Sailor Girls Night in Bocas Del Toro on Shenemere making epoxy jewelry
Adrien was featured in a local Bocas Del Toro Commercial
Adrien was featured in local Bocas Del Toro commercial – payment = free scooters for her and her friends for the day
Rudder put back with a new bushing. Thanks to the many who helped lift, carry, drag this massive 300 lb rudder and strategically get it back in place while we were in the water!
Major scare*** I was in the water and the weighted down rudder was “temporarily lost” as the boat shifted. It was found after a 911 cry went out to all involved in the operation; the rudder hadn’t gone far but it had sunk to the bottom and the visibility was poor
Finally, with the rudder in place we set sail to experience the more remote parts of Panama as we make our way to the Panama Canal.
EVERYONE WAS SAD TO LEAVE BOCAS…WE LOVE BOCAS DEL TORO
#1 Bahia Azul
Next stop Bahia Azul a remote anchorage with only a small local village (curious locals included) and good surfing for the boys…
Shenemere and Irwinish in Bahia Azul “Solamente”
Pristine Beach lives up to its name
Martin surfing Bahia Azul
Garth surfing at Bahia Azul
Elizabeth picked up a “boyfriend” on her morning kayak excursion
Martin’s Panama Drone Video of Laguna de Bluefield
#2 Escudo de Veraguas
Adrien on a sweet beach break off of the remote island of Escudo de Veraguas
A few local Guaymi Indians live here and are known for their skilled skin diving
#3 Rio Chagres- tropical river surrounded by virgin rainforest…silence except for the sounds of wild birds and monkeys
On our way to the Panama Canal we stopped for a few days at Rio Chagres jungle.
I highly recommend this detour… we saw the howler monkey, a capuchin monkey, a tree full of toucans
Martins Amazing early morning Rio Chagres drone video****
Shenemere in the Jungle…morning reflections
Asta Luago Amigos!
Why the crew of Shenemere loves Panama…
We arrived during the main surfing season: December – February when Northeast storms deliver waves in the 4 – 15 foot range
Martin, Pierre and Garth are religious about their “Daily” 15 minute dingy ride at 5:30 AM to catch the first waves at sunrise, before the masses of other surfers arrive.
Usually they can surf about 3-4 hours before it gets too crowded
Pierre catching waves in Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is a popular location for expatriates, surfers and sailors
Bocas Marina is a great cruiser’s hangout
We anchored off the Marina however, we still get to (pay for use) of The Bocas Marina’s internet, showers, laundry, fuel and restaurant & bar facilities
Bocas Marina has helpful staff and a fascinating assortment of cruisers passing through to the Panama canal or the “salty dogs” that have sailed the Caribbean or have a circumnavigation under their belt and now call Bocas “VELCRO HARBOR”
Our son Justin is in Florida and started the Commercial Diving Academy for a 6 months rigorous underwater diving course in Jacksonville, Florida…
That is Justin as a baby and he continued with his love for the sea all through adolescents… snorkeling, fishing, surfing, spear fishing and his first job as a Miami Dade Life Guard at Matheson Hammocks
Follow your Passion, You can’t go wrong
Back in Bocas del Toro Shenemere’s rudder was removed so the “upper rudder bushing” could be sent back to the states to be fixed
Martin enjoying the “play(a) on words” … he grew up on Bluff Beach, South Africa
Elizabeth, Garth, Pierre, Adrien, Martin and Susan hiked to The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Bocas del Toro
The Day Trippers/ “Do-ers” that I have nicked named Elizabeth and Garth on S/V Irwinish are always planning outings:
Thank you Elizabeth!!!
In the span of a few days the “Do-ers” planned a hike, cycle and sail to: The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, La Gruta, The Plastic Village, Green Acres Chocolate Farm and finished at the Drunken Monkey Bar /Farmers Market
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Bocas del Toro; we saw a Sloth and Howler Monkeys; and an insightful tour of the impact these research studies are doing for environment conservation
Plastic Bottle Village
Martin, Elizabeth and Garth at a Village made out of plastic bottles
After collecting more than a million plastic bottles, Robert Bezeau made an unconventional decision — to build an entire village out of plastic bottles
Since 1978, humans contributed “Unconsciously???” to spread plastic bottles over the oceans, beaches, cities and lands…
We don’t need a new planet, we need to clean our own planet
And with all this Jungleness…there are these…
Yes, we have bats onboard!!!!
