July and August

The reason why we haven’t been updating on the blog lately is because after the last post my computer broke down and we didn’t get it going well again until we got to Colon at the beginning of September.

So because there’s much to tell you, I thought I keep it simple and do a post for each month. Here it’s July

July was spent in Bocas.

A normal day in Bocas would be for me to go to town and meet up with Georgina and Yorlenis and visit the local schools. We showed the documentary Bag It, to 6 different groups of students over a period of two weeks. Then in the third week, we would visit the schools to see how they were coming along with the ideas to present for the Nature Fair on the 14 August. Their ideas had to be about how to improve the rubbish situation in their area. We also joined Yorlenis during 3 different workshops on how to make the rubbish bins using plastic bottles in the local high school.

While I was busy doing this, Mick was super busy with thousand boat jobs. He was determined to build a wind generator and he had three different tries, the last one being successful. They took a lot of time and effort but at the end the last one was spinning well, searching for the wind and generating enough power to be of use for the boat. Mick also worked on repairing the water maker, …In between all this work, Mick got to surf a bit and also continued doing his water photography.

The 14th of August came along and we joined the Nature Fair in Smithsonian and had to judge all the wonderful presentations that the students had worked so hard on about how to improve the rubbish problem in Bocas. I’ve put together a video if you are interested in having a look.

Two days after that, we left Ondular in the Careneros Marina and took a bus to the Costa Rican border and then another bus to San Jose, to visit my brother. He’s been living in Costa Rica for over 7 years and I had never been to see him there, so it was a great opportunity to do it now. We spent almost a week with him.

My brother is doing this personal project in which he has set to travel to a different place every weekend of the 52 weeks of the year, so we got to join him on the weekend and went to visit a beach called Matapalo on the Pacific coast of CR. It was a great set up because we were very close to two national parks, The Manuel Antonio and the Parque Marino Ballena. We had a wonderful time, saw lots of monkeys, and spent the days at the beach. It was a good feeling to spend some days in his nice apartment, enjoying all the comforts that we don’t get on the boat.

We arrived back to Bocas on a Wednesday and spent the next couple of days cleaning the boat inside, out and below. Once we finished buying the last bit of food and getting everything ready, we said good bye to Bocas and the good friends we’d made and sailed to Laguna Bluefield, which was an area only 25 miles from Bocas. We had planned to spend a few days here, as we had heard that it had a beautiful beach with some nice waves. We changed our minds pretty quickly, once we got to the beach and a very angry lady told us we had to pay $10 just to be there. We took our things and walked back to where our dinghy was and when we were about to jump on it, another lady started screaming at us, that we also needed to pay. We pretended we didn’t understand, got back to the boat, lift the anchor and left. It’s very sad, because it was such a beautiful place, but there are no regulations and everyone wanted to get some money out of us so we decided to leave.

We moved the boat to another little island not too far from there, but we made sure that we weren’t close to any little village, just in case they wanted to get some more money out of us. We spent the rest of the day there and in the morning we woke up really early to start our journey to Isla de Veraguas, where we had planned to spend the day and then leave that night to Colon.

We started the engine and I started lifting up the anchor, when I turned around and saw some smoke coming from inside the engine room. We stopped the engine and lifted the stairs to see what was going on, but it was impossible to know as there was too much smoke coming from everywhere.

When things calmed down a bit, Mick realized it was the starter motor that got cooked, so after a few hours of thinking what to do, we decided we had to try and get back to Bocas to sort it out. The problem was, that there was no wind whatsoever and we didn’t have a working engine. That’s when Mick got his McGyver cap on, and decided to use the outboard motor to push us through. He placed it on the swim ladder and secured it with lines. It actually worked really well and it took us almost all day, but we made it back into Bocas before dark.

The next day, we went to see a local mechanic, who sold us a used, half functioning starter motor, but that was our best bet if we wanted to get to Colon in the next few days. We figured, we only had to get it started once and don’t stop the engine until we got to Colon , where we could buy a new starter motor and that’s exactly what we did. We left the next morning and got to Colon early the following day; we sailed some parts, but never turned off the engine, just in case!

A note on Mick’s wind generator. The day after we arrived back in Bocas after our starter motor got cooked a squall came at the end of the afternoon. This was the first and strongest squall we had during our time there. We were nervous about our anchor not being set properly as we had no engine when we dropped it. Mick and I were at the front of the boat, looking at the anchor and trying to put some more chain out, when we started hearing a noise. We turned around and the wind generator was falling apart, literally, all its pieces were flying away with the almost 30 plus knots that the squall was producing. We looked at each other and we just had to laugh and be thankful that the anchor was holding us in place and we weren’t dragging. Mick hasn’t given up on the wind generator and will be building a new one soon!



Author: Isabel Romero

founder of Mingas por el Mar

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