Friday, 30 March 2007

Setting Off from the Las Perlas Islands to The Galapagos Islands

I'm about to begin my first passage - Las Perlas Islands to The Galapagos Islands. 900 nautical miles. Very light winds being reported so it may take 10 days. That's 10 days at sea with no land! The night watches have been posted - 2 hours about. No more than 2 hours continuous sleep - wow, does Bobby know us girls need their beauty sleep?!! ; )

We are ready to go! We've had a week relaxing; unspoiled beaches, games of ultimate frizzbee, kayaking, drinking fresh coconuts, chilling on our hammocks rigged to the bow, spent drunken nights with fellow cruisers & gorged on freshly caught fish. Its been a "to do list" free week! That's not to say we haven't been busy! I've read my "how to sail" book (kind of important I know!) Refreshed my memory on how to furl & unfurl the sails. Learnt the basic's on our navigation softwear so I can plot our position. Been instructed on how to use the SSB radio to listen & check in with other boats. Sorted through the 1st aid kit & learnt how to put in a UV drip (had a few injury moments to test our first aid knowledge; Bobby cut his head open & I mashed up my big toe. Parents - no need for panic we are alive & kicking!).

Gone through the man over board procedure & how to use the auto pilot. I've cranked Bobby up the mast, whilst unfurling the main sail, its true girls can multi task! Its a roller furling main - to you & I that means the big sail gets put away by being rolled inside the mast! It got jammed when we were in Panama City but is now running free again! I've begun polishing the cockpit, cleaning Barraveigh of all the ground in city dirt - I didn't get the nickname Monica for nothing!
On top of all that we had stowaways to care for. We hadn't realised, a bird had set up home in the boom during our stay in Panama City. When left we orphaned 3 chicks. A major operation then begun to free them. 5 hours later, with tools constructed from kitchen utensils, extendable boat hooks & water pumps, we safely recovered 3 chicks plus their nest. We duly took on the role of surrogate parents. They weren't keen on my culinary delights of oats soaked in milk & chirped demands for dog food which we delivered on a cocktail stick - yummy! We enjoyed our adopted chicks & even had a drinks party in their honour. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be & they didn't make it. We miss their chirps to Bobby's whistles but neither of us miss the early morning feeds. Full respect to all you parents out there!

I'm off the enjoy the last few hours in our present anchorage; views of untouched beaches & pelicans diving for their breakfast.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

goodbye Panama City.....again!

You will be forgiven for being a little confused after my previous update with plans to set sail. The oil pressure prob turned out to be more than just a day’s work. Bobby spent the week getting up close & personal with his engine, covered in oil & $ signs flashing before his eyes. He worked hard, stayed calm & positive, & has been lucky. The problem was a connection to the oil pump, there is no damage to either the engine, or the oil pump. Its all fixed & better than ever. The mechanic, Joe is a god & to the fellow cruisers who generously gave their assistance, a huge thank you.
We are finally out of here! Only six weeks behind the original plans & over a week behind our previous schedule! Topping & tailing engine bits, visiting the veg market for all our fresh provisions, last minute laundry, filling tanks with gas (petrol for us Brits!) & water plus we needed to zarpay again (check out with port captain & immigration) were our tasks today as well as another 100 tasks. Its been a shattering day & I’m looking forward to climbing into bed.
During all the engine dismantling, I took myself off to Isla Taboga, an hour from Panama City for a few days. I needed some long overdue Suzi time on the beach with a good book & my ipod. Taboga is a small quaint island village. I slummed it in the hostel & splashed out for breakfast at the islands only hotel, on a gorgeous balcony over looking the sea – very picturesque if you didn’t look at the huge fishing boats & container ships in the far distance! It was a well needed break to recharge my batteries & find some positive thinking – I was beginning to feel like a resident of Panama City after being here for so long!!
Although we are looking forward to saying goodbye I’ll sure it won’t be long before we are missing the things that have been on tap here & dreaming of the cinema with the latest movies, ice cream, fresh fruit & veg & restaurants!
I have enjoyed my time here, it’s been hard work & non stop, we’ve had some fun times but I'm looking forward to the reward.... learning how to sail & of course the beaches!!!

change of itinerary!