Fruit bats: without bananas onboard they are less frequent
La Gruta Cave in Colonia Santeña, a small village of cattle farmers 7km northwest of Bocas town
Garth, Elizabeth, Martin and Susan cycled the 7 km uphill for this remote cave adventure
Elizabeth and Garth in the cave with all these thousands of bats pictured!
The cave entrance marked by a small shrine to the Virgin Mary
Merry Christmas from Panama!
Adrien at the Boca Marina’s Christmas party
Happy Birthday Pierre
Our Adventure to Green Acres Chocolate Farm on S/V Irwinish
The adventure began with a beautiful day sail on the bay aboard S/V Irwinish for our first overnight outing on another persons boat…in this case our friends Elizabeth and Garth to the Green Acres Chocolate Farm
Beautiful Dolphin Bay
Lush botanical gardens as we approached Green Acres Chocolate Farm
Robert the owner showed us indigenous trees and medicinal plants and explain how many traditional Indians use these plants today
I was a bit worried about a 3 hour tour (I suffer from SAS-short attention situational) however, I wasn’t disappointed.
We did tour a plantation of cacao trees and got to open a pod straight from the tree and I learned so much about cacao, and the farming of chocolate…harvesting, fermentation and drying of the seeds and how they miraculously turn this unassuming seed into chocolate! Wildlife, plants, flowers and traditional Indian folklore made for a very entertaining tour
Green Acres Chocolate Farm
Every other Monday the Drunken Monkey has a “gathering” and Farmers Market in the remote mangrove homestead of CJ and Jess at Colibri Verde -Bocas del Toro, Panama
Something out of Dilverance… this outpost that encourages an odd mixing of locals, expatriates and sailors to boat over to this remote location for a “Farmers Market” ( maybe an excuse) like one is needed to party on a Monday morning…seriously it starts at 9:00 AM and was finished at Noon!
UPDATE: The Upper Rudder Bushing has come in so, we are back to work getting Shenemere ready for the Panama Canal transit and on to the South Pacific, Gambier
900 mile passage from Bonaire to San Andres, Columbia (off the coast of Nicaragua) was expected to take 8 days however we managed to do it in 5 days. Consistent winds of 25-30 knots propelling us at sustained speeds of 8-10 knots with top speeds of 15 knots stressed Shenemere and it’s parts. Crew was Phenomenal !
- Broken block on the boom- would have been disastrous if it had not been noticed and changed…the line was almost chafed through
- Main halyard chafed essentially the line that holds the mainsail up the mast was being chafed to it’s core…would have been debilitating
- Bracket that holds the lines to steer the Monitor wind vane was ripped from its mount
Pierre on deck. Where is your harness?!%#@ #youngmen
We caught two nice Mahi Mahi on this trip; too much to eat so I pulled out the food vacu- sealer and presto…fresh fish right into deep freeze for later
900 miles in less than 4 minutes…
Bonus must see video*** Dolphins loved to play in our wake and we never tired of watching
Welcome to Columbia where armed military just pull up along your boat and jump on…not even with a “Buenos Dias”
Cheers to sailors short-term memory!
San Andrés island sits 700km from the Colombian coast, a pearl in the ocean that combines the influence of Englishmen, Africans, Spaniards and Pirates in a culture full of flavors and reggae smells:)
A very touristic island; diving, kite boarding, para-sailing, snorkeling and boating was happening all the time and we were anchored literally in the middle of the action…day and night (Cha Cha Cha and the Macarena not so great at 3 AM).
Water is pristine and I had luck with my underwater medal detector on our day at the beach. I found a small gold/diamond earring…maybe it is tiny?
