Sailing vessel Dances With Dragons' Ship's Log

Subtitle

Belize

Nancy returned to San Pedro on New Year's Eve and we celebrated the coming New Year at the Blue Water Grill.  We have decided to begin our move south.  The people at BC's have been so welcoming.  We have had a great time and made some new friends. 

On Monday, January 4, we sailed to Cay Caulker.  We are anchored on the west side of the island.  It was a beautiful sail, although we have to carefully watch our depth.  We draft 6 feet and the water depth is 7 to 9 on our rhumb line.  Just outside the rhumb line it can be 4 to 5 feet.  (We got STUCK!)

The first picture is as we approached the Cay, the 2nd is our anchorage....the line is our rode to the anchor. 

The first day we were here the winds picked up and we stayed on the boat and had anchor watch.  Wednesday was beautiful....blue skies and warm temperatures!  We took the dinghy into town and explored.  Later we dinghied through the cut around to the east side of the island and listened to water washing over the barrier reef.  The water through the cut is more green turquoise than the blues we are used to.

Riding in the dinghy we can clearly see starfish and manta rays, as well as other fish.  It is fantastic! Some of the manta rays are huge.  There are also sting rays as we can see their long barbs. 

WH--I don't know the date or day of the week but tonite Nancy's Longhorns take on the Alabama boys for the National Championship. Thats what day it is.  (It's Thursday, January 7....Nancy knows!!!)

We are having so much fun. The water is so clear.  We see manta rays and fish swim by the boat, all the systems are working fine on the boat, I actually have nothing to fix at the moment!!!    Nancy is starting to mind me a little better so all is well in Wayne's World!  (I'm just being more agreeable...a New Year's Resolution!)

If I could only learn how to catch a fish. Nancy knows how to cook them, I just need to catch one.

The new alternator she brought back from Houston is doing the job. With the gensest running and the batts all topped off we can run the compressor and we can dive the boat and clean the barnacles off the hull and deal with the zinc and stuff.  That is important. In these latitudes stuff tends to want to grow quickly.

We are at Barrier Reef Sports Bar waiting for the big game to start. I have my TEXAS AGGIE shirt on of course but I have to say I hope the TEA SIPPERS win this thing. After all,,,,,,,,t u  is a TEXAS school so I suppose I should support them at a time like this if my Aggs aren't in it.

(Besides, if I didn't my Co-Captain would not be a lot of fun NOW WOULD SHE??/!)

I missed my Mom and my Kids and my Grandkids over Christmas. There was no place to secure the boat in San Pedro and I had to stay and do anchor watch. Its ok, I will be in Houston the end of March and be there on the 2nd of April for the arrival of  # SEVEN.  Grandbaby that is. My Daughter Beth is having another little boy.  I am excited about that.

Looking forward to moving further south and seeing more clear, blue/green water and doing some snorkling and fishing and taking naps and well just having fun.

NK-- Wayne is such a fine man and I am so enjoying being with him.  (Wayne wrote that, true for the most part, except when he disses my Horns!!!)

January 12 -

We arrived in Cay Chapel on Friday, the 8th.  We had a wonderful sail in the sunshine.  We anchored off the cay, which is privately owned.  It has a resort and a Par 72 - 18 hole golf course which is beautiful.  We got in the dinghy and rode into the marina, which you can only stay at if you are a guest at the resort. 

During the middle of the night, the winds picked up to 20 mph and the waves started bucking the boat.  The front that had hit Houston on Wednesday arrived in Belize!  It was cold and we had to stay at anchor and on the boat for 4 days.  The winds have just settled down tonight and it is supposed to be in the 70's tomorrow.  It was in the low 60's here...who would have thought!!!!

Due to the storm, the pass we had to go through called "Porto Stuck" has silted in and our 6' draft cannot go through anymore.  We are planning on sailing back to San Pedro, weather permitting, and checking out of Belize.  Our plans at the moment are to visit Turneffe Islands and Lighthouse Reef and then head to Roatan, Honduras.  We hope to meet up with our friends, Ron and Judy on Pioneer, cruisers we met in Florida in 2006.  They are in Isla Mujeres now and headed to Roatan in a week or so.  Hopefully, we will get a good weather window and be able to head into the Caribbean. 

 

 

Roatan, Honduras

We left San Pedro on Monday, January 18, and arrived in Roatan on January 21. The sunsets and sail under a star-studded sky was spectacular.

