January 15, 2001 ~ January 31, 2001
January 29-31, 2001
We were up bright (actually NOT bright at all!) and early at 6am and were all ready to leave by 8! It was blowing pretty hard with 25 knot winds and 9-10+ foot seas but David said that it would be fine, since we were going downwind all the way!! We left Portobelo and were anchored in The Flats, the anchorage in the Panama Canal Zone for yachts in Colon/Cristobal, Panama by 12:30. We had quite an exciting trip (NO fish, unfortunately!) when we approached the breakwall with all the HUGE freighters, car carriers, and container ships anchored outside (I counted 22!!!)! It was quite a thrill to call on VHF 12 to Cristobal Station to tell them that we were a mile off the breakwater. We then had to notify them when we passed the breakwater and finally after we were anchored on The Flats! There is a definite excitement in the air (among other things!!!)!
We shared a taxi (the SAFE way to get around!) with *Zephyrus* and the four of us went to all the different offices in order to get checked in. While we were riding around, a yellow school bus with "Wolcott-North Rose District" passed by! We were so surprised. David's parent's cottage on Eagle Island, Sodus, New York is located there and his brother and uncle live in North Rose! I am sorry to keep repeating myself...but sometimes "it's a small world, after all!!! We were not able to complete all the places, since we didn't want to pay overtime. So we had to return the next morning, in between going to the Free (I definitely didn't see anything for free there!) Zone to Motta International. We purchased a keyboard, case of Heineken, and some sunglasses for David (remember, he lost his in the big wave!). The problem with the Free Zone is that you need to buy multiples (like thousands!) of each item and/or EACH store charges a $50 delivery charge, so by going together with other boats we were able to split the charges!
David and Eric spent the following morning (January 31) waiting for the delivery, which didn't arrive until after lunch! David and I had worked on getting mail together so that we could take it over to another cruiser who was heading back to the States, so we did accomplish something! Eric and David also went to try to weld a part that is connected to the mast and the boom, but unfortunately his equipment was out of commission until Monday. We did have quite a thrill seeing the HUGE cruise ship *Amsterdam* passing by!!! Some of the others had seen the QEII go by a week before we arrived. We have a steady stream of all sorts of ships going by in both directions. Usually they don't make a large wake, but the pilot boats do, so often we spend lots of time rocking and rolling! We also have LOTS of flies!!! UGH!!!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mom and Dad Ernisse! We are impressed with 58 years!
January 25-28, 2001
We were up at 5:15am and decided to leave in spite of the windy weather. We left Chichime Cays about 7am and were anchored in Portobelo about 2:30pm, which was a fast trip considering it took *Zephyrus* until 5:30pm when they came over the next day! However, it was a VERY rolly trip, but I took sturgeron and that helped and didn't make me quite so sleepy as the Bonine! We didn't catch any fish on the way over, so we enjoyed more of the frozen ono/wahoo for dinner!
Portobelo has quite a history, in fact we purchased a book, entitled "The Portobello Chronicles" written by Patricia McGehee. Pat with her husband, Dick, are cruisers like us from Kansas City who arrived in Portobelo about 20 years ago....and stayed. They were in the theatre in "real life" but they become enthralled by the history of Portobelo with its many forts, the resting place off shore of the Famous Pirate, Sir Francis Drake, the statue of The Black Christ in the church, and stories of gold and silver lining the streets! We hiked up and around several of the forts and visited the museum. We could have spent days there hiking and exploring...unfortunately, we did not have time to spare (...we always seem to be rushing and trying to catch up to "The Fleet.!") Besides its historical importance, Portobelo also holds the dubious distinction of having the greatest average yearly rainfall (240 inches) of any place on the North American continent! Since we wanted and needed the rain (to clean off the boat which was covered with salt and dirt and also to fill up our water tanks because Chichime was the last place to make water!), it did NOT rain while we were there!!!
We watched another movie while we were there, entitled "Escape Clause" which was a little too violent for our tastes; however, it definitely had an ending which none of us had figured out!!! Some of you might enjoy it!
*Athena* had just come through the canal and gave us all fourteen of their tires the night before we left. They are definitely appreciated, since they cost $3 each and we didn't have to go find them!
January 23-24, 2001
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jeannie!
This is our First Anniversary for setting out from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida!
We left Eastern Hollandes Cays about 10am and we anchored at Chichime Cays about noon after an incredibly beautiful sail!!! We thought that Chichime was THE prettiest place we have been so far! Indescribable...Hope that we have a picture for you! *Zephyrus,* *Lazy-Jack,* *Hildring,* *Cavu* from Denver,* *Capella,* and *Tranquility* were there also, and we were soon joined by *Steadfast,* *Sunbow,* and *Fair Hippolyta* (Trivia Question to see if you all are reading our website! Who was she?????). We swam way out to the reef here also, but got very shallow and we found ourselves having to walk...not fun with fins on! We did see many rays and lobsters!
We went in to visit with the villagers in the different family huts and purchased a few molas! The people were very friendly.We were VERY sorry to leave the beautiful Kuna people and their islands and their molas! Hopefully, someday we will return! We had lobsters for our last dinner there! I think that the highlight of the San Blas were the dolphins playing and swimming around our boats in the anchorage at Chichime!!!!
January 15- 22, 2001
We continued to enjoy the Eastern Hollandes and swam way out to the edge of the reef daily for about an hour or more! We have been so spoiled that the water is turning colder - it is 82 degrees! Sorry about that for all you New Englanders who are having a very COLD winter! We saw many sharks, rays and large fish, lobsters, and many small tiny reef fishes, perfect for your aquarium. I did a wash almost every night and changed all the beds ( it works quite well to hang them inside and they are mostly dry in the morning!) We also enjoy the incredibly awesome star filled sky...we used our special star program (Thank you, Rob Clarke!) to find the Southern Cross...we failed to see it because it was visible at 2am!!!
We did more socializing here than we have ever done! Plus there was an added bonus with Matrina, visiting her parents on their boat *Petina* from Sweden, and Laura on *Muna.* Someone for the boys to really relate to (they are getting VERY tired of us 39 year olds!!!:)...and girls, no less! Unfortunately, Matrina had to return to Sweden and begin her new job!
I did alot of cooking: making bread, muffins, and cookies! No bakeries around here! Plus trying to keep up with this website and our emails!
We did watch another movie entitled "Twilight" with Paul Newman and James Garner. Another very different movie, but definitely worth seeing!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! DAD BROOKS!!!! 84 and still going strong!:) on January 22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Pam on January 16, which was also my Mom's Birthday!!!
We heard of the oil spill in the Galapagos! We hope that it is ok when we arrive in February/March! I can't believe that they would EVER have an oil spill in that very special place!
*Soggy Paws,* *Camryka,* and *Homeward Bound* finally arrived from Green Island just in time to say "goodbye"...I like aloha better, not so final! We had another WONDERFUL get-together aboard *Soggy* since Stacey is now our official weather lady on the net every morning (she needed to be home to get her weather faxes!). We had a great time...in fact, I don't think that we have laughed that hard in a VERY long time!