Sunday, April 2, 2017

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Las Perlas, Panama

A visit to the Las Perlas Islands of Panama

Contadora Island
Isla Pedro Gonzalez
Isla San Jose

The Las Perlas Islands are to the west of Panama, the first being only 40 nm away and a great way to start the trip across the Pacific Ocean.  White sandy beaches, quiet moments, beautiful wildlife, and coconuts!  

My new grocery store.  :-)

Road kill....and a pretty slow frog as the only vehicles were golf carts.

The local school.

Sunset in Isla Gonzales.

The green cliffs of Las Perlas.

Sunset at sea.

Our nightly visitors eating the calamari that the boat surfed up.  

On the way to the Galapagos. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Panama - 

Panama is an amazing country filled with more rainforest than I anticipated.  Shelter Bay marina was surrounded by deep forests full of wildlife including birds, 3 toed sloths and monkeys.  the colors and animal noises were amazing to see and hear. As the US built the Canal in 1913-1914 and did not turn it over to the Pananian government until Dec 31, 1999, there is a lot of american influence.  In Panama city there are three large malls with all the american brands as well as Subway, Wendy's, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Carvel, Dairy Queen and everything else.  The only shortage was a good chandlery for ship parts.  :-(

Joe in the rain forest

Carnival Party...guess which one is us.  ;-)

Public Bus

Old Panama train from the Caribbean to the Pacific side

Panama City:  looks like Miami

Old town Panama City

New architecture

Old Church

Thanks Panama for helping us cross from East to West.  :-)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Panama Canal

Panama Canal:  The crossing between the Atlantic and the Caribbean to the Pacific

We were able to cross in the canal on March 14-15 and spent one night in Gatun Lake where we were rafted together for the night.  A fresh water lake, it would have been nice to go for a swim.  However, due to the crocodile population, we were not allowed.  The Oyster fleet crossed in nests of three.  We were the middle boat with Vela on the port and SunsuSea on the starboard. A good crossing through all three locks.  :-)  It was a tiring two days but better than going south around the cape.  ;-)

We are in the first nest in the middle;  Miraflores Locks.

Gatun Lake

Friday, March 3, 2017


Cuba - an island that for so long was so close to our shores, but forbidden to visit.  

Joe and I decided to fly to Havana, Cuba and visit while Boysterous was up on land getting a new coat of anti-fouling on her hull so that we could visit the Galapagos without carrying any microbes.  We also did not think that it would be possible to go their with an american flagged vessel.  Boy were we wrong...they had just finished the St. Petersburg, Florida to Havana sailing race and the marina had many american flagged vessels.  There are also over 14 flights a day from the US to Cuba and people from all ages are visiting the island.  Joe and I wanted to visit Cuba before it changed to much and we were glad that we took the time to visit now.  It is still stuck in the 1950's in many ways.

Most of the cars in Havana were the 1950 American classics although I have to admit, my brother, Bob, who likes to restore old cars, would be alarmed at what is under the hood.  The car looks like a 1950 classic, but many of them run on diesel engines which are anything but!  With no seat belts and doors and windows that do not always work, they would not meet current safety standards in the USA as well.  ;-)  They were fun to photograph and ride in though.

The most amazing part of Cuba is the music.  There was music everywhere in every restaurant and on every corner.  The Cubans take pride in their possessions and maintain their properties well sometimes just applying another coat of paint to make it look clean.  They are very self sufficient and grow and harvest most of their food.  We even drove through rice paddies.  In the countryside, horse and oxen are still used for most of the work on the farm and for transportation.  Driving to the Vignoles area of Cuba (tobacco plantations) we were surprised by the number of cattle ranches.  

We also spent a day at Ernest Hemmingway's home and a day at the Museum of the Revolution in Havana.  Hemingway's house was amazing and kept just like he was there.  He was a hunter as well as an author and many of the rooms had mounted animal heads which was a little distressing.  Joe just finished reading "The Old Man and the Sea" so the visit was very timely.  

The Museum of the Revolution was informative as it spoke about Fidel Castro and the events of the 1950's and 60's from the Cuban perspective.  One of the reasons why I enjoy teaching history is that history is always written from the perspective of the author.  The truth always lies somewhere in-between.  It was full of propaganda and many american tourists had difficulty with the information portrayed.

View from the hotel

Music Everywhere

Firing of the cannon at 9 pm every night

Old military defense equipment...reminds me of the middle ages.  :-)

Hemingway's home

His typerwriter

His fishing boat

At his famous bar

The Cathedral

Old Pharmacy

A Lada

Our ride to the Vignoles area



Transport in the countryside

The grotto

Prehistoric painting.  ;-)

Museum of the Republic

a night at the Tropicana

Hotel National

Thank you Cuba for a wonderful trip back in time.