Roger’s eldest daughter, is due to deliver her first baby any day, so
Roger was flying back to Australia, to offer his fatherly support (ahhhh)
So, at 8am Roger
jumped aboard the water taxi and head for the airport to catch his flight to
Panama. As his flight to Chicago didn’t leave until 02.22 the next day,
we had booked an hotel so he could get some sleep (thanks for the suggestion
Lynne). From Chicago he would then fly to Los Angeles (with a 7 hour wait for
his connecting flight) and then on to Sydney.
He made good use of these inconvenient
delays, by making them very convenient. He had needed some new rigging
‘stuff’ (don’t ask me what they were I can’t remember)
and had been recommended by Ron, off Memory Rose (another CSY 44, but a pilot
house version) to check out a company called Garhauer. He said their products
were every bit as good as Harken and the like, but a fraction of the cost and better
still, the company were still small enough to custom make items. So to cut a
long story short, he ordered the bits he needed and spoke with the company to
tailor them to his specifications. He then arranged for them to be delivered to
LAX (Los Angeles airport) so he could get them whilst in transit. Because he
was still officially a domestic passenger and had cleared in at ORD (Chicago
airport) he could wander out of the airport if necessary.
Well, the company
drove 60 miles to deliver the parts (because getting a courier would have been
very expensive) and then not only did they not charge for the delivery, but
wouldn’t accept any contribution to the fuel costs. Customer service the
likes of which many of you will have NEVER experienced.
So it certainly
made the journey a fruitful one for Roger.
While he is away I
have a list of jobs I want to get done (mainly because it’s easier when
he is out of the way, in a nice way of course).
I need to
redecorate the forward heads, the aft heads, the forepeak (hope you like it Rob
& Sheralee) and the saloon.
Then I have to
make mosi screens for the tent, the forepeak, the port holes and the stateroom
(a grand American term for the master bedroom, but in our case very appropriate
as it is in a ‘state’!) Once that is out of the way, I need to
recover the pillows, make 2 new stowage bags for the forepeak (hope you
appreciate all this effort to make your accommodation cosy, you two???) re-jig
the fuel can cover to meet Roger’s requirements and make some privacy
curtains for our cabin (the navigation station is in our cabin and if Rob or
Sheralee need to check the radar or something, they may get more than they
bargained for, if you know what I mean (see how considerate I am you two).
I then wanted to
do some baking of things that normally take too long to bake ( we can get the
gas refilled in Bilbao, but that’s it until the Galapagos.
I also have to go
and find some chap in Bocas, who has our lines, bring them back and jet wash
them. Plus Wurth is doing some work on the engine room cover and Elaine is
making an awning, so I have to chase them too ( and believe me you have to
So I decided, that
I would have a major assault on the list and do a couple of
‘tourist’ trips as a reward, otherwise, as usual, all I would see
of the area would be the shops (no not that type, I mean supermarkets,
ironmongers etc) and the local hostelry. With this in mind I invited Dorothy
off Memory Rose, to join me on a trip to the Finca del Muno, a 23 acre garden
with wonderful plants and wildlife. Dorothy, like me, got a new camera for
Christmas and I thought it would be a nice way to get to grips with them. I was
then going to do a day trip to Dolphin bay. 2 hour trek through the rainforest
up to the cocoa plantation, learn how chocolate is made, have lunch, then
snorkel with the dolphins in the bay. But I have been itching to see Boquete
(even dropped a few strong hints to Roger, but to no avail, we have too much
work to do on the boat!!!) and this evening when Dorothy mentioned that she and
Ron were going to Boquete to stay with friends for a couple of days, I said I
might join them for the trip to Boquete and go my own way once there (possibly
reducing the travel expenses for all 3 of us).
Now, because of
the location of Bocas del Toro, it is not an easy matter to get to Boquete,
which is up in the highlands near the Costa Rican border. It means getting a
water taxi to Almirante, then a chicken bus (remember Guatemala???) to David,
3hours 45 mins away. But there is a problem there, as the bus originates in
Changanola and by the time it gets to Almirante it is usually full, so it can
be a very unpleasant journey. Once in David, you then have to get another
chicken bus to Boquete, a further 45 mins away.
You could, of
course, get a taxi from Almirante to David, for $90!!!. So armed with this
information the appeal of going was diminishing rapidly.
But after dinner,
I thought I would just do a little surfing, maybe see if there was a nice
coffee plantation that took guests or something similar. I found a few nice
things to do, horse trekking, coffee plantation tours, etc etc.
Although they were
appealing, they still didn’t seem to be enough to make the effort to go.
Then I found a
website asking for volunteers for projects in Boquete. Well I now don’t
have enough time to do all I want to do (a few months would be good) so I have
whittled it down to 2 projects. The first it a local orphanage.
All they want is
volunteers to play with the children and cuddle the babies. As I can’t be
in Australia for the birth of our second grandchild (well I’m not really
a grandma, more a de facto grandma) I thought what better place to be than with
some little ones who don’t have any parents, let alone grandparents. They
don’t have a website, but this link gives more details http://www.regionalfosterplacements.co.uk/foster-news-casa-hogar.asp
The second is a
project called Paradise Garden ( check out the website http://www.paradisegardenspanama.com
). It is a beautiful garden that rescues, treats and cares for wild animals.
They need volunteers to act as guides around the garden, or help feed and clean
the animals (I think you would love this Mia?)
I have also found
a lovely little cottage to rent. So I zapped off a few e-mails to a/ see if the
cottage was available and b/ if they wanted me as a volunteer? So what was
going to be an overnight visit has now turned into a 4 night visit (hopefully)
and Roger will probably be back on board before I am!!!!
So, it is in the
lap of the gods. If the answers are all positive, I’ll be off on Sunday,
giving me a mere 3 days to get all my work done!!!!! But I am so excited at the
prospect. In fact that is why I am writing this blog entry, because otherwise I
wouldn’t be able to get to sleep.
One thing is for
sure though, if I am going, I better get lots of baking done because I will
want to take lots of cookies to the orphanage. I will also take some of the
clothes I have on board that are too small for me. What they can’t use,
they sell to raise funds for the orphanage.
This is the first
real opportunity for me to do what I always wanted the trip to be about,
helping out where I can. Yes, I have helped individuals, like Thelma and
Dahlia, but these projects are the kind of thing I want to do. There were other
projects that I would have liked to have been able to help, but with so little
time I had to decide where I could just slot in quickly and be more useful.
One of the many
downsides of not having Roger here is that I have the whole bed to myself
(luxury you would have thought??).
Normally, I sleep
with my feet directly beneath the hatch, so if it rains I feel it immediately
and shut the hatch (or in fairness, get Roger to shut the hatch). But as I have
been wandering around the bed (unconsciously looking for Roger) the other night
when it rained, I not only didn’t feel it, but because I had the fans on,
I didn’t hear it either and the bed got wet.
So I devised a
cunning rain detection system. I put ziplock bags directly beneath the hatch
(where my feet usually go) so that a/ I would hear the rain as it fell on the
bags and b/ it would stop the bed from getting too wet. Well I am pleased and
yes, proud to say that it works!!!
Now I think
it’s time to get some sleep as I have to move my work ratio up a gear
tomorrow, just in case!