Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Health Issues....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
If you want to start at the beginning of our 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:

It has been a crazy week with doctors and dentists!  First, I had a toothache so went to the local dentist who was competent and professional.  Is office was in Bocas Town and we had an appointment for Saturday afternoon.  

Now everyone who knows me knows I am petrified of dentists.  Yet I knew if I didn't go now, it would be months before we would have another chance.  After  a long consultation, Dr. Wong took an x-ray and determined the only option for my tooth would be to pull it.

All I can say is that it HURT LIKE HELL!!!!  Pain medication is very expensive here and not readily available, so with a few shots of Novacane, he took out some monster pliers and yanked it out in one piece...

It seems to be healing well and we can do something about the space in 6 months when we should be near Panama City.

Last week Shelley thought she burned herself on the back of her leg...  It turns out she was bitten by some kind of flea and she contracted Leishmaniasis.  Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics. It is caused by infection from parasites, which are spread by the bite of sand flies. There are three different forms of leishmaniasis in people. The most common form is cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores, which is the one we have.

I say we, because over the last week I too have 4 blisters caused by the same thing.  

We went to Changinola for a blood test to confirm it and the test was positive for both  of us.  Fortunately, while we were there Dr. Garcia, the doctor who has been treating my back came to see us at the laboratory.  He told us that before we could begin the treatment (WHICH HE COMPARED TO CHEMOTHERAPHY) we would need blood tests, urinalysis, and and EKG.  All these tests we could get at the local Bocas hospital then bring the results to him and he could start treatment.

Normal treatment is 21 days of IV therapy, which means going to the clinic or hospital every day for 21 days.  He said if our tests worked out he could administer doses once a week which for us would be much more convenient.

So yesterday Shelley and I got up at 6:30 am and took a water taxi to town and then walked to the hospital.  The place was packed!  mostly with young pregnant mothers.

We were told our requisitions from Dr Garcia are no good we need them from their Doctor...
So we sit and wait.... and wait...and wait

Around lunch time a nice Asian nurse ..the only non-Panamanian there..asks our names because she knows we have been there a while.. We tell her and she takes our weights and blood pressure..and gives us the proper hospital forms, which she copied word for word from Dr. Garcia's

She then tells us to wait and the Doctor will call us soon..and she leaves for lunch...

At 2 pm or so ..the doctor finally calls us ..after every other person in there had been helped..looks at our paperwork, and tells us the lab is closed for the day..   What ??

t this point I freak out.. I hunted down the hospital to find the Director of Hospital..who a friend had given us his name..

An employee/nurse first told us he was not there but surprise,  I found him...

He was kind and listen to our tale of woe and asked to to hang on....

A few minutes later he told us to come to lab and stood there and made a lady (who had already refused us) take our blood..then walked us to another office and made a guy who said he did not work after 1230 pm do our ECG of our hearts..He could not find a urine person...

At the end of all of this, he promised our results would be ready on Friday (except our urine tests) and to come directly to his office when we arrive...  We will see...

Remember, we had been told to fast we had nothing, not even water since the night before. So we left the hospital, found some lunch and decided we now know what discrimination feels like.  It doesn't feel good, I assure you...

Lunch after our "Ordeal!

On a happy note, last week we celebrated our friend, Joanne's birthday.  What a great night!

More next week... Cheers!

Right To Write Ministry : A Busy Fall

Right To Write Ministry : A Busy Fall: It has been a really busy fall!  In Canada our support committee has collected a whole bunch of school supplies and sent most of them to She...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lots of SCUBA...

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
If you want to start at the beginning of our 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:
A busy week teaching Scuba!  Over the last week, Shelley and I have helped 3 families learn to Scuba DIve!  We have had a great time, but have to say doing 2-4 dives every day is something I'm just not used to anymore...

We have been anchored off the south shore of the Island of Basimentoes here in Panama just in front of a lovely resort that comes complete with its own monkey...

Ingrid and "Rfiki"

With no easy access to town we have been running the scuba compressor almost non-stop filling tanks.  It seems to be working really well.  We had one minor glitch when one of the throttle springs broke, but with a little help from Bob (s/v Baloo), we got it repaired, ok, McGiver'd back together...

