Archive for February, 2010

Tsunami Excitement

Today Bill and I got a late start and it was almost 8AM by the time we got to shore, our shower bags deposited near the showers, and were up on the causeway for our morning walk.  We had not gotten very far when Bill received a phone call from Frank on Windsong.  Frank said that he had just heard that there was a tsunami warning for this area due to the magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile.  The big wave was expected to arrive at about 9:50 this morning.  Since that was near low tide here in Balboa and a tsunami wave first empties out a bay before sending in the big wall of water, we decided to get Lanikai out to deeper water.

Bill and I made fast tracks back to the dock and caught a launch out to Lanikai (sitting in only 8 feet of water at the time), got the engine started and were very soon underway out into the channel (a good comfortable 50 feet of water).  Bill and I motored out to the “big ship” anchorage (about 60 to 80 feet deep), along with many of the other sail boats moored in Balboa and almost all of the sailboats anchored in the Playita anchorage near Flamenco Island – about 100 boats total.  A very few of the big ships also hauled anchor and moved themselves into more open water as well.  We all spent the next three hours drifting among the anchored ships.

No big waves arrived here; there was a report of an 8 foot surge at Isla Contadora about 35 miles away (never substantiated) and a late report of a 7-inch surge (!?!?) at Isla Taboga about 2 miles away.  A non-event here in the inner portion of the Bay of Panama… But… It could have been serious under the right conditions, so “better safe than sorry”.

By noon we deemed it safe to return to the mooring field.  We were tied up on our buoy by 1:30 in the afternoon.

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Lanikai following sailboats in the channel to the safety of deeper water.

Fun Times in Balboa

Bill and I have enjoyed the last week visiting with friends at the Balboa Yacht Club, where most evenings find us enjoying beers with friends in the palapa restaurant.

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Most mornings we go out for a walk before the sun gets too high.  Mostly we walk along the causeway but occasionally we walk the opposite direction to Nico’s cafe for a coffee before we make the return trip.

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Last evening, Feb. 24, we went over to Frank and Shirley’s condo for a farewell party in honor of Pam and John, Passages, who are heading out next week on their way across the South Pacific to New Zealand via the Galapagos.

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New Computer for Doreen

Doreen has been without a working computer since the beginning of November when her machine died one morning while we were in Ecuador.  Ecuador was not the place to replace or repair it, so we made due.  We left Ecuador after Halloween and then spent the next few month traveling to and within the Perlas Islands of Panama where there are few stores for food and not much else.  We arrived into Balboa just as Carnival was getting going, so all shopping was put on hold until after Ash Wednesday.

Yesterday we went into the city to take our dead underwater camera in for repairs.  It leaked sea water into it the first time we took in snorkeling.  Hopefully the warranty will cover the repairs and we get the camera back soon.

The shopping center where the factory-authorized repair shop is also has a large MultiMax electronics store.  After turning in the camera we went looking  in the electronics store.  They “just happened” to have an English computer (meaning it doesn’t have a Spanish keyboard)  in stock, complete with factory installed English Windows 7 software.  It was not quite as full of goodies as the computer that I had been looking at on the web –  and a little more expensive  –  but we decided that a computer now was worth the difference and we returned to the Balboa Yacht Club with the new laptop!!  Bill spent the rest of the afternoon – and well into the night – getting this machine set up for me with my favorite programs and all my many photos, eMails, FotoAlbums and video clips.  Now I am back in business and, maybe, this blog will see more current updates.  No excuses now!!!

Photos from the Perlas Islands

We spent the last two months enjoying the Las Perlas Islands of Panama before coming into Panama City.

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Christmas Dinner – both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – was shared with friends at Örnen House on Isla Contadora.  Werner and Ginny were our dock neighbors when we spent time in Chula Vista on our way south many, many years ago.  They now own the residence they call Örnen House in Contadora – named after their boat.

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We had some bright sunrises while anchored off some of the islands.

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Local fisherman fishing nearby to our anchored boat.

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Bill navigating us thru a narrow, shallow channel.

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We arrived at the Balboa Yacht Club a week ago.  This is the marina office, probably an old control tower for the Panama canal from the days before radar, racon, GPS and AIS.

Officially in Panama

Yesterday Bill and I made the run-around to the many offices that we had to visit to complete the check-in procedure.  It took all of two hours – what a change from our week long hassle to check out of Ecuador.  When we finished with immigration we were just a few blocks from a strip mall that included a donut and ice cream store, so off we went to enjoy a treat.  A quick trip to the nearby grocery store and Bill’s phone rang while we were in the check out line.  Shirley was on the line to see if we were interested in lunch at Crepes and Waffles in the big Albrook  mall.   Of course we were up for it,  so we spent a few wonderful hours catching up with Frank and Shirley and then they returned us to the marina.

Today we got started with a morning walk along the causeway and I got a large load of very salty clothing washed.  Bill is making good use of the great internet connection here, checking out things that we need to order and questions that need answers.