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Cruising with Vida Dulce
Day 2 Morning Position Report
Jerry Barber / Overcast / 82 degrees F
02/28/2013, 97 Miles NW of East Lemons, San Blas, Caribbean Sea

Continuing to make progress. The auto pilot worked well most of the night, there was one incident where it kicked off but it came back on fine.

Winds have been up and down, right now about 15 knots out of the NE. Seas are 6-8' so it is a bit bouncy.

Susan and I tried 4 hour watches last night as opposed to our usual 3 hour watches. It gives you a little more of a chance to get in a full sleep cycle. It seems to have worked better.

So far on track to arrive sometime tonight in the San Blas.

Day 1 Evening Position Report
Jerry Barber / Clear / 82 degrees F
02/27/2013, 75 Miles SE of Isla St. Andres, Caribbean Sea

Making good progress although the wind is just off the nose and we are having to motor sail.

The auto pilot was acting up at the end of the day and we had to hand steer for awhile. Seems to be ok, either we has something metallic around the flux gate compass or it was being over worked because we were motor sailing with no head sail and the boat wasn't very well balanced.

Swell is not too bad and no squalls, life is good!

Day 1 Departing St. Andres
Jerry Barber / Clear / 82 degrees F
02/27/2013, Isla St. Andres, Caribbean Sea

We are on our way again, departing St. Andres for the San Blas Islands in Panama. It should be a beautiful day. There is a very unusual weather event coming this weekend. A cold front is pushing all the way down here and will bring with it gale force winds. Needless to say we want to be tucked in somewhere safe in Panama when it arrives.

We should arrive in Panama Thursday night or Friday morning.

Now off for some sailing!

Sunday Morning Sail
Susan / mostly sunny, breezy, 86 degrees F
02/24/2013, Isla San Andres, Colombia

We host Fernando and his three kids for a Sunday morning sail. We don't normally invite non-cruisers on-board however Fernando has earned an exception. He understands this is our home, not just a sailing catamaran. The two-or-so hour cruise is gift, a thank-you for being such a great instructor to Jerry.

Sunday Morning Sail

We have great sailing conditions inside the reef; 15 kt winds on our beam as we make our way through the channel. We venture a bit farther in the larger seas giving the kids the thrill of seeing schools of large flying fish off our bow. Turning back, Fernando is invited to take the helm, and then when it's time to drop the main, with just a bit of coaching on my part, he turns into the wind and keeps it steady as Jerry does a quick drop. He's thrilled! Back in the anchorage we anchor four times before we're happy. This part is a bit boring for the youngest two yet a practical demonstration that being on a boat has responsibilities; it's not a "have fun then park it" experience. Once set, I set out chocolate / coconut cookie bars and cold cokes, and they are quickly gone. A sweet ending to a nice morning sail.

Later, a bit after 6pm while cutting veggies for tonight's dinner I see 5 men swimming toward Vida Dulce. I mention this to Jerry who says, that's unlikely. A few minutes later I suggest it is indeed true and the strongest of swimmers are just a few feet away. Jerry goes out to the sugar scoop as the first, very fit young man effortlessly hoists himself onto the scoop without benefit of the swim ladder. He says they're police. You leave your dingy at the (their) dock, yes? We do indeed. Jerry welcomes him and the others as they arrive in the same manner. I ask if they'd like water, yes please. In addition to glasses of cold water I pass around chocolate / coconut cookie bars I baked for the interview and this morning's sail. As with the others they're quickly consumed. After a short rest, they're back in the water for their swim to shore as it will soon be dark. Jerry related they confirmed the visit of El Presidente and the Governors; their days had been filled with drills and marching in formation.

The weather window is not that great and short yet we have to take it. We'll leave Wednesday morning and plan for a Friday early morning arrival in Kuna Yala, Panama. By the weekend, the wind will be near gale force with accompanying very high north seas here and all down the western Caribbean coast to Panama. While the storm will blow through in a few days, passage conditions are not forecasted to be as good as this week for some time.

Welcome Caribe Magazine Interview
Susan / mostly sunny, breezy, 86 degrees F
02/23/2013, Isla San Andres, Colombia

Fernando, Jerry's kite-board instructor, has a friend who writes for the Welcome Caribe magazine, a magazine about the people who visit San Andres. Can she interview us? Sure. Today's the day. Jerry picks them up at the hotel dock for the interview aboard Vida Dulce. She tells us her English isn't very good so I suggest she conduct the interview in Spanish with Jerry. She wants to know our story - how we came to live aboard, where we've been, what we like about San Andres and by extension Isla Providencia since we were recently there, and so on. She does ask me a few questions in English which I answer of course in English. Not sure how much of what I said was understood. Lots of pictures are taken (you know how much I like that....) and a tour of Vida Dulce completes the visit.

Welcome Caribe Interview

Solo Kite-Boarding
Susan / mostly sunny, breezy, 87 degrees F
02/22/2013, Isla San Andres, Colombia

Around mid-day we decide to practice Jerry's kite-boarding skills. It's the first time it'll be just us and the dingy to get the kite inflated, lines attached to the handle, etc. We have an expected number of fits & starts but soon Jerry executes a water launch of the kite and is ready for the board. The winds are fairly light compared with a couple of days ago, too light to get up on the board and stay up, so Jerry practices getting up, gracefully falling back while keeping the board on his feet and the kite flying. I get a workout water-running behind him to retrieve the board on those occasions when it gets separated from Jerry. When we're both tired, we do a water deflate of the kite after stowing the lines, etc and get everything back into the dingy. Back at Vida Dulce we wash everything down and set the kite on the bows to dry. It just fits. It's a good practice day. We'll try to get in a few more solo practice days so that Jerry can have a more advanced-techniques lesson before we depart.

A short weather window appears to be opening next Thursday, Friday, with the next window at least a week away from that, so if next week's holds we'll be on our way back to Kuna Yala, Panama.

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