Posts Tagged ‘Shelter Bay Marina’

In Paradise…Yeah Right!

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

It seems I put off writing for a day  and then another day and before I know it a week or two has passed.  I have a problem. No, not drinking, and some would say I have a little too much OCD, but my problem is when I put electrons to a screen I seem to just keep blurting out more words. I admire people like Mike and Sue (sv Infini) who seem to be able to write a paragraph or two and that keeps people updated. I, when I write, the words just keep bubbling out of me, not always lucid, not always pertinent, but always there. Then my post become chapters and not updates. Be that as it may…..

We’ve been working on the boat, enjoying life in paradise…some, and meeting new people. I gotta say I enjoyed working on the boat much more in the US where we had wheels and I knew where I could acquire needed supplies or I was able to order the supplies and have them to me lickitty split.

When we arrived at Shelter Bay we ordered some paint and varnish from Signature Finishes in Florida. We’ve still not received the supplies almost 6 weeks later.  We were shipping them through Airbox, a freight forwarder who we had shipped the last order of paint and varnish with but this time we hit a big, and I mean BIG snag. I’ll put all the details on our web page when we finally have it resolved, but right now Airbox has said they’ll release (finally) the shipment and we have an order in for FedEx to pick it up by Monday and return it to Fabula (the manufacture). Then we’ll have it re-shipped to Marine Warehouse.

Inventory of one Locker

Inventory of one Locker

While we have a great deal of tools and many, many spares we seem to only have the majority of stuff to Jury Rig a job but rarely all the stuff to finish a job perfectly. Off shore Jury Rigging is the best option, but when near a large city, when in a Marina, it ought to be worked correctly. One week,  3 times I went into Colon to acquire the correct supplies.  Part of this issue is knowing exactly what is on the boat. To this end we’ve been correcting and updating our inventory. We’re beginning to include much smaller items in it.

Our inventory consists of about 600 items now. That’s not all we carry but I’m finding that it is often the smaller stuff that I run out of. Certain screws, bolts or nuts, caulking, etc.  We can’t just have in the inventory “Caulking” we need to know if it’s, Silicone, Buytl Tape, 4200, 5200, or Polysulfide, and the approx size. That’s the gear that is sending me to the store. And while there is a Chandlery here in Shelter Bay Marina I only find what we need 1 out of 10 attempts.

Upon first entry to the chandlery you would think; good, I can get what I need at Pesqueras S.A.  . You would be wrong. And it’s not only me that finds this place lacking. One of the past yard managers for the Marina was saying the same thing. He even went so far as to ask Pesqueras to stock certain items and they implied it would be …. too much work. Yeah they were smallish items but they were items that would sell. The yard manager said to bag them in groups of 10 or 20 and the cruisers that needed them would still buy them. They haven’t yet! This reminds me of a story (told to me by another cruiser).

Cruisers often remind each other of this maxim: When you see it; buy it,  cause it may never be there again!  One cruiser said she found an item they wanted to carry on the boat. There were approximately 8 pieces left on  the shelf. She picked up all 8 and proceeded to the counter where the clerk told her she couldn’t have all 8. “Why” she asked?  The clerk replied “Cause if you buy all of these then I won’t have any to sell!”.  Perfectly deadpan and perfectly serious. The cruiser tried rationalizing with the clerk, explaining that yes, you want to sell it and I want to buy it, but that did no good. She walked out with 7 items.

I’ve actually thought of starting a page on the site for just cruising stories. There are so many. In the Virgin Islands years ago I walked into a hardware store and asked for a pair of Vice Grips.  The clerk said they didn’t have any. “When will you get more merchandise”  I asked?   “Tomorrow” she replied.  I indicated I’ll simply look around.  Not more then 3′ from her were the Vice Grips. People that know me will be surprised that I didn’t say anything. I didn’t. I just picked up the part and purchased my Vice Grips. Glad they weren’t the last pair!

