April 06, 2010

Savor it

What an exciting week it has been here in Panama City. I keep thinking about how all the thing we have been doing on our long list are the things I absolutely loved reading about before we left. The days are filled with work but it is really rewarding to think that at the end of our shopping, fixin and installing we will be ready to be self reliant for 6 to 7 months!

I have learned a few lessons this week to......like don't load 100lbs of flour, 50 cans of tomatoes and 20 lbs of sugar in the bow of your boat it will actually tip the boat slightly forward! Who knew? Our cockpit drains are at the stern of the cockpit and once I had finished packing the groceries in the bow the water pooled at the front of the cockpit where there was no drain. I am sure you can all imagine how happy I was to unpack all of those groceries and rearrange with cereals, papertowel and toilet paper packed elsewhere. I kept telling myself, "savor it Julie, savor it"! LOL.

Now every book I have read about provisioning talk about re-sealing everything, since flour, beans and rice are prone to weevils. They also talk about getting rid of all cardboard packaging before getting on board, since cockroaches lay their eggs in the glue of the boxes. I was diligent but not obsessively so. I came home the other day from shopping and Graham says, "I have something to show you at the back of the boat". I head to the back and see one of my plastic containers that I store the vacuum sealed dried beans in and it hits me what is up. Graham pulls out a vacuum sealed bag of chic peas and it is filled with weevils (luckily contained). I don't do well with bugs. I freaked out. Needless to say it led to another job of checking every package of anything stored in the boat and checking for bugs. At the same time I got rid of any cardboard I could find. I found one other sealed bag of rice with some within. Again I am telling myself, "savor it, savor it"! On a side note many of the cruisers here say just to cook it up and skim off the weevils, since they float to the top. Not quite there yet.

Tomorrow I head off to the massive fruit and veggies market. We have our list of hearty veggies and fruits. I purchased a couple milk cartons to store everything in, now I just need to find a spot to put them. I also had the grocery store vacuum seal and freeze all our meat and tomorrow I will pick that up. The meat should hopefully stay frozen or at least partially for a few weeks. Once the meat is gone we are counting on Alex to catch fish.

Ok, enough about shopping. Graham has been busy with changing the hoses on the engine, changing a number of the sail lines, changing oils, installing the new auto pilot, setting up our preventer and pole and the list goes on and on.......Oh and of course he does all of this with a smile on his face. LOL. Truthfully though we are all really happy in amongst all of this work and chaos on board. Graham picked me up a mini shop vac the other day and I am shocked how happy a vacuum could make me. Who would of thought we would see the day? For those of you who remember Graham giving me a swiffer for my birthday, I am sure you would have thought he would never ever buy me a cleaning appliance again! Luckily he did though. This thing is amazing. I woke the kids up to the roar of the mini vac this morning. Graham was laughing remembering how his mom use to do the same.

I gave the kids each $50 to spend in the city. Alex spent $44 on fishing gear. He is crazy about fishing. It is really cool to see. He has a thing for raw chicken though. Drives me nuts. I guess the snappper go for it. He spent the remaining $6 on a segway rental for an hour. We even managed to get in trouble when I hopped on the back for a spin.

Can any of you guess what Amelia spent her $50 on??? hmmmm. Clothes of course. Amelia and I had a great day at a really nice mall. She tried on piles and piles of clothes, bathing suits and pjs. Clothing is really cheap here, so she got a pile of really nice stuff.

Easter was fun, although Amelia said, "I wish I didn't know because now you don't try as hard". Given this statement I tried to make it special. Both kids agreed that the best Easter ever for them was at my cousins Theresa’s house. They describe to each other in detail everything they remembered from that day. On board Artemo we all drew names to make each other a special card. We stayed up to 11 cutting, pasting and drawing. I wish you all could see these cards because you would laugh. Alex got Grahams name and inside his card he has written, "Here is a pros and cons list of yourself:"! omg I laughed. Number 1 pro is "Good with boats". Easter morning the kids found clothes pins that the bunny had hidden, since I believe the bunny is also worried about attracting bugs.

The kids are really good at bouncing around the boat on the halyard now. They have taken to hoisting themselves way up and swinging crazily around the spreaders and mast. Yesterday I look over and Amelia had lowered Alex through a hatch and he was hovering above the kitchen table like spider man.

