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A three year long habit...broken.

Posted on Thursday Jul 30, 2009

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A great way to save money is not to use a dock or a mooring ball and just anchor. Well, we started slowly breaking the habit. We did some work for trade of a buoy here in Golfito for a few months. That was nice and I didn't have to scrub the anchor chain every couple of weeks or so. But now we've really moved up -- to a dock! We are required to bond our "vehicle" to avoid paying a customs tax on the value of the "vehicle". This law is meant for cars and trucks. But not knowing what to do with boats, they decided it should apply too.

The trouble is the only places that can bond in Golfito are marinas. Very expensive marinas. We did negotiate a rate, and we only have to do it for 3 months before we can get a new cruising permit. So we've been saving money to average out the stupidly high marina costs. We should still be able to average under our budget for the year...we hope!

Here's a picture of us at the dock, breaking a 3 year long habit of anchoring. I waited until some rain was coming to take the photo. Notice our full on gypsy appearance? We even have a clothes line on blocks rigged on the foredeck because having your laundry done is super expensive too!

I've taken to jogging up the jungle mountain nearby with Sherrell (who walks) and Reilly (a dog who runs). We do that about 2-3 times a week and we put our bicycles back together. Yes! The same crappy bikes from Ecuador which we rode in Panama too! They still work despite being wrapped in plastic on our deck and sailed about 700 miles.

Here's a view of Golfito from on top of the jungle mountain.

Here's some photos from a nearby anchorage to remind us of what waits once our 3 months are up and the rainy season has calmed down.

One REALLY BAD thing about being at the dock is keeping Jordan from going bonko on the dock and racing around other boats. We put a harness on her and tie her to a little cat run we made so she can hang out on deck, but not escape. You can see she's doing alright.

There are ships which bring boats in and drop them off. Imagine having the money to ship your boat around to wherever you want to be, then flying in all big shot like and using it after you've paid some guys to clean it up and sort it all out for you. Well it happens more than I thought. Got an extra $15,000-$30,000 you can be cool too. The first day we arrived we passed a Yacht Path ship loading up a sailboat. Look closely and you'll see the sailboat sticks out over both sides of the ship. If the owner only knew...haha.

We have had a great time here so far. There are TONS of animals around in the jungle and even in the water. One day a dolphin put on a show right by our boat!

Well not much more to write really. I'm trying to give some English lessons to a friend who wants to learn. Our radar is still broken, but we might have parts coming to Maryland. I'm (Eric) am going back to the East Coast to visit family in Sept. It will be my first time back in the US since 2004...yikes!

We are going to keep working on the boat and getting ourselves organized now that we can use the dock space which is an added bonus, along with power and water. But we both would prefer to be out on the anchor or even the mooring again.

A whole pile of pictures

Posted on Friday Apr 24, 2009

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We've gone through our photos and have created slide shows of them to share with everyone. You can either go to our home page and see the list of new stories or you can follow each of the links here.

Photos from our time in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador

Photos from travel in Ecuador

Photos from travel in Peru

Photos from crusing Colombia

Photos from transiting the Panama Canal (on Moondancer)

Is that mast on jacks?

Posted on Tuesday Apr 21, 2009

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Sometimes we have to find creative solutions to solving problems. In this case our mast sits on our deck and inside there are wires that run through the deck to the inside of the boat. All fine and good until one day it started leaking and we had a waterfall inside our boat. So how do you lift a mast without a crane or two boats tied on each side to hoist it? Well, we decided to try to jack it up.

I built some supports and then tied the mast fore and aft at the base, just in case it tried to move. Then we took off the sails, boom, and anything that added weight to the mast. When we were ready, we loosened all the stays as much as possible, and we started jacking each jack (one on each side) slowly. After we raised it about 2-3 inches we could clean out the old sealant, then we blocked and moved each jack one at a time to clean each side and then reseal it with new sealant.

It seems to be keeping the water out so far. We're pretty excited that for about $25 bucks for the jacks we probably fixed the problem. Now we are cleaning up all the gear and repainting everything to protect it from oxidizing.


We spent the night anchored off a peninsula called Bruica and it was nice because we actually got to use our own guidebook to navigate there!

However we're getting a bit anxious for civilization and our garbage and laundry is really piling up so we spent the night and bolted in the morning to Golfito where I'm now writing this message. It was a long trip full of very sloppy waves and my body aches from the loooong day. But Golfito itself is very calm and it is so nice just to anchor and enjoy a cold drink.

{GMST}08|04.630|N|82|50.950|W|Good spot

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weird to be back again

Posted on Saturday Apr 11, 2009

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This post contains a GPS location. Click here to see it on the map.

Almost a year ago to the day we departed this anchorage for that fateful 7 day passage to Ecuador. The one where we helped two another boat about 300 miles.

Anchoring here alone it seems like such a long time ago -- another age. Yet here we are again. I didn't think I'd be back, but sometimes you never know the path you're going to take.

This little island is pretty protected and there is a fresh water stream so we might do a little laundry. Other than that, we'll probably rest a day before starting the hops to Golfito.

