February 28, 1999
PANAMA CANAL ZONE
the two of us sailed from the canal zone south to Ecuador.
The trip was largely uneventful except for our freezer going out.
Fortunately, Hornblower II had their freezer and we did mid-sea
of much of the food.
Sailing requires more than just lolling in the cockpit reading
and watching the waves go by. All of the daily chores required at home are required on the boat, while in constant motion. The first requirement is to keep your balance and not crash into anything, which,
when it is rough, is a major endeavor. From making a sandwich, getting a drink of water, or taking a shower, the first consideration is that you stay upright. A lot of bruises are
acquired on a boat just bumping into things, we call them "boat bites". The boat goes around the clock which means that the crew does also, and when there are only two you
adjust accordingly. Charlie takes the major share of the night watches but we always have one of us in the cockpit on watch, with other ready to lend assistance if necessary. We
sleep in two to three hour snatches and believe me no one has to rock you to sleep. When we arrive in port the thing we look forward to the most is a full nights sleep.
is the funnel of the western hemisphere. All shipping flows
through the canal and consequently the seas on both sides are heavily
traveled with large commercial vessels. We always remember
that no matter who has the "right of way" there is a rule
that supersedes all others and that is "the rule of BIG",
if it is bigger than you get out of the way.
We arrives in Salinas a little afternoon on March 6 and the next day we had a man on board tracing the problem with the refrigeration. The problems were addressed, something not too
serious as far as repair, but very serious when you realize you are without refrigeration in the tropics. The excellent people, one Australian, and one Ecuadorian, were very adept in
their skills. You do find expertise in areas where you don't expect to, and skills of mechanical nature are without language barriers.
in the Panama Canal I fractured a tooth. The Todds got me
in to see their excellent dentist who did a temporary fix, (we were
sailing out the next day) and it was temporary. Charlie glued
me back together once but we knew when we got to Salinas that I
would have to go to a dentist. To make a long story shorter
, we were not comfortable with having major dental work done in
Ecuador so I made arrangements to fly home. You know sometimes
grandmothers have to bite rocks to get to see their grandchildren.
The situation in Ecuador is rocky at the moment. The banks were closed down when I left due to the wild fluctuation of their currency. A major national strike was scheduled for
March 9 and 10, when all roads would be closed and all business shut down. Salinas is pretty much isolated from the trauma, being a seaside resort, but to go anywhere you have
to travel to Guayaquil, which is two hours by car or bus. Of all the things Charlie and I do, I believe the most dangerous is riding in taxis.
is flying tomorrow, conditions permitting, to help Captain Charlie
take Sea Gem across to San Cristobal in the Galapagos. I will
rejoin the boat there, having seen our beautiful new granddaughter
SAVANNAH LYNN GRAY, born February 25,1999 when her grandparents
were transiting the Panama Canal. I tried to get them to give
her a middle name of Pacificia but it did not fly, wonder why?
The tooth is well on the way to full repair with a new crown awaiting installation on 17
March, I have had a granddaughter "fix" from all three little princesses, and I have made contact with family and friends. Things do work out for the best, until later....