The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Friday, July 06, 2018

Hallelujah we are finally at a place with working Internet. We are so advanced on online stuff, that the 1% of people who are doing what we are doing are forgotten we are a dying breed. The more advance Internet gets the worse it is for us. I have had AOL for over 20 years and was able to do it offline, I sent my emails out whenever I had Internet via Flash Session. Now forget it, I have to be online with AOL to just access my address book. If I want to read my emails I have received already they are not on my computer I have to be online, commmmmmoooooon I don't have that luxury. I call it either extorsin or being taken hostage, neither one I like. This my dear family, friends and readers is our dilemma and it gets me soooo frustrated I don't even want to look at my computer anymore, hence my blog updates are suffering and you don't receive emails from us. Other than that life is just wonderful!!!
My other frustration, for the last 2 months I have been trying to find a program to convert my videos so Windows Movie Maker can read them. I must have downloaded 20 programs in the last 2 months that do that, or that replace Windows Movie Maker, all free downloads to find out well the down load is free but then when you work an hour or two on a movie and want to safe it they safe it 1/3 then they ask you to buy the program to save the other 2/3 of the movie. Well I have no Internet can't buy it. Anyway, that leads me back to my blog:

Wow what an exciting Panama Canal Transit we had. But before I post that I will post the last few months in Shelter Bay while I work on the Transit Blog

Remember the chaps we had paid for but never was ordered, a big Hallelujah, we finally received them 6 months later!!!

Definitely never a dull moment in the marina and I definitely kept busy between running Karaoke and Manuela’s Wings Night on Tuesdays and every Saturday playing at Open Mike which was always exciting especially whenever new victims arrived and were talked into playing. Vicky’s nature walks are always fun and each time we see Capuchin and howler monkeys, the last walk I went we saw lots of Trogons which are big beautifully colored birds. I finally know which bird sings these beautiful songs every morning and evening, the Trogon. Sunday night is always the fun BBQ potluck. These are the 3 events we were always looking forward to. 

We also now and then we met for Happy Hour at the Restaurant. Unfortunately Juan the manager left us and the new manager was and is horrible has no clue how to the run the restaurant whatsoever, managed to run out of beer 3 times in 10 days. Then again and again. If it’s not beer he is out of wine and even rum!.

He stopped the Manuela wings, all cruisers were upset. The restaurant has been run so bad that we all boycotted the restaurant and moved the open mike to the palapa bring our own drinks and turns out we all liked it better there as it was breezy and the acoustics much, much better.

I notice my Don't worry Shit happens song never downloaded so here it is again:

There was a couple of exciting days in Colon as a peaceful demonstration turned very violent. The demonstrator had nothing to do with the chaos which was brought on by no other than the hoodlum gangbangers in Colon taking advantage to loot whatever they could, including burning buildings down, shooting guns into the air, burning tires on the road, it was not safe to get near the town.
Every other Wednesday the marina hires a bus that takes us to Panama City for a day of shopping. On this Wednesday the company canceled the bus, don’t blame them not wanting to take any chances. The road that goes to Shelter Bay is not directly going through Colon so it was possible to drive to Panama City. Although the public bus service was canceled as these buses have no choice but drive to the bus terminal into the riot stricken City of Colon.

and of course Looters

No we were not there to film it but all my friends who live there sent me the photos. It was not fun.

The Marina did organize another company to get us to Panama City. We didn’t realize it was another company but commented on the nicer seats. What usually happens is the bus lets us off at the Albrook Mall and stays in the parking lot all day so that we can return with our groceries and go shopping again. Carol and my routine is, since the mall is still closed, we take a taxi to the near Rey Grocery store, shop, return everything back to the bus then have fun at the mall. Well not that day. There was no bus at our return, I did have the driver’s number, he said he will be back in ½ hour. We tried to deposit our stuff at the 99 super market but they would not let us so I sent Carol shopping and I waited with all our groceries. To make a long story short I ended up sitting on the floor at 99 for 3 hours waiting for the frigging bus to return. It left me less than an hour to do my shopping thank you very much. At least Carol got all her shopping done. I was fuming but a bottle of cold bubbly on the way back made my day better.
 My business is going somewhere else from now on. It was an annoying trip and I missed out on my shopping.
The funny thing was they obviously did not want me waiting anywhere in the store so moved me from spot to spot, so when they tried to move me here I must have given them such a dirty look they stayed at least 10 feet away from me, but the 2 security guards kept a close eye on me. The third was very sympathetic to my situation
Had a lot of fun taking photos of the bus trip back

Dear Porter and Vicky always fall asleep on the bus. 

