Sailing vessel Dances With Dragons' Ship's Log


2012-- "We are here for a short time, we are a long time Dead. SAIL ON!!"

10 Jan 2012--Just got to Red Frog marina from Bocas Town where I spent all weekend watching the NFL playoffs. My Houston Texans advanced with a win over Cincinatti. Denver beat Pittsburgh. Teebow played a great game. Won it with the first play from scrimage in overtime with a bomb to the endzone. Exciting game it was.

I will get some work done on the boat here in the slip and sail back over to Bocas for the games next week end.  Went to the beach today after I got the boat all secured. Lots of tourists on the beach.  Everyone was "with" someone. I was by myself.  Solo is not good for me. Thinking about going back to work. Heck, being a mule is better than being inert. @ least I will be making some more retirement $$ while I am @ it.

It appears I will be going to work soon.  US economy and the World economy is spiraling downward out of control with no improvement in sight so turning down an offer would be foolish. (I am already imagining the rude sound of that alarm clock. Heck, I was certain I was done with all that.)

Today will be dedicated to trying to figure out why the genset isn't putting a charge on the house batts. I am about ready to call in a pro.  I can normally keep chewing on a problem and finally figure it out but this thing has about got me whupped. I have thought of one more thing to try.  If it is a sunny day I might just quit and go to the beach to rub suntan lotion on the beach bunnies.  Or maybe take a nap. 

27 Jan 2012- It is down to it. Flying out of Panama City this morning bound for Houston/Moscow/Singapore. Will be in Sing for a couple weeks  learning how the company wants the payroll and billing done and will then come back to the boat. Will have a week in Houston on the way back, which is great as all my fans, (my seven Grandkids) are a lot of fun.   .....Sailing adventure will be on hold for a time I am afraid. 

27 Feb --A lot has happened in the last month. Went to Sing, stopped in Houston for a week to visit my Family, then stopped in Panama City and helped a friend through a bad time. She was having surgery and had no one to be there for her when the surgery was done and to care for her in the days following the surgery whilst she was drugged out. So, I volunteered and I have found that I can be a pretty good care giver. "Nurse Wayne".! My patient Lived, I escorted her back to Bocas and she is doing fine and boat sitting over in the Bocas Marina anchorage.  We became good friends during the whole thing. 

We cleared out of Bocas and were 52 miles down range bound for Portobelo when the the transmission cooler Krapt out. We swapped ends with the boat and headed back to Bocas.  The transmission got very hot but we didn't damage it.  Jes is a good sailor and I enjoyed the sail with her. I am bummed out I didn't get to show her the Kuna Yalas.

I am going to fly to Panama City on the 3rd or 4rth and travel by bus to Portobelo or Colon to go aboard Diversion to crew for my Brother Al to Bocas.  He is more capable than I am @ sea but it will be safer for him to have crew and it will be fun.  Why not, I am sort of in "limbo" waiting to go to work and you can just go to the beach and rub sun tan lotion on the beach bunnies for so long before it becomes "old hat"........just kidding.

In a way I am not pleased about going to Dubai to work and in another way I am excited about the thought of it.  Am more in tune with it now than I was initially.

Tomorrow morning I will put the dink motor on the dink so my friend Sonny the mechanic can work on it. Will then get in to the engine room and wrestle the transmission oil cooler off the transmission.

Did I mention that my Grandkids were wonderful??  I had so much fun with them whilst I was in Houston. They are all healthy and are so smart.  And they think their CAPTAIN, me, is just about the most! 

 23 March 2012--It won't be Dubai, will be traveling to Macae', Brasil soon to work.  When I get time off from work I may start sailing the boat towards Brasil.  Depends on the job, if I am to be there for some years  I will definitely have to have this old boat with me. Problem is sailing her there. The current comes RUNNING around the right shoulder of South America heading north and east and so do the winds. So one would have to sail almost to Angola, West Africa before you could tack back and make Buzios, Brasil. I have wrestled with the thought of going back to work a lot but in the end I finally came to grips with reality. See, the problem is my people Live a loong time and I figure I can just sail until I run out of money then go home and be of a burden to my Children or go back to work now and try to make enough to sustain me until I expire. 

Going to ride the dink over to Los Secretos tomorrow to have the pizza and listen to some kids play some pretty good Blues all afternoon.  (They have cold beer, great pizza and hot wings there as well.)

 25 March 2012--Got the new transmission cooler on, put the new fuel pump on the dink motor, went to the beach and now I am headed over to Los Secretos for some rest and relaxation.  Giving up all this freedom soon and going back to work, never thought I would even think of doing that.  

I had almost escaped. I am on the Canal Authority's books with a proper "SIN #" to be measured and put in line to transit the canal. Plan was to cross the Pacific to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand , secure the boat and then make myself available for work.  The email came last week regarding the job in Brasil. So it looks like this old gal will be stored here @ Red Frog Marina in the Bocas Archipelago for a time.  Have done some more research regarding sailing her to Buzios, Brasil and more and more it is looking doable. If the results of the meetings in Macae' are good and I do go to work there I will be sailing Dances with Dragons to Brasil in segments when I get the time off.