I coaxed Martin to take one day off from the most consuming boat repairs. Beer, in the shade, with loved ones, on a Columbian island… Priceless
This is a note to myself*** to once again remind me when you order fish in Latin Countries you are 98% guaranteed it will be served to you like this
Pierre at the top of the mast fixing the chafed halyard. Muchos Gracias!
“Shenemere… nice from far, far from nice” MKoning
450 mile downwind passage from Martinique to Bonaire. We were so excited to dust the Whisker Pole off and pole out “wing on wing”.
Everything was going great for the first 12 hours until at 11 PM we jibed and bent the whisker pole…Aghhhh!
It’s a choice: laugh or cry
Adrien and Pierre
At Little Havana’s grabbing a cold drink and internet…wi-fi password “Sugar Man” after our favorite album Searching for Sugar Man
Adrien and Pierre explored the island on a scooter and we all enjoyed diving on the spectacular reefs
Mooring Shenemere in 20 ft, just a few feet from a 80 ft drop off to spectacular reefs
Martin and Pierre maximizing their freediving skills…getting to 65 feet
Adrien heading out to Martinique with Pierre and his family for a few weeks until we meet up with them again…Bon Voyage
And Blacktip sharks…everywhere!
Turtles, sharks and rays abound in the Tabago Cay Marine Park
Bequia’s local Green Bar for wi-fi and roti’s in the afternoon and the local Bread Man for fresh pastry delivery
We were in Bequia during the “off season” but can only imagine mid November to March that all the local restaurants and bars will be hopping! Marie’s and Mac’s were the only places open during our stay. We liked having the town to explore ourselves and it made it easier to connect with some of the few cruisers that were in the anchorage
Only in Bequia- The famous Raphael “Scocony” Holder’s personal concert
This was our view during our four day stay in Bequia. 20-30 knot gusts of wind howling down the hilltops caused a couple of the chartered catarmans to lose their holding
What Happens when you are ejected from your dingy underway and don’t have a “safety kill switch” tethered to you:
Thank goodness the young women on this 30 hp dingy was able to swim away before the dingy ran her over. She actually swam to our boat while after at least 45 minutes local cruisers managed to jump inside the dingy and regain control
Note: always wear a tethered kill switch when operating your dingy
Martinique = Gorgeous French island, amazing snorkeling, food and sights
St. Anne, Martinique
Collision in the Anchorage was very close to hitting us!
Le Big Mac was a “le’t down…we prefer the fresh baguettes and ripe cheeses any day
Pierre and Adrien reunited with us in Martinique for the next leg of our adventure…Bonaire
Beautiful sightseeing in the small villages along the coast of Martinique. Adrien and Pierre hiked through the National Park
We have been very busy getting ready. Replaced alternator belt, changed the oil, made water, serviced 4 wenches, sealed a hatch, provisioned, laundry and sewed a new shade awning for the aft cockpit… ready for our passage to Bonaire
I often equate forts in the Caribbean to castles in Europe…once you’ve seen One they all “tend to” look the same.
However, we did take the day to venture to St. Georges and check out Fort George and we weren’t disappointed.
The oldest structure in the country was completed in 1705. There are old tunnels and narrow staircases and the ramparts evoke a feeling of the past. There is a stunning view of the capital, the Carenage, harbor and the lagoon. Something unique about this fort is the historic significance of the assignation of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and the US/ Caribbean intervention in 1983 that is a vivid memory for many adult Grenadians.
Adrien, Pierre and goofy tour guide at Fort George
Back to Carriacou
We really enjoyed the diving in Carriacou and I liked the convenience of the brand-new grocery store so, we set sail again from Grenada back to one of our favorite spots to work on some boat projects
First Drone Pictures taken on the Mavic Air- Aerial footage of Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
In the process of cleaning out the diesel tank we realized the tank isn’t a 74-gallon capacity but only holds 55 gallons. This was a frightening realization considering our estimates for motoring underway would be diminished by almost 20 hours.
Martin installed a new fuel gauge, so we always know exactly how much fuel we have.
