Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All Our Friends

To All our Friends

We send along our Very Best Wishes to all of you for a Wonderful Christmas Season remembering the Greatest Gift of all was His life for Ours.

 May your New Year be filled with the Joy & Happiness that comes from knowing the Maker of the Wind and the Waves.

From Papa Bear 'Gary', Mama Bear 'Kaija' & Baby Bear 'Doc'

Please view our special Christmas Greeting by clicking on the link below or copy and paste the address below into your Web browser's address line:

Seasons Greetings and Merry Christmas 2009 from the Crew of KaijaSong

| View Show | No comments: Links to this post

El Cid Marina, Puerto Morelos, Mexico N20.49 W086.53 Dec 15 – 23 2009

This is a fine Marina located adjacent to the El Cid Resort here in Puerto Morelos. We visited here on our first trip south, just after they opened and decided it was a good place to sit and wait for our weather to go to Cuba. The angle of sail from here is slightly better than from Isla Mujeres it offers convenient amenities like laundry and power to help get things done. There is an ATM in the Hotel complex (US$) or you can take the 30 minute walk into Puerto Morelos. They now also offer mooring buoys (6). While it is close enough to Cancun for a quick daytrip, the town offers a completely different laid back feeling of an old Mexican village…which is exactly what it is. The staff at the Marina were very helpful, Doc enjoyed the long walks by the beach, and it was a great stop along the way. The rates here in the off season (June – Dec) are negotiable.

More details can be obtained from Armando – dock master at or

Puerto Aventuras – N 20.29 W087.13 – Dec 11 – 14 2009

This is a great stop while traveling either way – to or from Belize.  The Marina sits in the middle of a large upscale residential complex.  There are stores a plenty, restaurants galore.  This is also home to a very successful dolphin breeding program.  They also have manatees and for a small fee, you too can feed them.  The marina is side tie or med tie and a very reasonable rate of $20 per day for sailboats.  You can contact the very helpful office manager “Gabby” in the office at

 One of the residents and restaurateurs we met was Gringo Dave.  He’s a real personality and runs a nice restaurant along the promenade.  Aside from his many business partners he enjoys the company of his two dogs, Yoda and Scruffy.

Our neighbours on the dock were Lani and Mads of m/v Dauntless.  We enjoyed spending time with them, had a lot ‘o  laughs and ate some good food.  The area surrounding the Marina offers a plethora of dining opportunities.  Besides owning their beautiful 80’ Lazarra Motor Yacht they also own our Sister ship – Corsair, and we thought we had enough to do owning one boat.  They spoiled Doc and made our stay in Puerto Adventuras a fun filled memory.  What fun we have meeting so many interesting people…It’s All Good!

Nov - Dec 13, 2009 - Utila to Lighthouse to Adventura to ?? N20.29 – W087.13 IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…


I’ve always wanted to use that line…ok, read on…

Here's an excerpt from our latest adventures in the past month..

We were waiting for the immigration officer to arrive in Utila for our check-out and a weather window to leave for the first leg of our trip to Cuba, Lighthouse Reef, Belize.

..We had waited for the right conditions...they were good... winds 15 - 20 SE, swell 5 ft on the starboard quarter...we departed Utila on a beautiful warm day at 3pm with lots of time to head SW around the Cays before turning NW for the 78 mile leg to Lighthouse course 334, anticipated arrival 6 am.

...Kaija's’s 12:02 am,it's a beautiful star lit nite... reef in the main, reef in the headsail, doin 6 1/2 ... PERFECT...i'm down below, asleep...I am awakened by that shrill screaming of my name sending a wave of terror over me as I catapulted into the cockpit...hit by 42 kt squall and 80 degree wind shear up the butt and back in less than a minute.....bout took the rig down...totally out of control double suicide jibe...blew out traveler car, mainsheet...and vang so I had no control of the sail..I tried to start the engine to gain control - the solenoid froze up..sucked out all the power on the boat (did not know it was Solenoid at the time)...lost all power...lights, instruments... ...lost “Otto” (autopilot) dark I couldn't see the sails...flying blind holding the wheel ….that was in the first 60 seconds....the next hour was one hour from the dark side!

We are fine, the boat and rig took a tremendous beating and came out ticking...I’m convinced we could have lost the rig and would have if the boom had made contact with the stays...lucky for us, our beautiful stainless steel boomvang made contact with the corner of the granny rails at the mast and thwarted an almost sure disaster.

We've had a good rest and still loving the life...tho not so sure why in those wee moments of horror... and alas, altho my bones ache, nobody got hurt...the traveler car can be replaced...the vang...has a dogleg bend in it at least 1 1/2 inches, made by Mark Garhauer STILL WORKS......incredible!!!

I checked the rig, and amazingly strong, only needed to pop out a few rivets on the stack pack and a couple off the mainsheet blocks on the boom...but an easy fix today as the wind continues to blow 15-20 SE...perfect to take us north...

