Friday, June 1, 2007

Waiting for bimini shade modifications to be made

May 30, 2007  Wednesday

Caught a “taxi” over to Hillsborough so we could max out both of our ATM cards again.  Figure we will need EC cash to pay for the bimini modifications when they are finished.  The ride over there and back was on a somewhat different route than we went the last time, so we saw a bit more of the island.  Funny, one part pretty much looks just like any other part.  Walked around a bit but Bill’s toe didn’t feel up to a long walk.  Didn’t do much else today.  Made more granola; I have modified granola recipes and have settled on one that Bill enjoys.   Also have learned to make our own yogurt but I am not yet satisfied with it and need additional experimentation in yogurt production.  First I need to find a sealable glass container because our plastic containers are truly not suitable for making yogurt.

May 31, 2007  Thursday

Another Make & Mend day:  do the laundry and make some water; clean the boat.  Routine weekly chores.

A few days ago we made a reservation for Shelter Bay Marina in Panama for December 10 through January 10.  A friend with a boat just like ours stayed there a few months ago and said it was very nice and a secure place to leave your boat for a trip home.  Then we bought airline tickets home to Houston from Panama.   So we should be home for the holidays!  We will arrive in Houston on the evening of December 19 and depart the morning of January 9.  Talk about planning in advance!  Now if Mother Nature will only cooperate.  This is all totally dependent on the weather, a/k/a hurricane season.  Bill said that guess this means we are really going to Panama.  I reminded him that anything that can be done can also be undone.  Nothing in our itinerary or schedule is carved in stone.

This put me on a search of Continental airlines and its partners.  Bill still has several hundred thousand OnePass miles with Continental.  I found that we can fly home from Cairns, Australia, for 240,000  miles plus $200.  Not sure we would want to leave our boat as far north as Cairns during the typhoon season; but KLM is a partner with Continental, and KLM services Sydney.  We cannot get any information about the KLM flights using reward travel miles; it would involve a telephone call and it is way too early to get into that.  But it is remotely possible that we could again fly home for Christmas holidays 2009.  That makes Bill feel a little better about heading off to the South Pacific.  He is concerned about being so far away from family for such a long period.  I think he had it in his mind that we would not be able to go home again until we reach the Med. 

Thinking about Panama has put us both in the mood to further research the passage to Cartagena and then the San Blas Islands.  Then that got me to researching further into the South Pacific.  There is so much that you have to plan in advance that it boggles our minds a bit.  Visas for French Polynesia, requests to Ecuador for permission to travel to the Galapagos Islands,  more malaria prophylaxis,  verify health cards are up-to-date, find and reserve a place to do a quick last-minute haul-out to clean the bottom and prop before heading out in Pacific, find  and buy foul-weather suits for colder climate, sea boots or waterproof shoes/boots for cold weather, remember to pick-up some cold-weather clothes and shoes from our stash in John’s attic when we visit Houston in December (REALLY hard to think about that stuff in this heat!), find more courtesy flags for the various countries we will visit in Pacific, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.  Not to mention the spare parts lists to review and the provisioning lists. 

We will do major provisioning in Isla Margarita in July.  That will take us through the San Blas Islands; then we will do major provisioning again in Panama City in February after we transit the canal.  That will require a lot of thought and advance planning; but we have been warned how terribly expensive everything is in the South Pacific, so you do need to stock as much as possible while in Panama.  But you don’t want too much because New Zealand is exceptionally restrictive about what they will allow you to bring into their country.  They come out to your boat and take away all fresh or frozen meats and all cheese (even canned) and a whole litany of other food items.  They even take your vacuum cleaner bags!  And they check your shoes for any dirt.  They are very serious about not letting destructive parasites into their country.  So you need to stock your provisions in Panama to last until New Zealand, and you want to arrive in New Zealand with your cupboards and freezers bare.

A single chicken in the South Pacific can cost $20 USD – YIKES!!!  And a dozen eggs often costs $12-$15.  Beer in Tahiti runs $10 per can.  Prices like these give you an example of why it is important to provision correctly in Panama City.

And this cruising thing is supposed to be care-free!

Of course, all this advance thinking and planning could be for nothing.  Bill could change his mind again and we might end up somewhere else.  My mind is already made up about going to the Pacific.  I can’t believe we would have sold our house and everything to move aboard this boat and then just sit in the Caribbean the entire time we live aboard.  But we are in this together and if one of us doesn’t want to do something then we won’t do it.

June 1, 2007  Friday

Weather forecast for Sunday is for sustained winds of 25 knots with gusts 35 knots and 10-foot seas. Yeehah!!  What a ride down to Grenada that would be!  Especially since the final 5 miles would be directly into the wind and waves.  Thank goodness that Bill has been pressuring Petra to finish our bimini shade panels as quickly as possible. 

Petra and Andy brought the panels out to our boat late this afternoon for a final fitting.  Andy installed the turnbuckles that were needed to hold the panels down nice and snug, and Petra did final measurements for the last zippers.  They said these would be delivered tomorrow morning about 9:00 a.m.  We will then immediately leave to sail down to Grenada; praying that we arrive before the worst of the wave arrives.  Weather forecast for Saturday is for winds of 22 knots and the wind chop component of seas to be 7-foot.   That should be lively enough!


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