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December 17, 2000 ~ December 31, 2000

December 31, 2000


The lightning last night was ABSOLUTELY terrifying!!!! Most of us spent the night counting - from flash to boom! Many times, the strike was very close, much too close for comfort in a sailboat, especially when you are the tallest mast in the anchorage! This is one of the advantages of an aluminum boat...so we don't have to put our computer and other electronics inside our stove!!!But I guess this weather is still preferable to the 42 degrees which we heard David's parents were experiencing in Southern Florida!

We did another load of wash (and took LONG showers, since we had all this free water which was overflowing our tanks!). I cleaned and worked on the magazine articles, while the guys worked on charts (to see if we had all we needed for our Pacific crossing to New Zealand and the weather faxes (weather faxes are transmitted by NOAA at certain times, on certain stations, covering certain areas, which we can download into our computer so that we are able to view our own weather! We will not always have Herb, David Jones, George and Alex, the wonderful weathermen who have helped us along our journey).

No swim tonight...again! We had decided with *Soggy Paws,* Camyrka,* and *Homeward Bound* that we would eat at home and then get together about 6:30 on HB to ring in the New Year at 7:00pm (midnight Greenwich Mean Time)!!! We old cruisers go to bed about 9 or 10, and couldn't possibly stay up to midnight to celebrate!!! :) All of the ladies (We are all Sea Sisters: Members of Women Aboard!) were all thinking alike....CHOCOLATE!!!!...We had two different brownies and chocolate brownie pie, pistachios, plus Irish cream and champagne! We even had champagne glasses decorated with shells from Stacey and Dave's wedding two years ago!!! What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year, 2001, and many say the Real Millenium!!!

December 30, 2000

It was STILL rainy, and for the past three days and especially nights, it has been lightning! We have NEVER experienced a thunder and lightning storm where it continued for days and nights! We must admit that we were wondering if the rains were going to last for forty days and forty nights! The anchorage was now a MUDDY BROWN and smelled like we were anchored in a mud pile! We were also thinking of the Kunas in their villages! We heard later that many of the water supply pipes from the mainland were damaged, so they did come asking for water and they were still hauling water from Rio Diablo when we went up the river. The entire day was very dark, reminded us of the storms we experienced while we were in Clear Lake, Houston, Texas in 1986!!

Since we had so much water, we did two loads of wash, but they took forever and a day to dry! We also all went out and really cleaned off the topsides while it continued to rain. Because of all the lightning, we were afraid to use the computer. My big project was looking through all our sailing magazines and filing the articles!

December 29, 2000

Another rainy day and we completely filled our water tanks to the brim (Remember, just a couple of days ago we were OUT!!!) I made cookies, cleaned, and worked on our First Aid Kit to carry with us on little excursions (See, we do learn from our past experiences!!!). David and Eric worked on getting weather faxes. We enjoyed the movie "Fools Rush In" which is a very very funny romantic comedy! We highly recommend it!

December 28, 2000

Thursday was a very rainy day all day, perfect day to sew all day! We made side curtains for the bimini top and a cover for the dashboard and the instrument panel to protect them and us from the intense tropical sun! We were able to gather alot of water (after the rains cleaned off our really dirty and salty decks!), so we were actually very thankful for the rain. Eric did an oil change and changed the filter on the water maker.

We were not able to have our nightly swim around the boat, but we thoroughly enjoyed a delicious dinner of tuna (black or blue fin) with wasabi sauce (which Julie brought us in Grenada!). Absolutely delicious!!! The oceans do provide us with a generous bounty and we are thankful!

My Dad had quite a long airplane trip with delays today while he was returning home to Cincinnati from visiting my brother, Peter and his family in Philadephia for the holidays. They all reported absolutely bitter bitter cold temperatures. Guess we should not be complaining about the rain, with temperatures in the high 70's! We will try to send some warm air that direction!

