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Hebe - Boat Life Highs and Lows - Tim prepares lunch
Hebe - Boat Life Highs and Lows - Tim prepares lunch
Flomaida II - Christoph mit den beiden Glücksbringern bei der "Arbeit"
Flomaida II - Christoph mit den beiden Glücksbringern bei der
Flomaida II - Paradies auf den San Blas Inseln
Flomaida II - Paradies auf den San Blas Inseln
03/02/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 12- Friends & Happy Hours at Super Shelter Bay Marina

What a super "welcome" for our expert crew, Andy Barrow, & us at our slip in Shelter Bay Marina by Joel of the World Rally, the dock master and our wonderful friends John & Kat Langenheim.John & Kat immediately treated us to cocktails and dinner on the lovely veranda at the dock restaurant overlooking the beautiful boats in the marina.They would move aboard CELEBRATE the next morning to help us prepare for our Canal Transit on the 28th. Yet to come were the yummy rum tasting and the pig roast. For a trip into Panama City we had a delightful lunch at Bennigan's on the Pacific side, shopped at the designer mall, Multi-Plaza, and shared a cab with Brian of American Spirit who was meeting with Davide to arrange his haul out after the Canal Transit.Also, CELEBRATE had it's own 3-D. read more...


03/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 30; In the Las Perolas Islands; Sunday, February 2, 2014

Departed Panama City at 9:35 AM today, en route to the Las Perlas Islands. The name means Pearl Islands. The northern islands are only 31 miles from Panama City. The islands got their name when in 1515 Spanish conquistadors Gaspar de Morales and Francisco Pizarro robbed a large amount of pearls from King Toe. The 31 carat 'peregrina' pearl of Queen Mary Tudor of England came from these islands. The Archipelago de Las Perlas consists of more than 220 islands and islets, of which only 90 are named and even fewer are inhabited. One of our pilot books states: "Existing charts of the Perlas are very inaccurate." Fortunately, Eric Bauhaus in his The Panama Cruising Guide supplies charts that he purports are accurate. As Ronald Reagan used to say, 'Trust but verify.'There was almost no wind, so. read more...


03/02/2014

Nexus - Ness is a Grandma!

Vanessa's daughter gave birth last night (11:30am South African Time) to a grandson, 3.8Kg, name to be chosen soon! We're having a celebratory breakfast and helping Ness come to terms with being "Grandma".Got up to check the anchor bridle at 4am this morning with Laurie, as the tide was running opposite the wind, and witnessed a cool phenomenon. The moonless night was dimly lit by the Milky Way, and the bioluminescence in the water revealed fish movement traces, which a large flock of pelicans were tracking and feasting on in nearly total darkness. We could hear them diving in and saw the bigger splash they made outlined by the bioluminescent glow! How cool is that?Russ and Laurie on Nexus still at anchor near Isla Canas 09:13 2/3/2014. read more...


03/02/2014

Starblazer - 02/02/2014 – Cruising, boat maintenance in exotic locations.

The above definition of cruising leaves out two other major items, passage making and fun.First the fun part of cruising: making landfall in new places, exploring local culture and shopping.Entering the breakwater for Shelter Bay Marina and the Panama Canal was very easy, Portsmouth Harbour often has more big ship movements in any 15 minute period and as for Dover….Our time in Shelter Bay was quite busy including shopping for the next month to six weeks.We seem to have bought an awful lot of steak, I might get fed up with it by the time we empty the freezer!We had a day trip to an Embera Indian village which included a 45 minute trip up river in a dugout canoe.The best known tribe in Panama is undoubtedly the Kuna who live in the San Blas Islands.The Embera are spread between Panama and. read more...


02/02/2014

Nexus - Isla de Canas

We're currently in a beautiful anchorage behind the Isla Canas on the East side of the larger Isla del Ray, and the water is clear and full of fish, with pelicans diving from above and large fish feeding on smaller ones below. We went for a long kayak a couple of beach walks around the bay this afternoon, and the scenery and wildlife in and out of the water are great. We and one other boat have the bay to ourselves.This morning before we left Morro Cicique we took a dingy ride over to an adjacent island, Isla San Telmo, to look at a submarine that was over 100 years old, that apparently mysteriously washed up on the North facing beach. I guess given its age and lack of propulsion, it is technically a diving bell, but it was largely intact with large holes rusted through the sides in. read more...


