Author: svrondo

Panama ~ Katelyn

After my mom and I got back to Panama, we stayed in Linton Bay for a day and then left for a place close to the Panama Canal. There were no other boats in the anchorage, so we stayed an extra day because it was so nice. We left after two days, and went to a marina right next to the entrance of the canal. While we were there, we met up with some of our friends, Bora and Love and Luck. All the kids swam in the pool most of the time. On our second day in the marina, we figured out we’d be able to cross earlier than we expected. We set our date to go across in two days. 

In the canal, you go through six locks. You need to have line handlers to catch the lines, loosen them, and tighten them. We were able to hire two line handlers, and one of our boat friends wanted experience, so he came on too. My mom would be the fourth line handler. The line handlers slept on our boat the night before we crossed the canal. We had to go early, so there wasn’t enough time for them to take a taxi. We left around four  in the morning.  For the first set of locks we were rafted to a monohull, and we were right up against the wall. When the water started to rise, the fenders were getting stuck, and bending our life lines. We thought one was going to snap. Luckily, we were able to push off the wall and saved our life lines. The next two locks we went through with no problem. After the locks, we drove into the lake, spotted lots of crocodiles, and moored on a giant mooring ball. We stayed there for a couple hours, resting. We had to wait for this big boat to go through the canal before we could cross. We went through the next three locks with a giant cargo ship behind us. As it was coming in, I thought it might crush us because it was so close. It barely fit through the canal, it had about a foot until it hit the wall on either side. We went through the last three locks rafted with two other boats. We had some problems with one boat who was unwilling to do some of the things the advisers told him to do. Other than that, we went through fine. We moored on the pacific side at the end of the day, and the line handlers left. 

We stayed there the next day because Love and Luck, our friends, were suing the Panama Canal. Sally and Lucy, the youngest, stayed on our boat while their parents and older siblings went to Panama City. Unfortunately, they had to wait thirty days before the Panama Canal would decide if they would pay for the damage to their boat. We left the next day to La Playita bay. We stayed there about a week, working on the boat and doing school work. We went into Panama City a few times to get our French Polynesia visa and shop. We left for Las Perlas Islands after the week was over. We spent a few days relaxing on the boat. We went up a creek that was supposed to have crocs, but we couldn’t see any. We saw tons of stingrays though. We left Las Perlas Islands and went to Vista Mar Marina back in Panama. When we docked, we saw huge jelly fish swimming around. Someone told us later that a sting from them could kill you. We met seven kid boats during our stay at the marina. Two of them had kids our age. We stayed for two weeks playing, eating, sleeping, and working. We did two more grocery runs to prepare for our seven day passage to the Galapagos. Unfortunately, our boat friends were going to Mexico for the season, but we will meet them in New Zealand next year hopefully. On the weekend, we took a weather window and started our longest passage yet and our first overnight on the Pacific side. It would be seven days with only me and my family (and later on some red footed boobies).

Columbia ~ Katelyn

Mikey’s tuna

(Sadly, I cannot find the blog Mikey wrote about our first few days in Columbia, so I will summarize instead of asking him to write it again.  We left Aruba in the afternoon and sailed to Columbia with 4 other buddy boats who all spoke French.  We caught a nice tuna on the way.  We arrived in Cabo De La Vela, which is a great place for kite boarding. Mikey, Katelyn, and Mike all took kite lessons for a few days.  The anchorage was a little rolly, and it was hard to get to town, but the people were very friendly and the Columbian Coast Guard boarded us and were very friendly.  We left after a few days and sailed the rest of the way to Santa Marta.)

When we left Cabo De La Vela, we ran into a fishing boat that wanted food and water. Worried that they would board and rob us, we threw them some food and water along with a couple of beers. The rest of the passage was pretty good with no surprises.

