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SV Kokomo - Denny & Becky
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Attack in the Anchorage
Becky/88 degrees, rain & sunny
07/10/2012, Bocas del Toro

We have received several e-mails regarding the armed robbery where we are at. We are fine. We have been told this hasn't happened in at least 5 years. This sailboat is anchored just outside the marina. Before we moved into the marina, we were anchored next to this boat. This couple is in their 70's that do canvas work and have only been here a couple weeks. Security has been increased at the marina and they are talking about adding security to the anchorage. A $500 reward for the capture has been posted. The locals are upset, they need us cruisers to come to their town and spend money. The cruisers are gathering together this Saturday for a fundraiser for the couple. The marina has offered to move their boat into the marina, free of charge. Many of the cruisers are helping out however they can. We are all stunned and saddened.

Article below from the Panama Guide:

By DON WINNER for - A pair of armed and dangerous assailants brutally attacked an American couple last night aboard their sailboat anchored in the "South Anchorage" of the Bocas Marina, next to Isla Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro in the Republic of Panama. The attack started after midnight last night, during early morning hours today, Sunday, 8 July 2012. The assailants pulled up next to the couple's sailboat at 1:00 am early this morning in a typical Panamanian wooden cayuco. The two assailants boarded the sailboat, held the couple at gunpoint, and tied them up. They ransacked the boat and stole everything of value, including cameras, electronics, a computer, cash, and jewelry. The attack lasted at least two hours, during which time the victims were assaulted and brutalized. The victims were finally able to put out a call for help on the radio at 3:30 am in the morning, after the assailants had left.

A Description Of The Assailants: The two men are described as skinny, black men, medium height, and short hair. They spoke both English and Spanish. During the assault one of them called the other by the name "Emilio." The victims say the men had a "Jamaican accent" but it's unlikely they were actually from Jamaica. It's much more likely the attackers are from the Afro-Panamanian community in the area of Bocas del Toro. Many of the members of the "Afro-Antillean" community are West Indian immigrants from Trinidad, Barbados, Martinique and Jamaica, brought to Panama in order to build the Panama Canal in the early 1900's. There are several concentrated communities of Panamanians who are members of this "Afro-Antillean" community, specifically on Isla Bastimentos and on other islands in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.

Dinghy Recovered: The assailants took the sailboat's dinghy when they left. After dawn this morning someone spotted a dinghy floating free off of the coast of Isla Carenero. Someone swam out and recovered the dinghy. It's possible (assumption on my part) the assailants took the dinghy in an attempt to keep the victims from being able to leave their boat, and they simply abandoned it near Isla Carenero as they made their escape in their own cayuco.

Police Report Filed: The victims have filed a complaint with the National Police in Bocas del Toro. The woman was taken to the hospital.

A Possible Earlier, Related Attempt? There is a report that some would be assailants - possibly these same two men - tried to board another sailboat at 10:30 pm last night, on Saturday 7 July 2012. Reported these would-be victims were able to "repel" that boarding attempt, and nothing else happened. I suspect the DIJ detectives will be investigating and comparing the details to determine or confirm if the two events are related. It seems like too much of a coincidence to think they might not be related in some way.

Editor's Comment: Obviously this is a very serious attack. I've passed this information along to my contacts in the highest levels of the Panamanian government, as well as the Panamanian news media. I'm sure the National Police and the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) on Isla Colon will be doing their jobs to investigate this case, identify and find the culprits, and to bring them to justice. It's bad that this happened. From what I understand this couple had only been in Panama for a couple of weeks, and the cruiser community is burning up the networks discussing this situation. The Panamanian government, law enforcement, security, and judicial authorities are aware of the situation, and they know that the best thing they can do now is to find and punish the culprits as quickly as possible. If you have any information you think might be related to this investigation or of value, you can report it to the National Police, the DIJ, the FBI, or if you would like a confidentiality firebreak - send it to me. And, I'm sure the community of English speaking expatriates in Bocas del Toro will band together to help and support the victims. For now, let's focus on catching the bad guys. Please spread the word.

Putting the Yanmar into KOKOMO
Denny/88 degrees, cloudy
07/09/2012, Bocas del Toro

Big day on Kokomo, the engine leaves the fuel dock and goes into the boat. My careful planning worked and the engine went right into place. I drilled a few holes in the engine mounts and bolted the engine in place. Now we will work on getting everything hooked up. The exhaust hose is coming on Tuesday. This will present the next big challenge. I'm sure were up to the task.

