Posted by: vlbyers | November 13, 2012

Another marina

As I said in my last post, we didn’t sail off in to the sunset to park in marinas. So here we are in Shelter Bay marina. Why?
Well stuff happens. Our first attempt at leaving Bocas del Toro was thwarted by a squall. I had undone the anchor snubber, a thing with a two fingered iron grabber in the middle of a length of rope. The grabber attaches to the chain and the two ends of rope attach to cleats on either side of the bow,(that’s the pointy end of the boat), this suspends the anchor chain so all the pressure from the pull of the boat is on the snubber, not the windlass. Anyway, taking off the snubber is the last step before actually pulling up the anchor and getting outa dodge. We looked around us, the wind hadn’t piped up nor had the rain begun but the area we planned to go was quickly disappearing from view as this squall approached.
Our ‘drop dead’ time came and went and I took out leftovers from the night before, we’d be eating on the boat since we had no transportation now that the dinghy was stowed on deck in preparation for departure. Funny thing is just before this squall hit I was wondering how I would get this filthy boat clean? Spotless now!
Next day, we were able to leave earlier in the day since we didn’t have to do anything but raise the anchor. We were off to the San Blas Islands. We waved goodby to Cyprea, they will be in the San Blas in a few days. Our first stop would be the Zapitillas, 2 little islands just off Bocas about 16 miles. We thought that this would be a good opportunity for a little shake down prior to beginning the 200 mile trip. As we rounded Isla Bastimentos we had the Zapitillas in sight at 1000 am we decided to just continue on, everything was working well, we were even sailing in 8-12 knot winds.
As the day wore on the swell continued to increase and also had a bit of swell from a different direction, all conscribing to make Vicki one unhappy girl. I hadn’t taken any meds for sea sickness as our plan was just to go to the Zapitillas, but now that we were on our way, and I was already well on my way with an upset stomach, the medicine I usually take didn’t work well. I was not able to keep anything down, despite my best effort at hydration, the Gods were not in my favor. For most of the passage the only time Larry saw me was when I came out in the cockpit to feed the fish. I was able to spell him about 1:30 am for a sleep break. I felt good enough to unfurl the jib and turn off the engine so we could sail in this sweet 12 knot wind.
At 0600 I made a suggestion to go to Shelter bay for a night so I could recuperate, I just couldn’t bear the thought of another 24 hours of feeling this way. At 0700 a squall came from out of nowhere, I was below trying to keep my last sip of water down when I felt the boat suddenly heal. I jumped up to help Larry get the jib in, at this time the wind meter said 32. The rain was torrential and the seas had of course stirred up as well. Heading up into the wind was the only way we were able to get the jib in, once that was under control we righted our course to head for Shelter bay, we were only about 10 miles off. I think this was the longest 10 miles of my life, but once we got into the protected anchorage it was calm.
So we are tucked in nicely in our berth at the dock, shore power, showered. Had my morning cup of coffee a little late but I am hoping that will help with the headache. The winds were perfect for sailing most of the trip although we only logged 4.5 hours of actual sailing in our 24 hour trip. Checking the swell will be top on my priority for tomorrow, but I guess this just isn’t the Pacific, it is the Caribbean and that’s just how it is. We have 27 miles to Isla Linton, a nice anchorage on the way to the San Blas. From there it is another 45 miles.
Now to find out about the refrigeration.
Vicki