They say all's well that ends well and what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger...well, we are well and after the repairs we are stronger. It was the 1% sheer terror that accompanies the 99% sheer boredom...that is if you don't count all the 'fix it' time on the boat......cause it's always something!

Life on the boat is always affording an adventure like the one we shared on US Thankgiving in the company of two other vessels, a turkey with all the trimmings and more deserts than should be allowed at one time. It was another Dark and Stormy night…and with a break in the weather we took off for the turkey and promptly ran out of gas. We were .sittin out a Norther.. it had been blowin like stink all day...white water sideways... along with s/v Knotts Gypsy crew Dave and Nora...English and Scots...funny...anyway...during a wee break in the downpour, we make a run for it...pick them up and head to third boat South of Reality, Byron and Denise, who have the turkey...half way there, the engine quit and the squall returned....the four of us ended up on a deserted small island (Diamond Cay) a private island (for sale 1.3) standing in the water up to our knees, soaked with downpour...doing jumping jacks in a squall trying to signal our friends with the turkey to come save took a while, but what a lot of laughs and fun was had by all…We surely gave Thanks for so many things but especially the good friends we’ve met along the way.

Man o man...what a life!

Meanwhile, after departing Lighthouse Reef we had one of the best sails in our five years afloat. The breeze was fresh at 15 – 20 knots out of the Southeast with a slightly following sea. We left after a hearty breakfast at 10 am in good light to see our way thru the reef, and after the first 70 miles we were on the west side of Chincharro Bank when the current kicked in. For the next 30 miles we got a push of a knot, then it picked up to 2 and we were doing a very comfortable 8 – 9 knots over the bottom…all thru a starlit nite (with sails reefed and a preventer in place) we covered the 200 miles to Puerto Adventura in 27 hrs.

We have had three fun days eating out and watching the dolphins play and shopping in this mega complex of beautiful condos and yachts here in the harbour basin. We are now tucked safely Puerto Adventura, what a place...

We depart here tomorrow and continue our journey to Cuba and all them lobster waiting to come home for dinner :o)

We have been given the chance to live our dream and we are, Life is good, and we give thanks each day to our God in Heaven for his wonderful grace and mercy.

We send along our very Best Wishes to all of you for a Wonderful Christmas Season remembering the greatest gift of all was the gift of His life for ours. May you have a New Year filled with much joy and happiness.

Kaija & Denise’s Great Copan Escape Nov 20 – Nov25 Copan, Honduras.

This was a girl’s trip away from the boys and boat chores for a few days of girly fun in the sun exploring a visit to the past of Mayan Culture.

Kaija and Denise (of S/v South of Reality) provisioned up for the boys and headed off on their Great Copan Escape.

The trip started early in the morning from Utila via the local little ferry to La Ceiba
Then we were boarded on the luxury Hedman Alas Bus Line – you can purchase first class seats for $5 more – one way trip was $30. They give you large seats, food and beverages.

This was a girl’s trip away from the boat and boat ‘duties’ for a few days of girl stuff and Denise and I had looked forward to this getaway adventure and were in heaven for this trip. We saw groves of palm trees, for palm oil, orchards of oranges, fields of peppers, and all were being picked manually and then carted off by ox powered wagons.

The town of Copan Ruinas is small and beautiful, the people generous.
During the end of corn season, end of November, the children of a small village near Copan sell dolls made of the corn husk. The colours are all natural and hand died.
All the money goes back to the one village to help their local economy. The dolls were about $1 to $2 each and the children smiled a lot.
One side trip took us to the Hot Springs about 2 hours from Copan. The scenery was beautiful and the water was hot. One of the pools even had natural mud to give yourself a facial. The Hot springs were an all day visit to enjoy the water, as well as some of the Mayan replicas put into place.

For further information on the bus line go to or info

Twisted Tanya’s

If you are looking for a great place to stay – this is it.
2 blocks for the City Square, in the heart of everything
She has a restaurant on the second floor, great and reasonable food, and offers a tour guide service -  par none.  One stop shopping here.

We stayed in a room just off the courtyard and had our own Keys to get in and out of the complex.  There is TV, movies, shower (hot), one double bed, and warm hospitality.  You may be visited by her two wonderful dogs, San Deigo and Lolla.
For further info, go to, or phone at 504-651-4182

Bird Sanctuary

Here you will find a great many tropical birds that have been rescued, donated or bred in captivity.  It is a wonderful program and they are looking for mates for the GREEN Macaws that they have.  I had never even heard of Green Macaws – but they are gorgeous.  The funds come from people visiting, buying souvenirs, and also they grow the coffee beans for Miramundo coffee here.  It is picked, roasted and packaged on site.
Juan was our tour guide and a wealth of knowledge.

