Thursday, October 29, 2009 East Limon Cays to Swimming Pool 12.62 NM
Lat: 09 35. 354 N
Long: 078 40 603 W
Today we left the East Limon Cays and headed for the swimming pool anchorage, where the best snorkeling in the San Blas Islands is meant to be located. It was again that only after moments of dropping our anchor did the other mola master maker Vennincio make his way to the boat. Vennincio explained that he traveled three hours just to come and meet our boat. Let's just say that his long trip turned out to be a very good investment for him, as our wallets were once again much lighter after his departure. Vennincio explained a great deal about the process and history of mola making while showing us his collection, which was a great education and gave us a better appreciation for the art work.
Once we released our mola buying urges yet again, Lou, Mickey, Laura, and Diane took the dingy over to one of the reefs to do some snorkeling. Jim, Tom, Carol and I stayed behind to work on some boat maintenance issues. Once the group returned it was Diane, Jim, Tom, Carol and I who took advantage of our location and did some snorkeling around the boat. There were various star fish, conch shells and other beautiful coral and fish around us.
It was then we enjoyed a wonderful dinner, with crab legs for an appetizer and lobster tails for a main course. Are we spoiled?...yes. Then we decided to have a game night on the boat and we all played Catch Phrase after dinner. It was a boys against girls game, except for me, which was placed on the guy team for number and name purposes. The boys seemed to dominate, mainly due to the fact that Jim's way of playing usually translates into the most discreet ways of cheating, and some not so discreet. J After the game it was off to bed for some, while others decided to do a bit of star gazing before they headed off to bed.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Today we decided to stay in the swimming pool anchorage and partake in some more snorkeling and diving. We got the Brownie Hookah out again today and we were able to get a sense of our area around the boat. Lou even attempted to fix our depth sounder on the hull of the boat (that means the bottom of the boat for those of us not nautically educatedwhich was me about 5 days ago...but I'm learning quickly) by scraping off the paint that the marina crew painted over while at Shelter Bay Marina. Lou spent an hour scraping off what paint he could, and although his efforts did bring some power back to the depth sounder, it didn't fix the problem completely.
Due to some rain showers a good part of the day was spent reading and relaxing on the boat. Although every small chance we had when the clouds let up and some sun shinned in, Laura hit the bow to do some tanning and the rest of us did as much snorkeling as we could. One of the highlights of snorkeling in this area was not only the massive star fish and sand dollars, but the cuddle fish. They are squid like fish that can change color when they detect danger. Lou was able to get close to many of them that changed color around the different sand and coral to play a game of hid and seek with him. It always amazed us how we could simply go 10 feet away from the boat and be transported into a completely different and very beautiful world. We then enjoyed wine and stories on the bow before enjoyed a wonderful lobster and chorizo pasta dinner.
Saturday, October 31, 2009 Swimming Pool to Isla Porvenir 18.108 NM
Lat: 09 33 346N
Long: 78 56 884 W
Happy Halloween! Today we left the Swimming Pool anchorage and headed for Isla Porvenir. But before we could take off Lou, Jim and Diane did a little search and rescue for Mickey's fin that fell to the bottom of the ocean floor the afternoon before. Lou and Jim used the brownie hookah to safely locate and retrieve the fin. Once everyone and their equipment was aboard, it was off to Isla Porvenir where we were to spend the final evening of Lou, Mickey and Laura's adventure, as they were scheduled to fly out of Porvenir's airport the next morning at 6am. Once we arrived, Laura wanted to make sure she didn't miss out on the mola mall, so Diane took Laura, Mickey and Lou over to Wichubhuala Island, which is located right across from Isla Porvenir. It was on this island they found a bakery and general store the Kuna Indians ran. They purchased some fresh bread along with a bag full of fresh veggies. Laura brought the last of her Halloween candy and gave it to some of the local children around the village, which made her a favorite among the kids. Even after Laura's departure, the Kuna's would come up to the boat asking if the girl with the candy was around.