Posted by: vlbyers | November 4, 2012

Escape from the Red Frog

Don’t get me wrong, marinas are great places to have your boat. Red Frog was one of those marinas, safe, secure with great showers and laundry facility, power, water and of course internet not to mention great staff. But it is a marina and we didn’t sail off into the sunset to park at marinas.
After more than a week we had gotten all the systems aboard Rocinante in working order again, done our last load of laundry, made our last internet search and couldn’t think of any more reasons to stay. We tossed off the lines and headed out into the big blue, well we were actually only going to the Bocas anchorage, right off of Bocas town and only about 45 minutes away, but it’s a start.
This is our second night at anchor and oh my what a difference in the coolness of the boat, the marina is protected which means that there isn’t much air movement either, which means hot boat at night. If we were like some of those ‘other’ people with ‘air conditioning’, well we would probably still be there, but we are here. It feels good to be really back on the water, relying on ourselves and our boat.
Today we went to Bocas town for provisioning and I went to the Floating Doctors clinic day. The floating doctors started just a little over a year ago as a vision to travel the world and bring medicine and health and healing to those who were not able to access it. Stops were made in Haiti, after the tsunami, Jamaica and Haiti again, and then Bocas. Having been to Haiti several times it was apparent that they could make a bigger difference if they were accepted as a part of the community, which only happened after several months in one place. They picked Bocas to be their ‘home port’ and have been here serving not only the town of Bocas del Toro but many smaller communities in this archipelago.
Clinic today was quiet with only about 8 patients, Ben was the doctor on site and Claire was the nurse practitioner. I was simply there to observe today, Thursday will be very busy and they asked if I could return to help then. We thought we might take off tomorrow for the San Blas islands but this is an opportunity that I would love to have. There is also a clinic starting on Monday in a distant community called Cusapine, an island off of Panama, here they would see many pregnant patients and utilize their ultrasound machine, of course that is my area of expertise and I might be of more help.
Bocas is an easy town to like, walk able, with many stores including the vegetable store, which has its delivery on Tuesday, that was today and I was there. It is a TINY little hole probably 12ft x 12ft and crammed with vegetable bins lining the walls on 3 sides, a cash register and table which leave little room for the dozens of people who line up to get the best veges. The other stores have the basics and we have scoped out all of them. Larry knows where to get his ‘beer’ and I have discovered the Gourmet store, you will pay a bit more but when you gotta have it, you gotta have it. There is also a big music contingent here and Larry hasn’t gotten enough of it, there is an Alabama game on Saturday, another reason to stay. We will probably miss the good weather window but we do have our priorities.
Vicki

Posted by: vlbyers | November 1, 2012

Back in Bocas town

Guess the history behind the name of this restaurant!