 We had a fun, and I wish I could say an uneventful passage, but cruising is fixing your boat in exotic places.  We were rounding the west end of Roatan and Wayne was below changing out the impeller so we could run the engine.  He got that fixed and as we were shaking out the reef in the main sail, the main halyard snapped and the sail came tumbling down.  So we have ordered a new stainless wire to run a new main halyard.  And to top it all off, while I was defrosting the freezer, I punctured a hole in the refrigerant line and all the refrigerant came hissing out.  (I promise never to use an ice pick when defrosting the freezer again!)  Dennis, a refrigerator specialist with Fantasy Island,  came out on a Friday evening and looked at it and was back on the boat Saturday morning by 7:45 and fixed it.  Thank you Dennis and Wally, from Silver Lining, who arranged for him to come help us and stored our frozen food until we were up and running again. 

 When we first arrived there were about 8 boats in the anchorage.  There are about 20 boats here now.  We had a cruisers' potluck Sunday night and it is wonderful meeting other cruisers.  And we are anchored by Pioneer, Judy and Ron, a couple we met in Fort Pierce, Florida in December, 2005. 

We enjoyed the cruising community immensely in Roatan.  We had a number of Happy Hours and Pot Luck dinners.  The cruisers were invited to a home at the top of a mountain in Roatan.  This was our last night on the island. 

 WH--When we were in Isla Mujeres I studied the iguanas and was impressed with the great Life they led there. I believe I mentioned that I wanted to come back in my next Life as an iguana. Well, after visiting the iguana farm here on Roatan I have decided that I want to come back as an iguana here! Check out the pictures.  Tourists get off the cruise ships and the farm is one of the stops the tour guide brings them to. They are given wild tobacco plants to feed the iguanas and get their pictures taken with them and the iguanas eat several times a day!! Then in between feedings they are taking naps or sunning themselves and just taking it easy.

(The female iguanas don't look all that appealing to me but I am counting on all that to change if I were an iguana.)

February 6, 2010 

We sailed from Roatan headed to Panama. 

The weather window was excellent.  We had northeast winds for the passage East and they moved to our stern for the rest of the sail.  We posted speeds of 7 to 8 knots almost the whole passage.  The winds were strong!  Once again, we had to reduce sail to arrive in the San Blas after daybreak.  I was at the helm just sailing back and forth from the waypoint when dawn broke.  The islands were just to the beam of the boat, and they are all surrounded by reefs. 

We checked into the San Blas or Kuna Yalas in Porvenir.  The Kuna Indians own the 300+ islands and they call them the Kuna Yalas.  Most of the islands are uninhabitated, and truly a tropical Paradise.  The Kunas are friendly and welcoming.  They paddle out to the anchorages in their dug-out canoes, (ulas,) and sell veggies, lobsters, crabs, fish and molas.  Molas are handstitched designs of tropical life.  The Kuna women and a few men sew them.   They are colorful and beautiful. 

This canoe has an engine...some do...but many are paddled.

Wayne and I walked the runway in Porvenir that was built in WWII by the Americans.   The plane lands  every morning and takes off again by 6:30.  The runway is probably just a little longer than a football field. 

Note the building just before the trees in the pictures.  The picture on the left is the west end of the island and the next picture is the East end.  The runway is the length of the island!  (I took off on this runway after the pilot was able to shut the cabin door with a Swiss Army knife!!!!!)

We sailed to Salardup and met up with our friends, Bob and Jeannie, on Island Dreamin'.  We met Bob and Jeannie in Trinidad in 2006.  There are 180 cruising boats scattered throughout the islands and we tend to anchor with about 10 other boats in each anchorage.  We had Happy Hours on the spit in the water and joined in water aerobics. 

The starfish were amazing.

All those dark "spots" are starfish!

I flew out of Nargana to Panama City.  The air strips are very short, usually the length of an islands.  We flew to Porvenir and the door to the plane wouldn't close; the pilot fixed the door with a Swiss army knife so we continue to fly to Panama City.  

This is the "airport" in Nargana I flew out of!  The only way to reach it was by dinghy or ula.  The dock is the where we got out of the dinghy to reach the airport.  A lady boated over from Nargana to check our tickets. 

 WH--We absolutely Love the Kuna Yalas!  So far this is our favorite place. The water is so clear. When we get back down there I will sail Nancy straight to the East end of the Holandes Cays to a place called "The Swimming Pool".  Called that because you can stand on deck and look over the side and it looks just like a swimming pool. You can see the bottom and all the tropical fish and plant life.

