January 12, 2013

Hi All,
I can't believe it is already the 12th. I have been out birding and whiling away the days and I realized I can't do that anymore until I get done what I need to do on the boat.  In the last few days, we've accomplished quite a bit. I've got the starboard side pilot-berth emptied of four large plastic storage bins, threw out stuff, re-packed only necessities, and made room for the life raft to sit amidships. We have the type that stows below deck--great idea--in case we need it, we have to shove it up through the hatch. We should have gotten the valise type--but we bought it 14 years ago. Hell, it probably won't open anyway so I shouldn't worry about getting out the hatch.  Gene moved it from the aft cabin and I will soon be clearing away in there. I have the port pilot berth still to do.

Today I finished the slip covers for the salon settees. The melo-hyde cushions we had made in New Zealand were cracked and mashed. I reversed sides, but then had to cover them because the bottom 'breathable' fabric needed to be covered.

Gene got the dinghy outboard fixed and scheduled a haul-out for Monday afternoon. He borrowed Glyn and Dave's cell phone to call the bottom paint people and is going to meet them at cuatros altos Monday morning for delivery.

If the yard is able to stay on schedule and we haul-out Monday afternoon, we will have the yard power-spray and sand and Gene will paint himself to save a few bucks.  I am trying to talk him into either the marina hotel or the Melia for the nights--I hate being aboard when we're hauled out. We still have Josie and Nick's car and we could go to the Melia.  That would be great, I could bird a new area while Gene paints.

Next step is scheduling a transit date. It's a complicated affair with paper work and people coming out to measure the boat.  We get tires delivered to hang against the hull from the deck to protect us from the boat we raft up to in the canal--and the possibility of getting pushed against the cement wall of the canal. I've seen that happen when we went through and I'm very nervous about the transit. Every time I've gone through there has been a drama of one kind or another. It didn't help when our current Swiss neighbor told me that their entire rigging came down and they were here for four years repairing the boat.

I think I will be able to arrange decent berths for the line handlers and I now must plan on food for the transit.  It can't be anything time consuming, but I don't want to serve mediocre stuff either.  I also need to plan and stow food for the unknown number of months we will be out. I think we may have to do some of it on the other side.

I can't believe we are leaving.  I am a bit depressed about it. I will miss this place very much.

I am not only nervous about the transit, I worry about the last leg home.  We have been tied to this dock for three years and I wonder if we're strong enough and good enough to do this anymore.

While I write this, Gene has unfurled the genoa to tie the sheets on, and all kinds of banging and clanging are going on.

So, we seem to be progressing and will probably actually leave by at the latest the second week of February and very possibly sooner. We will probably hang out on the other side of the canal for a bit and I would like the 'shake-down' trip to be to Coiba Island where there are many special birds to see.  We will be anchoring in Golfito, Costa Rica after we leave Panama and they will have internet, after that, we will be disengaged and on our own.
Love, the Peregrinators

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