Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Huck Finn


Yes, here it is New Years Eve. Here we are trying to keep cool by spending the day in the cool river playing with the local kids. Tally and Innocence are chasing chickens while Teggy and Intrepid are playing with some small parrots - - - such cute little guys.

Mother and I went back to the boat to take a quick rest and make sure the river had not deposited too much in the way of logs and other debris on the front of Lil Explorers. While clearing the logs from the front of the boat we spied a small balsa raft drifting by.  I quickly grabbed a rope and with the help of a friend we captured the raft, a beautifully simple little transport instrument.  It is four logs next to each other. A small branch runs across the top and is held in with wooden pegs. It is so simple, yet strong. I was able to tow it behind the dingy at almost full speed without it even noticing.  I gave it to Teggy as an early birthday present.  He got the first ride down the river.  It is quite the sight him drifting down the river with a stick as a paddle. As he drifted past a few of the other boats I had to think of Huck Finn and his little raft. I will have to see if I can still get a copy of the book for the little ones. I think they would enjoy it. Hopefully it has not been fully banned.

Right now there are four kids playing on one end, while Valiant is trying to get his leg between two of the logs up front. He is becoming quite the adventurer.  Anything his older brothers do, he has to do too. And it does not matter what that may be.

Early Tomorrow a few of the people on the boats are going for a hike into the mountains. I plan to tag along and get a little bird watching in. I will give a report tomorrow.
Good night and Happy New Year.

Loyal- - - -

Back up the Darien River

Going up the Darien River today, back to the La Chunga village.  We have 5 other boats with us this time and made a gentle downwind sail yesterday crossing the large bay from the Perlas to mainland.  We are all staged, waiting for a rising tide to cross the mud flats up to the river.  Once in the river it's not such a big deal, just crossing the mud flats that it gets shallow.  We draw less than most of the mono-hulls, so we usually take the lead and depth-sound out the channel.  We have 2 Canadian boats and 3 other Americans, including Sunrise with the 4-year-old girl.  Cassidy went with them yesterday to see how sailing on a mono-hull and with another crew was like---just a change of pace.  Sounds like it was a nice time.  It was a mild wind and downwind, so minimal heeling.

Need to go oversee schooling, and then off we go to the Darien.  Since we are motoring and caught a little rain in a squall last night, we may even get to wash a load of laundry!!


Happy New Year from the Darian

So many great things are going on these days.  The new cockpit is wonderful. We are finally eating outside in the shade of the new cockpit cover.  The raised cockpit has also given us more storage area. For now the decks are not as cluttered as they used to be. It is so nice to be able to sail without having to fight our way around the decks.

Two days ago we were getting ready to head across to the Darian from the Perlas.  Before taking down the Volleyball net Cassidy wanted to play a last set to determine the King of The Beach.  I got to be team Bigfoot captain, and Cassidy was team Littlefoot captain. Being a girl she figured she should have first choice of teammates. She chose Courage.  Now, it turned out, he was the only other player on the beach.  Luckily I was able to draw my own boundaries. I made my field a few feet narrower and a few feet shorter than their side. The first game was a close 10 to 21. During the game I had to widen my field, and even make it a little deeper.  Even with the bigger field I was able to hold my own, during the second game.  But for the third game they shortened their field, and I had to lengthen mine.  And to make it more fair, I brought my width the within  two feet of theirs.  By this time I was wearing them down enough they were making a few mistakes (like thinking a ball was out when it was not). To make this short story longer I will wrap up by saying I don't think they will back me up on my version of events, but they will have to admit I took the title of King of the Beach. Three straight games.

Yesterday 5 other boats and Lil' Explorers set sail for the Darian. A few were wise and left early to catch the morning wind, while others took some time to beach the boat and give he a nice wash before setting off. There was a nice northerly wind blowing about 10kts so up went the spinnaker.  The wind held for about 4 hours, but eventually sails started coming down and motors started. The wise ones who left early were able to select prime anchoring spots, and guide the rest of us to a spot in the dark. With an overcast night, and no moon, it was hard to see anything at all.  At one point Courage called me forward to listen to a sound. We could hear the rain approaching. Quickly we started closing hatches, and gathering clothes that were out drying. The rain hit hard, but only lasted a few minutes.  Not even long enough to wash our new roof.