Buzios is about a 45 minute drive from Macae' which is where my office and yard would be.  I could Live on the boat and make that drive to work. On days off I could do some sailing. (When I wasn't working on her that is! ) I have been to Buzios many times and have thought it would be a nice place to retire to.  It does swell up population wize with a lot of tourists though during the hollidays.  Not so cool with that but when they are not there it is a laid back wonderful place with beautiful clear blue water. The people are "tranquillo".

30 March 2012--It appears the travel arrangements to Brasil are all set. Bocas Del Toro is a nice place but is just hard to get in and out of. It is an adventure.

Suiting up to go back to work makes me feel like an old retired gladiator suiting up to go back in to the arena to face the lions, tigers and other wild beasts again after being retired for a few years.  Harder for someone that was totally burnt out with it when they retired and have spent a couple years totally unplugged from stress. Will manage it some kinda way.

I am currently @ a hotel on beautiful praia Cavaliere in Macae´and will fly to Salvadore monday to go to work for a few days.  Been taking walks on the beach for some exercise and noticed that the Brasilian people are probably the most active people when it comes to physical fitness. EVERYONE, young, old, male, female, everyone, is walking, running, doing push ups, etc to stay fit.   We should follow their lead in the USA. Enough "bantor".

30 April-Finished the project in Catu', Brasil and flew to Houston on the 21st. Spent some good quality time with my Family. My seven Grandkids think their "Captain", not Grandpa, Grand Daddy, Paw Paw, is the coolest.  (I think they are the coolest too.)

Met with the other owner of the company I have signed on with and was outfitted with a computer and Blackberry for work.  Looks like I am completely in tune with this "going back to work" bit.  Have fully accepted it and actually feel excited about it.  No,,,,really, I am. Several people around the office told me "You will enjoy working for this company, they are good to work for."  Now how many companies' employees talk like that? It was encouraging.

Going to a meeting today with the company we are considering forming an "alliance" with in Brasil and that will determine where I will be going to work.  It will either be Brasil, Indonesia or Dubai.  Would prefer Brasil but in the oil industry we can't pick and choose, we go where we are directed to go.  (And trust me, those dinosaurs died in some very nasty places around the globe).

Hope to be on a flight tomorrow morning bound for Panama. I miss the boat. Can't wait to put the new 135% genoa on and take her out to see what kind of speeds she will post.

Don't know how long I will be on the boat before I am directed to go to work.  Doesn't matter.

6 April 2012-My friend Al on S/V Diversion from TEXAS and I put the new 135% on yesterday. Will take her out as soon as I can and see how much faster she will go.

Was that a "super sized" moon last nite or what?? Had intended to take a nap last evening til about midnight and then walk down to the beach to see if I could see any leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs but I didn't set an alarm and slept till 0430. Missed it.

Last word I got regarding work is the assignment in Brasil may be put off for a time and could go to Dubai to do a project first.  Will know in a few days. In the meantime I intend to do some sailing around the archipelago, relax, be tranquillo. Soon I will be "24/7" again plugged back in to the grind.

19 June 2012-Well shucks, looks like work is put off til @ least 3 Aug. The company I signed on with said I was free til then.

Was pleasantly surprised when Nancy told me she would come down and sail around the Caribbean with me this summer. She arrived about a week ago and we have been getting the boat ready to go and seeing some of the Archipelago. Al N Beth on Diversion and Jules N Jon on Ocean Mandalay and Nancy N Me on Dances With Dragons will be leaving Bocas Del Toro in a couple days bound for Bluefields, then Escudo De Veraguas, then Rio Chagres, then Portobelo, then Linton, then the Guna Yala Archipelago, then Cholon, Colombia, then Santa Marta, Colombia.

We all met @ the Rip Tide bar and Grill yesterday with our charts and guides for a "Fleet meeting", a meal and a beer and we didn't resemble mature adults much. We were all giddy like teenagers excited about this adventure.  It will be great fun, Great friends, great sailing, great sights to see.

Nancy and I will check out of Red Frog Marina this morning and sail over to Bocas Town and put the hook on the ground. We will do some last minute provisioning and clear out when Diversion gets fueled up. Jon N Jules are getting a compressor installed for their refridgeration, the beer HAS to be cold!, and we should be sailing away by Thurs morning.

 June and July, 2012

We started the sailing adventure with a sail to Rona Azul for a Sunday afternoon cruisers get together.   We caught up with some friends we met in Cartagena in 2010, as well as ex-pats from Kemah.  Dave Green and others jammed and we enjoyed the music and company.  We sailed back to Red Frog and spent a few days exploring the area.  Los Secretos has phenomenal views and Red Frog Beach is a beautiful Caribbean beach and surf.  We walked a different path around Red Frog and Pica, the dog on Ocean Mandalay found a sloth climbing the tree to get away from us.  

 On June 23, we left Bocas Del Toro along with Diversion and Ocean Mandalay for the Bluefields.  The Bluefields are a group of islands close to the mainland that are quiet and lush.  We were greeted by the natives as we anchored in the Bluefields Bay. The following morning we were to leave only we had drifted up on a high point and were hard aground.  High tide wasn't until 3 that afternoon.  Flexibility is always good to maintain while Jules and I dinghied ashore and took Pica for a walk on the beach.  The road from the bay to the Caribbean Sea was paved and took us uphill and down around chickens, cows and other dogs to the beach.  At high tide we drifted off the sandbar and reanchored at the mouth of the Bluefields for an early departure the next day.