December 27, 2000

Another cloudy sprinkling day! Stacey on *Soggy Paws* was concerned that she had mumps or an infected salivary gland (which it turned out to be after taking Cipro and the swelling and pain went away!). Eric is still not feeling well, not even well enough to go to *Homeward Bound* at 5pm to see their boat. For those of you from Cincinnati, Richard and Barb are celebrities there!!! They were on Channel 12 News on December 14, 1994 when they launched *Homeward Bound* in the Ohio River! They built her (Plans similar to Joshua Slocum's *Spray*) in Richard's back yard in Mt. Washington, which is a suburb of Cincinnati. We were duly impressed! They took her down the waterways (NOT the Mississippi) to Louisiana and then across to Florida.

The guys continued working with the water pump, while I worked on my inventory to start figuring out how to purchase and stow everything in Panama which I will need for the next 6-9 months until we reach New Zealand at the end of October. (I guess I never did report to all my fans....I did finish it!!! but I have to keep updating it....daily!!! and of course, the guys don't keep their part accurate at all!!!)

We swam around the boat about 20 times, which gives us some good exercise. We need to try to do something every day, such as walking or swimming. I need to start lifting weights again, which I haven't done since we left Omiko! Jason gets his workout in almost every other day! He is starting to look really buff! When we are on long passages we all need to start doing the 12 minute Body Workout!

December 26, 2000

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD ERNISSE!!! We hope that you have a wonderful day! We wish we were still there to celebrate and eat cake and ice cream with you!

HAPPY BOXING DAY!! for all you British readers! We were educated that it is the day when the gentry gave gifts (boxed up, I presume) to their servants, tradespeople, etc. It is declared a legal holiday!

We are having to get up at 6:15am in order to TRY to hear George for weather. Then 6:30 for Alex's weather, 7:15 am for Safety and Security Net with Melodye, David Jones for weather at 7:30 (also getting very hard to copy), 7:50am was the Cartegena Net (which is now disbanded since most boats have made that crossing), 8:30 is the Panama Net and then 9:00 is Northwest Caribbean Net. We could stay on the SSB radio all day with nets, emailing, and weather faxes! We are also able to listen to NPR (Armed Forces Radio) or BBC to obtain national news.

We finished all our letters and administration work and ran them over to *Cherokee* before they left for Green Island, so that Russell could mail them for us after he returned to the States. It was a good thing, because with the storm that came through we STILL haven't caught up with them! . I continued with administration work, with balancing check books etc., which I had not finished while we were in Florida and also sorted out all our LISTS to do (which seem to multiply exponentially!!!).

We snorkeled (in the rain!) for about an hour in a nice lagoon after lunch with *Homeward Bound* and *Soggy Paws,* since "The Fleet" had moved on to Green Island. Eric didn't go with us since he wasn't feeling well (which is very unusual for him). He was well enough to enjoy a delicious HUGE lobster which we purchased from the Kunas. One fed all four of us! It cost about $12.

The weather was beginning to deteriorate and we had winds up to 25 knots during the night, which made it slightly rolly, since we were the furtherest one out in the anchorage. The other three boats moved in, when the other boats left.

December 25, 2000


We opened presents (actually, envelopes!) in our stockings....which took a few minutes! Mom E had given us each one, and Dad B had given the boys something. Very different from previous years when we have had probably way too many presents!!! This way of life is hopefully helping us to place a different value on the important items of life!

We went snorkeling with *Soggy Paws,* *Homeward Bound,* *Cherokee,* *LaBoatique,* and *Bow Bells,* for about an hour, even though it was getting cloudy and sprinkling slightly. The guys worked on the refrigeration (AGAIN!), while I made yamis, brownies, crab salad, and peas/mushrooms. We went over to *Cherokee* for Christmas Dinner at 3:30. We didn't get home until 7:30!! We had a wonderful get-together with delicious food!

The guys worked on the water pump (again) and FINALLY realized that the gauges were NOT accurate. We wrote thank you notes and a few letters, so that we could take them to Russell on *Cherokee* so that he could take them back to Houston and mail them. So, I told everyone that their mail was hand delivered by a JUDGE!!!

