I remember the conversation well. It was the conversation that sparked the Google search that ultimately led to the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) website and their microplastics project. That conversation is the reason I spent the last 10 minutes slung over the transom, unencumbered by clothing, hanging on to the backstay with one hand and attempting to capture seawater in a very buoyant 1 liter pop bottle with the other hand while our sailboat Serenity swayed and bucked in the swell (the scene is about as ridiculous as you’re imagining…which is why there’s no photographic evidence).Read More
Nothing short of perfection. After a moderately rolly night at Bahia Sacrificios and general feelings of restlessness, we are eager to get back out on the water. We find ourselves craving time at sea where options are limited, where we move slowly through the world, where a day is satisfying even when we can’t recount what, in particular, we did, where time is full without filling it.Read More
Following two action-packed months, December was fairly low-key...for me at least. Jeff, however, was a slave to his computer. In an effort to keep every available option open to us upon our return home, Jeff is throwing grad school in the mix of possible future trajectories. Consequently, Jeff busied himself with grad school applications and prep for the GREs, which turned into full-time work for a couple weeks. Marina Chiapas was a perfect place to get this done since internet and electricity were easy to come by. I continued work on some academic journal articles I've been researching/writing and also helped Marina Chiapas update their website. The highlight for me was spending hours in the office with the marina managers Enrique and Memo, who have an uncanny ability to entertain.Read More
At noon the navy and port captain visit the boat to issue our Zarpe and do the dog sniffing test. No issues with paperwork and the dog is too preoccupied with Tack's food to do a thorough inspection. The inspection starts the clock. We have two hours to get out of here.
At 2:00pm, after a flurry of activity to get ready (mostly internet related) we try to fire up the engine and discover that our starter battery is dead and dessicated. The guys in the office have been trying to convince us to stick around forever, or maybe just through Christmas. They might get their wish.Read More
It’s been over a year since the viral article, The Ocean is Broken, caused waves in online forums and across the blogosphere. The article details Ivan McFadyen’s encounter with a polluted, seemingly lifeless ocean on a recent ocean crossing between Australia and Japan on his sailboat. He contrasts this with previous crossings where life seemed to be bubbling forth from the depths, plentiful and animated. His conclusion? The ocean is broken.
For nearly a year I've been looking at the ocean through the lens of that question: Is the ocean really broken?Read More
This month, in its entirety, was pretty flippin' fantastic. The high highlights were our stopover at Isla Montuosa and our incredible passage from Western Panama to Southern Mexico. Isla Montuosa was on our Panama "bucket list" and we were enchanted by her shores before we even set foot on them. We played and relaxed on her beaches and prepared for the long journey ahead. The passage to Mexico was our longest to date, which had us both a bit anxious, but once we got into a rhythm, it was bliss. I think we might be hooked. I'm hard pressed to think of a low...maybe eating skipjack for two meals in a row? Though, that is a pretty high low.Read More
The total expenses for November were $1372. A few annotations:
- Gas & Fuel: We filled the tanks for our trip up north!
- Transportation: In preparation for our long passage, we took two taxis to transport lots of food, propane, etc. I also went on a last minute trip back to Boca Chica to retrieve something I accidentally left behind!
- Moorage: We spent some time back on a dock. More expensive than free!
- Adventure: This category includes the costs to check in to Mexico. Mexican liability insurance was the largest portion of this expense.
What you come to find, sailing long distances on an old sailboat, is you live in a machine in constant motion that's always breaking down. No matter how new, expensive, or trusted your brand of boat, entropy cannot be escaped for long at sea. Sometimes you need one of those in-between pieces. Or the specialty replacement part that's an ocean away and costs more than you can stomach spending anyhow. If you want to stay on the move, it pays to invest in a little bag of tricks that will keep you equipped to respond to misfortune.Read More
Day 5 – November 19
Try to record it all before it fizzles. So many thoughts pay me a visit while I’m sitting here on watch, but I rarely write them down. So many observations, words roaming around in my head. We have been on passage now for four days – just finished our fourth night…beginning our fifth day. I want to get some of this down on paper before we climb through the jaws of the Papagallo to be masticated and spit out somewhere near the Gulf of Fonseca.Read More
Wow, I can't believe we're actually doing this. This passage marks the beginning of our ~900 mile trip back up to Mexico and our ~4000 mile trip back home. Isla Montuosa, a deserted island about 40 miles off the coast of Western Panama is our first destination. A shakedown cruise, if you will, to get back into the flow and fix anything that needs fixing before we start the long haul. Plus, we can't pass up the opportunity to spend time on a very private, very beautiful deserted tropical island. After all, that is kinda why we're out here on a boat. Don't want to leave that dessert uneaten!Read More
Day 4. Saturday. Halloween. It's a Northwest rain with solid light gray skies. The green jungle trees outside the hatch look textured by the white noise of falling water. The island we're anchored to belongs to a billionaire with celebrity friends, if that sort of thing excites you. Apparently Britney Spears walked around nearby Bahia Honda once, and there is good reason to believe that Mick Jagger has enjoyed the view. Not much is going on aboard Serenity this afternoon, which is a blessed break in the activity of the past week. The trip home has started.Read More
We just left Boca Chica and the nostalgia is already overwhelming. I've written and rewritten this post in my head at least forty times but I can't quite find the words to express how deeply we came to love this place and how difficult it is to leave.Read More
The total expenses for October were $1150. Not too shabby. A couple annotations:
- Transportation: Some of these transportation costs probably belong in the adventure category...
- Shopping: Bought some new clothes to replace our stained sailing duds.
- Adventure: Trip to Panama .to help our friend through the Panama Canal!
I'm have a supremely hard time accepting that October is already over. Time is moving far too quickly for my liking because October/November straddle cruising seasons - hurricane season and rainy season are coming to a close - and that means it is really time to start the trip back home. October was PACKED probably because we knew our time was finite and there were so many things we still wanted to do! I made a feeble attempt to sell my wares (greeting cards featuring my photography) at the local market in Boquete - something I had vowed to do at the beginning of the month. Our friends were my primary customers and were much better about pimping my product than I was.Read More
Cockroaches are pretty much a fact of life down here. You can try as hard as humanly possible to keep them off of your boat, but if you're sailing anywhere south of the border...they will likely be a foregone conclusion. I tell you this because we have cockroaches again. BUT (silver lining) they are remarkably respectful cockroaches. They are rarely in our living space and they tend to prefer the areas immediately around the cockpit (get it?). Nonetheless, I am pretty anti-cockroach. Despite my name, this boat simply isn't big enough for us to live together harmoniously .Read More