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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Our recent quick trip to the USA for the Holidays involved:

...One midnight swim
...Two Taxi rides.
...Three Carry ons.
...Four Passport Stamps
...Five In-flight movies
...Six Separate flights
...Seven Cash withdrawls
...Eight Hour layed over
...Nine Thousand miles
...Ten Screaming babies
...Eleven Cups of coffee
...Twelve bag inspections

And a great time had by all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cool Moneky Video from Isla Linton in Panama

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyVZZ6evE7M

This is not our video, but very cool as we've hung out with these monkeys many times.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Travel home for the Hollidays

Our originating flight from San Andres Island, Colombia departed at half past midnight and arrived in Medellin (Central Colombia highlands) around 2:30AM. Since town was a 45 minute taxi ride away we decided to crash on the airport floor for the night as we'd need to check in by 7AM. Not worth the effort or money for a hotel or so we thought until about 4AM when the floor started to get pretty hard. Maybe we are getting too old to sleep on airport floors or more likely we just need to be more prepared next time for a better nights sleep when we pull backpacker moves like this. Before leaving San Andres we had a send off dinner with some other sailors whom were headed to the Cayman Islands and whom were kind enough to give us a ride to shore so we could leave our new dinghy safe on the davits of LightSpeed.

Early this AM around 5:30 we gave up on trying to sleep and found some strong Colombian Coffee called 'tinto' to get things going. Once checked in with the airline around 6AM we decided to see a bit of the countryside and hailed a cab for a quick sight seeing tour. The cab driver was great (drove slowly and sanely and spoke very clear and slow Spanish). The countryside was spectacular. The cool light rain accentuated the wonderful smell of pine trees and earth. 'Finks' or small farms dotted the rugged yet verdant green landscape. Beautiful! As a side note police armed with m-16's were at every cross road as apparently the president of Colombia Álvaro Uribe Vélez has two finkas in the area. I personally like to see the police out in force... this equals personal safety in my mind.

We are now on the ground in Miami with a three hour layover... I'm not complaining as any 4000+ mile trip where I'm not captain is nothing short of a vacation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Safely at Isla San Andres

As expected the sail North was a little rough. We were sailing close hauled nearly the entire way and the going was slow at times as we bucked through 12' seas.

Arriving in the vicinity of San Andres after dark we decided that an entry into the harbor was not worth the risk. Several ship wrecks line the reefs leading to the harbor and serve as a good reminder that things can go wrong very quickly. Although, we had GPS 'tracks' from a previous visit entering the harbor in the dark would place too high of a reliance on electronics. So we decided to anchor off the West side of the island at Rada Cove. Having anchored in Rada Cove back in August we had tracks and first hand knowledge that there were no hazards (i.e. coral reefs) in the area.

Shortly after rounding the south end of San Andres with three miles to go to the anchorage we had a bit of a scare. A bright spotlight shone on the boat as a 30' open boat came alongside with no lights except the bright spotlight that was blinding us. Our night vision ruined by the bring light in our eyes, identification of vessel, crew and intentions remained unclear.
Armed with a big spotlight of our own we took aim and much to our relief lit up a Colombian Coast guard launch. We slowed down and as the launch came along side they yelled to go to channel 16 on the VHF. Of course we always have our VHF on channel 16 so it was unclear why they did not hail us via the radio.

Kathy got on the radio and hailed Guardia Coasta and after a protracted conversation in Spanish of which gave our boat name, registration number, last port of call, etc etc we asked if it would be ok to anchor in Rada Cove. Things got confusing at this point and we did not understand quite a few bits of the conversation. It didn't matter we were going to drop the anchor in Rada Cove as we were tired and there was no way we would turn around and head for the harbor. The launch continued to shadow us as we regained speed and headed the remaining distance to the anchorage. Once the anchor was down the Coast Guard launch came along side and tied up for an inspection.

The crew of three were very polite and most of the conversation was conveniently in English for the inspection and checking of paperwork. Very nice guys and after 20 minutes aboard we had the all clear and got a hearty "Welcome to San Andres".

This morning we went for a nice swim before breakfast and enjoyed the crystal clear waters before raising anchor and heading for the harbor. Along the way we caught a small little Tunny that we released hoping for something bigger and better. No luck.

It looks like a cold front will move through the region later today and create strong north winds for several days keeping us pinned down here at San Andres.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Headed North (for real this time)

December 17, 2010 9AM
Near Panama Canal, Panama.

Today we are 'finally' sailing towards San Andres, Colombia (Colombian Island off the coast of Nicaragua enroute to Belize. Weather has had us pinned down with strong trades blowing and making big seas. Our course is about 325T and he wind is NNE to NE so this makes for 'to weather' passage which is our least favorite. At the moment the seas are running 12' and the forecast is for 15-25 knots and this is a lull!

The good news is San Andres is only 210nm away so we should make it there in a little over 24 hours.

The bad news is that we have not replaced our broken SSB radio. We spent yesterday on a 14 hour trip to Panama City that involved six hours of bus rides and several hours in taxis. What we found was a great I-Com shop, but the prices were very great and since they did not have the exact replacement radio we wanted and the prices were so high we decided to pass. The repairs were estimated to be $600 with no guarantee. We have to get a radio later and save $400+. Thus, will not have email on board LightSpeed for a while until we repair or replace the SSB. Our Colombia cell will work in San Andres and we will be sure to check out email at available internet cafes at every opportunity. Once we are in Belize we can get WIFI with decent speed internet so thats something to look forward to.

Perhaps, one of our wedding guests could courier a new radio down to us. Drop us an email if you could do this (radio is about 25 pounds and roughly 5"x 18"x14" and would need lots of padding).

Just finished checking the weather here at the internet cafe so we are off.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Out of touch - broken SSB radio

We were on our way toward Belize, but our Icom 710 SSB radio broke yesterday so we are headed back toward Panama City, Panama to get it fixed or replaced (the radio is old so we hope to replace). Absolutely essential equipment for safety, weather information and keeping in touch with family and friends. Kathy and I both agree that the radio is so essential that we won't leave Panama until it is fixed. Just too risky to travel the 800 nautical miles North to Belize without daily weather updates.

This email was sent from a internet cafe near Linton, Panama.

Our Panama cell phone IS working. +507-6-073-3533

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

New AB10AL Dinghy and Yamaha Enduro 15hp Outboard engine

Getting a new dinghy and outboard is the cruisers equivalent of buying a new car.