Arts and Crafts! I am having so much fun making epoxy jewelry. This was the first experiment with boat epoxy and food coloring using all kinds of material including old beads, fabric, wax, plumbers silver solder, paper, cut outs from Caribbean paper dollars, shells, coral, sand…it is limitless the materials you can use to create your own handmade art.
I am working on getting some fellow cruisers to join me on board for a jewelry making afternoon. I can’t wait!
Hillsbrough, Carriacou Day Trip
Sylvie from S/V Maitre D wanted to visit the “main” town of Hillsborough before the pending tropical storm Kirk’s arrival; just in case we had to pull up the anchor and head south. We do not necessarily pay attention to the days of the week so when we went to get a taxi to town we found out it was Sunday and the taxis weren’t operating. Charlie a local with his cousins in tow gave us a lift to town.
Kids were super cute (which one do you think is a bit more mischievous?)
Sylvie the artist from Quebec finding art in Hillsbrough
I can’t stress enough how delightful I find the Grenadians to be; the friendliest in the Caribbean but not a false fake friendly to get your tourist dollar, its genuine. It’s a greeting from everyone you pass even the kids; good morning, afternoon and evening. They are helpful when you ask for directions and will go out of their way to draw a map or even walk you to your destination, this has happened to me several times.
I was a bit worried about getting back to Tyrell Bay on a Sunday afternoon when the taxis weren’t running. However, we didn’t have anything to worry about. The second car that passed picked us up.
George the island’s Postman picked us up and ended up driving us to the limited scenic spots on the island: The highest point where the hospital is (you do not want to get sick on this island), historic tower, cemetery and the elementary and primary schools where kids ferry to each day from the surrounding islands and finally his dad’s surfside beach bar just in time for a magical sunset. A perfect Day!
Sylvie embracing the moment at the top of Carriacou
Tibo Cemetery is being overtaken by the sea
Beach Bar with locals strumming guitar, sailors with their young children playing on the beach just in time to catch an amazing sunset…
Enough said…we headed to the mangroves!
After two failed attempts to secure ourselves (first attempt the anchor didn’t set and the second spot the rudder was aground) we managed to tuck in-between a Dutchman and Spaniard and hunkered down for the next three days
That is Shenemere safe and sound on the right with the white hull and blue sail covers 🙂
Thank goodness tropical storm Kirk went North so we only got some rain and some bats flying through the boat at night
S/V Maitre D- Sylvie (Quebec) and Justin (College Station, Texas) – we sailed with Maitre D on and off from Dominican Republic and today they head North to St. Thomas as we are preparing to head in the “general” direction of the Panama Canal.
We love these two. Fair winds
Off to Sandy Island- Marine Park
Gorgeous! Surrounded by white sands, this tiny island has the most spectacular coral reef, the home to shoals of variegated tropical fish in crystal clear turquoise water. We snorkeled to the delightful sightings of rays, puffer fish, lobster and a plethora brightly colored reef fish. This is a protected marine habitat, so we had to practice our mooring skills…thankful to Pierre (who was sick with the flu) who helped us get the mooring ball on the first attempt; a first for us on Shenemere! This beautiful island has been used as the backdrop for television and magazine advertisements
I would highly recommend a stop at Sandy Island
Flying all our flags
Picturesque waterfall surrounded by ferns & other greenery, with a small deliciously cold pool at its base. A great outing that turned adventurous when the radiator on Mandy’s car split/ cracked wide open while we were at the highest and most rural area snap dab in the middle of Grenada on a Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness a nice off duty taxi driver offered us a lift back to Mandy’s house where we spent the afternoon on her porch discussing the logistics and costs around how to best get the car fixed.