The Kunas are friendly people and they paddle their wooden dugouts to all the anchorages around the islands and seel molas to the cruisers and vegetables and fruit etc. They always have a nice smile for you and don't pressure us at all.

All the islands have a lot of coconut trees on them and have white sandy beaches all around them. The snorkling around the reefs is fantastic. I am actually a novice at this snorkling but it isn't hard to learn and it is great to be finally introduced to this amazing world under the surface of the sea.

We are in Conroe, Texas at the moment waiting for # 7 Grandbaby to arrive. Yesterday was his due date so he should be here any minute.

Before I flew home I hadn't had shoes or a shirt on for @ least two months. (My friends and Family can't imagine that.)

To sum it all up--I am very, very happy with my Life.

 Brody Scott arrived Easter Sunday, April 4.  Welcome to the world Brody!

June 8 -  (We finally have an Internet connection after 2 months of being without!)

 We returned to Panama after a great visit with our family and friends on April 8.  We spent two days in Panama City reprovisioning and seeing the Panama Canal.  We saw two ships at the Miraflora Locks crossing from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.  It was fascinating.  What an amazing engineering feat!  We had read the book, "The Path Between the Seas."  It was an excellent history of the building of the Canal. 

  

We hope we showed the two ships passing through the locks well enough for you to see them.  The train is one they used many years ago to take the materials for building the locks to the site.  It was very special for me, (Nancy,) to visit the canal...my dad was stationed here in World War II.  After he passed away and I was going through old pictures, I found many of his pictures taken during the war.  I had known about his being stationed there, but had never seen the pictures. 

Crossing the mountains from Panama City to Colon, we saw in a few places the jungle growing right next to the road.  The landscape is beautiful and lush.  

Then we visited Portabelo, Panama.  Dances with Dragons was moored at Panamarina and we had to pass through Portabelo to reach it.  There is a terrific fort that was used to try to protect the area from the plundering of pirates....especially Captains Drake and Morgan. 

We left Panamarina and sailed to Isla Linton for a few days.  Then we headed back to the San Blas Islands.  Mutual friends were staying with Bob and Jeannie on Island Dreamin'.  We spent a few days with them before we sailed to Nargana so they could catch their plane.    At Nargana, we dinghied up the Rio Diablo.  The Kunas on Nargana and Jesus de Corazon get their water from up-river.  Their water pipe broke and all day long, the Kunas paddle their ulas up the river and gather water for the day. 

We tied these kids to the dinghy and towed them up river. 

Trees along the river.  They are spectacular with their root systems.

Nargana has an open-air restaurant that we enjoy eating at. 

The water in the San Blas is so amazingly clear.  We can see almost 20 feet below the waterline.  Coral heads, stingrays, starfish, fish in general are everyday sights. 

I fed the catfish oatmeal flakes!

The sunsets, sunrises and rainbows are just incredible.  Words cannot describe the beauty we see daily.  The pictures will instead.  We enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine and/or beer in the cockpit.  Frequently cruisers get together for a Happy Hour on each other's boats to share the sundown together. 

Life in the Kuna Yalas is slow and relaxed.  The sun rises about 5:30 and sets about 7:00 PM.  A typical day involves doing boat chores in the morning....there are always some chores, dinghying to an island, snorkeling, reading, doing whatever we want, Happy Hour and dinner.  About once a week, sometimes more, the cruisers get together for a pot luck dinner on an island.  We swap boat repair stories, sometimes parts, and books while enjoying scrumptious food from everyone.  For a little while, the "NO MAS" band played on Saturday nights.  The band formed from a group of cruisers who have guitars, drums, a keyboard, maracas, and Pam, with an amazing voice.  We dance, form conga lines and just enjoy the music.  They will be back in January when many of them return from the States. 

We also don't wear shoes!!!!  I think we went for at least 6 weeks without putting shoes on.  On Barbeque Island in the Holandes Cay, this is the table that we use to have the potlucks.

 We burn our trash on the islands, give haircuts, clean the mud off the anchor, and enjoy the scenery. 

The last picture is the Panama mainland. 

Cruising is wonderful, but there are a few downfalls.  You have to be prepared for anything and everything.  In the San Blas, the veggie boats deliver food.  We get lobsters, crabs, chickens, fruits and vegetables.  I bought two chickens, they are defeathered and cleaned, and with a few surprises every now and then.  The first one I opened was like buying a whole chicken in the states....then the second one....!!!