Once they returned from the village we all sat down for our last feast together on the Ocean Dance, at least for this trip, as we all hope there will be many more to come in the future. After dinner we decided it would be fun to see just how many mola's we purchased over the last week between us all. We laid them all out in the salon, which took up just about every inch of space available. The mola grand total of all our purchases combined came to a shocking 82 molas!!!! There was no hiding the fact that we all went a little too mola mad with that final number. After admiring each other's purchases, (and then spending quite a while figuring out which ones belonged to who) we then all headed to bed after saying some farewells and sharing some stories about how great the trip was for everyone, as it was a very early departure the next morning, and we didn't know how long the commute was going to take in the morning to the airport due to traffic.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Today the Gehring family left the San Blas Islands and headed back to Panama City to catch their flight back to Kansas City. The commute to the airport was a short one, as the dingy ride only took about five minutes to get to the island. And they all had plenty of time to board as security went fairly quickly, probably because there wasn't any. The planes debarking and boarding was quite a sight as the process goes so quickly that the planes one propeller and engines don't even stop. As the Gehring family's plane lifted off the runway, the wing of the plane waved goodbye to Tom, Carol and I sitting enjoying our coffee on the bridge of the boat.
Once Jim and Diane returned from the airport, we all enjoyed breakfast and decided to head over to the village of Wichubhuala that the Gehring family explored the day before. Jim brought his camera and captured the beauty and unique Kuna culture. The children on the island were so much fun to be around. They loved having their pictures taken and were hamming it up for the camera. There were even families that rushed to dress their newborn babies in nice clothes so they could have their pictures taken with their new children. Many of the families don't have photos of themselves and their kids, so we promised to bring printed photos that we took of everyone back the next day. We even stopped by Emilio's home and were introduced to his wonderful family that included three young boys and a beautiful baby girl. Emilio guided Diane through the reefs the evening before so she and the Gehring family could get safely to the island. He even stopped by the boat in the morning to check in with us and introduce us to his three boys and gave us a bag full of limes as a welcome gift. We took a nice family photo of him and his family and told him we would bring him a copy the next day. While on the island we stocked up on some bread, diet coke, crackers, jam and eggs. The general store on the island was wonderful and although the items were limited, we were very grateful for what we were able to buy. We then headed back to the boat and had a relaxing afternoon enjoying some of our newly purchased food. We then decided to have a dinner on Isla Porvenir Island at the restaurant we ate at on our first day in the San Blas. We all enjoyed a nice red snapper dinner and a few cold Balboa's. We then headed back to the boat and Carol, Tom and Diane got ready for their departure from Isla Porvenir the next morning.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Today Diane, Tom and Carol left Isla Porvenir bound for Panama City and back to Kansas City. The newest couple to join the Ocean Dance was Barb and Lloyd Schneider who were supposed to be joining us that day and be on the flight coming into Isla Porvenir that Diane, Tom and Carol were taking out. But as the plane landed and the passengers were exitingno Lloyd and Barb. So Tom, Carol and Diane boarded the plane and waved goodbye to paradise for now. Jim and I then departed back to the boat to try and figure out where the rest of our crew was and to begin organizing the boat in preparation for the next leg of the trip. We found out through Sailmail (a email account that allows us to receive some emails via radio waves) that Lloyd and Barb were unable to purchase tickets to Isla Porvenir as the flights were full due to the many Panamanian holidays that were occurring that week. Jim and I took advantage of some down time on Monday and Tuesday to clean and prepare the boat for new guests as well as catch up on some reading and sleep. Although it was just Jim and I, we still ate very well. We had lobster dinners both nights and enjoyed catching up and relaxing each evening.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 Isla Porvenir to East Limon Cays 7.137 NM
Lat: 9 33 532 N
Long: 78 51 62 W
