Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ready to Set Sail

We leave tomorrow morning for the Galapagos Islands, but we’ll stop along the way to break up the 900 mile journey. In the meantime, I wanted to update everyone on our recent days in Panama City. Besides going to the 3D version of Avatar, we've been working a ton preparing Kamaya.

After Ethan and his family left, we had to deal with our leaky fuel tank which eliminated us from getting the carbon neutral award. Up until then we had been doing really well supporting our planet, by generating electricity with our solar panels, sailing instead of motoring and in fourteen months, we had consumed as much gasoline/ diesel as we had used in one month driving in Oregon. Everything was looking great until about 70 gallons of diesel spilled from our bilge into the ocean. We were horrified!

We determined that the bottom of our fuel tank had corroded because of its proximity to the bilge and salt water. Next we had to decide how to fix the stainless steel tank. Our boat is built around the huge fuel tanks so taking it out wasn't an option. We considered getting a plastic bladder, but the baffles in the tank could pop it. Fortunately, we found Ali, an experienced welder and fellow sailor, who was willing to help us fix our tanks while anchored out at la Playita in Panama. Ali managed to make the opening of the tank large enough so he could stick his arms down into the tank and weld a new bottom about two feet above the holy one. This wasn't an easy job, but he managed to do so without blowing us up. Thank you Ali!

see the small space - that's where he had to weld.

So after that was fixed and a few other projects completed on Kamaya, it was time to provision. Sometimes I wonder if we’re on a shopping trip around the world. Panama City though has everything we need and then some, so shopping – though painful – is fairly easy here with Price Smart, Riba Smith, Foodies, and even a Kosher Deli.

Shopping was also made much easier and even fun thanks to Teresa, a native Panamanian and cousin of Mara’s (my sister in law) step-mother. You know how we're all related all around the world with perhaps less than six degrees of separation.

Not only did Teresa take me all over, but assisted in turning me into a Latina Diva, with high heeled flip flops, a pedicure and a manicure, a haircut and fancy hydrating creams. Tim and our other sailing friends didn’t recognize me when we returned one evening from our “shopping excursion.”

But on Sunday we did have a scare when I was buying eight pounds of sushi rice and seaweed at the Asian store. Maya and Kai had been tussling on the boat and suffice it to say that after Kai shot a rubber band at Maya, the fighting escalated and Maya kicked Kai who somehow cracked open his head on the interior wooded rail. Teresa and I came rushing back to the Yacht Club and took Kai to the hospital. Having a local brought such piece of mind. Teresa called the emergency room at Punta Pacifica, a John's Hopkin's hospital, ahead of time and the doctor was there to give five stitches to the back of Kai’s head.

Since then, we had a family mediation to figure out how Maya and Kai could assure us that this would not happen again. They usually get along pretty well, but they certainly know how to push each other’s buttons and they love to play wrestle with each other. They came up with four different ideas including not teasing one another, not fighting if your intention is to hurt the other sibling, recognizing moods and pausing their game to either eat something, read a book or whatever else is needed. Hopefully, our passage will be smooth and uneventful in the sibling department.

Right now Kamaya is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of food. This morning we went to Abastos, the fantastic fruit market, and bought ten pineapples,

a stalk of bananas,

four cantalopes, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, limes and so much more. We won’t starve on this boat! I’ve also learned how to make yogurt thanks to our friends on Calypso. And did I mention that we also have our trusted sourdough starter? I guess we’re becoming true sea salts.

Parting shot: Our last bowl at the Mall!

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