More information is available at

Transportation in Copan

We did our in town travel with Gustav, our Tut-Tut driver (Tut- Tut 04). He was always there when he said he would be and was even willing to drive us all the way back to San Pedro Sula. That would have made milk shakes of us or if you remember that old commercial with the lady on the treadmill with the belt around her to shake things loose, that is how it was. The roads were original cobble stone and no stop signs. One stop that we made was to Hacienda San Lucas. We had met the owners’ son and daughter-in-law and their son Yax the day before at the Hot Springs. This is a unique bed and breakfast with a great view of the entire valley. You can get further details at

The Hierogylphic Stairway

Its 63 steps and two thousand glyphs tell the history of the royal house of Copan. The stairway is the site of the longest known text of ancient Mayan civilization

Copan Ruins

The site is one of the largest in Central America and the pieces that have been unearthed and preserved are wonders not to be missed.  The site has also built a museum for some of the pieces and to give you the history here.  One unique piece is the Rosa Lila, it is located under Temple 16 and represents the best preserved stucco building in the Maya civilization.  It is replicated in the Museum at the archeological site.

Altar Q, right hand picture, depicts the 16 members of the Copan Dynasty.
The ball court, bottom picture, is the second largest found in Central America.  This game was a 3000 year old Mesoamerican sport that may have originated with Olmecs and thought to symbolize a struggle between day and night deities or the battle between the gods in the sky and the lords of the underworld.

More information is available at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jonesville – Yvonne’s Birthday – Bay Islands Nov 11, 2009

We are back in Jonesville. This is a special treat as we are invited to share in Lady Yvonne’s (Don and Yvonne) 65 birthday bash shared with their friend Glen and Ana, being Glen’s birthday as well. This will be the first party at the new Casa. It was a beautiful setting, the weather cooperated, and the new deck over the ocean was alive with guests, live music (Kristofer and friends, of which Gary has become one) and some of the tastiest eats you ever partook of, thanks to Anna’s excellent buffet and Yvonne’s suburb Chocolate Birthday cake.

The evening was a total bash and complete success with kids and PiƱata’s and Candy. While Kaija and group were Congo dancing, Gary blew his lips off with the band, least that’s how it felt the next morning. Harmonica is tougher than it looks folks, you try it!!…although I must say, Glen made it look easy and can also sing and serenade a fine melody.

While here we were able to re-acquaint ourselves with Ed and Julie of S/v Spirit of Free Radical...actually Canuks with not one beautiful no...they have two. They charter and know these waters well. We needed some sail repair work done and Julie is not only equipped with the proper tools, she did good repairs to both our headsail and dingy cover. They have a website and can be reached by email at

Kaija has taken one last trip to town with Senor Don to pick up final provisions and Gary’s new spear gun which has arrived from Florida (we hope) (a big yahoo and yippie I eh to bringing home da filets :o). Hunting is not permitted in the Bay Islands but is in many places along the Belize reef. With some sadness in leaving old and new friends here, we look forward to our departure to Utila to meet up with our friends Byron and Denise s/v South of Reality. The girls will leave shortly for their excursion to Copan Ruins and upon their return we begin the next leg of our journey…north to Cuba!!!

Barbareta – Bay Islands – Honduras N16.25.99 W086.08.77

Barbareta is a good sized private island and a small piece of paradise. This is a return visit for us and Kaija longed to return to the Pigeon Cays located about two miles offshore. There is the saying…that…”you can’t go back”…the first thing we noticed was the heavy equipment driving back and forth on what only three years ago was a small horse path (where Gary and ‘Doc’ met some of the herd and developed a friendship with one of the crippled ponies and enjoyed our daily walks with him…)…now there is an active party of workers along with a new herd of cows grazing the private airstrip and lazing in the heat by the newly constructed hanger. So much for progress!...

And for Kaija, we made our way out to the Pigeon Cays…as we remember, a grouping of three small island cays. Unfortunately, her favorite, the smallest was gone…taken away by the seas and nature in only the past three years.

The Piece da Resistance, was the arrival of Hurricane Ida. When it comes to hurricanes...the best remedy I know is distance, so be weighed anchor and sailed 50 miles east to the west end of Utila where we were tucked in safe and sound.

We enjoyed our stay, but it wasn’t the same.

Jonesville – Roatan – Bay Islands N16.23.21 W086.22.51 Oct 21 – Nov 2 2009

Jonesville is becoming like home away from home. We really enjoy coming here to visit with Don and Yvonne s/v Usquaebach, should say formerly, as they are only days away from moving into their beautiful, new home. Situated on the ocean, with a view you cannot buy, in a new home designed and built by Senor/Capt Don. We enjoyed watching the progress as the new windows, doors, lights, plumbing, and electrical are installed. They hope to be in by Christmas 2009 and what a wonderful gift that would be to them. Don & Yvonne hosted a Halloween Party for the local children and what fun they had trying to get the biggest handful of candy. Halloween is not a ‘known’ holiday here in Roatan, but this is year three of the Don and Yvonne Hallowed Party and it is fast becoming a tradition.

