October our backyard

October our backyard


Red Frog Beach

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Panama to Galapagos: Ecuador
Sunday May 19, 2010. Engine hrs.1169 Day 1

We have all the provisions that we can possibly have on board without sinking the boat. There was a slight delay pulling our anchor. The anchor chain got fouled on about 150 feet of chain and a Danforth anchor, plus a 6 foot stainless boarding ladder. It took Gil, myself and Rick from Even Star about 3 hours to untangle them. We are now the proud owners of a 40 lb. Danforth and some extra chain. The fishing rods went out and by dinner time I made Chicken parmesan Oh well!  Gil had first watch while I slept, at 2 am we switched off. Apparently I had a good nap I didn’t even know a squall went through.
Day 2
Sunrise a cup of fresh coffee and a dolphin swimming alongside of you is an awesome beginning to your day. We have a heading of 172 going southish, so we can get a little wind off of our starboard front. Close hauled and doing 3-5 knots with help from our engine. Sometimes I think we should have a trawler, we motor so much.
Day 3
Dawn has broken and it is near the end of my uneventful watch. There is a lot of cloud cover with the blue sky breaking through. Behind us is a bank of rain, I don’t think we have to worry about it though. The waves are 3-5 feet at 10 second intervals and the wind is 8-10 knots from the SSW. Our heading is 190 degrees. Gil needs to checkout our bilge pump it isn’t working.
Day 4
Crap! The wind has piped up and it has stormed all day. We didn’t reef the main at sunset. BIG Mistake I was scared the rest of the night and during the next day.  Being too tired doesn’t help. There is more water in the bilge to deal with also. Gil has decided to change course and go to the coast of Colombia because of the wind direction (Land beautiful).
The wind has dropped and at 6 am we went through another squall, but it wasn’t too bad. We are headed towards Buena Ventura. It has a bad reputation but it is a major port. By the afternoon I could see the Columbian coastline in the distance. The wind and wave direction making our headway difficult so we headed to a bay a little north of Buena Ventura. The chart showed lots of channel markers and it looked really simple to navigate. As we were drawing near it we observed a few freighters anchored near, so we assumed it was also a shopping port. Dusk found us going into the bay which is almost as large as Cartagena harbor. Gil brought the Endorfin pretty close to what we thought was the shipping docks, I dropped the anchor and we went to sleep.
Day 6
Low and behold, A launch came out from the naval base,( BIG OOPS),  to see us. Bahia Moaga (Moo Yeah) Guardia Costa (Coast Guard). Apparently we really surprised them,(asleep at the radar).Two young officers, Carlo and Juan came aboard with an escort of rifle toting guards. Gil explained our rough couple of days and our broken bilge pump, plus our low fuel situation. They went back to the base and about an hour later returned to tell us we would have to re-anchor closer to the base docks.  Well, we did so and got a great view of two grottos that submerge at high tide. We are starting to get use to these huge tides of 14ft or better. Juan returned with the Captain of his ship who came aboard. 3 boarding’s 3hrs. Captain Caesar De Vargas, of the Guardia cutter Valle De Cauca (COW CA). He graciously offered to help us with our bilge pump and refuel our diesel tanks. The Captain told us to rest in the harbor as long as necessary. He invited us for dinner with his family that evening.  So far everyone had been friendly, courteous and curious. As it turned out Caesar was an avid sailor with a a dream of sailing the world when he retired. He had a problem though; His wife didn’t swim and would get seasick within minutes. Caesar had a few days off and wanted to take his family sailing in the bay as a test run. And of course we said yes. His family consisted of two boys Santiago, Diego his little girl Paula, Juan Paul a friend of his boys and his wife Dioniris. Santi had a good grasp of the English language, so we used him as our emergency interpreter, when we needed him. Dioniris is a lovely woman in her late twenties. She showed me the fish her husband had caught the day before. I have no idea what kind it was but it looked great. They were huge light pinkish fillets. We talked in her cocina (kitchen) and prepared the fillets, which the ships chef was going to cook for us. Cool Hey! While dinner was being cooked the Admiral of the base stopped in and chatted with us. This guy was the twin of Dave Amadio my former boss. I swear! We told them of our plans to go to Buena Ventura and jump off from there to the Galapagos. He and Caesar advised us not to go there because it was a dangerous place. They would take us to their ships store to provision and get our diesel from the base. The Admiral also told us how surprised they all were to find our sailboat anchored in their harbor that morning. Dinner was superb and a work of art on a plate. Over wine and Amoretto the conversation turned to Caesars’ passion; sailing. So we made plans to sail the boat to a pair of waterfalls in the end of the bay. Caesar joked the price for a room in Caesars Place (Paula’s bedroom) was taking his family sailing for the day plus Juan Paul, who turned out to be the Admirals son
As soon as breakfast was done we piled into Caesar’s truck and headed back to the docks. I showed the boys how to way anchor and off we went. Unfortunately there was no wind, so we had to motor and Dioniris got seasick immediately. Now, the bay is very similar to Tobermory in Onatrio, with lots of flower pot islands and lush steep cliffs like are found in the Rio Dulce. Because they have such high tide on the pacific side we had to anchor Endorfin and continue on in the dinghy. We spent the day frolicking at the bases of both falls and had a splendid day. We never thought that a decision to find a safe harbor could give us an experience to remember and the new friends we made
We spent a week at the naval base and learned that Colombia is trying very hard to get arid of their bad reputation. The countries new slogan is” Colombia Es Passion “. Our experience is just so. The country is beautiful and the people are exceptional.
After reprovisioning and got fuel the base gave to us at no cost Gil and I bid everyone there farewell and set off again for the Galapagos.
Linton December 1 2010
We are finally on our way to some much needed R and R. Our first stop was Isla Linton. This is a great anchorage because of the all-around protection it has. The island has some   goofy looking monkeys that inhabit the island. We took the dinghy to the dock at the landing and they come rushing out to get any handouts you have for them. Gil filmed my feeding fiasco and said one of them looked like his buddy Bill Scott. We only stayed a few days and toured around the villages
Chichime (Uchutupa Pipigua) and (Uchutupa Dummat) December 5
