Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Mota's Post Trip Summary
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Editor's Note: This is a post sent by Mota to an email list we subscribe to. It is a summary of his trip, plus some commentary on the San Blas islands.
The Summary: I had a fantastic time with an amazing crew of people.
More Deets: I arrived on Trinidad on April 23rd, looking forward to a little bit of work to keep the fingers limber and some relaxing on the beach. Instead, I spent 10 days rebuilding fuels systems, attaching safety gear, and bleaching Rob's underwear so that the ship would have a proper flag to fly. Luckily, Herzbach showed up a couple of days later to tackle the really crappy jobs of fiberglassing the the engine compartment and attaching a light to the top of the mast. The rest of the crew trickled in, and after 10 long days getting the boat ready, we set sail on April 5. We faced light to moderate seas, which provided the perfect balance of relaxation and challenge for us newbies. 4 days later we arrived in Aruba where we relaxed for a couple of days and picked up Anne Marie.
On April 11 we headed out from Aruba for the final leg to panama. We faced some more challenging weather and some bigger seas, but since we were all pros by then, it was not a problem. Well, it would not have been a problem had we not lost the auto-pilot. For those of you that don't know, modern sailing largely consists of setting the sails and putting your direction into the autopilot. You then then let the boat cruise along as you drink your drink and keep and eye on conditions until you need to change direction - which generally occurs every few hours. Re-set the sails and auto pilot, repeat. When you loose your autopilot you now have to actually STEER the damn boat. Imagine steering a double-wide semi on an undulating, curvy road, and you may get the picture. Luckily, there is not much to crash into out there.
After 3 days of this we arrive in Panama, where we learn that we can't actually get through the canal for at least two weeks! 4 of the crew depart back to the US because they have things like jobs (weird), leaving Rob, Jeff and I to go exploring. We turned the boat around and headed out to the San Blas Islands. You know the picture that pops into your head when someone says "tropical desert island"? That picture was taken in the San Blas Islands. It is a chain of 400 little islands, about 1-5 football fields in size each, with nothing but palm trees, coconuts, and white sand. All of the islands are abutted by coral reefs. The Kuna indians still live in small palm-frond huts on their islands, collecting coconuts and fishing. Everyday they paddle up to the "cruisers" in their dugout canoes to sell us fresh fish, coconuts, avocados, and embroidered "molas." Our days were spent lounging, snorkeling, visiting with the other cruisers, watching Rob massacre the fresh fish, and then barbecuing the remains for our evening feast. I finally learned the joy and secrets of the "do nothing in a beautiful location" vacation.
After a week in the San Blas we headed back to Panama so that I could catch my return flight. Rob, Jeff and I sat down for final drinks. We had been laughing our asses off most of the time, yet could not remember a single thing that were were laughing about. We decided that the trip had been one long location joke. So, I could tell you more, but it really would not make any sense.
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