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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
Taboga Tour
Randy
05/04/2008, Taboga

We motored in a flat calm from La Playita to Taboga yesterday. Taboga is a little resort island about 7 miles from Flamenco Island at the end of the Amador Causeway. There's a lot of junk in the water not to mention ships anchored as far as ten miles off of the point. It is quite a sight.

On the way in we caught a small black fin tuna. It made perfect sushi for four.

After a nice night in the main Taboga anchorage we took a dinghy ride ashore. Taboga is a weekend spot for wealthy Panamanians and has a vacationy feel to it. There are a few vacation villa rentals, a few hotels and several eateries.

We took the opportunity to hike up to the top of the highest spot on Taboga. It was a 2 hour round trip on a hot day, but it was well worth it. The views of the vast Bay of Panama were spectacular. We could see Panama City in the hazy distance and big ships anchored everywhere.

We walked back into town along the main road, which is large enough for a golf cart or a Kawasaki Mule. We had lunch at a little place along the way which served mediocre food very very slowly. Hideko ordered a Pipas, which is a young coconut. They drill a hole in the top and pop a straw in for you. It was wonderful. We had only had the milk of mature brown coconuts previously. There is a surprising amount of sweet juice in the young coconut and it was nice and cold because they pile the coconuts up in the fridge (not very efficient space wise but great for the Pipas buyers).

After lunch we took a dinghy ride around Taboga. It is a pretty island and very natural outside of the main village. It was fun to be able to blast on a plane with four adults aboard. Shooting Star is fast, if a little bumpy.

Back at the boat we took the afternoon off. Nobu took a nap in the hammock hung between the bows and Ed did some reading. Hideko and I just relaxed and did odds and ends.

It was a nice day and our last in sight of the mainland. Tomorrow we'll be off to the Las Perlas.

Panama
Welding on the Chocks
Randy
05/03/2008, La Playita

We left the marina this morning around 9AM and went around the point to La Playita, the main cruiser anchorage. We had some new chocks made by a Swiss/German guy named Ali. His is a real character. He did quite a nice job on our chocks. We rafted up to his boat so that he could finish the welding and polish things up. We are now anchored out again for the fist time in some days! Nice to be floating free. The rain looks to be closing in so I'm not sure if we'll be of to Taboga or the Las Perlas today but we are on our way all the same.

Panama
Packing Up
Randy
05/02/2008, Flemenco Marina

Today was our final day to scramble around and finish things up. At the end of the day Nobu filled up the water tanks and we shut down for the night ready to take off first thing tomorrow.

The ITCZ is sitting right on our head (as you can see from the picture) so we may be motoring and getting wet for a day or two.

Panama
Fresh Market
Randy
05/01/2008, Panama City

Tony took Hideko to the Fresh Market today. Wow. We have never had so much food on board. We had to buy more nets. We now have two nets and a bunch of bananas hanging in the cockpit, potatoes and onions in the bilge and a ton of fruit in the pantry. Two days to departure. Nobu and Ed have been a huge help in getting the boat ready.

Panama
Flamenco Marina
Randy
04/30/2008, The Fuel Dock

The Marina is pretty at night but you have to watch out for beer bottles from the restaurant if it is a wild night.

Panama
The Dashews
Randy
04/29/2008, Wind Horse

We were moved to the fuel dock today (just when I thought we couldn't get a worse spot in the marina). On the up side we ran into the Dashews there. The Dashews are cruising legends and it was great to chat with them.

I was pleased to see that they had a Rocna. It was 250 pounds! I though our 88 pounder was big, no longer.

Linda and Steve invited us over to their boat for a visit so we of course took them up on it. Nobu had joined us earlier in the day and will be sailing with us along with Ed.

You couldn't meet nicer folks than the Dashews. They welcomed all four of us into their new home, the power boat (!) Wind Horse. It was great to spend the night talking boats and getting tips on the south Pacific.

Panama
The New Dink
Randy
04/28/2008, Flamenco Marina

Our new AB dinghy arrived today. We special ordered an AB VS12 Navigo with a Saint Croix Euro Helm (compact and light). We powered it with a Yamaha 25hp 2 stroke. It arrived in almost perfect condition. A few scratches on the side of the outboard but otherwise perfect. Hard to believe considering it came from Miami.

It was quite a project to unpack but our friend Ed and Arturo from Marine Warehouse made it easy. Marine Warehouse is the AB dealer for Panama and they are the best outfit for shipping stuff to many places. You couldn't ask for nicer more considerate folks to deal with. These guys are a rare gem in the marine industry.

Ed and I had been talking for a while now and a few days ago Ed decided to join us for the ride to the Galapagos. It is going to be a lot of fun to have ed aboard.

After getting the dinghy setup we picked up Hideko and went for a christening ride. The ritual was performed to the letter and we shared plenty of champagne with Neptune and the four winds. We returned home in "Shooting Star" our new dinghy. Now if I can just figure out how to get it on the big boat...

Panama

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