Feb 2, 2006 Thurs
We met with scott (the possible crew member) this morning to conduct an interview and allow him to ask us some questions. We decided to have him come along on the journey from Bocas to Colon as a test run to see how it goes. We'll decided after that if he will join us to Australia or not. It would be nice to have someone help with the night watches on our longest journey of our sailing trip thus far a 20 something day sail from Galapagos to Easter Ilsand. We decided to skip South America and just go to the Galapagos then to Easter Island and then continue on our regular schedule. South America is just too much of a beat. We were going to fly there, but decided to just do it when we finish our trip. After our experience in Jamaica we really need to try and save a little money and flying to South America wouldn't quite be in line with that. It seems the other guy (Ross) who wanted to come along just for the treck to Colon is going to join us. He had asked Jason a few days ago if he could tag along. He said he would help us transit the canal. This would give us 2 line handlers. We heard Colon is really dangerous as well as not a nice place to visit. Everyone only hangs out at the yacht club. We met with Nadia and Reake and he isn't going to join us. It would have been fun to have them both aboard. We hung out with them tonight. Hopefully we'll hook up one day in the future. Looks like it is me and three boys for the trip to Colon.
Feb 3, 2006 Friday
Jason went to town to get our zarpe (we need one for every port you leave here) and to pick up the boys. He also went to get David's address so we can have a tee shirt sent to him. He was nice enough to give us one for our firefighter friend back in Colorado. We also burned some Reggae for him as well We left at around 9am. Both the guys want to learn as much about sailing as they can so I will have little to do on deck this trip. I was at the helm for most of the morning while they went over all the aspects of the boat. I made some french toast before we departed and now we are motoring. I hate motoring but there is very little wind so we must. Looks like we'll be motoring most of the way to Colon, we talked about stopping at an island and waiting for some better wind conditions, but we really need to get on the list for transitting the canal, 21 days is a long time and I wouldn't want it to get any worse than that. The trip was great with Ross and Scott. They spent all day learning all about the boat. Jason was enjoying teaching them I think. The night watches went well. I did 9-1am and Scott and Ross did 1-5am. We caught a 5 foot shark on our fishing line. Ross was fighting to reel him in. Unfortunately, right when we were going to gaff him, he broke free. The hook sprung back and got Ross in the mouth. He has his first Sailing story with a shark, and the cut up mouth to prove it!!
Feb 4, 2006 Saturday
This morning I was awoken by the yells of the boys. Jason had hooked a shark at 6 in the morning. This one was a foot shorter, but the same type of shark. The got him all the way to the boat and gaffed him, when Ross tried to pick him up, he started to really fight and the end came off the gaff. Now we have a shark with the gaff in him and then the line got cut by his teeth. the gaff fell out of the shark and was floating, ross was going to jump in (brave aussie) but I stopped him and we tried to get it with the boat hook but it sunk too fast. Today we motored the whole way in. We were greeted at the port by a dolfin. Good luck of course. We arrived and found out there was a super bowl party on Sunday and lots of free food and drinks. We decided to bring a conch ceviche. We met with the agent and he is going to take care of all the paper work for us. I think it is going to cost us around $900 to get through the canal after all is said and done. Awefully expensive! The wait is definitely out until the 28th of Feb. That sucks but at least we can leave to go to the San Blass Islands. We'll find out more on Monday. We met with immigration and customs when we arrived to check in. They totally riped us off. They charged us an after hour fee of $20 and we knew they were just riping us off. They wouldn't give us a receipt because it wasn't legal to charge us that fee. There was nothing we could do. I tried to say we wouldn't pay with out a receipt 3 times and he started getting agitated and Jason was getting mad at me. He just wanted to pay it and not cause problems. It was really frustrating knowing you are being cheated. We crashed early tonight.