Why did we want a new dinghy and outboard when our new to us sailing catamaran s/v LightSpeed included a Aqua Pro 11'5" Aluminum RIB dinghy when we purchased her? We'll first off I'm pretty picky about the performance of the dinghy in regards to speed and ride quality. Although the Aquapro dinghy seemed to have all the right attributes with a relatively long at 11'-5" overall length and a nice rigid aluminum hull I wasn't satisfied with the ride quality. The boat just didn't seem to have a deep enough 'v-hull' at the stern and thus the boat rode on the tubes instead of the hull. We added a new Yamaha 25hp and still the performance was lacking at high speeds. The boat was also a bit wet when on a plane and we would get a little spray even in pretty flat seas. When an opportunity arose to sell the Aquapro and Yamaha 25hp while we were Cartagena for a fair price of $4500USD we jumped at the chance.

So what we wanted in the new dinghy was:
1). Minimal overall weight (we are a high performance cat and need to keep the boat as light and nimble as possible.
2). We wanted a RIB dinghy with a deep V hull shape for the smoothest possible ride in rough seas.
3). The new boat has the big air tubes (18") and a nice sheer (rise at the bow) for a dry ride.
4). Be as long as possible while maintaining a total weight including engine of around 200 pounds.
5). Be readily available for purchase and delivery.

Ironically, the boat we decided on for the best overall fit is manufactured about one hour from Caratagena, but we purchased it for less in Panama.

Our final decision was an AB 10AL with a overall length of 10'-6", a beam of 5'5", 18" tubes and an aluminum rigid hull with a deep V and a weight of 125 pounds. The boat cost us $3648USD delivered to the Shelter Bay Marina in Panama. We purchased the boat through Marine Warehouse of Panama, but the transaction was routed through the Florida affiliate office so no international Credit Card fees. Overall the purchase price was nearly a push between Cartagena, Colombia and Panama. It came down to availability and we went with a stock in Panama vs. a three week wait in Colombia.

For the engine we decided on the Yamaha Enduro 15hp short shaft $1989USD from Agencias Mar Y Tierra (Panama Ph. 246-1468). You can only buy this robust and durable model outside the USA and Canada. The 15hp Enduro makes the most sense for us since we will be abroad for many years and its easy to get parts. However, with this model of engine you just don't need parts as it is so reliable.

Went for a test drive tonight and the boat rode nice. Certainly, a huge difference in power between the 25 and 15, but the 15hp is 40 pounds lighter so the overall package is about 205 pounds which is very light for a dinghy of this size.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Panama cell phone

Our Panama cell phone for the next few days is +(507)-6-073-3533 (Dec 6- 9)

Quick stop in Panama

We arrived in Panama safely after a bumpy trip from Cartagena, Colombia. Seas were 12-13' on average with some 50% bigger. Both of us felt a bit sea sick at times, especially the first hours of the trip when we had to motor. Once the wind picked up to around 10-13 knots we were sailing 7-9 knots with a double reef (to prevent sail slamming in the big seas). Lots of surfing down the bigger waves with speed to 13.8 knots!

Now in Panama to pick up a new dinghy (AB 10AL[10.5' aluminum hard-bottom dinghy with Yamaha enduro 15hp outboard [2 stroke non-usa model]), wine and champagne for the wedding and provisions for the next couple of months in Belize.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sailing for Panama

Today December 1, 2009 we are hoping to sail for Belize via Panama, San Andres, Vivarillos, and Honduras Bay Islands. What this means is that we will only have access to email via our SSB radio (no internet...just plain text email) for about the next twenty (20) days. We check our email daily and have a email consolidator so no mater which email address you send to we should get it within a day and get back to you within a day. Please don't hesitate to contact us.

Cartagena, Colombia

Enjoying a walk around the walled city.














Beautiful streets of the '
El Centro' withing the walled city.

Thursday, November 19, 2009






A tasty little fish from the Tevali family???
















Bike ride to the Fort San Lorenzo








































Halloween fun at Shelter Bay Marina. Kathy is dressed in authentic Kuna attire down to the beed leggings that measure over 60' long and contain untold tiny beads.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good News

We have completed the sale of our old sailing catamaran s/v Pacifica! It was tough having two cruising catamarans and it's a huge relief to have sold Pacifica.

Now we can focus on really having some fun with no stress financial or otherwise of having two boats.

Plans are in flux as usual, but what ever we plan next for our new boat s/v LightSpeed it is sure to be a great adventure.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cartagena, Columbia

Enjoying Cartagena and lucky for us to arrive for Carnival. An amazing city steeped with history at every turn. The boat is at Club Nautico Marina which is great as we can run the A/C unit and escape the Low 90's heat with high nineties humidity.

One Good and one Bad development this week. The bad is Kathy's needs to attend to a family emergency and flew home today. The good is that we have a signed purchase and sale agreement on our other boat Pacifica and a solid back up offer as well. Thus, I'll be flying to Florida to meet the buyer next week and show them the boat.

One can only make wild guesses about new plans that will surely hatch as a result. I could probably have a complete blog that just concerned changed plans. It keeps things interesting so no complaints.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Underway for Cartagena, Colombia

Thursday November 5, 2009 1:50UTC (8:50PM local)
Position: 09°54.1830 N 077°30.0732 W


116 nautical miles to go to Cartagena so we should be in tomorrow afternoon.

We are several hundred miles South and East of Hurricane Ida which is off the coast of Nicaragua. The nice thing about Panama and Columbia is that you are safely outside the area frequented by hurricanes. As a result of 'Ida' our local weather is extra calm and thus our trip to Colombia is turning into a motor sail instead of a sail. Mostly light winds, but plenty of high intensity squalls are viable with their highly convective cloud tops reaching far into the atmosphere. As I write it's really dark out here (8:50PM local). The stars are a stellar sight when you can see them and several planets are plainly visible between the clouds. Lightning in the squalls is lighting things up and has me adjusting course to try to avoid the worst of the electrical storms. No guessing which way the cells are moving though.. Yesterday we had one follow us while we traveled into the wind for many hours. Why it moved against the wind is a mystery to me. Anyway I've been adjusting course to avoid a squall ahead for the last hour and now the wind is filling in rapidly. Just shut down the engines and now sailing along at 8.4 knots. We'll soon see if my course adjustment will pay dividends or if I have us accelerating into a squall. This would be a good time to use radar to get a better feel for the movement of the surrounding squalls. The bad news is we just sold our 12 year old Furuno unit. The good news is we just sold our 12 year old Furuno unit! It worked pretty good, but was on our short list of gear to replace in the next few months. When we found a buyer to take the old radar off our hands for $350 we didn't think twice. The cost of a new base unit Furuno radar is about $1300 so we scored by selling ours for 25% of the cost of a new unit when in our mind it was 100% depreciated.

