told us that they would "investigate" but that they had up to 90 DAYS to sort it out.....  In the mean time over $1200  is missing from our account.  After more than half a dozen calls we eventually were connected to "the office of the president" who admitted this happens all the time and that the 90 days is time for the "offending bank" to respond....  Really?  In he mean time they told us there was NOTHING they could do.  Each week since we have called the bank and so far the money has not been returned....  The really frustrating thing is that THEY KNOW THE TRANSACTION NEVER WENT THROUGH!!

How do we know that?  Ever time we make a withdrawal, we are charged a separate $5 fee.  And while that sucks, the two transactions in question were never charge the $5....  This whole thing is complete bologna, and we have to sit without $1200 for 3 months while these banks figure out that THEY made a mistake... 

So here we are 3000 miles from home in the middle of a rain forest, waiting for people who don't care, to do the right thing....

The lesson learned is that when you travel you are at the MERCY of whatever bank you are dealing with locally to have their act together...  Caveat Emptor  (Buyer Beware).  We were told that the banks are aware of the problem, and are looking for an over all solution.  In the mean time only the customer gets screwed... We will update if and when this gets sorted out....

Cheers!

Monday, July 13, 2015

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Who knew? Shelley and I have been married for 13 years today....  When I started dating Shelley I told (warned) her that if she ever decided to marry me she would NEVER know how things would turn out and that every day would be an adventure....

When I looked into her eyes as we woke up this morning, I knew we had both made the best decision of our lives...  Everyday has been an adventure and I am SURE that I am the luckiest man on earth!

Tonight we are going to a nice restaurant to splurge on a really nice meal...  Just our way of having fun...

In the last week we learned our good friend Michelle (from Oklahoma/Cozumel) is coming to visit later this month.  We are really looking forward to seeing her.  Our job list is getting pretty much done and by the time she gets here we should be ready to head out and do some exploring around this really big archipelago.



Tonight we went out for dinner and really splurged...  Great fun great fun...

 Hardly any changes over the last 13 years....


Sunday, July 5, 2015

A GREAT Party!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I wonder if politics were left to sailors, we would ever come to war???

Yesterday we helped organize a Canada Day / Fourth of July celebration here in Bocas del Torro, Panama.  With more than 60 people we ate, drank, and joyed the celebration of two great countries, along with folks for other places too..








We had some wonderful musicians perform and people came from all over the area.

Joanne & Bill

Mike & Robin




The food was awesome and the fireworks turned out really well.  We put on about a 15 minute show that looked great!




Today will will spend some time cleaning up... What a great celebration!

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Happy Canada Day! And yes, Shelley and I have been on our adventure for 1 YEAR today. First I thank all of you who have followed and supported us in various ways over the last year.  This has been a life changing experience in many ways.  We had many ideas and fantasies on how the first year would turn out...  Some of them were true but most of our experiences were in many ways, completely unexpected....  And almost 100% of the time in a very good way.

Last July 1st we left the RHYC early on a sunny morning...  today the sun shone for the first time in almost a week (its rainy season here in the rain forest you know).  As I said in the last blog, we have traveled over 3400 nautical miles.  we have visited 6 countries and made countless new friends.  From directions at a post office, to building a washroom for a school, I still pinch myself as I recall the great people in our lives...  Some new some old, but VERY special...

Ok, enough of the sappy stuff.  Now some hard numbers.  I must preface this information by saying that we budgeted $10,000 extra in the first year to cover unforseen expenses.  Our fantasy budget was to live on $1000 per month plus insurance (Last year $4600) or about $17000.  Plus the 10000 = $27000.

We will be attempting to live with the same budget this year with the "unforseen" number dropping to $5,000.

So here are the hard numbers (slightly rounded off) in US Dollars:

         Category                                             Amount
  1. Maintenance/Repairs & Improvements - BOAT          6950
  2. Food - Groceries & Sundries                                      5500
  3. Insurance                                                                   4400
  4. Slip / Mooring Fees                                                   4150
  5. Food/Beverage - Dining Out                                      4100
  6. Fuel (Diesel)                                                              1900
  7. Entry / Exit Fees                                                       1400
  8. Travel - Away                                                            1300
  9. Local Transportation                                                 1300
  10. Gifts                                                                         1200
  11. Subscriptions / Instructor/DM fees                               850
  12. Entertainment                                                              850
  13. Maintenance/Repairs & Improvements - ENGINE        650 
  14. Comp./Phone/Internet                                                 550
  15. Medical Expense                                                         500
  16. Clothing                                                                       450
  17. Scuba Expense                                                           400
  18. Dinghy Gasoline / Boat Propane                                300
  19. Miscellaneous                                                              250
  20. Grand Total                                                           $36600


As I look at these numbers I see that they could raise some questions.  So if you have any, please don't hesitate to ask...

Overall we spent just over $3000 USD per month...  At that rate our trip will be over way too soon so here is a little more information.

First, as I said, we put aside $10,000 aside for "extras in the first year". We saved this extra money while we were both working and added to that with some of the things we sold before we left.  

Also, we were blessed this year with a bunch of scuba work along the way. We also got a very healthy refund on our taxes this year so together we took in $8700.

So if we eliminate the budgeted $10000 and subtract our "income" our net, net cost for the first year was $17,300 or just under $1500 per month.

We would be happy if this year works out close to that budget.

I would say our biggest surprises came in the BOAT EXPENSES.  As those of you who have long followed our blog know, we spent nearly $60,000 refitting the boat before we left.  We learned early on, that STUFF BREAKS ON BOATS! A lot!  Also when you leave the comfort of the USA/Canada, shipping and availability become difficult and expensive.  

The other number that was much higher than we expected was SLIP/MOORING FEES.  While many times we chose to take a mooring or a dock, we were surprised at the number of places where anchoring was ether difficult or impossible. Having said that, we think that this year will be different.  our plans include very few places where docking and mooring is even available, so this number should go way down.The last place we hope to save money is eating out...  OK we admit it... We LIKE eating out... And this is a habit that is going too have to change,... (We hope...)

So there it is...  Our hope is that there might be something useful here for anyone wondering what all this "costs"  I do know that everyone is different, so take this information with a grain of salt...

One last thing this week.  For many years I have enjoyed taking photographs, both underwater and above.  Shelley traditionally looked after our "point n' shoot" stuff with a little go anywhere camera. We also own a few other cameras. (Here is the blog entry that talks about that).  But almost exclusively, I was the only one who used them.

Last weekend Shelley went house sitting with her friend Laura and this time she took the Nikon D3200 and the 80-300 lens.  here are a few examples of her amazing work:






















While I did some minor color and exposure adjustments, these are from her eye directly to this page.  
I also degraded the images so they wouldn't take three days to load...  I have such an amazing wife!

Cheers!