Life is good on Kokomo!


07/10/2012 | Rob Crone
Along with the proper safety equipment, I see you were using your calabrated torque arm on those transmission attach bolts
Bugs Love Me
Becky/88 degrees sunny
07/08/2012, Bocas del Toro

I'm allergic to no-see-um and mosquitoes. Denny and I can be in the same place and he doesn't always get bit, but when he does, he gets tiny red dots, which don't bother him and disappear in a day. Me, on the other hand, get red welts for mosquitoes and water blisters for no-see-ums which last for a week or longer. When we were in Portobelo, I got these bites on my hands and feet that were blood blister bites. They all itch like crazy. Marina's are the worst for bugs. If I stay on the boat, I'm pretty good; it's when I go off the boat. Right now, I feel like I have the chicken pocks all the time. Denny calls me "lumpy".

I went on the internet and found a description of a no-see-um and things people have done to prevent getting bit and what they've done for relief after getting bit. I read that they are plentiful in Florida. The following is a description of a no-see-um: Adult biting no-see-ums are grayish in color with distinct wing patterns, but it is hard to see the details with the naked eye. When biting, or when they are resting, the wings are folded, scissor-like over the abdomen. The eyes on each side of the head are black and the biting mouth parts protrude forwards and downwards. Eggs are minute, cigar shaped and mostly black in color.

To prevent from getting bit, I've tried:

Light up coils (photo above) (helps, we have one lit from 3 pm-11pm)
Skin so soft (doesn't help, smells bad)
Lemon Eucalyptus (helps, smells bad)
OFF (depends on where we are, sometimes it works, sometimes not)
Baby oil (doesn't help, feels greasy)
100% DEET (this works, but isn't good for you, I use it about once a week)
Crotamiton - got this at the Panama Pharmacy (helps, no odor or greasy)
Took for 2 weeks B1 vitamins (Doctor in Mexico suggested it - didn't help)
Fan (helps, except for my feet at night because the fan doesn't reach there)
Covering up with a bed sheet (helps but I get too hot)
Put up the no-see-um and mosquitoes net on the door to the bedroom (helps)
Vanilla extract & water mix (doesn't help, but I had a nice shiny looking tan!)
Bounce dryer sheets (tried it for a short period because Denny doesn't like the smell)

Haven't tried yet:

Lavender oil/lotion
Preperation H with Vitamin E and Aloe
Citronella bracelets
No-See-Um Spray, 4 oz. for $9.95 (probably will order a bottle)
Vinegar & Water Spray - half & half, spray on sheets 30 minutes before bed. This may work if you use top sheet, we don't because it's so hot all night

Relief from after getting bit I've tried:

Little stick called "after bite" (it stings, helps temporarily)
Systra cream - got this at the Panama Pharmacy (helps, can go threw a tube in a couple days)
Take Claritin an anti-histamine (it helps, I take one every day)
Rub vinegar with a cotton ball (when I have so many bites, it helps but temporarily)
Solarcane (helps for a short period)
Hot water (see below) - this helps, but heats up the cabin
Cortazone Cream (helps but I go through it fast)
Neosporin Cream (helps heal faster)

I use Q-tip swabs and a small cup of boiling water. I dip the tip of the swab into the boiling water and then quickly dab the swab onto the bite. This does work.

Haven't tried yet:

"Ivy-Dry" Super a zinc complex with benzyl alcohol, camphor and menthol.
Nasonex Cream
Tea Tree oil
Epsom salts on a wet washcloth

If I've missed something and you have anything that might help, please share! Thanks!


