2000 – Venezuela – Panama

Because of the bad storms in the Caribbean and the high seas and wind in Venezuela, there were many shells on the beaches, and Di and I went to Paseo Colon in the morning and collected a couple of bags full of shells.

In February we went to Piritou Islands, 20 miles  East of Puerto La Cruz.  I walked round the island, took all day and once again  collected many lovely shells.  Very windy in the afternoons, which brought a bad fetch through the channel.  Sheena enjoyed the long walks, and swims.

 On Monday 21st Feb.  I started canvassing the marinas and downtown area, to make another PLC directory.  I worked in the mornings, and returned to the boat after lunch and worked on the computer making the adverts.   We  had barbeques twice a week with all the other boaters.

Over the  Easter weekend, we once again sailed to La Boracha island, lovely weather, but the anchorage was too crowded so we only stayed 2 days then sailed to Piritou islands again.   Long walks with Sheena and many swims.

During the night it was quite cold and very windy.  We left on Tues. 25th April and went back to CMO Marina.   Sheena became sick 2 days later, coughing, wouldn’t eat and became weak.

On Thursday 27th Dave left for Arekuna, in the jungle to build another 4 John Boats.  (article published in the Compass paper).


John Boat

We were faced with another challenge, apart from surviving the mosquitoes called Puri-puri, (which have a vicious bite, causes serious swelling and itching for about 3 days in some people, yours truly included), was to join the mold which had had a lot of the bracing timbers removed or broken off to fit in the plane so we had to contend with some distortion.  This was however, accomplished with much sweat, swearing and itching.

019  Arakuna


Another problem we had to solve was to build a strongback and level it so as to maintain perfect mold shape.  There were no areas accessible to us which were plumb enough for boat building and in the end we settled for a spot in the shade with a fall of about 1 foot in 6 which is quite steep and the whole process had to be of a temporary nature.  So with blocks of wood, stones and wedges we managed to get the strongback plumb and the mold joined and in place, ready to start molding.

The molding took us 14 days to accomplish and at last we had three new Johnboats ready to go and it was only at this stage that I found out exactly where the boats were going to operate! The plan is to tow the three new boats with ‘Miso’  (the first John Boat built) to the first set of rapids on the Caroni, then to carry the three new ones around the rapid with engine, fuel and provisions and then to tow the remaining two with one of the new boats to the next set of rapids and then to carry the two remaining boats around the rapid and so on until there were three boats spread out along the river. This will be an excursion offered by Arekuna to their guests and sounds like a lot of fun but I am glad I only had to build the boats and not deliver them to site.

We went on a short tour to Canaima and the Angel Falls


On Monday 1st May, I called the Vet, he came and examined Sheena and took a blood test for heartworm,  and the following day  the vet said she didn’t have heartworm, but gave  me antibiotics for the cough.  She still didn’t eat much, and became very weak, I had to carry her off the boat.  On Friday 5th May, I went to the  barbeque and returned  to the boat early, and Sheena was just lying there,  I called Rene on the radio and Sheena was just looking at me, she then died in my arms. Could not believe she was gone, I managed to call Dave on the SSB radio, and he was also devastated.  The vet did an  autopsy and found Sheena had liver cancer, and it had spread to her lungs.  On Friday 12th May Dave returned, we were very sad and miss Sheena so much.


On Friday 30th June I finished the book and gave it to the printer.

1999-2000 Directory

2001 cover













A 90’ yacht, ‘Old Glory’ arrived here, Naeline is American and Phil a New Zealander, Naline sings and plays keyboard, and with Frank on ‘Ojimbo’ who sings and plays the guitar,  had many live singing, and party’s at CMO,  great fun.

Frank & Kevin – Mark & Valerie

Rene & Di

We were now getting ready to leave Venezuela.   We went on the hard for a week, to do the bottom, the rub rail and polish the hull, also painting and varnishing in the cockpit and other boat work..   I distributed the books to the clients.  We had a party at CMO, Kevin & Rene, George, Noeline and Tony, Naeline and Phil and Anthony, Karen & Kevin, Frank, Mark and Valerie.  Naeline and Frank sang again, and we barbequed legs of lamb etc.  we later ended up on Old Glory to continue the party.