Ok, so I am almost finished but one last story. Right now we cruise around in our dinghy with a 3.5 hp motor. For those of you who don't know this is a really small motor and we go super slow. The motor is also on its last leg. We have been rescued 3 times so far here in the bay. Alex is so embarrassed. Many years ago when we were planning this trip in Toronto Alex was babysitting his sister after school and instead of paying him we said the money would go towards a decent dinghy motor. Unfortunately the right time and the right price have never happened....until now. Graham has ordered a 9.8 Tohatsu ($1650) but it is stuck in customs, so he went to the Yamaha dealer to see if he could get a deal on their 9.9 (way better motor). Unfortunately the lowest the guy would go to was $2000. Alex has been asking me if I would go back and see if I could get him to go lower. Graham said that if he would go to $1800 then we could just pick it up. You guys know this is right up my alley. Alex told me how the sales guy was really "flat". His word. He didn't smile and was quite serious. When we walked in I introduced myself and asked his name. I told him how Alex had his heart set on this motor but we did have another on its way. I asked if he could come down farther on the price and he said that the best he could do was 1885 but no lower. I told him how our budget was really tight and that we were only a few dollars apart. I asked if he would bring it down to 1800 and we could make it a deal and......HE DID!!! In a few minutes we are leaving the boat to go and pick up our very respectable 9.9 Yamaha. We now will officially have something that someone may want to steal.

Our plans right now are to leave here on Thursday and sail the 5 hours to the Las Perlas islands (where survivor was filmed). We will spend a week there and then leave on the 7 day sail to Galapagos. We would then spend a week there and then sail the 23 days to Marquesas!!!!
Thanks to everyone who is following the blog. I have received many emails this past week wishing us well. It is really nice to feel so supported.


  1. Awesome Julie! I knew you would get that motor! LOL But now what happens to the motor stuck at customs??
    The bugs in the food is giving me the heebie-geebies. I can just imagine GP showing you the bag of bugs. Ewww....

    Millie, can't wait to see some fashion shots of you in your new outfits!

    Alex, it's so cool that you're the fisherman feeding your whole family! Did you get a picture of you doing the spiderman thing over the kitchen table? Joe would LOVE to see that!

  2. I got a tear in my eye when you said the kids thought my easter was the best one. I shall always remember it also and I thought of them this year. Hopefully when you return from your world trip they wont be to old to enjoy another easter at my place.

    I have to say I love it when you tell all about the groceries and the food part. It amazes me that you can be self reliant for 6-7 months. Unbelieveable!

    I am sure Alex will take his part as fishermen quite seriously. I can just picture him.

    I can also picture Millie trying on tons of clothes...been there seen that hahah. She has such a flare for fashion. I was just thinking yesterday actually of a frilly dress Carley and I had her try on and she said nicely its nice but top young looking....how old is she?? hahah She managed to find something very fashionable instead that looked amazing on her.

    Glad you got your motor julie. You missed your calling you should have been a salesman. Car salemen..they make more money...or maybe real estate. :)

    Look forward to your bloggs. Safe sailing.

  3. Can we hear the rest of GP's pro and con list please...ba ha haaa :>

    I can't wait to fish with Alex when I get there. Hopefully he will be a pro by then!

    Instead of rearranging the food you should have just put Millird's clothes in the other side of the boat to even things out!

    The bug story was gross. Don't cook the bugs and scrape them off please!

    Miss ya!!!!!!!

  4. Sounds like you are almost set to go. Lots of work but lots of learning - good things because you are learning more about yourselves and each other
    Dad/Grampa Griff and Cheryl/Nana Cheryl

  5. I loved hearing about your food prep if you talk to Linda again ask her about her bag of apples. I am glad that you threw out the bugs but nice to know that if you have to you can skim them off the top. I can just imagine the spider man thing and wish that you had a picture.
    Have fun and enjoy every moment as before you know it you will be back in the rat race.
    Love you lots

  6. I sure hope your having fun in Las Perlas!

  7. good luck, fair winds, and smooth sailing for your Pacific crossing.
    Best wishes
    Kerry and Hilary (still loosely in Jolly harbour)

  8. Julie - My husband & I are now following your adventure. We especially loved that your #1 pro was "good with boats". Funny. Keep safe.
    Bonni (Kurowski) Fehler