Feb 5, 2006 Sunday
Colon isn't exactly a nice place to visit. It is super dangerous and you are advised to not go into town at night. Scott and Ross are super nice. They keep asking us what they can do to help us. They helped us clean the deck today and always are insistant on doing the dishes. It is nice having help. Our boat looks clean again. We then went into the Super bowl tailgate party. They had lots of food and drinks. It was fun meeting new people. We met a couple that circumnavigated alread but did it in not 3 years but 15, they are on their way back to California. It was cool talking with the woman, she was a wealth of information. After eating, I went back to the boat for a while to relax. I was feeling really sick. I am not sure but think I got food poisoning. Jason picked me up after first quarter. There were lots of people watching the game. We met a super cool couple from Canada. She was absolutely hilarious. She was giving Ross a ton of shit. I was happy that Pittsburg won. Ross decided to go out with Dennis downtown Colon for the evening. Dennis is the quintessential reason people hate americans. He is loud, abnoxious, and flashy. He is proud of the fact that he was kicked out of the yatch club and they will not let him stay there. He continued to tell us everyone hates him because he always had lots of naked woman on his 75 foot sailboat. That is so romantic with its dramatic wynding staircase. Now, normally you would ask, why would anyone hate someone with lots of naked woman on board? I mean you would think you would have more friends than any other boater with that kind of entertainment, but I guess you would have to stomach his company in order to enjoy it!! I feel bad for the local girls that think he is their ticket out of here. Ross went out with him I think for the pure entertainment value of being around him. He spends money like it is nothing, having Ross bet some of his money too, but doesn't tip the local workers at the casinos. We wonder why so many americans get mugged.
Feb 6, 2006 mon
Ross and Scott left to go to Panama City to check it out. I did laundry today. The dryer didn't really work so we had to hang dry everything. We went into town with Stanley to get our crusing permit. We needed to get finger printed for it. Stanley told me that we weren't supposed to pay an over time charge just as I suspected. It is really frustrating when you get ripped off. We didn't get back until late so just ate at the yatch club. We also were given our date of March 5 to transit the canal. We are going to San Blas for sure now.
Feb 7, 2006 Tues
We woke up early and went to the outdoor market. It is huge similar to the one in Jamaica except that they sell the meat and fish there as well. It was crazy. We want to come back tomorrow to buy some of our food. We then went to the internet cafe. Wireless access was free and it was only 50 cents an hour to use a regular computer. I played on the internet, while Jason worked on getting quicken, and other programs working. I really need to see how far off we are on our finances at this point. We went over to pizza hut for lunch. Not a huge fan but our only choices were chinese, pizza hut, or kentucy fried chicken. It was good to eat pizza again even if it is bad pizza. We spent the rest of the afternoon working on our computer at the internet cafe. We watched a movie tonight. I bought a phone card so am going to make some calls tomorrow.
Feb 8, 2006 Wed
This morning I worked on our finances. Fun stuff. I only got through part of it. It is a huge mess right now. Jason did our last load of laundry and found out how much it would be to haul out here. We need to do at least a bottom paint on the boat. We have a few small blisters, but we think we can wait until we get to New Zealand to do them. We are trying to get ready to leave as quickly as possible to the San Blass Islands. Stanley picked us up at 1pm and we went to go grocery shopping to provision for our 2 weeks in the San Blass. There isn't much there as far as provisioning goes. I think you can by fish from the kahunas but that is about it. The guys return today to head there with us. We went to a super store. It had everything. All alcohol is super cheap here. We bought a 12 pack of beer for $3, Argentinian wine for $2, and rum for $5 each. Gotta love Panama! After we left the super market we went to the out door market we scouted out yesterday. Unfortunately, we were too late for most of it, but Stanley helped us find good prices for our fruit and vegatables. Our dingy was soo full we barely fit in it for the ride back!! We went to the yatch club for dinner and sat and had drinks with Rob, Mike, Ross, and Scott. I treated my self and called my friends. I had no luck with my girlfriends, I must have wrote the numbers wrong because I heard strangers voices on the other end of the phone except for Megalicious. It was soo great to hear her voice!! She may be coming down on the 28th of Feb!! I can't wait. We decided to head back to the boat when our young mate, Ross was falling asleep at the table. I think partying until the wee hours of the morning does get you eventually!!