We arrived at the entrance of Chichme Cays with good light and found the anchorage easy to enter. This group of cays is beautiful coconut palm islands with white sand beaches, which are a beachcomber’s paradise. I found hundreds of sea beans on the beaches here. The water was at was crystal clear and snorkeling was great. The Kuna Indians would come to you boat and try to sell fish and molas. The weather wasn’t very good for a few days so when it let up we headed for the Lemmon Cays. They were a little disappointing because we were boat bound by bad weather. While we were there we heard a boat ran aground at the entrance of Chichme. The sailboat was holed badly and sank on the reef. No one was hurt, but the boat was a total loss.
Once the weather broke again we headed for Coco Bandero Cays. This group of island is were we planned to spend the Christmas holidays. They are protected by a 4 mile reef; the water is postcard perfect, with beautiful fish and colorful corals. The islands themselves are uninhabited. The Kuna only harvest the coconuts staying in huts temporarily. We made friends with two young men who were staying on an outer island. These fellows would be staying for one month harvesting. They fished for their food and drank coconut milk for fluids plus rain water. Trading for nice big crabs with these guys was fun and inexpensive. We met some fellow boaters Nigel and Miss Kitty. They are a hoot and fun to party with. They had to have the boat in Shelter bay before Christmas but I am sure we meet up with them again.
December 21 2010
It is the winter Solstice with a full moon and it is also a full lunar eclipse. The last time it happened was in 1638. This is memorable to say the least. The sky was cloudless all night long. Gil and I watched this luminescent ball; you could see the surface shapes with the naked eye. During a five hour period the moon transformed with a crescent of the earth’s shadow until it was an orange orb.  Then it returned to its former brilliant self in the reverse order.    
December 23 2010 Gil and I have spent almost a month in Kuna Yala snorkeling walking the beaches and making new friends. We do a few boat chores and take a break in the afternoon to swim or walk a palm tree island. I beach comb and Gil hunts for dinner. This evening after the moon was up, we watched a couple of Kuna fisherman in their panga. They were setting out their nets. The full moon on the horizon illuminated them, absolutely awesome!
December 25 2010
We invited the two Kuna boys on the far island to join us for Christmas dinner. I had spent a lot of time getting the chicken,( which I bought from our friendly Kuna suppler), stuffed. I think we were a hit with them because they ate lots and went home with just the right amount of cheer in them. It will be kind of sad leaving here. This has been an idyllic place for a honeymoon.
December 28 2010 Chichime
It sure was startling to see the top of the mast only of the sailboat that sank on the reef entrance. The guy that owns it is staying on the island with the Kuna for now. He is a little shell shocked. He tells anyone who will listen that he will have it raised up. I wish him luck with that plan,  Gil and I dove it, and the whole front quarter of the starboard side is gone. There is boat stuff strewn all over the reef. The Kuna are planning a New Year’s pig roast on the island. Five dollars a person and all the partially cooked pig you can eat. The Kuna Indians don’t like to overcook their meat. The Italian people from the sailboat Brigante will be joining us for the festivities. Elva and her husband Roberto are a lot of fun.  
New Year’s Eve 2010
What a great way to end a year and bring in a new one. Partied on the beach till all hours and then continued aboard Brigante!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Everyone was a little shaky the next day. We need a day to recover and then head back to Shelter Bay and wait for Guy to get to the boat.
January 6 2011 Shelter Bay Marina
We sailed back to Panama, even got to use the spinnaker. When we fly it, it reminds me of a monarch butterfly. This time we have a little more leisure and pool time. Gil has made arrangements for the crossing and we have two Spanish guys from another sailboat to help with the lines. All I have to do is be the hostess. Sounds too good to be true. Guy should be arriving sometime today or tomorrow.
Gil and I left the shelter of the naval base and set out once more for the Galapagos. Our headway was hampered by the wind and waves on our nose. Our tacks were getting us nowhere fast. So we decided to head farther towards Ecuador to a place called Esmeraldas. We came into the channel at night shame on us! And crossed the fishing net a fisherman had strung across the channel. Needless to say our propeller got fouled. The fisherman was good enough to tow us into an area out of the way for 5 gal. of gas and 100 dollars American for the net. The next morning Gil had an easy time cutting the net from the prop because we were on the bottom just barely, so he could stand and just duck down to cut the line away. Once he had that done we proceeded into the anchorage where the fishing fleet was. Trying to check in turned into a nightmare for Gil. Over a four day period he tried to check in unsuccessfully. The language barrier proved too much for us so we fueled up on $1.08 per gal of diesel and headed out to sea again. We continued to bash against the wind and waves, with more squalls hitting us. After a few days of being really miserable I called it quits and told Gil I wanted to go back. Coming back was not the most pleasant trip Gil and I have ever had. As a matter of fact four letter words were said by both of us.
Once we got back to Balboa Gil scheduled another canal crossing to get Endorfin into Shelter bay Marina and dry-dock. And as quickly as we could we went home to Canada. While we were at home in Canada Gil and I did a lot of talking. We decided to try crossing the pacific again, but this time we would do it at a better time of year and with an extra person on board so fatigue wouldn’t be so bad. Guy his son would join us at Shelter Bay in January.
In the meantime we got married on September 4th in our backyard with friends and family attending. It was a beautiful ceremony and once it was done Gil and I got into full gear getting ready to go back to Endorfin. It was wonderful being home with family and friends, but truly we both wanted to get on with the journey again. Dreams need to be fulfilled.
Gil and I arrived back in Panama on November 5th to a boat that had sat for months in a humid environment. It took us over three weeks to make it live able again. The whole time the clock was ticking with marina and hotel fees. We lost thousands of dollars because of mold damage and rust. On the plus side, we met old friends again and made new ones while we were there.
Gil and I chose not to go on a honeymoon while we were in Canada, instead we would spend time in Kuna Yala. We did spend a lot of time there so we decided to explore it more as our honeymoon. Guy would join us at Shelter bay in January.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Endorfin going back in the water

