Nancy and Sam welcome you aboard Windfall, our 1977 Maple Leaf sailboat. Windfall is a center cockpit design, 42' length, 13.5' wide, and 40,000 lbs of cruising fun!

On August 7th, 2010 we set sail on our "No Itinerary" world cruise and enjoying the "Cruising Life" very much! It's a wonderful adventure!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back in the USA (for now)

  We are Oregon (ONLY for a while that is)!

Mt. Hood Oregon - Our backyard playground
  Cruising is wonderful but we miss our families and also want to feed the cruising kitty. A trip home to visit and work was due so we flew from Bocas del Toro, Panama to Panama City. Our plane was delayed due to torrential rains on both ends of the flight. We had to land at an old US airfield that is now used for an executive airfield, wait for the storm to pass then go on the 5 miles to the PC airport. Only in the tropics!   We picked up our luggage stored on a friends boat then spent the night at a hotel with a shuttle. 5am comes way too early even if you are excited. Florida here we come on the first leg of the journey.
Weeki Wachi's famous "Mermaid Show"
    First, we flew to Florida and spent a wonderful 10 days visiting Nancy's family and we even managed to take in the wonderful, and famous, Mermaid Show at Weeki Wachi Springs. Corny? Yes. Fun? Absolutely!  The water is crystal clear and comes right up from the ground to form the springs. Nancy's dad, Ed, said the first time he was at Weeki Wachi 78 years ago they camped in the field and swam in the clear water springs before it was a Florida "attraction".

 Nancy" - My beautiful mermaid
Mermaid and King Neptune ? I don't think so! 

    We flew to New Mexico to visit  Nancy's son Eric, his wife Rain, and our granddaughters Keziah and 6 week old Keira. We had a great time and even got to help on a few projects. We helped put a new coat of paint on the girls new playhouse. Once the new colors were agreed upon, brushes and rollers were soon flinging the colorful paints all over the little playhouse. Eric and Sam poured a small concrete pad at it's front door to really complete the "project". Once the job was totally complete we were treated to an afternoon "Tea Party" served by our host Keziah with little plastic cups and saucers. We're sure the little playhouse will be much enjoyed by our two beautiful granddaughters with many more "Tea Parties" to come.
Proud Grandma Nancy with Keira

Granddaughter Keziah's newly painted playhouse

   Our next stop, Portland Oregon. We visited our good friend Jim at Hood River. His home has lovely views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia river gorge. It happened to be cherry season, and of course being Oregon it began to rain....death for a cherry crop. With the spectacular view we watched as one cherry grower flew a helicopter close above the cherry trees to "dry" the cherries before they had a chance to split open from the rain...and I'm sure that wasn't cheap!
Jim's awesome view of the Columbia River and the Valley
    We borrowed a vehicle from Jim and drove to Portland/Vancouver to stay a few days with Nancy's friend, Lois. She just purchased a new home and is still arranging items.  We all had dinner at the Deck restaurant on the Columbia River, where we enjoyed the boating atmosphere. Nancy visited with some of her sailing friends from the Oregon Women's Sailing Association and told a few stories of our adventures.

   We spent several days with Sam's mother, Charlene, in Roseburg and enjoyed the annual Roseburg 50's Show & Shine Cruise with old cars cruising the downtown street. Uncle Chuck, Charlene's twin, had two cars attending the cruise. We got to take a "few laps" around town in a 1930's Model A and in a 1930's Speedster with my cousin David.WOW!  Fun to ride around and show off the restored old cars. Fun! Fun!
"Cousin Dave" & Nancy cruisin' with the 1930's Sportster

Keep the motor running Uncle Chuck.... While I make a quick bank "withdraw" !