2 weeks after the riot another peaceful demonstration was underway which everybody feared Colon would break out again and the gangs told news stations they would loot every store that exists in Colon. Luckily that did not happen.

One day I was delivering a water hose to Carol as hers had just broken. As I walked by the volleyball net the marina teenagers were playing so I sat down for a moment watching. Bringing back fond memories of my teenage years, I loved to play volley ball. The kids invited me to play, told them no haven’t played in 40 years but then after watching a little longer I said why not after all they were one person short. OMG it was huge fun and it felt like I just played yesterday, I think I wore the kids out on my serves, they had a tough time. After about one and half hours of fun, as I returned the ball I felt a little click in my wrist and I knew I was done. It hurt for a little bit but then was OK but an hour later well I knew it was not good. I favored it for a week and did use a brace but after not getting better I did go into Panama City and had it X-rayed. 
I broke the end tip of the ulna but did not need a cast just a brace, good thing. It wasn’t very painful but couldn’t do much with that hand, so Sid got stuck with the dishes for a while (he absolutely hates to do dishes). The funny things was my girlfriends were teasing that poor Sid will get dish washing hands, I responded “no I don’t think so but every time he does dishes he has tears in his eyes, I think he puts too much soap in the water”. Poor Sid did dishes for over 6 weeks, actually he may have gotten to like it as he is still doing it LOL, thank you Sid, love you Sid. (those days a loooong gone now).

I was able to play the guitar the stroking was fine but the rotating my wrist no way. 7 weeks later the bone was healed and I started to do dishes again, well a few things that did not use a twisting motion. That open mike we had an incredible musician couple playing and we ended up dancing. Not naming my dance partner and no it was not Sid, grabbed me by the hand and twirled me around forgetting to let my hand go and twisted my wrist so badly, I had to go see the doctor again. TCFF tear which is an injury to the triangular fibrocartilage complex, found in the wrist, between the end of the ulna bone and the carpals. You can compare it with a meniscus injury of the knee, take 6 to 12 weeks to heal. So I went for over a week daily to therapy while getting ready for the Canal Transit. Just what I needed, but hey it was a fun evening, not as fun as playing volleyball.  "Don't worry shit happens"

The croc (maybe crocs) in the marina is getting braver and we can see him/her daily and is even posing for photos. Just the idea of jumping in the water to clean bottom or prop, eeeeeek. Didn’t bother Sid and no one has seen the croc while under their boats.

Photos complimentary by Joanne on SV Tika. Thank you Joanne

Easter party with Easter hat contest, several BD celebration and Goodbye party:
Manuela's Hat

Sid's hat

This is the time to head across the Pacific and so one buddy boat after another left the marina to transit across to the Pacific. Sid did a lot of line handling. He loves to do that and he enjoyed each one of them. Although in 3 transits 2 had some issues but I will get into this with the issues we had on our transit.

It was sad to see everybody go and the marina turning quiet. We were pretty much the last of our great group, all long term in the marina, to leave. Will miss this place but looking forward to new adventures.

Sid was very busy getting the boat ready for the transit, maintenance, repairs, doing dishes etc. Thank you Sid and so sorry I could not help.

That’s it for now, I found a program finally so let me work on our Transit films. I promise it will be soon.
Hugs and kisses to you all

More Photos:
Our neighbor's dog making sure his owner gets exersuce

Had a wonderful visit from Pamela Jean, (middle). Last time we've have seen her was in Cartagena. Dave an Terry on Silvester

Something ate Sid up he woke up with this, fortunately it disappeared  1 hour later

Glad Sid is such a good mechanic, he checked the steering cable and found this. 

