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, August 31, 2015

Another Awesome 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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This week just flew by...  It is hard to imagine that September is almost upon us! Wow!
We spent most of this week back in Dolphin Bay.  The rain really fell in the early part of the week, but the last few days have been stunning!

Last week our friend Mary who lives at Dolphin Bay took this amazing picture of our boat and their boat in the bay...  This is our life!

This week we got a few more jobs completed on the boat.  I tried to fix one of my fishing reels, but had no luck.  The drag seems to be seized.  Any repair suggestions would be appreciated.

We have begun the process of sanding and re-varnishing the teak toe rail around the boat.  Each morning before it gets too hot we try to get one section completed.  We should finish up in a few more days...

The other day between rain storms, Shelley and I walked the Smithsonian property again.  We collected oranges, limes, cocao, and breadfruit.  It's like going to a free grocery store!


Today was a busy day.  It began with Mary taking us to breakfast at a small restaurant in the next bay, and in the afternoon, we went to Rana Azul for pizza.  On the way home, we stopped in the jungle and collected some bamboo the make some planters.  We will show pictures of that project next week.



Bamboo Heaven!


A BLUE Frog!









More soon! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Taking Advantage of Internet.....

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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now that we live n the hook and away from a marina, access to internet is much more difficult.  Sometimes that is a problem, but for the most part, in all honesty, we really don't miss it as much as you might think...

In an emergency, we have our VHF radio for short distance communication, our SSB radio for long distance communication, our SPOT Connect for short message and emergency satellite transmission, and if EVERYTHING FAILS, we have 2 EPIRB's (Satellite/GPS locating beacons)....
So, living away from technology isn't as scary as one would think...

Further, we haven't looked or listened to any news for months now, and quite frankly, we are living with much less stress because of it.....  I realize that may rub some people the wrong way, but our prescription for life isn't for everyone...

That said, here are a few more stories from the last little while....

First, there is a budding artist in the love of my life... Shelley has been learning to paint from a good friend in Bocas, and Michelle brought her and "adult" coloring book.... Who knew?  I am very proud of this effort, and some of her watercolors are making the interior of our home more beautiful....




Life on the hook is very different from life on the dock, or life anywhere else for that matter.  We find that there is time to do many things that most people never think of...  Shelley has been re-starting a vegetable/herb garden.  When we went from the USA to Cuba last year we were forced to destroy her garden before we arrived...  I the time we will be in Panama, there will be lots of time for a new garden to grow...


Here are some more pictures of some of the things we created using Calabash.


The other day I had to change all three of our fuel filters.  I decided to get up really early, and get this smelly job done before Shelley woke up.  Perhaps I should have slept in.  I opened the engine room hatches then took some extraneous stuff up to the cockpit.  on my way down the ladder, I "forgot" the hatches were open and fell 4 feet into the engine room...  I survived, but I think my ego is worse off then my foot.

Yesterday, it dawned on me that for the last year, I have always helmed (driven) the dinghy.  I am not even sure we ever gave it much though, Shelley drives the big boat as much or more often than I do.  Not so long ago, Shelley was waiting for me in the dinghy and it drifted away from the dock.  When I told her to start the engine and come back for me, she just stared and said, "How should I do that?"


It was then we realized that driving a small dinghy with a small outboard, isn't something people would innately know how to do... SO, yesterday, after we bought a few gallons of fuel from some Indians, Shelley took over the helm of the dinghy....  With only a few minor hiccups, she has turned out to be very competent.  It looks like I have successfully given away some more responsibility... :)

This morning we were invited to join Joanna and Mary (who live in homes on Dolphin Bay) at a lovely, rustic restaurant for Sunday breakfast. We loved the food, and the company, but were blown away with the ingenuity of the people who live in and around the area where the restaurant is located.



They live in a Mangrove swamp and so if you want to go anywhere you must take a boat or swim.  These folks use simple technology and have created an intricate network of raised walkways to get around...  NEAT!

The "Outhouses"
"Look ma!, No pipes!"
After breakfast and after a lovely tour around the bay, we were invited to use Joanna's internet.  So with computers and IPad's in a dry bag we hiked to to top of the hill where she lives... What great people live in this world!







So this is it for a while... Thank you all so much for following along on this life changing adventure with us.  We are looking forward to seeing a bunch of school supplies arrived before the end of September.  We have a list of a whole bunch of really worthy kids for this stuff...



I will leave you with a picture that pretty much sums up our life...  This morning just after sunrise, I came on deck to find a pair of small birds perched on our bow pulpit.  Even though there is no doubt that they saw me, they didn't seem worried.  In fact I went back down the salon ladder and retrieved our good camera, returned to the cockpit and they were still there...  To live with harmony like this, just changes the way you see the world....  Each evening, instead of watching sad, sensationalized news, we watch monkeys and parrots settle in the highest trees for their nights rest, we listen to the hundreds of different sounds that emanate from the night jungle, and we know, all is right with the world...