Around ten am the next day we all pulled up our anchors and started making our way to the mouth of the river. This time there were no nets to block our path.  It was impressive to see the line of six boats all in a row heading over the mud flats. Two of the boats did end up hitting the bottom when the current pulled them out of the channel. It was had to tell but the current did not follow the channel. I jumped in the dingy with boat hook in hand and headed back to find the channel. It only took a few minutes to figure out what had happened, and Cassidy was able to get the message out letting everyone know where the channel was.

Once we were all safely anchored in our favorite spot, a few of the villagers came out to say hello. For the next few hours we had between 30 and 40 visitors stop by to say 'Hi' and welcome us back. As the afternoon progressed we shared war stories with the other boats and introduced them to some of the locals.

Tomorrow there will be a bit of a New Year’s party in town, and we are all invited.  It promises to be quite interesting.

Happy New Year from Loyal, Mother, Courage, and the whole Lil' Explorers crew!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Life in the Tropical Perlas Islands

Here we are in a beautiful little anchorage between two islands.

Christmas Eve we had all the boats over for a potluck dinner. Right now there are 9 boats enjoying the warm breezes, sandy beaches, and swarms of butterflies.  Including the 10 of us there were around 35 people onboard, and still plenty of room.

Christmas Day we had a big volleyball championship. The Brazilians and Swedish people were quite aggressive, and kept us up to date with the international rules. It turns out last year there were some big changes. Now there is a point gained with each serve. It makes the game move much faster.
There were some really impressive volleys, especially with a 10-year-old soccer player by the name of Alex. He and his father were an unstoppable team, setting to each other and making saves that were impossible. And when Alex could not get it with his hands, he would kick it over the net.

This morning we went to the other side of the island to burn our garbage. Since it has not rained in the last week, finding firewood was a dream. In no time Courage had a nice fire going and the garbage on top. With the hot fire even the plastic burns without smoke. Teggy, Tally, and Valiant, gathered the plastic bottles and other debris from the beach. We usually try to burn as much plastic as possible from the beach.

There are a few grasshoppers out, and tons of beautiful butterflies. The butterflies are smart enough to stay away from little hands, but the grasshoppers allow themselves to be caught and seem to enjoy walking around on the little ones.

Courage picked up a power generator you tow behind the boat. It is essentially a propeller attached to 50 feet of rope that is connected to an electric motor.  At 4kts no noticeable power is generated, but at 7kts we were making 6 amps. It will be a great asset while crossing the pacific as it will give us some power at night, assuming we are moving over 6kts.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.

Christmas in the Islands

Merry Christmas from the Perlas Islands in Panama!  We had a nice time.  There were about 10 boats in the anchorage here at the island.  We had about 30 people over for Christmas Eve dinner.  It was nice.  Then Cassidy and I stayed up and wrapped presents.  Christmas morning we opened presents and played, then went to the beach later in the day and had a big volleyball game.  We invited another catamaran over for Christmas dinner.  They are from Brazil.  Cassidy also got to go wakeboarding yesterday with that other catamaran.

We are setting up for another trip to the Darien and indigenous tribes Dec. 30th.  There may be about 5 other boats going at this point.  Things change rapidly here.  Should be interesting though.

I need to get to shore, brought baby out for his nap, but am going to make a treasure hunt for the kids to do (and want to get them doing some more reading anyway.)  Also making lunch to bring to them.  They are playing with a 4-year-old girl on shore from Sunrise.  Very nice family, we've been wearing her out.  She’s not used to this much stimulus!

Courage and Loyal, with some help from Bill on Sunrise, built up the cockpit floor so that it is more usable and we have more storage.  It's good, still raw wood, but functional. We also have a tarp guy sewing our old canvas to fit our new roof.  Really excited for some better shade and rain protection out there.  That will make it so much more functional and enjoyable.

Must make the treasure hunt and feed the kids. 

Until later,

Merry Christmas from Cassidy

For Christmas this year we are at Espiritu Santo with ten other boats. Christmas Eve we had this huge gathering/potluck with most of the boats in the anchorage. It was great, in total we had almost thirty people over. Our plans for Christmas are, well to open presents of course, and have a volleyball beach party!

Nothing quite like white snow and big Christmas trees. But we have the tropical version of that; Green waters and coconut trees.

Merry Christmas from Cassidy!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Contadora Island and Whale Sharks

We sailed somewhat upwind back to Contadora Island today.  Contadora is the closest to the mainland Panama.  We have limited Internet here and are working on getting caught up on things.