Susan and Martin at Annandale Falls
Oasis Floating Bar – Grand Opening
Oasis floating bar in Secret Harbor
A new floating bar opened up in Secret Harbor just a few boats away from us. I thought we could take just one day off during the week because we already have a very busy social schedule for most every day of the week…oh well such is Salt Life
Tuesday: Taffy’s live music and delicious fish and chips
Wednesday: Beach Volleyball in the afternoon and Bingo at Prickly Bay
Thursday: Nimrod’s has an outdoor deck for the cruisers to get together and jam. There is an interesting array of talent and most nights there is a saxophone player and an interesting “old salty dog” of a sailor that sings his own lyrics…entertaining sailing-drinking songs
Friday: Oasis Floating Bar is the newest watering hole
Sunday: Hog Island beach party with a live local band and the most delicious BBQ for only $20 EC/ $7.50
Hog Island Beach party on Sunday’s is always fun with a collection of locals, cruisers and students from the medical school enjoying local music and great food
In addition to our regular schedule; each month the cruisers from the surrounding bays organize a floating concert. A floating stage is erected with live music and the cruisers just raft up to it; this last month there were over 75 dingys rafted up.
I enjoy the “full moon drift” in our bay. Everyone brings a snack and we all raft up together under the full moon “drifting” and passing the food around from boat to boat. Great fun meeting new people; the strangers that you tie up to become fast friends by the end of the night.
Our Designated Driver!
It’s not all fun. We have a project to do most every day from routine maintenance to Martin spending time up the mast fixing the deck lights. He’s terrified of heights but the new heavy duty bosun’s chair was a big help
Pierre our newest crew member and Adrien out to lunch
Carriacou is an island belonging to Grenada and 50 miles from Secret Harbor. It was a day sail for us and did not disappoint. Beautiful coral reefs and clear shallow waters. We anchored in Tyrell Bay with gin clear waters and the highlight a brand new “real” grocery store like back home. We loaded up on the things we were craving…tortilla chips and salsa, ice cream, wide selection of cheeses and a nice selection of meats (we didn’t need any meat because we caught a massive Mahi Mahi on the way over). A more international crowd of cruisers; the Europeans congregate in this bay which was great for our French crew member Pierre to be able to speak with his fellow countrymen. A unique bay with boats built using traditional methods developed in the 1800s dotting the shore; I would highly recommend stopping here.
Catch of the day!
Pierre and Ian on the sail to Carriacou Island
Ian’s Visit to Grenada
This is how Ian spent his days exploring the island
Great afternoon at the beach and Umbrella’s famous beachside restaurant with Ian and Pierre and all of us ordering a huge lunch
Susan and Ian…Ian’s visit went by way too fast
Hip high surf in Prickly Bay was worth the long walk and Martin demonstrates he’s still got it…check out the smile on his face 🙂
Adrien the Surfer Girl
Pierre’s second time surfing…he’s a natural
Grand Anse Beach
It’s a postcard-perfect scene…Grand Anse Beach is “the granddaddy” of Grenada’s 45 beaches. This two-mile stretch of creamy-white sand overlooks a sheltered, azure-hued bay where bright red and yellow fishing boats burst with color.
We enjoyed an afternoon with Mandy, Leslie and the coolest dog ever (Mandy’s dog) Eli on the beach the day before the Grenada Carnival began. Festivities were already underway with a party jamming behind us while we soaked up the soca sounds and scene.
Don’t let this peaceful mystical lady Mandy fool you. It was on the beach she talked me and only me (Martin and Adrien would have no part) in going to the Jab- Jab Mas the following morning starting at 4:00 AM.
I had been told about the Jab-Jab carnival celebration before Mandy talked me into it. Fellow cruisers gave mixed bad reviews of a crazy party in the streets where everyone is covered with motor oil and snakes around their necks; dancing to outrageously loud music starting at 4 AM after partying All night. I thought to myself, you are old and that sounds like something I must see!
This is the only video I took at Jab Jab. Mandy and Leslie dancing while I was the proverbial “turd in a punch bowl”
A quick history lesson on the ceremony would have helped me to comprehend the scene unfolding in the following wee hours of morning so here is my condensed version:
The word jab has its roots in the French word “Diable,” meaning “devil.” Thus, in the Grenadian context, Jab Jab, means “devil, devil”
It is a parade of masqueraders acting out the actions done by a people they believe to be the devil. The devil’s historical connection is to fight against slavery.
The historic symbolism of the parade is slavery and I saw plenty of chains being carried and dragged through the streets.