02/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 29; Rudder in the Tube Day; Saturday, February 1, 2014

Before I describe the climatic event of the day, putting the rudder in the tube and attaching the steering arm, since when we're in port not only can we see what our log and others look like by going to the WCC web site, we can actually read COMMENTS left by our log readers. With that in mind, I'd like to encourage anyone reading our log to post any comments you want, or even ask for clarifications if something written is unclear. We won't be able to read these comments until we reach our next port of call, but other log readers will be able to before then. For example, one comment by Diane Lantry-Erler, a friend and neighbor, was that she also had visited the Indian Tribe that some on our boat did last Tuesday. Just how small a world is it we live in?Yard day number 3 started at 8:00. read more...


02/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 28; Rudder Tube Day & Party Bus Night; Friday, January 31, 2014

Since today was another 'yard day,' it started early. Joel and I arrived at the Quality Yachts Yard before 8:00 AM. The objective today was to fit and epoxy the new rudder tube into the boat. The rudder tube, which was lathed the day before, slid into the hole cut for it quite well. Once we were satisfied that it was the right fit, the tube was pulled out and coated with epoxy along its entire length. It was then pushed and rotated up into the hole. It didn't go in easily, but needed some muscle effort to get it in. Then wood was used to brace the bottom of the tube so that it could cure over night. A short yard day, ending at 3:30 PM. Can't do anything until the epoxy cures.At 7:30 PM two party busses arrived at the a site near the marina, and participants in the rally boarded them for. read more...


02/02/2014

Firefly - Into the Pacific

On Friday 31st January, Firefly descended through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, and motored under the bridge of the Americas to enter the Pacific. The whole Panama Canal transit was really well organised both by World Cruising and the Panamanian Canal authorities - its surprising just how many people are involved in making a transit happen.The World ARC fleet are anchored in La Playaita which is fine, if a bit rolly, with the amazing backdrop of Panama City a few miles to the North. In the last decade or so Panama has attracted a lot of investment and the skyline resembles a small Manhattan or Hong Kong with a some very modern skyscrapers and a number of new ones under construction.As we have been learning a lot about Panama and the canal itself here is a very short synopsis for. read more...


02/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 27; The Rudder; Thursday, January 30, 2014

Up at 3:30 AM. That's the penalty of going to bed at 10:00 PM. (5 1/2 hours sleep is what I normally get). It's really awful being in a hotel room as I was used to living in the boat for the previous 3 weeks. The 'hotel routine' is much different than the 'boat routine.' Go figure. The Beach House had a free breakfast set up at 7:00 AM. After sampling a few items we headed for the yard, a 20 minute walk and a mile away. Arriving at 7:30 AM, one of the yard workers was already there working on the boat. It didn't take long to remove the rudder from the bottom of the boat. However, the rudder tube did not just 'fall out' of the boat once the rudder was removed, as it was epoxied top and bottom. The tube was also 'broken' at the top near the steering arm; which meant that it would have. read more...


02/02/2014

Hebe - Las Perlas Islands

Las Perlas, our first taste of Pacific Islands…..no turquoise water, no palm trees, no coral…..but Salcombe in a heatwave after the nuclear fall out.  We are the only people here, the water is green and cool full of plankton,  some of the beaches are quicksand soft. The trees are dropping their leaves, except the trusty Jacaranda adding a splash of purple. The breeze is cool and DRY, our skin is crinkling up after sweating so long in the Caribbean, but it means I am no longer sleeping with my pillow in the freezer.Birds everywhere, many on the deck, all quite unfazed by our arrival. Is that you Mr Bond? Last night was AMAZING, we could write our names with the boat hook in the sparkling phosphorescence, under a moonless starry sky…..sick -  as they say. We were dying to. read more...


Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Hunting for shells and crabs
Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Hunting for shells and crabs
Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Is that your Mr Bond?
Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Is that your Mr Bond?
Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Looking out at our Hebe Home
Hebe - Las Perlas Islands - Looking out at our Hebe Home
01/02/2014

Free & BrEasy - Panama Hurrah!