We caught another two nice size sierras on the way here.  We gave some more to Armagh since we had 4 days worth of fish, which is super nice, but hard to keep fresh and continue to delegate power for the fridge.  She gave us the key lime pie, which is easily worth the trade!!  And she gave us oatmeal raisin cookies this morning!!  Before we left, we then took the dinghy back to the town, got another 30 eggs and 4 onions.  They didn't have any fruits or vegetables in the town.  We went to both stores.  Not sure what day their supplies come in, but they sure are low it looks to us!!

On the way here also, Loyal noticed a shadow under the water.  We all ran out to see a whale shark!!!  I've heard it is whale shark season with the colder currents and have been so excited to see one!  They are the largest fish and eat plankton only.  We grabbed our snorkels and masks while Courage circled us back, Cassidy was the first to jump in.  I got a few pictures, Loyal jumped in, and then I went!  The three swimmers chased the shark, but couldn't catch up.  Somehow it seems that he swims faster than we do.  There were rumors that there were 2 sharks, not just the one, but I only saw one. Courage went out on a kayak and got a great view of it, making out details only 5 feet away from it.  Loyal grabbed a paddleboard from the boat.  Ultimately we lost track of it and all reconvened back at the boat to continue our journey.

- - -Just a quick update.  Really enjoyed the whale shark.

Pedro Gonzalez Island

We are at Pedro Gonzalez Island, which is one of the farthest out of the Perlas Islands.  It's very nice here.  We are in a bay with 2 other boats.  We took the dinghy to a small town where they were very helpful.  We got eggs, onions, bananas, butter, and a couple of other things.  When one store didn't have what we were looking for, he sent us to the other store in town.  We of course returned for what we could from the first guy.  The people tend to be very helpful, nice, but not overly so (like in Esmerelda Village).  A guy we asked for directions to the store turned and walked us a little ways rather than just pointing, to make sure we made it.

We caught 3 gigantic fish on the way here!!!  The largest sierra we've seen yet, plus another, which was one of the largest sierras, we've seen.  Then we got another bite, Loyal reeled it in after a bit of it pulling away from us.  It was a HUGE fish.  We think it was a jack, but aren't totally sure. -- Probably 20-30 lb. fish.  Did a little anatomy learning with the kids as we filleted it.  It was an awesome white meat also!!! -- Really great fish.  We shared some with our friends on Armagh when they arrived to the harbor and are running the fridge to keep it.  Also eating some nice fish sticks for lunch and garlic Parmesan fish for dinner.

We left for the islands on a little bit of a whim, so I didn't have a chance to go "provisioning" (shopping for normal people).  We are out of oats, which we have for breakfast 6 days a week!  Crisis!  Fortunately we had some cereals.  This morning grandmother made fish soup for some of us.  We also have pancake mix and can make pancakes and waffles.  We certainly won't starve, but we are missing some of our favorite and/or typical foods.  Getting the butter allowed me to make a crust for a couple of dessert recipes we have since I don't have any prepared cookies, etc.

A guy met us on the beach the first day and asked if we wanted fruit.  I said yes, so he came again yesterday and climbed a coconut tree and cut us down about 10 coconuts.  I have no idea what to do with 10 green coconuts, but we bought them from him for $0.50 each for the experience.  He then went and cut some limes for us, a large bag of them for $3.  I thought he was also getting some oranges, but they were "naranja limones" (orange limes) as a type of lime, not oranges and limes as I had understood.  So we loaded up in our kayak and just as we were leaving another guy came down with 10 oranges (which are green here) bundled in his arms hollering for us.  We went back and he wanted $3 for them.  I told him $2 and we made a deal.  We can get a huge bag of oranges for $3-$5 on mainland, so he knew he was working us, even at $2.  Not to mention, I think he just picked them from a tree on the way to us.  We found a papaya tree that was knocked down or cut down or something.  Didn't look like a clean cut.  After looking at the papayas on the ground for 3 days, we finally brought 4 of them back to the boat today.  They aren't ripe yet, but may be nice.

There is a lot of development going on this island.  There is a clubhouse with a map plan of the island.  It appears a development group bought the entire island.  Patty on Armagh says the same company owns the ferry company also.  They donated 1/3 of the island to a biologic reserve.  They are putting in a marina and a marina village, a service port, an airport, a club with condos and private residences, a pool and tennis courts.  It looks like a very pleasant plan if they pull it off.  The marina breakwater is being built as well as they are terracing the hill adjacent to us and working on it every day.  There is a nice outdoor structure straight in from us at the beach with a cute little bridge and two small 'houses'.  If it's any indication, the materials and construction look very nice!!  I think the security guy that sits there all day indicated that it cost 500 million dollars before building any of the houses.  I could be wrong though since he only speaks Spanish.

