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New Stuff In The Sea

February 26, 2017

Finally the projects were done. Well, OK, a few major projects had been crossed off the ever growing list. (We've learned that we are never completely done with projects tackling the most important ones as soon as we get to a dock. The saying is, "It's a boat!") Anyway, on January 29th we threw off the dock lines at the beautiful Paradise Village Marina near Puerto Vallarta, our Mexican home since sailing into Paradise Village early last May, and immediately found ourselves in a boat traffic jam. So much for smooth exits. A few figure eights and a couple of circles at the marina entrance while a mega-yacht, a large sports fishing boat, and a tourist catamaran all did their loop-de-loos moving to various docks and we were soon motoring out of the channel, where we only had the ever present dredge barge, a kayak or two, and a few frisky launches to contend with. Whew!

For some reason, Jim and I both had some nervousness about our voyage north into the Sea of Cortez. I couldn't quite pin mine down to just one thing. New weather patterns, new sea conditions, new charts. Strike that, no new charts. Same old...


Tags: jim and laura, lapaz, mazatlan, mexico, nilaya, sailing, sea of cortez, shrimp, whales

Posted at: 03:06 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Crew On Board

June 11, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Puesto del Sol Marina, Nicaragua - Jim has inched Nilaya close to the dock and I throw a line to a dockhand to secure to a forward cleat. Then, as I step off the boat onto the dock to tie Nilaya's stern mooring line to a cleat, I can almost hear the sizzle as the heat seers the skin on the bottoms of my feet. In my anxious haste, I neglected to put on my flip flops.

We are used to heat as it was usually 85 - 90 degrees F in Panama and Colombia, but this is a new feeling. It's dry. Like Arizona desert mid-summer day dry. Three days ago, my skin was pruning because of the saltwater splashing into the cockpit as we splashed and bashed in the 8-10 foot waves. Today it feels like it's pruning because all the moisture is being sucked out, like a piece of jerky - or maybe salted cod.

We barely get the lines tied and exchange greetings with Dockmaster, Durien, before Andy, our guest "crew" member runs off to the showers. Not that I blame him, but it will be some hours before Jim and I...


Tags: canal, crew, jim and laura, nilaya, pacific, panama, sailboat, sailing

Posted at: 02:40 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Transit Preparations by Laura

March 23, 2016

Our boat, Nilaya, is tied to a dock at Shelter Bay Marina, located on the north or Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. There is a breeze blowing and the boat moves back and forth pulling at the lines holding her to the dock. It reminds me of a race horse in the gate anxious to bolt out the door and run the course.

We've been moored here for almost a month preparing to go through the Canal to the Pacific. Not much has gone as expected. We did expect this visit would lighten our bank account. The marina has a reputation for high prices, so we weren't that shocked at the dock rates. Nor were we surprised to see the prices listed at the restaurant. I was a bit shocked at the rates for laundry and some of the other manual labor rates. Most of what we need to do we are doing ourselves so no problem.  We also knew the total for clearing in to the country of Panama was going to approach $500, which is one of the highest in the whole Caribbean. We also knew we would have to pay a premium to have parts shipped...


Tags: canal transit, colon panama, cruising, jim and laura, liveaboard, marina, nilaya, panama canal, sailing, shelter bay

Posted at: 12:03 PM | 2 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Island Wedding

January 29, 2016

So, can the Captain of a boat really perform a wedding ceremony? That was the question put to Jim by our young friend, Arelis. We have been "adopted" by her and her husband, Orvil, from our many visits to their island paradise of Providencia, Colombia. (Many of you have probably read the many blogs we've written or the numerous Facebook postings about our trips to this secluded sanctuary located just off the coast of Nicaragua in the southwest Caribbean.)

This question of a marriage ceremony came up as Arelis and Orvil had their 8th wedding anniversary coming up soon and Arelis wanted to do something special for the occasion and make it a surprise for Orvil as she had bought them new rings. After we checked some information in the Internet, that vast vat containing all the truths of the universe, we decided it didn't matter if a Captain's ceremony was legal or not since it was just a renewal of their vows and didn't need to be anything "official." So why not make it fun!?

Arelis got busy. The big day was only two days away! After considering the different locations available on quick notice; including our sailboat, a...


Tags: caribbean, isla providencia, jim and laura, marriage, nilaya, providencia, providencia island, sailing, santa catalina, wedding

Posted at: 04:28 PM | 2 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Hurricane Patricia

November 9, 2015

By Laura

We've been living on the boat since Jan. 2008 and have spent six hurricane seasons in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Jim decided he needed a change. Maybe more correct, another adventure before "he's too old". Here we are in a Caribbean Paradise with few worries, great weather, and cheap beer. I'm wondering if he's not been smoking some wacky weed or something? The next thing I knew, we were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico checking out the marinas where we might dock the boat if we go through the canal to the Pacific and work our way up the west coast.

Now you've probably heard of Puerto Vallarta. It's one of Mexico's well developed tourist destinations with lots of touristy stuff to keep the many hundreds of visitors happy. We set our schedule to travel to three or four different marina locations from one end of the big city to the other and even northward out of town. The locals were very helpful and friendly everywhere we went. We rode on local busses, borrowed bicycles and sometimes hired taxis all with local help making sure we got going the right direction. In fact, while riding in a taxi one...