By the way...see the two shots of the gecko and the fly bottom left and center...they were there, and they are real!! Way to Go Mr. Gecko, excellent photos Kaija...we are so easily amused.

French Cay Harbour - N16.21.17 W086.26.32 Oct 17 – 21 2009

French Harbour has three anchorages, the old port, the French Harbour anchorage, and the French Cays Anchorage which is home to Fantasy Island. This is the anchorage used by most cruisers. With reasonable closeness to many of the cruiser friendly amenities it is a convenient stop.

Somehow this anchorage and us have not got off to a good start. When we first arrived in Roatan 3 years ago, we came into this harbor and we did not like to look of the entrance, and even with charts and guide books decided to pass it by. Well, we thought we’d give it another try. Unfortunately, the weather did not help us. We found ourselves in the middle of a squall, and radar telling us more was coming…trying to beat the storm into the harbor. We lost!...missed the mark ( a 2 foot black stake in the water), and slid up on the shoal! Not a happy moment. We lowered the dinghy, and with the assist of a local boater (thank you stranger) we managed to slide KS back into deep water. They say that All’s well that ends well, so after spending a couple of days in the French Cay Anchorage in heavy squally weather we departed back to the safety of Jonesville.

Port Royal – Bay Islands Honduras – N16.24.24 W086.17.38 Oct 13 – 17 2009

Port Royal is an hold pirate’s hideaway, with a good deal of nooks and crannies to hide ‘the loot’. This applies to pirates of old as well modern day. We have found a small anchorage by a private island with its own runway that is mostly deserted. It’s a wonderful spot with beautiful clam shaped sandy beach with enough shells to keep Kaija happy, enough distance to amuse Doc and gin clear water to amuse the Capt. We don’t spend enough time here, but when we do it’s a good opportunity to get in the water and clean the bottom.

East Bay and West End - Diamond Cay – Utila – N16.05.59 W086.53.88 Sept. 15 – Sept. 23 2009

East Bay Utila is one of the diving capitals of the Caribbean. It is an open anchorage to the South and West and one needs to gauge the weather in determining whether or not to anchor in East Bay. In either of those cases, there is a surprisingly good anchorage in the West Cays behind Diamond Island. We always enjoy our stops here as the food is good and Capt Rob of s/v Carmelita has kinda taken up residencia in the anchorage. He is always fun to talk to and if you need anything, he knows where it can be found.

Ranguana Cay –Belize N16.19.77 W088.09.16 Sept 14 2009

This is one of the waterway crossroads thru the reef in and out of Belize from the east. As we approached this small island we were met by a large pod of frolicking dolphins and Doc was in Love…if he had his way…he’d be over the side and swimming along with his buddies. Ranguana, albeit remote is close enough for a quick day sail there to enjoy its beauty with a small restaurant and bar to quench the thirst. We had planned to spend the night with an early morning departure but after a few hours the winds increased in our favor and we decided to do an overnight passage back to Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras. It was a beautiful starlight sail Southeast to Utila.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lighthouse Reef – Belize - N17.13.08 W087.35.97 - Aug 5 – Sept 3 2009

We really enjoyed our time spent with Ron and Lindy. They are one of only two couples living on this remote island. They are part of a larger development of some 600 lots of which we are told 80% are sold. It is interesting that of all those buyers, only two are year round residents.

Just a quick note here, our first sighting of a lion fish in the coral reef on the west side of Long Cay. They are a beautiful creature, but there is controversy over their inhabiting the waters of Belize.

We took the boat over to Half Moon Cay one Saturday with Lindy and two of her guests, Doug and Kaye from Seattle. We had a fun time dodging the coral heads and it was helpful to have the local knowledge that Lindy brought along. As it was, we managed to hit the only coral head in the anchorage within a hundred feet. While the rest went to enjoy Half Moon and its Red Footed Booby Bird population, Gary and Doc stayed with KS and enjoyed swimming and cleaning the bottom waiting for the tide to rise us off. In due course, it all came to pass and a fun day was had ending in laughing and libation at sunset in the anchorage.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Placentia – Belize – N16.30 – W88.21 – May 30 – August 1, 2009

This is a return trip to one of our favorite stops. We checked in at Big Creek with our friends Doug & Rayene s/v Kristiana and renewed acquaintances Vicky and Jim s/v Allegro and with Barb & Torry s/v Litbe. Barb and Torry are now Captain and Mate working for Moorings Charters on the sailing catamaran Double Eagle.

