Butterfly adventures

28 August 2016 | Marina Papagayo
06 August 2016 | Papagayo
20 April 2016 | Golfito
27 January 2016 | Isla Taboga Panama
22 January 2016
18 January 2016 | Isla Taboga Panama
02 May 2015 | Isla Taboga
21 April 2015 | Isla Taboga
04 April 2015 | Isla Taboga
03 April 2015 | Isla Taboga
22 January 2015 | 7 29.457'N:81 13.350'W, Isla Cebaco Panama
21 January 2015 | 7 45.159'N:81 32.381'W, Bahia Honda Panama
20 January 2015 | 7 45.159'N:81 32.381'W, Bahia Honda Panama
19 January 2015 | 7 45.159'N:81 32.381'W, Bahia Honda Panama
17 January 2015 | Golfito CR
15 January 2015 | Golfito CR
14 January 2015 | Golfito CR
01 January 2015 | Marina Papagayo, Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica
01 December 2014 | Marina Papagayo, Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica
18 November 2014 | Marina Papagayo, Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica


28 August 2016 | Marina Papagayo
Dan, hot and tropical
We are getting ready to leave our home for a couple of months for work and family visit.
We have done this before, and there is no way to soften it- this sucks. We love our home, we love our life, and we are loving Costa Rica.
We have some major chores ahead when we return- number one will be a rigging change, all standing rigging will be replaced as well as fabricating new external chainplates (that should be interesting), and the next is working on the finish on the exterior.
Of course there are always parts and pieces that need fixing or replacement as we use them up. This is an extreme environment and things break down.
We have to replace the control for our inverter/charger, our fluxgate compass for the belowdeck autopilot is a paperweight, and the list goes on.
Is this fun? You bet it is- without a doubt in our minds, this is the most incredible and rewarding lifestyle, regardless of the “troubles”.
We are preparing ourselves for a re-entry and wondering what the near future holds- but one thing we know for sure- we really like this lifestyle.

Well that didn't go as planned

06 August 2016 | Papagayo
Dan, hot and tropical
The mantra of the cruising sailor- "plans are written in the sand at low tide" is apt for so many situations. Adapting to change is what makes us successful at what we attempt.

Point in case- our Hobie Mirage Outback kayaks are damn cool. But "they really aren't made for the tropics"- that is an exact quote from their tech support by the way- and they have a tendency to break in masterful fashion. This seasons breakage, and mind you this is in the last month, consists of two broken drive chains, a hull crack from nowhere and a complete failure of the steering mechanism.

Repair methods are what we can figure out on our own, with no product support at all.

So- hull crack- not in a stressed area and we have no plastic rod for a decent repair- lightly scuff and use aluminum tape in a couple of layers.

Drive chain failures- this happened on both of our drives and of course they are different generations, but they are bicycle chain based (stainless but that is probably why they break) so an hour and a half drive to a bike shop in town and we are repaired- for now.

The steering failure was a bit more of a challenge, but a handful of small blocks, some decent cordage and dockside engineering gives me a completely different steering system, but it works!

So two ready to go kayaks for touring the bay and getting a little exercise as well! Things are looking good, the marina is letting us use a work float next to our finger pier as toy storage and it is a lot lower to the water than the concrete floats. Kelly gets into hers with little drama as I hold her kayak in place and off she goes, my turn now. Nice morning with a little breeze, air temp about 80, water temp about the same. Wait- water temp? Why should that matter? I am so used to getting in from a higher position, just dropping into the seat, that I have a bit of a struggle and gravity wins.

Nice comfortable water temp.....so important when the kayak flips you out. And what was going through my mind as I surfaced next to the overturned kayak? Yep- "well that didn't go as planned". I used the opportunity to practice getting into a kayak from the water- never let a chance to learn something escape!

It did end in a great yak trip -at one point sitting about 50 meters from the shore as small waves lapped with that whoosh, listening to the sounds of the jungle coming across the water.

Yeah, plans are not what they are cracked up to be.

been a bit

20 April 2016 | Golfito
Dan, hot and tropical
Updating a blog is sometimes a chore, sometimes fun, but almost always time consuming.
And that is what is lacking for us these days.

