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!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Panama Carnaval

Hola Mi Amigos! 
Time is quickly passing while I'm aboard Windfall, Nancy is to be back aboard March 3rd...which means I've got a LOT of cleaning to do before  "Queen Nancy" makes her grand appearance back aboard!  Actually, I've been busy running wires and connections for two new solar panels, this will give us a total of 3 and possibly install two additional panels later. Solar is cheaper than diesel and you don't have to listen to the generator running for hour after hour...Yes, you could say Windfall is "Going Green"....and not just because the moss-color of the hull! Nancy wants a new washing machine installed when she returns, and after doing some of my own laundry in a bucket I couldn't agree more!

In the meantime, I've been staying busy with other cruisers taking pitty on me being alone on Windfall  inviting me to many events, free cruising seminars, and fun outings. One special dinner was held at our new friends Carmin and Louis home, both are Colombians living and working in Panama. Louis is a salesman for a international pump manufacturer, and his wife Carmin is a Panama tour guide...BOTH have fun personalities to say the least! Dinner was held in the backyard and served with much humor, laughter, with tall tales told by all.

The Panama Carnaval starts tomorrow, Saturday, and goes through Fat Tuesday....Lousi and Carmin offered to pick us up and take us to not one, but TWO Carnival events- both starting tomorrow!  Well, who can say no to a professional tour guide with curbside vehicle service...for free!!

"Miss Panama"....AKA Carmin
At One O'clock we were on our way to a Caribbean Carnaval celebration held at a huge convention center where hundreds of people offered delicious exotic foods and handmade items. I can honestly say I've never had ox-tail served with coconut rice...but, I must say it's absolutely delicious, spicy, and  I would order it again in a heartbeat! We sampled many foods, but only after we asked what it was...and, especially since my Spanish isn't so good, I made sure what I was eating first! Let me give you a quick example.... I seen a sign that read "Ojo" (which means "eyes" in Spanish)...Well, I'm the first to admit, I'm not really up for a heaping plate full of eyes served on a plate looking back at me! So, I asked Carmin if this was "correcto"? She got a puzzled look then asked the server if "Ojo" is correct.....Nope! The sign was in v poor handwriting and meant to say "Ajo" ...Garlic! Whew! I could only imagine using a fork and chasing a plate full of round eyeballs... around.... and around! Oh my! Ha Ha That was a close one!! I didn't know if I'd have to buy them one at a time or by the pairs!......... "Ajo"..."Ojo"....HUGE DIFFERENCE!!! Be SURE which one (or two) you're getting before you order!

Delivery for Windfall ??

    As we left the convention center we noticed some of the parade floats having last minute details added that are to be in tonight's Carnaval parade, and before we knew it, Carmin was atop one of the floats smiling and waving her hand in the air as "Miss America".  Louis shook his head and said, "I told you..... Carmin is crazy"! 

    Later, we went to the BIG Carnaval event downtown near the waterfront where everyone was anxiously awaiting the start of the parade. Two of the major roads through the downtown area are closed off for this event as the parade travels in a large circle along the water front area, the beer vendors are lined up on BOTH sides of BOTH roads with more vendors pulling carts filled with ice...and MORE beer! One "vendor" used a cardboard box with a block of ice to keep the beer cold....I'm not sure how long he was going to be in business...But, what the heck ....Yep! I'll take one for a dollar!! Ameigo! Una cerveca por favor !! (My Spanish IS getting better!)

We took our seats on the sidewalk curb with the many dance performers and the colorful male "Devil Dancers" performed throughout the crowds. The costumes were colorful and amazing! I noticed as the "Devils" danced past some people the people would hold up their arms in a cross fashion. I asked Carmin why they do this? She replied it is like a Cross and meant to push the devil away.....So I mentioned that every time I walk past those same people they do the same thing! She laughed and said, "For you, I think that is normal"!..... Thanks, Carmin!

A new use for propane tanks...a BBQ!
A group of colorfully dressed Carnaval women danced past us with red umbrellas thrusting toward the night sky to the beat of the music. Suddenly, Carmin grabbed HER red umbrella and joined the women in the festive dance! Go Carmin! (Louis shook his head and said,"We may never see her again!")

After the parade passed down one street, we walked to the other street where the parade continued along it's course with more of it's musical, festive dancing, and partying. We sat at a table eating delicious grilled chicken, french fries with hot sauce, and of course...cold Balboa Beer!  

