Born Optimistic

Vessel Name: Bubbles
23 February 2010
19 February 2010 | Panama City
19 February 2010 | MPLS, Miami, P City
19 February 2010 | Rice Lake/Birchwood
Recent Blog Posts
23 February 2010

blog location change

SITE IS CHANGING NAMES...SEE BELOW

19 February 2010 | Panama City

Panamanian Death March

Friday

19 February 2010 | MPLS, Miami, P City

Minneapolis to Panama City

Thursday

19 February 2010 | Rice Lake/Birchwood

It begins

Along with a few other things on my to-do list, I really procrastinated getting this blog started, so bear with me on these first few blogs.

blog location change

23 February 2010
SITE IS CHANGING NAMES...SEE BELOW

We've changed to a new website to make it easier for fellow sailors to find the boat and blog. Since the name of the boat is 'Bubbles' the new address is

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/bubbles/

Thanks,
Ross

Panamanian Death March

19 February 2010 | Panama City
Ross
Friday

I woke up a little late after a long night and went on what I was planned to be a little stroll. I headed towards the new trump tower that's under construction...it's designed to look like a spinnaker and is actually a really good looking building. I tested out the SLR camera that I got and took a little nap in a park on the ocean. I had on a new pair of boat shoes and the stroll quickly turned into torture as blisters began to form. I'm far too cheap to jump in a cab and pay the $5 fare, so I just toughed it out and huffed it back to the hotel (got turned around a few times along the way...which extended the death march a bit). The results were some impressive blisters, so I was walkin a little gingerly later that night and decided to take it easy to get a few things accomplished.

I found some wifi in the casino sportsbook area connected to the hotel which is run by a cool guy named Captain Garcia of the Panamanian Navy...awesome guy who hooked me up with free wifi. There was a 15 piece band jammin about 40 feet away from me and some serious tango dancing going on as I made these posts. Anyway, I had to wake up at 4:30 for my 6am flight to the Kuna Yala to meet up with Alex and my buddy Doug (who is living in Columbia and flew to Cartegena to sail with Alex to Panama City). The Kuna Yala are supposed to be absolutely amazing...the kind of secluded islands you see in movies. I'm flying into Playon Chico and hopefully will get picked up by Alex. The Kuna Yala are inhabited by the native Kunas and they mostly live a very traditional lifestyle (interesting people and worth a quick google search). I won't have internet again until I'm back here in Panama City. I'll get an update posted then.

We should be heading through through the Panama Canal on next wednesday or thursday. I think there is a live webcam, so if you have some time, look for bubbles heading through the canal.

Minneapolis to Panama City

19 February 2010 | MPLS, Miami, P City
Ross
Thursday

Hassan was right on schedule and got me to the airport on time. I had him right a letter in Somali that stated the people on the vessel were friends of Somalia and had many somali friends in Minneapolis. I'm not naive enough to think this would actually deter pirates if the boat is ever around Somali and is approached...but what the heck, it can't hurt. My bag was about 10 pounds overweight, but I had another dufflebag for a backup that I threw somethings in to get me under the weight. I crossed my fingers that nothing important would get wrecked. I had an eventless flight to Miami, and then sat next to a guy who was a professional puppet on string-er on high end cruise ships...guaranteed I'll never meet another guy who does that. I took full advantage of my first class seat, and had a great time. I arrived in Panama around three and all my bags made it fine. I jumped in a cab and crashed at the hotel for a few hours. I was planning on checking out a few bars, but quickly found out that since Carneval ended on Tuesday, there wasn't a Panamanian in the city with a penny left to their name, so it was going to be a quite night in Panama City. I was bored so decided to take a shot. I jumped in a cab and headed down to Calle Uruguayo. Nearly every place was empty, but I found a little place to grab a drink where I absolutely butchered the spanish language attempting to talk to people. I met a few cool Norwegians and right before I was ready to leave, Jeremy Shockey walked in. He's a gigantic dude and his tattoos are sweet, and it turns out a cool guy. We talked for a bit, but it was late so I headed back to the hotel.

It begins

19 February 2010 | Rice Lake/Birchwood
Ross
Along with a few other things on my to-do list, I really procrastinated getting this blog started, so bear with me on these first few blogs.

Wednesday

On Wednesday (2/17), I began a journey that I've been planning for nearly half a year and something that's been in my mind for a few years. I'm heading to panama on 2/18 to eventually meet up with my buddy Alex and begin sailing. The hope is to begin in panama, hit up the galapagos islands, and then head over to the french marquesas to island hop until I need to head back.

So it might sound like I've quit my job and turned into more of a nomad than I've been the last few years, but that's not the case. My company actually has a program that allows employees to take off up to 3 months of work to pursuit other interests or to simply take a break...obviously something I had to take advantage of. Why not take a 3 month break? Right? So that's what I'm doing. I got a taste of the cruising lifestyle last year when I sailed for 15 days through the bahamas (cruisers is the name of people that live full time on their sailboats and just sail the world). I have been fortunate enough to get to travel quite often and the trip through the bahamas was absolutely the best trip I ever had. It's an amazing combination of freedom, excitement, meeting new people, and hardwork that pays off. After that trip, I knew if I had another opportunity, I'd have to go for it.

Along with all of the logistics of planning of a 3 month journey, work got extremely busy (of course), I had to file my taxes, and on top of that I had Lasik surgery scheduled for the Friday before I flew out. I had to talk to the doctors to make sure they thought it was safe jumping on a sailboat so soon after getting the surgery. Thankfully, everything went great and my vision went from nearly legally blind to 20/15...it's ridiculous, I feel like superman. Other than a small problem getting some GPS maps for polynesia, everything came on time and as usual, I started packing around 11:30pm tuesday night and got it all in a bag.

On Wednesday prior to heading to minneapolis, I headed out to the Birchwood Charter School (more on that below), finished off a few final things for work, stopped by the bank to get my accounts all in line, picked up some embroidered boat shirts, and then jumped in the car with my parents to head to Minneapolis for my last Lasik check up....it was a crazy morning. We were a little early, so I was able to swing by REI and pick up a hat. It's probably one of the weirder hats that I've ever bought and looks pretty wild. It has a flap that hangs from the back to cover your shoulders and neck...you'll have to see the pictures and make your own call on it. Anyway, we got the hat and then headed to Crave (where my sister Val works) and I had an amazing New York Strip. My parents said goodbye and then I headed out to uptown for a quick drink with my buddy Andy Bitz.

Thankfully, my buddy Hassan was still awake and he said he'd be able to pick me up at 4:30 for my 6am flight. I headed back to Val's to my favorite couch and got to bed around midnight.

____________________________

Birchwood Charter School

Something else I'm excited about is the work I'll be doing with the Birchwood Charter School. A great highschool friend of mine, Todd Brunclik, is one of two teachers at the school. He invited me to come in and simply discuss what I do for work. He explained to me the concept of the charter school being that the students kind of plan their own projects. So if a student is interested in engines, he could write a paper on engines to get an english credit. I thought it might be cool for the kids to do projects related to sailing or the pacific...and I thought it'd also be fun for me to work with them during the trip. The projects that I've seen so far have started out great, and I think it's going to be fun to work with the students throughout the trip. Some of the students actually got me the information about this blogging site and will be helping me out with maintaining it during the trip.
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Bubbles's Photos -

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