I bravely chopped the head off...it was not easy! 

May 22 -

 Although we love the Kuna Yala, we can only stay 60 days on our visas, so we have to sail to another country to clear in and clear out.  We needed to haul out and repair some valves at the thru hulls so we left for Colombia.  Cartagena has excellent boat yards.  We have wanted to see Cartagena ever since we read Michner's "Caribbean."  The draw to the city that Pirates Drake and Morgan attempted to take, but couldn't fascinated us. 

At first we thought we would sail to the most Eastern island of the Kuna Yalas and then jump across the Caribbean.  We arrived in San Iglesia de Tupile and met up with two other boats that were going to cross from there.  The destination became Cholon Bay, instead of Cartagena.  We decided to cross with them, although we parted during the night as they two other boats stayed closer to shore and had a different sail plan.  We were in radio contact with them the whole time.  The winds were predicted to be 5 - 10 knots and the seas flat.  We were motor sailing with full sail as the preciction was correct.  The night was peaceful, under motor sail with tons of stars and a moon from late night on.  Then the clouds started building.  At 4:30 am, I was rolling up the jib to keep it from flapping because of no wind.  Wayne came up to help me roll up the jib, and out of no-where, we were hit with a storm!  The boat heeled way over is a 35 - 40 knot gust.  I had started below and was hit with the coffee pot falling off the stove even though it was in the fiddles.  Wayne grabbed the traveler line to release the wind out of the main sail and there was a loud CRACK!  The boom broke in two!!!  The topping lift line hung up on an 18 inch pvc pipe that was attached to the backstay to hold the man-overboard pole, that we no longer had.  Wayne had intended to remove the pvc pipe but just hadn't done it yet.  Wayne put on his harness and tether and went forward to secure the sail and tie it down as I lowered it to the boom lying at a right angle. 

We pulled into the Cholon anchorage and finished securing the sail and boom.  We laid the two pieces of the boom on the deck and put the main sail in the bag.  We tidied up  the boat and fell sound asleep for a few hours. 

 Cholon is a beautiful bay southwest of Cartagena.  The water is cleaner and the area is quieter.  We are anchored with 7 other boats and Manatee.  Manatee belongs to Robert, an ex-cruiser who also owns "The Crow's Nest" on the top of the hill overlooking the bay.  Manatee is a metal fishing boat that has been converted to a bar for happy hours and a hamburger joint a couple of times a month. 

Crows Nest is quite a bit bigger than Robert first thought it would be.  When the plans were drawn up and a price agreed upon, Robert was thinking square feet....it turned out to be square meters! 

The road from Cholon to Baru is a dirt, sometimes muddy, road with many interesting sights along the way.

That is a donkey underneath the Flamboyant tree!

And, when we crossed the road to go to the beach on the other side of the pennisula, four Marines escorted us! 

 

We enjoyed the peacefulness of Cholon, but needed to head to Cartagena to (1) visit the city, (2) make needed boat repairs, and (3) provision. 

Entering Cartagena, we sailed over the wall that was built under the water to keep out  pirates like Morgan and Drake.  The pirate ships would manage to get in the harbor and would try to take the walled-city.  If they got too close, the Cartagenians would leave for the fort, which was never taken by them. 

We spent one night at the dock at Club de Pesca and enjoyed air-conditioning and electricity!  We met some other cruisers and learned about the mall, grocery stores, cruiser pizza night at Da Sandra's, Mimo's ice cream tienda, and other bits and pieces to make our stay easier.  The first night we had pizza, ice cream, and an air-conditoned boat to sleep in.  The comforts were fantastic. 

The next day we moved to the anchorage.  The amenities at Club de Pesca are wonderful, but it is over $1000 a month to dock the boat there.  That is not in our cruising budget.  The anchorage is fun and we get to really see more of the city from the boat.  To our northwest is Isla Grande, which is the "downtown" of Cartagena.  It is very modern with skyscrapers.  Then, there is the old walled-city, the fort, Manga, which is the East side of the harbor, and a working port.  I was fascinated by the loading and unloading of containers on the container ships.  The ships were usually in port less than 24 hours, which included the unloading and reloading using the huge cranes.  And, it was very quiet...we were surprised. 

It was cloudy when we entered Cartagena.  This is Isla Grande and the Statue of Mary and Jesus in the middle of the harbor.