I hate being in close proximity to the frequent electrical storms we seem to have here in Panama. We have met way too many cruisers whom have lost from a little to a lot of onboard electronics to lightning in the last few months. Thinking back to the South Pacific crossing from 2006-2008 we had almost no electrical activity at all. In contrast I could see an equal amount here in Panama in a weeks time or less.

Caught a few Little Tunny tunas today. One turned in to Sushi for lunch and the other was baked and served with asparagus and quinoa for dinner. Yumm!

It took a while to write this email (5 nautical miles) as I have to pay attention to where we sailing. The good news is it looks like we DID dodge the nasty squall that was spewing lightning bolts! Still sailing at 8.3 knots in hardly any wind. I love having a super fast easily driven boat!

Couldn't get the email out last night due to poor radio signal propagation.

Friday November 6, 17:20 UTC (12:20PM local)
Position: 10°19.8848 N 075°57.4313 W

22nm to go to Cartagena.

Sailed on an off through the night with fluky winds kicked up by squalls. After my 3AM to 6AM watch I woke to a nice breakfast and coffee. Within minutes of clearing the plates we had a fish on. Line was stripping off the reel at a rapid rate. I tightened the drag and got the boat slowed down. Still tons of line was screaming off the reel. A full fledged battle ensued for one and a half hours before we got a close look at the HUGE Yellow Fin Tuna on our line. 5'+ long with an amazing girth it was a sight to behold. One heck of a powerful fish that has my arms so played out I can barely type even after a hour break. At about one hour forty minutes we had the fish very close to the boat and he was doing a 40' diameter circles and on each pass I would get a crank or two on the reel and he would pull out a crank or two of line. We were both getting very played out and it was very uncertain whom would have the stamina to succeed before the line gave out. Finally we got him on the surface. Kathy had the rod which was bent double and I had my spear in one hand and the gaff and a cheap bottle of rum at the ready. The rum when poured into the fishes gills immediately placates him for a while. Tuna are total light weights when if comes to drinking. Anyway, I was about to let the spear fly when the wire leader broke a few seconds too soon. In defeated agony I stood on the back steps of the boat spear still in hand wondering if I could dive in and still get a shot at this monstrous fish. My better judgment kept me aboard.

This was a beautiful fish and certainly would have represented the biggest tuna I would wish to try to catch as he nearly had me beat. All the better that this spectacular and beautiful creature can live on to reproduce and slow the rapid demise of our precious oceans. What would we do with a 100+ pounds of fresh tuna anyway.? Better to catch smaller fish as we try to do by using small lures and small hooks.


Kathy took a few videos and still pictures of the last few moments of the battle and we'll post them eventually.

Dave

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pirates, Storms and Sharks

When meeting new people and sharing our lifestyle of sailing we often get questions about Pirates, Storms and Sharks. All sensational topics that get lots of media attention. Truth be told Pirate attacks are still very uncommon and our sailing lifestyle remains one of the safest of all recreational sports. Granted there are piracy hotspots in the world which seem to become more dangerous all the time. Areas such as Somalia are scary and to be given a wide berth. By avoiding these areas we can avoid the associated risk.

Isolated piracy events do pop up in unexpected places from time to time, but these are more similar to a home burglary or car jacking than out and out organized piracy. 'Pirate Attacks' certainly make good attention grabbing news headlines, but attention they garner is largely disproportionate to the 'real' risk. Everyone whom uses an automobile on a daily basis has chosen a more risky lifestyle than those of us whom float around on the ocean in the absence of road rage!

This being said I was sitting in the hot tub after a game of volleyball yesterday and heard a chilling first hand account from a Chilean sailor whom had been legitimately attacked by pirates just three days earlier. Sailing off the coast of Nicaragua on a Beneteau first 47.7 with four persons aboard the boat was approached around 7AM by a high speed launch. The occupants of the launch had on some military style clothing and banished shotguns and pistols. The launch signaled for the boat to stop (this could have been just a routine inspection by local authorities as often the uniforms are incomplete or non-existent). Then the pirates started pointing guns and boarded the yacht. They tied up most of the crew and then proceed to take everything they wished including money, cameras, vhf radios, outboard engine, etc. The crew of the sailboat was wise to cooperate and thus no violence ensued. About $10,000 in cash and goods was lost, but everyone was unharmed and the boat reached port safely. I've encouraging the sailor to report the incident to international authorities so that other boaters can avoid the area in the future. Look for the report on http://www.noonsite.com soon.

Short term plans

For the next few days we'll remain in Shelter Bay Marina here in Panama. Repairs to the port side engine are progressing, but with many surprises... mostly unpleasant. While waiting for parts to arrive we've been working on our beach volley ball game, organized a swap meet, organized two Texas Hold'em poker tournaments, lounged at the pool daily, and taken numerous walks in the jungle. we've managed to squeeze in a few boat projects.

Once the engine is running we plan a quick trip to Cartagena, Colombia (about 220nm to the East). We don't need the engine for the trip, but we do need the engine for docking and in the event emergency maneuvering is required. Once in Cartagena we will be taking in the sights and keeping a close eye on the weather. Then off to Stuart, Florida (about 1200nm to the North).

We need to get back to Florida to attend to the marketing and sale of our old boat Pacifica. We've had a few very close deals that may have benefited from our proximity. We'll get Pacifica looking great and back in the water where perspective clients can really appreciate how well the boat is set up. We also have a pretty long list of tasks for our new boat LightSpeed that will be quicker and less expensive to complete in Florida.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Traveling Panama







Currently, in the Panama Canal area on the Caribbean side near the city of Colon. We are docked at Shelter Bay Marina for a week or two while we wait for some engine parts we ordered from the USA. One of our engines is out of service and the boat doesn't maneuver very predictably with only one engine nor move very quickly if the wind drops. Since much of our travel is amongst dangerous coral reefs and rocks and the weather highly changeable we really need both engines working. Squalls are frequent and intense with winds from 20-40 knots from any direction.

While we wait a week or two for the parts to arrive we've decided to travel around Panama in "Backpacker mode" and see the sights. Tourism in Panama is not developed and thus making for adventure travel.


So far we've crossed the istumusn of Panama three times between Colon and Panama City. Twice via local bus and once via the Panama Railway. It's only about 50 miles (80km) from the Caribbean to the Pacific or about 2 hours and pretty cool to see the two oceans in the same day.