Don't think we would have made it far

This beautiful boat showed up in the marina, we both recognized it from one of the Magazine

Asgrade, designed and built by no other than who designed our Paradise for Ericson, the legendary Bruce King 

Love this boar

My beautiful orchids "ladies of the night"

getting my implant, no more Redneck Manuela

somehow Sid loves my purse, hmmmm?!!! Oh never mind it pays his bar bill. Don't know if he r
realizing he wearing to caps LOL

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Our Transit from from Pacific side to Atlantic side in 2000

Dear Family and Friends
Crazy, crazy, crazy time here……. It’s been a hectic time with all kind of boat projects and replacement of all batteries including Manuela breaking her wrist and on and on and on. Definitely never a dull moment in and on Paradise. Good news is we are finally transiting the canal this Friday May 11th and as soon as we are settled in on the Pacific side I will catch you up on our last 2 months in the Shelter Bay Marina.

The transit takes two days. We will leave the marina in the afternoon to the flats which is the staging area for the adviser to board our boat and lead us through the canal. Depending on traffic we will head up the canal any time around 3pm and 5pm (Panama Time) and will settle in for the night on one of the canal moorings at Lake Gatun anywhere from 5pm to 10pm, one never knows.
Early around 6 am on Saturday 12th of May another adviser will board again and advise us through the rest of the canal. The canal is 80 kilometers or 50 miles long.

Anywhere from 1pm on to 5 pm you will be able to see us at the Miraflores web cam heading down the second last lock. We hope our adviser will contact the web cam guy so he can zoom in.

If you have time and want to take still shots as we go down we would appreciate it very much.

Link to webcam:

Since our transit in 2000 Sid has done 15 transits total, myself 8, helping other cruisers to get through. No matter how many times we do it, it’s still as exciting as our first one and each transit is different adventure and we don’t get tired of it. Hey after all it’s a part of History!

Our friends Kelly and Darren on Mischief and Juanjo (Shelter Bay Marina manager) and his son will be our line handlers. Can’t wait to share this historic moment with them.

If you are interested in following us through the canal, I will keep everybody posted via FB (Manuela Olshefski) or whatsapp (+507 6559 8198). If on Whatsapp send me a text, with your name so I know who it is, and I will add you to the chat.

Hugs and kisses
Sid and Manuela

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Guess it’s a little late to wish you all a Happy New Year, but here it is anyway Happy New Year.
On December 12th we hauled out. Still being rainy season it seemed like we got the full brunt of it. Not 50 feet away from our slip and dock a squall pelted us with heavy rain and wind, we both got soaked. We looked like wet rats when 2 minutes later we arrived at the lift. I did pack some cloths to change into, which was a good thing as the wind didn’t give up. You’d think a little rain in a tropical place will not give you chills, well we changed our minds. It WAS freezing.

Haulouts are never fun, especially when you find out you have to pay 75 cents per foot to work on your own boat, which comes to $30 per day for our 36 foot Paradise which they charge 40 feet due to the davits sticking out. They then add a $15 per day charge on if you live on the boat, but don’t get anything for it, except to live in the dusty yard peeing in a bucket at night and having to fight over power and water hookup. Sounds like fun hah?!!!
If you have Shelter Bay Marina worker working on the boat you have to watch them like hawks including the bill as many things are added that were never used like overalls and masks.
The lift cost is for our size boat $500 then a mandatory $180 for pressure wash and when you are done painting the hull you have to move the pads the boat is resting on they charge an extra $5 per pad to have it moved so you can paint those parts. You’d think that is part of the paint job??!!! We had 9 of those stands. Now add the $45 per day to the bill for working and sleeping on your boat. $45 per day in the yard versus $16.00 per day in the slip.

Our dear friends Bob and Debbie offered us to stay on their boat that is vacant, knowing what a pain in the butt it is to live on the boat in the hard. Can’t just run water in the galley or doing dishes, which has to be hauled down the ladder and when washed back up, can’t use the toilette either that’s a bucket in the cockpit deal at night and in the morning you try to schlep that bucket very early in the morning to the marina bathrooms hoping nobody sees you walk your pee bucket. We gladly accepted their offer and saved the 15 bucks per day live aboard fee.