    We are now in Eugene Oregon visiting with daughter Denielle, husband Jeff,  8 year old grand daughter Shannon who is visiting for the summer ...and of course our now 1 year old grandson Bodhi! Bodhi's a great little guy with a fun personality, and Shannon is a wonderful, fun, playful girl and a great "big sister" too.
Denielle & Bodhi with birthday cupcakes for everyone

Yo Yo Yo G'Son ...Wass-up!
    Jeff and Denielle put on a big BBQ for Bodhi's 1st birthday and did a great was lots of work but well worth it! 
Bodhi's First Birthday gift from Grandpa Sam and Grandma Nancy - Have fun Bodhi!
Push us some more Grandpa!
Nancy got a Travel Nurse job in Eugene just a few minutes from Denielle's. We purchased a Ford 4x4 pickup for travel and fun adventures on day's off. Oregon has many wonderful places to see, things to do, with miles of mountainous forests and high desert wilderness to explore and lots of rivers to fish. Jeff is about to begin building a new McKenzie River drift boat - specially designed to fish the smaller rivers of Oregon. And, the McKenzie River flows right through Eugene and is famous for it's steelhead fishing. Jeff has asked Sam to help him and he is excited to get started...then, LOOK OUT FISH!
  So, for the next 6 months we will be around Oregon.....somewhere, and enjoying life to it's fullest.
    Life is good for us "Land Lubbers" but we are already missing Windfall..."sniff sniff." 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We're on the Caribbean !

Windfall -  "Fendered-Up" ready for the transit
6am - Our Adviser comes aboard

Passing under the Bride of Americas - Here we go!

Wednesday May 16th4:45am - Awaiting the adviser to come to buoy #6 (entrance to the Panama Canal) to meet us aboard Windfall for our transit. The canal authorities tell everyone this time but the advisers usually get to boats at 6am the   We met our adviser, Edwin, who we found to be a wonderful guy and kept us smiling.
Our line handlers consisted of Nancy, Doug, Linda, with "Tucker the dog" (Aquadesiac), and Larry (Rocinante), they all wanted to get some canal “experience” before taking their boats through “The Ditch”.
Crew, Adviser, ...and Tucker
                Our first 3 lock passages had Windfall side-tied to a big Tugboat (easy), then the 40 mile trip across the “Cuts” and Gatun Lake to the Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side of Panama. We were waiting for two boats, a 70’ power boat and 72’ sailboat traveling together with young crew and coming from Mexico doing missionary work. The first two locks we were side-tied with the power boat tied along the wall, next was the 72’ sailboat side-tied to the powerboat, then Windfall side-tied to the 72’ sailboat. As the doors open for the next lock, we untie the boats and reposition inside the next lock. All was easy …that is…till we came to lock #3.
Captain and Admiral - Side-tied to Tugboat "Dolega"
Behind us was a PanaMax ship 660’ long and 106 wide…giving only 2 feet of clearance on each side of the ship to the canal walls. The ship began to move ahead before we (the three boats) were secured in the next chamber! Let me just say that when a HUGE ship moves inside the chamber, pushing a HUGE amount of water ahead, that water must go somewhere…and it did! We had a HUGE amount of water pushing us forward toward the lock doors and walls, and to make things worse…neither of the other boats were even tied to the wall or together…and Windfall had to wait while they fight the current and attempt to tie together before we could side-tie with them!
Windfall did TWO full 360 degree turns inside the chamber while waiting for the two boats to get secured and ready for us! For those who do not know the difficulty of handling a 42’ sailboat in tight quarters…this was DIFFICULT! Somehow we managed to keep Windfall out of Harms Way and only scraped our anchor along the canal wall once! GULP! It was a high stress moment for the Captain, Crew, and Adviser of Windfall.
THAT'S the giant that caused our problem!  Beware! Beware!
The Adviser didn’t have good things to say about the big ship’s Pilot who allowed the ship to enter the chamber before all three boats were secured, he added how some pilots properly wait for the boats to become secure then move the huge ship ahead…and others just don’t care about the small boats transiting the canal…as was the pilot of the huge ship behind us. This is where, and how, many boats transiting the canal become damaged, Windfall and the other two boats were lucky this time.
All smiles after TWO 360 degree spins inside the canal
After the excitement with Windfall safely secured to the other two boats, Nancy came back to the cockpit with tears in her eyes…tears of joy, relief, and very thankful Windfall and crew were now safe. I must admit, I too was nervous keeping Windfall off the canal walls, turning the wheel hard port and hard starboard with engine full forward then full reverse. Thank you Lord! We are safe!
We entered Shelter Bay Marina around 5:30pm as the crew quickly headed to the wonderful showers and pool awaiting our arrival. Nancy and I toasted Champagne in the cockpit, “To a safe arrival and wonderful Crew!” Thank you Doug, Linda, and Larry!
Windfall's 7,000 miles since leaving Portland set in the canal! 
After a wonderful dinner for the Windfall crew at the marina restaurant, and several well deserved drinks, we said good-bye to our crew heading back to Panama City via Roger the Taxi driver who we’ve used many times before.
A toast to the Crew and a safe transit - We made it!
The next morning we slept in till 8am...which for me (Sam) is very late! We had not been tied in a marina since El Salvador! After a few rolly nights at anchor in Panama being tied in a marina slip felt pretty good. 
We quickly checked-in with the marina and signed up for a van ride to Colon to check-in with the “Capitania de Puerto”. It was much like going to the local DMV…what should take 15 minutes took 2 ½ hours! “Keep smiling,” one woman told us, “I’ve been coming here 10 years and this is normal!” Sheesh!
Our next item on the list was a dehumidifier to leave inside Windfall at Bocas del Toro and leave it running for the 7 months while we are gone back to the USA. And of course…more food for our 4 day sail from Shelter Bay Marina to Bocas.
Nancy and I enjoyed cold beverages in the hot afternoon sun while in the wonderful swimming pool…Ahhhh, that is wonderful!!!
Aquadesiac is to transit the canal in few days. So while we waited, Nancy and I got out our bicycles and started riding around the area to see what is here. Shelter Bay Marina is built on the old US Fort Sherman area, complete with large buildings to house solders and many barracks, given to the Panamanian government as were many other US properties. From our bicycles we spotted Capuchin  Monkeys scampering in the tall trees high above, and we could hear Howler Monkeys in the distance. Whew! Time to head back to the pool!
Nancy and I rode our bikes around the area
Sunday afternoon May 20th - Aquadesiac entered Shelter Bay with overheated crew ready to check-out that pool and sample the many coldies served up in the bar.   
Monday May 21st  - We set our course the next morning for the Rio Chargres and Ft. San Lorenzo, a Spanish fort built in the 1600’s to protect the gold being brought down the Rio Chargres. Ahh, but where there’s gold there’s PIRATES!  Captain Morgan to be precise! Yes, the real Capt. Morgan!