Feb 9, 2006 Thurs
We took the boat to the dock to fill up with fuel before we left for San Blas Islands. There was a line of 4 boats in front of us so we decided to skip deisel we have enough to make it and some. We Docked so we could drop off our garbage, pick up our propane tank, and I could print my bank statement of the internet. It is pretty rough out today. There is a 20 knot winds and the seas are full of white caps. All the guys took motion sickness pills. Ross taught jason how to make his own jigs for fishing, and bought the boat a huge load of fishing gear (THANKS ROSS!!). Unfortunately, the fish were not biting, at all. I have been working down below all day working on our finances. Recreating the budget. We decided to stop for the night right outside of Colon. There were some islands there. We snorkeled a little, not much to see though. We looked around the island as well You couldn't even hike around the folage was too think. I love that all the islands even have rain forrest on them.
Feb 10, 2006 Fri
We left early this morning for Portabello. We arrived in Portabello around 3:30pm. As we were coming in your could see all the old forts. There are four. This used to be where the Spaniards kept all the gold and silver. They had to defend this port from the pirates. It was a neat town. We looked at a dingy here, but it didn't look very good. We don't want to buy another one that sinks. We had pizza here and they actually had frosty cold mugs to go with the Panama beer on tap. It was happy hour from 5-6 and beers were 2 for one that means $.50 each. It was so good. They made their own dough for the pizza and it was really yummy as well. We spent alot of time talking with the owners daughter. She was 15 but looked 20. Her and her brother worked behind the bar serving beers. The brother must have been 10. The boys ended up playing asshole with the girls friend, who was 19 and her brother.
Feb 11, 2006 Sat
We sailed all day to get to Isla Grande. It is a nice Island right off the shoreline. There are some resorts here that are really nice. All of the rooms have hammocks outside. We got in around 2pm and went directly on the dingy to watch the surfers. There was a big competition today. We hung there on the dingy having a beer watching, not for too long though. We all started to get bored and we were out of beers. We Were on our way back to the boat when we saw Rob's boat pull up. We went over to say "HI' they invited us on for a beer. We all jumped in and swam around for an hour then the boys swam to shore to check out the ladies on the beach and Jason and I went back to the boat. We decided to go out to eat tonight to the resturant that was suggested to us. Scott stayed on the boat, he wasn't feeling good. I had the garlic chicken and it was delicious. We finished eating and Rob and Mike showed up and we all had some more drinks together. Ross had the hots for our waitress, Marta. We left there and went bar hopping. Marta met up with us later and we went dancing for a while. It was a pretty entertaining evening. On such a small island there was alot to do. the locals have a little area set up were they sing and dance. We watched that for a while too.
Feb 12, 2006 Sun
Well I must admit I was moving fairly slowly this morning after all that merry making and staying out late from last night or early this morning. It was fun though. We went over to the island and hung out again. We found this neat place that is someone's home, but they sell deserts. She makes these popsicles that are really a gourmet icecream on a stick. We weren't going to order it, a popsicle didn't seem so exciting to me compared to the other items on the menu. she had her daughter's boyfriend come over and explain the menu to us. He told us we must try the coco popsicle. It was soo incredibly amazing. It had fresh coconut in it and was creamy. We each got our own and were definitley happy we did!! I also bought a coconut on the beach. They cut off the top and give you a straw to drink the milk. It is so fresh and delicious. Only $.50 each. I need to buy a lot of those. I could drink those all day!! We stayed in tonight and watched a movie. It was nice to relax.
Feb 13, 2006 Mon
Our sail is in and we decided to buy a dingy that is only 3 years old. A couple from Colorado is selling it. Jason's knee is blown up like a balloon and we need to get him to a doctor. We decided for all these reasons to head to Colon by bus. When we arrived at the yatch club we found out that the guy isn't going to sell his dingy since he can't find a new one down here. Bummer. We went to the doctor and found out Jason has a skin infection. He has to have 3 shots of antibiotics over 3 days into his butt. He received the first one right then and there. Poor boy, he almost passed out again!! Jason told the doctor he didn't need pain meds, but he insisted Jason get them. Well after that shot, Jason realized why he needed them!! His poor tushy was throbbing and spasming!! We decided to buy some chicken from a street vendor. It was delicious. We sat on the park bench eating it when Marta comes walking up. She had left early this morning for Colon to head back to College. We sat talking with her for a little while and then headed to the internet cafe. Jason had to make some calls. Unfortunately, our sail is being held in customs in Panama City not Colon and We need to pick up the paper work to have it transfered!! It is a 4 hour bus ride over and Jason wasn't feeling well so we decided to call tomorrow and try to have them hold it until we arrive in Panama City. We picked up a few things and were headed back to find a cab when we ran into Marta again. She had a picture of herself she wanted us to give to Ross. How sweet!! Our bus ride back was the opposite of our ride to Colon. The bus was super bumpy and they had bad music blaring in our ears the whole ride!! I guess we took the tour bus by accident. The driver kept driving down rural dirt roads to drop people off!! It took us an hour longer to get back than it did to go to colon!! We made tacos for dinner. Rob and Mike came over and hung out for a while. Ross and Scott had cleaned the bottom of the boat for us while we were gone. They used the third lung to do it. Overall a nice day. Too bad we only were able to accomplish one of our 3 items on our list though!!