OK- quick catch up and some observations-
1. Back to Panama and Isla Taboga to see just how much wear and tear poor Papillon had in the time were off of her was exciting - the happiness of being back home, terrifying – oh crap, just how much work do we have to do, and a relief – not so bad. But tough it out we have and Papillon is looking good, after mass hours of scrubbing, many days of organizing and cleaning below, and the never ending battle against chafe and corrosion.
2. Symbolizing the whole seven degrees thing and inserting Captain Ron- we made our Escape from Panama last week after many delays and hurdles.
3. Bottom is done- new poison in place, trying the sharpie thing as well on the exposed metal could be the bee’s knees, could be nada.
4. Had an easy time with checking out of Panama, very courteous officials.
5. Chuy’s moorings on Taboga are the only place to keep your boat on the Pacific side- he really cares.
6. Rambling here a bit, but screw the gringo tax charged by the taxi drivers- use Uber
7. Had a smoking fast sail south out of the Gulf of Panama- 16 hrs for 88 miles. Compare that to the 2 ½ days it took to sail north. Still bumpy and square, but……
8. So much more wildlife outside of the Gulf of Panama
9. Checking into Golfito Costa Rica is about the easiest government thing ever.
10. Golfito is hot as Hades.
11. Tim at Land and Sea in Golfito is awesome.
12. The food at Banana Bay Marina is really good, but that may also be a function of us having only had Panameno food for a while.

It still looks like a big mound of -------

27 January 2016 | Isla Taboga Panama
Dan, hot and tropical
Yep working on the boat while on a mooring is a chore. The bouncing, the rather sketchy dinghy access, everything is just harder. Combine that with water trips, extreme -20+ foot- tides and you start to feel a bit overwhelmed. But as I sit writing this in the cockpit with a little movement from the slight chop, a gentle breeze of about 5-8 knots and temps dropping into the mid to lower 80’s and expecting it to get down to about 72 by morning, a little of the reasons why we do all of this come to the fore.

I see what we call “the city of lights” as all of the ships waiting to transit the canal are lit up like mini neighborhoods- currently I see about 40-50 big ships.

On shore at Isla Taboga the village is quiet, waiting for the weekend festivities to begin again and we are preparing to sleep under the stars once again- not so bad.

But- we did have some fun over the last few days as we went through the efforts of renewing our cruising permit and our “visa mariner” which gives us a year here without the question of “How do you expect to leave” when we fly in and out. Port Captain office- piece of cake, though it takes two days to bake- Immigration damn- now that is a piece of cake as well, but it tastes $%#@. That should have been a simple stop, but nooooo, they seem to actually enjoy telling you that they need more of this, more of that , one of these and two of those. And all of these instructions in rapid fire Spanish. Hard to keep smiling. If I hear of anyone complaining about the simple courtesy of having other languages available in the states for folks trying to negotiate the government agencies I may punch them. It is really difficult when you don’t know the language and I completely sympathize with those who are struggling to learn English. The funny thing is, I do speak enough Spanish to be almost intelligible but……..

Anyway, as you can imagine, I did get to carry things, so the day was a success. Because that is what we do- carry stuff.

the uphill battle

22 January 2016
Kind of a steep hill.
Not talking about the one going up to the hotel we are staying at while we work on the boat and get her cleaned up (equivalent to 19 flights, I counted), but the hill of little tasks it takes to get a cruising boat like Papillon back into sailing shape after a while sitting on a mooring.
Actually not much systems wise- pretty good there, though we haven’t fired up the fridge as yet and that is a whole other level of system! OK letting my inner spite for our fridge system rise. It will be fine, it will be fine, it will be fine. Clicking my heels last time didn’t help.
No what most of this is scrubbing nine months of accumulated stuff off of my pretty boat, cleaning and examining every piece of running and standing rigging, fixing chafe damage here and there and cleaning the interior to the Kelly standard to which Papillon is accustomed..
Our plans, a laughable concept anyway, are to head through the canal and hang out in Bocas del Toro for a bit and see what next season brings for us rather than a run to the South Pacific this year. Between El Nino and business stuff. It seems like a smart idea.
So there ya go- the not so exciting saga, the cruising life is not just beaches and mai tai’s, but often bilges and scrub brushes- oh and carrying things, don’t forget carrying things.

what a long strange trip it's been

18 January 2016 | Isla Taboga Panama
Dan, hot and tropical
damn, When we left Papillon the end of April in the capable hands of Chuy Navarro at Isla Taboga we had no idea it was going to be nearly nine months before we came home. Nine very long, but rewarding months.

We are back on the Isla, catching our breath from the crazy traveling before we tackle the imposing chore of renewing the boat and making her our home once more.

I have to say- I am more than a little intimidated by the task.
Vessel Name: Papillon
Vessel Make/Model: Slocum 43
Hailing Port: Seattle WA
Crew: Dan and Kelly Freeman
Papillon's Photos - PNW Cruiser party 2013
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