And so it goes. Working on a boat in Paradise. But, we meet great people. People we would never come across living on the dirt. Take Bill and Laura and Isobel. Isobel is all of 4 and more smiles in a small package then I’ve ever seen. If one

Isobel Climbing

Isobel Climbing

could pick a kid out of a magazine she’d be a best seller. They were over chewing the fat with us and Isobel decided that our boat had a great many places to climb. Since she couldn’t touch the ceiling from the floor she decided to climb everything and then touch the ceiling and then do it again. She walks on the lifelines on their boat, climbs up on the top of the dodger and walked their boom. The circus would do well to groom her for high wire acts.  She loves swimming, riding her bike and talking to everybody. She’s every couples dream and as she is just so precocious every couples nightmare too. Isabel shows no fear!

Bill and Laura on sv Sunrise were making beer and brought us some.  Beer in the Pacific is very, very, expensive and they figure that making it will be fun and save money. Of course it wasn’t ready just yet but now we had a bottle of beer fermenting on our counter top for just one more week. The beer was good, a little stout and a little warm for us. Connoisseurs say that’s how beer ought to be drank; but for me I’m just too American and I like beer chillin!

And finally, I’m writing this today because I figure if God could rest on Sunday, so can I.  We say (I mostly say) we’re taking Sunday’s off.  I try but often W/ has other ideas. She wants to inventory our Pacific charts and a couple of other lockers. That’s not too labor intensive and so most likely I’ll acquiesce. Besides; one cruisers said “It is not a boat project unless the boat draws blood”!  I doubt we can then call this a boat project.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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Cruising, etc…

Friday, October 19th, 2012

We’ve been here in Shelter Bay Marina for about a month now. Some things are going well and some frustrating as; to be almost politically correct, Hades. My mom has come and gone and has three blogs written, one of them soon to be posted. Since her flight home we’ve been working on the boat most every day, mostly mornings.

We work on Elysium primarily in the mornings.  When we work on any project we seem to open a good many lockers, parts and tools are out everywhere, and counters covered with the things we are working on and the tools we need. The boat is literally a mess. We try to time it so that around noonish or soon there after we begin the clean up, pick up routine. We either put things back in their place or hide them in the engine room the things that we know we will immediately need the following day. Then we find we’re able to live in a relatively clean or should I say not messy home. It is after all, paradise.

The Aquagen is apart and back together as much as possible. The new heat exchanger is in and all plumbed.  I have to wait till

New Heat Exchanger

New Heat Exchanger

we get the Centek Aqualift Muffler replaced and need two parts to complete the exhaust system and finish that side. The high pressure (HP)  pump seals have been replaced and it’s put back together.  Dan at

Watermaker Pump Rebuild

Watermaker Pump Rebuild

Aquamarine was helpful as I couldn’t see that one piece from the pump housing still came apart till we called him on a Sat; twice, and I finally got the idea. The rebuild then went slowly and smoothly. That was one day I worked 6 hours on the project and we actually put the pump  in the second day. On our list is to now buy a spare so when I need to do this again I can replace it easily and then do the rebuild at a more convenient time. Also the bracket that held the alternator on has been replaced with a SS one and the bracket that holds the Alternator to the top of the high pressure pump housing is going back to Aquamarine to be beefed up! I will say while there have been some issues with the generator setup; Dan at Aquamarine has been always helpful in either assisting me in fixing a part or in repairing / replacing a part.  Calling on Saturday was wonderful and he even answered the phone the second time with “Hello Dave”! 🙂

And now since we have a window AC unit the boat is dried out some and I can get the floorboards up. A 9 month rainy season is hell on a boat.  I’ve trimmed off about 3 mm off one or two sides and now we’re revarnishing the sides. Hopefully  they will never be able to swell up enough to lock into place. Some items we store in the bilge we do need.

Mr. Gasket

Mr. Gasket

We replaced a broken fuel pump. This pump was made and sold to be good for diesel and although it maybe was, the plastic hose piece wasn’t good for even 3 years.  Never again a Mr. Gasket fuel pump!

