s/v Sunshine

The Cruising Adventures of the Thoreson Family

14 July 2009
08 July 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
13 June 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama- still
06 June 2009 | Empire, MI/ SB Marina, Panama
15 May 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
15 April 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
14 April 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
12 April 2009 | Carribean, North of Panama
11 April 2009 | Carribean, North of Panama
10 April 2009 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
10 April 2009 | 9.3691,-79.9503
10 April 2009 | 9.3797,-79.9345
09 April 2009 | Lake Gatun, Panama
09 April 2009 | 9.3442,-79.9075
09 April 2009 | 9.2718,-79.9234
08 April 2009 | Panama Canal
08 April 2009 | 9.2176,-79.8913
08 April 2009 | 9.0159,-79.6118
08 April 2009 | 8.905,-79.5307
07 April 2009 | Playita Anchorage Panama City

Updating the Past Week

06 December 2007 | Bahia del Sol
Amy & Jim / Upper 80's, clear blue skies
What's Another Day?

Still no working dinghy motor. The impellar was here in the estuary 2 days ago, but we and another family had borrowed Santos' panga for a few hours to got to LaHurradura,and by the time we got back the amigo who had the impellar was not here anymore, and wasn't around yesterday. But, we are getting closer. The impellar has made it's way over to Santos' dad, Santini, who will put it in, but he's not here today! Maybe manana (tomorrow!) Been 15 days now! That's how things are around here. When Jim and I spent a week in Mexico 2 years ago for a vacation, we witnessed the same relaxed aura then- slow restaurant service, everything laid back, which is fine when you're on vacation- except their driving which always amazed me! And it's even more so here, the "whenever" attitude. Not that Santos is being that way, just the difficulty in locating exactly what you need, when you need it, and if not, then, try another way. At least back in the States, we would have called several different places, gotten the best price for the quickest delivery and get it done a.s.a.p. It's just not that way here, and at times, frustrating. Other work on Sunshine is going just as slow, Jim's frustrated that most of the tools he wanted to bring, he couldn't due to lack of space and weight in our suitcases, so it's hard doing projects without tools! Hopefully tomorrow he will be able to locate some he needs when we go to San Salvador. We are going with 2 other guys from 2 other boats here in the estuary. Katie who is Sarah's mom that we've become quite good friends with, are going to watch Bridget, Micah and Jen so I can go too and get some shopping done for Bridget's birthday on Monday and for Christmas as well. We're having a small party for Bridget on Sunday- 13!!!!! YIKES!!!

Legos Float

Last Wednesday, Bridget was picking up some cushions that were on the back deck airing out. Earlier in the day, Micah was using the cushions as a secret shade area with his new lego car he got as a going away present from his Aunt. So the car was sitting on the cushions when Bridget went to get them and the inevitable happened. A week after being here something finally got dropped into the estuary. But thankfully legos float! So Jim and Bridget jumped into the dinghy and rowed after it, retrieving it. Micah was glad as I'm sure you can imagine.

New Experiences

On the way over to the hotel later last Wednesday, we saw 5 pastel iridescent pink jelly fish. The kids like watching for them. Santos said they only are here for about a week-10 days.
We had tamales for the first time for dinner. They are absolutely delicious. Santos' Mom made them. They are dough filled with chicken and rice and potato, and a secret sauce. Then wrapped in banana tree leaves and steamed. (Some places also use corn husks). Oh my gosh, we didn't have enough, going to have to order more next time. Even Jenaya and Micah liked them a lot- and Micah is the one in the family who doesn't like to try to new things! It's so cute, Jen calls them "lali's", and keeps asking almost everyday, "when are we going to have lali's?!"

We have been able to witness the phosphorescence, (sp.?) which I didn't even know existed until Wednesday. From what I understand, they are made up of small single cell organisms like plankton, and glow in the water when it's dark and the water is disturbed by movement. It is really one of the coolest natural things I've ever seen! Sometimes they are so strong that when a panga goes by at high speed, you'll see this glow on the surface of the water behind the boat, sometimes as long as the panga it's following! It is so awesome!