Aquadesiac entering Rio Charges with Ft. San Lorenzo above

Fort San Lorenzo - Captured by Captain Morgan

The 400 year old Spanish fort San Lorenzo and some of it's cannons

  From high above on the cliff overlooking Lajas Reef, Morgan’s  men watched his ship ran aground and started to sink, and with three more ships racing closely behind they too ran upon Lajas Reef and began to sink.
San Lorenzo high above and Lajas Reef where Capt Morgan sank his ship and three others.
That had to be a bad day to stand high above and watch your Captain sink his ship below…along with three other ships as well! And, I’m sure per the Captain’s orders, not ONE WORD was spoke about “The Incident” among the men.
We just had to snorkel where Morgan lost four ships, but found nothing. Next time I’ll bring dive tanks and our underwater metal detector!
 Later that evening I toasted Captain Henry Morgan and crew with a Captain Morgan Rum and poured a bit of the Grog into the water! Kind of fitting don’t you think? 
Recently, National Geographic located the ships behind the reef and started a documentary about Captain Morgan. I was fortunate to actually meet the group who found the wrecks while I transited the canal with friends aboard Varuna last year.
Dude, where's your boat?
Tuesday May 22nd - We anchored at Euero, a remote beach about 45 miles from the Rio Chargres, not much here just a place to anchor for the night.
 Wednesday May 23rd - Set our course for the island Escudo de Veraguas said to be one of the most scenic of all Panama…Well, we’ll just see about that! It will be hard to beat the Las Perlas Islands on the Pacific side! But, I must say, the water on the Caribbean side a very beautiful sapphire blue color that really can’t be described with words.
Welcome to Isla Escudo de Varaguas!
As I’m writing this, 16.6 nautical miles from the Isla Veraguas, I can see coconut trees lining the horizon of the blue-blue water ahead….I’m starting to believe the island’s scenic beauty may be true.
This is our second BEST snorkeling area! VERY COOL!
The island is beautiful with its coconut lined white sandy beaches making an amazing contrast with the blue sapphire Caribbean water. Amazing to say the least! Along the beach are five or six abandoned thatch huts once used by local fishermen that add charm to the island. One hut even has a hand carved dugout canoe resting beside as if ready for fishermen to take out beyond the beach and begin tossing hand nets.
Just look at that water!
As Windfall found the perfect sandy spot to settle in for a couple days, Nancy watched our anchor gently touch the sandy bottom 25’ below in the clear blue Caribbean water. It wasn’t long before we were in the 85° water; time to get the scuba tank out and clean the boat bottom and propeller. As I scrapped the barnacles from the hull, I watched as each fell like feathers to the sandy bottom 25 feet below, the water is so clear it can only be described as swimming in a wonderful aquarium. 
It wasn’t long after we finished cleaning the hull Doug and Linda come over to enjoy the evening sunset, sipping coldies in the cockpit, and gazing upon that bright Caribbean sun sinking into the gorgeous blue horizon. No “Green Flash” at tonight’s sunset…buy we’ll keep watching. At certain times, when the sun is at the very last point to fall into the Caribbean water, it’s rumored there is a very quick green flash of light, this is our new quest….To seek out and find new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone…no wait a minute…that’s not it. Oh here, here it is: “To see the infamous “Green Flash” somewhere along our Journeys.”