Near our marina we can go for a short walk into the jungle, as we do each evening, and see several different kinds of monkeys, furry ground mammals of uncertain variety, many tropicla birds and an amazing array colorful flowers. After our evening walk we play four of five games of volleyball and then take a soak in the hot tub. Marina life is a nice treat.

Like I mentioned we are taking a week to explore non-coastal Panama via land. The first stop after leaving the Marina was the dentist. Kathy had a veneer repaired in a first rate English speaking, super modern dental office for a mere $35. Next we caught the Panama Canal train for a scenic and historical trip across the isthmus to Panama City. Tourism is not so well developed as in neighboring Costa Rica which keeps thing interesting as the guide books for Panama are pretty thin on details. Life is good.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Molas






The San Blas (or more appropriately, the Kuna Yala) truly is a very special place.

The water is really warm here with temperatures in the upper eighties to low nineties. Almost too warm, but not quite. The local Kuna fishermen do a good job of gathering the lobster so we've only caught a few ourselves. Prices are very reasonable for fresh lobster (two 1-1/2lb lobsters for $5USD) delivered live to your boat. Seems too good to be true until you have been solicited by Kuna fishermen to buy lobster AGAIN for the fifth time in one afternoon.

The Kuna men fish. The Kuna women sew 'Molas'. The sewing is spectacular, intricate beyond reason, 100% by hand and with tiny stitching that becomes almost invisible. The designs of the molas can be artistic interpretations of nature, geometric designs or a pictorial of a family or Kuna story. Google 'San Blas Mola' for a visual. The molas, although only sixteen inches square can take many months to complete. We've been eager to purchase some molas as we plan to use a few as wall hangings and a few for decorative pillows. They are true works of art and if we owned a home we'd line a hallway with framed molas from the few remaining 'Mola Masters' of the San Blas.

You buy direct from the artist and the Kuna women mola makers paddle out in genuine dug out canoes to show you the wares. The sale of molas is a major component of GDP for Kuna Yala. Where mola sales rank vs coconut exports and lobster exports I'm not exactly sure, but the women are many times the major bread winners of the household.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

San Blas Islands.. Molas, Lobster and Lightning.







Sorry for the lack of new posts on the blog. I managed to really mess up the computer we use for email via Sailmail. Oops! Thus, the time I usually reserve for writing was spent trying to "fix" the software on my computer. I've now switched to a back up computer so hopefully the posts will be more frequent.
Lightning here in the San Blas is fierce and very frequent. We are often in the Inter-continental convergence zone (ITCZ)where the weather is never settled. Some days it seems the sky never ceases to flash and bang non-stop day and night. During these frightening storms the wind may blast to 40 knots from any direction or it may just pour rain or both. Electrical storms and computers don't mix so this is my other excuse for not updating the site more frequently.

Lots to write about to catch up on the last few weeks. First off the engine repairs from a few weeks ago were mis-directed and I've subsequently now identified the 'real' problem.... a faulty fuel injector pump. So our Port side engine is out of service. This is a major bummer as it really limits where and when we move the boat. Running on one engine is pretty tricky. Imagine a one legged duck... swimming in circles. That's us trying to maneuver our 23'-4" wide boat with one engine. Until she gets up a few knots of speed she would prefer to go in a circle. With the numerous dangerous reefs and tight anchorages we have to be really careful as a error could be very costly at best. Needless to say this engine problem has put a big kink in our plans and we've spent a lot of time staying put waiting for perfect weather to move around.

The upside of not moving so much is we've made lots of new friends by staying in one place much longer than normal. In the East Lemons anchorage we started to form a routine that included swimming, beach volleyball, Yoga (where Kathy was the instructor) and lots of socializing.

We finally changed anchorages yesterday. Good thing as one of the boats we were sharing an anchorage with was struck by lightning this morning and they lost all the electronics. No injuries other than financial. If you stay here for a while they say its not a matter of IF you get hit by lighting in the San Blas, but only a matter of when.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

New location and cell phone

Anchorage Position:
09°35.2554 N
078°52.8879 W

Location Cayo Chichime, San Blas Islands Kuna Yale (Panama)

We've arrived in the San Blas Islands! We checked in to Panama at the tiny island of Porvenir in what could be one of the easiest check in processes ever. They did question us a bit about where we'd been the last 24 days since checking out of San Andres, Columbia. But, even this was not a problem since we had the foresight to add a stop at the Albuquerque Cays to our Columbian 'Zarpe'.

Even before we had the anchor down we had a contingent of Kuna women paddling out to the boat to show us the "Molas" that they have for sale. Google Kuna Indians of San Blas to learn more. Fascinating that a culture could stay so intact as the outside world races by.

A huge rain storm last night kept me up for a few hours monitoring our position as the weather forecaster said we could get to 50 knots of wind in the squalls. Lucky for us we only saw low 20 knots with a [period of intense rain.


If you want to give us a call our new cell number as dialed from the USA or Canada is 011-507-6-073-3533. At the movement cell coverage is perfect, but it may get spotty later. Feel free to call.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Poseidon pose

Little grouper and lobster for lunch.

Pics from Albuquerque Cays

Lots of Lobster
Kathy going for a ride behind the dinghy.
Picture on a picture perfect beach
Kathy lands the dinghy

Cleaning fish with the Colombian Marines and their loaded machine guns.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweating it out with the port engine

Didn't make it to Porvenir in the San Blas Archipelago as we hoped. After anchoring near the Panama canal our Port side diesel engine started acting up. With the engine refusing to idle we took pause as well. We moved the boat to a secure anchorage near Isla Linton for further investigation. By the time we arrived at the new anchorage the engine refused to run at all. Two engines certainly is convenient at times like these. Good thing Panama is an excellent place to find parts and expertise to repair engines. We've contacted a yacht agent to help us with the check in procedures as we are now not too near a port of entry and thus the yacht agent can help smooth out this little detail.

Getting down to business I began working to diagnose the engines ailment. Having lived in a temperate climate most of my life it was hard to fathom just how much one can sweat in the confines of an engine room in the tropical heat and humidity of Panama. Think you sweat a lot in a sauna? Not even close! Alarming amounts of sweat! Salty sweat is pooling up in my Crocs and soaking my shorts. Quantities sufficient to make the engine even more rusty next time I look in on it.