Feb 14, 2006 Tues
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!
Jason suprised me with breakfast in bed this morning. Then we went on a hike across the island. It only took us 30 minutes but it was a pretty steep climb both ways. We stopped at the pastery place to have another of the coco popsicles. We split one this time so we could have another later. We had to get back by one to take Ross to the bus. Ross decided to go to Colon to hang out with Marta for Valentines day. Rob came over to the main land to help us call customs about our sail. I think it is now going to be held for us. We'll see. Jason got his second shot in the tushy and we decided to go hang on the beach for the rest of the day. Before we came back to the boat we stopped at the pastery place again and got another popsicle to go and a tirimisu. We had cheese and pretzels, cucumber salad, and a sandwich for dinner and watched a movie. What a pleasent day.
Feb 15, 2006 Wed
We went to shore for Jason's last shot. Hopefully his knee will get better soon. He isn't supposed to go into the water until a day after his last shot. So until tomorrow. That limits what we can do here!! Hopefully we'll be leaving tonight or tomorrow morning for the San Blas now that he is done with his shots. Well we pulled a weather report and it doesn't look good for going to the San Blass. Ross checked it while he was in Colon hanging out with Marta. We have decided to spend the night here and then head back to Portabella. We didn't really get to explore the forts or the town very much when we stopped through. This way we will have time to do some hiking and check out the history of the town. Scott decided not to join us on our journey accross the Pacific. Which was a great relief to me. I liked the idea of having help, but I don't think it was necessarily a good match. I am not opposed to having someong join us, but you would really have to click with them very very well to live in such a small space for such a long period of time. Ross is heading back to Colon and then starting his treck back to Costa Rica so he can fly to Canada and gather his things and fly home to Australia. Scott is going to hang out in Colon and make money being a line handler for people transiting the canal. He is going to help us for free which is very nice, and he bought the boat a casting net (THANKS SCOTT!). We went to Isla Grande today to watch the Rob and Ross surf. Jason was hurting so he didn't feel like doing any exploring. I went with Mike and Scott to hike to the other side. It was an easy hike but very beautiful. We stopped and had a few drinks at the banana's Resort. When we got back they were all finished and had left. We walked down the road and it didn't take long for us to find them at the Bob Marely bar having a drink. I got out my prezels and we all sat and had drinks for a while. We came back to the boat and I made arroz con pollo for everyone. Rob and his mom Joe came over for drinks after dinner. It was fun.
Feb 16, 2006 Thurs
The boys left this morning for Colon. It is nice to have the boat to ourselves again. We went ashore and went on a great hike on the mainland. We heard the howling monkeys but did not see them and saw lots of different and colorful birds and butterflies. We found some coconut and banana trees and picked a few to bring back with us. It felt great to hike and we have decided to go for a long one every morning we are here. Jason worked on the boat changing the oil after that. The water was rough today lots of waves. We were too close to shore and a wave was breaking as we crested it and we became airborne!! I was standing up too it was crazy fun! Tonight Rob and Joe invited us over for dinner. We went over to Rob and Joe's sailboat for dinner. It was so nice. I had my first rum and water and it was so yummy. She made curried chicken with toppings of avacado dip, tomatos, sweet plantains, and hot sauce. It was really yummy. It was nice to have a break from cooking as well. We were so suprised when we got home and it was 11pm. We had totally lost track of time chatting away. I really like Joe she has an amazing sense of humor. They have been sailing all their lives. They are a wealth of knowledge. Tomorrow we are all leaving for Portabello. Our sail is being delivered there and we have decided to spend a few days hiking around the area. There are four forts there and a national park. We didn't get to see any of it last time we were here since we were trying to get to the San Blass Ilsands as soon as possible. It will be fun to do some hard hikes.
