Pirates from Sockeye Blue… Visit Fort Portobello, Panama.
Spanish Fort Portobello
Now south of the Pacific hurricane line as pronounced by most insurance companies (ours included) we are free to relax and enjoy our cruising lifestyle. This is the start of Tina and John’s retirement adventure. We have worked hard for many years and hope now to relax and enjoy our friends, family, and good times around the world on our boat,
Sockeye Blue. As the day breaks I sit out on deck listening to the sounds of the jungle. Hillsides are a lush canopy of vegetation. The howler monkeys are howling the birds are singing and I am sipping Costa Rican coffee. The jungle smell and the heat are very present even at this time of the day. The sights in the water are every where. Black & white Pokka dotted fish to schools of large bass/grouper?? (20 pounds average) and lots of small multi colour fish.
Our agent will be coming to the boat this morning along with government officials to clear in the boat and all the crew. We have hired an agent as this is going to be a little more complicated as we are straying for more then the standard 3 months. We will need to get import tax exemption for our 2 Vespa motor scooters. The first steps of clearing in have gone very smooth. Lot of paper work in triplicate and lots of official stamps and signatures. Now we are free to roam. first we get a rental car. then we start to explore the surrounding area.
Frank and Murray are booking tee times at the Papaguyo resort. John is making reservation at the Four Seasons beach club so we can watch the Costa Rica play Greece. We are all off to the pool and the local marina bar for lunch. Then hang around the pool for the afternoon. Not a bad start to our arrival in Costa Rica.
Frank & Murray
On the managing the boat side of things we have had a problem with our air conditioning system. We have contacted the manufacture and have made contact with the manufactures rep here in Costa Rica. They will be driving here (300 miles) to fix our air conditioning. But not soon enough. we will still need to wait a few more days. living in this heat has us all exhausted. Temperature is 89 to 95 F day & night and with humidity of 80%+. IT IS HOT…… Other then the air/con problem the boat has had very few issues. All for now it is another day tomorrow.
Sockeye Blues home for the next 3 months.
John & Tina
Sockeye Blue our 75 foot Nordhavn arrived Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala after a long 12 day passage from San Diego.
Once tied up, two of our crew flew home from Guatemala City. The rest of us just wanted to take some time away from the boat. With the UNESCO city of Antigua only a hour road trip away we hired a car, driver and guide. Off we went, starting with a local tour of the port city of Quetzal and then the ports major supporting city called San Jose. Not very nice places. Seedy, run down and every second person is packing a gun. This country is still recovering from years of civil strife and war. Our guide assured us the guns are only for self protection and to protect property. He mentioned the only time things get out of hand is on crimes of passion. Down here you do not even think about even looking at someones wife or husband.
Watching the 2014 world cup soccer in Puerto Quetzal
As we set off to Antigua we got to see the two largest volcanoes in Guatemala. They are called FIRE & WATER.
We had done some research and had found a local farm in the Antigua area. We asked the driver if he knew the address. No problem he says. We all decided we would go there after visiting the city of Antigua. We needed to provision and this farm was advertized as organic and running a sustainable farm suppling all the local restaurants and hotels. Sounds good to me.
The city if Antigua was the first capital of Guatemala. Before the capital was moved to Guatemala City around 1850. Antigua was founded in 1547 by the Spanish. It’s demise was it was wiped out twice by volcanocs, floods and earthquakes. So when the capital was moved the city went to sleep. Only to reawaken in the 1960’s as a rediscovered colonial gem preserved in a time warp.
We walked the town and took in all the beauty. Had a wonderful lunch of chile rellenos. Then went to the local market which was fun for us as, The city has the ruins of 3 or 4 very large and old churches that were never rebuilt. And some that were.
The city is also famous for their Spanish language schools. So there are thousands of international students everywhere.
We met up with our driver to head back to the boat. But first the farm stop. With address in hand the driver was off. After a short 15 minutes we could see he had no idea were the farm was. The hunt was on. After many wrong leads and wrong directions from helpful locals, we found it.
With rain threatening the manager offered us a tour. We could see right away that this was going to be a good stop. Very clean very organized. As we walked the farm the manager explained every crop to us. He was very proud of the farm.
After the tour he took us to the farm’s store. We bought everything. We nearly run out of room in the car. What fun shopping in the jungle.
John & Tina
PS: the next day the guide comes to the boat very distraught . He tells us his best friend was killed last night. Shot by a jealous husband. GUNS EVERYWHERE!
Weather all the way was good the prevailing wind was NW 15 – 20kts. Had a little rough patch going around Cape Flattery. Tide, current and wind all mixing it up.
We set out for San Francisco April 17th and arrived the morning of April 22nd. What an arrival going under the Golden Gate bridge at dawn with the sun just coming up behind the bridge. We put into Sausalito for the next 6 days. The crew all flew home and back to work. They were Jacqui Everett, Steve Wilson, Nate Axel, and Ted Schinbein. All great friends and the greatest of ship mates. Hope to see them all back when they can enjoy a slower pace and relax.