Due to the delays we have had to amend the itinerary.
The new plans are to sail to the Las Perlas Islands (Panama) & spend 5 days sailing around the islands. From here we will be going direct to the Galapagos Islands. Unfortunately we have had to skip our plans to travel around mainland Ecuador. We have run out of time & the good winds for the South Pacific crossing won’t wait for us!

Thursday, 8 March 2007

we are ready to go!

The long awaited anchor chain arrived on Tuesday. A day later than planned but hey it’s already 3 months late so what’s another 24 hours!! All 200 foot is in the locker! Hopefully Bobby has connected it. Wouldn’t be a great start to drop anchor & find we aren’t attached!

Barraveigh is now fully stocked with groceries & more importantly alcohol! We officially have more rum than water onboard! - don’t panic Mum, its only because we haven’t filled the water tanks yet! I lost count of the number of taxis we filled with groceries (& of course the all important toilet paper!!). I have worked hard storing all our goodies & keeping a log of where I have put everything. Bobby has worked hard modifying the boat, ensuring the crates I filled, are fastened down so they don’t move about in our calm seas – yes I’m still kidding myself that it’s going to be a calm, flat sail!!
The last of the shopping was completed yesterday at the market. Thoroughly regretted buying 3 pineapples, a watermelon, cabbages, potatoes etc. I had forgotten my personal bag carrier…Bobby was back on the boat! I stuggled to pick everything up! I think my arms have stretched after carrying them to the taxi & down the pier! If only there was a way to stretch my short legs! ; )

We spent a day scrubbing all the black soot & dirt off the outside of the boat. I cranked Bobby to the top of the mast with a pressurised water sprayer roped to his back, & he cleaned the mast on his way down! I couldn’t move far from the mast in case the rope slipped so it was fun trying to avoid the dirty water raining down on me!!
We were on course to leave today but the dock has run out of fuel so we are presently awaiting the next fuel delivery. Further bad luck this morning when Bobby discovered a problem with the oil pressure in the engine. A mechanic is on his way over to check it out & we are sat with our fingers crossed that it is something minor.

We are both feeling incredibly frustrated, but trying to hold onto what is slowly becoming a distant memory; sailing into a beautiful flat anchorage, diving off the boat & swimming in crystal clear water with palm trees on a beautiful sandy beach.
Positive thinking…we will be sailing out of here on Saturday!

bobby becomes a writer

Bobby has become a paid writer! Does that makes me a kept woman?.....not sure he’ll be able to write enough to see to my expensive tastes! ; )
Check out Click on "EscapeArtist travel magazine" (under the title in the centre “Magazines”), Bobby’s article is posted under the title “Letters from the Blue Water”. He’ll be writing monthly & is presently writing his second instalment.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

two cultures divided by a common lanuage

who would have thought that two people from English speaking countries would have so many difficulties communicating with each other!!
below is a list of words & their meanings. I have to admit that most the words causing problems are British slang!! credit to Bobby for looking enthusiastic when I tell him I’m cooking shepherds pie for dinner & he has no idea what I’m talking about! (no shepherds are killed in process of making this meal!)

shepherds Pie – minced meat with mash potato on top
bubble & Squeak – a meal which uses most leftovers from a roast dinner

arse – ass
tea towels – dishtowels
loo roll – toilet paper
washing up liquid – dish detergent / dish soap
leads – cables / cords
minced meat – ground beef
biscuits – cookies
catarrh – flem (don’t even ask how we came about this one!)

squiffy – tipsy
squwhiff – askew
yonks – a long time
poorly – not feeling well
stroppy – moody
dappy – dizzy / a bit dippy
gassing – talking / chatting
tat – junk
naff – no good
sirrup – wig
big girls blouse – not being manly