Feb 17, 2006 Fri
We left for Portabello around 11am. We had a beautiful sail over. We sailed at wings for most of the way. That is when you have the jib sail pointed one way and the main sail pointed the other appearing like wings. I wish we could have had a picture taken. It really looks beautiful. I was at the helm the whole way down. We arrived before 2pm and went into town to do a little exploring. We went to the armory and then hiked up the hill to the fort overlooking the bay. We decided that this one wasn't visited very often, there was no trail to walk up the incredibly steep hil!! We had to stop 2x to rest on the way up. It was really a great view though. We then went to see the old church. It really was beautiful outside and in. It is famous for the black christ. Many miracles have occured in front of Him. I spent some time in front of Him. Jason went to the pizza resturant to wait for me. When I got to the resturant Rob and Joe were there with Jason. It was nice we sat chatting the evening away. We had some yummy pizza too. The owner misunderstood Jason and only cooked us one pizza and then she was out of dough so we couldn't get another big one. We all decided to split a small and a hamburger 4 ways. It was fun and good too!! After dinner I walked over to call my mom. It appears that she is having surgery so I will be flying back to Denver sometime in March. I'll find out on Monday.
Feb 18, 2006 Sat
This morning Jason met Rob at the dock. He was nice enough to play translator for us again. Jason needed to call the woman at UPS and get the number of the delivery guy so that we could get an estimated time for delivery. Well after 3 hours and $10 of phone calls over the last 5 days, we are back to the same thing go to Panama city to get the sail. UPS sucks!! We took the dingy to the other side of the bay to see the another fort. We hiked up that hill as well. It was a short one. We also took the dingy down the river. That was pretty cool. we video taped it. We went back to the boat and napped because there is supposed to be a cool party in Portebello that goes all night tonight. We went out around 10pm. When we got to the square downtown there were lots of people out. People have come from Colon to party here tonight. All the children were out playing running bases, baseball with a plastic bottle, and dancing in the square. The parents were all sitting around with their coolers full of drinks and snacks. There were vendors set up all over the square with food and drinks. At the far end they had a little pavillion set up where they were singing and dancing the traditional music and dance. They also had huge speakers set up by the square playing Reggea tone (Jamaica's dance hall), salsa, and hip hop. There were lots of people out and about. We think it is cool the way the children all hang out until late with their parents. The town was closed for the most part during the day so that everyone could take naps for the evenings events. Everyone did start slowly leaving between 1-3am. We went home around 3am and things were really winding down. All of the children and parents had left around 2am. It was a really neat experience. We met a guy from the UK and from Germany while sitting in the square observing it all. The German man was named Gerd and he was from East Berlin. He was telling us how life was before the wall came down. Very simple life and they couldn't travel easily. They had to apply to travel and it could take 2 years to get approval. Now he travels 3 months out of every year. But, now they have a huge unemployment problem and while they can travel when they want, alot of people can't afford to. He was super interesting. The guy from the UK has already traveled using on of those around the world tickets. They cost around 6000 or so but you can stop in around 10 cities over 1 year. We have checked that out and while it is a great option it wouldn't work for us.
Feb 19 2006 Sun
I went to church this morning. It was really nice considering I haven't been able to have communion since the Bahamas. I am so grateful for my father sending me the missle so that I could follow along. My spanish is ok, but not well enough to follow mass unfortunately. We worked on the boat the rest of the day to prepare to leave tomorrow.
Feb 20 2006 Mon
We went into town today to get some information off the internet and to find out where our sail is now. Since it never showed up in Portabello, we decided to head back to Colon and travel by bus to Panama City to pick it up. Jason found out it is still at the airport in the cargo hold. We sailed down to Colon around 1pm. It was a wonderful sail. The winds were perfect and we were anchored before 5pm. Sailing is so wonderful on days like today. When we arrived we washed the boat down. We learned a lesson. Never open coconuts on the boat. They stain the boat and it is super difficult to get it off!!! We were exhausted after scrubbing it so long. But, it looks better now!!