After enjoying a few days of all the amenities the this once sleepy little fishing village turned enterprising small town which offers, including our favorites, Wendy’s for Fried Stuff Jacks, TuttiFruiti for homemade Gelato (some of the best Ice cream on the planet), we departed June 8 for Wipari Cay, Cary Cay, Queen Cays and Little Water Cay. These small islands mostly offer mooring balls for easy anchoring and lovely places to snorkel. Queen Cay is in the reserve and there is a charge of $10 per person per stay. During our visit here we met ‘Kate’ a charterer on the Tradewinds Catamaran who enjoyed spending time with Doc.

After a few days out on the reef joined by our friends Barb and Torrey, we returned to Placentia preparing Kaija for her annual trek home (to the land of stuff) to visit family and friends and bring back boat parts.

During Kaija’s absence, Gary and Doc made fast friends with the owners of a newly constructed home on Placentia island with its own private dock and a thatched palapa (cabana) with two wonderful easy back chairs where Gary spent a couple of hours each morning and afternoon reading while Doc frolicked in the water with the dolphin family resident in the anchorage. The property manager, Pepe (given name Solomon) along with Cotton (given name Linden) and workers Mark and John made us feel right at home and soon we were joined by Pepe’s 6 year old son Roger and Rottweiler puppy Oso. Neither Roger nor Oso could swim so the lessons began. With the aid of a long yellow noodle which Roger named ‘Champs’ it wasn’t long before he & Oso were busy swimming and treading water.

For those of you lucky enough to visit Placentia we highly recommend the following, Tommy’s for Chinese food, Wallen’s for wholesale case lots as well as regular groceries and in particular, canned New Zealand Butter, and concentrated fruit juice Squash (they accept credit cards), TuttiFruiti (Tizy & Lorenzo for the best Italian Ice cream made daily), Placentia Office Supply for high-speed internet and other office needs, Boson’s Chair, Paul and Lisa offer laundry service and internet as well. There is also a Swiss Baker on the ‘sidewalk’ along with The Barefoot Bar for excellent live music, and Le Thatch for a variety of excellent meals. The ‘veggie’ truck comes three times a week and offers a great selection of veggies, fruits, pork chops and cheese. Placentia is also the home to Marie Sharp’s famous hot sauce which comes in many levels of heat and we do mean ‘HEAT’.

For those who may be interested in original Belizean wood carving in either Rosewood or Mahogany there are many artisans here in Placentia. Kaija found a lovely carved turtle bowl she had been seeking for some time from Leo the Carver on located across from Sunrise on the Sidewalk.

The anchorage is quite large and now that the Moorings have moved there base and fleet around to the Lagoon, removing some 30 boats, there is ample parking for all. Due to an earthquake centered just north of Roatan Honduras on May 27th registering 7.4, the fuel dock here was damaged beyond repair, however one can still jury jug from the adjacent Shell station or go into the canal by Hokey Pokey taxi or to Roberts Grove Marina back in the lagoon.

Belize is a cruisers paradise as well as a backpackers haven. Having the second longest barrier reef in the world makes for wonderful isolated cruising stops and there are many inland places to see

Lime Cay, Sapodilla Cays & NE Sapodilla Cay – Belize – N16.05 – W88.17 – May 27 – May 30

These cays are part of the marine reserve park and Lime Cay houses a number of small cottages. Unfortunately the anchorage was somewhat rolly due to north winds and as it was out of season, the cottages and facilities were closed. However we did enjoy watching a beautiful pair of Osprey but did not enjoy the many thousands of sand fleas/noseeums…so cruisers beware!

The next morning we motored the short distance SW to Sapodilla Cay which is a very small uninhabited island but did provide dinner on the hook with a nice Cero. After an hour or two of gunk holing we ventured north to NE Sapodilla Cay and finding a small sandy patch dropped our hook and enjoyed a couple of wonderful days of good snorkeling on the south east side of this island where you can see many many good sized fish that are cruiser friendly as they are in protected waters.

Puerto Escondido – Honduras – N15.54 – W87.37 – May 22 – May 27 2009

This is a 40 mile sail west from Utila and brings you to mainland Honduras to a protected anchorage. This is some of nature at its best with excellent walking trails and is part of a national park. To view the Howler Monkeys requires an early morning walk as they tend to bring guided tours throughout the day encouraging the monkeys to find alternate hangouts (no pun intended). There are no fees to anchor and in very rough weather it is easy to tuck around the corner into Laguana El Diamante which is an excellent hurricane hole in time of need. This a shallow body of water completely surrounded by high hills and mangrove trees.

Isle of Utila – East Bay and West Cays – N16.05 – W86.53 – May 12 – May 22

Utila is the dive capitol of Honduras with one of the many dive shop claiming more than 4000 dive certifications in a single year. Needless to say the diving is spectacular. Also, a certain times throughout the year one may even be lucky enough to encounter one of our planets largest creatures, the awesome Whale shark.

This is a very laid back little island on the west end of the Bay Islands of Honduras. We were warmly greeted by an old friend Rob, s/v Carmelita who has taken us roots in this quaint little island. He has made friends with many of the locals and is a helpful source of information to any and all cruisers that come his way.