Oct 20, 2012
Being back here in Bocas del Toro, at Red Frog Marina has taken a bit of getting used to. Having been in Seattle for 4 months I think I got used to the cool, and for sure the dry weather. It’s not either here.
We arrived in Panama City on the 15th, stayed in a hotel there for the night and then took the bus to David. Rumor had it that we could do our provisioning easily there in David and then arrange for transportation back to Bocas. The alternative would have been to take a flight out of Panama directly to Bocas, but since my memory was foggy as to the ability to provision in Bocas, and since one of the great pleasures I have is shopping, we chose to go to David. Reportedly the 8 hour drive from Panama to David is quite scenic, we saw several hours of it and then it began to rain which clouded the view out of the window, and then it was dark. Our stay in David was pleasant, air conditioned and quite upscale at the Gran Hotel Nacional, complete with wifi and an adjacent restaurant how could you go wrong.
We provisioned on Wednesday, called Toby of Toby’s freight and delivery, she picked up all of our purchases at the store and it was delivered to us in Bocas the next day! Wow, that is service. From David we took a bus at 0630 to Almirante, about 4 hours and then a water taxi which took about 45 minutes to Bocas. We met the delivery truck here and retrieved all our provisions, loaded them up on another water taxi for the 15 min boat ride to our boat at Red Frog, whew!
Now on to the boat, which we haven’t seen for 4 months and we don’t know the condition of, we hadn’t heard any reports of problems so we assume that all is well. I try to expect the best but envision many hours of scrubbing and washing due to mold and mildew even though we have had a dehumidifier on the boat the entire time.
Our arrival at the boat, well she is still floating, seems to have all the stuff on deck that we left there. First glances look good, below well it is hotter than ….well you know what. The first thing I do is turn off the dehumidifier-that thing puts out the heat for sure. Then the next order is to get our ‘once’ frozen and cold food into the fridge and freezer, thankfully I emailed red frog a few days ago and they turned it on. I welcomed the cold blast as I opened the door-that was one very good idea of mine.
Second order is to open some of our hatches and get some air circulating, as we unfold some laundry done just before we left and still in the bag, the heat radiates from it. We spend most of the day stowing, cleaning and unpacking. At the end of the day we are ready for our canned pears, melba toast and cheese dinner, well the delivery of food was great but somehow we missed all of our fresh fruits and veges? I didn’t have the energy to cook anyway.
Next day we go into town, Bocas, which is about a 15 min water taxi ride, to buy some veges. Catching up with friends and getting some great advice, we walked the town and found every grocery store, and I got my veges. Thankfully Larry remembered the cooler for our ice, one very important item on our boat and then we made our way back. Tonight I would make a great dinner with lentils, spinach and some other goodies, mostly a cool salad and very yummy. Being new arrivals we don’t know many of the other cruisers so we went to the dock ‘happy hour’, which of course is just everyone getting together and chatting and having a good time. The heat, humidity and shopping took it out of me and by the end of the day I was beat, gotta keep up on the fluid intake!
Today, Saturday, we got a bit of work done on the boat. There isn’t so much work as there is making sure everything is in working order. We put the jib back on, Larry inflated the dinghy and put the motor on, it started right up. The generator started right away as well, barbeque not so much, looks like we need a new hose, oh well you can’t have it all. The VHS needs a little tuning, SSB seems to be working, windlass needs some work on the switch and we want to remark the chain before we depart the dock. I need a new rearm kit for my PFD, we will look at the charts and decide where we will go once we leave the dock. Mid day we knocked off and took a walk to the beach, it’s about 10 minutes, mostly in the shade and quite pretty. The seas are calm this time of the year and there wasn’t much swell at all. We swam for a half hour, walked back and took a wonderful cool shower. This is the way to deal with the tropical heat, that and a wet bra.
Tonight was a wonderful meal of salmon with lemons and capers, steamed broccoli and olive tampenade for an appetizer. Larry wasn’t able to get the BBQ going but his quick thinking used the community BBQ at the end of the dock, good work Lar. I think we will watch another movie tonight, taking advantage of the power supply while we have it, turn in early and have a good nights sleep.
Vicki

Posted by: Lare | October 26, 2012

Changes

Specifically life changes. While we were in Seattle this last trip my mother passed away–mainly due to extended cardiac illness but also complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. I guess in some ways she was lucky in that shortly before she went, she could still remember her children. This was very important to her. Family was always important.

As hard as it is to lose someone, in some cases it’s a blessing because of the release from pain and discomfort. In Mom’s case probably most painful was realizing she was forgetting those closest to her and the loneliness she felt from missing our father and  her husband of over fifty years, Jim. For us it was hard hearing her talk about wanting to go and be with him, but we understood.

So here’s to you Mom, I’m still singing your favorite songs.

So Long Mom

I guess I never really learned how to say goodbye

Mostly I just turned and walked away with a sigh

Loving you was easy, because of the love you gave

You cared for so many, so much happiness you made

 

Save me a spot in heaven, I’ll be there by and by

Save me a spot in heaven, I’ll see you when I die

 

I never wondered if you loved me, you were always there

Even now I feel you with me, cause your love is everywhere

We will always miss you, the family and me

But you are happy without the pain, cause you now are free

 

Save me a spot in heaven, I’ll be there by and by

Save me a spot in heaven, I’ll see you when I die

L. Byers

Posted by: vlbyers | October 23, 2012

Beaten to the Post :-( but not to the Pics :-)

