Friday, December 31, 2010
I managed to rent lines within the first hour of being here and am still hunting for tires.
The photo is D45 at Shelter bay and the other, hopefully, the last photo taken of me in Portobelo in awhile...
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Line handlers are still needed. Come volunteer to help get Pelican through the locks and see the canal from a boat actually transiting! Transportation to and from Panama City as well as food will be provided. Phone number in Panama 60837084
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Pelican passed the initial inspection to transit the Panama Canal. The inspector had to call his supervisor to find out whether or not a tiller as a steering device met regulation... He had never seen one before. Many questions were asked about the boat and its equipment. One questiion was whether or not there was drinking water aboard!
I will head to Colon tomorrow to pay the canal fee if the bank is open. $1500 with a bit over half being a deposit.
LINEHANDLERS are needed! If you are in Panama and can volunteer, call me at 60837084! Tentative date to cross is the week of December 27 to 31. More updates will be posted here on my blog.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The very first step in getting through the Panama canal is to get the boat measured and inspected. Today I visited the office in Colon where they set the appointments to have this done. I was told that the boat must be in the flats (anchorage) or in Shelter Bay Marina.
The plan is to move the boat tomorrow and be measured the day after. Hopefully I will pass inspection without a hitch... The canal is a challenge because unlike all other passages, this one I absolutely have to depend on other people to make it happen! That is a true challenge as proven this morning by just trying to find the ACP office. Actually everyone I asked (taxi drivers, security guards, guy washing a car on the street) were really helpful and seemed eager to be involved.
If you want to volunteer as a line handler ( a great way to see the Panama canal), contact me via email through my profile or call me at 60837084
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I`m off to Panama again but this should be the last time as I am not doing a backpacker run. The decision to spend another season in the Caribbean is starting to feel less and less attractive. Of course I can still think of reasons to do it and who knows, I may still, but for today, I think I should stop dragging my feet and get through the canal. The canal is symbolic because I won´t have the luxury of changing my mind once I am on the Pacific side... I will be forced to head towards the U.S. as the boat is starting to be in need of another refit that I ain´t got the money for...
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I wonder if those bold statements that used to come out so easily when young and full of youthful confidence are completely forgotten by our older selves or if somehow they perhaps linger in the back of our minds to haunt and taunt us when we realize we may not have lived up to them.
I remember making many... Statements that were directly oriented towards cruising, that involved a dislike of rallies and the moneyed nature of how cruising is portrayed in slick magazines like Cruising World. ¨One´s equipment shouldn´t be better than one´s skill level! ¨ ¨Purchased experiences do not count!¨
I guess the advantage of being a bit older is that I don´t feel so individually responsible anymore, instead I now just feel sad to see things generally tilted toward one side...
Below is a photo of Robin Lee Graham who set out to sail around the world in 1965 on a 24 foot boat at the age of sixteen.
I love the details in the pic... The non self tailing winch that is so small. The narrowness of the beam at the transom. What brand of safety harness is that?
Did you know that Wild Eyes (the boat used by 16 year old Abby Sunderland to attempt to set a record as the youngest circumnavigator in 2010) was worth about 400,000 dollars?
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I posted not so long ago that the most difficult part of going cruising is leaving. I am starting to realize that I may have been mistaken. I now think the hardest part of going cruising is stopping...
Clip is of eastern Coco Banderas, Kuna Yala, right behind the nice 12 meter spot south of the main Bauhaus anchorage.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I will not be sailing back to Panama via the San Blas unless plans change. Instead I am looking for crew for a direct sail to Utila, Honduras. If you are interested in crewing, contact me via email found through my profile.
I will be here in Cartagena for a few weeks...
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Seems the latest idea is to head towards the Bay Islands and Rio Dulce. Cuba is interesting and might still be in the works but who knows...
