A Long Story

Handling lionfish

Handling lionfish

Cruising friends are cool – they’re all really unique people, doing unique things, on unique boats.  And they’re typically very helpful.  And there’s something about spending time with people when you know there’s an end to it – we will all sail off and may never see each other again afterward.  So it’s been fun and interesting.

More Boat Maintenance

It amazes me how much time, energy, and expense is tied up in boat maintenance.  It’s completely mind-boggling. The good news is I’m learning my boat – inside and out.  Here are the projects we have undertaken:

  • Boat bottom cleaning
  • Rewiring tons of stuff
  • Installing more fans
  • Massive amounts of cleaning
  • Installing electric fuel pumps
  • Changing rope clutches
  • Tracing an air leak in my fuel lines
  • Installing a BBQ grill
  • Installing some new standing rigging (some was in need of repair)
  • Getting a new stack-pack
  • Getting and installing a new dinghy engine

The list goes on.  And on.  And on.  I’ve gotten comfortable doing much of my own maintenance and install projects.  That’s huge, and I feel pretty good about it.

Volvo Penta Maintenance

In the engine room…

The real bummer is how expensive all of this is.  Even though I’d been pretty generous in my refit budget, I’m straining it.  But getting your home/vehicle/passion-project right is a big deal, so we’re working pretty hard to get things right.  And since we’re on the subject – I’ve picked up another crew member:  Damien.

More Crew

Having crew onboard is, right now, a good decision.  I don’t know how I’ll feel about it later – but so far they’ve been awesome.  Chelsea gets a little OCD on the cleaning, which is perfect.  Damien is a good diver, a great cook, and can hold a wrench.  Uh-mazing combo with the three of us onboard, me thinks.  And it’s alot of fun with three people.  That said, I have found less time to read and do other stuff as I’m spending more time socializing and on boat work.

Maybe that’s a good thing though.

Monkey Business

I’ve avoided going to see the local Spider Monkeys here for some reason.  Honestly, I don’t know why.  But with Chelsea onboard, it’s hard to not play the part of tour guide.  So we headed over to the island (25 meters off my bow) and went in search of the local monkeys.

Monkey Business

Monkey business

The monkeys are said to be semi-docile, but there are plenty of stories about them biting people.  The local lore surrounding these monkeys is silly;  these monkeys have tried to steal children, they’ve bitten huge pieces out of people, they’re very aggressive when food is involved, and they’re generally best approached in a dinghy.

I decided that was bullshit.  As most of the fear-mongering stuff I’ve heard/read is.  So we went to the island, found the monkeys and though we tried to keep our distance – we quickly found ourselves in a very intimate space with these amazing primates.  So far I’ve been right – they’ve just been awesome. 

The female of the group has taken a liking to me.  She follows me out to the very edge of the jungle (over the water) and chatters at me until I scratch her.  Amazing.

More monkey business

More monkey business

Back to San Blas

Since I’ve been here, we’ve had some new additions to the marina.  The usual crew of scoundrels actually got together last night for a little party on my boat.  I was supposed to be there, as it was my “going away” party – because we’re heading to San Blas.  Of course, I got stuck in Panama City on a run for my new dinghy engine.  As scoundrels do, they had my going away party on my boat without me.  They took some pictures of them all on my boat, without me.  They thought that was especially funny.

Another young couple on a Lagoon catamaran is in the anchorage.  Greg and his g/f Kaycee on Oceanna (http://oceannatheboat.com/). They’re a bunch of fun.  Greg dives, spearfishes, and surfs.  Kaycee keeps Greg in line, and occasionally she goes wakeboarding in the anchorage behind their dinghy.  That’s a fun thing to watch.  I’m stopping by their catamaran tonight to get some coordinates for epic dive spots in San Blas.  Fingers crossed.

The big news is that it’s time to head back to San Blas.  I’m dying to be back in the water daily.  I’m ready to only worry about how I’m diving, where I’m kayaking to, or what we’re going to have for dinner.  I think I’ve earned it over the last few days.  I’ve been working steadily, dusk to dawn to get things ready for a nice long trip through San Blas to Cartagena.  And I’m almost there.  So close!

So, if all goes well – my next post will be from San Blas.  I’m so stoked.

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