Naeline, Rene, Noeline & Belky

 Some of the boaters at the party: Naeline, Mark & Valerie, Rene & Kevin, Belkie & Chris, Noeline & Tony, Kevin & Frank.

058 Frank Singing - Playing Guitar


 On Tuesday 15th August we LEFT CMO Marina for El Oculto,  we love this anchorage, but miss having Sheena around.

 We left on the 21st  Aug. for Coche, stayed overnight and motor sailed to Margarita, to Porlamar.  Left Margarita on the 24th and motor sailed to Puerto Santos over on the Venezuela mainland, overnight, and motor sailed to Medina, a lovely anchorage, but a bit rolly.      We left 0n the 26th  for San Francisco bay, overnight there and the next day we motor sailed to Trinidad and went to Coral Cove Marina.  We walked to the other marinas, to the chandlery and bought spares for the boat.  Once again had a wonderful time in Trinidad, seeing  friends and had a few barbeques with , Les & Di, Collin and Angelique, Neels & Debby, Barbara and Stuart and Lorne and Wendy .  On the 12th Sept, we left for Chacachacari anchorage and visited the ruins of the leper hospital etc.    La Boheme was also anchored there, so wonderful to see them again.
024  Erik & Ellen, Puchini - s.v. La Boheme

Erik & Ellen -Puchini - La Boheme

We left  on the 13th for San Francisco Bay, then back to Margarita Island, where we stocked up on all the good stuff, and  left on 20th for Cubagua and  overnight there, then to Paseo Colon anchorage off the town for the night, and  back to CMO marina.   We  went to Noeline on the farm for a weekend.

Noeline - Farm

On Wed 27th we left again for La Boracha Island where we anchored till 5pm and set sail for Tortuga,  lots of thunder and lightning, and during the following days,  we had  S.E wind and rain at night, then the wind swung to the N.E.  and we left for Los Roques, lovely overnight sail to West Key and anchored off Cayo Agua, and stayed till the 15th then sailed to Los Aves,  Isla Sur, Barlovento, a nice and calm anchorage.    We took a dinghy ride down the canal, and took photo’s of the birds, blue sooty terns, and many baby’s.

075a   archipelago Los Roques - Venezuela

Los Roques

080  Blue tern Chicks

On  19th we left for Aves de Sotavento, and caught a  barracuda  on the way.    We met  up with Norweigens who we new at the CMO Marina, Odd & Karen on Capella, and invited them to our boat for a fish barbeque.

Set sail for Bonaire, and had a fast sail along the coast, and picked up a mooring as no anchoring is aloud.

We went ashore with Odd and Karen, and walked  round the lovely town, and beach front.  Swam from the boat in crystal clear water.   We motored to the marina, and went alongside for fuel and water, and while pumping  fuel in, the inlet pipe came off inside the boat and diesel all over.  Dave stopped the fuel and did a quick repair, filled the tanks and went to a berth for the night.   We went to an excellent restaurant for a fish dinner, and returned to the boat for one of our worst nights, fighting off mosquitos all night, no sleep, and went back to the mooring early the next morning.

On Thursday 26th Oct. we sailied to Curacao and anchored in Spanish Waters.  During the following 2 weeks we explored Willemstad, visited a few museums, casinos and resorts.  We left on the 8th and motor sailed to Santa Cruz Bay and anchored.  Went ashore with Karen & Odd for a walk on the beach,  and enjoyed the couple of days there.

005  Curacao - 3 Weeks


006  Entrance To Spanish Waters - Anchorage

Leaving Spanish Water

Sat. 11th we left for the San Blas islands, 650 miles, Karen & Odd were going to Columbia first and we planned to meet them in Panama in January.  The first 3 days we had nice sailing conditions,  then the following 2 days the wind increased and  huge seas.  We were about 80 miles off shore.  Saw many huge floating logs and debry.  On the 6th day, the wind decreased and seas reduced  on nearing the San Blas, but one enormous swell came along and flung Dave out the bunk, resulting in bruised ribs and leg.  Arrived on Thurs. 16th Nov.,  at Porvenir island.