I also saw other symbols of “constraints” imposed on people including briefcases, baby strollers, computers and even a flat screen TV!
Grenada Carnival 2018
Spice Mas – A celebration with the pomp and pageantry like the mother of Carnivals. Grenada’s carnival is indeed a celebration of the artistry, uniqueness, and vibrancy of the nations people. Colorful costumes, competitions and an outpouring of talent go along with the celebrations. It was a super fun 3 days of steel pan drums, costumes and parting had by everyone on the island.
Martin’s Grenada Carnival funny footage
Grenada Swim Team Fundraiser
The Grenada swim team has been preparing for a National competition in Barbados. Julian an up and coming star of the team was struggling to afford to attend the event. So, a shout out to the cruising community went out and within a week a Lambi “conch” Stew beach party was put together.
Over 50 people showed up contributing more than EC $2,930 / US $1,105 in one day.
Julian went on to the swim meet to win medals and lead the team to a National victory. Fantastic support for the local Grenadians from a grateful group of sailors.
Nigel Heath cooked up the huge pot of Lambi Stew and we provided the rice. At EC$20 per bowl we raised the money for Julian to attend the swim meet.
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked Venezuela on Tuesday August 22nd after hitting off the coast near Yaguaraparo in a disaster authority have called the “largest historic event” since 1900.
Here in Grenada just 180 miles away the quake was felt on land and at sea. We were all on the boat when the earthquake was felt, for three minutes the boat rocked and quivered. Only Adrien knew what it was; I thought the mast was falling down. The quake wasn’t nearly as scary as the subsequent Tsunami Watches that came after the initial quake. Fortunately, the earthquake was some 58 miles beneath us and didn’t have any real tsunami threat.
Blessed with a climate that has earned Grenada it’s title of “Spice Island of the Caribbean” from mountain tops and rainforests reminiscent of the South Pacific to its spectacular beaches…this island has it all.
This is a little snapshot of the fun to be had in Grenada: big drum dance, carnival, night life, surf, culture, waterfall hikes and the best cruising grounds. Sailors have been welcomed into the local communities with open arms and hearts; the Grenadian people are the nicest I’ve met in the Caribbean!
Shenemere in Secret Harbor
We have been busy working on boat projects in the morning and getting out in the afternoon to appreciate the island. Martin had to get a steering quadrant made and spent one day getting it out and two days refitting it. We are waiting on the other parts to get started on the fuel tank project (drilling a hole in the diesel tank, removing the diesel, cleaning the tank and installing an inspection hatch). We are anticipating this to be a two day project so, guaranteed it will be a 4-day project.
YUM!! My “mom’s famous” banana bread…as if it’s not hot enough!
Not all work. I found just the right spot to “hang out” while Martin surfed
Adrien rejoined us in Grenada after a 4 week break in Miami hanging out with her brother and friends for her birthday month 🙂
Our dear furry family member of 15 years died of kidney disease. He was a wonderful pet for all those years and a stellar crew member… particularly on night watches
Shamie is dearly missed
I love underwater metal detecting. There is something incredible about sifting through the sands and seeing a glimmer of metal. Your mind races as you reach down to pluck your new-found treasure from its prison of sand. What could it be? The possibilities are limitless.
Underwater metal detecting is the perfect hobby while cruising. There is a world of treasure buried beneath our feet and it’s just waiting to be dug up. It is an exciting exercise that has many rewarding attributes; fiscally, adventurous and imaginative while you are always looking for the next lucrative dive.
My recommendation for an affordable and easy underwater metal detector
Hog Island, Grenada
Hog Island, off the south coast of Grenada is a favorite anchorage spot amongst sailors who are looking for a nearly uninhabited place to play. However, you will only find this spit of beach uninhabited during the week. On the weekends particularly, Sunday the beach is packed with locals, cruisers and university students enjoying group barbecues on the beach and new friends bonding over a drink at the thatch roof hut bar.
By exploring Hog Island during the week, I was able to both uncover lost treasures as well as being a responsible community member and helped clean up the beach. Don’t tell anyone but, this is a treasure trove.
Eastern Caribbean Currency $$$