While Sid worked on the cutlass bearing and adjusting the prop I sanded the bottom, which is hard work. I was outfitted with a paper overall and a mask for the toxic dust from the bottom paint. Funny the second morning I put my overall on but since it was so hot the following day I was only wearing my bra and underwear. After a couple hours of sanding I did a bathroom run, then went to Laura at the laundry to say hi while one of the waitresses walked behind me and giggling told me my whole butt was exposed. Sure enough there was a rip in that darn suit. I looked pretty funny on my long walk back to the boat trying to hold that rip together and on came the cloths again and a new overall.


Sid painted the boat and we were done with the haul out in 5 days, wow a record time for us. 

On the 18th we got splashed and as Sid put the engine in reverse the whole boat shook like crazy and there was this god-awful hammering noise. As we turned around Sid put it in forward but same god-awful hammering noise plus the boat was barely moving, what the heck. We turned around and drove right back to the lift, from there we were pulled around the corner to the yard slip. Sid checked everything even the prop but could not find anything. Thought maybe it was the shaft that needs to be aligned so for another 50 bucks we were towed into our slip. Yes they charge for towing too. And go figure in high winds when boats have a hard time getting into the slips they have no dingy to stand by and aid the boat into the slip. Many boats here in the marina get hit by a neighbor boat trying to come in. Not sure if this is a record but 4 in just 1 day getting hit, I would think it is. If you think that boating is romantic, it’s far from it, but you just have to have a sense of humor.

Xmas was coming up and a Xmas boat decoration contest was announce while we were still in the yard. We had this idea to make a giant Xmas tree with beer cans, so every morning just as the sun came up I went dumpster diving in the recycle bin. I went early before I had to fight the bees and sticky flies but also didn’t want to be seen by anyone = “Manuela the dumpster diver”.

Of course they had to be washed out so not to attract the bees, and by the time we left the yard I had well over 300 cans collected that were now cluttering our deck.
But the end result was incredible, Sid tied the cans together in the shape of a Xmas tree, it looked great. Of course made some noise in the high winds we still had and now and then a can’s tab broke and clank another one hit the cockpit or dodger or anybody sitting in the cockpit.

The Xmas caroling was a big success, every dock had a table set up with drinks and food provided from the cruisers on that dock. We were easily 60 people, young and old, going from dock to dock caroling and enjoying the wonderful appetizers and wine, beer, dangerous shots and hot toddies.
Our boat got a lot of attention with the shiny beer cans glimmering with the many lights and on the dock poor frosty who didn’t listen when I told him not to come visit us in Panama.
Every decorated boat made such an effort there was no winner, we all were winners.

Here is a ling to JoAnne on Ultra's Xmas video:


Our Food table

Unhappy Frosty but no worries we sent him back with all the drops of water.

Carol on Dutch Dream made hundreds of Xmas cookies for the decorated boat. The prettiest cookies I have ever seen. It was a great evening and the Xmas spirit got everybody together.

The restaurant organized a potluck at the restaurant on the 24th. Restaurant was cooking the turkey and stuffing with gravy and everybody had to bring a side dish. Cost $24 per couple.
For me the 24th is when we celebrate Xmas in Switzerland, it has always been family time for me. I invited Debbie and Bob as a thank you for letting us stay on their boat and Diane and Richard of Sila and made a traditional Swiss Xmas feast. It was a beautiful evening sitting under lit up and decorated Paradise.

New Year’s Eve we decided to have an elegant dinner at the restaurant. Their New Year’s Eve special was fantastic. I was amazed though that we were the only ones enjoying a wonderful dinner as nobody else was in the restaurant. My glass of bubbly was several times refilled. The steak melted in the mouth like butter and the rosemary gravy was to die for, oh and the dessert, yummy.
About half of the cruisers gathered at the palapa for a potluck and the others half had private parties on their boats. Dinner was amazing but I have to say the rest of the evening was boring, seemed like everybody was just sitting around waiting for midnight. And I can’t believe I forgot to put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge.

New Year’s Eve Swiss tradition is a nice Fondue Bourginonne dinner then TV entertainment and at 9pm wonderful snacks. At 23:45 we open the balcony door and step out into the freezing cold and listen to all the church bell chime in unison. Then waiting for all to do the 12 gongs at midnight and you hear from balcony to balcony champagne corks popping. By the way it’s cold enough to keep all the champagne or beer bottles including left over food on balcony. I miss that so I invited 3 couples on the first for a New Year’s dinner celebration.