Crossing the main shipping Chanel at the Santa Cristobel entrance to the canal, we knew it was time to go. Shelter Bay Marina had become a home from home and although we would miss the pool, resteraunt, wifi, beers with the fleet, early morning runs with the howler monkeys and much more, the cruiser's itchy wonderlust had been tugging.  The first breeze on our cheeks told us it was good to be going. We anchored briefly and our pilot, Carlos, literally jumped aboard and we were off to the first locks at Gatun. Rafting up with Merlyn of Poole on starboard and Ghost on port, went well. Free and BrEasy had an Oyster 45 and a brand new Xc yacht for fenders against the giant walls of the locks! We had visited the Gatun locks previously and seen the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth slide. read more...


01/02/2014

Nexus - Anchored behind Morro Cacique at Isla Del Ray, Las Perlas

We had a motoring day yesterday sailing down here from Isla Contadora in flat calm. The islands are beautiful to sail past, and Las Perlas are a fisherman's dream, as you can catch all the fish you want. We caught two dogtooth tuna and a 48inch Mahi Mahi on the way down! Beautiful anchorage and beach here, just around the corner from Rio Cacique. We floated up the Rio Cacique with the incoming 3kt tide for about a mile and a half and saw beautiful egrets, herons and very old mangrove trees all along the river. The incoming tide was stunning at 16ft, easily overwhelming the outgoing river currents. We motored out slowly against the tide as it started to ease. Later on we walked on the beach behind Morro Cacique which although littered with plastic was still beautiful. On the far west side. read more...


02/02/2014

American Spirit II - Day 26; Onto the Hard; Mike and Paul Leave; Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The day started at 6:00 AM, as Paul Fox had a flight to catch at 9:43 AM. At 6:00 AM also the Ferry berthed behind us and 100 yards towards the land, was blaring commands thru their speaker system. It was so loud that even boats in the anchorage a quarter mile away heard it. It sounded like a bingo game back home. There was no apparent reason for them to be doing this at 6:00 AM. Welcome to Panama. Paul was picked up by Fred, the taxi driver we've been using while in town; to take him to the Tucumen Airport about 30 minutes away. Andy, from London, living in Houston and on board Caduceus of Burnham, joined Paul for the ride to the airport. Splitting expenses is always a plus. After breakfast, we re-watered the boat(water tank filled); then Joel Heyne installed the new VHF Radio and Mic. read more...


American Spirit II - Chichime San Blas Islands
American Spirit II - Chichime San Blas Islands
American Spirit II - Chichime San Blas Islands
American Spirit II - Chichime San Blas Islands
31/01/2014

Firefly - Half way across the Panama Canal - at anchor in Gatun Lake

We have a couple of very memorable days;Yesterday we went on a tour to visit a settlement of Embera Indians; after a bus trip towards Panama city we were met on the shores of the Gatun Lake by the indigenous Indians with their canoes hewn from tree trunks, albeit with an outboard motor on the back! We were taken on a beautiful cruise up the flooded river (which was dammed to form Gatun Lake during the construction of the canal)to an isolated settlement of some 120 people who like other Embera villages in the area, resettledhere (after the lake was formed) from their original home near the Colombian border.The settlement was a model of living without outside influence; they live off the land and lake, and do not bring in anything other than food they need to feed their visitors, they have. read more...


31/01/2014

Hebe - Las Perlas Islands

Harry's cooking supper tonight, sadly we didn't catch anything as we sailed away from Panama City to Las Perlas.  So its fish from the freezer. We are now anchored very gently bobbing in the Pacific Ocean off a Las Perlas island.  I leapt in the moment we arrived, it's colder than the Caribbean, green and tidal so swiftly flowing.  We had a lovely gentle sail today not a lot of wind rather extraordinary that just 20 miles away over the other side of the isthmus the sea is blue and foaming with the trade winds blowing constantly. Saw some dolphins though so far we have seen very few marine mammals.  Lots of birds here though -  as the sun set a squadron of pelicans flew in a line weaving up and down just above the surface, looked very primeval and would have been. read more...