More later when I get to Colombia. I will resume normal blogging as this should be my last San Blas trip for awhile.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
cell number in Panama 60837084
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I should be in the Robinson Cays (Sanidub, Narasgandub, Korkidub) in the San Blas for the next week or so... I am not sure about cell phone coverage but you can try. Best to send a text message so I still get your info if I miss your call.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
For the short term San Blas trips or the passage over to Cartagena or Sapzuro via the San Blas there is a modest charge. Compared to the many business boats doing the crossing or charters in the San Blas, you will find my price to be most affordable. There is a minimum of two people for the San Blas trips and three for the passage to Cartagena or Sapzuro.
I can be in Portobelo within a day to pick up persons interested in sailing. These sorts of details can be worked out via text messages.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
If you are interested in sailing to Panama via the San Blas from Cartagena, contact me. You are welcome to come check out the boat at Club Nautico located in Manga Island, Cartagena. You can even Couchsurf by putting a request through the CS Site.
If you are genuinely interested in commiting as crew on a shared expense basis, use my email available through my profile to tell me about your travel plans and sail experience. I will be sailing to Panama and transiting the canal soon after. To crew one must commit to be aboard for a minimum of a couple weeks otherwise the time spent to familiarize onesself with the boat does not become worthwhile.
For the short term San Blas trips or the passage over to Cartagena via the San Blas there is a modest charge. Compared to the many business boats doing the crossing or charters in the San Blas, you will find my price to be most affordable.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I am still doing San Blas trips out of Portobelo but will have to head to Cartagena soon to do a visa run. If interested in doing the trip to Colombia via the San Blas, contact me.
If you are genuinely interested in commiting as crew on a shared expense basis, contact me through my email available through my profile. You are also welcome to CouchSurf aboard Pelican by putting a request through the CS site.
Otherwise, there is a comparatively modest charge for the short term San Blas trips or the passage over to Cartagena via the San Blas.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
My trips are geared towards the traveler who is willing to help with the work in exchange for a lower priced trip. There are many other higher end full service oriented San Blas sailing trips and you can contact me for a recommendation.
Meals are not provided. You bring and cook your own food of choice. The boat, Pelican, has a full galley(two burner gas stove with oven) including a small refrigerator perfect for cooling drinks and vegetables but not ideal for bringing loads of raw meat... It is possible to buy live lobsters, conch and fish from the Kunas. I´ve got basics like salt, sugar, cooking oil, etc so you don´t have to go crazy with the provisioning. Drinking water is also on board, straight from the tap in Portobelo. I drink it and so do all the locals in town... If in doubt, you can buy bottled water.
Pelican can sleep three comfortably, four is possible and five starts to be crowded. There is a spacious V berth forward that sleeps two and there is a settee in the salon. I have also improvised a sleeping area in the cockpit that has the advantage of being outdoors. Another option is to sleep on one of the islands with a decent sized two person dome tent I have onboard. There is a small toilet but no shower. I have very basic dive masks and snorkels and only one set of fins... There is also a JBL medium length speargun and a Penn International 50 reel and rod for trolling. Plenty of assorted gear for hand line fishing. There is one eight foot hard rowing dinghy and another Avon inflatable eight foot dinghy with a small 3.5 hp two stroke outboard. There is also 220 volt or 110 volt electricity for charging laptops, cell phones, ipods, etc..
The trips I have done in the San Blas tend to be about three days long. First day is an overnight sail from Portobelo to Chichime. The second night is spent at Chichime and the following day we do a day trip to Dog Island (2$ per person Kuna charge) and then sail to Banedup in the afternoon. We spend the night in Banedup and the next day we sail to Carti. Transportation from Carti to Panama City is available for $27 or $28 dollars($2 or $3 for the launch and $25 for the jeep). It may also be possible to sail back to Portobelo with me. The Robeson islands are very close to Carti and additional days could be spent exploring this group. I am very open to other destinations and if there is a specific group you are interested in, contact me, so I can see if I have the relevant Nautical charts.
Transportation from Panama City to Portobelo is cheap and easy. Take the express bus from the Albrook Mall for Colon. The cost is $2.50. Get off at Sabanitas, which is a busy T junction. Infront of the Rey supermarket(this is where you buy your food for the trip), wait for one of the local buses going to Portobelo. Portobelo is clearly written on the windshield. The cost is $1.00.