Thursday May 24th – Or “Black Thursday” as I call it, I’ve turned 52 today. Oh well, it’s really just another day in Paradise. We enjoyed the day snorkeling and diving; Doug and I did two dives where we seen barracuda, sting rays, lobsters, and assorted brightly colorful fish swimming around us without care.  We snorkeled one area with the girls that we voted as the second best spot we’ve EVER snorkeled (Isla Islotes, Mexcio being #1). This area of the island was so fun and even had a cave that we snorkeled through that went from one beach and come out at another beach…it was very cool! WOW! We MUST come back and spend several days just exploring, snorkeling, and diving the entire island.  
Nancy made a delicious birthday cake for me and we celebrated with a wonderful dinner under the stars shared with good friends and the tropic warmth.

Friday   May 25thBOCAS DEL TORO - As we passed the colorful small town of Bocas, we called on the VHF for directions to enter Bocas Marina. Chuck, the marina manager, told me it was “low tide” and will be a “little shallow” in one spot…But there would be enough depth to make it in…I watched as we inched Windfall across the entrance and the sonar reading 6 feet…5….4….3….2….then 6 feet GULP!! I’m sure Nancy and I both lifted our feet as Windfall crossed at the shallowest reading! WHEW! We’re used to the Pacific’s 20 foot tides, but here in the Caribbean 18 INCHES is the maximum tide! This will take a little getting used to being comfortable with.
We made it to Bocas del Toro! Whew!

Busy "downtown" Bocas"
Bocas Marina is a great little place to leave Windfall for our months away, secure, very low key, friendly, and safe from any hurricanes. We already plan to spend much more time here when we return.
Windfall's view at the slip...nice!!
 With dry throats, and a friendly cruiser’s bar next door, we ordered coldies to quench our thirst. We were in luck as later that evening there will be a live band and a celebration for the marina secretary retiring and going back to her home in South Africa. We had a great time, but were also tired from our passage and really not eager to preparing Windfall for our necessary time away.
Nancy called friends, Dave and Cristy, who lived in Portland and have lived in Bocas for the last three years. Dave said he’d come over and “show us the town”. Bocas must have a lot to offer if they’ve been here for 3 years and not ready to leave yet! The town’s building are very colorful painted bright yellows, turquoise, peach, and purples. Bocas, built in the banana  like a colorful town written from a Hemingway novel… ….I know Jimmy Buffet has been here,  I’ll check if “Papa” has been here too.
Local boys in their dugout
As we cleaned Blondie (the dinghy) we spotted a few young boys playing catch with a baseball but they only had one mit. I asked if they like baseball, "Yes!" was the reply. I returned from Windfall with my old baseball mit and three new baseballs! The smiles were priceless. Later the boys were swimming near the dinghy, Nancy and I knew what to look for in Bocas the next day and give to the boys...swim masks and snorkels. The next day the boys paddled to Windfall and we  gave thema new baseball bat...and then presented new swim masks with snorkels!  Oh! The boys were excited to test the masks and play some ball later!
 Windfall is now secured and ready for our trip to the USA. We love the Bocas area and plan to stay around there when we return January. It's hard to leave our Windfall, but the crew at Bocas Marina is very talented and will take good care of her while we're gone.