30/01/2014

Nexus - Isla Contadora, Las Perlas

Finally out of the anchorage with legal paperwork, we had a beautiful sail down to the northern Las Perlas Islands and are anchored behind Contadora, which we will return to for the rendezvous next week. The sail out of Panama City was largely windless on the stern, but about half way to the islands we picked up 20kts on the beam, and had a nice 9kt sail the rest of the way here! It was wierd to sail ESE from Panama to get to the Las Perlas, but we were grateful for the favorable wind angles to go around the East side of the Islands. Things really started looking up when we caught a nice Long Fin Tuna for diner along the way on a trusty orange rapella! I'm just noticing Seaduced and Clementina on the AIS heading this way, so it looks like we'll have some company!Contadora is fairly. read more...


29/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 25; Tour of the Embera Tribe in the Jungle; David Fox Leaves; Mike Mogavero Arrives; Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The day, as usual, began at dawn. After a quick shower, Brian brewed coffee and made his gourmet egg breakfast while David, Joel, Darlene and I watched the sun rise. We were still on the hook just off the Playita Marina. The weather was perfect, low 70s with a light breeze. This was David's last day-he would be flying out later in the day to below zero weather in Chicago.After breakfast, Brian took Joel, Darlene and I in the dingy to the dingy dock. There was a minor hiccup with getting the engine going, but once started we motored to the dock in about 15 minutes. Today's adventure was a day trip to the Embera Indian Tribe in the Jungle of central Panama. These were a native people who still maintained the customs of their ancient past. We met the tour at 8:00 AM, of which there were. read more...


Hebe - Banished Banana on the stern
Hebe - Banished Banana on the stern
Hebe - Bye Bye Panama
Hebe - Bye Bye Panama
Hebe - Bye Bye red tide pollution
Hebe - Bye Bye red tide pollution
Sweet Pearl - Sweet Pearl enjoying San Blas
Sweet Pearl - Sweet Pearl enjoying San Blas
29/01/2014

Starblazer - 27/01/2014 – Back to civilization (wi-fi)!

We did go to the Lemon Cays the following day, carefully following the waypoints from the pilot book.John was worried as the reefs seemed to be very close to the boat but we never saw less than 12 metres of water until we reached the anchorage.As we were anchoring a dugout canoe with an outboard was hanging around, as soon as we were settled they approached. Venancio introduced himself and gave us his card, Venancio Master Mola Maker!He came on board and showed us a large selection of tremendously intricate molas, sadly all rather expensive.He explained that some take a week to make and you could tell from the thickness that there were many layers, not just the two or three of the cheaper ones.We had the princely sum of $42 left after checking in at Porvenir so sadly had to ignore many. read more...


29/01/2014

Firefly - Waiting to go through the canal

We arrived at Shelter Bay marina on Sunday after a great sail down the coast from The San Blas islands via Isla Linton. It was sad to say farewell to the beautiful San Blas but we are now getting prepared for our transit through the locks.Firefly is in the last of three World ARCtransits to go through and a third of the fleet are already in the Pacific, the second transit left this afternoon so they are half way through and now at anchor in Gatun Lake . A trip wasorganisedto the Gatun Lock visitor centre at the first set of locks (going up) so we know something of what we are going to experience however it is difficult to compare our trip to those of a super tanker or cruise ship who can only just squeeze through with only inches to spare.The trip to the locks is one of many events. read more...


28/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 24; Tour of Panama City; Monday, January 27, 2014

The day started early. Up at 6:00 AM; breakfast at 6:30 AM; and then departure from the boat to the dingy dock to meet for a tour of Panama City starting at 8:00 AM. Because there were 5 of us, it took 2 dingy trips to bring everyone ashore. Our bus took off at 8:10 PM. As usual, the tour was organized by the World Cruising Club. There were a total of 2 small busses. Ours held 13. Our tour guide was a Panamanian named David. Our first stop was at an old Convent/Hospital built in 1519 but destroyed in 1671. Its and the entire city's destruction was performed by the inhabitants of the city as they were warned that Buccaneer Henry Morgan was on his way to conquer the city. Rather than give up their riches, the people of Panama City torched their own city. Like most cities, there are many. read more...