I was overwhelmed and excited by the grocery store.  I am not a shopper but not having been in a "real" grocery store in over 2 months, I just stared at the isles of food and choices I could make!  I did some major damage to the food budget.

 The first repair we tackled was the boom at anchor on the boat...Wayne doing the work and me supporting him!  We went to an aluminum tienda and bought aluminum strips and angles.  Wayne cut them, added them inside the boom, screwed them in and then JB Welded the cut sections together.  It is stronger and better than ever. 

Once we finished that we made time to visit Cartagena.  Cartagena is a vibrant city with a mix of old, modern, wealth and poverty.  Exercise classes are held on the sidewalk that runs along the harbor.  My hats are off to those who can dance and workout in the heat...I like air-conditioned buildings to exercise in....maybe that's why I'm not exercising anymore.

Club de Pesca is located in part of the walled city.  There is a cannon ball in one wall that is said to be from the Pirate Morgan. 

The walls are extremely thick...6 to 8 feet!

We toured the Naval Museum, the Centro in the Walled-City, and the Fort. 

Centro

The Fort is huge!  We went inside the tunnels for just a bit, but I was too tall and Wayne really had to double over, so we didn't follow them to what we feel should be a large area where all the people gathered when the pirates were attacking. 

June 10, we moved the boat for a month to Manazillo Boat Yard to repair some valves at the thru-hulls and do some projects we have been wanting to complete.  Nancy left for two weeks to visit the family.  We are pleased with the work.

We are back in Cholon Bay.  We went to the Crow's Nest to watch the World Cup and these are views of the bay from there.  It is stunning! 

 

 

To all Cruisers--Cholon is a great place to sail the boat to from Cartagena, about 4 hours sail, and relax and get the bottom cleaned.

The water in Cartagena is real bad about growing barnacles and stuff on the prop and hull. We sold Robert on Manatee a compressor with hose and regulators and he has Shotgun Johnny and one other man cleaning boats with it. They do a great job and they invite you in to the water to inspect their work to make sure you are satisfied with the job.

A few nights a week there are happy hours on board Manatee, a converted 80' shrimp boat. It is a good place to do book swaps, film swaps, tell tall sea tales and enjoy your friends. 

   15 Sep 2010--Still anchored in Cartagena waiting for my new crown to be made and put in my mouth. The first one broke in two when the dentista told me to bite down. The second one was of poor quality and the dentist took new impressions and sent them to a different laboaratorio.! (This stuff only happens to me!)

When the new crown is put in I will sail to Cholon. I like Cartagena real well but the thought of this stuff growing on the hull and prop @ such a rapid rate worries me.   

17 Sep 2010--The new crown is in and I had a nice sail down to Cholon. 

18 Sep 2010--There are a lot of boats that I know here in Cholon and it is great to see them again.

19 Sep 2010--Had a great time with my friends  @ happy hour on Manatee last night.

Yesterday morning Shotgun Johnny and his compadre cleaned the prop, all the hull fittings and wiped all the moss and barnacles that were growing in Cartagena off the bottom of the boat.  

Having a hard time inserting pictures in the website. Sorry.

Tomorrow morning I will up anchor and sail to the Rosarios. It is a group of islands not far from Cholon. This is where a lot of tourists from Cartagena go to get away from Cartagena and enjoy the beach.

Why do people bother with opening up a website and adding some in it everyday? I don't think many people are reading any of this but I am doing it because when I am too old to do this anymore and my Kids come drag me off this old boat to put me in a retirement home I want to be able to sit in that dreaded rocking chair and read all this rambling and relive every moment of this great adventure!

 23 Sep 2010--  I will be continuing on with this adventure "solo".   All the wonderful things you see and experience @ sea can't be nearly as spectacular when you are solo. Sunups, sundowns, moonups and moondowns, all the stars, the dolphins, whales etc etc oh and of course the iguanas aren't quite as cool when you don't have someone to share it all with.  I have signed up with http://www.findacrew.com/ and I may have a crew soon. If anyone is interested in crewing on any type of boat that website is a good one to get signed up with. There are a lot of boat owners/Captains that are looking for crew and they use that www to find them.

Will spend a few more days here in Cholon. Out of the three bilge pumps I have only one is working now and it is manually operated, no float switch to turn it on automatically and sound the high water alarm! You do NOT want to go to sea without functioning bilge pumps! (You don't want to be @ anchor without them either!)