 We arrived at the island, Escueda de Veraguas.  What a beautiful island!  The beaches are small inlets with many turtle nests that should start hatching at the end of August and on through September.  We snorkled around the reefs and dinghied around the small islands surrounding the main island in the protected waters.  The inlets had ferns growing on the sides of the land and trees with branches dipping down to the water.  We stayed two nights in this beautiful paradise.

Our next passage was an overnighter to the Rio Chagres.  The Rio Chagres is the river that is dammed to form Gatun Lake for transiting the Panama Canal.  As usual, a storm hit around 4 in the morning and we shortened sail and motored through the rain.  It cleared up just as we approached the entrance to the Rio Chagres so we were able to manuever through the reefs and head to the dam.  The river is about 50 feet deep and 40 feet wide with tropical plants thick on the banks.  The trees reach heights of 50 - 100 feet above the river.  Holler monkeys cried out welcomes to our intrusion into their jungle.  I was hoping to see a jaguar and crocodile, but did not along the banks.  We anchored in sight of the dam and the next morning we did see a crocodile gliding in the water behind us. 

We left the next morning with Portobelo as our destination.  We stopped at Shelter Bay Marina to refuel and enjoyed a good lunch at the restaurant.  It was fun sailing up the channel to the Panama Canal seeing all the ships anchored and ready to transit the canal when it became their turn.  Shelter Bay Marina is located to the right of the entrance.  I got to visit with a friend we met in the San Blas two years ago.  We left Shelter Bay about 3:30 and arrived in Portobelo at 7:07. 

In 2010, we explored Portobelo from the land only...DWD was moored in Panamarina.  The anchorage has become very popular in the last two years and was almost full.  We explored a couple of forts we had not across the bay that had spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea and the opening to the bay.  We dinghied up the rivers to the East of the bay and enjoyed the lush green of the foliage along the banks, the smell of sweet flowers, and butterflies, birds and cows along the banks.  We enjoyed a couple of evenings at Captain Jack's.

July 2 we left Portobelo for Isla Linton.  As we got the anchor down and started to relax two very good friends we met in the San Blas pulled up in their dinghy so we hopped aboard and caught up over pizza, beer and wine.  Rain set in for the next few days so we stayed aboard and enjoyed just relaxing at anchor.  We revisited Han's restaurant with Al, Beth, Jules and Jon and feasted on a Caribbean meal. 

 July 7 we left for Green Turtle Bay.  Green Turtle Bay marina is fairly new with views of the Caribbean from both side of the inlet.  We did a quick run into town for a few provisions and refueled and filled the water tanks.  The next morning we left for the San Blas islands and arrived in Chichime in the late afternoon. 

We anchored off Chichime for two nights and snorkled a lot during the day.  We dinghied to a small island and just walked around.  It's been said that if you walk the island it is yours...NOT!..but still fun.   A lot has changed in the San Blas islands since I was there 2 years ago.  Officially they are now the Guna Yala islands.  There are more Guna families on the outer islands than before. 

 We sailed to Porvenir and checked into the islands and then proceeded to the West Lemmons.  What was an area filled with cruisers and parties on the beach...see our pictures from now a deserted anchorage with boats being stored while their owners are away.  There is still a bar on shore and ready to sell beer and wine to the few cruisers who are there.  The Guna officials came to the boats the next day wanting each boat to pay another $20 for anchoring in the area, and one could be charged at each anchorage throughout the islands.  Before we paid for a $29 cruising permit that allowed us to anchor throughout all the islands.  This is on top of paying almost $200 to cruise in Panama for a year.  The islands do not have as many cruisers as they once did and this could very well be the reason.  They are still beautiful with fantastic snorkeling but the Guna Yalas are making it unaffordable to enjoy them.  So we left for Porvenir July 12 to check out of the country and make our way to Colombia.   DWD and crew checked out and headed to the "Swimming Pool" in the Holandes Cay for our last 48 hours in Panama.  The Swimming Pool is still as clear as can see clearly down 20 feet, hence the name the Swimming Pool.  Our buddy boats chose to stay there another week so the fleet broke apart. 

 We did an beautiful starlit overnight passage to Cholon Bay, Colombia.  The passage was uneventful...I decided I need to be off watch by 4:30 when usually all hell breaks loose.  It worked, it was calm!  We were greeted by Robert from Crow's Nest as we pulled into Cholon Bay.  The other 4 boats that were here are being stored and watched by Robert for the summer.  Robert, Carmen, Johnnie, Wayne and I enjoyed a reunion on Manatee that evening and the next day we hiked up to Crow's Nest to visit with Robert. 

We spent a week in Cholon Bay and the rest of the fleet joined us.  It was great to be back with our buddy boats and we had a surprise for them!  During the week and our visits with Robert we learned that the beautiful 58' Camper Nicholson ketch-rigged boat that was anchored here for more than a year was for sale.  Wayne is now the proud owner of a 1985 58' Camper Nicholson with a pilot house, electric winches, haudraulic roller furling sails, a huge Captain's quarters, 2 crew quarters, a one-person V-berth, 3 heads, 2 having bathtubs, huge galley, main salon and nav station.  It has a  165 HP Mercedes Benz engine and 15 KW Westerbeke generator.  It is a boat that will take him in comfort and style around the world. 

