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Anthem Adrift
Cockamamie
03/05/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

Big Chicken

March 5

Cruiser buying frenzy in Panama is due costs reported in SoPac. Bunkering (hey! food is fuel) has become quite fashionable. Accounts of $8 beer in French Polynesia have suds sippers hopping until they can barley walk... Don't mind the odd quaff myself, but it's not really a drug of choice. In related news, Budweiser (carbonated horse whiz) commands a dollar more at restaurants than the good domestic stuff. That's just wrong.

Trish organized a gaggle of oglers to visit Panama Viejo, the old city. Smaller, narrower and more run down than Cartagena, it is in process of rehabilitation (charming restaurants and apartments coexist with ghetto tenements) and, while OK now, should be pretty cool in a few years. Large obelisk with a rooster on top presented intriguing imagery, but no one asked.

Stayed out late consuming veggie pizza and visiting with Bristol Roses after no fooling, I'm not kidding this time, absolutely final on-line purchase, so will now put this disaster to bed. Pacific Puddle Jumpers meeting tomorrow noon will present a reason to get up while excusing absence of productivity.

Jack

Holy Rolling
03/04/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

March 4

Cranked up Honda generator, second outing. Works good, lasts long time. Noise is quite noticeable in saloon, but observation from dinghy at neighbor-boat distances reveals a mere whisper. Have needed the help here every few days as clouds often emasculate panels (that doesn't sound good) and wind is erratic, zero (often) to 20. Unfortunately, when it is up and against tidal current (added to ship induced waves) this anchorage, for extended periods, is a chore.

Normal Gulf and Caribbean anchoring practices, where setting the hook in 15 feet is overkill, when transferred to this side of the divide may occasion the invention of new words for the 'salty' repertoire as tides can run to 20 feet. Sailors with ninos under foot are encouraged to either monitor sea level or explain that speaking in 'tongues' is part of their new religion. Using a tent and snakes may be necessary to convince bright kids older than 4. This extra exertion is dispensable for many U.S. government school attendees until 18... or so.

Today was spent, after assembling drifter during morning wind lull, attempting to inventory and arrange storage for forthcoming visit to Price Mart. Since cash will be necessary, care must be taken to prevent ATM card from metamorphosing into a molten lump during preparation. Visiting the old city with other cruising rabble tomorrow should provide a temporary diversion for us all from hemorrhaging money into provisions and boat parts.

Jack

Behind the Times
03/03/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

Anthem from Miraflores Camera

March 3

Due to flagging priority, blog may have gotten a bit out of kilter. Some wayward posts could be wandering about, causing havoc, in one of the eleven or so super- string dimensions. Hope there's no subsequent unravelling in the fabric of space-time. Just in case, don't look at position reports. According to quantum theory, observing Anthem in La Playita, could cause a simultaneous position change which might result in whiplash. If any of that made the slightest sense, hire a physicist to glare at you with undisguised scorn.

Speaking of sightings, thank you Thierry and Fitz for sending along a few Miraflores pictures (whenever one of them makes it to the blog, we're on starboard - that's the right side, Cal) of Anthem's crew displaying masterful sea and locksmanship. Detail is small, so one has to look really, really closely to see the consummate skill. Mike and Jack (Tyler) are on port and starboard bow, respectively. Patricia and Barbara are working aft, port and starboard.

Lack of an actual memory combined with regrettable loss of Daytimer today has caused yet another wrinkle in the local space, time discontinuum. It's my Linus blanket. Can reproduce look and feel with spare wallet, but notes and calendar insert through April are just a glimmer from a receding past. Shakes should stop by end of March. Everything will be OK again entering May. So... what's on the agenda for tomorrow?

"Time is that quality of nature which keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn't seem to be working." - Anonymous

Jack

Maiden Madness
03/02/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

March 2

Boy, is it nice to be in March. 'February' is awfully difficult to type. Fortunately, it will not be necessary to type February now for 11 months unless February is used in a message or February is in the name of a boat or for some other reason February is necessary. I've just had it with February, because typing the word February just sucks. And who came up with that spelling, anyway?

