We flew from LAX to Fort Lauderdale to spend a couple of days with friends, Linda and Neal.
On the 2nd February we flew from Miami to Caracas, Venezuela.
Flying over Miami Coast
Flying Over The Islands
Due to land in Caracas
What a culture shock, after spending 2 months in the States and along the Pacific coast, we found all the countries coastal areas to be clean, the people very friendly and helpful. Venezuela might be oil wealthy, but the coastal areas here appear to be the poorest and dirtiest.
We had left our boat in the water on a finger-dock, and after unpacking we checked to see if everything was o.k. with the boat and found some scratches on our newly painted hull. They had some very high tides and someone had taken one of our fenders which we found on a dock further down.
It was back to work and finishing the top deck, removing all the teak and laying the fiberglass panels. Dave finished fitting the panels by the end of April and sanded and sanded the deck and then painted the deck with a white undercoat. The plan was then to start making a mold for the non-slip sections, but with all this work in the baking hot sun we agreed to put that on hold for a while and decided to leave Venezuela for Panama.
We had a few farewells, and Noeline brought us a huge bag of her delicious oranges and 2 legs of lamb, sure going to miss them and the farm.
Staff at TMO Marina
We left the marina on the 7th May 2009. Suzy & David came to see us leave in their dinghy, and Francina. We sailed to Tortuga and anchored off Cayo Herradura. For the first time in many years of going to Tortuga we were the only sail boat in the anchorage, usually there are about 14 yachts anchored in Herradura.
On the 11th May, we sailed to Los Roques under main with 2 reefs and genoa, the wind was blowing 15-20 knots doing 5-6 knots overnight to Los Roques, and anchored off Playa Edmund.
On the 14th May we sailed to Los Aves, 30 miles, 2 other yachts at anchor. This anchorage was very protected by the mangroves and anchored in 5.5 mtrs. We caught a small barracuda on the way. The following day we went to the beach and walked to the north side where we collected many allekrik and got rather wet from the seas pounding on the rocks, but we enjoyed that.
We went by dinghy over to the other anchorage and pulled the dinghy into a gap in the mangrove, and walked along a path to an area where Yachties had made a nice stone marker area with their boat names painted on, like in the Azores.
On the 17th we decided to dinghy over to the outlying islands, about 5 miles, and went ashore where we found a lovely huge lagoon. We then went to the small island and walked round the island. There were hundreds of birds with many baby chicks.
Many birds on small Island!!
Mother with Chick!!!
On the 18th May, we sailed to Bonaire, 57 Miles, and picked up a mooring off the town. We went ashore to check in and found the dinghy dock at Karels bar and restaurant all broken from the storm last October, so went to Henks marina and left the dinghy there. We walked to Customs which was closed so we walked to the Police station to check-in. Unfortunately they now have an Immigration 0fficer working there, so had to wait due to a power failure, took about 1 hour and they told us we could stay for 24 hours and then leave as we did not have a Visa.
Anchorage in Bonaire
At about 7pm we went ashore again and looked for a restaurant with a generator as the power was still off. We found a restaurant, ¨Mona Lisa¨, on the back street which was very busy and had dinner there.
Karels Bar and Downtown Bonaire church
Downtown Shopping centre and waterfront restaurant
Dave enjoying the lunch!!!
Following day we new we would have a very busy day, so up early and I swam off the boat and then we went ashore. We walked to the laundry, to be ready at 5pm then to internet, and then to Budget Marine to buy a globe for the navigation lights which hadn’t worked since leaving Tortuga. We also bought stuffing and a few other things and got the weather report for the Columbian coast which predicted 20 knots till Cartegena. We walked back to the centre and had lunch, Beef wrap and chips. We went back to the boat and Dave first checked the wiring and found it broken, so I did not have to winch him up the mast, thank goodness, lights now work. We went back ashore to buy groceries and returned to the boat and stowed everything. Dave took me ashore again to get the laundry, while he went to the marina to pay for the mooring and buy some fuel and water. It was already 6pm and we had to leave by 7pm so we put the dinghy back on board, very tired and decided to sleep overnight and leave very early in the morning.
We sailed along the Curacao coast and the sea was a mess and sailed past Aruba on the inside during the night, and during the following morning off Los Monjes Rocks, the Venezuela coast guard called us and invited us to visit with them and to tie up to the dock!!!, but Dave declined.