 By-the-way, Dances With Dragons is now  SERIOUSLY FOR SALE!, if you are seriously considering buying a cruising boat this is the boat for you. You just have to pick up the anchor and GO!

We spent a few days in Cartagena so Wayne could complete the paperwork on the boat.  During that time, I went with Al, Beth, Jon and Jules to a "volcano" 45 minutes outside of Cartagena.  The tour stated we would go to the volcano, enjoy a mud bath, a dip in the springs to wash off and a trip to a beach that included lunch.  It was a unique experience.  The volcano is the mud is about 35 feet high and about 30 people are crowded into it.  You sink into the mud and the villagers cover you with it.  It seems bottomless and right side up you do not touch the bottom, instead you are floating chest high.  As you step out, another villager wipes as much mud off you as possible and then you head down the steps to the lake where ladies rinse you off.  Our skin did feel softer afterwards and we had to have all the toxin withdrawn from our bodies.  At the beach we had lunch, swam and had massages.  It was a unique day of pampering!  That evening we got together for a champagne toast and dinner to Wayne's new boat. 

Wayne and I sailed back to Cholon Bay the next day and have spent the past few days cleaning, working on the engines and learning the systems on the boat.  It needs a complete new house bank set of batteries so that will be on order for next week after I am gone.  I leave Friday for Houston.  It has been a wonderful summer.  I do so love cruising and being here. 

 13 Aug 2012-Well heck, Blondie has been gone ten days. I know I have lost @ least ten pounds as my boxer shorts are falling down around my knees, the laundry basket is stuffed full of dirty clothes and the sink is full of dirty dishes. I miss that Girl so much!!

No, seriously, we HAD OURSELVES A TIME!!  I am so glad she came down to spend her summer off with me sailing around the southwestern side of the Caribbean. I will always remember this summer with her. She is a great sailor and companion. I sleep really well while underway and she is @ the helm. Lot of trust in her.

Where to start....this new boat Nancy described is KILLIN MEE! I have been putting in 10 and 12 hour days on her trying to learn all the systems and do some repair work. Thought I got her for a good price but the cost of getting her ready for the wild open ocean is climbing.  Trying to do all the work myself but on some of it I have to call in the pros. (I was a steel erector/derrick builder in my working Life, NOT an electrician/diesel mechanic/shipwright.) Am a bit overwhelmed by some of this stuff. I am having to study the manuals for all the systems and a lot of what is written about them goes quickly over my head. I read it and re read it and tinker with it and it finally comes in to view for me.   Sometimes....

I am hoping that I can get both boats back to Panama' before I am called to work. Would not like to leave the boats here while I am off working for who knows how long. I am working on the windlass @ this time, something that absolutely HAS to work before I up anchor and sail to Panama'.  I HAVE to be able to get the anchor down quickly in case of a problem.

The specs indicated the draft was 6' 5" on all the documentation I was provided with whilst considering purchasing this old Girl. I dove down to check out the hull, prop, bow thruster and when I looked @ the keel I went in to shock. I swam to the surface and said, "Nancy, didn't the specs say 6' 5"???  She said "Yes my CAPTAIN".  I said "It is closer to 9'!!"

I was right. I found a "History/Records" folder in the nav station yesterday that has a "Builder's Certificate" in it that states the draft is 8' 6"!  

(She didn't really say "Yes my CAPTAIN", I just like to think she would. I mean,,,I AM the CAPTAIN!!! )

So, what it means is I will be going aground a little sooner that I did on Dances With Dragons which has a 6' draft.

I am getting a little discouraged about the fact I may not be transiting the canal and starting across the Pacific in February. (That is if I am not called to go to work.) There is so much wrong with this Girl that it may be another year before I can go. It just keeps getting put back. Soon I will be too darn old to do it.  Never mind, never too old. I am still bullet proof. Could do it @ 80 no doubt.

Enough banter for now, doesn't Nancy write well??, she IS a school teacher after all, I have to hit my rack and get some rest so I can put in a good day tomorrow on this new boat.  (I just imagined being a little mouse looking @ a 3 stories tall elephant wondering how the heck I am going to eat him. That is how it is for me facing all I have to accomplish on this boat before I can sail her around the world....A little mouse all by himself wanting to eat a 3 stories tall elephant.)    good nite, gotta go dream of eating elephants, I'm done.

911-- I hope everyone in our Country is feeling the same pain that I am today. I also hope they all tell their Children and Grandchildren from now on as long as there is a USA of that day and who it was that attacked us.  We can never forget that day and we should never let our Liberal Government move us to forgiving. 

Will sail over to Cartagena tomorrow morning and hand the windlass over to Elvis the mechanic. He is famous for his knowledge, good work and great personality. He has worked on Dances with Dragons in the past and did an excellent job.

Will do some provisioning as there are no stores in Cholon, get laundry done and hopefully get to work on the windlass some with Elvis' group.

