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!!

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!!