Tags: caribbean, hurricane, jim and laura, mexico, nilaya, patricia, sailing

Posted at: 03:27 PM | 2 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink


October 14, 2015


Well here it is October 2015. It's hard to believe but we have been out on the boat for over seven years. We have spent five hurricane seasons going on six in Bocas del Toro and two (2009 & 2011) in Guatemala in the Rio Dulce. Bocas is not bad but I'm, and possibly Laura as well are getting itchy feet and feel it's time to move on. I'm looking for a new place to sail and hang out in Hurricane season. Everyone we've spoken to who have spent time in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico raves about how nice it is and how much fun they have had there. And that's not even talking about the GOOD food. That's the good part. The BAD part is Puerto Vallarata is NOT out of the hurricane belt. It is located in an area surrounded by mountains and the chance of it being hit by a really nasty hurricane is about one every 30 years or so where other parts of Mexico is about one in six. That's not bad odds but really not good either.

It's a big decision as we would have to go through the canal and travel about 2,000...

Posted at: 11:45 AM | 1 Comment | Add Comment | Permalink

Dragon's Mouth

July 15, 2015

Posted By Laura

In front of me the road was blocked by a small herd of Wildebeest. I was driving through the jungle during a heavy deluge of rainfall where the low vegetation along the side of the road formed a high enough dam that it was like driving down a shallow riverbed. Progress was slow not just because the rivulet of water but because the pavement was strewn with large potholes hiding under the waves of muck. Then I came upon the wildebeest. 

Ok, maybe they weren't really Wildebeest but they weren't far from it with their wide bony rumps and swishing tails blocking my attempts to move around them. Honking was futile. They probably considered the vehicle just a strange shaped, sick-sounding cow urging them down the road. Water buffalo would have probably been easier to pass with their wild nature tending to flee from human contact. Finally, one extra large bull with a shoulder hump to rival any camel, turned to give me an annoyed look and nudged the beast to his right starting a domino-like movement of rumps edging to a wide spot on the side of the road. A small yellow taxi quickly darted around...


Tags: bocas del drago, bocas del toro, jim and laura, jungle sounds, panama

Posted at: 08:56 AM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Rebellion and Run Down

April 20, 2015

I know it's been a long time since we updated the blog. I don't understand why Laura has been so delinquent in keeping the blog updated or at the very least maybe she should have done a better job of hounding me to do it.

Well whatever, here we go. As you know Laura had an operation last June so we took a sailing season off and just stayed in Bocas del Toro while she recovered. We worked on the boat, I helped out at the marina while the managers took vacation and in general we kept busy. My son and family came to visit, Laura's Mom and Brother and our friends Kara and Robert also made the trip to check out Bocas. All in all it was a good time.

We finally untied the lines in mid February and left the marina enroute to the San Blas Islands a couple hundred miles East. The actual trip was unremarkable but it took us a while to get our sea legs under us as it had been almost a year since our last overnight voyage. As usual Laura did a great job navigating. While sailing close to Colon we did have...


Tags: colombia, guna, jim and laura, kuna, nilaya, panama, sailing, san blas

Posted at: 05:15 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Isle of the Tiger-Laura

March 27, 2015

The waves collide forming a giant pyramid of foaming water spray shooting at least twenty feet into the air. At first thought, I wondered why surfers didn't come to this beautiful sandy beach with all the waves, but after a few of these sideways wave collisions of such magnificent force, my question was answered. This is a beach for sitting on the sand or in the shade of a tree, with a refreshing beverage in order to witness the beautiful and awesome forces of nature.

We are anchored in a crowed bay behind a long sandy island called Isla Tigre (Tiger Island) where many cruisers have gathered to watch a re-enactment of a revolution. This event in the history of the Guna Yala Indians of Panama covers a time where they fought for their independence and to retain their lifestyle rather than be forced to assimilate the ways of other Panamanians. (The US government had a background part as they intervened to prevent widespread bloodshed and to ensure the country remained stable for operation of the valuable canal.) This story has been acted out for decades in order to pass on the history to younger generations and in recent years,...


Tags: guna yala, isla tigre, jim and laura, kuna, panama, san blas

Posted at: 03:26 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

Time To Sail!

February 28, 2015

Laura and have started making plans to leave Bocas del Toro. This is our 4th or 5th time in Bocas and this time we have been here since July 2013. At least our boat has been here that long. During that time Laura and I traveled to the states for three months visiting family and friends. Then we spent two months helping another cruiser get his boat thru the Panama Canal, North to Mexico and then West for a one month voyage on to Hawaii where Laura and I jumped ship, did some site-seeing and then returned to Bocas. We decided to stay here in Bocas as Laura had an operation (hysterectomy) and I helped out at the marina as the Assistant Manager while she recovered. It has been an interesting time in our lives. We are now making ready to sail about 250 nautical miles to the San Blas Islands at the East end of Panama. It is one of Laura's favorite places to hang out and visit with other cruisers. I grow a little tired of it after a few weeks. I mean there are only so many palm-infested islands with sandy beaches you can visit before I...


Tags: bocas del toro, jim and laura, panama, sailing

Posted at: 04:52 PM | 0 Comments | Add Comment | Permalink

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