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14 miles of dead fish

I'm no biologist, but it seems something is seriously wrong when you run into a bunch of baby fish (fry) that are dead. At first we thought, hmm...lots of dead little fish and they sure do stink but after about 3 miles of dead fish we began to wonder if this was going to hamper our snorkeling in Islas Secas. I jokingly said, "It can't be like this for another 11 miles." But it was a carpet of dead fish for 14 miles. There must have been 10 million of them. As we got closer the island they were floating belly up in big clouds swirling on the water.

It seemed to just be small fish of all the same type. I scooped some up as we sailed by and found they still had signs of the egg yoke so they were probably quite young. Something in the water? I don't know but swimming in dead fish stew didn't sound like fun, even if the water was ok. It's too bad to because everyone raves about the snorkeling at Las Secas.

Not to miss trying it, I jumped in, but the visiablity wasn't very good. There is a lot of coral and fish which was a surprise, but the spectre of dead fish stew kept me from staying in the water long.

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Ensenada de Rosario

Well, I tried my hand at working on 2 more generators and a second attempt at a third, but I had no luck. No one seemed to be to disappointed and they appreciated my work. I did get a VHF radio wired up and got some LED lights working, so I wasn't a total failure. Part of the problem is there are no parts around here. One generator needs a new field controller and another has some burnt out wires on the rotor and the third was quite a mystery why we couldn't get the engine running. It's too hot for lights anyway, right?

We said goodbye to Domingo and his family and a few of the others we met and took off to see some more of the coast. According to our charts we are anchored on top of a 450' hill. Stupid charts.

The coast here is beautiful and full of islands, jungles, beaches, and howler monkeys. We're both surprised at how nice this part of the coast is. The water is also very clear which adds to the effect. We are slowly working our way back to Costa Rica and with the water Domingo gave us we should be able to meander our way there at our standard pace without having to go to a city or somewhere with a reliable water supply.

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Fountain of Youth

Posted on Wednesday Apr 8, 2009

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Ever heard of someone loosing 20 years off their age in one day? We've been getting to know this family that lives here in Bahia Honda. I've been working on their generator, VHF radio, LED lights and Sherrell has been busy reversing time. She was talking with Domingos wife who insisted she was 90 years old. At some point in the discussion she disappears and brings out her ID card which shows her birthday on 1949. Sherrell then explained to her that she was only 60 years old, but rather than being pleased she seemed a bit distraught. She said Domingo told her she was 90. Since Domingo is a bit older looking than her we wondered if something more
complicated was going on. Sherrell is a trouble maker.

We haven't got much work done on the boat. Our radar is still not working right. I think it needs a new cable. That's going to be expensive to get shipped down. Domingo did offer to let us take water from his property which he has plumbed running water from a creek high up in the hills. It is very clean and we were able to replenish our water supply so now we have lots of water on the boat again!

This is a great bay to hang out in. The only draw back is it is removed from any supplies. There is a small hotel here which runs to Puerto Mutis once a week, but that's it. Too bad because I could spend a lot of time in this bay. The small store in the village just doesn't have enough supplies to keep us demanding gringos fed properly.

Domingo took us on a tour of a indigenous village where his wife comes from. You can only enter at high tide through a maze of mangroves. It is a stark contrast to go from the skyscrapers of Panama City to the mud huts in these towns. The village was fullof curious people who chatted with us and often offered us food. They have a proper school, a little Catholic Church, a store and
naturally a solar powered satellite pay phone. The trip was interesting and we got to meet some more of Domingos family and friends. But birth-control would do this places a world of good as 12 kids is really a bit much. Hey Pope are you listening?

On other news, the Tehuantapec is forecast to blow at hurricane force. I don't think it has ever developed a storm that strong this late in the season

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Bahia Honda Village

Everyone told us how cool bahia honda is, but in reality it's hot -- very hot. Right now we are reading 97F in the boat and not much wind. We decided to try to anchor off the village to see what the scene is like there and visit the stores. It's your typical case of dropping the anchor and having a pile of shy kids show up in dug out canoes trying to sell fruit and ask a ton of questions. Then you go into town and have another pile of kids yell candy candy candy. After being told there's no candy they quickly switch tactics to money money money. We did get a couple of cold sodas, watched a guy take his pig for a swim (too cool off), and had some drunk guys invite us to beers (rather boisterously). No luck on finding bread or veggies. There is supposed to be some guy in a panga who sells stuff to cruisers, but maybe he isn't around.

It is a bit noisy off the town because the restaurant is cranking their obligatory music so we'll probably move to a quieter part of the bay. We glimpsed another cruising sailboat but they left from the other side of the bay just about the time we anchored off the town. There is one other sailboat over there but I'm not sure anyone is on it. There sure aren't many boats cruising the coast. We've hardly seen anyone.

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Isla Santa Catalina

Just a short 15 mile up from Isla Cebaco is Isla Santa Catalina. We arrived to find massive swells and brave surfers trying to ride them. They are way to big for me to try and the bottom is pretty rocky. Because of the large swell we don't think we can make it easily into the little town which is a bummer because we would like to pick up some supplies and maybe eat out.

Despite the pretty beach and the fairly protected anchorage we will probably head out tomorrow morning because I won't be surfing those giants.

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