28/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 23; Thru the Down Locks: Pedro Meguel & Miraflores; Sunday, January 26, 2014

The day started at 5:00 AM, as the Chief Advisor had told us that we needed to be under way by 5:45 AM. We were ready. The Pilot boat arrived at, you guessed it, not 5:45 AM but 6:45 AM; one hour late. The extra sleep would have been nice. Not mentioned from Saturday's log was that Nexus, a 60 foot catamaran that was the center of our raft up, tied up to a mooring ball inLake Gatun Saturday night; and we tied up to them. We were happy to do so as we didn't have to worry about dragging anchor; and because at 74 feet it would have been a deep anchor with insufficient scope. We normally like to anchor with a scope of 5:1. At 74 feet we would need 370 feet of anchor chain out. Oops. We only have 300 feet. Thank you Russ and Laurie off Nexus.We had a different Advisor on board today, a. read more...


29/01/2014

Hebe - Embrerer Indian village

29th January 2014Spent 3 days in Panama during which Andrew 'I Don't Do Buses' joined me on a Panama City tour…..he lasted 2 hours. Circumnavigators do not like being herded like sheep. He bolted into a wild taxi then started to enjoy himself. The old dilapidated city and the expanding new part which is beginning to resemble Dubai.One evening we went downtown to the fish market where we were assured we could eat in the restaurant there, we found ourselves amid the end of the day's rubbish and chaos with the workers eating street food. Being a Monday the restaurant was closed. its exciting finding yourself in the wrong place, H&I are of course intrepid travellers in Central America so used to it all. Did repairs -  frustrating getting things delivered by UPS I am astonished. read more...


Hebe - Lovely Zuleica who made my basket. The henna acts as an insect repellant too.
Hebe - Lovely Zuleica who made my basket. The henna acts as an insect repellant too.
Hebe - The gorgeous children playing with crayons
Hebe - The gorgeous children playing with crayons
26/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 11 - Onward to Shelter Bay

Our plan for our trip to Shelter Bay was to make a lunch stop at Portobello, just a few miles from Isla Linton. The port has historical significance: it was used as a loading point for Spanish ships to take on gold and other cargo to be transported to Spain. A few decades ago some of the ancient fortifications were recovered from the jungle, and we had a chance to go ashore and check them out. There is something unsettling about looking out a shore gun port and seeing that the cannon is pointed directly at the yacht you came on.After a lunch of hearty soup, the Celebrate put to sea for the last 20 miles to Shelter Bay Marina. Through the rain we could see dozens of ships anchored out waiting to go through the canal.World ARC staff were waiting for us at the dock, Charlie expertly. read more...


26/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 10 - Isla Linton

After a somewhat rolly night anchored outside Chichime, Celebrate put to sea for a short 40 mile run to Isla Linton. Charlie and Cathy had been to this anchorage 4 years previous, and were interested in seeing if the old research station was still there, as well as a unique French country restaurant accessible via short river and mangrove tunnel.As with many of the good anchorages along the Panamanian coast, it was already filled with yachts, many of which had clearly been there for some time. Celebrate anchored in 40 feet, outside the main group, after the first attempt at anchoring inside was unsuccessful. The old research station was close to being taken over by the jungle, and the monkeys that they had seen in a past visit were nowhere to be seen.The run through the mangroves for. read more...


26/01/2014

Celebrate - Log Day 9 - Chichime World ARC Party

World ARC put on a great party for crews on what would become, for many crews, their last day in San Blas Islands. The event was a pot luck. The diversity of offerings from the World ARC boats was as diverse as the crews, from spring rolls to barbeque ribs, potato chips to potato salad. Celebrate's offering was a team effort of au gratin potatoes by Charlie and Andy. Everything disappeared quickly – clearly an indication that folks were anxious for a change from their usual on-board fare. The World ARC yellow shirts provided an endless supply of coconuts with the generous addition of rum.After lunch, a local Kuna group came to dance and play music for the group. Beautifully dressed and very animated, they seemed tireless!A happy but tired crew returned to Celebrate, carrying 10 loaves of. read more...


