E-Words and M-Words
Head ‘em Up and Move ‘em Out

Go West, Not-So-Young Man (And Woman)

IMG_0598It seems everyone wants to know about our plans for hurricane season. We certainly have been sitting here too long, and we are both anxious to move on, so … see that big ship?

Just kidding. Unlike many other boats leaving St. Thomas this year, we will be powered by our sails. In the meantime, we have watched over eight transport ships load boats destined for Europe or the US. It must be an amazing feeling to watch your “baby” and your home be hauled out of the water and strapped onto a ship.

We aren’t heading back to the states or Europe yet, and will instead sail to the Western Caribbean. We’d decided our destination when we changed our plans last year, opting to sail back to the Caribbean instead of heading to Brazil and Argentina. We still wanted to sail and explore new places and there are reasons the Western Caribbean appeals to us:

  1. Friends: Keith and Jaime from S/V Kookaburra are there and we would love to spend more time with them. They are waiting for us in the San Blas and we plan to cruise those islands together through hurricane season and venture to other cruising grounds after the season.
  2. It’s on “the list”. Please understand “the list” is rather fluid. (So fluid that it isn’t capitalized; it’s “the list”, not “The List”.) There are a lot of places we’d like to see, but neither of us wants to circumnavigate, so we’re looking at places on “the list” in or near our comfort zone: EW wants to visit pyramids in Mexico; we’d both love to help someone else traverse the Panama Canal again, and there are other things on “the list” in and near the Western Caribbean.
  3. More friends. Alice and Steve, Vicky and Bob, Gretchen and Michael, and Bill and JoAnne are all currently in the Western Caribbean – or their boats are and they’ll return after the season. We plan to be in touch via Facebook and sail to an anchorage near each of them at some point in time.

So are we ready?

Well, not yet. We’re waiting for one Sailrite order and for new credit cards which were sent to the old address. As soon as those cards arrive at our Green Cove Springs mail drop, we will have everything waiting there packed up and sent here.

In the meantime, we need to provision. The sail over to the San Blas should only take 8-10 days, and we’re going straight there, so it would be easy provisioning--- if things were available in those islands. Jaime’s message listed fewer than 20 products sold in the only store. At the end of the list, she said, “Notice there is no etc.” She did say they sell fresh fruits and vegetables delivered via small boats. We’ll purchase and stow enough provisions to last at least six weeks by which point Jaime and Keith will teach us, guide us, and show us the way to Panama City for the next round of provisioning.

In the meantime, we are picking up some things they need—items as diverse as fake ice tea and a new generator; stowing things we need; and getting stuff done online while we have the Choice program. Once I can figure out the technology, our cell phone will provide Wi-Fi while we’re in Panama.

Summer has arrived in St. Thomas. The days are hotter, there is less wind, and more humidity. We aren’t used to it, complain to each other daily, and remind each other, “It’ll be worse in Panama”. How’s that for positive thinking? We will be much closer to the equator. I plan to write in the morning, jump overboard for an exercise swim/snorkel, and then tackle boat projects in the afternoon. We’ll eat lighter meals, consisting of fresh fish caught by EW (no pressure there), and the fruits and veggies Jaime assures me are available weekly from the Guna (formerly known as the Kuna Indians).

EW has a bunch of boat projects of his own and has armed himself with various guitar instructional books and videos. By November we two and La Luna will be in better shape, more published, and more musically adept. (Well, EW will be more musically adept.)

(Jaime and Keith, if you are reading this, please be assured we will take time to sail to other islands and to explore with you. All work and no play make for exceedingly dull blog posts and articles.)

Now you know the plan. Remember it’s fluid, like the list.

For now, I have to complete the tasks which should have been finished weeks ago, and EW has to push me out of my hunkered down mode. For some reason, leaving any spot (except Georgetown in the Bahamas) is difficult for me. That first step is hard. Once we are off and on our way, I’m good.

NOTE: Did you catch “Guna” instead of “Kuna”? According to Jaime, there is no “K” in the Guna language so they changed the way their name appears other languages. When I went to check on that, I learned we won’t actually be in the San Blas, either. According to Wikipedia, we are going to visit Guna Yala:

Guna Yala, formerly known as San Blas, is an indigenous province in northeast Panama (Official Gazette of Panama). Guna Yala is home to the indigenous group known as the Gunas. Its capital is El Porvenir. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by the Darién Province and Embera-Wounaan, on the east by Colombia and on the west by the province of Colón.


The Guna Yala is in red on this map. My funky blue arrows show both ends of the Panama Canal.


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