Jim's hiking excursion Thursday was muddy and wet! (Jim filled in here...)We hiked through the mangroves at low tide on a hunting expedition. Came out on dry land and finally had to cross through a muddy place where we sank up to our knees. We ended up at the "house" of one of Santos' relatives. The batteries in the camera died on my way in, I really wished I could have got some pictures- maybe I'll go again. Santos' relations live in a tin shack with a separate shack for cooking and lounging. They subsist on fishing and the ducks and chickens that they raise. A far cry from what we are accustomed to, but pretty normal for some in this area of the world...

(Amy back....)Jim went to San Salvador last Friday for the first time. He went with Santos and a friend of Santos' who has a truck- Santos does not own a vehicle yet. SanSal is about an hour away, and they were gone nearly 12 hours. It was like a mini Christmas when he returned! The most exciting thing for us was a light bulb we needed for overhead our dining area table! Also, Kleenex! You can't get them in any of the tiendas (very small grocery type stores) around here, or even in La Herradura, which is a small-medium size village about a 20 min. dinghy ride from here. When we were there we didn't even see most of the town, just one long street. He brought a bunch of other items from SanSal we needed too as well as equipment and items he needed for repairs etc.

I was able to experience SanSal Saturday as well. Jan from Canada who has lived here now for about 7 years and is about to get her residency, needed to go and Katie and I tagged along. It was not at all what I expected. The first place we went to was a mall. An actual real, just like the States, mall. Much, much bigger than the Grand Traverse Mall in TC. It's 2, maybe 3 stories tall. We parked in a parking garage, took an elevator up to the mall, and it was like stepping back in to a mall in Detroit or somewhere. The first thing I saw was a huge golden Christmas tree, 30-40' tall I'm guessing. Then we went up escalators to the next floor, and as we're walking to the store Jan needed to go to, the first thing I saw was a Wendy's, then a Sbarro, Pizza Hut, TCBY's, it was so strange! I had no idea! As we walked around more, Radio Shack, Swatch watches, Stride Ride shoes. Maybe I am just naive, but when we first started watching Sunshine on the web for a possible buy, the thoughts I had of El Salvador, were that it was some quaint, poor, 3rd World, Country, still lost in their own traditions and culture. And to some degree you can still see that. But there is definitely a pull for modernization, and in some ways, that's good, for it's helping the natives become more health conscious and more financially stable, but that may be only for a select few. There is still a majority, I would guess, that are barely making it on a day to day basis. While driving through one particular section of the city, where the traffic was slowed to nearly a stop, there were beggars literally standing right in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic, one lady even holding a small child out in the center of the road in the heat and sun by the vehicles crawling by. Also, in all this modernization, there's the culture and traditions that are and will continue to be lost in the new ways, and to me , anyway, that seems sad. It was definitely an experience I will not forget.

Boat Details

We have spent the last week and doing all kinds of cleaning. The galley (kitchen for you land lubbers), is pretty much done. All the bunks (4) have been cleaned out, wiped down and reorganized. We threw out one of the foam mattresses, it was just so extremely gross and falling apart. We have also taken out all the interior seating cushioned and banged and banged and banged them, and banged them some more, on the back deck, to get as much dust out as we possibly could. Then let most of them sit out in the sun for about 3 days. The port side hull's far outside interior wall has been wiped down and yesterday I wiped the entire front v-berth port side wall down, starboard side yet to do. There's a lot we still have plans for beyond the cleaning. Some painting, new material for some of the interior cushions and curtains. Honestly the list is endless of "what we'd like to be done", but it all will take time. Kind of like a house, eh?

I have read the emails and comments from you all back home. Thank you! It's great to hear from you. Hopefully we will have our "car" tomorrow and be able to make it over to the hotel more often and be able to keep in touch both through posting and through email much more often.

Vessel Name: Sunshine
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Ed Horstman Tristar Trimaran
Hailing Port: Traverse City, MI
Crew: Jim, Amy, Bridget, Micah, & Jenaya
We have been married almost 19 years, Bridget is now 14, Micah is almost 8, Jenaya is 5. We have a strong Christian/Catholic Faith, love spending time together & exploring this beautiful World. [...]
We purchased Sunshine in Feb. '07. She was in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. We flew down in Nov. '07, spent 4 months getting her ready, building a new, larger dinghy, enjoying El Salvador & the friends we made. We then took the next 2 1/2 months sailing from there to Panama City. Now the next leg [...]
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Sunshine's Photos -

The Thoreson Crew

Who: Jim, Amy, Bridget, Micah, & Jenaya
Port: Traverse City, MI