Sailing Southern Caribbean
 
I know, I know, it's been a while since I updated, and don't really know where to start.  Certainly, seeing Tracey and Scott in Roatan has been a highlight, but in an effort to keep the record straight, I'll try this chronologically...

With David, our friend and crew originally from Northern England and most recently from the high Andes of Ecuador, we set off from Bastimientos bound for the San Blas.  It was a three day motor and sail through confused seas, with a brief stop in Portobelo, Panama.  Portobelo was named by Columbus and is known for the forts that are still crumbling around the harbor that used to be the primary place to store gold from Peru until it could be picked up in a Spanish galleon.  We spent some time poking our head around these forts before setting off to see what all the hype is about in the San Blas.   

The hype is all true.  All these little islands with blinding white sand, turquoise water, coconut palms everywhere, and inhabited by a few Kuna Indians. To add to the fun, we met up with our friends Moonlight that we haven't seen since about June of last year. We stopped in Chichime together and went on a photo safari.  With mixed emotions we decided to head out on the next weather window for points north, only a few days after we arrived. The San Blas was everything those idyllic postcards promised, we'd love to go back.  But our pull to meet up with Tim's sister and get to Florida before hurricane season was to strong.

We had a great sail north, no waves and cruising along at 6.5 knots, which is as fast as we get.  The little Columbian island of Providencia greeted us with something close to a welcome wagon, including the port captain, immigration, our boat agent and a little tourist brochure.  We brought our snorkel gear and rented scooters to check out the island and the surrounding fringing reef.  Alas, the next weather window came just a few short days after we arrived, and we head off around the shoaled Cabo Gracias a Dios to Roatan via Guanaja.

Thanks to Ute's waypoints, we made it safely around the cape and shoals, with no waves and no wind.  Once we made it around the point, the wind picked up and we could finally sail into Guanaja.  We stopped just for the day, checked into the country and checked out the town.  Just as we tried to leave, our diesel engine gave up the ghost, again.  Fortunately, Emilio Zapata, our ever faithful Mexican Yamaha outboard, kicked in to get us moving.

In an effort to -not- have this turn into a Zihuatenejo rerun, we've ordered a head gasket, it will arrive, or not, and will fix the problem, or not, but we're leaving regardless.  All I can say is that we are not a Volvo family, and I'll buy anything Yamaha makes.

To our surprise, the winds and weather actually did hold up, and we did actually get here in time to spend most of the week with Tim's sister Tracey, her husband Scott, and this crazy treehouse dwelling guy, Tom, that updates his blog all the time.  

It was so good to see some smiling familial faces, and get a chance to spend some great quality time with them. We hung out in the resort in West End, at the beach in West Bay, in the hammock upstairs, snorkeled with the sea turtles, sampled the various establishments around West Bay and checked out a botanical garden.  Tracey and I paired up for a refresher course and dive, and briefly thought we couldn't be partners, we nearly choked on our regulators we were laughing so much. They came laden with gifts and cards for Tim's birthday, and celebrated an early one with us on their last night. I can't thank Tim's folks enough for helping us out with this week, I know we'll all remember it, and laugh about it in the years to come.  Whenever the pictures get away from the safety of Tracey and Scott's camera, I'll post some.

We parked the boat in Jonesville for the time we were down-island with Tracey and Scott, in front of Hole in the Wall Bar.  Ute parked here for three months this summer, and everyone here misses them, though I understand the chairs at the bar have breathed a sigh of relief.  We celebrated Tim's birthday with a chocolate cake, and with the company of the folks that work here and all their kids.  Very unfortunately, in the midst of all the hubbub, I neglected to nominate someone as picture-taker.  

We are completely in flux about where we head to next.  We're probably going to try and catch up with Ute and ask them to make all our decisions for us...

The photo album

Tim floating in Panama.

Tracey enjoying the botanical garden.

I think Hebe's enjoying herself too.

David getting in one last shot of Panama.

Columbia was great.