Today Lloyd and Barb Schneider arrived at Isla Porvenir! A few days later than expected but they're finally here and we're thrilled to have a new addition to the crew. Lloyd and Barb had a very eye opening experience on their plane ride in, and Lloyd being a former pilot for American Airlines got the royal treatment in first class and was able to experience Panama Air from a co pilot's point of view. And in Lloyd's opinion the piloting process seems to be a little different from when he was used to when he was flying J Although a heart fluttering experience, they admitted it was beautiful to see all the islands from the air, and were even able to see their new home, the Ocean Dance, from the plane on their way in to land. After Jim and I welcomed them to their new home, Lloyd and Barb displayed all the wonderful supplies they brought to the boat. Jim and I felt like it was Christmas with all the food they were able to stuff in their coat pockets, as well as many crayons and sunglasses for us to give the local Kuna's. One of the items was photo paper and ink, which we put straight to good use and began printing all the pictures Jim took on the island of all the children and families. We told the villagers we would print them all copies and give them as a thank you for allowing us to capture such amazing moments of all the villagers. Once we had them in hand the four of us went over to Wichubhuala Island and handed them out to the various families. They were all so excited and happy to see their faces in print. It was wonderful to see the smiles on the kid's faces looking at their photos. While on the island we stopped in the market and picked up some eggs and beverages for the journey. We also stopped in the bakery and purchased fresh baked bread at 15 loafs for 4 dollars. Quite the deal. It was then that we headed back with all our groceries and began the hour ride to the East Lemon Cays. Barb and I guided the way in the dingy to watch for reefs, and then once we were clear of shallow waters, we all started the trek to paradiseor at least another part of paradise. Once we were in the busy East Lemon Cays, we headed straight to a ship wreck to go snorkeling. The wreck was so shallow that the bow of the boat was sticking out of the water. It was located right next to a beautiful beach that many people were enjoying and taking advantage of the holiday breaks. The wreck was amazing to see and the water was crystal clear. There were many zebra, angel and other colorful fish all swimming around us. After we enjoyed the area, we headed back to the boat, as a storm was beginning to head our way. Once back home we all cleaned up and relaxed over a nice honey mustard and garlic chicken dinner. After dinner we watched the full moon rise over the water and a lightning storm in the distance while on the top deck of the boat. It was then off to bed after our long day of adventures.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Today we enjoyed another day in the East Limon Cays. The Kuna's as usual wasted no time to welcome the new boat to the area, and there was Lisa ready to sell a few more mola's to our new crew. Barb enjoyed seeing her amazing collection and did some nice Christmas shopping while Lisa sat on the back deck and enjoyed some coffee with us. I tried to stay away from viewing the collection again as I wanted to keep from spending any more mullah on mola's. The moment Lisa left our friend Vininncio decided to get in on the fun and Barb was able to see his wonderful collection that insured her a few more good presents. After some mola shopping we decided it was time to enjoy the warm water and did some snorkeling around the boat. The water is very clear in the Limon Cays and the temperature is around 85 degrees all throughout the San BlasI'm not trying to rub it in I swearjust giving out some facts J The afternoon was spent hanging out inside the boat though, as a hurricane near Belize was bringing us some windy and rainy weather. Barb and I decided to spend the time reading and writing in our journals, while Jim and Lloyd decided to head to the engine room to work on various projects.
We then enjoyed a feast of crab that we purchased from the local Kuna's earlier in the day. We bought 2 crabs for 10 dollars that were large enough to feed the four of us very well. We also purchased 10 lobsters for 15 dollars, with each of the lobsters weighing in at 2 lbs or more. The crabs in this area are known for having all the meat in the legs and their massive claws. There is no meat in the bodies like you find in New England crabs and the lobsters down here are very different as well, as they are not nocturnal animals and have no claws at all. After our dinner we enjoyed some reading time and as always, abided by our sailors midnight and it was lights out by 9pm.
Friday, November 6, 2009 East Limon Cays to Isla Tigre 24.125 NM
Lat: 09 25 932 N
Long: 78 31 417 W
Today we left the East Limon Cays and headed to Isla Tigre, the furthest island in the Eastern San Blas that we would be visiting on this trip, and also know as one of the most traditional villages in the islands. Once we arrived near the island it was I, Captain of the dingy (not the dingy captain as Jim first suggested) and Barb to reef watch and guided us into a safe anchorage. But just as we were coming in, another boat full of Kuna's met up with us and a new friend, Leonardo, jumped into our dingy and guided us where to safely stay for the night. The reefs all around the San Blas are amazing depth wise, and the depth can go from 30 to 4 feet in less than a 3 foot distance, which is why Barb and I find it best to guide us into a safe anchorage each time. Although Leonardo made our job very easy today and his help was greatly appreciated. While Leonardo was on our dingy he explained how there was a restaurant on the island that he helped run, and having worked at Pizza Hut in Panama City, he offered pizza options along with other great meals.
Once we were safely anchored we decided to take a dingy ride around the island to get a lay of the land, and to figure out where we wanted to start our adventure tomorrow morning. We then enjoyed a lobster and chorizo pasta dinner and then headed up to the bridge to enjoy the evening breeze and look at the stars.