Colorful hotel in Bocas

Friday, May 11, 2012

Windfall is Transiting the Panama Canal !

Las Brisas (The Breezes) Causeway at sunset...Our view each night from Windfall.
Hello Everyone!
      Windfall is now "officially measured" (48.88' overall length) and we have a date of May 17th  to transit the Panama Canal to the Caribbean side! After the boat is measured you then go to a specific bank to pay $1,500 (includes a refundable $875 deposit), the next day you schedule with the canal for a date and time to transit.
     Now the fun begins to get getting everything prepared, stocked, provisioned, stowed, locked, Diesel and Gas topped off, oils and filters changed, and new course set for Shelter Bay Marina on the other side of the canal.
     We plan to have Doug & Linda (Aquadesiac) and Larry (Rocinante) come along as line handlers....Hey we asked a lot of friends from the US to come through the canal with us, only to get excuses like "Well, uhh, err, hmmm..I've got to dog-sit that day", or "I'm not sure but I don't think we can get the time off", and finally "When? Uhhh,  I can't make it then, maybe next time"! Sure, sure...we understand...really, we do! Ha Ha It's okay!
A Moray Eel at the nearby Smithsonian Institute

     A Two-Toed Sloth (with new baby) lives in the trees at the  parking lot - They sleep 20 hours a day! Nice!
Hey Nancy! If you need me I'll be in one of those trees! 

Our Admeasurers with paperwork completed allowing Windfall to transit the canal - Thank you!

     We've got our lines and tires reserved - you must have aboard and use (4) heavy 1" lines 125' long to tie to the canal, and 10 tires used as fenders to guard off the walls and/or Tugboats we will be tied alongside.
     Nancy has been stocking up a new LARGE cooler with bottled water, sodas, and other drinks for our crew to enjoy while transiting, it's amazing how much a crew can go though when doing the transit.
     Currently, it's not known if we will make the transit the entire canal in one day, or if we will spend the night in Gatun Lake, as we've done on friends boats transiting the canal in the past, and make it a two day passage.  Either way...Caribbean here we come!!
Map of Panama
     Our plan is to transit the canal, spend a few days in Shelter Bay Marina while Doug and Linda transit. Then, after we've got both boats in Shelter Bay we'll set a course for Bocas del Toro to the Bocas Yacht Club and Marina ( where we've got reservations to leave both Windfall and Aquadesiac for 7 months while we both travel back to the US.
    We're not in too big a hurry to get to Bocas del Toro, so we've got a few days planned to stop along the way and get in some great snorkeling, fishing, and adventures along the way. 
     We will definitely miss Panama City, the beautiful Las Perlas Islands, Taboga Island, and the Darien areas, and the many friends we've made while here.

 This is the link to the Panama Canal Live camera... if you wish to take a look at where we'll be on the morning of May 17th.   The Miraflores Locks are on the Pacific side and the first set we will transit, the HIGH RES camera is pointed to the opposite end of the same locks. There are 3 locks, two at the Miraflores, and one a half mile further at called the Pedro Miguel Lock. Once through these three locks its an easy 40 mile trip through the "Cut" (where they actually dug the canal) and through Lake Gatun and to the Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side. We will "Lock-up" (raise) 85 feet from the Pacific to Lake Gatun, then "Lock-down"(lower) 85 feet, via three additional locks (near Colon) to the Caribbean. FUN!
     The new (larger) locks are to open in 2 years for the ships too large to pass through the current locks on each side. These ships are known as "Post Panamax Ships" and carry 5,000 to 10,000 containers. These ships cannot (currently) pass through the locks and must offload before the locks, then loaded onto the Panama Railroad, and finally the containers will be offloaded from the train and onto another "Post Panamax" ship waiting at the opposite end. You can see why these new locks are so important for the entire world markets!    
     Hopefully, we will be transiting beside and tied to a large tugboat. It takes two tugboats assistance for many of the ships that enter and exit the locks, but we may end up ahead or behind a large ship in the same lock! Gulp! As the current from the big ship's propeller(s) can really cause a lot of turbulence in a lock, this is when it's a little more tricky for our line-handlers to control the lines tied from the canal to Windfall ! Whoa! Hold on! Oh, and those tires tied along Windfall's sides...THIS is when they'll come in handy to prevent Windfall from grinding on the side of the canal's cement walls or the side of the Tugboat. Exciting for sure!!