We also got some of the new white paint down on the inside of the gunnels.  We hope over the next few weeks we can get the deck and pilothouse painted.

When we arrived here we noticed that there is a bit of a swell, which causes a roll on the boat at anchor.  We put together our new (to us) "Flopper Stopper" which takes away much of the rolling sensation...  It worked great!

Our injuries this week were kept to a minimum.  Shelley may have broken a toe and I got mt baby finger caught in the chain gypsy of the anchor windlass.  I also think I might have a small cavity...  grrrr.

That all said, we did find some time this week for fun.  We walked the beach and enjoyed dinner and drinks with our friends from s/v Rafiki, s/v Four Coconuts, and s/v Baloo...

The "Four Coconuts" Clan

Shell collecting...

The "Rafiki" clan

The Lobster Guy...

Rafiki, Baloo, Blowin Bubbles at anchor
 So this is our life....Thank you to everyone who brings so much joy to our world...

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
If you want to start at the beginning of our 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:
After what seems like weeks of rain, we have just enjoyed 2 glorious days of sunshine!  With rainy season here in Panama, they seem to measure rainfall in feet instead of inches...  We made a water collection system with our new to us awning (thanks again Stan & Joanna) and a small collector on the front area of the boat which we bought for $10 at the last swap meet.

There is a collector hose on each side. When we expect rain,
we lower the support poles and the water collects on each side.

A "pantyhose" filter

It is very simple but very effective.

Here is the front collection system. In sunny weather it acts as a shade for the bow area.

Last week we had another great week.  Last Sunday we enjoyed another breakfast with a bunch of ex-pats.  Great people!  And thank you to Mary, who drives us everywhere in their really fast Panga.

On Thursday we dodged the rain and Carl and Mary took a bunch of us to town to buy provisions. By "provisions" sailors usually mean beer, wine and booze, and sometimes a little food.  Anyway, when it came time to come back to Dolphin Bay we filled the Panga up!

On Thursday evening we were invited to Juanna's house for cocktails (Mary & Carl's next door neighbor).  Juanna is from Columbia and one of the most generous and kind people we have met here in Panama.  While her husband, Dave works in Afghanistan, she is single handedly building their dream world property. Another evening of great fun and friends...

Julie, Joanne, Bill, Carl, Juanna and Dave (from Four Coconuts)
On Friday morning we took Four Coconuts with us for a walk through the Smithsonian property,  We just can't seem to get enough of this great place.  As I mentioned it has really been raining this week, so some of the trails were a MESS!
We cut palm branches to keep from sinking in the mud.

No matter how many time we come here we always find new and wonderful thinks to look at and eat...
A BLUE frog!

We decorated the band saw at the abandoned sawmill.

Another mystery fruit...

The halfway break....

The poison Green frog.
On Friday afternoon we headed to Starfish Beach for the weekend.  We also started scuba lessons for our friends on Four Coconuts. What a great place to play in the water...

Does it get better than this?

Tyler on shore duty...


What a GREAT dive platform!

Dave & Maya

Dave, Maya, Toutou and me...
This morning we were motoring back from Starfish Beach to Dolphin Bay when one of the "v" belts on the engine gave out.  Within seconds, there was smoke (later we knew it was steam) billowing out of every vent in the pilothouse, The engine alarm was going off so we immediately shut down the engine and shutdown the electrical system.  After getting into the engine room we saw the problem.  To make sure we hadn't seized the engine, we turned it over and all was OK.  Fortunately, we were about a mile from shore in 75' of water.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a lick of wind.  I put up the main anyway, and we called our friends on s/v Four Coconuts, who where behind us a few miles.  They came and stayed with us until I got the spare belt installed and the coolant re-filled.  After about a half hour, we were back in business.  To be safe, we turned on the engine room camera which displays on both our helm displays.  The temp stayed in normal range and there doesn't seem to be any lasting effects...

Just another day in our cruising life.... Cheers!