Have had a couple of fellahs, Shotgun Johnny and Patricio on board sanding the old varnish off the toe rail. They will start putting the new varnish on when I get back from Cartagena.  She is going to be a "well maintained sailing yacht" soon.  All she needs is a little time and all the systems will be a "GO".  Elvis called yesterday and said the shop has indicated the bow thruster motor is good and can be repaired. That was some good news.  Now, if  Sven, the electronic guru in Cartagena, can come through and fix the two vhf radios and the SSB I will be laughing.  I need for him to take a look @ the auto helm as well. Was struck by lightning a couple weeks ago and it knocked all this stuff out.  Hope some of the components can be replaced and it all works.  Could have to buy all new. Will see soon enough.

14 Sep 12--Still in Cartagena. Good news is the 110 amp balmar alternator for the drive engine on Dances With Dragons has been reconditioned and is putting out the amps again and not making that screeching noise when it begins to charge.

***The windlass is fixt!! Elvis and his assistant did a great job in figuring out why it was locked up and wouldn't allow the anchor chain to free wheel. All I have to do now is get it back to Cholon to Wind Shear, re install it, install the new control box and up/down switches without shorting anything out and I believe I will be back in business. After my friends finish with varnishing the toe rail I will sail Wind Shear to Cartagena to get a little blemish that the previous owner put on the port side fixed. (There is a fellow named Rangel here that does an excellent job of matching the paint in areas where he has to repair. Saw on Ocean Mandalay a couple weeks ago where he did some repair work where two of their cleats were ripped out during a storm. You can't tell there was ever a problem. It looks like it came from the factory.) Will also get him to remove the name from the boat so it will be prepared for the new name. New name??  How bout S/V Dragon Slayer One  ???    Would appreciate any comments/suggestions regarding the renaming of this boat. (Keep in mind that I am a Dragon Slayer and make your suggestion with that as the "theme".) This is assuming there is someone out there reading all this banter. 

Have never "counted on" or absolutely "banked on" anything that I truly wanted until I worked for it and had possession of it. That has always been my "way" and why a boy like me, with all the birthdays I have had would do such a thing now is strange.  What in the World was I thinking?  Best to stick with the "known".  Will not ever happen again. Hearts can not be trusted to guide.

The bow thruster motor will be ready to pick up next Wed or Thurs and the fellow @ the shop allows it will be like new.  ($500 US is what it will cost but that is better than buying a new one.)

I have all the new parts for the water maker on board and will check that out before I leave Cholon on Windshear to return to Cartagena.  (The water in Cholon Bay is suitable to make water with but the water in Cartagena harbor is not, too much industrial waste has been dumped in to it over the years and is continuing to be dumped in to it.  Not a good anchorage, the water is really tough on the hull and your anchor rode, the holding is not good, boats always up anchor and drag during little blows we have here. The City itself is great. Lots of history here and the folks are muy amable. It is a good place to get work done on the boat as well.)

@ the rate things are being fixed I just may be able to transit the canal and get started across the Pacific in January/February.  Will hopefully have a lot of sea miles behind me on Wind Shear before then as I will be doing it solo and will have to be comfortable with single handing a 58', 54,000 # boat.  (If the bow thruster is working I believe I'll have it on the hip.) 

17 Sep 12-The anchor windlass is FIXT!! Have to say I was worried and didn't really want to flip the switch to function test it. Had visions of the new control box bursting in to flames and having to grab the fire extinguisher. But,,she makes the anchor chain go UP and she makes it go DOWN and she will make it FREEWHEEL like she is supposed to as well. Thanks to Elvis and Jorge in Cartagena for coming up with the fix, or "fixes" that is as there were multiple failures going on. I was just the mechanic's helper. 

This morning I will tidy up the electrical wires leading from the up/down switches to the control box and then start rebuilding the water maker. Have all the new seals, bearings and impeller for it and the feed pump motor has been reconditioned. Hopefully will have that on the hip today. Will know if I have to buy two new membranes by sundown. 

Shotgun Johnny and Patricio, two fellahs from Baru are putting 11 coats of varnish on the toe rail. They stripped all the old varnish off and have put three new coats back on. It looks great.  Good fellahs Johnny and Patricio and they do good work.

When the 11th coat of varnish is put on I will up anchor, sail Wind Shear to Cartagena and get Sven to deal with all the things the lightning strike destroyed, auto helm, SSB radio, Nav station and cockpit VHF radios.

18 Sep 12- It is 0016, can't sleep, big storm kept me on anchor watch until midnight and now all I can manage to do is lie in this rack and think about all the things I want to do with this boat. (Issues to deal with but mostly about all the sailing on Mother Ocean I intend to do with her.)  

Two more days of varnishing and the fellahs will  have the toe rail finished. It is looking great with 5 coats. While waiting for each coat to dry they are polishing the stainless on Dances With Dragons.

I think a coffee would be nice.  Yes, 0026, time for coffee. Wind is getting up again. 

19 Sep 12-The batteries on DWD aren't fried after all. Will take the 110 Balmar back to the shop in Cartagena for them to check out. It may be the regulator is malfunctioning. Replaced all the battery cables that go from the starting batts to the engines yesterday. The old ones were of poor quality when they were new and they were @ the point where they were making poor contact. Engines start right away now. Me, "MECHANICO!"