Will sail to Cartagena soon to clear out then sail back to the Kuna Yalas. Pam and Bill on S/V Songbird pulled in to the Cholon anchorage yesterday and it was great to see them. They are members of the "NO MAS" band that we got to watch and dance to in the West Lemmons, Kuna Yalas. They are Great! Pam is a blues singer and Bill picks the guitar like Eric Clapton! They are going to be performing on Manatee saturday nite.

28 SEP 2010--I haven't mentioned the flooding ordeal in the Rosarios last week. It was just after dark and I started the genset, did the dishes and went forward to watch a film. I had turned on the raw water washdown pump to rinse the dishes with and since I couldn't hear it running over the genset noise I went forward to watch a movie. Well shucks, after about an hour I figured the batteries had to be @ flost so I went aft and killed the genset. When it died I heard the raw water pump running.  Something told me to look into the bilge and OH HECK the water was up almost to the air intake on the drive engine!!

I quickly turned on two bilge pumps and they finally emptied the bilge. The engine still cracks off but I am certain the starter will fail soon as it had to fill up with sea water and they just can't deal with that. After trouble shooting the cause of the flooding I determined  the raw water washdown hose apparently has a leak in it just before it arrives @ the anchor rode locker forward. (The leak is of course trapped in a bulkhead and I can't get to it.  OF COURSE IT IS!!)

The two automatic bilge pumps have float switch failures. A friend is bringing two new ones next week. Till then I will be lifting the floor board often to check out the bilge. I was in a PANIC when I saw all that water.

Then the next day the DC refridgerator decides to pack it in. It would run 24/7 but wasn't cooling the box. I cooked up the frozen chicken so it wouldn't go bad and the rest of the stuff was ok. I was trouble shooting the thing the next day and gave the thermostat a good jack slap and it started working again. I FIXED IT!  The beer is cold again. My world just got better.

I am looking forward to seeing my friend next week. We will tour around Cartagena, I will instal the two float switches for the bilge pumps and the new hose she is bringing for the raw water washdown, provision up and head for the Kuna Yalas. She allows that she knows how to put pictures on wwws so maybe we can get some new pictures put in.

 4 Oct 2010--The genset decided to crap out thursday nite so I sailed to Cartagena so Elvis the famous diesel mechanic could take a look @ it. He took the injector pump and the injector to the laboaratorio and feels like they can recondition them and it will work fine. (I don't know, I turned the crank very easily and that means no compression. We'll see.)

Will set a date with the Canal Authority to transit the canal in late january 2011 and when the ITCZ moves north in late february and the trades fill in I will sail to the Galapagos, first port of call as I cross the Pacific. (I keep writing "I" as I may be going solo but I have a couple of "maybes" I am communicating with and may have one or two crew. It would be more fun with crew. AND I might be able to sleep more than 15 minutes at a time!, AND I could eat someone else's cooking. I'm not quite there yet with the cooking skills.)

8 Oct 2010--The genset is working again!  It is still putting out a wee bit of black soot but it gets less and less the more I run it. Elvis the mechanic says it will stop doing it soon. We will see. It is not enough to harm the environment as is but I demand GREEN!

For the sail to Bocas Del Toro I will have two kollidge students, one 20 and one 24.. They are taking some time off from school to enjoy a Caribbean adventure.  They want to learn to sail.  (It will take me five minutes to tell them all I know. Then what?)

We will sail to Cholon, Colombia in the morning and then after a day or two sail to the north side of the Rosarios. Will sail to the Kuna Yalas off Panama and see some of the islands on the way to Bocas Del Toro. My guests are in for a treat. The two young students have never sailed or snorkeled. (Huge responsibility for me, their safety I mean, but this is a very strong blue water cruiser.)  Will add to this along with some pictures when we reach Bocas.

21 Oct 2010--Have arrived in Bocas Del toro. It was a good run as nothing broke on the boat. The Wind Gods weren't in the mood to bless us with good winds, we had no wind for most of the passage but @ least it wasn't 25knts on the nose! The engine performed perfectly, never overheated, never hickuped once! Which is as it should be. Thanx to Elvis the mechanic in Cartagena.

