04/22/2011, Bocas Town, Bocas del Toro, Panama, Central America, Earth, Our Solar System, Our Galaxy, The Universe
The entire reason we are here in Bocas del Toro is because we are waiting. We are waiting for our canal transit, which is scheduled to be May 2. So now we are here. Bocas del Toro, if you haven't already looked at the map, is a group of islands towards the NW end of Panama. It is a nice group of islands, or rather, they would be a nice group of islands if they didn't have no-see-ums. We are, right now, battling some no-see-um bites, since we stayed in a marina (Bocas Marina) last night and no-see-ums usually are close to shore. Tonight we've decided to go out to anchor to try to avoid the no-see-ums and get some wind blowing through the cabin. Jerry and Jim have made a temporary cover for the salon to let us open the hatches and let some air in at night. It is also a nice sun cover during the non-rainy, blistering hot days.
We should stay here until April 26, and we may possibly be without Wi-Fi during that period.
04/15/2011, Colon, Panama
We arrived yesterday evening in Shelter Bay Marina after a long sail from the San Blas. The last 10 days we've been staying in the San Blas after coming from St. Croix. The reason for our momentary absence from blogging is the fact that the San Blas are not known for their Internet.
Anyway, now we're waiting around in Shelter Bay for our Panama canal transit. It should take another week or so to get permission, so we'll probably head out and cruise around for a while to explore some of the sights Panama has to offer.
03/05/2011, Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten
SailBlogs has been down for the past few days (I'm sure you noticed), and so we haven't been able to update our blog. Well, they're up 'n' running again, so I'm updating the blog.
We came to St. Maarten a few days ago (I can't quite remember when). We entered the lagoon (after a long passage from Antigua) and checked in. Checking in involved paying $61 for bridge fees and for just staying in the lagoon ($40 for the 'moorage' and $21 for the bridge). They say that St. Maarten didn't get hit very hard by the depression. I think I just found the reason...
The reason we came here so fast is because my dad wanted to be in and had found a boat for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. In case you're interested, he's on Truant and this is the link for the regatta website.
02/28/2011, St. Johns, Antigua, W.I.
Tomorrow we leave on a 75 n.m. passage to St. Barth's, also called St. Barthélémy's in full. Columbus named St. Barth's after his brother. We want to go to St. Barth's, mainly because it is closer to Antigua than St. Maarten is, but also because we've heard some interesting things about it. Unfortunately, getting there requires a long passage, although it is probably on a reach.
Lately we've been exploring the North Sound, Parham Bay, and Prickly Pear Channel, all of which are on the north end of the island. Nobody ever goes here except the occasional charter boat, and it is very protected with lots of cool islands and reefs. The reefs are not so cool when you run up on them (I don't speak from experience), but they have lots of neat wildlife and coral on them. We went swimming on one at Great Bird Island, which was very interesting. Our guidebook said that it is like the Tobago Cays, and it is in some places. In other places the water isn't as clear, but it is otherwise the same.
Now, unfortunately, we have to leave. We could easily spend two weeks cruising here, but we already spent all of our extra time in Rodney Bay waiting for a weather window to Martinique. :-( However, we are reaching our destination. I believe that we are having Suzuki parts sent out to St. Maarten (the outboard broke a few weeks ago), and we are continually looking forward to the USVI as a place to have American mail shipped out to cheaply (it has a ZIP code).
We also saw two US Coast Guard RIB's today. First we saw them leaving Prickly Pear Channel, and then we saw them leaving St. John's as we entered. We haven't seen that scene in a couple of years, and so we were amazed and left wondering why they were in Antigua of all places. I suppose that it wouldn't be too bad to be stationed out here in the Caribbean (probably USVI), though...
02/24/2011, Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, West Indies
Today we had a rough 50 n.m. passage to Antigua. It was one of those days where the hours blend to lessen the monotony (or because of the monotony!) of up, down, up, down, wave breaking, up down, up, down, etc. Now we are sitting safe at anchor in Falmouth Harbor in Antigua. We originally wanted to make English Harbor, but we were swept to leeward, and so we wanted a safe harbor on the west coast. Then we decided that motoring upwind isn't so bad, and so we made it here. We will only have a few days here, unfortunately, so we will try to make the best of that.
The reason this is a pilgrimage is because my dad has heard so much about Antigua Race Week and so he wanted to visit the 'famous' site. We haven't found it yet. [Update: we did actually find it.] But we will try to explore as many of the many anchorages in Antigua. We are trying to make St. Maarten by March 2 or 3 because of the Heineken regatta. So that is kind of limiting our time in other places.
Guadeloupe was a very big, and opinion, annoying island. Their channel that runs right down the middle of the island is just too shallow for us to go through, so we have to take the 60 n.m. route around the island. We didn't do a full circumnavigation, but came close. It's not worth it to go the additional 15 n.m. around to the exit of the river because it is the same distance to Antigua from there vs. where we left from. It was, however, a nice island with a very large supermarket and was one of the memorable occasions that we went into a marina.
Dominica is one of the most mountainous islands in the Caribbean. We took a tour there (our first one where we acted like tourists with lots of money), and found it to be a very interesting island. There are no poisonous plants or animals (don't know about bugs), and you can find the most expensive or exotic spice just growing on the side of the road. There are many rivers, which is more than you can say about any other Caribbean island. It also has 8 active volcanoes[?].
So that's about it for now. We plan to go to English Bay tomorrow, so I may blog from there. Supposedly it's really nice there.
02/08/2011, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, West Indies
We've been in Rodney Bay now for about a week. Unfortunately we are now having to stay till Sunday because of some rather large seas in the passage between here and Martinique (see the Passage Weather link). So I guess we have some quality (and unwanted) time in St. Lucia. Not that we don't like St. Lucia, but after staying upwards of a month here, it'd be nice to go see some other islands in the Caribbean.
Today we went shopping at the malls in 'town'. We were running kind of low on food, so it was important to go shopping. We also managed to pick up some other essentials (ok, maybe they weren't essential, but they were important). Now we'll just hang out around here and maybe go on some inland tours.
It's important for us to try and explore the Caribbean with out rushing because we don't want another last summer. So being stuck here rather bothersome when we could be exploring Martinique or Dominica.