Gulp ! With Chuckie on top! 

"Senior Balboa"

There goes Carmin with her Red Umbrella!

Flame throwers and more was amazing!

And there goes Louis...with the Red Umbrella Ladies

Statue of Balboa
Boom! Boom! Boom! The drums beat comes those women dancing with the red umbrellas once again! Suddenly, now it was Louis with the red umbrella in hand and dancing his way down the street with the group of Carnaval women! Carmin quickly took a photo with her phone and sent a message to the family...."If you see Louis... please send him back HOME"! Ha ha 

 Thank you Carmin and are our wonderful new friends and a lot of fun! Let me just say, we ALL had a wonderful time.Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Carnaval in Panama is safe, fun, family friendly, and an wonderful event not to be missed...especially with great friends like Carmin and Louis to share it with.

Nancy has just 4 days of her travel assignment remaining, then after a quick week trip to Reno to visit with Denielle and Jeff....and to play with our 6 month old grandson Bodhi, Nancy will be on the plane bound for Panama! Bodhi has a smiling personality (with two new teeth I hear) and does a great job of keeping Jeff and Denielle in line.

Well Readers, the weather is currently a warm 87 degrees, blue skies, with a calm cool wind. Windfall is anchored with a beautiful view of Panama City at our starboard, and the Panama Canal on our Port side.  Australian friends, Peter and Cheryl aboard Stolen Kiss, have just left for the Galapagos Islands, and we are anxiously awaiting our New Yorker friends, Rick and Sue aboard Moonshine, to arrive in the anchorage any day now, and our wonderful Canadian friends, Ron and Heather aboard Sun Dancer to be arriving in El Salvador within the next few weeks, then continue on to Panama.

The question here in Panama is...Are you going left, or right...Meaning, do you go through the canal and where the gentle Caribbean winds lead you, or continue southward to Ecuador and turn to the Galapagos Islands? Hmmmm, decisions, decisions.....What's a sailor to do? You know, from aboard Windfall I can hear the Carnaval music playing from across the bay.....Hmmmm...It reminds me...It must be close to Five O'clock somewhere! I wonder if Louis has returned home yet? Maybe somebody should go look for him....But, I'm kind of busy you understand... at least as far as Nancy knows.

"Windfall here...Yes, yes, you can count me in on going to pizza tonight!"  Yep! Busy...busy..busy. Well, got to run, more adventures on the way! And if you see sure to send him home!


This is why we sail warm tropic waters!!
      Nancy and I are still away from Panama and counting the days till we return. I (Sam) am going to Portland to visit friends before returning to Panama next week.
     Last week we took a trip to Yosemite National Park with the snow covering the area, and what a beautiful sight we were treated to! Whew! The road was snow covered when the park Rangers stopped and asked if we were in 4-Wheel drive...Yep! Good thing, from the picture above you can see we needed it! 
    Light snow fell as we strolled the visitors center and enjoyed a wonderful day with the beauty of Yosemite, which I must admit even tops the scenic natural beauties of Oregon. We could spend a lot of time in Yosemite.

   We stayed a weekend with our cruising friends, Scott and Jerid from Portland who also lived in the same marina as us,  they were in Newport Beach (Blaboa Island) with their boat and heading to Mexico! We had a great time and went to a very large second hand store for cruisers where we bought some paper charts of Panama...yes, we still use paper charts as a backup for the high-tech electronics aboard know....just in case.
Blaboa Island sailing....California style...LOOK OUT!!!! Whew! That was close!

    And for our cruiser friends, here is a picture of the sailing traffic that you're missing where you're at. This picture makes you appreciate the open ocean! Scott and Jerid's boat is anchored out there...somewhere.....

    I flew to Portland to visit my friend Jim and his girlfriend Joanne. I found Joanne was quite a dog breeder as they had 10 Bichon show dogs (and 8 puppies) that look like fluffed-out white poodles fresh from the dryer! Oh my! I can't tell you how much I laughed at the sight of Jim walking these white dogs and keeping track of 2' of new Hood River Oregon snow...One dog ...Two dogs...Three dogs....$#%! One dog ...Two dogs...$#%! I'm not even sure if Jim can count to 18! Ha Ha
I had a great time visiting Jim and other friends while in Portland, but I must admit I was glad to be heading back to warm Panama and be back aboard Windfall.