December 24, 2000


David and Eric worked on figuring out the water pressure pump, while I cleaned the boat, made brownies and crab salad in preparation to having everyone (21 people) aboard for Christmas Eve dinner!!! Everyone arrived about 4:30 after we swam 20 lengths around the boat! Everyone had a good time and stayed until about 8pm. *Peace and Aloha* is happiest when she is filled with joyous happy people, spreading peace on earth, goodwill towards men! Very nice Christmas present for all of us!! Love to all!

We enjoyed watching the stars, but didn't see the forecasted meteor shower! Everything is sooo clear! It is really amazing! So magnificent!

December 23, 2000

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAULA!!! Hope you have a happy day!

We dinghied into Playon Chico, the nearest town, about 2+ miles down the coast. We had a tour after we checked in at the police station, and purchased bread, bananas and more molas!!! We worked on emails (sending out our Christmas letter to those who had not received it via snail mail), web site, and then snorkeled again for almost an hour after we returned home for lunch with our freshly baked Kuna bread!.

Russell, a state judge from Houston, Texas, arrived to visit Julie and Barry on *Cherokee.* He had quite an adventuresome airplane trip to Playon Chico - he was carrying several duffle bags with boat parts for several boats and the American Airlines agent made him purchase a very costly ticket for the bags!!! Then he got up at 3am to catch his flight over to the San Blas and was told that he was not scheduled and took a different flight, getting off at three stops (one where he was greeted by army patrols with large guns!), so he was very relieved to have Barry knock on the window and pick him up. Julie and Barry were there waiting with absolutely no way to contact him!) We all went over to visit and have pupus on *Cherokee* to meet Russell. We returned to our boat for a delicious crab dinner. We had purchased this huge coral crab from the Kunas. Unfortunately, the Kunas tend to take everything from the reef - too small fish, lobsters, and crabs, lobsters with eggs, and they also use chlorox to extract fish and octopus from the reef! Such destruction of God's beauty and bounty!!!

We continued to have problems with the water pressure pump/ lack of water and also had another problem with the computer!

December 22, 2000

I made our Christmas flag!! We spent all morning making water, after we realized that even though the water gauges indicated that the water tanks were half full - they were both EMPTY!!! But now we know...but that is VERY scarey!

We bought more molas!!! Then went snorkeling for almost an hour! The water keeps getting clearer and clearer and we move north and west through the Island chain toward Colon, but the swell is coming in and the visibility is not terrific.

When we left Curacao, *Slipaway* gave us about 15 movies, which she had recorded at home while they were in Tucson. We have been viewing them first. We watched "One True Thing" with Meryl Streep. It was a VERY touching movie and affected me greatly, with the Mom dying of breast cancer. It hit much too close to home, but maybe there must be a reason why I needed to view that movie. Sometimes we need to move through and beyond these feelings and emotions.

December 21, 2000

David and Eric spent the morning working on the refrigeration (again!) and the water maker, while I cleaned the boat and worked on emails. After lunch we sailed from Isla Mono (yes, through that reef filled channel, using GPS way points supplied by cruisers who had gone before us. The way points were excellent and accurate until entering the reef at Snug Harbor! We always need to rely on our own charts, books and eyeballing when we are dealing with reefs) to Snug Harbor arriving about 3:30 (the sun was at a bad angle for watching the reefs when we entered!!! It could have been because today is the shortest day of the year and the sun is so low in the sky!).

Very pretty anchorage, where New England schooners anchoraged for perfect protection while they were in the San Blas trading for coconuts. There is a resort (?) on one of the picture perfect islands. According to the Lonely Planet Guide, the cost, including three meals per day, is $90 per person per day! Such a bargain!! We were also told that the Kunas had closed the resort down, because they realized that it was being supported by Holiday Inn!

Julie's last final was today! Bet she is relieved!

December 20, 2000

We did a load of wash (#6) and headed to the town of San Ignacio de Tupile with Barb and Richard of *Homeward Bound.* We were very impressed with the town! We purchased molas, plantains, bread (more like large delicious bread sticks!!), and bananas! We are not really sure what they eat, but there is not much around! We know that they eat coconuts and they have many of those!!! We had a nice day (not much wind and the swell was down a little) to dinghy there and across the many reefs which are in the channel between Isla Mono and San Ignacio (the route which we need to follow when we leave.).