Wifi gods cast their blessings upon me today by allowing internet at two of what should be three places nearby with the service. After utter failure yesterday when some, but not others, were able to connect to the world, had contemplated the customary virgin/volcano sacrifice. Insurmountable logistical hurdles forestalled that notion and, given today's success, it's probably just as well.

Jackster and Inspiration Lady spent a boat buck each yesterday on provisions at Mega Depot. After already moving the water-line up a foot and a half, Gary (IL) may have to block the scuppers to remain afloat. If Anthem takes on that much, hope anyone considering crewing won't mind bunking atop stove between meals.

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams

Jack

Three Varieties of Sloth
03/01/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

Sloth, the Mammal

February 28

Yesterday was pretty mellow in La Playita de Amador, on causeway/breakwater east of Pacific approach to Canal. Visited with Jackster and Inspiration Lady for awhile, then made acquaintance with Keith, a veterinarian sailing Atalanta, a Cabo Rico 38 "B" plan set up remarkably like Anthem. He is headed to Galapagos in a week or so. Gave me, on a flash drive, cruising guides for: cruiser related stuff in Panama City, Coconut Milk Run (standard, easy way though South Pacific), Equador including Galapagos and French Polynesia including Marquesas. Way cool.

Despite relaxed temper, performed a few productive activities including cleaning boat, disposing of trash/tires and wiring DC outlet near chart table. Oh wait, also ran nylon line through dinghy chap skirt.

March 1

Spent most of today shlepping a computer around Las Brisas and Flamenco, failing to find the working internet connection necessary for numerous reasons. Then tonight, dragged thirty pounds of Caribbean charts and guides to sell during book swap at Balboa Yacht Club. Would have made taxi fare back (typically $2) except for rookie mistake of not asking Cabbie's price before departure. Except for re- covering dink and returning ropes to Stanley, could have just stayed in bed.

A couple of sloths live in a tree near Playita. Unlike their three-toed relatives, who, I am told, are quite feisty, these two-toed guys are very affable. One can imagine the thinking process, "Man, I just don't feel confident with only two saber-toothed-tiger sized claws, but if I had just one more I could really kick butt." How can an animal without hint of a single fast-twitch muscle be mean? Oddly, they remind me of my long gone Uncle Albert with a snoot full.

Jack

Buenos Tardes Oceano Pacifico
02/28/2010, La Playita de Amador, Panama

Barabara in Miraflores Locks

February 28

Ran through down locks tied to steel boat (at their request as was told) that had pulled out Amel's cleat. We insisted on being controlling boat so as to take full credit for any spectacular disaster. Ricardo, our excellent second-day advisor, did a masterful job of coordination, although he tended to micro-manage heading, virtually in single degrees, to stay lock center. This tendency was probably irrelevant to his eventually, self-admitted poor depth perception.

We entered Miraflores locks (the ones with an internet camera) around 1245, earlier than expected, and bobbed into denser Pacific water about 1330. Departing last lock, standing beneath protecting bimini, I experienced uncomfortable dampness from great crocodile tears while watching crew work lines and break apart raft in a torrential rain shower. The thoughtless miscreants then dripped water all over cockpit. Would have docked their pay had there been any.

Reunion dinner at Ranchita restaurant with numerous previously transiting buddies resulted in a raucous good time and, as has been alleged, but not confirmed, considerable consumption of adult beverage. After a relatively early night, my four crew left early this morning for journey back to, respectively, Shelter Bay and Panamarina.

May see a transit from deck level next week unless Jack & Patricia ("Whoosh") can find a line handler who is actually competent. Otherwise will have opportunity to dodge lead-weighted, sender line monkey fists (no actual monkeys are harmed during this procedure) and sail across the continent twice in a week.

The entire experience was, gratifyingly, both fascinating and uneventful.

Jack

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