We arrived in Santa Marta at around 1:00 pm. We checked in at the marina, we docked, and ate some lunch. They put us on a temporary dock, so no AC and no water. The marina was really nice though. They had hot showers, a room you could hang out in, really nice bathrooms, and lots of space to roller skate. We met up with some of our friends on Love and Luck. We met them previously in Dominica. We rested for a few days and played with Love and Luck. After a few days, our friends La Nature and Ohana arrived in the marina. That night, we went into town to get pizza. While we were eating, break dancers started dancing in front of us. They did things that I didn’t think could be humanly possible. Other people tried to impress us too – some people balancing things on their heads.

For the next few days, we ate out in town and played in the marina. We decided to go to the beach one day. We hiked to the bus station and got on a bus. They drove us to a mountain, and we hiked up it and to a crowded beach on the other side. The water was freezing cold. We got to go on a banana tube and fell off a lot. We hiked back to the town on the other side and ate lunch. We walked around and got ice cream and then took the bus back.

The next day, we took a taxi to a bus station and took the bus to Minca, a town with lots of hikes and waterfalls. We hiked to some water falls, and the water was super duper cold. We swam for a while and then hiked back to town. We ate lunch and got some smoothies (Columbian smoothies are really good). Then, we hiked to more waterfalls. There were lots of frogs, and they were really easy to catch. We swam some and then, on the way back, bought some honey at a spice store. We saw some peacocks right behind the store and got to hand-feed them. We walked back  to town and went home. 

The next week, we were preparing for our friends the Bindingnaveles. They were staying for a week, and we had to get the boat ready. We took off all our cushions and got them reupholstered. Our friends La Nature and Ohana left a day before the Bindies arrived. They got to our marina at 6:00 pm, and we ate dinner on the boat. Two girls ,Saara and Jaiya, stayed on the boat with us that night while everyone else slept in a hotel. The next day, we woke up at 5:00 am to get ready for the four-day hike we were going on with our friends. When we were ready, we got on our tour bus and drove two hours to the beginning of our hike. We started at a restaurant and ate lunch there. We left from there with our guide across a river and started hiking. There were rest stops along the way and some had cool things. One had a pig-like animal tied up that was super friendly. Another had free fruit. Other ones included a coffee/cocoa store, a bridge, and more. After four hours of hiking, we finally made it to the camp we would be sleeping at. They had cold showers and out door beds, but much better than camping. Since we got there early, we were able to get beds instead of hammocks. We ate dinner there, and there were wild parrots hanging around us. We really enjoyed feeding them watermelon seeds. Everyone except me and my dad slept well.

In the morning, we ate breakfast, got hot chocolate made from scratch with real cocoa beans, and got ready to hike. There were some monkeys tied up to one of the fences that we played with. We left early and ordered two mules. One to carry our backpacks and one to ride on. Leela rode on the mule first due to her hurt back. We hiked through a rainforest and Wee Waa villages. Wee Waa’s are the natives who lived in the mountains. We learned a great deal about them and their customs. They lived in huts separating the men and the women. Women always were barefoot, they even hiked the four days barefoot. The men and women didn’t get to choose who they married; the chief (Mamo) chose when the man turned 16 who he would marry. They always wore a white toga thing and didn’t use much modern tech. We hiked until we got to camp2 where we ate lunch. Then, we hiked to camp 3 where we slept. It was Christmas Eve that day. We swam in the creek by camp 3 and took showers. They passed out huge bowls of popcorn, and we got our assigned beds. All the kids slept on the top bunks so we could whisper to each other while the parents slept. Unfortunately, we were just as tired as the parents and fell asleep immediately. Before that, our guide José  set off fireworks in honor of Christmas Eve. 

The next day, we hiked to the lost city. It took an hour to get there and once we were there, all the effort was worth it. It was huge! It was miles long and miles wide. We hiked around for 3 hours exploring the city. When we got back to camp 3, we ate lunch and walked back to camp 2, where we played in the river and slept. 

The last day of the hike, we hiked from camp 2 to camp 1, had snacks, and played with the monkeys. From camp 1 we hiked back to the restaurant, where we ate lunch and then drove back home.