All smiles - Nancy & Pam from the Idaho catamaran "Tisha Baby"
Doug and Linda (background) enjoying the evening

There's a lot of cruiser's advice going around that table!
       Tonight we went to our "last" Thursday pizza & beer night here beside the anchorages...there were many cruisers attending, even a couple guys with guitars stopped by and played a few songs for us. We stayed for several hours talking with other cruisers, where they're heading to, what their future plans are.
     Oh, how we will miss Panama City and it's wonderful people, the many friends we've made along the way, beautiful Isla Taboga (Island of Flowers) and the famous Las Perlas Islands...(Spectacular!) We just realized we won't be on the Pacific anymore, I guess we'll have to adjust to our new cruising grounds...The Caribbean!!  I may take some time to adjust, but the crew of Windfall will do our best and keep you updated on more Windfall Adventures!

     Well, time to get busy and cleaning Windfall, Nancy wants us to look "pretty" (polished & ship-shape) when we transit the canal ! Yep!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Return to Wounaan

Welcome Back!

Doug & Linda out for a dinghy trip

Windfall arrived on the Rio Sucio on April 11, 2012 with Doug & Linda aboard Aquadesiac, Millennium, and SunRunner.

April 12 – We plan on staying here on the Rio Sucio for a week, visiting the village and enjoying the many rivers and natural wilderness of the Darien Gap.
We went to the village to look at the medical situation and check on the woman we left some medication with, we found she went to the hospital for treatment.