Another friend we met in Roatan, Vern, has found a niche market by providing a ‘water taxi’ service on his catamaran to and from West End Roatan to Utila daily. This enables a direct trip to and fro reducing travel time and expense that would normally require you to take the ferry to La Ceiba from Utila and then back to Roatan and vice versa.

We enjoyed some wonderful days down at the Western Cays and happy to report that our young pelican (see previous Utila entry) was now flying but still working on his takeoffs and landings. We particularly enjoyed the small island that he called home along with his momma and papa and couple of aunts and uncles. We highly recommend a stop here for any cruisers who seek good snorkeling rest and relaxation.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roatan – Jonesville – N16.23 – W86.22 April 5 – May 12 2009

We enjoy returning to Jonesville, in part because it is a fine safe anchorage, but mostly to see our friends Don and Yvonne, S/v Usquaebach.

We have already had the occasion to join in two of the Full Moon parties which is a monthly event hosted by different couples. It is a fun way to see some very exclusive properties and meet and mingle with the other Island gringos.

One of the traditions here on Roatan is the annual trek to Camp Bay Beach for Saman Santa (Easter Holiday). This is a long sandy stretch of beautiful beach and clear blue water that goes from empty to holding hundreds of families all laughing and singing and dancing and eating…it is quite the party and we had a blast.

We also enjoyed Easter services at the local Methodist church where a number of the young children we have gotten to know participated and put on a truly lovely service enjoyed by a packed house of very proud mommas and papas’.

During our month long visit we enjoyed house/dog sitting for our friend Randy French s/v Svea. His female dog Boots and Doc (approx same age) became great little walking buddies and daily would climb the hills with Gary for grooming and exercise, chasing the local free range chickens into involuntary flight and resting with as Gary took time to get caught up on some reading while they all enjoyed the beautiful ocean breeze and incredible vistas. The two dogs frolicked and played like the puppies at heart they both are. When our friend Randy returned from his Panama Canal cruise it was time for us to cut the lines and depart for Utila.

Return to Cayos Cochinos N15.58 W86.28 April 2 – 5 2009

We arrived back in this lovely island hideaway where there are mooring to pick up, a local dive resort and some beautiful beaches and snorkeling the wall right off the boat.

We missed seeing our friends Laurie and Hoss of Eagle’s Nest as they were at their home on the mainland.

We enjoyed three restful days before heading north to Roatan this time to house/dog sitting for Randy and Boots. We will be here until early May.

Utila N16.05.614 W086.53.930 Mar 14 – Mar 19 2009

This is a new stop for us. It is terrific. Our first nite was a wee bit exciting being Saturday nite and the wind was howling and the bands were playing while at least one boat made its own way from one end of the anchorage to the other. The owners found their boat at about 2am, on the other side of the bay.

This is a funky little dive down, boasting more dive certifications than any other place on the planet, 4200 certs in 2008 by one dive shop. Needless to say, the diving is excellent. All around the island there are numerous dive markers making it easy to tie up and dive the wall.

Utila is an international backpackers/dive centre and it is a young crowd ready to party.

One of the must see while in Utila is the Jade Seahorse. This restaurant/lodge has to be seen, to be believed. This comes from the mind of a verrrrry interesting man with boundless energy to make it all come alive. We also think he has the finest men’s room on the Island.(b p – Jade Seahorse)

Kaija and Cindy did the island trek to Pumpkin Mountain a round trip hike of 6 hours…a fun way to see the locals and the other side of the island which is not accessible without considerable difficulty.

Gary hopped the local ferry to La Ceiba. This was a quick (if not always dry) ride in a 60’ multihull fast cat. You are there in an hour and it can either be smooth and uneventful, or bumpy and be careful whom you sit next to…if you know what I mean…getting caught downwind of a blue water novice with an upset stomach is not something you want to ever do!

After a few days of this excitement we moved with our friends Rick & Cindy to the small cays located on the southwest end of Utila. This place is outstanding!!!!

The water is clear and warm (80 degrees) and the settings are straight from a post card. The reefs and the coral are alive, vibrant and full of fish unlike anything seen by us so far.

Snorkeling is terrific and shallow calm waters.

A highlight of this stop was having our own wee island for Kaija to shell on, Doc to play on and to our delight a Pelican family was raising a newborn little Pelican in the only tree on the island that would hold their nest. It was fun to watch the rearing process. Another wonderful first and memory made.

Jonesville N16.23.229 W086.22.572 Feb 5 – Mar 14 2009.

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since we sailed thru here and left behind our good friends Don & Yvonne s/v Usquaebach who have been building a beautiful beach home. It was a few days of commiserating and hearty back slapping and getting caught up then Gary hopped a plane and departed for the Miami boat show and the land of ‘stuff’ and a visit with his dad in St. Pete’s Florida.

