Crossing to Colon

Maggie Crossing to Colon in Style

What fabulous weather- another “silver box” crossing! We fueled up, paid up, and left Bocas at 1100, planning to arrive in Colon by daylight. Given the following current of 2.5 knots, mirror calm swells with light and variable winds of less than 10 knots, even the cats had a good time – Maggie sacked out on the couch for the entire 15 hours, and Barclay found a spot on our bed. [Read more…]

Preparing to Leave Bocas del Toro

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

We left Independence at 1:00 pm on October 3, arrived at the hotel at the Rome airport and were checked in by 2:00. Because the Hilton provided complimentary shuttle bus service into Rome proper, we opted to hop on and do a quick (hah!) walking tour past the highlights. We’re sure glad we did – the bus let us off in the old district a 10-minute walk from the Coliseum, and in just under five hours we managed the Forum, the Vittorio Emmanuel Palace, Mussolini’s Palace, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and pasta at a local sidewalk café. Next time we’ll have to come in a few days early, or leave a few days later, to take advantage of seeing the insides of all of these wonders! [Read more…]

Fun in the Canary Islands with Cousins

Independence of the Seas

September started with another out-of-the-ordinary itinerary — a 10-day cruise to the Canary Islands September 1-12. It was great to see the Canaries – Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote, and also to return to Madeira. Ole was able to join me ashore for a tram ride up the mountainside in Madeira, a walking tour, and a light lunch at the top. I spent time in the Canaries on an excursion to the interior of Gran Canaria where I saw preparations for a national festival in the small town of  Teror, as well as a horseback trek in Lanzarote – which looks like the moon, as you can see from the photo. [Read more…]

Another Great Med Cruise on Independence

Independence of the Seas

The first part of August was fairly routine, with Ole working long days and me holing up in the Cigar Bar (my “office”) to read and enjoy my daily latte. Afternoons were taken up by reading, keeping up with the news, and painting.

The routine was changed with the welcome arrival of Andreas, Ole’s oldest son, on the 15th of August for two weeks of living the high life. Andreas and I managed to get ashore in every port, doing everything from walking tours on our own to ship-sponsored excursions, understanding that Ole could get ashore only occasionally. [Read more…]

Back in the Lap of Luxury — Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

The first week in July saw perhaps the most gruesome task yet on Emma Jo – Ole wrestled with 50 feet of 23-year-old sanitation hose, replacing it with the newest, heaviest duty hose we could find. I’ll spare you the pictures. We’ve vinegared, perfumed, disinfected, and aired both heads since we bought the boat in 2004, from a broker who SWORE he had replaced all the sanitation hoses…but in vain. When Ole removed the hoses, we understood why. Suffice it to say that when the opening is only the size of a knitting needle in most of the 50 feet, there is not enough perfume, disinfectant, or vinegar in the world to deal with the aroma. After a sh*tty day’s work, the difference is miraculous. Lesson learned: NEVER trust the broker on a used boat.

We left Emma Jo in the good hands of Brian Swann, our boat-sitter and cat uncle extraordinaire on July 9, heading for Rome via Bocas del Toro, Panama City, and Madrid, arriving Rome Airport in the late afternoon of Friday, July 10. We met up with a couple of the guys from the ship and had a wonderful buffet Italian dinner and the most expensive martinis ever (at 11 Euros). When we arrived at Independence in Civitavecchia on Saturday the 11th, Captain Teo was waiting for us way up on Deck 5, hollering a welcome.

Ole settled back into the work routine, and I settled into the reading routine, punctuated by a few self-taught watercolor painting lessons. Figured that since I’m relatively idle and alone while on Independence, I’d use the time to explore self-expression.

It was wonderful to see Europe again!


Building the “To Do” List is a Thankless Task

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

Within about 24 hours of our arrival home, our “to do” list grew to over 30 items – and by the end of the month we were up to 38.  The biggest challenge is getting parts for the generator, which pooped out on us before we left Emma Jo last March.  Ole worked like a champ, bringing just about every spare part known to Westerbeke home in his suitcase and going through the process of elimination to find the right broken part.  Murphy’s Law struck – the broken part was not among the spares he brought. [Read more…]

Wrapping Things Up in Norway for This Year

Painting the Roof

Gjaeroy, Norway

The first week of June was our last week in Norway, and lucky for us, the weather turned sunny long enough for Ole to coat the roof of the house, which was rusty and in serious need of attention. As he often said this visit, “now it looks like people live here, instead of just sheep.”

[Read more…]

Mediterranean Cruise, then On to Norway!

Independence of the Seas

May 1, the port of call was Cagliari, Sardinia. We opted to head to town for a walk, and found ourselves in the midst of an annual Mayday tradition that goes back 352 years in Cagliari – the Festival of Sant’ Efisio – the first of which (352 years ago) was said to have been responsible for the end of the plague in Sardinia. The inhabitants of the island decorate oxcarts with representations of regional plenty (fruits, breads, flowers, grains, baskets, pottery) and village-specific costumes, and form a parade around the town of Cagliari, which ends with a 4-day procession of the Saint to a village up the coast and back to his place in the Cathedral. It was one of those “National Geographic” moments that we’ll savor for a long while. [Read more…]

DeFever Friends Join Us on Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

April began with a sudden feeling of dryness…where has all the rain gone?  Oh yeah – it’s Panama – where in the dry season it rains every day, and in the wet season it rains ALL day every day.  Pleasant daytime temperatures, not too hot, led to visions of getting the varnish done on the bow caprail and a coat or two all around.  I planned to do one coat every day from April 2 until April 11 – but then it started raining on the fourth day.  [Read more…]

All Quiet on Emma Jo

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

Life on Emma Jo is kind of quiet these days, with Ole gone and Jan reverting to her normal night-owl schedule, staying up ’til verrrryyy late (or early, depending on your perspective) and rising in mid-to-late morning.  The month of March, Bocas del Toro received something on the order of 30 inches of rain, most of it from the first to the 12th.  As the boat dried out, Jan turned her thoughts to varnish – the cap rail has for some reason blistered (gee, do you think it might have to do with something like 13 FEET of rain since November????) and the table on the back deck needs some attention.  But we’ll need more than just a day or two of dry weather to get anything done. [Read more…]