We departed San Francisco for Half Moon. it was a short 4 hour trip with friends Yone & Dan Hill on board for the short ride. We loved our two day stop here. It is a little fishing port and we tied up with the fishing fleet. Eat seafood each day and bought more for the trip south.
Tina, Dan, John,& Yone
Left Half Moon Bay for Monetary & Carmel. A good place for a short stay. Then Departed for the Nordhavn rendezvou party at Danna Point. This was to be me and Tina’s first long overnight passage with just to two of us on board.
Well the long overnight trip was uneventful. But the morning brought some wind called a SAN ANNA WIND. Now they tell us San Anna wind only come in September. So it was a nasty little surprise. Blowing 40 to 50kts on the nose. We slowed down and headed for the eastern shore. Hugged the beach all the way from Ventura to San Pedro where we spent the night. Arrived at the Nordhavn rendezvou the next day all salty. Nordhavn was happy to see us and made some room right in front of the Nordhavn world headquarters offices.
Sockeye Blue as the mothership at the Nordhavn 2014 rendezvous in Danna Point CA
A wonderful three days was spent with Nordhavn owners from all over the world. Nordhavn did a wonderful job of hosting the event.
We left for San Diego and spent the next 3 weeks getting the boat ready for the big trip to Costa Rica. After many big jobs were completed and all provisioning had been done. Our Crew for the trip arrived May 29th. We fuelled up with 4000 gals giving us a total of 4550 Gals. With a good weather window it was time to go. Departing with a crew of 4 to help us with this long trip were our good fried Frank Keller and his and our new friend Murray Thesen. We also hired two crew out of Dana Point, Brad and Paul. Paul Grover is a retired airline pilot and a delivery captain and his friend Brad Shaw.
We had light NW winds for the first 6 days. Then we had no wind to light variable winds for a day or two. As we moved down the Mexican coast the weather changed around Acapulco. More southerly
swell and a SE wind. Temperatures were now in the 90’s and we were starting to get lighting and rain storm cells. Off of Acapulco the storm cells stirred up a good 20 to 30 kts of wind on our nose. Latter we were to find out that those storm cells turned in to a tropical depression and then into a hurricane named Christina. Tina loved it. She now has a hurricane named after her and one that she can say she rode the first two days of. After that we entered the Gulf of Tumanepece. The ride across was flat calm and we were fishing tuna and spotting turtle everywhere. We guessed that the turtles must have been migrating to their spawning grounds as there were thousands of them. As we closed in on our destination we stopped first in Quetzel Guatemala to buy some fuel and say good buy to our two paid crew. The four of us left the next day by car for the city of Antigua. A UNESCO heritage site. One of the best preserved Spanish colonial cities in the Americas. Here we explore the old city which is very vibrant with tourist and it’s a centre for Spanish languages schools.
We enjoyed the break away from the boat after a 12 day non-stop passage. Our average speed was 7.5kts. 12 days non-stop will probably be the longest passage this boat will ever make. Crossing the Atlantic can be done in a shorter time. we were lucky to have such great weather for 90% of the trip. We were sitting down to dinners and breakfasts every day with the exception of the few days lost to Tina’s hurricane.
We pulled out of Quetzel and headed for Papaguyo. Arriving June 16th. tied up in a brand new marina. Marina Papaguyo is part of the Papaguyo peninsula property development.
Papaguyo Marina Sockeye Blue home for the next 3 months.
This is a very upscale 5 star development and as of now a Four Season Hotel and a Hyatt hotel along with a 18 hole golf course that Frank and Murray tell me is one of the top golf courses in the world outside of the US and Canada. They played the course. This marina has it all. Only thing missing is boats. The place is more then half empty.
Frank & Murray golfing the Papaguyo course
WITH 8 FRIENDS FROM SANTIAGO WE SPENT COLUMBIA’S NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY AT THE BEACH. IT IS ALL SAND, SUN AND LOUD MUSIC.
Lobster Dinner back at Sockeye Blue. Best Chilean wine to wash it all down.
A great lobster dinner
This was my favourite port on the Chesapeake Bay, Yorktown, Virginia. We arrived after a short run from Hampton, Virgina, after encountering a submarine emerging right beside us as we cruised by Norfolk, it was rather intimidating but we were the in heart of the US Navy Headquarters, what should we expect.
When we arrived in Yorktown, we were the only boat on the dock and there was a band playing on shore to greet us. Not really, there was an Art Festival complete with food stands and a band right on the shore.
We tied up and immediately headed for the festival. The sun came out and the wind died and we managed to have this picture taken of the two of us and our boat. I think it looks like we were pasted into the picture. But like they say it was a picture perfect day and our friend John Youden caught this image perfectly. Thanks John.