26/01/2014

Nexus - Half Way Through the Panama Canal

A restful but short night in the big lake in Panama, after completing our first half passage through the Panama Canal. The Canal is AWESOME, and it was really fun to watch it work, and especially to drive through it with two 40' boats rafted to our sides! The adviser was excellent and really fun to work with, and the World ARC staff did an superb job preparing us for the journey, there were no surprises other than the beauty of the area and impressive engineering and clockwork precision of the locks. We went through with 11 World ARC boats, and in the middle lock, someone in the group played the bagpipes, which gave a wonderful ambiance to the trip and solicited a salute from the horn of the freighter in the other lock. We should arrive at the middle set of locks around 11pm and pass. read more...


26/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 22; Thru the Gatun Locks; Saturday, January 25, 2014

I seemed to have miscounted a day so the days went from Day 20 to 22. The morning was spent getting ready to transit the 3 Gatun Locks today. We had to be ready to go by 12:00 Noon, even though our appointment was at 4:30 PM. Late in the morning we were told to leave the Shelter Bay Marina at 2:30 PM and proceed to an anchorage area, anchor and wait for the pilot boat to drop off our Advisor at 4:00 PM. We departed at 2:34 PM and anchored at 3:22 PM. The area we anchored in was mud, and we along with some other boats dragged anchor. At 4:10 PM our Advisor, Victor, was dropped off at our boat; and at 5:00 PM we weighed anchor and headed for the Gatun Locks. Eleven sail boats in the Rally were scheduled to go thru the locks together, in rafts of 3, 3, 3, and 2. We were in the first raft. read more...


25/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 20; Measurement and Safety Inspection Day; January 23, 2014

At 9:00 AM every morning the World Cruising Club broadcasts on VHF Channel 72 information of interest to the Rally participants. For example, we were advised today that by early afternoon all boats making the first transit of the canal would be measured by an official of the canal authority. Our measurement inspection occurred at 10:15 AM and lasted a half hour. The boat was measured: length, width, and draft; and particulars of the boat were written down by the official, such as our cruising speed; engine horsepower; status of navigation lights; and other navigation equipment.At 2:00 PM Joel from the World Cruising Club conducted a safety inspection of our boat, since we didn't have one in St. Lucia. We passed. At 4:00 PM a briefing was held for the boats (five) that did not receive. read more...


25/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 19; Gatun Locks and Quiz Night; January 24, 2014

A tour was taken of the Gatun lock complex today by Joel and Darlene Heyne; and Paul and David Fox. Brian Fox was off to Panama City to try to secure a haul out date for the boat to fix the rudder. The date assigned is next Wednesday at 1:00 PM. The hoist time of 1:00 PM, middle of the day, is because of the large tide, 15 feet. The water at the hoist location will be too shallow for us to get into until that time.Before the Panama Canal was constructed, a debate ensued about whether to have a 'sea level' canal or a stepped, lock system as is currently in place. For some crucial reasons, the stepped, lock system won out. The three Gatun Locks are the "up" locks on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama. Boats traveling from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean are raised 85 feet.. read more...


25/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 18; Temporary Ruder Fix; January 22, 2014

The project for the day was to fix the rudder temporarily so we could transit the Panama Canal this Saturday, January 25, as scheduled. To that end Joel Heyne, technician extroadnare, developed a plan to raise up the rudder post using two pieces of star board, PVC piping and plastic ties. By lifting the rudder post, the steering mechanism could swing its full dimension without hitting the bolts that were obstructing it. We had the (expensive) star board on board to use in the event we had a hull breach. We had it on board to patch a hole in the hull if we struck a reef, whale or shipping container.By noon the rudder was fixed good enough that we had 100% utilization of the steering on the boat. Though the fix may last forever, the goal is to get the new bearings and install them at the. read more...


25/01/2014

Firefly - Up River

Another great day today. Paul was up early for a kitesurf in the shallow lagoon around Green Island. This was a memorable session due to the large number of rays seen. Mostly they were jet black manta rays, about 1 metre across (there were a few grey stingrays too) - difficult to judge but they did not appear to be that pleased to be disturbed.We then took the opportunity to see another part of Kuna Yala of which the San Blas Islands form a part. From Green Island we sailed towards the mainland and anchored off the Island of Nargana or Yandup. We then took the dinghy across a shallow sand bar and up Ria Diablo. This river meanders into the foothills and is enclosed by palms, mangroves and sugar cane. We motored and paddled about three miles upstream and saw herons, kingfishers and other. read more...


