Archive for 2008

Christmas at the YC

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Christmas Eve was celebrated with a quiet evening at the Yacht Club bar visiting with several other cruisers as is usual most evenings.  Then it was early to bed to be ready for the big cooking day on Christmas Day.

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Christmas Day, Shirley, Wind Song, and I went to the YC early to get two large turkeys stuffed and into the oven so that they would be ready for the early afternoon cruiser’s potluck.  (A large ham had been cooked Christmas Eve and was already sliced and ready to reheat after the birds came out of the oven.)  We then took turns the rest of the morning babysitting the birds as they cooked.  When it came time to eat, Bill did the turkey carving in the now very hot kitchen.

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It was all worth the effort when the food was served as everyone enjoyed a great meal.  The cruisers all did themselves out to bring yummy special dishes for the occasion to go with the turkey and ham.

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After everyone had their fill we ended the gathering with a gift exchange.  Bill unwrapped a mug full of candy but it was soon taken by another cruiser and he picked another gift but that too was taken by another cruiser.  Bill finally got to keep the third gift that he unwrapped.

Christmas Trees

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Yesterday Shirley from Wind Song, David (the BYC manager) and Doreen constructed the Balboa Yacht Club’s Christmas tree.  After we got the tree “looking like a tree”  the staff took over.  They got the lights strung and working, then tied little strings to the many ornaments and placed them on the tree.  The final  step was the stringing of red and gold Christmas ribbon around the tree.   The tree will sit at the corner of the BYC Bar for the holiday season.

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Bill wore his new Santa hat for the occasion.  The past weeks as we traveled the streets of the city, he gets an occasional “Ho Ho Ho” due to his nice white beard, so I picked up a hat to go with it when I went shopping with Frank and Shirley earlier Thursday morning.

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Not to be outdone.  We have also hung our small Christmas tree on the Lanikai, with the many ornaments that we have purchased on our travels.

New Solar Panels

Sometime this last week the weather changed from the rainy season to the dry season.  We still get occasional afternoon rains but the mornings have been mostly sunny.  The real telling thing of the season change was the return of the summer haze.  (Here in the tropics, the dry season is called summer and the wet called winter.)  With the nicer weather Bill got real busy and finished the installation of the first of the two new solar panels.  We worked only in the early hours of the morning, after daylight but before the tropical sun got too hot to work outside on the white deck.

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The first step was to get the frame strongly installed to the aft rails.  It took both of us to hold it there so that the placement of the brackets could be marked.  Bill then bolted on the rail brackets and we made sure all fit correctly before we attached in the solar panel.  There is a diagonal added to the middle of the frame for stability.

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Bill was quite happy with the finished product after the panel was attached to the frame and then remounted onto the railing.  It is now adding electricity to our batteries and, since it seldom is in the shade, we are getting many amps from it!

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While we were working on the panels the large sailing yacht, the Maltese Falcon, passed by on its way to the first lock of the Canal as it crossed into the Caribbean.  It is a tall enough ship that it had to pass under the Bridge of the Americas at low water.  There was even a crew high in the rigging taking photos and watching.

Thanksgiving

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For the first year in many, we enjoyed a real turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.  The Balboa Yacht Club, where Lanikai is moored, served up a nice yummy Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  It was enjoyed by many cruisers as well as locals: about 76 dinners were served.  We are again at the YC today hoping to enjoy left over hot turkey sandwiches.

Later Note: the sandwiches were a bust; the turkey (leftover from yesterday) was today “fried”, and served without bread or gravy.  The manager was so disgusted after the first few were served, that he canceled the “special”.

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It has been raining for almost a week now; it will likely rain for another week!   This has not been the usual tropical downpour – where it rains hard for an hour and then is gone.  We have had almost steady rain, due to a low pressure system – or a series of lows – over the south western Caribbean.

Parts have started to arrive for “boat projects”, so as soon as the rain stops we have boat chores to do.  We have picked up two more solar panels (which will more than double our solar energy gain!) and Bill, before the rains, constructed two frames to mount them in.  The hardware just arrived today to finish mounting them on the aft rail of Lanikai.

Holiday Season Begins

This is the week before Thanksgiving in the US and the preludes to Christmas are underway in even here in Panama.  Last weekend they had a Christmas Bazaar at the Balboa Yacht Club.  It was not a well attended event but there were some interesting craft items for sale.  I expect that the late-morning downpours kept most of the shoppers away.  This last Thursday Doreen went shopping with a group of girls.  It was an organized activity of a women’s group here and we spent the entire day checking out four stores, stopping to enjoy a lunch at one of the nicer hotels in Panama City.  Most of the shops sold items that were fun to look at, but not practical to have on a sailboat.  The last shop was a large Christmas store that had all kinds of wonderful decorations.  There were many set ups of the various village sets that are sold to decorate fireplace mantles or villages under Christmas trees.   I did pick up a short string of lights that worked on D-size batteries as well as some tiny ornaments that I just could not pass up.

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Yesterday Bill and I went to the Albrook Mall.  It is a very large Mall and they were in the process of getting the last of the Christmas decorations up.  It was crowded with shoppers.    We enjoyed people-watching while we ate some sticky buns with the great coffee that is available down here.