After a couple of weeks away which was more than enough Gary returned to Kaija & Doc who were comfortable and safe tied up to Randy’s dock within easy walking distance to our friends. Kaija & Doc were joined most days by Randy’s dog Boots and Larry’s new puppy Joy.

Don and Yvonne have become very popular with most of the cruisers who come by Jonesville and sometimes we wished that we had not been quite so vocal in our enthusiasm of Don and Yvonne as we now find ourselves sharing their hospitality with many others, which Yvonne and Don both enjoy.

Since our last visit here, Kaija has managed to locate a great hair stylist; Maudy’s and we had canvas repair work done by Ms. Judy located by the Reef House Resort. Excellent and reasonable on both counts.

Our friends Byron and Denise, who had sailed here with us, sailed on to Mexico to meet up with guests and family. However, we were joined by Rick & Cindy on s/v Dragon Fly who we had last seen on New Year’s Eve in San Andres.

Rick & Cindy are both avid divers and kindly offered to take Gary along. With much enthusiasm Gary joined them and had a blast, as this was his first diving since being certified in Bocas Del Toro. The reef diving is just a close dingy ride away although they did take one dive boat trip out to Pigeon Cays off Barbaretta and did a drift dive outside Port Royal. It is ALLLL GOOOOD!

Port Royal N16.24.276 W086.18.662 Feb 2 – 5 2009

We arrived in this large bay located on the S E end of Roatan. The bay extends for miles of sandy beaches and home to many a sailor of pirate repute.

We met Tom and Stanna formerly of S/v Paradox currently staying at Casa Gusta and we tied up to their mooring ball. We enjoyed getting to know them and visit with fellow Canadians Greg and Julie on s/y Spirit of Free Radical. We were invited to join them along with all other cruisers in the bay for the official renaming of their new Cat. They are now officially two-boat owners…ouch.!!! Free Radical and Spirit of Free Radical. Free Radical is to be their new Canadian home.

It is important to remember to officially rename a sailboat to ward off any bad omens. King Neptune is not to be denied.

Music at El Bite N16.27.268 W085.52.323 Jan 30 – Feb 2 2009

El Bite is the main anchorage in Guanaja. It is close to whatever is available there. This is a German owned restaurant Bar call Manatees. It is the local watering hole and a great place to meet up with fellow cruisers for a good meal. It also offers local cruisers a chance to get together and make music which is exactly what we did with our friends Grant on guitar and Candice singing off s/v Reality, Todd playing spoons and Lynn humming off s/v Blue Marine, Mark on bongos from s/v Alpha Wave, Dan on drums off s/v Eventyr, Klaus on bass the owner/manager of Manatees and Gary on keyboards…we had a blast and it wasn’t long before half the remaining patrons became members of the back vocal band. A good time had by all. The next day, being super bowl Sunday was spent with a number of the locals at the only place in town that had a TV with satellite dish. It turned out to be the best Super bowl game I have ever watched and the setting will long be remembered.

Josh’s Cay Guanaja N16.27.822 W085.49.915 Jan 20 – 30 2009

This is a great stop along the way, with entrance thru the reef in Guanaja at the northeast corner. This small island is perfect for a short walkabout and hanging in a private hammock or lazing in the shallow sandy bottom beach water. This island offers Internet and a little bar/restaurant all owned by Graham who is a very friendly person. It is an easy dingy trip to Savannah Bite and Kaija joined the other women in the anchorage for a hike all the way to Michael’s rock on the north side of Guanaja and an expedition to locate the local Mayan ruins (never found). There is available on Josh’s Cay a number of small resort style accommodations and people from all over the world come for the fishing and the snorkeling.

New Route to Vivorillos & Hobbies N15.50.666 W083.18.141 Jan 7 - 8

- N16.01.906 W083.06.140 Jan 8 – 19 2009

We were excited to try out the waypoints for a new and shorter route to the Vivorillos via Edinburgh channel. This shortened our trip by approx 40 nautical miles and was our first encounter with a 6-pound male Dorado (Mahi Mahi). This was not only exciting fishing but some mighty good eating. We arrived in the Vivorillos on Jan 7 11am and quickly anchored in 15 ft of sandy water along the reef. After spending only one night we moved to the Hobbies approx 20 NE. This is even more isolated but we did manage to meet up with s/v Evintyre (Dan & Trish) and s/v South of Reality (Byron and Denise) and shared cuda fingers from our daily catch of a nice 15 lb Barracuda.

Doc made new friends with a litter of newborn pups and had fun playing on the beach with all the baby Boobie birds, too many to count. This island also had two human inhabitants, Antonio and Ramirez who made us feel welcome with what every they had to share. We enjoyed providing a few treats to their otherwise limited diet…and in turn we had access to all the shrimp we could eat.

