Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Monday Nov 23, 2009
We woke up to find our boat plastered with white smelly goo. I quickly found something else to work on while Sherrell cleaned it up. I'm always amazed how much crap those sea birds carry around, it's a wonder they can fly.
On our way from Drake's Bay we did a lot of upwind sailing and motoring. To add to our anguish we had to fight a 1 to 1.3 knot current. But later in the evening the wind quiet, the seas calmed down and the current changed. When life was looking good, the squalls rolled in on us. They were small and didn't pack much punch, but you never know. It's enough to keep you on your toes and hope that lightening doesn't strike. As we approached the bay there was a wide array of flashing lights. And that means trouble. Fishermen had set long lines out, but there is no way to tell which end is which, so you have to just charge ahead. I caught two of them and had to pop them loose with our boat hook in the dark.
Nonetheless, we arrived in Bahia Ballena and are now happly anchored. Jordan is sniffing the new smells and waiting for the birds to try to land. Now to catch up on some lost sleep....
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Posted on Sunday Nov 22, 2009
We spent about 5 days touring the Golfo Dulce to see some of the places we hadn't seen before. One of those places was Casa Orquedea. This botanical garden is packed with all kinds of plants, fruits, herbs and veggies. We got our first glimpse of the Firey-Billed Tucan and some great photos. The additional bonus is we can now update the guidebook with the best anchoring spots (yes there is a good spot!) and the exact location of the garden. We also checked out a wildlife refuge along the coast and bought some bagels in Jimenez.
The swell has been too small to try surfing so we skipped those plans and headed back out into the ocean. The winds and currents weren't very kind to us so after about 14 hours we decided to stop for the night in Drake's Bay. It was a bit rolly but pretty calm compared to the last time we were there.
Sherrell is outside trying to take a picture of a booby (that's a bird gutter-brain) who keeps trying to land on our boat but can't manage the dynamics of approach/landing. Our goal is about 25 hours away at Bahia Ballena where we will rest a bit and then go into the Nicoya to visit one of the last islands we didn't see on our trip through Costa Rica last time.
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Posted on Tuesday Nov 17, 2009
We found it difficult to leave Golfito and our friends there but Costa Rica's customs keeps a tight tab on how long we can be in the country before they want us to pay a huge amount of tax. Our summer in Golfito was probably one of the best. We had a great time there and got a lot of work done on the boat too.
Now we are across the Golfo Dulce in Puerto Jimenez doing some last minute shopping (they have bagels here) before we check out a couple new spots and start heading north again.
Since we will be underway most of the time our access to the internet will be limited and sporadic. We will post updates to the slog while we are underway as usual via radio email.
Posted on Sunday Nov 8, 2009
This little project started with a "Wouldn't it be nice if this table leaf was about 3" narrower?" Almost two months later it's done. Sure it only took about three days to remove the molding, formica, and cut the table leaf. But why settle with average? A local artist, Tari of Galeria Bambu, offered to do some painting for us in trade for watching her house. So why not paint our Sarana (chocolate lily) flower on our table? It sure beats the yellow formica!
We destroyed her first attempt because our epoxy coating didn't cure. Three weeks wasted. After drinking about 3 beers each (a lot for us) we angrily stripped it and then sat around depressed. Tari, probably feeling bad for us, generously offered to paint it again. Her second effort turned out beautiful too and the glass-like epoxy finish hardened properly. It looks so cool.
After not having a table for a long time, we were excited to install it and take some photos.
One leaf open.
Both leaves open.
Table up and put away. It looks really really good! Thanks TARI! See her website and check out her paintings. http://costarica-art.com/default.html
Posted on Saturday Nov 7, 2009
Over Sherrell's birthday we took a trip to Panama to buy a year's supply of her cancer meds, do some shopping and maybe celebrate a little. Getting her medicine has been an ordeal because the credit card won't work in the hospital scanner. These meds aren't sold in many places so we've been desperate to get this to work. Really this is our second attempt to buy them because last time we were here they had the same problem. On Sherrell's b-day the plan was to swipe the card then head to the mountains. No go. After trying a few machines they found one in the hospital that worked. Despite trying to arrange this weeks ago, they still didn't have the stock we needed. So we paid for everything and they were going to airfreight them from Panama City. I really tried to get this setup before we got there, but I think they thought we were trying to scam them or something since the card didn't work when we tried to buy them earlier. So we spent Sherrell's b-day arguing with the pharmacy. To make it up to her, I decided we should rent a car. With a car we could do our shopping, then lug all our stuff around up into the mountains, return to get the medicine, then get a cab to the border back to Costa Rica. I'm really glad we splurged. We drove up towards Boquete and found a fantastic used book store that was one of the best we've seen since Seattle! We drove up and up to Boquete, through the so-so town and up into the hills. The narrow winding roads, oxygen rich clean air and the greeeeeeen pine forests were a healing change. Breathing in the cool air and enjoying the waterfalls was a blast. We had so much fun driving through the hills and rivers we forgot our troubles.There was a hot springs too in Caldera, so we drove out there through rough dirt roads (poor rental car). We hiked into the hot springs and in 20 minutes felt cured. It was soooo nice letting the hot volcanic water bubble up all around us.
Returning to Golifto reminded us of all the work we needed to finish. We repaired our outboard. I had to use marine-tex epoxy and stainless parts to build a new carburetor bowl (took 4 days). Our oars needed to be stripped, dried out, epoxy sealed and painted (took 3 days). I did some spying for Land Sea on their network to try to catch someone sharing illegal files which caused them to have their internet access blocked for a few days. We re-epoxied our table (try #2) after Tari repainted everything again (please cure stupid epoxy)! Oh the list goes on - repaired a deck leak that ruined some cook books, cut and sanded about 60 wood plugs from the mast/table modifications, we did....