Saturday, November 7, 2009 La Tigre
Today we ventured over to La Tigre Island to meet the locals and wonder around their village. Our arrival immediately caught the attention of the locals, and the fact that the island is visited much less than the other islands by tourist became pretty apparent. The children again were wonderful. Many of them were playing games of tag and running around us laughing, as well as playing games of marbles with one another. Many of the women saw visitors and instantly began getting out all their mola's to sell. Barb handed out lots of crayons and markers to the kids who were excited about their new gifts, and one even thanked Barb by posing for a picture with her. We walked over to a school, where students ranged from ages 6-15. There they learned not only Spanish, but the Kuna's indigenous language that looks quite different from Spanish all together. Basketball seemed to be the game of choice among the Kuna's as there was a large basketball court next to the school. While visiting the school grounds Leonardo met up with us again and was out selling lunch to everyone. We purchased a nice chicken leg, salad and banana cake at a dollar a person, and then stood on the beach overlooking the Caribbean Sea while enjoying our food. After our meal we walked to the other end of the island to where the new tourist area iswhich is simply a big grassy area where the only restaurant on the island is located. It had previously been the site of the airport, but due to a crash about 6 years ago they decided it was a bit too dangerous of a location for an airport to operate. It makes since when you think about landing a plane on an island that is about the size of 3 Ocean Dances put togethernot an airport I would want to frequent that often.
Once we located Leonardo's restaurant we asked if we could purchase some vegetables and bread from him. We were able to buy two bags full of vegetables and he promised some bread when we returned for dinner that evening. It is very clear that Leonardo is the entrepreneur of La Tigre. He runs the restaurant, as well as acts as a kayak guide for visitors all around the islands in the busier tourist months of December through April. We told him that we would be back for dinner in a few hours and started on our way back to the boat. On our way out we had to pay the 5 dollars a person fee to visit the island. It was worth every penny to see this amazing village and meet the friendly locals. On our way to our dingy we ran into the members of the only other boat located in the area. They were a family from Ottawa, Canada and their catamaran was called Stray Kitty. They were a young couple with three kids ranging from ages 3-9. Their arrival caused quite a stir as all the Kuna children were excited to meet new young children and have the chance to teach them some new Kuna games.
After a few hours of relaxing on the boat we then head to Leonardo's restaurant for dinner. We again ran into the Stray Kitty family and it was the two cruiser families that took up the whole dining area that evening. We feasted on a nice fish dinner with rice, with of course vegetable pizza as an appetizer. The food was great minus the fact that Barb and I had to get over the fact that the fish was staring at us the entire time we ate. It was the first meal of the trip that we had where the fish head as still actually attached to the fish you were eating. While we ate, we chatted about all the places we had been and were going to with the Canadian family, and I even got some good cooking tips from the nine year old girl who seemed to be quite the baker on board. The funniest part of the meal was that there was a television in the restaurant that was playing old 80's music videos. All the kids were excited to watch television for the first time in months, and even the adults were enjoying seeing some old video's like Wham and the Eagles "Hotel California" again. It was a strange thing to experience in such a remote and unique area like La Tigre. The family explained to us that the Kuna children had been playing with their kids all day. They played games of baseball and of course soccer games all afternoon. The kids all had a great time and it was a pretty memorable event to witness.
After we said our goodbyes and I got the recipe for silver cake from the little girl, we headed back to the boat for the evening. It was on our way back that we witnessed one of the most fascinating parts of the Kuna culture. The Kuna's have a village meeting every single evening and they all take place in a large hut called the "congreso." It's here that villager's sit all along the wooden seats and the Sailas (chiefs) swing in hammocks and listen to all the issues and events that the villagers want to share with the Sailas. The Sailas then look to their Argars who are their interpreters to relay the Sailas thoughts and advice to all the villagers. The Sailas often sing songs about their ancestors and tell stories about their tribe's history. It was an extraordinary event to witness and because of its sacred nature, visitors are only allowed to watch when invited and so after a quick look we respectfully headed on our way. It was experiences like this one and all the other great people like Leonardo that we met in La Tigre that made me wonder why more people who visit the San Blas don't recommend this great island, but also happy that due to its lack of tourism we experienced the true life of a Kuna and the beauty that is its traditional culture.