We went up the Mono River with *Homeward Bound,* *Soggy Paws,* and *Camryka.* Very peaceful and quiet after we turn off the dinghy motors and row or pole our way along. Our only excitement during our adventure was David finding a nest of stinging insects in the woods next to the river!!!! He raced back to the river and stuck his head in and then his whole body!!!! It was a good lesson ....with no serious consequences! Thank Heavens! We need to carry a first aid kit with us on our excursions, especially a sting kit!

We had a nice swim around the boat again. We were having some problems with the refrigeration....again....so we were up until 11pm!!!

December 19, 2000

We left after "The Fleet" but sailed to Isla Mono, where Dave and Stacey on *Soggy Paws,* Mary and Carl on *Camryka,* and Barb and Richard on *Homeward Bound* were anchored, arriving about 12:30. Remember that we are navigating in unsurveyed waters with many many reefs! We were still experiencing pretty large swells, mostly on the beam, making for pretty uncomfortable passages! Thank heavens, they are short! "The Fleet" went on to Achitupep.

We spent the afternoon working on emails (Please continue to be patient with me, I am making progress! :) and waiting for the chief to come and possibly take us to town in his large ululu (dugout canoe). They finally arrived about 5pm, wanting $7 to check in (only $5), liquor (we don't have any to give but we wouldn't give it to them anyway and were very surprised with their request!), and they wanted to take us to town - No way at that hour!!! We did swim around the boat 10 times for about 15 minutes, even though the water was not very clear (we were anchored near the mangroves, near the mainland of Panama). We were not bitten by anything like some of the previous cruisers! Guess we aren't as sweet tasting as Pete on *La Boatique!*

December 18, 2000

We had a BUSY day...we FINALLY put up our Christmas Decorations (we just have a few: I brought all our stockings and Advent Calendar from Maui. We have a garland with lights which is on the shelf behind one of the sofas, and a few other little ornaments. That is one item I am going to add to my list of what to buy in each country: a little Christmas tree decoration, like Julie on *Cherokee* has done. Guess it is never to late to start!!! Now we have to return to all the Caribbean Islands so I can purchase an ornament! We did another load of wash and changed some beds. I am beginning to wonder if we are ever going to get to the bottom of the laundry bag!

We had some excitement in the anchorage when *Maritime Express* started to drag into us!!! :) So after *Chamaral* left, we moved into their spot. In the afternoon, we dinghied (in the big winds and waves) to the town of Ailagandi. We checked in with the chief, saw their medical clinic, and bought some tomatoes and molas! Very nice town with lots and lots of children!! We were beginning to feel like the Pied Piper!

We dinghied up our first river!!! We first noticed what seemed to be settlements along the river, but finally realized that they are their cemeteries! They also have all their plantations along the river, where they grow sugar cane, bananas, plantains, something which looks like taro. All the men travel to work their plantations in their dugout canoes, so we passed many of them and were surprised to notice that they also carry guns! We saw lots of birds, hawks and parrots from afar. No monkeys or crocodiles!

December 17, 2000

We made lunches, finished the wash and left Isla Pinos about 10am arriving in Islandia about 2:30, where "The Fleet" (*Chamaral,*, *Slipaway,* *Maritime Express,* *Aldebaran,* * Cherokee,* and *Argonauta*) was already anchored What a beautiful spot with two islands covered with coconut palms in front of us with beautiful white sand beaches! The water was definitely clearer than at Isla Pinos and we snorkeled for about 45 minutes. *Argonauta* had purchased crabs and lobsters from the Kuna Indians so we stopped over for a minute to visit with everyone and then went to have tacos (Tucson dinner!) with Shirley and Sanford on *Slipaway,* with the crew from *Chamaral.* We weren't home until almost 9pm...What nice company and delicious food! That anchoraged turned out to be a little rolly for sleeping.