Gagi was funny, her and hubby Rudy went for Margaritas to Bill and Joanne on Tika. (We know how potent Bill’s Maggies are as we were invited a few days prior, I had two small glasses and wow, I could feel it.  Gagi had three by the time she arrived at our dinner. I made us all Silver Fizzes, she loved it and had 2 after that we 4 girls drank 3 bottles of champagne and Gagi switched to red wine. The following day she swore that she never ever, ever will ever have another glass of any alcohol LOL.
Dinner was wonderful all enjoyed the Fondue as nobody ever had one before.
Carole topped dinner off with a wonderful blueberry cheesecake, yum.

 By now rainy season should be over with but not this year, we still got pelted with heavy squalls and a boat was hit by lightning just as soon as they had left Linton Bay for Shelter Bay. This is the wrong time of the year for that, that’s for sure. Streets were flooded, Colon was under water. The marina was cut off for a day. One night around 2 am I felt a strong puff of wind then the boat healing, I peeked out the hatch but it didn’t look bad so went back to bed, until Sid woke me at 5:30 am and said, you need to go for a walk. So I walked down the dock, the boardwalk was under water and water was running into the marina like a waterfall. The grassy area around the palapa was under water, you could not see the street or the curb all under water and the road looked like a river. But worst was the awning in front of the restaurant terrace was ripped out of the wall and was destroyed. The wind I felt was a microburst that spared our dock but caused damage to the other docks and the hotel. Carol said their boat shook so much she thought it would fall over. Microburst don’t last long only a few seconds but have hurricane force winds. There were several boat that lost their solar panels plus anything that was not tied down took off. One guy saw a big palm leaf fly hundreds of feet over the boat yard then over the boats on C dock and landed on the second last boat on that dock. Other boats had leaves and greenery on their boats. The hotel building also has extensive damage to the roof. 3 months later the shingles are still dangerously dangling on the roof and could at any time fall down and yes kill someone. You’d think the marina would have done some repairs. Air-conditioners toppled over but it took about 2 weeks for them to finally fix that.


That was far from the end of rainy season. Colon was under water again so was the coast up to Puerto Lindo and the southern coast here. End of January the rain finally left but now we had heavy winds and gales as cold fronts came down. The high waves broke over the breakwater of Cristobal an incredible sight.

Our planned January transit didn’t happen we still had the motor issue and Sid just could not figure out what the problem was. My almost 2 year old root canal tooth I could still feel and no matter what the dentist did I could still feel it. Decision was made tooth needed to come out, and replaced with an implant. When the doctor pulled it out a small abscess was on the roots end, the culprit of the problem. I now have a titanium screw in place and have to wait 3 months for the healing then the replacement tooth. So for now I look like a redneck with a tooth missing. Ida picked me up after the procedure and took me to town. ­­­­­­We had a blast for 2 days, where I probably should have been resting my tooth, hmmm Ida is a dentist and knows best. She did take me to the Soho Mall for a movie. OMG that movie theater is the bomb. Leather recliners a little table lamp a button to push for service and a waitress or waiter takes an order then delivers it and not just cheap cinema food, gourmet stuff, including the caramelized popcorn. 
Ida and her friend Manuel

Soho Malls beautiful Xmas deco

wonderful Italian dinner

The following weekend the two of us hit town again this time for the Carlos Vives concert, we could not miss that. Before we went to town she had her old school friends and husbands come to her house for a fun day. One lady owns a Spanish restaurant in Colon and at lunch time had a huge paella delivered to the house. OMG best paella ever. It was a lot of fun.

Ida's new palapa

 We left late for the concert but arrived to the last 2 performers before Carlos. Having only once been at an open air concert in Switzerland years ago, I had a real treat coming. This was an incredible concert and Carlos Vives 54full of energy had the crowed going. Looove his songs too. Ida and I were like Teenagers, well Recycled Teenagers if that counts.
A couple days later I had the worst sinus infection and since it could interfere with the implant I had to see the dentist, he scolded me that I need to rest and not talk and prescribed antibiotics. Ida told me giggling later he said I was too active, little did he know that she was the instigator.