Reassembled   the feed pump for the water maker and will install it today. Hopefully the membranes won't have to be replaced.

Weatherman is forecasting a good varnishing day.

Looking forward to getting this new Girl to a point where I can relax some, go to the beach, sleep late if I want to, hang out. You know, like a retired guy! 

20 Sep 12-Well heck, the work I did on the feed pump for the water maker and the overhaul of the electric motor for it was good but something is making a fuse pop when I crack the unit off.  I will put Sven, the Germanic electronic genius in Cartagena, on it when I sail over there monday. He is going to have a lot to do on Wind shear. Positive thing on the water pump issue is I now know the pump and motor are good to go. I am thinking the membranes are so clogged with organic growth that the pump can't press the salt water through  them fast enough and the fuse blows to safeguard them.

The varnish work is done on the toerail! The guys did a great job. Wish I knew how to put pictures of it on this website. There are 11 coats on the strbd side and 12 coats on the port side.  Just HOW did that happen reckon???  I asked them and they said something about lunchtime caught them one day and they were only half way done and so on.  Its ok, both sides look the same.

Tomorrow we will get the anchor up,  move DWD over closer to Manatee for security and take Wind Shear for a little test run. Been looking forward to getting the anchor aboard and doing this.  Would like to get her out of Cholon Bay and well offshore so we can get some sail up and see how she runs.

Things are coming together.  Still looking @ Jan/Feb to slip thru the canal and get started. Depends on what Sven can do for me this coming week.

22 Sep 12- My Wonderful Daughter's Birthday! I hope Adam and the two boys gave her a really good Birthday. I am sure they did.

Today I went in to the engine room to see why the drive engine went to 200 degrees F during the little sea trial I put on her yesterday. Found the reason,,,the raw water pump is toast. Lucky the belt didn't go to pieces and make the other three belts break. Can't take Wind Shear to Cartagena Monday as planned, I have to get the pump overhauled or get my hands on a new pump.

Will sail Dances with Dragons over there and pick up the bow thruster motor, hand the raw water pump off to Elvis, have the alternator shop take a look @ the alternator they reconditioned for me and see what is wrong with it.

Last nite I decided I was tired of having pepper jack cheese, half an onion and a couple Colombian Club beers for supper every evening and decided to try and cook something.Since Nancy left 3 Aug I have to admit I haven't been eating well. Been working a lot of hours in the heat on my new boat and haven't felt like eating.