It is best to call instead of emailing as internet is not so realiable in Portobelo. Cell phone in Panama (507) 60837084
The boat, Pelican, is based in Portobelo and if you want to couch surf for free while in Portobelo before heading out or just to come up and check things out, put in a request through the CS site.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
In other news, it is a bit too early for me to cross the canal so I might try doing some low budget sail trips within the San Blas. It is really easy to undercut everyone else as the prices asked are over the top... The ¨great recession¨ can´t be all that bad if flashpackers are shelling out nearly 100 a day to camp out on boats like Olivine, the 30 foot version of my boat that has seven people aboard when full!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
I will hang out here for a bit and most likely head back to the San Blas islands by way of Portobelo again. The San Blas deserve more than the several days I spent there...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The business of shuttling backpackers across the ¨gap¨ and also spending a couple of days in the San Blas is quite something... Technically it is illegal to do. Adverts posted on the Club Nautico bulletin board are torn down regularly by the management. Internet forums for backpackers are filled with horror stories. I´ve met quite a few of the full time backpacker skippers and some are real pieces of work. How hard is it to buy the cheapest forty footer in Florida, cross the Caribbean once and start motor sailing back and forth cramming as many bodies as can fit aboard? The egos of some of the skippers are way out of proportion... It is easy to be the big fish if the pond is small enough and most of the backpackers are clueless when it comes to reading boats... I will recoup the exorbitant check in costs and get my fuel paid for so it is all good for me.
I should be in Portobelo or maybe in Carti for a bit. If not, I will head to Bocas del Toro and do another long break.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I found these four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese when doing a very thorough search of one of the storage areas in the boat. They were hidden well away out of normal reach and had evidently been there quite a while because I did not recognize them as provisions I had ever brought on board. For a moment I was actually thrilled at the prospect of indulging in some crap processed American food. It was a pretty short lived thrill....
Saturday, June 12, 2010
"I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
Clip is from Richards Bay, South Africa. Watch an awful looking catamaran trying to dock in the harbor with a 30 knot crosswind missing my monitor windvane by inches and hitting SV Brillig's instead...
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
First impressions of Cartagena have been good. I do plenty of research regarding the logistics of sailing when considering a destination, but lately, I do very little when it comes to the travel side. I usually step out of the dinghy and ask the first person which way is town and start walking. For example, I had no clue that Cartagena has, at its center, a sizable "walled city" where all the buildings create a feeling of being somewhere in Spain a few hundred years ago. The buildings are all tastefully lit up at night and there is no vehicle traffic allowed so it was quite enjoyable to stroll around.
The area before Panama, off Columbia, is listed in Jimmy Cornell's "World Cruising Routes" as one of the top five worst passages around the world. I planned well ahead to transit this area in May, a benign month, and sat in Aruba (on my boat) until I got a favorable forecast from Chris Parker, a Carib weather expert on 12350mhz, 1230 UTC. The forecast called for 25 to 30 knots with an 8 foot sea which is better than normal. The video shows me entering the area which starts around Cabo Vela. In the vid, the waves are only six foot or so. By the time I got to 75 West at night, the gusts were gale force and the seas were starting to top out past ten feet. The worst didn't last that long. I had to hand steer for two hours because the windvane couldn't take it. The truth is, I didn't do that much better a job. I had a 180 degree round up that took about a second and a half! Pooped a bunch of times and had a plenty of what I call 45 degree knockdowns... Ten foot breaking waves aren't going to capsize Pelican so it was never really dangerous, but it was quite a ride.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Paramaribo, Surinam is a "World Heirtage site." A lot of colonial Dutch architecture. Here are a few pics to get you started. I am sure one can find a virtual tour on the net somewhere. You won't see the dozens of young aggressive Rasta guys trying to hustle the few Dutch tourists on those virtual tours... I had a particularly aggressive one that I told to f**k off. He started to threaten me with a three foot machete! I was quite impressed with his ability to hide a three foot machete given he was wearing a tank top, surfer shorts and flip flops...