Yesterday we tried to rescue a pelican without much success.  He was on the beach and struggling.  He had a rope on his neck and foot.  We threw a towel on his head and beak, Courage held him while I cut the rope from his neck and leg.  He had a gimp right foot and probably a wing issue although it didn't seem broken when he'd flap them out.  He still couldn't get moving.  We tried to give him a fish we'd found on the beach, but he wouldn't eat it.  Maybe it was too big?  So we cut up chunks from our fish we'd caught and tossed them to him, but he didn't eat them.  I think today he was dead on the beach, but not totally sure.

We have been playing volleyball most days since heading to the islands with some other friend boats.  We made a volleyball net out of our old fish net that we used to make lifelines for the kids on the boat.  We tie it up with rope to a tree or bamboo post.  Yesterday we had some good teams!  The aero-naval vessel came in and anchored.  A bunch of 20-year-old guys came in and went to shore to jog and swim and exercise.  A couple came to our game and watched for a minute and we called them into the game.  Then a couple more came.  We had 5 on 5.  Easiest we've had it as far as coverage.  Made for a good game.  We had 4 from Lil' Explorers, 1 from Armagh, and 5 aero-naval guys all intermixed.  We have been playing with a rubber bouncy "Tigger" ball and it goes great.  Today it's windy, so we used Armagh's real volleyball.  We decided it was just too hard, so we went back to Tigger and quit after one game.

We then just walked the shore.  Tons of gorgeous white shells and some crystal type rocks.  We have taken way too many rocks onboard.  Need to come up with a plan for them.  Integrity would like to "sell them for money."  He was going to take the first dollar to buy candy at the Shopette in Panama City, and then let me have the rest for laundry coins.

We are still going back and forth on the Galapagos.  Currently we are more in the "let's go" plan.  I think we're more likely to regret not doing it than doing it.  It's a lot of money, but a one-week tour once you get to the islands is $1000 per person for the cheap tour.  Then there are tips, drinks, trinkets, or whatever.  That would be $10,000 for the likes of us.  Besides that, it's $400 per person to fly to the islands, etc.  It will cost us about $1500-$2000 for permits, visas, etc for 5 islands for one month.  It's right on our way to French Polynesia (which is going to cost us $1500 for the 6 month visas for the 10 of us in contrast), so could break up the trip nicely and give us a good land break.  We can also buy fresh fruits/veggies to restock once we're there, giving us a nice resupply just when we're about to run out.  It's also quite unique as a set of islands, which we've seen many of.  I also think that it would be really cool as the kids are learning about the Galapagos to have actually seen it and know what they are talking about in a very literal sense.

Anyway, there's a brief update to where we are currently.  We are thinking of going back toward the end of the weekend to mainland.  I have some serious shopping to do.  We would like to get our tarp fitted to our new roof so that we have sidewalls to protect us from sun and rain in the cockpit.  We also need to get our applications in for our French long stay visas.  We need passport pictures, copies of things made, etc.  I also need to start getting supplies for our offshore trip.  10 months of staples, then get them vacuum packed or otherwise sealed safely from bugs and the elements. That's going to take some time and effort and money.  Lots of work ahead of me!  Enjoy a few more days at sea. . .   I will also be looking at making plans for Cassidy as well as for our last 2-3 months here.  We need to have a lot of coming and going from the boat, preparing supplies, and checking out of the country.  We are very excited - there is another boat going to the South Pacific with a 15 year old boy and a 13-year-old girl on it.  They are from the states and just came through the canal Tuesday.  We weren't there of course to greet them, but we talked on Facebook as we were leaving the harbor.  They leave for the states on the 16th, so we may miss them until they return on the 6th of Jan.  (Then Cassidy may be leaving).  
Excited to meet them whenever it works out!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Enjoying the Perlas Islands

At the nice beach with the submarine, another boat, Armagh, came out today.  We played some volleyball again today.  Getting good!!  Also we had a nice swim along the bay and snorkel along the submarine this morning.  Whales came right beside the boat checking us out at dinnertime.

Old Submarine and Volleyball in the Perlas Islands.

Hello All – December 7, 2013

Today we are visiting the 140-year-old submarine.  You can read about it on Wikipedia. Search for Sub Marine Explorer 1963. They have some interesting information.