This trip will be long remembered as the ‘big one that got away with hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, holder…you name it…it went…that was some big fish!

The good news is that we found a wonderful hog fish hole…and we did us some good ol hog fish huntin :o) and did I mention the Lobsters….mmmm, not a restaurant in site and a lot o’ good good eatin…It’s all Good!

Providencia - N13.22.757 W081.22.534 Jan 3 – 6 2009

Early on Jan 03 we left San Andres and began our next short leg north to Providencia, arriving later that day. This is our second visit to this picturesque idealic little Columbian Island miles off the coast of Nicaragua with its distinctive Morgan’s Head rock guarding the entrance into a quiet bay big enough to comfortably accommodate a dozen boats or more. As we were using Providencia as a kick off point for the Vivorillos we did not spend any time ashore and instead used our time to send Kaija aloft to make some sail repairs. The winds cooperated and with our work done we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this pretty spot to get rested up for our next leg.

Cayo Bolivar

This is a very pretty side trip 21 miles SE of San Andres with three small cays surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and shallow water filled with many coral heads for fun snorkeling. The anchorage can be a wee bit rolly if the weather is unsettled. Our friends Byron and Denise on s/v South of Reality used this location to set off for Providencia as it improves slightly the sailing angle to the steady NE trade winds.

Friday, January 02, 2009

San Andres – N12.34 W81.41 – December 11 – January 2 2009

December 11, we leave for San Andres. This is a short run of about 30 miles and we anchored by 1 pm in the harbour. We had stopped here on our way down to Bocas Del Toro about 1.5 years ago, so it was not new. Rene came out to the boat and we arranged to do out check-in later that day.
We rented a golf cart to tour the island and this is a great way to see it. You can take your time and it does not take a tank of gas. Of special interest were the blue lizards. We looked high and low for them, found a green one (the female) and then finally one of the blue males. They are not real bright blue but I believe that they are molting and when that is complete, the true colour will appear. Of course during our tour, Santa hats were worn by all – Byron, Denise, Gary and Kaija.
The folks here in San Andres decorate the city and there are many tourists here for the holidays.
Just before Christmas, s/v Dragon Fly – Rick and Cindy joined us in the anchorage.
A gift exchange and dinner were planned and a good time was had by all. Even Doc had his usual place under the table waiting on his share.

Cayos de Albuquerque – N12.09 W81.50 December 6 – December 11 2008

The weather has not been on our side and finally on December 6, 2008 we head out towards Albuquerque Cayos. This will be an overnight trip and all is ready.
On arriving in the Cayos, after several squalls and motor sailing almost the entire trip, we arrive. There is a new commandant here and new procedures. We are hailed on channel 16 and asked to report into the island. The military has a base here. Sometimes army sometimes Marines. This time – marines. They are swimming to our boat before the dinghy is down. Wilson is the one in charge and asks Gary and Byron to go in and show papers. No problems, just a formality.
Over the next few days, the marines are going diving and fishing with Gary and Byron, catching all kinds of fish. They especially enjoy parrot fish and as they did not have spear guns, and we did, their supply was greatly increased. They also checked our anchors and helped us move when the weather changed. They were perfect hosts and showed us the island with the many amenities that they had. Gym, fresh water swimming-showering area and the beautifully cleaned and lined paths were only a few of the things we saw.

Colon to Isla Linton - N09.20 W079.54 November 2 – December 6 2008

Well we are on our way. The final provisioning has been taken care of and we are set to go for two months. We left Colon, November 2, 2008 and decided to stage out of Isla Linton. The angle is better and it is a nicer place to sit and wait for weather.
We met some new friends and were reacquainted with some old ones.
We listened to music by Yoel on s/v Brahms as he played his grand piano. Yes, he has a piano on board his boat and it was actually sent down from Toronto. Yoel has a brother living in Canada and during this time his mother was visiting from Israel.
After listening to beautiful music, what could be better than a pizza? Betty and Owen on s/v Hiatus offered to drive us to their favourite place and we enjoyed a great pizza and a wonderful drive on the mainland of this area of Panama. It is something that we do not always see as we are out on the water.
By now it is Thanksgiving ( American ) and we are still waiting on weather. As we had planned, we had turkey. Dinner was on South of Reality, Denise and Byron. We first met them on their honeymoon in Luperon, Dominican Republic in 2005. Denise was able to find a special Mola for this occasion.
As always, we have unexpected visitors. The little birds come to visit and this time one had a broken wing, rested with us for a short time. One evening just before sunset, Doc and all are coming back from his walk and see this “ball” in the water. On closer inspection, it turns out to be a very large and dead puffer fish. The monkeys were up to their usual tricks. Kaija decided to show Denise how to feed them without incident, but that was not what the monkey had in mind. The monkey noticed that Kaija was only giving one piece at a time from her bag, and that was just not good enough. A short battle for the bag took place, and the monkey won.