Sunday, November 8, 2009 Isla Tigre to Coco Bandero 8.890 NM
Lat: 09 30 555 N
Long: 78 37 042 W
Today we left La Tigre and headed to the Coco Bandero Cays. As we arrived it became very clear that we reached one of the more popular destinations of the San Blas islands. Barb and I were on dingy duty again, and guided us around all the different boats to a spot perfect for our ship. Once we arrived we headed over to one of the islands that had various cruisers on it playing bocce ball. We met various couples, one of which was from the ship Two By Sea from Palm Beach, Florida who gave us lots of great suggestions on what islands to visit and some boat maintenance tips. After enjoying some social time with fellow island hoppers, we met one of the locals fishing next to the island and inquired as to where we could find someone selling lobster and crab. He directed us to one of the other islands where his relatives live and we headed on over with lovely thoughts of lobster and butter dinners. As if we've been depriving ourselves by not having them every night. Once we arrived we were greeted by one of the residents and he brought us over to his hut and showed us the two crabs and five lobsters he had to sell. We made our offer and ended up purchasing them all for twenty dollars. It may have been a bit more than we were used to spending, but with the lack of Kuna's in the area, we thought it was best to buy food when we found it, as our supplies were running a bit thin by this point.
Once back on the boat we decided that was enough tough work for the day and it was time for a swim. We all dove off the swim deck and enjoyed cooling off in the water while the sun warmed our faces. While swimming around the vegetable boat made an appearance to the area and he stopped by our boat to sell some of the produce he had. We all jumped at the chance to buy some fresh veggies and fruit and ended up buy lots of potatoes, a pineapple, lettuce (which ended up being a cabbage and provided Barb and me some entertainment when trying to disguise it as a normal green salad for the guys) as well as, some apples and carrots. We even placed an order for a few more veggies and things when he was to return to the islands tomorrow.
After our swim we began to prepare the evenings feast, and decided to cook all our newly purchased shell fish, but only tucked into the crab for the evening along with our fresh cabbage salad. I even made everyone chocolate chip cookies that we all enjoyed after dinner. It was then time for movie night on the boat, and we watched Master and Commander, and all gave a sigh of relief that cruising times had changed for the better over the last 100 years.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Waking up in the Coco Bandero Islands seemed to be too good to be true for us this morning, so we all decided it was a good idea to stay here another day. Due to some rain showers in the morning we had a relaxing start to the day after a banana pancake breakfast. Once the weather cleared we decided to go for a swim as the temperature doesn't take long to start rising and the humidity is one of those things that is a fairly constant down here. After cooling off we decided it was time to check out the area a bit more and took a dingy tour around the islands. First stop was a large ship wreck about 500 yards from the boat. It seemed to be one of those stuck on the reef situations, which unfortunately, are quite an easy thing to do in the San Blas area as the reefs can easily creep up on you without notice. Once we thanked our lucky stars for depth sounders, we toured around some more of the area checking out the different reefs, and more importantly checking out the various boats anchored around us. We seemed to be out numbered as usual and were surrounded by sail boats. Once back on the boat, the vegetable boat returned with some more produce for us to purchase, which included over 50 small bananas and the thoughts of some warm banana nut bread had me in the galley before you could say do we have enough butter? We spent the rest of the day swimming around the area and soaking up the sun. We then enjoyed some BBQ'd lobster with garlic butter for dinner and then settled in for another relaxing evening of reading.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 Coco Bandero Cays to Swimming Pool 10.706 NM
Lat: 09 35 33 N
Long: 078 40 596 W
After a raining start to the day we decided to see if there was nicer weather around the swimming pool islands. We arrived around mid-afternoon after waiting out some of the rain and of course enjoying another banana pancake breakfast (50 bananas is a lot! What can I say!?) Once we arrived at the Swimming Pool anchorage we had a bit of luck with the weather and decided to take advantage of the little bit of the sun we had, and did some snorkeling off the back of the boat. Jim and Lloyd did the majority of the snorkeling this afternoon, as Barb and I decided snorkeling in the rain wasn't on the top of our to do list. Jim and Lloyd did get to see a great deal of beautiful coral as well as a barracuda! In the end I was a little happy I wasn't on that snorkel trip after hearing what they ran in to. Once we were all back on the boat we decided to do what any cruiser would do when it rainspretend your reading and really take a nap. Once our hectic afternoon was over we enjoyed a lobster pasta dinner and headed to bed listening to the rain tap against our windows.