Today, I spent the day in the engine room. Got an injector replaced with a spare to see if that would make any difference. The injector was totally rusted and well seized to the head. I tapped, twisted and 'gasp' even used a hammer... still not a budge. I was about to pull the whole head off and take it to a mechanic to have him replace the injectors when I had an idea. An idea that actually worked none the less. I had Kathy crank the engine while I tapped and twisted on the injector. At first just a little bit of exhaust gases leaked by then slowly the compression worked the injector out. Eventually, it shot out of the head with a substantial and startling report! These diesel engines have some serious compression! After lots of rust removal on the head I fitted the new injector and the engine will now idle correctly.

Now we can defer serious repairs a few more months so we can explore the San Blas if all continues to go well. Our plans are of course in complete flux... just like we like them.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arrived in Panama waters

Anchored at Isla Naranjo Abajo, Panama
An excellent anchorage at position: 09°25.6297 N 079°48.1682 W about 6nm SE of the entrance to the Panama Canal. This was not our intended destination, but it was getting late in the day and we are having a little difficulty with one of our engines.

As we approached the Panama coast we were greeted with lots of squall activity, strong winds and heavy rain. Not exactly ideal conditions for negotiating the heavy shipping traffic moving in and out of the Panama Canal. Again, the AIS was invaluable in identifying ship movement and possible hazards. The skys cleared as we approached the anchorage and we enjoyed wonderful and surprisingly cool evening. I think the temperature dropped to a chilly 79 degrees likely due to the heavy rains.

Today we will begin a slow journey toward Cartagena, Colombia. We expect may take around two weeks as we leisurely cover the 330nm with short day sails.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Underway for Panama

Position
11°25' N
081°36' W

Time 0000 UTC or 6PM local.

About 125 nautical miles off Costa Rica heading just West of Colon, Panama 141°T @ 155nm. Wind direction is not living up to our hopes so we are fighting for all the 'Easting' we can get. At the moment the best course we are willing to sail is 145°T. Porvenir, Panama the administrative center of the San Blas archipelago lies at 125°T @ 190nm and Cartagena, Columbia lies at an impossible 99°T @ 360nm. Winds are out of the East at about 15 knots. We are now about 55 nautical miles into our voyage and although we've tweeted the course up from an initial heading of 160°T to 145°T there is no way we can lay a course to Cartagena at this point so that's off the table. Now we are just hoping to lay something East of Colon, Panama, hopefully Porvenir.

The sun just set and it looks like we are in for a nice sail overnight with settled weather. Before it get's real dark we'll take in a reef on the mainsail. Most of the day we've been sailing between 8 and 9.5 knots so the small penalty for reducing sail is no big deal vs the benefit of having reduced main sail if we get hit by a squall in the night.

As we approach the Panama, Canal shipping traffic should increase and in addition to keeping a sharp lookout 24 hours a day we'll enjoy the extra info provided by our AIS. Our Class B AIS continuously sends information about our position, course and speed to other ships and receives the same info from them. You can now see ships on your AIS receiver before you can see them visually. Unfortunately, not all ships are fitted with transceivers. But, the really big ones are so that's something.

We had only one bite on the fishing line today and since it's getting dark have reeled in the line until first light tomorrow.

Just hit 10.2 knots so it's time to get off the computer and reduce sail. I love the pilot house it's so cool to see everything that is going on and still be able to type an email.

A reef is in and we are now at a more reasonable speed of 8.80-9.20 knots with the wind forecast to moderate overnight we can shake a reef out in the morning.

Our more formal watch schedule begins at 6PM local. Kathy is in bed having a rest. Looks like tonight's schedule will be:

Dave 6-9PM
Kathy 9-midnight
Dave Midnight to 3AM
Kathy 3AM to 6AM
Dave 6AM to 9AM

During the day the schedule is relaxed and we just take nap breaks as we need them.

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Colombian Marines 'Operation-- Cell phone signal'.

This morning we delivered a fresh batch of cookies and a few music CD's to the twelve Colombian troops stationed at Albuquerque Cay. The commander asked if we could return at 2PM and take a few of the guys out in the dinghy in hopes of getting a cellar signal so they could call their families. I suggested they climb the 20 meter tall light tower as this would be the best way to improve the line of sight transmission of cell phones. No takers on climbing the tower and the commander, as if acting out a game of charades, made the motions of a person falling off the tower and hitting the ground with a thud. Hmm. With a combination of my 'Spanglish' and my own turn at charades I suggest that these strong young guys could easily climb the tower and talk on their phones at the same time. Certainly, it must be safer than say texting while riding a motor cycle... yes, I've actually seen this done in the neighboring island of San Anders.

San Andres is 50km away, a hopeless distance for a cell phone. Regardless, high command decided that we must go. I then drew a picture of the island in the sand with my toe and asked just how far they wanted to go in the dinghy. After a protracted discussion and more sand drawings it was decided that we need only go 1.5 kilometers from the island. Maybe I was missing something as these guys really seemed to think that 1.5 km would help. I remained highly skeptical and suggested someone climb the tower to test my theory. I think my suggestion was lost in translation as still no takers on climbing the light tower. The commander suggested I bring my GPS. So we wouldn't get lost? Or perhaps to know when we were 1.5 km from the island? I'll never know.

We synchronized our watches to 'mission time' by gauging the height of the sun through the overhead palm trees. Kathy and I spent the interim hours going for a snorkel. We captured a nice lobster and huge conch. After lunch I headed for the beach to find no less than six marines with cell phones in hand. Luckily, I have a large zip lock bag for my GPS so we add the cell phones for safe keeping. The guys pile in with snorkel gear so I infer we are going for a swim as well? We stop by LightSpeed and pick up the spear and a extra mask and fins and offshore fishing pole. Now picture seven guys packed in a dinghy with snorkel gear, a bag of cell phones and a giant fishing pole. Off we go. The commander is driving the boat... clearly his first time at the helm. We zig, we zag the troops point north the commander heads east and so on we zig we zag. Lots of water splashes in the boat. I'm pretty sure this is a hopeless mission, but want to give it my best shot so we head out 3.5 km over twice the agreed distance. Cell phones come out of the bag and.... no luck. No surprise it's still 45 km to the nearest cell tower. I try to explain the curvature of the earth and line of sight communications using my 'Spanglish' and a spool of fishing line. I'm pretty sure that they were just nodding along so I'd shut up and everyone could go for a swim.

I gave orders in newly minted Spanish to drop the anchor. It really worked as I watched the camp cook throw the anchor over the side. However, I didn't issue the order to tie the anchor to the anchor rope FIRST. So, off goes the anchor to the semi deep sans an anchor line. In the interim the offshore fishing reel and line are still in play and now hopelessly snagged on coral. I send a guy over the side to untangle the mess and he says the line is wrapped around some coral. We are quickly drifting in the current so I tell him to just cut the line and save the lure. Lost in translation he jumps in the water swims about five feet from the boat and cuts the line. Needless to say the lure is hopelessly lost and... the anchor is pretty much lost as well at this point.