Cabo de Vella anchorage
During the night the wind dropped and the seas smaller so Dave put up the spinnaker pole to stop the Genoa flapping. The 22nd May we still had light wind and anchored off Cabo de Vella, 240 miles. The following morning we left the anchorage and motor sailed all day and night and on the 24th still had to motor sail most of the day and night , we were worried that we may run out of fuel. On the 25th we motor sailed past the 5 Bays, very beautiful high mountains and flat calm water, had some wind during the evening, so sail and gave the motor a little rest. On the 27th same conditions only did 3-4 knots.
A very tired passenger!!!!
On Thursday 28th, still motor sailing slowly and arrived in Porto Bello at 3pm., 480 miles, and anchored off the hill.
We went ashore and walked to the supermarket and bought diesel, only just made it to Porto Bello. We stayed a few days, enjoyed swimming in the warm water and the peaceful anchorage..
On the 31st May, we motored to Colon and went to Shelter Bay marina.
Total Distance Venezuela to Panama was 1009 miles.
We have now sailed 35,000 miles on Dignity and 7,000 miles doing deliveries.
I unpacked my bicycle and cycled to the Fort San Lorenzo and Chagres river mouth.
The Chagres River
Chagres River entrance – and Diablo Beach
We went to Panama city a few times to buy things for the boat etc. and stayed overnight at the Milan Hotel.
The Cathedral in Panama City
Inside the Cathedral
The Milan Hotel – Room
We went to the Veneto Hotel & Casino – the drive back to the marina
Dave & I drove to the Gatun Lake
We drove to Escobal town – views to Gatun Lake, then along Costa Abajo
The road ends at Miguel de la Borda, one has to have a boat to continue up the coast or drive via Panama City to go to Bocas del Toro
Cattle farm lands etc –
Return view to Chagres river bridge-sleuce gates.
I went with Jennifer, Nellie and Judy to Panama City to visit the Old Town.
Old City – Panama Viejo –
Jennifer & Judy – Souvenir shops
We first had a coffee and then walked around the place.
They were still busy renovating the old buildings and it was a pleasure to walk round and admire the buildings which were renovated, also many tourist shops etc.
We walked to Plaza de Francia – views to old city
Calle Oeste Artisans Market
Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia and Palacio Bolivar
Plaza de la Independencia & Government Offices
Presidents House and Independence Square
Old Town Cathedral
We then got a taxi to Flamenco Yacht club and went to Alfredo’s for a delicious lunch. We walked round the area, a huge complex, hotels and restaurants etc.
Enjoyed a good lunch and the day in Panama City!!
We hired another taxi back to the Allbrook Mall, a big, clean shopping mall and spent about an hour there then got the bus back to Colon.
The first week in December we flew to Fort Lauderdale.
Walked to the Riverside Shopping centre, the Riverside Park and Las Olas Blvd.
Waterfront Pub and Restaurant and went to the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum
Walked down Las Olas Boulevard and visit Stranahan House Museum
Stroll along Fort Lauderdale Beach – Avalon Inn where we stayed
View from Avalon Inn and Pool area
17th Bridge Causeway and the Intercoastal Waterway
Flight back to Panama
Balboa Panama and Allbrook Mall – Panama City
Panama Canal – Balboa Moorings and the Americas Highway
Balboa Yacht Club – Moorings
Amador Causeway – Panama City
Flamenco Marina – Amador Causeway
On the 27th December we sailed to Porto Bello for a week
The Port Bello Fort at the top of hill – Views to the Bay
Views across the bay|
We walked about 6km along the road that goes to Colon, many restaurants, dive shops and hotels along the way
We stopped for coffee at the Coco Plum restaurant
The restaurant has a lovely garden
Closed restaurant on the way back to Porto Bello
View from Fort on town side of the bay – toward anchorage
Full moon at anchor!!
Back to the Shelter Bay Marina:
Flora and Fauna seen in the San Lorenzo Park
Flowers growing in the jungle
Birds seen in jungle
The Three Toed Sloth
There are many Howler Monkeys
Cappuccino Monkey -(White Face Monkey)
The Coatimundi – Raccoon family –
I have seen many coatimundi whilst cycling and they seem to be slightly deaf and blind as I have been quite close to them before they notice me, and seem to have a shocked look on their face, do a double look and then rush off into the bush
During the dry season there isn´t much fruit or food for them, so they will eat anything given to them, the locals sometime leave scraps for them
My Pet Coati