07/13/2012 | Deb McAdams
Benedryl 25 mg orally helps with the itching. The downside is that it will make you sleepy, but if you try it at bedtime you can sleep better at night. You can increase the dosage to 50 mg if you need to. The calamine and caladryl lotions that we used back in the chicken pox days works, but turn you into a bunch of pink spots and can wash off in water, sweat etc. At least the cortisone creams and ointments don’t wash off quite so easily, and just take a dab for the bites. It sounds like you have gone through just about everything there is to prevent them. They sound pretty mean. Avoiding scented stuff like perfumes and scented deodorant can help. Good luck.
Denny/87 degrees, feels like 101 - hot & sunny
07/07/2012, Bocas del Toro

Yesterday was the final touches before the new engine gets put into Kokomo. After making all the cuts and doing all the grinding it was time to patch it all up with some fiberglass work. As a kid age 14, I had a hydroplane as a boat and each year before I could put it in the water I had to do some fiberglass work on it. Everything I have done in the past 10 days I learned in wood shop, metal shop or from my Dad growing up. No amount of advanced calculus would help me here. Where does advanced calculus help anyhow? To bad all the good classes in school have been cut, because of funding most kids would benefit from a few lessons in the trades. Back to the boat, tomorrow we will set the new engine in the boat, we spend the next two weeks waiting for parts and setting things up. All is going as planned so far.

Life is good on Kokomo!


One More Problem Solved
Denny/88 degrees, cloudy, no rain
07/06/2012, Bocas del Toro

Yesterday was another test of my intelligence. I spent most of the day trying to take a flange off the c/v joint that connects the shaft to the transmission. I tried several different ways to get to the hex head screws. One included taking the shaft out while the boat was in the water. Lucky for me, because of the zinc, I couldn't do this. Then while eating lunch the light bulb went on and I was off to the store to buy a $3.50 tool, 10 minutes later the problem was solved. All I needed was a hex head on a socket attached to two extensions. Easy right? Sometimes it helps to remember most problems have an easy answer.

Life is good on Kokomo!


Update on the engine
Denny/88 degrees, sunny!
07/05/2012, Bocas del Toro

It's been 9 days since we pulled into the marina.The old engine is out and the new one is sitting on a fuel dock a few hundred feet away. What I've learned is nothing is as easy as it should be. To make the engine fit we have to modify the engine compartment on Kokomo. New footings for the engine mounts because there is not a standard location on engines for mounts. Some cutting and fiberglass work as the stringers are in the way of the new bell housing. The biggest problem to be solved is running a new bigger exhaust hose. I had to take a sawsall to Kokomo to make proper modifications. Tomorrow I drill a bigger hole threw the hull. Some custom work will be needed to connect the exhaust from the engine to the muffler as Sabre and Yanmar's design teams are not friends. All in all things are going well and we expect to be underway around the end of the month.

In the photo above I'm grinding the engine mounts. Thanks Kelly for the shirt!

Life is good on Kokomo!


07/06/2012 | Jim Merritt
Last year at this time we were enjoying our best anchorage in Costa Rica. Seems like ten years ago to us. I was with you on the engine re power until you said drill a LARGER HOLE IN THE BOAT! Good luck wish I could help.
Happy 4th of July!
Becky/88 degrees sunny
07/04/2012, Bocas del Toro

Although they don't celebrate it here, we will be toasting to all our U.S. friends and family! Have a fun and safe holiday!

Life it good on Kokomo!

Denny & Becky

Young adults taking off to sea
Denny/88 degrees, cloudy
07/03/2012, Bocas del Toro

There was this boat right behind us in the marina, with some young adults partying for a few days. Today the parents of one of the boys showed up and told us their son and 4 of his friends would be leaving today at 5 pm to sail to the South Pacific. The parents told their son (photo above) he could take their boat on a extended cruise (1-2 years) when he graduated from college. No special experience just a trusting set of parents and a son with the desire to make the trip. We all waved good-bye as they left the dock. The dad was crying and the mom was very nervous but both were proud. I hope to hear how the trip goes as it seems unlikely that the 4 crew that are not sailors will all stick with the program once the ocean hits them, but who knows this could be a trip of a life time. So far I know that's what it's been for Becky and I.

Life is good on Kokomo!


Picking up the new Yanmar engine
Becky/89 degrees, sunny
07/02/2012, Bocas del Toro

Jeff picked up Denny at 8:45 am in his panga and headed to a small town call Almirante, where the engine was being delivered. There was the delivery truck with our engine, now to get it from there to the panga. Four strong guys carried it to the ground, then into the panga. They arrived back at the dock at 11 am. Jeff used a crane to lift it out of his panga onto the dock where it sits until Denny is ready for Phase II, putting into Kokomo.

It is amazing how this all came together in a third world country. Below is a map.