I dead reckon back to where I reckon the anchor might be and send in swimmers to start a search for the anchor. One, the jovial camp cook, goes in without fins and apparently without much if any swimming lessons. I pull away from the search site a bit to keep everyone safe from the outboard propeller and the commander starts a new game of charades and acts out a drowning person. Apparently, it's the Cook. He does look a bit panicked. The cook is not exactly slim and I don't think he could sink with his built in flotation if he tried. The commander is very concerned about the situation and everyone is relived once we hoist the wide eyed cook aboard. The remaining two swimmers also scamper aboard. Now imagine for a moment the scene of tangled bodies as three guys spill into a dinghy all at once. It took a few minutes to get everyone upright and settled. Ok, all is good but, still no anchor and now have at least three inches of water in the dinghy. Really a not issue as an inflatable boat can't really sink. The best two swimmers go back in the water they finally retrieve the anchor. I tie the knot and we send the anchor back to the deep.

The cook at this point is really getting a good teasing by everyone for his antics. A few guys want to go for a swim to try to spear some fish. All the climbing in and out of the dinghy paired with being a little overloaded we now have four inches of water in the dinghy. The freshly speared fish are still pretty much alive when they get plucked off the spear and dropped in the dinghy. Fish are literally swimming around inside the boat as they bleed to death. The water is a getting pretty bloody and the fish are splashing the blood and gut filled water all over us. Apparently, everyone else thinks this is normal as no attempt is made to either bail out the dinghy or kill the fish... both would be prudent ideas. I'd really like to go for a swim for myself, but am loath to leave even the anchored dinghy under anyone else's command for fear of what might happen next. I just chill and go with the flow. Fish swimming around my feet in a blood bath and all. I join in the fun and tease the cook.

On the way back to the island we zig and we zag and make another four stops for more spear fishing and also tangle the fishing line on a reef again. I let the guys think it's a fish for a while as they are really getting into the fight. The dinghy is drifting and line is going off the reel. Nearly, everyone has a hand on the pole and is helping to battle the 'grande pescado' there is lots of excitement. After a while I burst the bubble. Now it's time to see if we can rescue the fishing lure. Starting a new game of charades I mime a fish hook in my mouth and then point at my self. 'Bring me the hook this time' I say... in English of which 100% is surely lost in translation. The hook rescue swimmer nods 'Si, Si' and in he goes. He then pops back up and I think he says the water is too deep. I say 'no' which translates perfectly. Then vigorously encourage him with sign language to get the hook. The water isn't that deep. To my surprise up comes the rescue swimmer hook and all. Back in the dinghy I proudly give him a good solid pat on the back and say something like 'bueno, bueno, gracias mi amigo' which evokes a good laugh from everyone.

Back at the beach the guys give the dinghy a good scrub and we shake hands all around. The guys testing out some new English words and me practising my Spanish. As a parting bonus, I receive an authentic Colombian Marines hat.

IF I do another 'Operation-- Cell phone signal'or something similar I think I'll bring a few life jackets and leave my fishing pole at home.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Lunch with Colombian Marines stationed at Albuquerque Cays

After taking a group of Marines spear fishing the other day we were invited in for lunch the next day. Upon landing on the perfect white sand beach, a full tour of the island ensued. The island is about 900' x 600' with a few small buildings at the center. Radiating outward like wagon wheel spokes from the center buildings are perfectly groomed paths about 4' wide each lined with conch shells. Conch shells also form breakwaters 4-5' high on the back side of the island. Think many tens of thousands of conch shells. Simply amazing! At the terminus of each path is a military bunker, really just a few sand bags. Nicaragua disputes ownership of these islands so Columbia has installed the marines to maintain her claim. A group of marines showed us every nook and cranny of the islands from fox holes, bunk room, kitchen, soccer field, cemetery, etc. We took our time and stopped many times along the way, but still only took maybe 30 minutes to circumnavigate the island and see everything. This island must feel really small to these twelve 18-21 year old soldiers who are station here for 30 days at a time.

Of course their island is a 858' longer and 577' wider than ours! So they must think we get really bored.

It was full immersion Spanish while on the island, but we all enjoyed the visit and we had lots of laughs. One guy acted as the translator. Now he didn't speak a word of English but he spoke Spanish VERY slow and clear. After we would say something in our 'Spanglish' he would translate into real Spanish for the group. Lunch was prepared by the cook in the most primitive of kitchens with just a two burner camp stove in the corner. Despite the lack of facilities the chicken and rice with a side of fried plantains was excellent.

After lunch we took the guys out for another spear fishing session and they definitely caught enough fish for dinner.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Favorite Snorkel Spots at Albuquerque

Coral Head at: N12 10.021 W81 51.824
Depths 1-10 meters
Look for grey colored reef sharks and lobster here.

Coral Head at: N12 10.065 W81 51.342
Depths 1-11 meters
Look for grouper hiding on the off lying small heads on East side in the deepest water.

Small Canyon at: N12 11.173 W81 50.856
Depths 1-9 meters
Look for grey reef sharks, nurse sharks and grouper.

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Seafood feast at Albuquerque Cays

Yesterday a tropical wave passed through and blasted us with torrential rain most of the day. A tropical wave is disorganized makings of a tropical storm or hurricane. Basicly, lots of squalls and moisture and lots of lightning with rain pouring out of the sky at a spectacular rate. About mid day we had a brief respite and I dumped out a bucket that was sitting in the cockpit. A few hours later is was overflowing... that's some torrential rain. Lighting was blasting off with zero delay between flash and bang with a little sizzle thrown in to really make you think you might be next.

I spent the rainy day mostly working on installing a new navigation program on the computer, that is between times that I thought we might get a strike and had put the computer in to the safe where it might be protected from the destructive inductive flow of energy.

A few weeks ago another catamaran was struck by lightning at this very location so I was comforted by the old adage that 'lightning doesn't strike twice'(in the same location...we hope).

Today most of the squalls have passed so we planned a early snorkel trip. We went out to the reef about 1/2 mile in front of the boat and managed to find a miniature pass between coral heads so with my adventurous spirit we blasted out through the breakers. Outside the reef we enjoyed really awesome underwater visibility, but were unable to locate any lobsters, our stated mission for the day.