We stopped @ the Hollandes in Kuna Yala off Panama and then the girls decided to get off in Porvenir. I then sailed to Linton and met with Evening Star and Papillon for one evening then was up @ dawn and bound for the Chagres River. Motored all the way to the Gatum Dam and anchored for the night. It is a beautiful trip up the river. Unspoiled in any way..  (Someone is coming on the 5th that can show me how to put pictures in this thing. ) Will provision the boat this morning, fuel up and sail over to Red Frog Marina where they have a slip available. Will be exploring the area and also getting  the boat ready for the Pacific crossing.

 30 Oct 2010--I didn't take the slip @ Red Frog because it is looking like I will be sailing to Cartagena to pick up Nancy's things and sail them to TEXAS. The shipper in Cartagena is saying now that they can't ship the things to TEXAS as they initially claimed. Getting the $$ back will probably be a battle.

I have a guest coming the 5th and will take her all around the archipelago. I haven't seen it myself so it should be a great experience for both of us. I am anchored in front of Bocas Marina and Bocas Town. Tomorrow night is Halloween and I will put on my Jack Sparrow outfit and go in to the Canteena @ Bocas Marina and take part in the Halloween festivities. It was Holloween Day a year ago that Nancy and I left Port Aransas, TEXAS.

Sorry I don't have sense enough to put pictures in this thing. There are a lot of beautiful sights I could be showing all of you. Maybe the girl coming soon will be able to add them for me. (and teach me how)

2 NOV 2010--ELECTION DAY!!-God help us.... The Halloween party was great! Cruisers know how to party! Well, most cruisers do, they have to tell me all about it the next day as I leave the party early.  (Coffee time comes around too early for late night activities,  I don't want to miss the sun up with that cup of coffee in my hand).

Last night I went to 9 Degrees restaurant/bar to see the final game of the World Series and to see my Houston Texans play that Manning boy in Indy.  IT WAS NOT A GOOD NIGHT FOR TEXAS SPORTS FANS!!!  I wish Nolan Ryan had suited up for the Rangers and Peyton Manning hadn't suited up for the Colts.

Today can be a great day for me if Election Day results go well for the USA and if Nancy's meeting with the Colombian Consulate General in Houston goes well.  Hopefully Nancy's things will be on a big cargo ship bound for TEXAS soon. I know she will be relieved. 

 About my sail plan as I see it this morning....If I have to sail to Cartagena to deal with Nancy's things I may not be getting back in time to get through the canal to start the Pacific Adventure in Jan/Feb 2011.  I have accepted the idea of returning to the Bocas area here in Panama, further exploring it and finish getting the boat ready for the passage to get started in 2012.  (Best to etch sail plans in jello instead of concrete, makes it easier to change them when duty calls for you to take a different path.)

Got to see Steve and Debbie on Argo the other day @ Red Frog. Last time Nancy and I saw them was in 2005 just before we went cruising the first time. They were in Kemah getting some boat work done. I told them then we would catch up to them someday and finally did and it was great to see them.

20 Nov I think. I do know it is saturday. Doesn't matter does it?  (I Love Living this way....Who cares what time it is?)  Well shucks, when it comes to Life, you never know what your going to get. Quoting Forest's Mother. Things in my Life seem to be changing daily. One very important thing is Nancy's things are about to arrive in Houston. (I am going home to TEXAS 5 Dec to see my Son,Daughter and seven GrandBabies. And of course my Mother. (the one that is responsible for this tribe.)

I am enjoying Bocas a lot. Found a "cruising base camp" to buy.  The water is deep enough right up to the dock and I can park two 42' boats end to end along it. It has a storage building made of concrete and a cool palapa at the top of a high hill. The view is fabuloso! My seven Grandkids will Love running around this place! I shall call it "DRAGON'S LAIR". Howz that?

29 Nov 2010--November 29th will always be a special day for me.  We have ups and downs in our Lives and today I experienced as bad a "down" as I can remember ever having and then the black clouds parted, the sun came out and I was blessed with as great an "up" as I have ever experienced.  Been an interesting day. Won't forget it.

10 Dec 2010-More changes,,I am Not buying the island in Bocas Del Toro. Heard too many horror stories regarding buying land there and when my lawyer in Panama told me that she couldn't guarantee even up to 80% sure the land couldn't be taken away from me at some point I dropped the idea.  It is a beautiful place and I wanted it but I shall be happy with anchoring off near it and enjoying it free from worry. Besides, I would have to go back to cutting grass, trimming bushes, digging in the dirt, etc, etc.(I have enough to do keeping Dances With Dragons afloat!)  I was disappointed however.