We spent one day in Santa Marta, and then we rented a big bus and all went to Cartagena. We stayed there for two nights. Our friends went home the second day we were in Cartagena. While we were there, we went to a chocolate factory and got samples of lots of different chocolate. We also went to a gold museum and saw an old fort and the famous wall that surrounds the old city. In the parks you can see sloths and monkeys in the trees. We also saw tons of red squirrels and parrots. The third day we went back to Santa Marta where we stayed a week before we left to the San Blas islands of Panama.

Klein Curacao & Aruba ~ Katelyn

IMG_9882After leaving Bonaire with our friends La Nature, we went to Klein Curacao. When we got there, we noticed it looked a lot like Bonaire. It had a deep ledge around the island, and the island was flat and sandy. We played with our friends at the beach while all the parents hiked to the two shipwrecks and the light house. Klein Curacao was uninhabited (unless you count tourists who are always on the island) and very quite on certain parts of the beach. We had dinner together on our boat that night.

IMG_9922The next day, we went snorkeling around the deep drop off. We saw lots of flounder and barracuda. Just swimming to the beach we saw rays, an octopus, puffers, and more. We went hiking with just the kids to see the lighthouse and wrecks that afternoon. We walked all the way to the top of the lighthouse, instead of finding spiders crawling on the abandoned walls of the lighthouse, we found hermit crabs clinging to the walls. We hiked to the tanker that crashed on the rocks and saw basically a giant piece of rusted metal. We hiked to the other small sailboat and climbed around in it. A dog followed us back to the beach and sat in the water while we played monkey in the middle. Michael felt bad for him and threw our only skip ball in front of him. He stared at it like he couldn’t believe his eyes, then grabbed it and took off running. He ran all the way to the other side of the island, which is about a mile or two, while Michael was chasing him. Michael finally got it back, and we left that evening for Aruba. We skipped Curacao because we heard there was a lot of crime there. 

IMG_9924It was an overnighter, and we were exhausted when we finally made it to Aruba. We had to dock at the customs dock so we made our way over there. Once we got there, it started raining. The wind picked up and one of our lines came loose while we were trying to dock. We raked against the dock and scratched our boat pretty badly. After we left the dock, we met up with our friends Ohana and La Nature and played on the beach. The next day, we did school and played board games on our boat with everyone. We ended up having dinner on La Nature and I accidentally dropped a fork in the water. The next day, Michael and I went to look for the fork under their boat. We found it and then played with La Nature on the mat. We decided to go to a big inflatable park with them for an hour. We had lots of fun. They gave us an extra hour for free for some reason.

IMG_9969The next day, we went to the customs dock to clear out. We docked well this time and cleared out. We went back to the anchorage to wait for all our friends to clear out. Once everyone was officially checked out of Aruba, we headed towards Columbia, South America!

Bonaire ~ Michael

Mikey caught several fish on the way to Bonaire

Once we left Bequia, we put out some fishing lines. The first thing we caught were two small jacks. After that, a squall came and ripped a small whole in our spinnaker sail. It took a lot of work to get it down. Then, a huge wahoo bit our lure. It jumped out of the water, and it looked bigger than me! Unfortunately, it got off, and we lost the fish. The next day we caught another jack. The day after that a huge fish, bigger than the last, bit our big lure. It could have been a blue marlin, a bluefin tuna, or a swordfish. Finally, we caught 2 mahi mahi just before we got to Bonaire.

GLTXvybaTTaO+U5EMUkzXwIt was Katelyn’s birthday. We met ten new kids. Our grandma came to visit while we studied to get certified for scuba diving. She stayed for 1 week. We rented a car and drove to the other side of the island. I rode in the back of the truck. We had a picnic, and the iguanas ate some of our food.  Also, I found a ten dollar bill under a rock. No one was anywhere near us, so I kept it. Once Mamoo left, we got certified for diving. A day of diving went by, and then we left.

Having lunch in the south part of Bonaire