It would have been REALLY risky to enter back over the reef without expecting to ding the outboard engine propeller so we took the safe route and went about 1.5 miles to the south to the end of the reef. Much to our surprise we passed four small fishing boats outside the reef in this short distance.

Back inside the reef we combed every patch of coral and I shot a few fish. Then we hit the jack pot of very rare 'Slipper Lobster'. A slipper lobster is more prehistoric looking than a typically Caribbean lobster and has no 'feeler antennae' only two small plates that extend forward. The beasts are hard to spot tucked up in holes in the reef, but very easy to catch once you find them. Nothing spiny to poke you so you can grab them with a bare hand if necessary. A real bonanza of five were found and also five conch and a huge crab. We let the crab go after a quick picture.

Later I took five Colombian navy guys for a fishing expedition in the dinghy. It was great fun even though they spoke zero English. We saw lots of nurse sharks and rays and this gave the guys a real thrill. Several scrambled back into the dinghy in a bit of panic. A couple of the brave ones wanted to spear a 3' wide sting ray, but I said it was probably not a good idea. We caught a dozen fish, a lobster, several conch and as a bit of a show off I grabbed the tail of a sleeping nurse shark. Good times all around.

Tomorrow we are invited to dine with the military ashore. Should be fun.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Beautiful day at Albuquerque Cays... with sharks

A lazy day today. Mostly lounging around reading books until after lunch. Then big event of the day was exploration of the reef system and a snorkel. A break in the trade winds today allowed for extended exploration in the dinghy as the wind waves were small with almost no wind. Our goals were to find a southern pass from the cays for our intended departure in a few days and then try to find the best place to try to catch dinner. In good light the pass to the SW looks pretty straight forward. Perhaps, we list WP's in a future post if we find a good enough route. Granted we only need about three feet of water to float the boat so traveling across relatively shallow patches is not as critical as it would have been on our mono-hull with 7'-6" draft.

We also looked at lots of prospective snorkel sites by "sticking our heads in the water" from the dinghy. Finally, we discovered a patch of coral with depths ranging from about 1 meter to 11 meters with nice live coral and good visibility. Perfect for spear fishing and lobster hunting. Kathy was out for the lobster and I on a hunt for grouper. Within a few minutes Kathy spotted a nice 3 pound lobster and I helped speared it. Turning to head for the dinghy I swam about 50' from Kathy and came face to face with a 4-5' grey reef shark. Apparently, the shark also enjoys lobster as he was very interested in my catch. I held the lobster out of the water and hoped for the best. At about 10' away the shark flinched and turned tail. Whew! Then I look to my right and there is another shark. Yikes! I pop my head up and yell at Kathy. SHARK!! Before I know it she passes me on the way back to the dingy.

It's good to see sharks as you know the reef habitat is pristine when apex predators like sharks are abundant. These sharks intended no malice they were most likely just curious and a bit excited by the death throws of the lobster. Still it gives you a bit of a shock to see sharks up close as the water magnifies their size and they seem more intimidating. It takes time to get used to the presence of sharks. We eventually got used to sharks in the South Pacific, but this was only the second or third time we've seen sharks other than nurse sharks in the Caribbean. Nurse sharks are overly abundant we see them routinely... they are pretty much harmless. We also spotted a 2' green turtle on the reef hiding under a coral shelf. The turtle was backed into a corner so we could get a really close up look.... was he hiding from the sharks?

The draw of more big lobsters had us back in the water in a few minutes and our grey shark friends continued to keep an eye on us as we pursued the reef for more lobster. Needless to say, I abstained from shooting at any fish as I'm sure the temptation of an injured fish on the spear would have proved too much for these curious sharks. Spear fishing with sharks around can give rise to encounters of the unwanted kind. I've heard that 90% of shark bites are obtained by spear fishermen.

After picking up a second lobster we moved to a new reef where I speared a smaller lobster and then got a nice grouper. Mission accomplished we headed for home before the sharks picked up the sent of fresh grouper blood in the water.

Lobster tail appetizers and grouper for dinner with a side of quinoa and a fresh tomato, cucumber garlic salad.

Life is good!

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day off from the sun

After three days in of too much sun we decided to stay aboard the boat for the entire day. A tough decision with all this pristine reef and 200' of underwater viability. The painful sunburn on the back of my legs, from too much snorkeling, reminds and encourages me to stay below decks and work on boat projects all day.

My number one nagging project has been the water maker. Its a Spectra Catalina 300 (12 gallons per hour at 15 amps/hr making it very efficient). The system is pretty complicated and I've spent many tens of hours reading and trouble shooting each of the many components with limited success. Today was a major break through when I found two blown seals under the annular rings. A most unlikely location that that allowed a undetectable high pressure leak. On our last trip to Florida I sprung for a water maker rebuild kit ($400 overpriced bag full of o-rings) so I had the spare I needed. With our extensive solar array we should be able to make water daily without running the engines to generate power. We are now really off the grid and independent of fossil fuels. Except for our dinghy which has a generous 25hp engine... our one small excess.


Since beginning the journey in 2005 we have managed just fine without a water maker even during the 15,000 nautical mile passage across the South Pacific. The water maker is a luxury for sure, but another complicated and expensive system to maintain. Think how many bottles of water I could have bought for the $400 bag of o-rings.

As a reminder we are anxious to sell 'Pacifica' our PDQ 39 http://www.PDQ36.blogspot.com (yes, we currently own two boats) 'Pacfica' is wonderfully outfitted and ready to cruise the Bahamas or beyond. She is located in Stuart, Florida.

Our new boat 'LightSpeed' is far more complicated and I spend four times more time just keeping things maintained. More is not always better... We look forward to simplifying many of the complicated and expensive to maintain systems on 'LightSpeed' such as the electric flush toilets, twin A/C units and complicated engine driven charging system. Less maintenance = more fun.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Colombians

Of all the countries we have traveled to in the past few years the Colombians are by far the nicest we have met. They will go out of their way to give you directions or show you the way or just to chat. They are a very sociable lot. On the island of San Andreas there are a handful of liquor stores that turn out to be the social gathering place for the evening. Just walk in, buy your poison and hang out outside with the music blaring. If your lucky there might be a few chairs and even some tables. One such night we met a young couple there on holiday from Bogota. One a banker, one an accountant. Products of the young growing economic boom of Bogota. The were happy to practice their English and I, Kathy, got an impromptu salsa and meringue lesson. The guy was so cute when he would tell me to move my lips. I corrected him a few times by shouting out over the music "hips", but he never caught on. Well it was more entertaining that way. We became fast friends and they are excited to show us around their city if we make it up there.