Wednesday, November 11 & Thursday, November 12, 2009
We woke up to another day of rain. Apparently November is the rainiest month of the year down here, but you take what you can get here in paradise. Instead of sulking over the rain we decided to take advantage of the weather and make it a boat project day. We all took on some different tasks we've acquired over the last week or so, and enjoyed putting our brains to work fixing and organizing the various things we needed to do. When the rain finally cleared up in the afternoon, Lloyd and Barb decided to check out the area in the dingy. While wondering around the different islands, they stumbled on another bocce ball game being played by a variety of different cruisers. Some of the couples were from the boats, Two By Sea, Blow Me Away, and Island Dreaming. After playing their first ever bocce ball game and meeting many new friends, Lloyd and Barb returned to the boat for dinner. They unfortunately did have an assignment while on their tour of the islandsfind a few eggs for the chocolate chip cookies they wanted me to make for dessert. Well, sadly they were too distracted by their bocce game and there was no sweet treat for us that evening. But Lloyd's sweet tooth made it clear he was determined to find some eggs the next day to ensure there were chocolate chip cookies in his future.
Sadly Thursday was another rainy day, and due to the fact that the sun didn't shine through at all today, it was a catching up on reading and perfect nap day. We all took advantage of the relaxing conditions, but did manage to make some time for a few little boat projects throughout the day. We ended our evening enjoying a movie after a feast of crab and fried rice.
Friday, November 13, 2009 Swimming Pool to East Limon Cays 12. 23 NM
Lat: 09 33 737 N
Long: 078 51 620 W
We woke up to one of the first clear mornings in a few days, and we all decided to take advantage of the good weather and make today a travel day. We chose to head back to the East Limon Cays not only because it had been one of our favorite destinations so far, but also because we heard it was one of the few places in the San Blas that had good weather. Barb and I guided the boat safely into anchorage, and then it was straight in the water snorkeling as we knew better than to let some dry and sunny weather pass us by. After cooling off in the clear warm water, we decided to head to Mr. G's island for a few supplies. Unfortunately we were a little late in our shopping and found that all the other cruisers in the area had cleaned him out for the day. So in our search for food, we decided that Isla Porvenir was only a 45 min dingy ride and we were guaranteed to find some needed supplies there. After maneuvering our way through some shallow reefs we were out in the deep sea waters and I was ready to let loose in the dingy and see how fast it could really go. Even though I was informed by Jim that we were only going about 20 MPH, I could have sworn we were going in the 80 to 90 MPH range. I found myself white knuckle gripping the steering wheel while we bounced over the oceans waves. It was so much fun and such a different way to drive the dingy than the glacial pace I was used to moving around the shallow reef waters. On our way into Isla Porvenir we did stumble upon 10 to 12 dolphins feasting on a school of fish. They were so close to us that you could literally reach out and touch them, but we all refrained in fear that our hand may be mistaken for a fish filet.
