Thursday, May 1, 2014 April

For the month of March, while I was in San Diego, Ron was in Panama hunkered In front of the computer.  When it comes to internet shopping, there isn’t a woman on earth that can rival my captain.  He counts Amazon and Ebay among his most favourites of favourites.   Nothing can get in the way of him getting a good deal.  And as such, every day for me was an adventure too.  Come noon, when Fed Ex, UPS, and the USPS came calling, we would all gather ‘round to see what Santa Ron had provided for us today.  Sometimes the packages were mysteries, and I would have to try to come up with a plausible explanation for what I had unwrapped.  Other times, like when 100 bottle caps arrived, complete with a bottle-cap-putter-oner, it was fairly self-explanatory.  But always it was good fun.  I’m not sure when the transition happened, when I went from cheerfully opening up a box of jewelry to clapping my hands together while unwrapping a water pump, but the change has in fact occurred.   The metamorphosis is complete – I am a full-blown cruiser!  

Of course, the easy part is to purchase.  The hard part, the part that takes 100 times longer than it does to press BUY, is underway.  But both the boat and I, are the recipients of many cool improvements.  
Off a fellow cruiser, we purchased an oft-longed-for windvane.  We had never been able to afford one, but now we are the proud owners of a Monitor.  We were told by the company, that no one on a Vagabond had ever installed a Monitor - we are the first guinea pigs; let's hope it works!  15 pounds of my return baggage included additional needed parts but whooohhooo, we are VERY glad we’ve got a backup mechanical autopilot!  

Our new best friends, Gitte and Dr. David on Aros Mear, have been Santas unto themselves.  In a move of brilliant tradesmanship, Ron sold our leaky dinghy for $350, and we bought Aros Mear’s non-leaky dinghy for $400.  In addition, it’s about 50 pounds lighter – we are VERY happy.  They were also upgrading their generator, and for a few hours of help, Ron was able to move their DC generator onboard Sundancer, to sit beside our piece-of-shit AC generator.  Always necessary to have backups in this life.  

What else…..?  Repurposing the never-used fish cutting board, Ron has made a dashboard for a few new instruments (oil pressure, voltage, rudder angle, transmission temperature, oil temperature, and generator run time).  Now whenever the boat burps, we will know about it.   

We reinstalled our older tan-bark sails, and have had our other sails restitched, hopefully adding a few more years to the life.  A new swivel cam cleat has been installed to enable us to finally tweak our mainsheet INSIDE the pilot house.   

A brand new watermaker membrane (all 40” of it) also made its way through customs, and we are set for another 5 years of miraculously “turning seawater into drinking water”.  Now if I could only get it to turn the ocean into wine, the days of needing to stick to a budget would be over.  LED lights to brighten up our fridges when opened, blocks for our preventers, and……beer making supplies.  
Friends who have made the jump to the south Pacific report INSANE prices for beer.  $3.50 per can in the Marquesas, $4.00/can at Easter Island.  My captain drinks beer like water, and panic was setting in when I told him his daily allowance would be ½ a can when we were in those waters.  A plan needed to be hatched.  Another bit of trading, plus 20 pounds more in my baggage, and we are now outfitted to be able to brew up 30 gallons of beer and 6 gallons of hard cider.  I’m not clear as to exactly WHERE this is going to happen, but in all things my captain is clever.  

For any other cruisers out there, prior to returning to Panama I found a website called The Great American Spice Company.  I was on the hunt for alfalfa seeds to sprout when the supplies of lettuce had been depleted.  This company was a veritable treasure trove for the galley wench (of which I am one).  Sour cream powder, crème cheese powder, whole powdered eggs (maybe that should be powdered whole eggs), dried vegetable soup mix, alum powder and citric acid (I’m tired of paying $8 for a jar of pickles), alfalfa, mung and daikon radish seeds for sprouts, all got added to my luggage.  I’m not clear exactly when we are making the puddle jump, but when we do, I’ll be ready.  

There was more….but you get my drift.  Our waterline has been lowered yet again, but by god, our lives have gotten just a bit more comfortable.  

And now.....onwards, southwards and back down to Ecuador.  


  1. Good on you two.... We certainly have enjoyed our wind vane. Let me/ us know when you leave for Ecuador

    1. We are set to head out tomorrow, Lue. Fuel and water today.....but all provisioning has been done. PredictWind tells us it'll only be a 6 day journey - fingers crossed that their "predictions" are right.

  2. It is surprising when you are cruising full time just what makes you happy. It is not the expensive things in life but the cheap, little items that make life easier. Spices are a godsend for wherever you are then a little flavour makes all the difference. I am also with the skipper on the need for a stead supply of beer. Without that we would have to return to a more hospitable area of cruising.

    1. We all have our definition of what is required while cruising. For the captain it's beer, for me, wine. Thanks for checking in, Mark.