Sunday, May 31, 2015

Many Jobs To Do...

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This week we got our first look at Bocas Del Torro.  An interesting town, with many places to explore...




here ar a few pictures of the marina where we now reside for the next little while.They provide a free shuttle into town 4 times a day...



After cruising for almost one year, we have docked at the Bocas Marina for a month or two to take care of some maintenance and repairs before we eventually set off for the South Pacific...

Sadly, when Shelley and I wrote down all the things that needed our attention, we found we had a list 37 items long!

Just for fun, here is the list:
1) Re-design spare diesel jerry can holder
2) Re-arrange scuba shop.
3) Add 2 shutoff's to diesel fuel lines.
4) Replace diesel deck fill cap.
5) Repair SSB
6) Move SSB
7) Repair Auto Helm - Raymarine ACU-400
8) Move Auto Helm (or find a way to fix leaky air vent)
9) Re-seal steering pedestal/ mizzen mast
10) Re-seal teak Gunnels
11) Re-seal lazarettes 
12) Repair Scuba Generator
13) Fix Penn reel (drag)
14) Replace booster pump on watermaker
15) Replace raw water strainer in workshop
16) fix beach power supply
17) Repair (learn how to use) burglar alarm.
18) Repair panic alarm
19) Repair security cameras  
20) Replace engine room lights
21) Repair "on-demand" hot water heater
22) Replace fridge compressor
23) Add shut-off to drain on washer
24) Varnish teak cap rail
25) Replace dinghy color light
26) Repair dinghy wiring
27) Design rainwater catchment system
28) Install bars on hatches
29) make new lionfish holder 
30) Tighten screws, bolts lifelines etc.
31) re-set internet antenna
32) inspect rigging / rinse rigging
33) add latch to pot cupboard
34) Move extra chain to midship through 2" tube
35) Paint Bottom
36) quiet spoons in galley
37) check helm VHF

Thus far, we have checked 5 items off the list....

Yesterday we attended a huge swap meet here at the marina and got a few cool treasures...




Last week I designed and built a lionfish keeper, 2nd edition...  this one has a removable extension for serious hunting vs. having a keeper "just in case"...  This one was actually cheaper to build than the first one...






More soon!
Cheers!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Arrived in Panama!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After three awesome days in what we can only describe as paradise on earth (Cayo Albequerque) we are safely settled into The Bocas Marina in Bocas del Torro, Panama.


We left Providencia, Columbia at 17:00 (5pm) last Wednesday and sailed overnight to the Abequerque Keys about 30 nautical miles south of San Andreas, Columbia.  This Cay is uninhabited except for 10 military men who apparently keep the Nicaraguan fishermen from fishing in Colombian waters.  there is also another small island occupied by the transient fishermen who are licensed by the Colombian government to fish these waters. 

Here are the *waypoints we used to enter and exit the Cay:
12 11.440N   081 51.580W
12 10.980N   081 51.480W
12 10.720N   081 51.450W
12 10.000N   081 51.100W
12 10.000N   081 50.650W
12 09.780N   081 50.540W

(* Use these with caution - keep a lookout when entering - I cannot take responsibility for any inaccuracies)

We arrived with our friends, Bob and Anne from s/v Baloo who we met in Providencia.  When we were both safely anchored Bob and I went to the island occupied by the military people where they inspected our papers and welcomed us to stay as long as we liked...

We went snorkeling the first day and say some of the most amazing coral EVER!  Unmolested by boats and tourists, we saw 15' Brain Coral and 10 ' branching Stag-horn Coral.  the fish stocks were fairly limited probably due to the fishing that takes place there every day....  That said, over the days we were there we had something from the sea to eat every day, starting with the small tuna I caught on the way in.....  The were surprisingly few lionfish...  Bob and I did a 75 minute scuba dive the second day and Shelley and I did 75 minute dive the third day...  Had our generator not been broken (keep track of our broken stuff!) we would have been able to fill scuba tanks and would have stayed at the Cay longer than we did...