Once we arrived in town we headed straight to the bakery for fresh bread, and then it was off to the general store for some eggs (Lloyd was adamant about the chocolate chip cookies) and some cold diet cokes. It was very humorous to Barb and me that it only took two days for the boys to go without having dessert options to decide it was time for a shopping trip. After a successful shopping trip we headed back to the boat, and I handed the dingy key over to Lloyd to bring us safely home. I seemed to have forgotten that Lloyd was a former fighter jet pilot and soon found out that he easily mistakes the dingy for a jet. Let's just say it took us 45 min to get to Isla Porvenir and only took Lloyd about 25 min to get back. We all enjoyed the ride and found ourselves laughing at how much fun it all was. Back on the boat we unloaded all the groceries and made lunch with our freshly baked bread. The boys then decided that since we had eggs, it was time for that banana nut bread I had been promising them, and with the help of the couple on Blue Sky, I was able to borrow some baking soda and vanilla to complete the recipe. While I was baking, an ulu came by selling some fresh lobster, which was too good of a deal to turn down. Jim and I then enjoyed some snorkeling around the boat in many of the beautiful reefs, and then returned to begin making tonight's lobster feast.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Today we woke up to another wonderful day in paradise. While enjoying coffee on the bridge, we were greeted by Domingo and his son, who had stopped by our boat a week ago requesting work, and today we decided to hire him and his son to help us with some projects. For only twenty dollars a day they worked extremely hard from 8am-5pm. They shinned all the stainless steel, washed the dingy's, washed the decks, in short, and cleaned the entire outside of the boat. While they were hard at work on the outside of the boat, we decided to take the opportunity and make the inside of the boat look clean and organized too. While Lloyd and Jim fixed some radar issues we were having the day before, Barb and I went through all the pantries and cabinets planning a shopping list for when we reached Colon. After a work filled morning we spent the afternoon doing a little swimming around the boat and reading on the back deck. It was then that we enjoyed another lobster meal, and it was off to bed with full stomachs.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
With another beautiful morning starting, and the thought of Domingo and his son arriving for day two of their boat cleaning job, we woke up early and enjoyed coffee on the back deck watching the sun rise. Domingo arrived at 8am on the dot along with his son, who was in training to take after his father and work for other cruisers helping with various boat work. Although the rain seemed to make its way back to paradise, Domingo and his son continued to work, making the boat look perfectly clean. We all took advantage of the weather again and stayed in working on various projects. It was another great day in paradise.
Monday, November 16, 2009 East Limon Cays to Isla Porvenir 7.28 NM
Lat: 09 33 336 N
Long: 078 56 927 W
Today we left the beautiful islands of the East Limon Cays and headed to Isla Porvenir to check out of the San Blas Islands. We arrived mid morning and although it was raining decided to brave the weather and head to the island to meet Yasmine, who was the official zarpe master and was going to check us out of the islands, so we could depart the next morning. Once we arrived on the island we ran into our friends Wendy and Lee of the World Wide Traveler. They were also checking out of the San Blas, but were headed south for the holidays. After discussing our various travel plans, Jim concluded checking out with Yasmine and we decided to walk around the village and planned to return that evening for dinner in one of the restaurants next to the airport. On our way back to the dingy we ran into the infamous veggie boat. His presence was a bit nonexistent during our stay, but we were happy to see him at all and took advantage of buying some fresh produce. We bought loads of lettuce, carrots, potatoes, green beans, bananas and tomatoes. Jim even decided to purchase a chickenwith the head and feet still attached. And while Jim held up the chicken he just purchased proudly with thoughts of all the delicious meals that awaited himI stood there thinking of all the good excuses I could give him as to why I had to throw it overboard, or how it used its still attached feet to run away. Needless to say that in the end the chicken stared me right in the eye and I made a good choice to do a float test on the thingand guess what folkshappy to report, chickens don't float. Too bad J
After our shopping excursion with the veggie boat, we all relaxed around the boat and got organized for our trip back to Colon, Panama. Once evening arrived we then headed over to Isla Porvenir and had a nice farewell dinner of red snapper and rice. We all found it sad to have to leave the San Blas Islands, as its culture and beauty left such a wonderful impression on us all.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 Isla Porvenir to Isla Linton 46.23 NM
Lat: 09 36 794 N
Long: 079 35 351 W
After saying goodbye to the San Blas Islands this morning, we headed on our way back to the main land. It was strange to think that we won't be greeted in the morning by ulu's selling the best lobster, but we all had a great time and I believe it will be one of the greatest highlights of the entire trip for us all. We began our way to Isla Linton, with the journey taking most of the day to make. The waters were a little rougher than when we made our way to the San Blas almost a month ago, with waves ranging from 4 to 5 feet tall. Although Captain Jim showed off his skills and brought us safely and comfortably to anchorage, the waves did have us limiting our wandering around the rooms and we found it hard to think of good reasons to leave the comforts of our chairs. Although when the rain showers held up, we would enjoy fishing on the back deck, which unfortunately didn't see much action today, and I sat in my favorite area while underway, the bow.
Once we arrived in Isla Linton we settled in and were joined by a couple we met at Shelter Bay a month prior, of the boat Jamming. We invited them aboard and enjoyed drinks on the deck while they waited out a storm before they could head back home in their dingy. We then had a nice pasta dinner, which was one of the last bits of food we had on board, and although it was a tasty meal, we were all very excited at the thought of grocery shopping in the near future.