Archive for November, 2008

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.

Ships

We have been back in Panama two weeks now.  Since we are anchored right off the Pacific entrance channel to the cannel we get to watch the traffic that comes and goes into the canal and into the large container port on this side of the canal.  The first week back we saw few ship passing by and the big ship anchorage in the bay of Panama had few anchored ships.  In the last week this has changed. The anchorage was quite full and there has been a steady stream of boats in the channel going both directions.  We saw a super large ship of 17 containers wide and 24 long pass by us yesterday.  This is much too large to pass thru the canal so we figure that he was bound to the container port.  There is construction going on at the locks to make a new and larger lock that will take this size of vessel.  

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Mexico’s Tall ship passed in and sat for several days just under the Bridge of the Americas.  It was all lit up each evening and decorated with flags in the day.  When it passed by Lanikai, all the sailors were standing in the rigging.  It made a very impressive site.

Back in Panama

We have now been home on Lanikai for two weeks and, hopefully, we have quit finding new problems.  The biggest problem on our return was that the diesel battery charger did not want to run anymore.  It still is not working, but we have gotten in contact with a mechanic who promises to help us out.  In the meantime we decided that more solar panels would be more than nice to have.  The panels that we have now will run the freezer but not much else, and not even that in the cloudy-rainy season.  Bill has gotten involved in another hobby computer project and needs more power to run his computer for extended periods of time.  More solar panels will – hopefully – give him the power he needs without having to run a noisy engine. 

The third day back saw us replacing a long run of fresh water hose.  It is the same hose that had sprung a leak last spring while we were anchored in Western Panama, and emptying our water tank into the bilge.  This time the leak was discovered in a section of the hose that we thought was ok last time; so now we decided to replace the whole run.  It was a good thing that we did; there were at least two more bad bulges in the hose.  Bill made an emergency trip to the hardware store to purchase the needed hose.  The original fresh water hoses are car heater hoses and since they give a distinctively rubber taste to the water, so we are slowly replacing them with modern reinforced plastic. 

There was also much cleaning down below when we first returned but the exterior of Lanikai was quite clean due to the almost daily rain showers that she had received thanks to mother nature and the rainy season.

The Internet has been flakey out at the boat so we have spent many afternoons at the BYC Bar where the WiFi connection is usually real good.  We also get to visit with our many friends as they show up for their afternoon beers.  There is also several “cruiser” activities each week including a Thursday afternoon “jam session” where the musically inclined cruisers entertain the rest of us. 

We are still enjoying life aboard although there is lots of work involved to keep the boat functioning.