24/01/2014

Free & BrEasy - Much Ado About Very Little

Team FBy have been in Shelter Bay for 4 days now and have settled into a routine. Skipper Roger spends most of the time emailing and emitting gushes of steam at the frustrating lack of progress with getting things ordered and delivered before we leave on the 28th January. We are waiting for a new inverter, storm jib and toilet valve. Unfortunately the latter is a through hull fitting and Roger would prefer to be hauled out here, to fit it, rather than rely on the smaller Marina in Flamenco bay. It has been suggested that we only need someone on the outside of the hull with a sink plunger to stop water coming in but what if it does not work or comes off? Any way we need the valve to arrive first.Michael 1 has set up his office in the terrace resteraunt and is presumably buying and selling. read more...


24/01/2014

Firefly - Another blissful anchorage

There appears to be no end to the number of fantastic anchorages here: yesterday we sailed East for 10 miles to Coco Bandero Cay and found a very sheltered spot and took the dinghy to a small island on the reef nicknamed 2 Palm Cay (because it was just large enough to have two palms growing on it) and spent a couple of hours snorkeling through a colorful collection of corals and tropical fish.Also there appears to be no end to thecourage and resourcefulness of the Kuna, at every anchorage we meet up with the same people selling lobsters, Molas or fruit. They will have traveled from the mainland each day in their hand crafted ( and not always that seaworthy) craft.Today we sailed the short distance to Green Island (because its slightly greener than it's neighbors). The island is large. read more...


23/01/2014

American Spirit II - Day 18; Fixing the Rudder; January 23, 2014

The project for the day was to fix the rudder temporarily so we could transit the Panama Canal this Saturday, January 25, as scheduled. To that end Joel Heyne, technician extroadnare, developed a plan to raise up the rudder post using two pieces of star board, PVC piping and plastic ties. By lifting the rudderpost, the steering mechanism could swing its full dimension without hitting the bolts that were obstructing it. We had the (expensive) star board on board to use im the event we had a hull breach. We had it on board to patch a hole in the hull if we struck a reef, whale or shipping container. By noon the rudder was fixed good enough that we had 100% utilization of the steering on the boat. Though the fix may last forever, the goal is to get the new bearings and install them at the. read more...


23/01/2014

Day 16 and 17; Rendevouz on Chichime; and on to the Panama Canal; January 20, and 21, 2014

The World Cruising Club held a Party on Chichime Island at 1:00 PM today. Everybody to bring a dish or drinks to share. Joel from WCC passed out rum coconut drinks, with real coconuts as the 'glass.' Very cool. Met people from other boats, and even met some people on the island who had nothing to do with the Rally. Specifically, three young men from Israel: Arnon Joseph, Tom Peleg and Nir Badt. First actual Israelis I'd ever met. They were staying in a hut where the charge per day for each of them was $25. For that they got a "leaf" (roof) over their heads; and three meals a day. What a deal! Why mention this? Because part of the experience in the World ARC 2014/15 is not only meeting people in the Rally from 9 or 10 different countries, but indigenous peoples in the countries we visit;. read more...


22/01/2014

Free & BrEasy - Sleep At Last!

After a week at Rodney Bay trying to decrease the length of the "to do" list, we were glad to be off sailing at last with the start of World ARC 2014. For the previous three months Roger (skipper) had devoted every hour awake and some asleep, to the venture, from Winnipeg, Canada. Free and BrEasy was meanwhile on the hard in Greneda and only touched water a week before Christmas Day after Roger had spent a busy 2 weeks. Just to add to the list Roger's wife Annabelle, broke her ankle so its a miracle that Roger and Michael 1 were able to sail the boat to Rodney Bay in time for Michael 2 to join them. Just to make life even more interesting, Roger celebrated his 70th birthday in fine style with his sister, Jan, and brother in-law, Tim, taking him off for lunch and giving him his first cell. read more...