Ole’s Birthday and Thanksgiving in Mazatlan

Marina Mazatlan

Topolo Restaurant

We passed Ole’s 60th birthday quietly last night, with dinner out at Topolo, a fine Mexican restaurant near Plaza Machado. The building is an old hacienda, and the tables are spread among the open interior courtyard and garden. The waiter was hysterical, cracking jokes in both English and Spanish…the food was superb…and the wandering sax player lent great background. It’s such a treat to eat outdoors on a balmy evening in such an “old world” atmosphere. [Read more…]

Another Year Ends aboard Independence of the Seas

Aboard Independence of the Seas

Life onboard has been very quiet this month, with an outbreak prevention protocol in place to eliminate any whisper of norovirus onboard.  Therefore the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were subdued, with traditional offerings available in the staff mess.  Although we had a great Christmas tree and the usual Christmas Eve glogg celebration in our cabin, the mood was a bit gloomy without the usual Norwegian food and trimmings. [Read more…]

Cruising Pacific Panama With Friends

Isla Bayoneta, Panama

Leaving Panama City

Well, we made it through the Panama Canal without incident, stayed a few days at Balboa Yacht Club, and made our way out to the Perlas Islands southeast of Panama City to enjoy a couple of weeks cruising and familiarizing Dale and Linda with the systems aboard Emma Jo. [Read more…]

Valentine’s Day in Bocas del Toro

Sweethearts Forever

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

With the Bocas Marina Cantina under new and creative management, a Valentine’s Party was planned and executed with impeccable flair by Dyllan and Darian. The festivities included welcome pink jello shots, romantic poetry on ribbon-tied scrolls, hundreds of paper hearts flying all over the posts, walls and tables, and a great meal of eggs benedict, champagne, and rum punch. The highlight was a musical trio booked in from Peru – with a keyboardist, percussionist, and “girl singer” who started slowly and romantically, then built up to full-on dancing music. They were truly the best entertainment we’ve seen in Bocas, and it figures, considering they are from out of town! Here are a few moments from the party… [Read more…]

Happy New Year from Independence of the Seas!

Ole and Jan on New Year’s Eve

Independence of the Seas

The beginning of the year greets us with more change.  It looks like Ole’s schedule is changing (again) and our projected 10 weeks of planned projects will be cut down to 5 weeks.

We were invited to present at the 2009 Winter DeFever Rendezvous at Useppa Island Resort in western Florida the end of February, and Ole has a 5-day course from Wartsilla Diesel the third week of February.  So we’ve got to get our heads around a new schedule. [Read more…]

Independence of the Seas for the Holidays

Our Christmas Tree, Independence 2008

Barging through books at three to five a week, I needed a couple of breaks from the solitude and the holiday tourists aboard the ship, so I called Maggie – she and Kim and I went “boat shopping” at Target and Wal-Mart in Ft. Lauderdale for stuff we just can’t get in Panama. Kind of boring for a “girls’ day out” but boy did I feel like a millionaire hoarding the stuff we have been looking forward to getting! The only problem seemed to be getting off the ship and getting a taxi without ripping somebody a new one. I HATE crowds, and a turnaround day in Ft. Lauderdale is enough to turn me into a complete recluse. [Read more…]

Travel, Theft, Birthdays, and Thanksgiving…all in One Month

Aboard Independence of the Seas
Somewhere in the Caribbean

The big accomplishment this month was getting the engine put back together after it’s breakdown   The new manifold arrived just in time for Ole to get it put back together before he left to go back to sea.   Timing being what it is, he was able to fire up the engines and do a full test at 12:00 noon the day before he had to go back to work!

November 17 took Ole back to Independence of the Seas, with me again tagging along.

The unfortunate thing about flying back through Panama City was that our little digital camera was stolen from our backpack somewhere between Bocas del Toro and Panama City, where we had arranged an overnight to take care of  some banking and real estate business.  Bummer.  Had some great party pics gone… [Read more…]

October is Party Month in Bocas

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

The second half of October was uneventful (save a couple of spectacular parties to be described later). We waited for parts. Ole has been down in the engine room dismantling the engine, cleaning up, and getting it ready for the hopefully soon arrival of a new manifold and adapter kit. I’ve been working on making new window covers for the outside of the pilot house, trying to protect the interior wood while providing much-needed shade. Thankfully there are just enough common sense fasteners to handle the just enough Sunbrella I have left.

Now to the parties: [Read more…]

Deep Thoughts on Good Friday in Costa Rica

Good Friday. You could run naked through the streets of downtown San Jose Costa Rica and nobody would see you.

Oh, Yeah! It’s Easter Week. (I Forgot). That Complicates Things…

San Jose, Costa Rica

Only today did I realize that this was Easter week – a heck of a time to be travelling anywhere in Central America. I left Panama on a Tuesday, thinking I could return Thursday and that would be three days. When I came to my senses, I realized that “72 hours” meant I needed to stay until Friday. That’s when it got more interesting. All of Central America shuts completely down on Good Friday. No buses. No planes. No taxis. No restaurants or movie theaters or nothin’! So I negotiated with the hotel to put me up for another 2 nights (during EASTER WEEK!) and they were wonderful about it. I chose to spend today, Thursday, visiting the Santo Thomas mall in downtown San Jose (MALL!), getting a haircut and some necessary computer components. Most of the downtown museums appeared to be closed in preparation for closing tomorrow. On the upside, the food at the restaurant at the hotel is superb – reasonably priced, beautifully presented and briskly served.