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Anthem Adrift
Incomplete Waste of a Day
02/15/2010, Panamarina, Panama

February 15

Due to limited interest in Carnival around most of US, was able to get train moving for repair and replacement of engine pump and new camera (fried beyond help; may be awhile until pictures catch up with blog). Will get excellent price on new one and frankly deserve a good spanking for not checking voltage. Will endeavor to be more observant henceforth. "Once burned, twice only singed"... slow learner.

In interest of avoiding dubious culinary efforts, dinghied through mangrove tunnel with Michael and Barbara to Hans' restaurant across from Isla Linton for early dinner (Panamarina restaurant is closed until Wednesday). Very nice pulpo (octopus) was enhanced by beer and preparation avoiding any evidence of tentacles.

Yesterday, created permanent installation of 500 watt inverter as backup for new heavy duty Prosine 2.0 inverter/charger still awaiting customs clearance. Earliest likely delivery of same would be Ash Wednesday depending on bureaucratic hangoverage.

Tomorrow should consist of massive boat chores. Regrettably, the best, coolest time to work is before I get up and then it's happy hour.

Jack

Frying More Than Eggs
02/14/2010, Panamarina, Panama

February 14

In organizing (there's that ugly work again) and labeling all electrical connectors, chargers, bits and pieces, managed to attach an identical 12v charger (for DVD player) to new 5v Sealife camera. Oopsie! She be completely dead. Didn't smell, feel or see anything untoward, so hope damage is minor and does not require unit be shipped back to Eastern Slobovia via donkey train at cost only slightly more than original cost of camera.

Despite light wind and solar panels retracted by proprietor, Jean-Paul, after my departure from Panamarina two weeks ago, batteries kept frig frosty and food same general color and flavor. This in no way implies any plan to forgo Silvie's cooking in favor of choking down on-board cuisine. Period of calm to finally end Thursday accompanied by 9 foot seas for expected sail to Shelter Bay Marina at Canal mouth on Friday. In future will have to work on timing.

SSB propagation has been less than optimal for sending these things, but don't look for a reprieve. Have managed to get them out eventually.

Jack

Horsing Around Until Next Week
02/13/2010, Panamarina, Panama

February 13

With new gear and a little time have begun a bit of reorganizing (even with no aptitude, if one keeps at it, something eventually works better... probably). Removed dinghy chaps for repair and restitching by Herve (pretty sure that's French for Harvey). As a large chunk of corrosion had warped aluminum engine mounting plate (in the interest of clarity, the mounting plate, not the engine in this case, is aluminum. This is not to say that the Johnson doesn't have significant amounts of aluminum, just that... never mind) away from transom, removed it to clean, seal and reinstall at some foreseeable future time. Fortunately, dock is rowably (not a real word) close. Also began studying how to operate new Sealife camera. The preceding plus a few other minor activities doesn't seem like much, but it took all day. Tomorrow promises more of the same. The allure of cruising continues to amaze.

Tomorrow night's dining may be at Caballo Loco, literally 'horse crazy'. Assume this term is figurative and menu includes a variety. Restaurant at Panamarina, normally closed on Sunday and Monday, will remain so Tuesday as well for Carnaval (apparently correct spelling), so the specter of eating own cooking rears its ugly head. Speaking of which, did not know rotten potatoes could smell so bad. There are no cool, dry places on a boat down here.

Tentative plan is to head for Shelter Bay Marina, inside west breakwater at Canal entrance, next Friday to begin preparation for transit. Expect shipped boxes will have arrived by then. Also expect a fruit bat to fly out of my ear (second choice of orifice as this is a 'G' rated site) and perform a tap-dance on my nose. Optimism runs high.

Jack

Don't Try This at Home
02/12/2010, Panamarina, Panama

February 12

The prodigal sailor returns to Panama, poorer, yet little wiser. Bringing 150 pounds of mostly boat bits with Delta's help was a two day adventure that required multiple forms of conveyance including the bed of a pick-up truck. Fedex contingent of this "replacement parts for yacht in transit", responsible for 103 pounds, has been in Panama City awaiting government indulgence for 4 days.

Having virtually never closed the sea-cock responsible for allowing cooling water into engine heat exchanger, doing so this time was nearly guaranteed, despite a large note, to cause what happened. Engine is OK, but raw water pump, overheated by dry former impeller, is now flooding bilge with significant amounts of salty liquid. Bugger! Rebuild is possible, but, given that Carnival, just begun today, will last a week, nothing happens until at least next Wednesday. Double bugger!

Another week in Panamarina is no hardship as beer is cold, the Clos boxed wine is drinkable "it's not good, but it's Clos" and Silvie's food is excellent (she's French, you know).

Jack

This Little Piggy
01/28/2010, Panamarina, Panama

Anthem in Panamarina

January 28

Motored over to Panamarina dragging dinghy through pretty impressive seas. Glad not to have waited for sail from San Blas. Wind too strong from bad direction to back into opening between boats with just two, so hung off channel ball until after lunch. Michael (Astarte) played out long bow line, Jean Paul (Panamarina) pushed with dinghy and I reversed into slot. Don't anticipate that much fun departing.

Laundry, promised yesterday and left on Linton side, was dry but not folded (launderess had left for Panama City), so another lady folded while I (multi- tasking... isn't that a woman thing?) helped, drank a beer and contemplated return across rolly bay, through mangroves to moorings. Would have gone straight home, but in passing Astarte was offered more beer. Didn't want to be rude. They had Presidente, not that evil local stuff.

Will live on the edge during absence by letting frig run. If the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow to maintain batteries, box will become a very large petri dish. Also didn't pickle water-maker. This last a function of sloth (See! did get in a deadly sin besides gluttony) and stinginess. Will, however, be crying in my Balboa if this necessitates replacing way pricey membrane. Will think happy thoughts.

Bought (so thought) a camera on-line from Buy.com to replace broken Pentax. After canceling order because computer used was not in US (although I have an account with them and destination was Florida), they neglected notification. Only noticed while checking shipping status. Hope to have sorted it out with Skype call, but delivery is now delayed. Still thinking happy thoughts.

Jack

PS Sayonara for now

Where the Sun Don't Shine
01/27/2010, Isla Linton, Panama

January 27

It's a beautiful thing... so far. Four hours with internet (throughput capacity of ethernet cable was unchallenged) paid bills and stamped a minus sign in checkbook buying boat stuff. Savings take a hit, but what the hey, with social security beginning in March, expect to be living large on vast sums paid out from unlimited stockpile in US treasury lock box... Oh wait, funds are transferred directly from you. Thanks, young American workers, for supporting base of pyramid. Good luck getting to the top. Hey, put the pitchforks down, you helped elect 'em.

Due to total capitulation of roadblocks (money CAN buy happiness), timetable for flight home moves up to Saturday. Panamarina welcomes me in the morning, hotel reserved for Friday night and, assuming seats are available to Atlanta and then Tampa, should be freezing cojones off by Saturday afternoon. Hear temps in the 60s are not unheard of. How do people live like that?

Now (well, not right now) scrambling to pack and prep boat for earlier absence. Getting ducks, chickens and aardvarks in a row would be much simpler with access to a memory. Regrettably, both West Marine and Defender have backorders into the foreseeable future. Anyway, where would you stick the chip?

Jack

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