Going to the concert was worth missing my open mike night at the marina. Every Saturday night we have open mike where anybody with a musical talent, telling jokes, poem or any other talent is welcome to join in. Some Saturday’s it was just Collin and myself, others with Steph and Stu, Bill on Tika drummer is back as well. Frank the dock master of course always plays his bass guitar I think he lives for the Saturdays, actually so do I, huge fun. And other times we have several players and we jam until 1 or 2 am.
I will sure miss this fun evening. When we arrived here I had maybe 8 songs, but it was such a challenge to deliver a new song each week I have quite a repertoire now. Sid absolutely loves it and bought me an amp and I also acquired a mike and mike stand, you should see the stuff I cart up to the restaurant every Saturday. I think we need a trailer for the boat soon. 

For 3 weeks every time I was taking the bus into town I saw that cute little dog walking on the lonely jungle road, each time he was a bit closer to the marina and at the third week, I saw him in the marina. I tried to have him come up to me, but he was very shy and scared. The second day same thing, then I went for the concert. As I returned 4 days later, here was the same dog running towards me and jumping up and down wanting to get pet, wow. I loved it. In the meantime he has gotten so much food and love from everybody in the marina and one of the cruisers even organized to get him fixed and the doctor gave him all the shots needed and a passport to travel, all he needed now was a home.

All the girls in our Diva group love dogs and on several occasions one or the other has taken a stray dog in, so I posted Lucky (the name everybody chose for him as he was lucky to find us) on our whatsapp chat. Melania lost her dog a little over a year ago so thought hmmm maybe they are ready for a dog again so she got that text twice with the Divas and a personal chat. She called me 5 minutes later saying what a coincidence her and Jim had just said to each other that they were ready for a dog and when they looked at the photo Jim said he looked like the dog they had lost so they took him. Lucky found himself a wonderful home. It actually was very cute when we put him in the car. Melania sat with him in the back seat, he snuggled right up to her put his head on her lap and his paw in her hand and stayed like this for the entire 2 hour trip. They did stop at the pet store and Melania said he was just looking through the window watching them never barked or tried to get out. He knew he was going home. He gets along very well with Blacky the 14 old almost blind dog, he even likes cats but their cat does not want anything to do with Lucky.
Begin of February the ARC (Around the World Rally 18 months) arrived, Juan at the restaurant asked me if I would do Karaoke for them and in return I was invited at the parties. I looooove Karaoke and so did all the ARC people it was a huge success. I had 3 mikes set up and at one time 20 people were singing into them at the same time.
One mega yacht also joining had so much fun that a months later when the crew returned to the boat the chief engineer asked me if I would do another karaoke for them. Another fun evening was had by everyone.
Best that came from this, at a potluck the crew showed up and the chef asked question where to buy this or that, I had an answer for everything so he asked if I would like to go shopping with him and show all my gourmet stores. 2 days later a big van picked us up and took us to Panama City. Let me tell you this was my best shopping day ever. He had so much fun and bought so much stuff and said he never thought he would be able to find all he needed here. He was ecstatic when he found not just green curry in big containers but all the other curries as well. It was a successful shopping trip. Of course we talked recipes the whole entire way.

Cold cuts that would last a year on Paradise

At casa de Jamon all three coolers FULL

5 shopping carts full of stuff at Riba Smith

All the boys getting everything to the van

Price Smart

Glad we had a Van. He is sooooo happy

Two days afterward he asked me if it was too early for me to come to their boat before 9 am. No not at all I said ,he said OK be there at 8 sharp. The chief engineer invited Sid. So there we were at 8 am getting, Sid and engine tour, and I got the royal galley/kitchen and crew quarters tour, wow, makes you want to crew on one of those luxurious mega yachts.

The Yacht has since departed and is on their way to Galapagos, Marquesas, Tahiti, Vancouver, Alaska then back through the Canal to the Caribbean and on and on.

Sid is getting very popular for transits. He has done 13 Panama Canal transit as line handler and loves it. I have a feeling there will be a few more until we go through. In between he repairs odds and end on Paradise which is an endless story.