What was extra nice about San Andreas is that even though it's a tourist island we never got harassed by vendors selling snorkel trips, coconuts or any thing else. Frankly they see us gringo's and they don't know what to do with us. We think we saw 2 other North Americans why we where there but no sure. In general it's really just a holiday place for Colombians.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Snorkeling bliss... great day!

Another gorgeous day in paradise.

Waking up around 6AM, living with the natural cycle of the sun (it's been up since 5:15) we listen to our weather forecast from Chris Parker and some cruisers nets between 6 and 8AM. Freshly brewed Columbian coffee helps inspire our plans for the day and we enjoy some breakfast with the last of our fresh bread... after this if we want fresh we bake it ourselves.

Today, as yesterday we decide to go for an early snorkel... that ends up concluding way later than planned with possibly serious sun burns. So much for staying out of the sun between 10 an 2. Our snorkel trip was at least 4 hours of bliss,but too much sun. Greg on s/v Coconut joined us to our pre-chosen destination is about 1.25 nautical miles south east of our anchorage. Today the wind is blowing about 20 knots so the dinghy ride was pretty rough. We run down close to the leeward side of the reef in a few feet of water to avoid the wind chop that is building up quickly in the lagoon. It's a rough ride none the less. As we approach the destination way point we see three large dolphins jumping out of the 5-6' waves at the end of reef. Very cool to watch the dolphins frolic as they explode out of the face of the waves and completely clear the next wave crest in their airborne flight of clear joy. We stopped the engine, but the dolphins didn't lend us much attention.

The seas were too rough to anchor the dinghy at our chosen spot so we surf down white foaming crests to a more protected point just behind the end of the reef. Actually, pretty fun stuff to surf on a 11' dinghy.

We did find some nice snorkeling although with the strong wind induced water current it was lots of work to stay close to the dingy. We speared plenty of fish including some tasty trigger fish, grouper and snapper. Later we moved to shallower water and picked up a half a dozen Conch. Not a single lobster of acceptable size was spotted. But, still a perfect day none the less.

Back at the islands we landed at the northern most island and the Columbian marines stationed on the island were happy for the distraction and helped us clean our catch. Super nice guys! They also supplied a dozen shucked coconuts as a take home gift. We offered to bring in some beers for the twelve guys stationed on the island, but the commander said that guns and beers don't mix so thanks, but no thanks. Good policy in action.

It was a bit funny to have several guys armed with loaded machine guns helping/watching you clean your fish and conch.

Later we spun by in the dinghy with Kathy riding on her knees on a boogie board behind the dinghy. Her college water ski team talent showing off a bit. We offered to give the military guys a free ride and they just looked to the commander for approval. He said "no". A tight ship he is running with very disciplined and respectful troops. Oh well, at least we tried to add some extra fun.

For dinner we had s/v Coconut over for a feed of fish and conch. Way to much great food and a great way to end another perfect day.

Looks like the other two boats will leave tomorrow for Panama and we'll have the place to ourselves for the next week or so.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Columbian Coast Guard

August 27, 2009 (9AM)

Position
12* 10' N
081* 50' W

Anchored at Albuquerque Cays

This morning were boarded by Columbian Coast Guard for an brief inspection of our paperwork. They run a open deep-v boat with triple two hundred HP engines that they say goes 48-52 knots. Must be a pretty rough ride going that fast in the swells. Anyway, very nice guys the commander even took off his combat boots while he was aboard. The crew of the patrol boat stood by in full gear including, long pants, combat boot, long sleave shirts, life jackets and ski masks. Not sure why the ski masks, maybe due to the harsh sun all day? I know I got a nice burn yesterday so it could make sense or maybe for wind burn going so fast.

Some interesting stories from the Coast Guard:

1) A sailboat at Albuquerque Cays was stuck by lightning on Sun/Mon? during a severe squall as the last Tropical waved passed by. Not sure if we know the boaters, but hope everyone is OK.

2) The Coast Guard said they found 4 million USD here at Albuquerque Cays burred on the island using drug and money sniffing dogs. Two days ago! A day late and 4 million short. Hmm. Maybe we should get a dog and taking it for lots of potty breaks. Anybody know how to train a dog to sniff for Ben Franklins?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Freshly caught lobster and fish for dinner.

August 26, 2009 (6PM)

Position
12* 10' N
081* 50' W

Just dropped the hook at Cayo Albuqurque, Columbia about thirty nautical miles south of San Andreas.

About one minute after the anchor was down Kathy was in the water hunting for dinner. I quickly followed and after a long swim Kathy spotted a nice big lobster. After harvesting the lobster and handing it off to Kathy my spear gun found another target and we enjoyed an early dinner of lobster and fish at an unmatched level of freshness.

Planning on lots of snorkeling tomorrow and lots of lobsters.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Catching

Albuquerque Cays & Cayo Este Sudeste


One of our next stops is at Albuquerque Cays or Cayo Albuquerque about 20 nautical miles South of San Andreas. We hear that the cays are spectacular. This image is from the international space station. It appears to be oriented 180 degrees out thus, in need of 180 degree rotation.

Here's the route we hope to use. Until we get a chance to edit DO NOT USE THESE WP's.

Albu01 12°11.4829 N 081°52.8750 W
Albu02 12°11.2490 N 081°51.8308 W
Albu03 12°11.2190 N 081°51.7870 W
Albu04 12°10.9550 N 081°51.6862 W
Albu05 12°10.1020 N 081°51.2169 W
Albu06 12°09.9320 N 081°50.9751 W
Albu07 12°09.8640 N 081°50.8288 W
Albu08 12°09.7590 N 081°50.6989 W
Albu09 12°09.7530 N 081°50.4489 W



Another ISS short shows off the pristine Cayo Este Sudeste or ESE Cays about 17 nm to the ESE of San Andreas. This image needs to be rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise.

We hear that visibility is 200' while snorkeling.

San Andres scooter tour

A road rings the island. Our trip was cut short by a huge rain storm so we only went about half way around the island.
Notice huge conch shells that crown this wall.
San Andres roads. Note wrecked boat on shore. There are lots of ship wrecks here including a 300' local supply ship that hit the reef back in January. A local ship and local captain and he still lost the ship to a moment of bad judgment.

Local meal

Island transport

Two adults two kids one moped. Not an unusual sight.
Kathy and a scooter we borrowed for the day.
The most popular mode of transportation on the island of San Andres is motor bikes, busses, walking and cars in that order.