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Date: 04 Nov 2010 01:41:00
Title: Grace visit 9:34.70N 78:43.44W

Grace-e-pops
 
The kids where beside themselves with excitement about the arrival of Grace Reid.  It was about like waiting for father Christmas to arrive, I think we were counting down the days for about 2 weeks+  Cosmo started sorting his room out ready to hand it over to Grace,  or rather Grace-e-pops as he renamed her.   When she finally arrived we were all very excited. Days before I had been getting more and more concerned about the lack of fresh veg, milk and wine,  Kuna Yala had been deemed a dry state after a big Sila meeting at Mamitupu on the 28th Oct; we had contemplated asking Grace to do a big old shop before she made the trek through Rain forest on in the communial taxi, along the only road to Kuna Yala,  but when we got to Carti the day before her arrival we found a bonanza of delicious fresh veg and
fruit,  now this was like Christmas for me.

The excitement of Grace's arrival the morning she was due was fever pitch, and seeing her arrive in a fast launcha made her look most regal.   She had been up since 5 and had an extremely slow drive through the jungle, after waiting for other no-show passangers in Panama City.

But in true Colin style,  soon after her arrival on board we pulled up the anchor and went in search of fresh water.  We found the said village, Soledad Maria,  but unable to dock Grace was set to work filling 26 jerry cans of water whilst Colin ferried them out to the boat for me to pour into the tanks,  Bloody exhausting work.  But Grace was treated to the antics of the village kids who's particular fortay was 2 person flick flacks,  I love the fact each village child community has it's own special physical trick or sporting capability.

After this we moved over to Gunboat Island,  somewhere we hadn't been before.  After all of Graces work we thought it was time for a bit of a relaxing snorkel,  Not so,  visablilty was not great nor too was the coral reef,  but we paddled around,  and took a cut out side of the reef, but I'd not been here before so didn't feel it was prudent to hang out here so we returned the way we came only for come face to face with my first shark,  OH Bugger!  I have been waiting and bracing myself for weeks now and in a way I have been looking forward to coming face to face with my first Shark,  But being with Grace on her first day in Kuna Yala was anything but ideal.  So my first thoughts were not to alarm Grace and appear as though I knew what I was doing and hark back to text-book approach to seeing Sharks.  Only once I had announced the fact we were swimming in the direction of a shark I felt it right to hold on to her hand firmly, telling her it was ok as it was only a reef shark,  I had no bloody idea what it was, but as the course of action was all the same I felt it best not to scare Grace anymore than neccessary.    My only mistake was that my hand grip was obviously alittle too tight and this just relayed a message of fear from my side,  opps.  The Shark then decided to come a little closer and sit on the sand next to us this enabled us to have a much better look, but it also gave us the access to the shore we needed to escape,  again
after a wee while of letting the shark settle we moved off slowly  and with our eyes keeping watch forward and back, not especially easy giving the visablity,  by the time we were nearly at the beach we had our second scared out of your skin experience.   From behind I felt an enormous bang against me only to discover it was a very joyful Cosmo on a boogie board,  within seconds he did the same to Grace with the same effect on her.  God were we relieved when we were standing on terra firma.   I really felt I didn't ever want to get in the water again but like all scares it's best to embrace the fear and get back in,  which I did,  but I also wanted to get back to the boat , breath easy and try and identify Brucy.  Grace returned by dinghy.

So whilst safe on board our next disaster was the weather.    The heavens decided to open, but maybe that was a blessing in disguise, as it give any water explorations a rest.  That night I pull out some frozen meat, the stuff we have been holding back for are none fish eating guest.  But this didn't seem to agree with Grace and maybe ill effects of exhausion and Malaria tablets , and not the effects of rotting meat she threw up, poor lamb.  Quite a bapitsam of fire for one of her year-out overseas trip.

Thankfully the rest of Graces trip was hugley uneventful,  we saw dolphins and moved around the western area of the San Blas.  Grace was able to meet some of the weird and wonderful cruisers we hang out with.  Learn new games, namely Set with Gretchin and Frank our spear fishing friends, and really have a good insight into our lives.
   
On our last evening in Kuna Yala we were able to have sun downer and cook our supper on 'one palm island'  which made a lovely ending to her trip
  
The day sail up to Linton was a little bumpy and Grace and the kid didn't take to it, but once up in Linton we made a great trip on dingy through the mangrove to a resturant run by french folk in Panamarina so Grace treated us to the best meal for a year or at least since starting our trip.  What a joy to have Steak frite in the middle of the rain forest,  and with the best steak we can ever remember eating.

The kids loved having Grace on board and didn't want her to leave, not ever ever.  She was a complete star doing shows on the trampoline,  teaching fractions to Zinnia and reading bookafter book of Jack Stalwart to Cosmo.  We were all very very sad to see her go.
 

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