 Before Dave could drop the anchor 4 dug-out boats arrived with Kuna woman trying to sell Molas.  Porvenir is a small island with a landing strip for small planes.   During the night, a storm arrived bringing  tons of rain, and winds gusting to 40knots.   We went ashore and walked round the island, then went by dinghy to the other small islands, and bought bread etc. Kuna ladies arrived again, and I bought another Molar.

Porvenir - San Blas - Kuna Indians


On Monday 20th we left the anchorage for the Hollandes Cays, Eastern Cays, 15 miles, and anchored off Banedup Cay in 11 mtr.   Many  boats anchored in the  ‘Swimming Pool’ area.   This  anchorage was protected from wind and  current, lovely.  I spent many days walking round this small island, warm water, went snorkeling on the reefs but saw only a few fish as the  place has been cleaned out, and we had to go outside  the main reef and swam along a beautiful wall of coral and abundance of fish.   Dave trawled for fish.    We went by dinghy round other islands, and snorkeled, and spent 10 wonderful days here.

On Thurs. 30th Nov. we went to the town Diablo, close to the mainland.  There were about 3,000 people living there.  The houses were made out of bamboo and palm leaves.

 We went ashore to buy fresh fruit,  groceries, and chicken (with head and legs).

We also went by dinghy up the Diablo river.    We motored  a couple of miles, and stopped near a waterfall for a  swim in the clear cold water.

We stayed 3 days and left for Green island where some  locals came round with giant crabs, bought one.   Also bought another 2 Molas.

025  Rio Diablo034  Bridge joins 2 islands

Spent 4 days in Green Cays,  then we returned to Diablo for fresh produce, stayed a  day and sailed back to  Hollandes cays again.  About 25 yachts at the Swimming Pool.  Our VHF radio wasn’t working, and  Andy offered to look at it and try and repair it but found it wasn’t possible to repair, so he  lent us a radio till we bought a new one in Colon.

 Spent days walking round the island again, swimming and reading, and stayed 5 days, then left for Porvenir island.   Nice downwind sail and Dave caught a black fin Tuna.

We left on the 17th   in horrible seas, squalls and arrived in Isla Grande where we stayed a couple of days, then motor sailed to Colon, to Christobel anchorage known as the Flats.

037  Isla Grande

Isla Grande

We went ashore for supper at the marina.   Dave repaired and fitted another alternator and got diesel.  We were warned not to walk in town, Colon is a dangerous city.  We went ashore and got a taxi to town, and  he showed us where we could walk, and where not to walk.    We got a bus to Panama city which  took about 2 hours, and a taxi to the chandlery to buy a new VHF radio, etc.

 On Dec. 24th we left for the Chargres River, the entrance was quite tricky to enter, big swells and  had to go close to the cliff side, with reefs on other side then between a narrow area, with beach and reef and then enter the mouth of the river,  and staying in the middle we motored for about 3 miles up the river.

Chagres River

We  saw  howler monkeys, and anchored on a wide bend in the river.  Lovely fresh warm water  swims.  We went by dinghy further up the river where we saw more monkeys,and went down the tributaries.   We cleaned the hull and polished.

We left early in the morning by dinghy going up the river again, and left the dinghy at a dock then walked up the hill to the dam wall overlooking  lake Gatun, and the Panama Canal, first loch.  We returned to the dinghy and went  across the river to another dock, where we put our boots on and walked on a path into the dense jungle, loved it, but we were warned by park police of deadly snakes, so didn’t go very far in, about half mile and returned to the  dinghy.  We went  slowly down the river and saw different monkeys, 2 sloth and many beautiful birds.  Thousands of parrots in the late afternoons, and very noisy.

049  Lake Gatun - Canal

View to Canal-Gatun Lake

058  Jungle Flora

Hill – Gatun Lake

We left on the 29th   as the river was flowing quite fast from all the rain,  and motored back to the Flats.  The following day the rains started again with strong winds, 40-50 knots and pouring rain.  We dragged slowly for 3 days, so no New Years Eve party, it was very quiet here due to all the rain, and it  rained solid for 64 hours.  When the rain stopped we lifted the anchor again, and moved  back to where we originally anchored.


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