(A) Paid for Yanmar Engine in Panama City (Monday 6/25 - expensive)
(B) Shipped from Panama City to David (Tuesday 6/26 - Free)
(C) Trucked from David to Almirante (Thursday 6/28 - $200)
(D) Panga from Almirante to Bocas del Toro (Friday 6/29 - $80)

Life is good on Kokomo!!


07/02/2012 | Jim Merritt
Glad to see a pix of the new engine, what a great story and map of how you did it. You will love your new Yanmar and you can put that corian counter top back and believe it will stay put for a loooong time
June Expenses
Denny/88 degrees, cloudy
07/01/2012, Bocas del Toro

Expenses for June were $1409 with the bulk of that going to fuel as we motored 200 miles to Bocas in light to no wind. We have also started a engine replacement project. I will outline the cost of that when its done, hopefully this month.

Fuel $518, booze $73, food $225, shopping $152, phone/internet $42, dentist $50, anchoring fees, $55, restaurants $294.

We are spending the month of July in a marina next to a town so it might be hard to keep the cost down. But we'll try.

Life is good on Kokomo


Denny in the bilge
Becky/88 degrees sunny
06/30/2012, Bocas del Toro

Time to clean the bilge. I started to clean the bilge while Denny went to town for more paper towels and degreaser. When he returned he took over as my back was killing me. That's hard work! Denny worked for a couple hours and used up a whole roll of paper towels. It finally didn't have any grease or sludge. He bought a new bilge pump (it's quiet) that will be installed for the small rain water that comes in threw the mast. Then our current bilge pump, which is much louder, will be higher up and will come on if we really have a problem.

Life is good on Kokomo!


Westerbeke out of Kokomo
Becky/84 degrees, wind & rain
06/29/2012, Bocas del Toro

It's noon on a Friday, we just finished lunch and all of a sudden the wind started to pick up and build. We looked over and saw a huge dark cloud coming our way. We are tied to the marina (so glad) and have 25-30 knots of wind and the rain is coming down in sheets. The good thing is - NO BUGS!

I'm so glad this didn't happen when we were taking out the engine. It went very smoothly. Denny did much of the preparation and work. Jeff, the mechanic we hired had all the right tools and equipment. We had to build a make-shift lift in the boat. With the help of the lifting equipment, the engine went out easy. So glad phase one is complete!

Life is good on Kokomo!


Becky/88 degrees, cloudy with thunder
06/28/2012, Bocas del Toro

This guy sailed his canoe from Mexico to Panama. He is now in the Bocas area sailing around the bay. Everyone in the marina and anchorage are talking about him.

We saw his boat tied up to the dock this afternoon. I think it looks like a mini waterworld boat. If it wasn't raining so hard right now, I'd show you in a video.

Life is good on Kokomo!


Old Engine - Good Bye
Denny/89 degrees, cloudy
06/27/2012, Bocas del Toro

After removing all the hoses and wires that connect to an engine, it was time for out with the old and in with the new. Seems with the new could take a few weeks. Today we made some make-shift lifts to remove the 1989 Westerbeke engine. Always knew that going cruising meant that I would have to work on my engine. I've now worked on the transmission, fuel line, heat exchanger, starter, alternator and water pump, plus various electrical tasks. You would think with all that work I'd have a new engine already. But no. Now I get to tackle the ultimate mechanics job - total replacement. Let's just hope Becky never learns that out with the old and in with the new could take as few as two weeks.

Life is good and greasy on Kokomo.


Bocas Marina
Becky/90 degrees, feels like 105, no wind/rain
06/26/2012, Bocas del Toro

We arrive in the marina safe and sound. It was kinds tricky getting in because of the shallow spots. Denny backed the boat into a very small slip like a pro. There to greet us was the marina manager and four guys to take our lines. We have two bow lines (port & starboard) and two stern lines (port & starboard). We are very secure! This is a very nice marina. Free internet, water, garbage, showers. There is a bar & grill here also. We haven't been to a marina in almost a year and Kokomo is due for a nice long bath! The only downside I can see to this is, now I have to wear clothes!


06/27/2012 | Jackie
Oh no! Clothes no longer optional! I'm sitting on Sampan now in Everett....wearing sweatshirt and jeans and looking for a blanket! I'd gladly trade....just sayin.

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Denny & Becky in the Bahamas
Who: Denny & Becky Flannigan
Port: Tacoma, Washington
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