Last but not least, I pimped out our website to google ads. I know it sucks. Our homepage now has a string of ads somewhat related to our site's theme. I only did this because I found out that other people are actually making money doing it. So if you see an ad that looks interesting don't be shy, click it. We earn a little moo-lah off that click. It's a brave new world. I might add them to this page too (depressing sigh).
Posted on Friday Oct 23, 2009
So I was reading this dramatic story on the internet about how a scientist has found a way to literally turn "life" on and off. Seriously. He found a way to prevent cellular damage caused by rapidly dropping oxygen levels (i.e. irrecoverable death). Basically he uses a poison to stop the damage from lack of oxygen. Then the organism "dies" without any cellular damage, only to be "restarted" again later, sometimes several hours later. He is working on ways to extend this technique to larger and larger animals, like us humans. So you could clinically be dead while they operate on you (or your dead body at least), then when the time is right...BAM! Re-animation! IT LIVES!
I was thinking that if scientists can switch life on and off, why can't I stop things from breaking on the boat? At least for a while. It seems that fixing them doesn't really help as things break faster than I can fix them. Maybe there is a way to stop this entropy for a while so the boat stays suspended. I can fix everything then have a beer to celebrate being done, before I turn entropy back on and something breaks.
Well, so much for fantasy and procrastination...back to work.
Posted on Sunday Oct 11, 2009
Our "side project" of painting the mast turned out to be a HUGE amount of work. But after hours and hours of sanding and layering paint on the oxidized spots, it took only an hour with the sprayer to put 3 final coats on the mast. The results look really good. Here's a photo of the mast after we moved it from under the roofed building and we're getting ready to hoist it. I'm at the end hooking up the antenna and windex and Robert, Kelita, Dana and Steven look at our sparkly paint job.
We managed to wrestle it back onto the boat without breaking anything or even scratch the new paint. And what a relief! The new compression supports are nice and solid. We pulled a chain plate and the bolts just to inspect them and they all looked good. Now I'm in the process of re-tuning the mast as things have changed slightly after the compression post work and it all sitting in the yard for a while. I installed a LED tricolor/anchor light and rigged our steaming/bow light so that for the first time EVER we will have a working deck light.
The great part is we are almost finished with our 3 month bonding period with Costa Rica Customs, so we will be able to get another 3 month cruising permit and be free.
A big thanks to all those who helped us get the mast back on:
Tim - LANDSEA
Robert & Kelita -- S/V FREEDOM
Steven & Darusha -- S/V SCREAM
Dana -- S/V VIDA LIBRE
Posted on Saturday Oct 3, 2009
I was back in the US helping out my family and visiting when I received an email detailing how tragedy strikes instantly. The tsunami in the Samoas wiped out villages, boats and a friend of ours. Dan and his wife Joan gave us some great touring advice for northern Peru when we were anchored in Ecuador together. Dan was swept from the boat and drowned. It is so sad.
Another boat we know was swept though the town and all torn up. The owner was forced to grab what he could and abandon it to looters who were harrassing him.
It reminds me that sometimes even if things seem bad, they could be a lot worse and it could happen in an instant. Be happy for right now.
Posted on Sunday Sep 20, 2009
With the mast down we have been slaving on the boat. Weeks of work and the compression post is finally finished! There was a subtle problem with how the boat was orginally built and over the past 32 years things started to compress. The mast applies a downward force on the deck that is blanced by a compression post below (shown in brown). Unfortunately our compression post (strong teak) was mounted on top of a plywood sub-floor and ceiling (shown in light blue). The plywood compressed slightly over time and shifting the post.
I no likey. Here's how it was built with the orignal on top and new-improved construction on the bottom:
Step 6,039 was to pull off the compression post, table, wiring, molding, and just about everything that looked nice.
Anyway, step 10,104 was to cut out the compressed ceiling and fiberglass it. I should mention I no likey fiberglassing overhead. This foto shows the area that needs to be cut out and glassed.
This photo shows the sub-floor that needs to be replaced with something stronger. Purple heart was the wood I used as it is hard as concrete.
Our compression post isn't right under the mast, which is a bit odd. Due to the inside structures we couldn't move the post to the center, so I distributed the force using a 1/4" thick peice of stainless steel...very heavy duty.
In this photo, step 12,600, you can see the new (purple) sub-floor under the compression post. I haven't cleaned up the area yet, but things are coming together.
After building some new molding that fit flush to everything and reinstalling most of it. Step 14,212 was to take a photo of the almost finished work.
Now we just need about 50 teak plugs and our table back to finish this project. We decided to cut our table to a more narrow size and rip off the tacky formica. We have an artist working on a cool painting for our table top! It's going to look so fantastic!
Posted on Monday Sep 14, 2009
While doing all this sanding and manual labor my thoughts have wandered to strange happenings. Like these Tea Party people. WTF? Where have these people been living? Oh, let's see where have we seen rapid government expansion?
"We have now presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society," said Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate vying to replace Mr. Bush 2004.So now they are pissed that there is going to be health insurance reform? Things seem to be getting pretty crazy. They've degraded to the point where people don't think Obama is an American? Why didn't these crackers ask to see the birth certificate from Bush, Clinton, Other Bush, Reagan, etc.? It sounds like some of these people just can't handle a minority president and refuse to see logic or reason. Nevermind each presidental canidate is required to be US-born by law.... Check out these people.