We’ve tried to contract some with Lyman Morse Panama  but 2 of the 3 things we wanted them to do were an outrageous bid. We paid last year to have the boat waxed, the SS polished, and the teak scuffed up with a scotch brite pad  – $240 including tip and marina fee. This year the same work was quoted at approx $1,200.00.  Even W/ broke out laughing when she heard that price.  The Cove stripe just under the cap rail on the aft of the boat was quoted at appox $550.00 and we signed on for that to be done using Awlgrip and actually changing color a bit!

perkinspart

Perkins Part Needed

We traveled to the big city; Panama City, and spent a few days of  RnR. Oh, we can’t just hang out so we  did run some errands. We stayed at the Milan where before we’ve had a comfortable time. The internet worked about 80% of the time but we did accomplish a great deal. We found Bronze Wool, 30 weight oil, and Pet Safe Antifreeze which we hadn’t found in Panama before. We attempted to get the injector for the generator rebuilt and were unable to find the parts here. We attempted to find a Perkins Marine engine part and that too was a bust. But we suffered our trials well by eating out with some other cruising friends in the old city, and enjoying a night at our favorite steak place; Martin Fierro.  W/ and I made it to one of the two Chiropractors in Panama and so we were moving freely.

However as our Spanish is only good enough to order meals, ask for the bill, and find a restroom, we were calling and dealing with the Doctor.  She unfortunately had a child get sick and had her staff call her patients. Since her staff didn’t have our number or know we were going to show up we arrived at 5:00 p.m.in the rain by cab. We paid off the cab and entered to find that Dr. Lillia wasn’t there and our cab had left. We paid our bill and walked a short way in the rain to find a taxi.  Now we are in rush hour and there is a steady rain while we stand under an eve from a restaurant on the main throughway.  After we signaled about 20 taxi’s (all had fares) one finally stopped. As we’re gringo’s we want to make sure all the expenses are up front, thus W/  asked about the  fare back to the Milan.  Again she almost fell down laughing; the driver wanted $20 to travel the same distance we had just paid $5 for and the same distance we’ve now walked 3 times in less than an hour. Because we’re adventurers and because we like to walk;  we choose to walk in the steady drizzle, hiding under every overhang we could find.

An hour later we arrived at our hotel, wet and relieved.  We showered; changed, rested and then walked to Martin Fierro where W/ and I  split a HUGE Filet, shared a bottle of wine, gorged on salad with baked potato, shared dessert (I had one spoonful … almost) and then strolled back to our room.

The following day we took it slow and easy, we ordered boat gear that was going to be shipped to my moms in New Port Richey, we played some games, watched the TV and met Teddy our Taxi driver at Albrook Mall in the afternoon.  There we had a leisurely trip back to our home; Elysium, in Shelter Bay Marina.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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Luxuryies (part 1)*

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

It is often said that cruising is a lot of work. My blogs confirm it. That’s partly true. I try to paint an honest picture of what it’s like to cruise in “Paradise”.  Cruising is not  the picture shown in  travel magazines  or the sailing rags. I thought about titling this blog  (Work + Play = Life). Cruising is just on the water in a smallish space. It’s  not the types of lifestyle  where you spend enormously large amounts of money to be pampered and coddled, sometimes to be scared and thrilled that we call “Vacations”. Cruising isn’t a vacation.

We arrived at Shelter Bay Marina about a week ago. Promptly plugged in and began to prep the boat for “living at the dock”. There is a different feel. Dinghy’s get  cleaned and stored, stuff given away, and some stuff thrown away we’ve not wanted to dispose of improperly. Too, some things still are similar to being on the hook, we run the refrigeration twice / day but instead of using the generator we use the DC5000.  We take care of business and chew on some food for breakfast before the day rises to slap us in the face with the heat and humidity. Reminds us of Florida in the Summer time.  Then we often find the gathering of food and supplies high on our to do  list. The first item on the list when we arrived at the marina was AC!  Yeah, we’re basically a couple of US pigs and like some of the luxuries  all our homies enjoy. Yep we want to be a little like  those in their comfortable dens lounging or desks at work- lounging, those that say they wish they could be here tied up next to us but for a multitude of reasons find they “just can’t convince the partner”.   We want some of what they have. Upon arriving we set about to plug in and chill out. Liz and Charlie on Kaya had connected with LeWard and picked up a  window AC unit in Colon for $128 bucks. I borrowed their receipt and went about to get the same, exact deal!

Basic AC in Companionway

Basic AC in Companionway

The AC unit is basic. Not what I would normally buy. I’m a lover of most all things technological. But; this is important, having a basic unit means that it will restart with the same settings should the power go off and back on. That is one of the constants in Paradise. Power is a 95-99% thing. Not a 100%!