I am in TEXAS now enjoying my seven Grandkids. Went to a Christmas program that my Grand Daughter Shelby was in. She was an Angel in the play.

I am having so much fun with these GrandKids, they are so special and all are very healthy, my Children and my Mother are all doing well and healthy too. If I could be granted one wish I would wish that all the people in the world  were all experiencing the same good fortune that I am @ this time. (Good fortune means good health for them and their Families.)  HHMMM, that sounds a lot like what Miss America might say when being crowned.....well, its all right, it is a good thought and I'm ok with being in tune with my feminine side.  I suppose.

Nancy's things arrived @ her home in Houston finally. It was a terrible experience for us getting the shipment to her.  We were lied to  repeatedly by the "shipper" in Cartagena and we suspected criminal intent on their part.  We still do as the only reason she finally received her things is we involved a Port Authority Pilot in the fight and we also threatened to go back to Cartagena and involve the DIAN and the police etc.

Sad but the arrival of her things marks the end to a wonderful chapter in my Life.

I am seriously thinking about shutting this www down and starting a totally new one. Just seems troubling to me to continue on with this one, it is filled with a lot of wonderful memories. Not that I want to try to forget them, just need to sail away from them for now.

Will get a letter out to everyone I know is keeping up with me and let them know the new www  address if and when I start it.

I pray all of you have as great a Christmas time this year  as I am having!  

12 Dec 2010--13 more days and Santa Clause will be here!  Wonder if I started being good Now he would at least read my list? All my Grandkids are bouncing off the walls with anticipation! They all allow they have been plenty good enough to get lots of toys.

It appears that, a young Lady to be introduced soon, will be coming aboard and will hopefully be sailing around the world with me. I am looking forward to continuing on with this dream with her. (Have been reluctant to announce this but I am more convinced now the obstacles she has had to overcome have been properly dealt with and she is in fact coming. I am more than pleased to have her aboard.

She will take over the www, probably  start a new one. She knows how to add pictures and can write better than I can so you will enjoy it more.

5 Jan 2011--LAST ENTRY into the website that has chronicled a wonderful chapter of my Life.

The new chapter has begun and I am enjoying it immensely.  It is time to introduce Tigs to all my friends.  Tigs is from England, she is an accomplished sailor as she has tens of thousands of sea miles behind her.  She has transited the canal and sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand as well as 57 islands between the east coast of the US and Thailand.  Having her aboard with all that local knowledge will be good, I can just enjoy and let her "fetch me yonder horizon", to quote Jack Sparrow.

Tigs has put together a new website that we will use to chronicle our adventures. She is good with computers and can place pictures of all the places we visit and write about our experiences while exploring all the places we arrive @ and of course the stories we will have regarding the water in between.

The www she has put in place is----   www.mytb.org/danceswithdragons 

You are invited to follow us around the world. We will try to make the website an interesting read for you. 

16 Feb 2011--Well heck, Tigs had to leave. She had to go tend to a sick friend.

I am disappointed that she had to go, she was great crew.  I Loved listening to all her stories and was looking forward to hearing them all as we circumnavigated. I won't be going back to findacrew.com to replace her but I will say to all boat owners that are looking for good crew if Tigs' name and profile ever shows up on the website and she is offering to crew I would certainly recommend her. She is a great cook, can navigate, is an excellent sander/varnisher and very pleasant company. You can't go wrong bringing her aboard.

About the other website that Tigs opened up..........I may not be smart enough to use it so I will continue to use this one.

I am currently in Bocas Del Toro, Panama waiting for the dink motor to be repaired. Will set sail for the Chagres River near Colon hopefully next week some time and spend a few days up at the dam. Then will go to Portobello for a few days then to the Kuna Yala Islands then on to Cartagena.  I have a young couple aboard from the States and they are good crew.  they are just out of kollidge and are doing a "gap" year before entering the
grind.  (Great idea but my generation didn't do that, we graduated from High School or kollidge and went right to work.  I like the idea of a gap year.)

Will try to add some more later.  When I get to Cartagena I am going to get a hard dodger and hard bimini put on the boat. (Tired of getting wet on passages and tired of having to buy a whole new bimini every 3 or 4 years.)  Will also see about getting a revolving door put on the port side of the boat. I know it may mess up the lines of the boat some but it will make it more convenient for the Girls that wanna step into then out of my Life!  HA!

Maybe Allison, a crew member, will show me how to put pictures on this thing. You will want to see pictures of the Chagres.