Feb 21 2006 Tues
Today we took the express bus to Panama City. Mike's wife joined us. She was heading to the airport to leave from her visit here. The bus was super nice. Comfortable seats, airconditioning, and a movie for the ride. This mornings movie was in Japanese and spanish subtitiles. When we arrived in Panama City their was a Dairy Queen at the terminal. I was soo excited but decided to have it on the way home. We took a cab to the airport. It was $20 very expensive. We dropped of Mike's wife and the cab took us to the cargo area of the airport. When we got to UPS they had sent the package to the downtown office in Panama City. Jason was super annoyed since we had called yesterday morning and told them we were coming to pick it up today. We negotiated with the cab to include in the price of bringing us here from the main airport to take us to the downtown ups office and back to the bus terminal for $25. He was super nice. I think he was very excited to have made $45 and called us friends. He gave us some pineapple he had in his cooler in the trunk. Much welcome since we were both starving!! Panama City is very cosmopolitan. I was very suprised. They had a guess store and all kinds of nice hotels. There was even a Hagaan Daz. I believe I will be going there at least once a day once we arrive here in Panama with the boat. We finally got our sail loaded it up in the car and went to the terminal. We decided not to rush and leave but to stop and eat some food. I of course had a chocolate dipped cone from Dairy Queen. It was soo incredible. I cannot tell you how nice that was to eat. Jason got some popeye's chicken and nachos. We went to get the bus and the first one we went on was full so we left and found another one. On the way home they played a great american action movie with Steven Segal!! Dad you would have liked it. We were thinking what a pleasent way to end our day!! We got back to the boat and loaded up the dingy motor. I made tacos for dinner. I love tacos.
Feb 22 2006 Wed
Today Jason leaves to go through the Canal as a line handler on Rob's boat Salicorn. We spent the day cleaning the boat and reorganizing it for the transit. We have to have the deck clear. Rob came by the boat and took us to the yatch club. I called my parents to see when my mom's surgery is going to be, no news yet! Rob's time was moved up to 5pm. He was going to pick up Jason at 4pm. It will be my first night on the boat by myself. It will be nice to have a little time alone. Scott was supposed to come down to help Salicorn through the canal, but hadn't arrived by 4pm. Rob found someone else to come. Unfortunately Scott showed up at 4:10 but it was too late. He went back to Panam City and is going to be here by 3pm on Friday to go through with us. I think we will have 4 line handlers so I can just video tape the transit. I hope so. I must admit I did get a little jumpy tonight when I heard some noises on deck. It was just stuff blowing around, the winds were very strong. I think the whole Jamaica experience is still effecting me I was definitely nervous! As for salicorn, we stayed anchored for 3 hours past our departure time, then headed for the canal. We past a container ship that broke a rudder in the canal, and ended up rafting up to another sailboat before entering the canal, all in the dark at 9:00pm. Rob stayed very cool through the ordeal. No major mishaps, just a very nerve racking time going through the first set of locks and mooring up in the lake.
Feb 23 2006 Thurs
On Salicorn, at 6:00 am we were underway for our 5 hour tour of the lake to the Miraflores locks, no problems and a very pretty lake. You would not believe that there was so much commercial traffic looking at the lake. by 2:00pm we were anchored and done, now for the 5 hours of boats, busses, and cabs back to Monkeys Business!!
Feb 24, 2006 Friday
Today is our day to go through the canal. Scott, unfortunately, cancelled on us. He is leaving on another sailboat for Cuba. He said he knew of two guys who wanted to go through with us and that they were going to email us. They never did. So now we are here the day of with only 3 linehandlers. It is just a little disappointing that we now have to scramble to find someone. We need to provision today as well, since the stores will be closed until Wed of next week due to carnival. We have alot to get done from now until 2pm when we need to be ready to leave. Meagen arrives tomorrow at 6pm. We should be through the canal and anchored out by 3pm. Hopefully the Balboa Yatch Club will have mooring balls available as of yesterday they did not. I was hoping to be able to video tape the transit since yesterday we had a total of 4 people line handling and I would be free to video. Now it looks like we'll be lucky if we don't have to pay someone to transit with us. We'll see how the day unfolds.