We told Alfredo we wanted to bring the medicine and goods to the village tomorrow and have it distributed evenly, he informed us the people would be gone to another village 4 hour walk away and asked if we could bring the things now. Sure! So back we went to the boats and to begin loading up. We brought 12 year old Yaritza with us as she wanted to help. We had no longer got back to the boat when a cayuca load of adults and children from the village arrived…they wanted to come aboard and didn’t want just Yaritza to have all the fun. Oh well, soon we had about 15 people aboard Windfall enjoying ice water and a few snacks Nancy managed to bring out under a very short time.
Packing goods to the village
With the help of several people on board doing the “fire bucket brigade” with packages of goodies to share, we loaded our dinghies completely full and raced for the village.
Goods in the Church ready for distribution
Chief Alfredo, his helper Jose, and other men were waiting for us at the church and ready to set the items on the wooden pews to spread out for distribution among the people. It was like Christmas had arrived at Cana Blanca! The whole village was anxiously awaiting, looking at each item brought out from each bag and carefully placed on the wooden pews. Items were by category…toys, education items, books, medicines, reading glasses in various strengths, fishing knives, tools, clothes, shoes, soaps for bathing and soaps for laundry, women’s clothing, children  clothing...yes, it looked like Kmart had opened a store in Cana Blanca with anxious shoppers peering into the windows and doors with careful eyes trained on the items they want!
My job, (Sam) job was to herd the little children back from the toy section…which I have to admit was a bit like herding wild cats! I spotted one little 5 year old boy with his eyes focused on a toy lion, slowly I reached my hand toward the animal as if I was going to grab it before he had a chance…this kid gave me “The Look” that said, “Back off Gringo, that’s my animal!” Ha Ha 
Our friends Doug and Linda, from Aquadesiac, contributed many items to the cause and went shopping with us in Panama City looking for bargains and necessary items to give to the village (Thank you again!)
Me! Me! Me! Me!
Jose did a great job handing out the items, making sure each family got the items they needed. The people were wonderful, gracious, and very thankful for the gifts we brought. Even items like a shovel, hammer, nails, and more files to sharpen tools and machetes were much appreciated by the men. It’s the simple things, like a proper tool, that makes a job so much easier. When the hammer and nails came to offer, the men all knew who would get these as the man chosen was like the contractor of the village. There was no question he would be the one to get these. The shovel will be put to use soon as we learned the church would be getting a cement floor. Somehow I was “volunteered” to help with the construction of the new floor!
We had a great time spent with the village people, and I’m proud to say Nancy’s Spanish is greatly improving...mine not so much, but I can understand some of what is being said. Hopefully I’ll be able to take Spanish lessons while we’re back in the US for 6 months. When we returned to the dinghies, one cayuca with a new 15 Hp outboard had sunk completely; the low tide raised the bow onto dry land as the stern dropped into deep water taking the outboard down with it.  I can only hope they know what to do to clean the motor and have it running again, they certainly cannot afford mistakes like this often.
We went to Doug and Linda’s for dinner, later a cayuca showed up…it was two boys from the village, Alexi and friend, were heading out with their nets to fish during the night. Linda offered a couple bowls of delicious black bean soup she made for dinner - which the boys accepted eagerly! I asked how much they are paid for the fish they catch – 60 cents per pound. We watched as the boys headed out into the darkness to set their net for the night and make their fortune.
Nancy and I returned to Windfall and soon were watching a movie in the cockpit to enjoy the cool evening breeze. A little whistle was heard near the boat, it was the boys watching the movie from their cayuca! Well, you may as well come inside and watch with us, within a minute they were comfortably seated watching Sea Patrol (Australian navy show).  After the show the boys asked if they could tie their cayuca to the back of Windfall so they didn’t have to untie from a shoreline tree and retie as the water level dropped (the river currently has a 12 foot tide). Yes, go ahead and tie up…we’ll see you in the “mañana”.
Not bad...considering!
Prep work for the new floor
April 16th – I was “volunteered” to help pour concrete inside the church with the Wounaan men, but little did I realize they had never poured concrete and wanted me to show them how to do it! Huh? Ok, well lets take a look at the project. They have 15 bags of cement, and the church dirt floor emptied. We need to make some forms and get the floor level… for the forms they had to use a chainsaw to cut “boards” from some wood slabs they had. Ok, so this wouldn’t pass any code by any means. Rough sawn boards were used to make our forms, green branch sticks pounded into the ground made for sturdy stakes. Now let me just say, the wood we used was so hard you could not drive a nail into them! I brought along a cordless impact drill with a LOT of screws which made for easier form building. I also intruduced  them to a chaulk line which they never seen before but admired how easy it is to use for making straighter boards!
Chainsaw Chaulk line straight boards
With one form built and ready for pouring, the men mixed the cement, water, rock, and sand (all hand carried in 5 gallon buckets from the river) in a cayuca (canoe) which I must say worked great! Before long we were mixing, pouring, and finishing the concrete.  I’m not sure how they ever expected to pour the concrete because the other concrete slabs in the village were laid by hired workers from another village and nobody had any experience of how to do this!
Lunchtime was a special time, one day the women cooked rice with chicken soup (which was delicious!), they second day was rice with chicken, and the third day was rice with fish – the fish was deep fried and very delicious!
Chef Nancy mixing up something chocolaty
A Wounaan "Single Burner" stove - Note the rope holding up the log used to feed the fire easily
Now...don't complain about how bad your stovetop is!
One day while I was pouring concrete, Nancy gave a cooking lesson for the women – Chocolate cake and rice pudding cooked on their open fire using a double pot for an oven! The women loved the cake and rice pudding and were soon asking if they could get the chocolate makings  in La Palma (3 hours distance by motor boat). 

