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November 19, 2012



Dear Friends and Family,

It is rather difficult to think that Christmas is less than a week away.  You can imagine life on a boat is not as decorated as the department stores or even our homes back in the States.  We do try though.  A new boating friend gave us a small tree, about 8 inches high and some ribbon that we will use to decorate it with.  Earlier, we had bought a small wooden red frog after seeing the live ones in the area of our marina and we are putting him as a tree topper!

So far, a day time pot luck has been organized for Christmas Day at one of the anchorages and I would guess it will get pretty crowded there.  One of the islands is a perfect location and we have received permission to meet there.  I will let you know more about it after the fact.

Today it has been raining all morning but I see it is clearing up right on schedule.  If the sun actually comes out well enough for us to navigate by the color of the water, we will move to a major village in the area where we can get produce.  We were in an anchorage when the produce boat arrived close to a week ago and stocked up then but need a new supply now.  We would also like to see a large village and let Linsey have that experience as well.

We have been having some trouble with internet access so sometimes, it may be days before we can get a connection.  We can work off line with the e-mail program we have and it is great as we can’t get access to the internet.  Once in awhile it is possible but not often.  When we get a connection, it can be slow but we can usually send and receive.  Sometimes pictures are difficult.  For that reason, you may find that our logs are dated several days before they actually are published.  If you have been sending comments through our log address rather than the address, we have not been able to read them and may not be able to until we return home.

I have been happy to receive some wonderful Christmas update letters.  I am not sure you need an update of our year because you have our logs but I will use this time to share all the reasons we are grateful for wonderful 2012.

First off is our children.  How lucky we feel to have children who love us and show us in so many ways that they do.  We could not do this travel as easily without their efforts.  The grandchildren are the joy of our lives.  Aly, our oldest, will be 14 soon.  Hard to imagine.  We hope this is the last year we will miss the winter birthdays!  Lisa and Jeff will present us with another precious bundle soon after we return home and hopefully in January, we will know the gender of their 7th child.  Julie and Craig are busy with their two.  Clara, our youngest, is a 2012 baby and starting to stand.  She is likely to be walking by the time we see her next!

We are grateful that my Dad is healthy and content at 100 and gearing up for another family reunion with the family that we so love and are so grateful for.  We are grateful for his care givers, who are more like friends.  They allow us to live our lives fully without worry about him.

We are grateful that we have family coming to join us to experience the San Blas Islands.  We have wanted to be back here for so long and we are grateful that we are ending our Caribbean experience here.

We are grateful that we have friends back in Florida, waiting to welcome us home to a full time life in Punta Gorda.

We are grateful for the new people who come in to our lives every day.  They include fellow cruisers but also the wonderful couple that live in our house while we are gone and take such good care of it.  It also includes Linsey who is like family to us and will leave us in much better health, both physical and mental, than when she joined us.

We  are grateful for all our friends, both foreign and domestic, that we may not see as much as we like but who still keep in touch with us and let us know they care.

We are grateful that we have our health and the enthusiasm to live life fully.  We are grateful that we have had these 40+ years to build a life together with love and respect.

We are grateful that what has been listed above, comes from love, not from possessions.

What we wish for you this season is abundant love.  It is the gift you can give that returns to you with dividends.  I feel it coming back to me, even as I write this.

I know, I get a little sappy at times so to end this, I will share with you a poem that our talented Linsey has written.  Rob has taken on the job of being net control on the cruisers’ radio net that happens in the San Blas every morning.  He does Tuesday and so he will do the net control on Christmas Day.  Linsey told us about a poem she wrote at age8 and was published so Rob suggested she write something for Christmas morning to start the net.  Today, she had something all ready to go.  It is something to share with you that will give you an idea about our Christmas here in the San Blas.

A San Blas Christmas

by Linsey Rankin

At Christmas here in San Blas

with tropical sea and sun,

the cruisers get together

and vow to have some fun.

Christmas lights a twinkle

hung from the boat by night.

Happy hour goes all day long

much to cruiser’s delight.

And when the folk are sleeping,

anchored in the bay,

Santa comes to visit

but in his panga not a slay.

A knock at the hull at daybreak

rouses cruisers from their beds.

While all the rum from the night before

causes throbbing in their heads.

They stumble in to daylight

and see a Kuna smiling back

in his wooden dug out

he has Santa’s present sack.

Because Santa needs his helpers

to deliver presents out at sea,

the Kunas bring us molas

of course for a small fee.

So have a merry Christmas

in tropical paradise.

Where it doesn’t even matter

If you’ve been naughty or nice.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a new year full of love.

Sue and Rob Linehan

Aboard Catalyst

San Blas Islands, Panama

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