Archive for May, 2010

Frank’s Birthday Celebration

Today Shirley gathered a group of friends at a wonderful Italian restaurant to celebrate Frank’s Birthday.

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We spent much of the afternoon enjoying visiting; with wine, clams and Ossobuco, followed by Italian dessert.

Very Rolly Anchorage

We have had no rain for the last three days but some sun and lots of clouds and lots and lots of wind.  The wind has been more southerly and therefore bringing in lots of waves into the anchorage.  We have had to fight the chafe of our our buoy lines where they cross the toe rail.  Lots of rolled up towels seems to have solved that problem, along with a little filing to round off the outer corner of the toe rail so that the toweling is not being cut by the hull.

Monday afternoon we picked up mangos as we returned from our morning walk.  The ripe mangos are just starting to fall!  Tuesday morning I was up early peeling and cutting the fruit off a large bag of mangos.  They were then blended to pulp and turned into mango-orange jam.

Wednesday we did our usual Chinese breakfast of dim sum at a super restaurant downtown.  Many cruisers and a few locals show up for this time together.  Afterward, Bill and I then took the bus to the Cinco de Mayo area to shop at Machetazo.  We had more than groceries to pick up and this is a super big Fred Meyer style store.  Since my canning jars are full of jam, and I wanted to make more jam for friends, we picked up covered cups to put the jam into to pass out to friends.  Bill purchased two pair of knock-off crocs for only $4 a pair and we picked up a few groceries and coffee to take stateside.  While we were shopping we got a call from Shirley.  They were off to lunch in Casco Viejo and wondered if we wanted to join them.  Of course we did so we marched off to the Cinco de Mayo Plaza and waited for them to pick us up.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening with Frank, Shirley and Paul.  We even ended up at their house for dinner.

Thursday it was early to shore to pick up more mangos and more jam was made. Now I am trying to pass it out to our local friends.

The last three nights have been very rolly, last night was the worst and even Bill and I got very little sleep – so we took morning naps before starting the day as the rolls and wind lessened after sun up.

Southerly Winds and Rain

The anchorage here at the Balboa YC has been rather rolly for the last three days and we have seen lots of rain.  Today we actually had some period of sun, although much of the day was still cloudy we had no rain.  The south-westerly direction is the only direction that we have no protection from, as it is the direction of the canal’s Pacific entrance channel.  These winds therefore have made the anchorage quite rolly and we are hearing complaints from other cruiser that they are having difficulty sleeping at night.  This has not been a problem for Bill and I but it does make it more difficult to do things in the daytime and both of us are experiencing sore muscles from all the motion.  We have therefore spent much time sitting in the cockpit reading and just enjoying watching the weather.

Unique Experience, Current Event!

Well, we just now got to watch a big ship run aground in the Panama Canal under the Bridge of the Americas.  This is not supposed to happen!  In the five years we have been in-and-out of here this is the second grounding we have seen (and the previous one was nowhere near the bridge).  The canal is quite ‘closed’ until this monster is moved away!

See also http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/20100518191701674

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It is currently almost high tide and it will be interesting this evening when the tide gets low; where the ship sits now there is very little water at low tide.  We are looking at a 15 foot drop in the tide tonight.

Final Update…

The ship was pulled off the rocks this morning (Wednesday 19 May) at 8:15 (right at high tide).  Lots of tug boats involved.  No damage to the bridge (there is lots of rip-rap around the base of the piling specifically to prevent that from happening).   The ship was apparently just carrying coal, so no environmental damage.   Very little canal traffic all night.  End of story (but I’m sure glad I was neither the pilot nor the captain !!).

Tall Ships pass by into the Panama Canal

Over the last three days we have watched as seven tall ships passed by our anchorage at the Balboa Yacht Club.

(click on each image to more easily read the ship’s name and its home country)

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Argentina

Brazil

Chile

Ecuador

Mexico

Uraguay

Venezuela

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It was fun to watch all these big ships pass by in their stately fashion.