Very interesting mosaic in a Bocas del Toro shop


Ha it seems that you will be hearing more from Larry on our adventures-he beat me to the first post back to Bocas, mine will be a bit longer of course as I am sure you know to expect that.
Oct 20, 2012
Being back here in Bocas del Toro, at Red Frog Marina has taken a bit of getting used to. Having been in Seattle for 4 months I think I got used to the cool, and for sure the dry weather.
We arrived in Panama City on the 15th, stayed in a hotel there for the night and then took the bus to David. Rumor had it that we could do our provisioning easily there in David and then arrange for transportation back to Bocas. The alternative would have been to take a flight out of Panama directly to Bocas, but since my memory was foggy as to the ability to provision in Bocas, and since one of the great pleasures I have is shopping, we chose to go to David. Reportedly the drive from Panama to David is quite scenic, we saw several hours of it and then it began to rain which clouded the view out of the window, and then it was dark. Our stay in David was pleasant, air conditioned and quite upscale at the Gran Hotel Nacional, complete with wifi and an adjacent restaurant how could you go wrong.
We provisioned on Wednesday, called Toby of Toby’s freight and delivery, she picked up all of our purchases at the store and it was delivered to us in Bocas the next day! Wow, that is service. Now on to the boat, which we haven’t seen for 4 months and we don’t know the condition of, I try to expect the best but envision many hours of scrubbing and washing due to mold and mildew even though we have had a dehumidifier on the boat the entire time.
Our arrival at the boat, well she is still floating, seems to have all the stuff on deck that we left there. First glances look good, below well it is hotter than ….well you know what. The first thing I do is turn off the dehumidifier-that thing puts out the heat for sure. Then the next order is to get our ‘once’ frozen and cold food into the fridge and freezer, thankfully I emailed red frog a few days ago and they turned it on. I welcomed the cold blast as I opened the door-that was one very good idea of mine.
Second order is to open some of our hatches and get some air circulating, as we unfold some laundry done just before we left and still in the bag, the heat radiates from it. We spend most of the day stowing, cleaning and unpacking. At the end of the day we are ready for our canned pears, melba toast and cheese dinner, well the delivery of food was great but somehow we missed all of our fresh fruits and veges? I didn’t have the energy to cook anyway.
Next day we go into town, Bocas, which is about a 15 min water taxi ride, to buy some veges. Catching up with friends and getting some great advice, we walked the town and found every grocery store, and I got my veges. Thankfully Larry remembered the cooler for our ice, one very important item on our boat and then we made our way back. Tonight I would make a great dinner with lentils, spinach and some other goodies, mostly a cool salad and very yummy. Being new arrivals we don’t know many of the other cruisers so we went to the dock ‘happy hour’, which of course is just everyone getting together and chatting and having a good time. The heat, humidity and shopping took it out of me and by the end of the day I was beat, gotta keep up on the fluid intake!
Today, Saturday, we got a bit of work done on the boat. There isn’t so much work as there is making sure everything is in working order. We put the jib back on, Larry inflated the dinghy and put the motor on, it started right up. The generator started right away as well, barbeque not so much, looks like we need a new hose, oh well you can’t have it all. The VHS needs a little tuning, SSB seems to be working, windlass needs some work on the switch and we want to remark the chain before we depart the dock. I need a new rearm kit for my PFD, we will look at the charts and decide where we will go once we leave the dock. Mid day we knocked off and took a walk to the beach which takes about 10 minutes, mostly in the shade and quite pretty. The seas are calm this time of the year but tody it was a bit like a lake, kind of strange for open water beach. We swam for a half hour, walked back and took a wonderful cool shower. This is the way to deal with the tropical heat, that and a wet bra. Maybe TMI
Tonight was a wonderful meal of salmon with lemons and capers, steamed broccoli and olive tampenade for an appetizer. Larry wasn’t able to get the BBQ going but his quick thinking used the community BBQ at the end of the dock, good work Lar. I think we will watch another movie tonight, taking advantage of the power supply while we have it, turn in early and have a good nights sleep.
From Bocas Vicki

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