This morning at high tide I dove on the sub. It is really interesting seeing the fish using it as a reef. I tried to get inside but there was too much surge.  When it is out of the water at low tide getting in through the tower is pretty easy. The inside is amazingly big. You can get around quite nicely.  We mentioned the sub on the net last night and another boat decided they would have to come see it. They are part of the group who has been making their way down the east coast this year. They are also pretty good volleyball players.

After showing Steve and Patty the sub we setup the volleyball net and started choosing teams. Courage ended up with Patty and Cassidy, and I was able to recruit Steve.  The court is pretty big and it is hard to cover with three players. With two it was nearly impossible.  Steve and I worked on our passes and setting each other up.  Once we had the ball we did pretty good. The problem was when Courage served he would either drop it over the net, or if we guarded the net, would put it in the back. Things were not going great for us.  The score was 15 to 2 when Steve and I finally hit our stride. Defending the court on Courage's serves, we employed Steve's high ground defense system. Since the beach is sloping we would favor the high side.  Much easier to run downhill to get the ball then up. We could leave the lower part of the field pretty open and still be able to get to the ball. Slowly we started to make our comeback.  In the end we actually were able to pull off a surprising upset by winning the game. With the final score being 21 - 19.

We are anchored between two islands and the current zips through here at close to 4 mph. the sound it makes on the hull is great. It sounds like we are sailing along with full sails. The water is moving so fast there are rapids. I can hear waves outside even though there is no wind.

With a great big hello to all,

Monday, December 9, 2013

Crossing the Panama Canal

Yeah!! Courage and I will be crossing the Panama Canal tomorrow with 
sailing vessel "Boreal" from France!! An event of a lifetime! (starting at 5 am)

You can see the first lock just behind the ferry they call a cruise ship.

Rafting up with our buddy boat! Here we go . . .
Our buddy in the locks. We were rafted to another French sailboat, 
then a 600 foot ship filled the rest of the 1000 foot lock with us. It was big!

In the Locks . . .

Approaching the 3rd Lock

Panama Canal to celebrate 100 Years next year

We spent the night in the lake between the Locks.  This crossing took 2 days.

French Sailors we were assisting

Huge container ship next to us. 964 of the 1000 feet of the lock. The canal is 110 feet wide. widest ship in the canal has been 105 feet. I only now realize why ships are the same size and flat in the back. They have the best carrying capacity, but still fit in the canal. It's the rate limiting factor. The new canal is going to have bigger locks, thus freight ships are going to be bigger. Interesting. The "advisors" you have to have on board had lots of good knowledge of the area. Nice tour guides.

Locks opening, time to go.

We took a bus back to Panama, great crossing!! Much thanks to the wonderful family on Boreal who are out loving/living life!! Enjoy the Caribbean.

Made it back to our boat.  Hugs for kids and Good night.

Heading out to the Perlas Islands. Isn't this boat a beauty? Bye Panama City, see you in a couple of weeks!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dry Dock - - Ready for Repairs

Going to Dry Dock

Yesterday we met a nice couple on a Horstman like Trimaran. They bought it down here and spend about six months a year down here working on her. This has been going on for the last five years. It is a beautiful boat. They hauled out at Vacamonte and mentioned the rail car the boat would sit on can be a bit bumpy. They also said it may not be the best place for the kids to be running around in.  That confirmed our earlier reports, so the decision was made to get a place for Shannon and the kids to stay while we hauled-out.  There is a nice beach with a few resorts by Punta Chame. We headed in that direction to see what we could find. There is a slightly older resort where you can get a place for $280 a week. 

We reserved a place last night and this morning anchored just a few hundred feet off the resort. While the kids and I played on the beach Courage and Shannon went to check in. Then it was time to carry a weeks worth of food to the apartment. A few trips with the dingy and we were al set.  Right now Shannon and crew are most likely enjoying the pool, while Mother, Courage and I head to Vacamonte.

There is a big storm with rather aggressive thunder chasing us. The wind is on our nose, but we have the current on our side. Between the peals of thunder we heard the reel start to let out line. . . . fresh Sierra fish for lunch.

Have a great week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beaching the Boat

Here is a link to a time-lapse video of Beaching the Boat:


Sunset at Contadora

Beached our boat at Espiritu Santos yesterday to assess damage from hitting a huge log at night coming back from the Darien. Unfortunately, the dagger board broke through the crash blocks and slightly into the hull causing some de lamination. The prop is also bent. Working now to arrange a haul out and week in a condo for the kids and I while the work is done. Got some barnacles removed while we were out.

Fresh caught fish for dinner!