5 Card Stud - The boy cleaned me out!
One day at lunch the rain came down with a vengeance. Everyone stalled till the rain let up, so I asked one of the children to get a deck of cards and I would show them a trick. Before long I was teaching the children 5 Card Stud Poker and playing for match sticks! One little boy cleaned out my pile of matches!!
After three days of very hard work, and15 bags of cement later, we had most of the floor poured.  They ran out of concrete and did not know when they could afford to buy more and finish the floor.  The floor turned out pretty well considering my poor Spanish and the men not knowing what to do. But, they now have experience making a concrete form, mixing concrete, pouring, and finishing the concrete…which makes me feel pretty good inside as well. 
The village asked that Nancy and I write our names in the concrete, what a special offering this was for Nancy and I. How could we resist. Nancy used a nail and wrote our names as the men watched. I joked how “Sam” is written so little and “Nancy” is written so big! They all laughed.
A great bunch of hard workers...and Sam
"El Jefe" (the Boss)
On our last day in the village we went for a walk on a trail leading from the village to the mountains. Along the trail were cut sticks of about 3” diameter, 4’ to 5’ long, crossing the entire trail every 6 feet.  I asked what the sticks were for and was told to roll the logs down from the mountains to the village…which could be miles! The logs are cut and shaped into the cayuca (canoes). When the trail crossed a steep ravine or creek the men placed logs across to help skid the logs over. One can only imagine the hard labor to drag an entire log 3’ diameter by 30-40 feet length down a trial, but when it has to be done they do it and have for many centuries.
After our walk we invited the village children to visit Windfall and Aquadesiac for a DVD movie and snacks.  We both ended up with about 13 children in each dinghy for the ride. We put on the Disney movie Madagascar (in Spanish) and the children loved it! Nancy had some trail mix snacks to serve which went quickly! 
Nancy was printing out pictures of the children, which took the focus on the movie away and toward her.  I asked if the mother, Corallia, would like to see a DVD of us beginning our adventure of the US and Mexico. Before long all eyes were on our DVD of Washington’s San Juan Islands, Oregon coasts, San Francisco, and Mexico. They loved the big trees of Oregon and Washington, the big mountains of Sierra Nevada, but did not care for the desolate dry desert of Mexico’s Baja.
Yes, it is sad to be leaving our new friends, but it’s time to pull anchor and set a course for the Las Perlas Islands and back to Panama City where Windfall will be measured for transiting the famous Panama Canal next month (May) where we’ll be sitting comfortably on the Caribbean……Ahhhhhhh.
On our way to the Las Perlas Islands, Doug (Aquadesiac) noticed we had many shrimp boats working an area directly ahead. With a 5 gallon bucket and bottle of $5.50 rum we dropped Blondie into the water and motored up alongside in hopes to trade rum for shrimp. Soon, TEN POUNDS of huge shrimp were lowered to the dinghy! With smiles on both parties faces we raced back to the boats to continue on our way. Not bad, these huge fresh caught shrimp - that worked out to be 55 cents a pound instead of the $18-$20 per pound price in the US! Yum! Hey Nancy! Pass that garlic butter for more shrimp on the Barbie! And, we’re going to need a lot more beer to go with these monster shrimp! (I mean really, can’t you just smell those shrimp cooking on the BBQ?) Oh my! These ARE delicious!!
Our plan is to cross the canal Mid-May to put Windfall “on the hard” (dry docked) at Shelter Bay Marina on the Caribbean side while we travel back to the US for 6 months.  When we return we have many projects planned for Windfall – New bottom paint job, new batteries, and more solar panels.
Nancy’s daughter, Denielle, has secured a PhD program at University of Oregon in Eugene and husband, Jeff, is continuing his studies there as well. We hope Nancy can get a Travel Surgical Nurse job near Eugene to see Denielle, Jeff, and our newest grandson Bodhi to spoil him as much as possible. We also have our second Granddaughter soon on her way, Rain and Eric, are due any day now! WOW! Times are changing fast.
We have more adventures in store when we return to Panama, including a trip to Panama’s San Blas Islands (said to be the most beautiful islands in the world), and of course Cartagena Columbia and the entire Caribbean! Yes, the future has promises of more adventures, and we’ll be ready to share them all. But, for now, we’ve got courses set for the Panama Canal!
Come back soon! 
Typical Wounaan Home
A refreshing Wounaan Pool Party!
Sammy "Van Halen" plays here twice a week!
In Construction
New Cayuca in the makings
Cayuca try that!
New Cement Mixer arriving!
Typical Girls....Talk...Talk...Talk!!