Opened the cabinet where Nancy had put all the items she used when cooking
and found a packet of Ramen Noodles, actually it was me that put that in the cart,
Found a can of "Cream of Chicken" with a little sign on it that read "Great for cooking", well great,
I'm COOKING, so I got it. Then I saw a packet of sun dried tomatoes and remembered liking them on pizza and other dishes. Gotem. Then I saw a can of turkey Vienna sausages and got them, I think it was me that put that in the cart as well.  Already had the Cavender's Greek Seasoning,  Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning, the Amazon crushed pizza peppers, the jalapenos, oregano leaves and Ron's KILLER pepper powder in the galley so off I went to "create" my masterpiece.
Best to dice the sun dried tomatoes up in tiny pieces and put the jalapenos in kinda late in the game so the flavor isn't cooked out of em.
I have some left over and will have it for lunch today.  It tastes great, and probly healthy as well!!!
Good luck with trying to duplicate what I have created.
Getting a little annoyed with day after day finding more and more issues with this boat. Ready for a win or two. Just a little something Lord....HEP A BROTHAH!!! Please!!!  
30 Sep 12-Now see, praying does help. Sven, Cartagena's electronic, Germanic Guru came aboard yesterday and we fixt the autohelm. Well, he fixt it and I was his helper, I held the droplight for him and handed him tools. There were multiple failures with it and each time he came to a problem he would just trudge on and sort it out. He is amazing. He took the SSB radio, its tuner and a black box that has some function or other to his lab to try and get it back on line for me.  He offers that both house VHF radios are toast and I have to buy new ones.  Terrific.  
Johnny, from Baru is aboard Dances With Dragons @ nite for security and on Wind Shear during the day doing odd jobs. Right now he is sanding and varnishing the hand holds on the port and strbd sides of the pilot house.  He is also polishing stainless in between coats of varnish.  He is a good, honest hand and I would recommend him to work for anyone. Has a wide range of experience.
The shop that has the bow thruster motor is way past due and I am afraid they didn't have any luck with fixing it. They keep telling Elvis they are still "function testing it". 
4 Oct 12-Romney won the debate!!  The bow thruster motor is fixed. Elvis is taking it to his shop today to paint it white. The electrical shop had painted it Green.  The compartment it goes in is white, Elvis doesn't like green. I just want the motor bolted to the mounting bracket and functioning.  Should have it back tomorrow. Elvis wants me to take up a slip @ Club Nautico marina so he will have power to modify the teeth on the flywheel. Will up anchor and move the boat over there Sat.  Will take windlass back up and take the motor out of it so we can go find a new one.  
Changed the oil, fuel filters yesterday in the drive engine getting her ready for the sail to Shelter Bay. Hope to be leaving here within a week or two.  Have already fueled up enough to make the run.
Will get a refrigeration guy on board to check out the freezer, refrigerator and air conditioners to make sure they have enough freon in the lines before I take off. Figure I can run the genset twice a day for about an hour to keep everything cool while under way.
Starting to get a little more comfortable with the boat now that things are coming together.  Looking forward to sailing her to Shelter Bay. It is only about two nights @ sea. Will get her in a slip and then fly back to Cartagena and sail Dances With Dragons to Red Frog marina in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. After storm season will sail her to TEXAS if she hasn't sold by then.  
6 Oct 12--Serviced the drive engine and the genset yesterday and far as I can tell they are ready for the passage to Panama'.  Another week or possibly two and I should be on my way to Shelter Bay. May have mentioned I have a friend who is a boat broker in Kemah that will surely get her sold for me.
Shotgun Johnny has the boat looking new. He has washed and polished the boat,the stainless, done some sanding and varnishing and I am "accepting" her more each day. Everytime I come up out of the belly of the beast and look around there is noticeable improvement.
Today the bow thruster motor is supposed to be coming back aboard.  My "short game" isn't the best so it would certainly be a big help if the bow thruster is functioning. Dances With Dragons is 16' shorter than this boat and doesn't catch nearly as much wind and in a tight fairway in a marina the current and wind can give me heck trying to keep off the slipped boats and get her parked.  I can only imagine how this Girl will handle without a bow thruster in those conditions.  Power boats with two engines, two rudders have no problem maneuvering.  
11 Oct 12-It is 2311 hours on deck, a tropical downpour woke me up in a wet rack that was getting wetter by the second. Up I sprang and closed all the hatches, this boat has lots of them.  Decided to take the computer up to the cockpit to log on and see if there was any new news regarding my Mother's condition. She fell two days ago and broke her nose and both wrists.  She is home now and all say she is doing well.
Came up with a new name for this boat!  "S/V ENGLISH TART" !! Howz that?  I was in the engine room trying to find out how air entered the fuel system's lines or filters and I bumped my head and said "English tart"!  The English refer to a Girl that breaks a boy's heart repeatedly as a "tart".  That is what this new boat does to me with all the faults I keep finding with her.  She was designed and manufactured in England so thus the "proposed" name for her. (Did fix the air induction problem, it was a little wrinkle in a filter's o-ring allowing air to enter the system.)
(All of it is coming together now though, have come a long way in getting her where she needs to be. It has just been a bit overwhelming as there were so many problems.)
 Bow thruster  motor is back in place and is functioning!! Had to run a cable from the 24 volt starter batteries to it to function test it as the house bank is fried but when I hit the button it churned up water ferociously as I pushed the port and strbd buttons. Moves the boat real well.  Now I just need to get the new batteries in place. Will buy them in Panama' as there are no deep cycle batteries in Colombia. No,,,really, none.
The refrigeration man came out to the boat to function test the freezer, the fridge and the two air conditioners and fried something, probably the regulator, in the genset so now I have an electrician coming out to try to remedy THAT so the fridge guy can continue his troubleshooting.  Ha!!  Heck it is just money! 
HOLLOWEEN DAY-BOO!  Am all cleared out of Cartagena and will splash Dances With Dragons in the morning and do a motorboat ride to Bocas. 405 miles of motoring is what shows.   Sailed Windshear to Bocas last week and flew back to Cartagena to get DWD.  Will be trying hard to sell her in Bocas and as I mentioned if she hasn´t sold by the end of storm season I will sail her up to Galveston Bay and turn her over to my friend Don Marullo with Higgins/Smythe/Hood. Should be able to find a home for her up there.  Have to go finish clearing out and provisioning. 