Friday, November 8, 2013

We Beached the Boat - -

Rain, yes it looks like it may rain a little.  But that will not keep us from out planned haul-out.  Yesterday we placed the sand bags on the beach, came up with a plan on how to position the boat, and even practiced precision beaching.

Today, the real deal.  As Courage deftly maneuvers us into position, I throw the rear anchor in.  Mother had placed a rope on the top of the sand bags so we could see them even at high tide.  As we came up on them we just needed to keep the rope between the hulls.  Such a simple system, yet works great.  We stopped nearly exactly in position.  Quickly Courage lowered the front anchor to my waiting arms. This was way too easy.

The rain was now coming down pretty hard, and the wind was picking up.  As the wind blew, we slowly drifted off our landing spot.  Quickly, a third anchor was readied.  As I was busy setting up the camera, Courage put a life-jacket on the anchor and started swimming it out.  With three anchors holding us in place, we were able to position ourselves within 6 inches of where we wanted to be.  Slowly the water withdrew and Lil Explorers was sitting in a nice bed of soft sand.

Once again we brought out the shovel and cleared out around the dagger board. While inspecting the damage, Courage noticed that some of the fiberglass behind the crash box was delaminating. We will have to haul out someplace where we can spend a day or two repairing it. Not good. We had hoped not to have to go to a yard.  It is so much nicer here at the islands. Tomorrow we will start heading back the mainland to see about finding a yard that can handle a boat our size.  When we get Internet I will upload some pictures of the haul-out.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Going Aground

Hello All,

It is a beautiful day here at the island.  Light rain between batches of beautiful sunshine. Warm, yet cool, water.  Yes, we are in Paradise once again.

The plan is to raise the waterline, try to pull the prop, and see if we and get the dagger-board unjammed. There is a beautiful beach, and we are very protected.  And to top it all off there are 16-foot tides. This morning Courage and I brought Lil Explorers in close to the beach the see what the currents would do to us. We were able to find a sweet spot where she was held in position by a light wind and a current eddy coming around the point.  We played around with getting the anchors in the right position to keep us off the beach but close enough to walk around the boat. As the water would go out we would slowly pull the boat further off shore. One time we went a little to far and I could not stand. Courage lowered the anchor to me and I sank to the bottom. As soon as I hit I started walking toward shore. I figured I had about 30 seconds before I would have to drop the anchor and head to the surface. If I had calculated the curve of the beach correctly, that would be enough time to make it to a point where I would be able to get my head above water.  The only part I misjudged was my hat. When I went down it stayed on the surface.  Luckily it floated, and Courage was able to rescue it for me.

Over the next few hours the two of us took turns pushing the boat out and cleaning the waterline. Even though the algae were dead from our trip up the freshwater Sambu, It was a hard job getting it off the paint above the waterline. We used a Brillo pad and slowly worked our way around the boat.

By this time the tide was almost all the way out. We figured there was no need to be as vigilant with regard to keeping her off the bottom. Suddenly Courage yelled over that the bow was aground. We tried our best but we could not get her off.  An emergency call went out for helpers. Shannon and Teggy arrived to help fill sand bags. The plan was to pile them high under the transom to keep the rudders off the ground.  Courage, Shannon, and Teggy, filled the bags while I carried them and tried to stack them under the cross-arm. Once I could not get any more on the port side I switched to the starboard side.  We must have filled close to 20 bags, and were all exhausted. Now all we could do was wait and see what would happen. As far as we could see she was sinking nicely into the soft sand, and the bags were keeping the rudders from sinking in too far.  The water only went out another two feet. We took the opportunity to have a lunch break, and figure where we would want to beach for real tomorrow.  A great spot was selected, and with the help of Teggy, Intrepid, and Innocence, we filled another 30 bags. They are now waiting for us on the beach. If all works as planned we will bring her in tomorrow morning and set her on the beach. Way up on the beach. We figure she should be dry for around six hours.

More to follow tomorrow. .  .  .

Goodnight all.

New favorite seat in the house.

In Panama City getting new hard cover over the cockpit

Getting lots of projects done - a broken food storage rack repaired, a new fruit/veggie rack for the cockpit, getting the water maker working, getting tarp sides for the new hard cover cockpit, restock our fresh produce, then hopefully off to the islands to beach the boat and fix the dagger board crash block and bent propeller we sustained from hitting a huge log on our way in. If there's time, we can raise the waterline and put in a through hull for my dreamed of new washing machine (that I may get if we get the watermaker working)!! Lots to do! Last night rigged up our new rain water collection system from our new roof.

Morning School