Endorfin gets her facelift

When Tara left us it was time to put Endorfin on the hard and give her a facelift. And seeing we were in Cartegena the capitol of facelifts, what better place to do it.Gil contracted a fellow called Flavite to do the work and he and his crew came in and stripped the hull and topsides regelcoated her and made her sparkle like a shiney new penny.While we were here a movie crew came in and shot a few scenes for a Columbian soap opera our boat is in the scenes we were not offered any acting jobs. After six weeks in a very dusty work yard it was time to get back in the water and continue on with our journey.

Tara at the Rosario's

Tara with the bay monkey that escaped his cage. Tara and myself in front of the naval museum in Cartegena

Dolfin show at Rosario's

The Journey Begins

My dad and I left the Soo on January 5 2008.

About Me

My photo
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
I am Katerina Precepa, newly retired and going sailing with my best friend and soul mate Gilbert Quesnel. Who happens to be the captian of the fine sailing vessel Endorfin. Gilbert has been a water well driller for thirty five years. I worked in a steelmill for thirty years. The both of us will be leaving a lot of family members behind. Gilbert, a son and two daughters five grand children, his brother and sister and his wonderful mom. I am saying goodbye to seven brothers and two sisters,my son and his wife, my daughter plus six of my own grandchildren. Before I forget all of the many neices and nephews.

what Gil's leaving behind

what Gil's leaving behind
the pension

The crapper

The crapper
When you got to go


a really thirsty one



fishing off coast of Cuba

fishing off coast of Cuba

Gil's tuna

Gil's tuna
Only 28 pounds

thirty pounds tuna

thirty pounds tuna
how to fillet on a rolling sailboat

crossing to mexico

crossing to mexico