10 Nov 2012  MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY.  The Marine Corps was born in Tun's Tavern in Philadelphia on this day in 1775.  It is my belief that this group is most responsible over the last 200 plus years for keeping us free.  It played a part in making us free in the first place.  So hug a Marine today. You don't have to say thank you, a hug will do.
11 Nov 2012   Been so busy I haven't thought to mention my crew member. Her name is Linsey, born in England and at age 16 moved to Australia and is 26 now. She is great crew, she sailed from Cartagena to bocas with me a couple weeks ago and is staying on the boat until she hitches a ride on a sailboat bound for the guna yala islands. She is taking some time off from work to back pack around central and south america.
Great crew but the first morning out on our three day passage she tossed half of the coffee pot overboard when trying to throw the coffee grinds out.   She figured out a way to make coffee without it so I didn't make her walk the plank.  Of course I have a plank. She is a wonderful cook and she cleans the boat constantly....early on I told her she was brought aboard to wake me up during the passage if she saw any ships approaching us in the nite and she wasn't required to work so hard. Her answer to that was,  "no, its alright, I don't mind working, I have to earn my keep."
There was no talking her out of it so I just said  carry on.
Lost a lot of weight working on this boat to get her ready to sail out of colombia and Linsey has made it her mission in life to fatten me up.  I am eating really well three times a day.
My Mother is not well. I am looking for a weather window to sail to Galveston bay, TEXAS. Will park dances with dragons on Don and Jeremy's brokerage dock in kemah on clear lake and they will try to sell her for me. It is roughly 1,678 miles. It will be going to weather mostly. Mother ocean seems to be in the spanking mood this time of year for sailors wanting to head north.
Need to get my arms around my Momma for a bit. 
13 Nov 2012 Fueled up for the sail home to TEXAS today. The weather window that gave me yesterday has collapsed. Nay bother as I have come down with the crud it seems. Didn't even feel like going to happy hour this evening.  It appears I have time to recover from this allergy attack before the wind swings around to the east or east southeast. Wouldn't leave now if it were perfect conditions. Or maybe I would...... Linsey is making over me like Mother Theresa!!
What a wonderful child she is.  The whole marina has more or less adopted her. If I am honest I have to say that when she leaves it will be "A bad day at Black Rock". She is just a pleasure to have aboard.  We will probably always stay in touch by email. She has become one of those friends.
 19 Dec 2012-Made it to TEXAS. Have found my Mother doing well. She is "up" as always.
Fueled up at Bocas Marina fuel dock and it was a huge mistake. Had problems all the way to TEXAS. Had to resort to trying to clean spent filters in order to keep the engine lit while going through the jetties. Finally got one clean enough to run the engine for a time, killed the engine and altered course for Freeport. It was the same distance to the mark which was Galveston but ship traffic in and out of Freeport is a fraction of what Galveston's is plus the run through the jetties is much shorter. Had I sailed on to Galveston and found that conditions weren't good for sailing through the jetties, cracked the engine off and the racor filter clogged up killing the engine it could have been disastrous. Will drive down to Freeport, change the filters, polish the fuel, add new fuel and sail her on to Kemah to be sold.
Nancy met me in Freeport, helped me secure the boat and brought me to my Family in Conroe. We will go back to the boat to move her with first good weather window.
Just learned the new batteries for the new Dances With Dragons have arrived in Bocas. It will be good to get them installed and see how systems will work with a good battery bank.
26 Dec 2012-Had a great Christmas with my Family. Everyone is healthy and doing well. Santa Claus was good to everyone in the Family but me. He ate the cookies I left on the table for him, drank the milk and left me this cheezie little note detailing all the naughty things I did during the past twelve months and stating the reasons why he left nothing under the tree for me.  So, I suppose I should try a little harder........
Nah, heck, I'm 63, I DON'T NEED NO STINKIN TOYZ!!!! Rather be naughty.
Nancy and I drove back down to Freeport, changed the filters out, polished the heck out of the fuel and sailed to Watergate marina in Kemah. Dances With Dragons is now on the HSH, Higgins, Smythe and Hood brokerage dock to be sold.  Funny, as we were walking off the dock to drive up to see my Family I turned around to look at her and felt a little pain knowing I had just finished my last passage with her.  She has been the best friend and kept me safe in some mean water over the last 12 ye ars. And we have experienced "perfect sails" together as well. Way more perfect sails than "white knuckle, gut wrenching, miserable sails" for sure.
Going down to Kemah tomorrow to start cleaning her up so we can show her. Someone is going to get a reliable, safe blue water cruiser for a good price.  No matter how bad it ever got I was never concerned that she couldn't stand up to it and get me home. Will be a sad moment to see someone sail away with her. 
28 Dec 2012- ALWAYS, ALWAYS open the boat up and turn the fans on for maximum ventilation when using "Tilex", a product that is used to remove mold and mildew. It was a very cold and rainy day yesterday and  we couldn't open all the hatches and I really wanted to get the boat ready to show as there are several people contacting us and the broker wanting to take a look @ her. I almost killed myself!!  That stuff is lethal! If you see a skull and crossbones on the bottle, read it, adhere to it.
Going to the TEXAS Tech-Minnesota game tonight @ Reliant stadium. Go TEXAS  Tech.
I am enjoying getting to see my Family and Nancy but I am already ready to get back down to Panama' and get the new boat ready to sail to Port Aransas, TEXAS.  It will be a lot easier to get her ready for a circumnavigation there than it is in Bocas Del Toro.
Sorry, just have to get political for one last time,,,My take??  There are so many grasshoppers in our country now voting for the "free stuff" that us ants provide them with that they could run Pelosi, that Clinton woman, Hugo Chavez or Donald Duck for President in 2016 and win the Presidential election. Maybe even  Armahdinajahn or Reverend Jeremiah "God Damn Ameica" Wright  could win. Long as he promised the free stuff.
I quit, there is no more hope for our country. Will never write anything political again.
31 Dec 2012-Came home from school when I was a little boy with a new word I had learned. The word was "hate". My Mother sat me down and told me that if you  had "hate" in your heart you would be consumed.  I had to learn what "consumed" meant and she was absolutely right. I am a PATRIOT and I am consumed by the hate I have for what my Government is doing to my Country.  Last day of 2012 and this is the last word from me on all matters regarding what is going on in my Country. I can't change things and dwelling on it is consuming me.
 Have most of the parts/tools I need for the new Dances With Dragons. Will be on a plane bound for Bocas on the 16th to arrive the 17th.  Lot of work to do but I am looking forward to it.
Happy New Year. 












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