Our first look at Cayo Alequerque

Bob & Ann (s/v Baloo)

a REAL deserted island!

some kind of floaty ocean thing....

PARADISE!

Exploring the "fisherman's" Island



Bob & Anne... just "hangin' around

The fisherman's "home"

"Blowin' Bubbles"



Fishermen cleaning Conch

Rays come for the scraps!


Old Tech!  (he's using his teeth to pull off the skin)



I Can hear the ocean!

Baloo left on Friday and we left for Panama on Saturday....  As we were approaching deep water off the Cay we were met by a large pod of dolphins.  What a SHOW!  we were escorted for almost half an hour before they moved on.... but not before the swam and jumped and amazing performance... just for us...



video

If you remember, Shelley and I have been hand steering our boat since leaving Honduras, so we are getting pretty tired of it... That said we had GREAT sailing until we were 25 NM from Panama, when we were hit with perhaps the biggest squalls we have ever experienced...  for 5 hours we got pretty beat up, but eventually made it to a safe anchorage where we were met by our friends, Jim & Laura (s/v Nilaya) who helped us get settled in the anchorage so we could check in yesterday (Monday) morning....

After being up for a little more than 28 hours we had real trouble getting our anchor to set... Eventually after 10 or so ties we finally go set and closed everything and slept till morning.

When we awoke, we moved into the fuel docks at the marina where 4 officials from town came for our inspections.  They were all very nice people, but seemed more intent on collecting their special $25 fee for each, than searching us or our boat...  then after all that we were told we had to go into town to finish the process...  At the end of the day we spent $505 to stay in Panama for one year and a little over $500 for a slip for the month, and finally another $300 to top up our fuel....  Al in all and REALLY expensive day!

Over the next month we will make the many repairs and improvements that Blowin' Bubbles desperately needs after almost a year at sea....

More soon!
K&S

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We Are Moving On....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After three lovely weeks in one of the most beautiful islands we have been so far, it is time to keep moving toward Panama.  Our insurance requires us to be south of 10 degrees North Latitude before the end of June, so we decided to take advantage of a weather window that will bring us closer to our goal.

Later today we are heading for Cayo Albuquerque, an isolated atoll 30 nautical miles south of San Andreas and about 80 miles south of Providencia (where we are now).  We plan to sail overnight and arrive with a high sun tomorrow.  There is NOTHING at this atoll except protection from most weather and AWESOME snorkeling and diving.  Unfortunately, along with everything else that is broken, our 7kw generator that powers our scuba compressor isn't working, so our diving will be limited to the 7 full tanks we have on board.... 

This atoll is uninhabited except for a few Colombian Navy guys,  so we will share our experiences of this place when we get to Panama.

For now here are some pictures of our last days here in Providencia.


We have been fortunate to be here in Providencia when a unique phenomenon is occurring.  In the mountains of Providencia, thousands of crabs burrow deep into the hills, sometime as deep as 60 meters!  After a certain rain in May, they, on mass head for the ocean to deposit their eggs.  Their eggs float for 20 days before the young crabs hatch and eventually make their way back to here to live out their lives in the hills and mountains of this island. 

A few nights ago a bunch from the anchorage hired a driver to take us the the are of the island where the migration is best.  Most nights the military people here on the island close the road while thousands cross to deposit their eggs...  It has been exceptionally dry here this year so the migration has gotten off to a rather slow start, so the numbers were low enough this night that they left the road open... 

None the less, it was an AMAZING experience!  Crabs Crabs Crabs! on the road, in the bushes, on the walls and in the ditches, we witnessed crabs coming and going from the water for almost 3 hours...

Waiting for our ride...

A Providencia Taxi!

The "Road Closed" sign.


The EGGS!








Our driver and our guide, Allario

Shelley's favourite!





One of the best parts of our time here in Providencia has been the food!  Although some things are more expensive, and everything come to the island from San Andreas, we have eaten like kings since coming here.  From pizza, to Lionfish, the variety of food has been amazing...  We have made some great new friends over wonderful meals....

Pizza and beer!

The Caribbean Restaurant - Yes the path is lined with empty wine bottles!