Well it's been another fascinating year for us. As the year gets ready to turn again, they really do seem to go faster as I get older, I have been recalling the past 12 months. Both the lows and the highs...
We started in great form in the San Blas islands of Panama with Lucy, our youngest, and her boyfriend, Alex, on board. It was lovely to have them to stay, especially as both of them are experienced and competent sailors. We harbour hopes that they will take a year off work and sail with us to Chile one of these days! We are lucky in that the kids all manage to come and visit us about once every 18 months or so. As we no longer return to the UK that makes a massive difference to my contentment levels out here cruising!
The low point was TBH's teeth!! Prior to leaving the UK we spent a large sum of money correcting some major dental problems for him. Having been brought up in the wilds of East Africa, where the only available treat was a piece of sugarcane, some pretty irreparable damage happened. Anyway one of the expensive pieces failed as we were returning to Colon and it was the start of a long, painful and expensive period of treatment. That necessitated us overstaying our visa in Panama. Not something we are ever keen to do, but the officials at Panama Canal Yacht Club were really helpful and accommodating.
With that period finally behind us we set sail Northwards heading, ultimately, for the Rio Dulce.
The first passage to Providencia was a typical mixture of good, bad and indifferent. Leaving the breakwater at Colon was a nightmare. Well thats probably a bit of an exaggeration! I was feeling quite emotional at exiting Panama, we spent over a year there and had made good friends and love the country. The sailing in the San Blas Islands is fantastic, the countryside contains a huge diversity of just about everything, birds,mammals,geography. Coupled with this depression we had to tack our way through some persistent head winds and lumpy seas. It took us some extra 150 miles to get clear of the problem area which was really only about 50 as the crow flies, ah well.
Providencia is a little gem, set amongst the reefs and clear blue waters we made landfall after a three day passage.Anchored in the big sheltered bay we met up with some boats we had met in Panama and stayed a couple of weeks to enjoy the laid back island atmosphere.Terrible, almost non-existent internet connection though.
We debated about taking the inshore or offshore passage around Cabo de Gracios de Dios. Offshore winning as TBH just loves ocean sailing and his idea of heaven is to be as far from land as possible! That was fine by me and we enjoyed a fast, calm trip straight to Guanaja in the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Amazing clear water, lots of reefs and delightful people. If it weren't for the appalling insect population it would be nigh on perfect! We stayed for months, making good friends with some of the residents, including the old dolphin that came to visit most afternoons!
Sadly I managed to contract dengue fever here, not funny! The most painful thing I have ever had, including the experience of childbirth....
This rather put a damper on our plans to explore the rest of the Bay Islands and we spent a couple of weeks recuperating at Roatan before making the crossing to the Rio Dulce.
And here we still are! Since our arrival in late June we have hauled the boat and finally got some new antifoul on the hull.Mario's marina has satisfied our every need!
TBH has made great progress with his new venture and we look forward to the launch in early 2008.
And of course I have taken to blogging! I have enjoyed reviving the old journalistic skills, and truth be told have been delighted to realize that I can still sniff out the odd good story. This coupled with returning to the discipline of regular writing has restored my interest in the world of media!! Oh dear I hear TBH sigh!
We have left behind some wonderful friends, made some amazing new ones! Kept the boat maintained, suffered a few breakdowns, started to revarnish the interior (and decided we have to move ashore before we do the rest!).
My sushi making has improved dramatically, my tolerance levels have fallen dramatically! TBH continues to be the perfect sailmate.
So as we enter our eighth year onboard I am just as excited and confident of the future year as at the very beginning, cruising is still everything I hoped for and a lot of things that I never even dreamed of!