So we have the basic unit and we hired Jesus to fabricate an opening for our companionway. $60.  For $190 bucks we have AC. In Trinidad we rented a unit that sat on our hatch for a $100 / month. After 3 months or so here we’ll be approx $100 + bucks to the good. Sweet. And we can sell the AC or take it with us. On top of the unit sits a clear plexi drop board. The AC unit and opening; although it can come out, doesn’t for our travels in and out of the boat. We no  consider traversing the companionway part of a morning Yoga routine. 🙂

Once we’d cooled down we promptly set about to knock items off of our  to do list. First was to get a replacement starter. For a replacement starter we need to go to Panama City locate one. There is this character, Roger, who used to run Panama Yacht Club in Colon when it was active. The canal authority for an unfathomable reason shut it down. Roger had to come up with another way to survive and he now laiason’s with the  cruising community. Cruisers hire him by the hour to take them on errands and help with translation. Boating lingo in Spanish even has a somewhat specialized  vocabulary and he having been with and around yachties for almost 30 years knows where the key products and services are that boaters need and what to ask for when they’re not found.

Galivant had given us the details on their trip to Panama City and we then promptly began to put our itinerary together. Calling Roger, calling the Hotel and arranging transportation. We made all needed reservations and had decided to hang with  Liz on Kaya to travel by taxi to Panama city  when the morning of our “vacation” hit a snaffuu.

We were all packed, ready to go and the cab driver wanted full fare from us ($85) as well as full fare from Liz to go to the airport. What!  We’re sharing this cab. This isn’t suppose to be. Cabs in Panama are to be priced per destination with a small add on for extra passengers. So we waved good-bye to him and it really was a GOOD bye because we have a trip to the Airport ourselves coming up and a return. We’ll not be using him!  Back to the boat to figure out what to do and how to get to Panama City.

The marina has a free bus in to Colon and back from Colon in the am but we missed that one. So we’ll have to pick up the bus in the pm and pay the $4+ bucks each to get to Colon. There, we’ll either take the “cool” train across for $22, or the express bus for $3. We figure we’ll take the train another time with some cruising friends so now we’ll take the Express Bus.

That afternoon we take the express bus to Panama City; AC and one of the worst shoot em up movies we’ve ever seen. We arrived in Panama City about an hour and a half later and were pleased that from the hotel we could walk the area (read it was safe), the room was clean, had AC and WiFi. What more could we ask for. Considering the bed bug curse in many motels and hotels in the US we were glad too we never had a bite. So the Hotel Marbella was in our book a home run!

After a short walk to stretch our legs; none of the vehicles seem to fit all of me, we found a great Italian restaurant down on the corner. There doesn’t appear to be any real “authentic” Panamanian food. Just too damn cosmopolitan here. The following AM we had a poor breakfast at the Hotel Restaurant – poor compared to Cinnamon Pancakes at Bob Evan’s in New Port Richey 🙂  , and then awaited Roger.

We set out to locate a spare starter for the generator.  First on the list. I preferred a new one but getting one to work would be better then none at all. We stopped at 3 places and ended up at a Mom and Pop starter – alternator repair shop. They didn’t have an exact match; BUT, and this is important, they had an exact motor solenoid match. They could swap the front end (the part that didn’t match) and then we would be back in business. Of course, they couldn’t charge me as much using my front end so I ended up with a fully refurbished starter that is guaranteed to fit for $60.  I’ll get another starter as a spare as this piece of equipment is to central to the successful functioning of the boat.

FIsh Market, Panama City

FIsh Market, Panama City

The starter was now off our “to buy” list and  we went  to the local fish market for lunch, then, to Abernathy’s, to 3 marine stores and 2 fabric stores looking for Regatta Canvas (our awnings are beginning to show some age – not us 🙂 ), and one  HUGE supermarket Reba Smith. Upon our return we arranged with Roger our trips to the Airport and return as well as the delivery of our Varnish from Signature Finishes.

Shipping varnish is a PITA!  Airlines are afraid the cans will “blow up”. Yeah Right! Not like they don’t have combustable materials aboard anyway, like say… Jet Fuel, or  Oxygen!  Duh! But we have to have it shipped here and it will be moved in a container on a ship using Airbox Express.

So; day one of boat supply hunting is over. Day two of our vacation in Panama City officially starts….. tomorrow.

* I know I spelled Luxury  wrong, just an FYI. 🙂

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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