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Catalyst Log  11/25/12


Dear Family and Friends,

I guess the only real news from here is that we have not seen the sun in over a week.  It has been off and on rain the entire week.  There are short patches of no rain or just light drizzle but still heavy clouds.  While it has been worse, we are told, we also hear that this is more wet than normal.  We get from 2 to 4 inches every day!

We have been pretty lucky to transport during the dry parts most of the time so our trips in to town have been tolerable.  We went in to town on Tuesday to pick up our shipment from our shopping trip to David.  It took awhile to track down the truck in town but luckily, some friends saw it and pointed us in the right direction.  We got all the food but the microwave and herb pot with soil didn’t get on the truck.  Our friends picked up what we had shopped for on their behalf and the rest we loaded in to a ferry boat to take us back to our boat.

Included in the shipment were the two turkey’s we picked up for the Thanksgiving here at the Marina.  Luckily, I didn’t have to refrigerate them.  Another boater took that over along with the roasting.

We got it all unloaded on the dock. I have a pretty good eye, because the freezer space was filled, but everything fit inside.

I even managed to find places for most of the other non perishable things in various places on the boat.  I plan to buy more before leaving for the San Blas but so far, I think we are doing pretty well.  I almost hate to eat anything but I guess we have to eat now too!

Because we went in to town to get our shipment and wanted to get it back to the freezer right away, I didn’t buy produce.  It is usually not on the shelves until around noon because it comes in on the same ferry as our truck did.  I took a ferry by myself on Wednesday.  It is the only weekday that there is no free ferry from here.  I bought produce.  Got good stuff but couldn’t believe how depleted everything was less than 24 hours later!  My two cooler bags were very heavy and I was really glad that the ferry company would store them for me until I was ready to go.  I could have just gone home but they advertised a spa day at a local restaurant.  Yes, the spa people set up right in the restaurant.  It is called the Wine Bar and is quite small and intimate with over stuffed chairs and couches.  One side room was set up for facials.  A chair massage and pedicures were being done in the main room.  I got a pedicure, a 20 minute piece of heaven on the chair massage and then about a 30 minute facial.  Pure pleasure and all total $35 before tip.  Would do it again in a heart beat!  The people who do the work have a regular spa and there is more privacy as well as more services but the prices are higher to reflect that.

I got to and from town in the boat in the dry, though there was a down pour while I was getting my treatments!

Thursday was a dreary day but some dry time.  Because a lot of the guys wanted to watch football on one of the boats that has a satellite dish, our dinner was not scheduled to begin until about 5 with appetizers.  We got ourselves all prettied up.  I gave Rob a hair cut on the dock and then went to do laundry.  I availed myself of the marinas wonderful shower facility and gave myself a hair color treatment there.

While the clothes were in the dryer, we used that time to skype our family and wish them a wonderful Thanksgiving day.  We are so grateful to be able to get a good connection most of the time!  I am not sure how it will work later on in our journey.

The ball game went late so people came after 5 but we didn’t actually eat until closer to 6:30 or 7.  One of the turkey’s was roasted in a free standing roaster and after adjusting the level of the rack in one of the boat ovens, the second turkey also got done.  We had sweet potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, canned cranberries and a home made relish made with apples, craisins, pineapple and orange.  There was Panamanian bread and someone brought a cold rice with pineapple and whipped cream.  We even had the green bean casserole with the fried onions on top and also corn.  We had a couple of dips with vegetables and chips before the meal and I made some brownies with pie cherries cooked in to them and someone else made a cheese cake.  Pies were not at this party but no one complained.

Some of the boaters put things together and carved the turkey.  When we called for dinner, we didn’t have to call twice!  The woman at the front of this picture is from Venezuela.

She is married to a Canadian and she had never celebrated an American style Thanksgiving.  Another back packer who I got my massage from a few weeks ago, was also experiencing her first American Thanksgiving feast.

A picture shows a couple of full plates.  Debbie was one of the organizers of this event.  She and her husband will be going through the canal to sail to the South Pacific some time this year.

We served the food inside the boaters lounge area on that large table and then we ate at tables outside in the courtyard.  It was dark by then but we had a light in the area.  The night watchman brought some family members who played music on guitars for us and about 8:30, the rain came back and the party was over.  It was certainly traditional food and good company and I didn’t do much of the work!!!

Friday, we went back in to town to pick up our microwave and potting things that missed the truck on Tuesday.  I was very happy to have it to use to heat up the left overs that were easier to heat that way.  We got it installed and started using it.  I used it about 3 minutes just fine but after the first minute of using it on the second plate, it malfunctioned!!!!!  Rob did say that normally, if an electrical appliance is not going to work because of a defect, it happens right away.  Now what?  We have an e-mail message out to Toby to see what the store might do.  It has a warranty and there are two places listed in David so we are hoping that maybe something can be done before we take off.  It may be quite a delay though so we have to determine what we will do.  So far we have not heard back from her but it is a holiday weekend.  It is the 4th national holiday of this month.  Already on Friday, the drummers were coming back in to town.  Unfortunately, the weather is not very supportive to outside revelry.  This is their independence day from both Spain and Colombia.  Yesterday, we saw a lot of boats full of locals coming to our beach here.  They were sure making lots of noise as they left the dock at the end of the day so they must have had a good time, even with the chilly over cast weather.

We certainly are happy to be on the dock.  Even though we are on the boat most of the time, we know it is easy enough to walk around and see people.  Rob got the main sail installed yesterday but has to put in the battens and the reefing lines yet.  We have not started on the jib sail.  Rob wants to figure out how to make the new jack lines for that.  Right now he is working on the wiring of the instruments to get them to do what he wants.  I took him up the mast to install the wind instruments.  They didn’t work as they should have last year but seem to be doing well after the repairs that were done at home this summer.  Each day, it is getting harder and harder to leave the dock!  This place may have the grip on us that the Rio did last year.  We will try to avoid the broken arm this time though!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend.  Now we start thinking about Christmas.  Rob put up a set of colored LED solar lights across the back of the boat so we are getting ready!!!!!

Fair winds and blue skies (Please!!!!!)

Sue and Rob

Aboard Catalyst

Red Frog Marina, Panama

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