We still had the motor to worry with and after all this time fiddling with it, changing the donut and working on this and that, Sid was sure it was the prop. He had changed the pitch but now figure out the pitch it is in now we would need a 54 hp boat. February 17th we got hauled out for 1 ½ hours and Sid with Greg’s assistance put the pitch back to what it was, while we were in the sling.
While Paradise was lowered into the water we watched one of the yard guys throwing his fishing net in the water from the haulout dock and a juvenile cormorant was following his every foot step then eating whatever he caught for him. I couldn’t believe it. Hope I can download the video for you.

It was a tense moment when we were back in the water and Sid turned the engine on, put it in gear and oh wow, engine ran smoother than ever. We took a spin in the Cristobal harbor and all OK now, yeah.

our buddy Greg

Right after that Rogelio organized the addmeasure as the waiting list to transit was at this time a 2 weeks wait. The addmeasure guy came 2 days later and a few days after that we received our date March 14th, they are up to one month now on waiting list. Time to do last minutes project, like restitching the sails and hoisted them back up, cleanup and other odds and ends.
We already had line handle set up and decided to order a new battery charger as this one was getting winky. The new charger arrived and Sid hooked it up and oh no, the batteries would fill but they would not hold the charge, so Sid looked at the batteries and a big ouch 3 out of the 4 batteries on this bank were bulging. So 5 days before our transit we had to cancel and are now waiting for new batteries being shipped as they are not sold here and will arrive on April 4th so once again we are stuck. Kinda funny as we remember trying to leave Colon the first time we were here in 2000, it took 3 attempts and seemed like everybody else had the same problem. We came up with Colon is definitely the colon of Panama. In order to leave colon you need an enema. Colon is like Hotel California can check in but not out.

The camaraderie of the cruisers makes this one of the best marinas but the BS of how the marina is run, you don’t find it too hard to leave. Been here way to long.

It’s been all of 6 months now since we last checked into the Shelter Bay Marina and the depressing news about batteries was soon forgotten as I really do enjoy the open mike gathering in the marina. Frank had asked me for over a year ago to play Pata Pata, so I did learn that song Including the clicking sound this African language uses. You tube is amazing, tutorial this or that and I found a tutorial on the African language and managed to learn the click that was needed for this song. It’s a very catchy song and now everybody is singing along. The other song Frank wanted me to play is “Don’t worry be Happy” well, I really can’t stand this song, so told him no. He insisted that people will sing along. Well after some of the mishaps that happened while we were here I told him I would, but I surprised him with changed lyrics. Change it to:
“Don’t worry, shit happens!”

Don’t worry shit happens you can hear at least once a day someone sing it on any dock, it’s turned into a very catchy song, and shit does happen not just on our boat LOL. Oh and yes the batteries have been added to it.

We met the new owners of Mischief. Kelly, Darren and Mizzen the cutest dog, but very, very skittish. Nobody can pet her. Kelly and Darren needed to go into town and needed a doggie sitter, which I love to do. They left, I opened the hatch to get Mizzen out for a walk, but instead she zipped through my legs and off the boat and by the time I hit the dock running after her she was loooong gone. Just good the two were still here and met me half way. I walked her at least 5 times that day but never took the leash off her. After every walk I would sit with her and oh what a cuddle bug she is. I now can’t walk by her boat without her scrambling on deck jumping off the dock to be pet. And don’t dare to walk by her boat without saying hi to her she will run after me and nip me in the leg looking up at me like “What the heck were you thinking!!” We still miss Crystal and Tika but we do get our pet fix in. Some day…..

Just waiting for the batteries, while we get a few projects out of the way. As soon as we have power again we will get another transit date and Paradise will start new adventures.
So until then I probably should wish you all Happy Easter already plus Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms.

PS: still don’t have the dinghy chaps, begin of January I was told it takes 6 to 8 weeks to order them, I looked at the boss and said so why did you not order them when I told you so in September I would have them by now! They say soon but I don’t hold my breath.

My friend Debbie's BD

Redneck Bill and Manuela

amazing how fast the new Canal bridge is being built

Dinner at Ida's

Sabine from boat that was hit by lightning in January

At Ida's with Ultra

our bus trips to PC
My buddy Carol, Gregt's wife