Repairing Your Boat in Exotic Locations

At Anchor, Conch Bay
Bocas del Toro, Panama

Ole worked on the outboard for most of the morning, hoping to identify the annoying sound and lack of function of the cooling water pump. No luck. And out of nowhere, we lost our GPS signal. He checked every connection, traced every wire, ran every reset problem, and called Raymarine for help, to be told “you’ll have to find an authorized repair person.” In the process, he disconnected the antenna/receiver, and found it was full of water. After some hours of drying, he reassembled it and poof, we have GPS again. Wish he could do the same with the motor! While he worked on the mechanical parts, I worked on updating journal entries for the log.

Hitchhiking for Boat Parts

Punta Caracol, Bocas del Toro

Just after lunch, we motored back to drop anchor in front of Bocas Marina, and called a water taxi to pick us up from the boat to get into town. When the taxi didn’t show after about 30 minutes, I stuck out my thumb as a lancha full of tourists was zipping by – and who knew – you can hitchhike from your boat here! New impellors in hand, we motored an hour up to Conch Bay to anchor for the night. At the entrance to the bay is a wonderful resort, Punta Caracol, built on stilts across the mouth of a shallow lagoon. We glided past it into the bay, then up about a half mile to a quiet, narrow spot in the mangroves. There is not a soul up here but us.

A Few Days Cruising the Bocas Archipelago

After a quick blast through town for provisioning, we left Marina Carenero to explore the area for a few days before moving over to the Bocas Yacht Club and Marina.  Who knew that just an hour’s cruise from here there were absolutely deserted bays where the only sound was the howler monkeys hooting back and forth.  Superb!  We dropped anchor at  Big Bight, the first of the three bays north of here, and were stunned by the quiet – and the noise!  We figured we’d stick around here until tomorrow, do a quick run into town for the new impellors, then head for the next bay up tomorrow night.

Happy New Year from Panama!

Marina Carenero
Bocas del Toro, Panama 

Whoever thought the Pedersens and cats would spend a New Year’s Eve in west of nowhere, Panama!

We arrived here on schedule on the morning of December 20, after a good passage down from Albuquerque Cay. The toughest part of the trip was getting OUT of Albuquerque Cay, given it’s a reef system about 7 miles long and about 3 miles wide, full of coral heads and water so clear you can tell the sex of the crabs on the bottom. It was quite the diaper changer getting out, due to a good breeze and wind chop that distorted our ability to read the water – Jan on the foredeck, Ole at the depth sounder in the pilothouse, with walkie-talkies – it took us nearly an hour to zigzag out with a few narrow misses of coral pillars that arose out of nowhere.  [Read more…]

In the Middle of Nowhere, Officially

Vivorillos Cays, Honduras

Cayos Vivorillos

It’s official. We’re now out in the middle of nowhere in the Vivorillos Cays, a mere freckle on the kneecap of Central America, right where the Honduran/Nicaraguan peninsula turns 90 degrees south.

The cays are actually three islands running more or less north-to-south, two connected by an exposed reef, and the third to the south of the other two, with a fairly deep passage between them. The northernmost cay is a rookery with thousands of magnificent frigate birds and masked and brown boobies. The southern cay has a bit of a beach, and is home to a group of fishermen who come out here for months at a time, diving for conch and lobster, and selling their catch to “mother ships” that come by periodically. [Read more…]

Thanksgiving in Utilla, then on to Roatan

Barefoot Cay Marina
Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

Thanksgiving Buffet 2007

Yesterday marked our first “cruiser” Thanksgiving, and as we had the most galley and salon space, we served as the mothership for the flotilla in Utilla, hosting folks from four other boats for the potluck: Tempest, Wind Free, BabSea (who was with us at Tijax) and Connie Marie. New Emma Jo guests for dinner record: 12 total.

First, the logistics: plate station on top of the television; beverage service on the back deck table; food spread out on the galley breakfast bar, including turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy; turkey gumbo (50% of the boats in the anchorage are from Louisiana), dirty rice, broccoli rice, garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, and the obligatory green bean casserole – wonderful how a potluck is an organic thing, containing exactly what is necessary without a whole lot of intervention and control. [Read more…]

Return to the Best of Cruising Life

Water Cays, Utila
Bay Islands, Honduras

Happy Birthday to Ole!!!

Today was a whole lot more like what cruising is supposed to be! Sunshine! Light to no wind! Snorkeling! So how the heck did we get here?

Well – we stayed at Tobacco Range until Friday, November 16 – deciding that when we finally got a weather window to get out to the atolls, we’d have to wait there for a window to get back – and as of the 16th, we calculated only five more weeks until our reservation in Panama.

The boats with us in Tobacco Range all swear by the Caribbean weather guru, Chris Parker, who broadcasts three times a day and does weather routing for his subscribers. If some of his subscribers happen to be heading the same direction as we are, so much the better for us! So based on Chris Parker’s advice (to other boaters who are less tight than we are) we opted to make the first jump east on Friday at about noon, making about a 90-mile crossing. [Read more…]

Anchoring Adventures-“Poor Holding in Sand over Coral”

Tobacco Range, Belize

So there we were …

On Monday morning over the Northwest Caribbean Radio Net, we heard our friends from s/v Litbe check in. We met them last March during the great rescue-the-other-trawler-off-the-reef incident at Spruce Cay, and they also opted to spend hurricane season on the Rio Dulce, departing in October.

They told us they were on their way out to the atolls – Lighthouse and Glovers Reefs – and we thought it might be a good idea to have some company for the trip. We agreed to meet up at the south side of a teeny tiny little place called Rendezvous Cay, where we would meet the folks from Sea Biscuit and Come Monday. The day was stern and grey, with northerly winds from 15-20 knots that we had to head into. The fur princess was unhappy again, but only for a few short hours. [Read more…]

Happy Birthday to Me!

At Anchor
New Haven, Belize

We left Texan Bay Marina yesterday morning at 9:45, aiming for New Haven in southern Belize. The weather wasn’t all that great, overcast with some showers, but it matched our mood at saying goodbye to the Rio Dulce.

[Read more…]

Emma Jo Arrives in Guatemala

Fronteras, Rio Dulce
Izabal, Guatemala

Once we decided to go, we left yesterday morning about 6:15 a.m. with a “buddy boat” called Chickcharnie, with Don and Rosie from Montana aboard, to attempt to cruise to Punta Gorda, check out of Belize, cruise to Livingston, check into Guatemala, and find a quiet anchorage for the night.

Cruising in open waters now has Jan wary, so we thoroughly secured for sea, only to find ourselves in flat calm, almost glassy seas across the Gulf of Honduras. FINE with me!! We were in Punta Gorda in less than three hours, and the formalities went fairly efficiently, so off we went immediately toward Livingston, arriving there just after noon. We figured we’d have to wait for the officials to finish their lunch before coming out to our boat to clear us in – apparently lunch lasts until about 3:30. [Read more…]