Cheers!


Panama - An AMAZING Place!

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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Before I get started on what will be a fairly long entry, I need to say, FINALLY the Scotiabank has decided that I am a customer, and last week returned our money...  Hopefully that will never happen again...

After Michelle left us, we returned to the outlying areas of the archipelago.  We were astounded time and time again by the beauty and majesty of the amazing place in the world...

Once we were away from the bustle of Bocas Town, everything slowed down and we couldn't help but relax and enjoy ourselves...

We joined back up with our friends Bill & Joanne from s/v Ultra in Dolphin Bay and explored a bunch of new places...

We toured a property formerly owned by a wealthy American who, after his death, his wife generously donated the land to the Smithsonian Institute who has maintained fairly accessible trails through this part of the Panamanian jungle.



A "baby" coconut tree...

Someone has even created a labyrinth...


Along the trail we saw just how nature looks after itself, and along the way discovered just how tenacious some plants and animals are...  
An AMAZING Bamboo stand...

We brought along some water and snacks for our hike but discovered that the jungle offers way more than we needed.  We enjoyed coconuts, oranges, cocayo, sugar cane, just to name a few...

Coconut



Who else sees and accident ready to happen?

The fruits of my labor!

A Poison Dart Frog...
Yep, the natives rubbed their arrow and spear tips on these guys to kill their enemies...

Opening a Cacayo Pod...
Wild Oranges and Limes...
Deep in the jungle we came across an abandoned wood shop in the middle of no where. Apparently the man who owned the property was a furniture manufacturer in the US. Before his death he set up this shop and was teaching local men how to build furniture using sustainable local resources...



On our way back to the boat we needed some gas for our dinghy so learned that some natives sell it by the gallon out of their home...  When we stopped we were told by two little girls that, yes the did have gasoline, but today they only had 3 gallons... "Sold," we said. Without any fuss the girls went to a small bodega beside the house and poured from glass gallon containers the fuel we needed... Sadly, they were covered in gas when they were finished, but didn't seem to mind... It seems they knew that their parents would be proud, that they sold the gas they had to some gringos..
The local Gas Station...

That night we got together for dinner with our friends for dinner on Ultra...  We seem to do a lot of "getting together".



On our hike we picked up some Calabash pods.  We haven't discovered any edible use for these hard shelled fruits, but with a Dremmel tool and a few spoons, you can make the coolest bowls and lampshades and Christmas ornaments.
Calabash cleaned out, waiting to be carved...






While still in Dolphin Bay, we wet for dinner at a little restaurant in the middle of nowhere called Rona Azul... With the stone hearth and generator running off in the distance, we enjoyed good food and great friends...
Joanne, Bill & Joanna

Me, Carl (driving), Shelley and Carl's wife, Mary



Our next stop was Zapatilla Cays.  These are two small islands at the Caribbean edge of the archipelago. With beautiful azure water we enjoyed some nice snorkeling and long walks around the Cays.  









One little disaster occurred when we were setting our anchor.  On our primary, 85lb. Mantus anchor we have 300' of chain in 3 sections.  We used a galvanized link between the first and second sections, and when we were backing down the anchor, the connecting link failed and we lost our primary anchor and 100' of 3/8" chain. We put out our secondary anchor and  I put on a scuba unit and started to search for our missing ground tackle.  After about 20 minutes of fruitless searching, Joanne and Bill arrived to help.  They have this little planning board that they tow behind their dinghy.  For more than an hour Bill towed me around the anchorage until we finally found it...  After we installed new (and stronger) connecting links, we were back in business.... 

After a few wonderful days at the Cays, we moved a few miles to to tip of Basimentos Island where we anchored just outside of Salt Creek, an Indian settlement near some eco-tourist resorts.

We took the dinghy to one of the resorts called Azul Paradise, and met the cutest monkey they called Rafiki...








After we used their internet and had a few drinks we explored the river.  What another beautiful place...






What a great place to do homework...


The next day we walked for miles down the beach and came upon one of the locations where Survivor was filmed...  We though it was pretty cool.


This is where the production crew lived....

On this same walk, we found the BIGGEST coconut we have ever seen...

Along the way we were joined by two dogs who adopted us for the afternoon.  They followed us for more than 5 miles and even tried to follow us when we took the dinghy beck to our boats...  They were well cared for and were wearing collars, and we found out they do this all the time...  They adopt beach walkers, and eventually make their way home for dinner...






After a long walk, we relaxed...  We seem to do relaxing really well....


We continue to explore the archipelago and will share more soon...

Cheers!