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January 3, 2013

Catalyst Log


Dear Friends and Family,

The title of this log means Happy New Year in the Kuna language.  It is spelled phonetically.  I am afraid that is the only Kuna I have learned.  Most of the children and the men who work ashore speak Spanish but many of the woman only speak Kuna.

New Year’s Day has come and past and I hope none of you have Tristadecaphobia.  In case you don’t know, it is the fear of the number 13.  If you have this, it could be a difficult year for you.  For myself, my birthday is the 13th and that has been pretty lucky for me so I go unafraid in to this next year!

We sent our darling Linsey off on the 27th of December.


She spent the last two days before her departure doing lots of massages, 4 on the 26th alone, so she was able to go on the next part of her journey with some money ahead.

One of the massages was with Deb who runs a boaters hostel in Panama City.  Our guests will be staying with her.  She provides touring, shopping, provisioning places like the freezers and refrigerator and kitchen space so that when you leave for the boat, things are repackaged and frozen.  That is a real boon to boaters!  She is working with my sister Peggy, who is coming with her husband Vic to Panama on the 7th.  They will tour there for a few days and arrive in Kuna Yala on the 10th.  We have asked for a lot of supplies so they will be very loaded down!

Anyway, Deb had a massage with Linsey on the boat she was a guest aboard, and they visited and Deb invited Linsey to stay at her place and she could maybe get her involved in some work in Panama City.  Linsey went back ahead of Deb with her son who was also visiting this area with his mom.  Deb actually stayed with us on New Year’s night and left the next morning on New Year’s Day to head back with two guests for the hostel.

So, Linsey is off on another adventure and we will see what works our for her.  She is so helpful, friendly and fun that people gravitate to her and just like having her company.  What is great is that on top of her personality, she is a good worker and enjoys so many things that are helpful.  It will be fun to follow her next journey.

We hugged good-bye and it was difficult for all of us.


She got on the shuttle boat that took her to the mainland where she would have a 2 ½ hour four wheel drive vehicle ride to Panama City.


That is a common way for people to arrive here now.  That land route opened up since we were here last.  Before that, the only way here was boat or air.  The air travel has lessened because one of the air companies is not longer flying and one of the airports is closed and no one knows when it will open again.

We didn’t do a lot between Christmas and New Years.  We did host a couple for dinner one night and really enjoyed getting to know them.  They have been full time for many years and have spent several of them here in the San Blas.  We hope we have more time with them in future.

We went with a group of boaters, each in our own dinghy’s to a small island a distance from our anchorage.  There is a wreck from 1952 that was sinking so they beached it so that they could at least recover the cargo.  The remains are quite close to the island and parts are still above water.  There are areas you can stand on the deck.  Lots of colorful sponges have grown there over the years and you can see some interesting fish.  We saw a group of squid off one side.  They change color when startled and it was interesting to watch.  We will anchor near by and swim there off the boat with Peg and Vic when they come.

This is the holiday season and many of these small islands are covered with tourists who camp out or come for the day.  I only took a picture from our dinghy so it is not a great one but it shows some of the large number of launchas off the beach and the beach was packed with people enjoying the sun and water.


I think things will quiet down after this weekend but tourist season is upon us and it is a bigger industry now than 7 years ago when we were here.

We also went ashore to burn trash again.  When you separate out the bio garbage and cans and bottles, it can be a week or more before we have a full trash container so it is a job we don’t have to do often.  I realize we generate more bio matter than paper or cans so that is a good comment on our diet!  I am hoping that the vegee boat catches up with us soon though.  On the 10th we will have a supply with Peg and Vic.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a casual finger food pot luck on the beach.


I brought a rolled bread, hot from the oven.  The dough had garlic and rosemary in it and rolled inside was pesto, chopped olives and artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese and salami.  It was really good and it all disappeared!


Not as many people were there as Christmas.  We met about 4:30 and it broke up about 8.  It was dark by then.  We went home and visited with Deb before heading to bed by 10:00.  The sound of horns blowing and fireworks being fired off let us know it was midnight and we rolled over and went back to sleep.  We are developing a sunrise, sunset sleeping pattern that suits this life style.  Of course back home in Punta Gorda, parties end at Punta Gorda midnight which is about 9 so it is not a big change.

We have started the new year with some boat issues including a failing thermostat for the refrigerator and a house water pump that quit.  That happened as we were doing laundry.  It is the pump that brings the water from the tank to all the faucets on the boat.

Luckily, my husband will take on a project and he really did a good job with both issues.  The refrigerator repair had to do with some wires getting crimped.  That happened when the door was “fixed” at the marina this summer.  Rob ended up doing the job all over again and this time, much better than what we had paid for.  Not the first time something like this has happened.

The water pump problem was taken care of when Rob identified the part that failed and found a new replacement part in his supply of spares.  He also found a whole new pump in case his diagnosis was wrong.  He said he was like a kid at Christmas as it had been awhile since he investigated that tub of parts.  It was enjoying them anew!

There is still an issue with another part of the system but we still have water and should be fine.  The other is just a matter of pressure in the tank and we are hoping to get that resolved.  It can wait until we return to Florida if necessary and we will still enjoy water at the turn of the tap until then.

I vow never to complain about how much room all the spare parts and tools take aboard the boat!!!!!!!  I also enjoy hugging my hero of a husband who keeps life on board comfortable for this spoiled Admiral!

He has been spending some time just relaxing too and the rib he bruised before Christmas seems not to slow him down much.  Still a little tender at times but not a big issue any longer.

We are staying in the same general area as we move closer to where we will pick up Peg and Vic on the 10th.  Can’t wait!  Other news from home is that our next grandchild due on June 2 is 90% likely to be a girl.  The doctor was not completely sure with this ultra sound but it should be confirmed by the end of the month.  Lisa and Jeff have 2 girls and 4 boys so this will help even the numbers.  We will be happy with the new addition no matter the gender but it is fun to think of pink again!  Bigger sister Jenny, who is three, will have lots of things to hand down to her little sister!  What a full house we will have in store for us upon our return.  The growing family of grandchildren are a good reason alone for our return in May!

Hope you have some exciting things to look forward to in this new year and that you will take some time to share your adventures with us.  That reminds me, we cannot get on the internet.  The system is too slow most of the time for that.  If you respond to the address on this blog site, I may not read your messages for months and then only if I can get my daughter to forward them on to us which is how I caught of recently.  The best step is mail any comments to rs.linehan@embarqmail.com.  Hope to hear from you in the new year!

Sue and Rob

Aboard Catalyst

Kuna Yala, Panama

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