Month: August 2015

Two new Teenagers!!!

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Our morning began with South African pancakes made by Jude, then the opening of birthday gifts with Aidan and Emma.  It’s hard to believe that they are 13! I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with them, and the excitement I felt. I loved being pregnant with them, even to the point of my belly being so big that I couldn’t fit behind the cars steering wheel with the seat all the way back. I especially loved being in labor with them, my sister in the room with me to witness their birth, and then being able to hold these two precious little miracles on my chest. I LOVE being a Mom, and i LOVE my sweet 13 year old babies.

We had another little stow away on the boat…


My Dad’s condition has gone from ‘it’s time to come soon,’ to ‘come home now.’ Danny immediately got online this morning and began the frustrating process of dealing with slower than slow wifi, and after 6 hours on the computer and the phone, he finally got all flights changed. We arranged for a water taxi to come pick us up this afternoon, then flew to Panama City.

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We flew right over our marina and I thought of our sweet Angels on the boat. I wish we could bring them with, but it would have cost about $8000 in air tickets for everyone to come.

This evening the creatures made a birthday treat for Aidan and Emma and sent photos.


Tomorrow morning we need to be at the airport at 5:45am, so it’s early to bed for all of us. I feel selfish hoping that my sweet Dad will still be there when we arrive tomorrow, because I know he is in pain, but I really want to kiss his face and hold him, and  whisper in his ear once more how much I love him.


Toadily freaky!

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Due to our extremely slow wifi, it took Danny about 3 hours to book our tickets this morning. Aundrea will fly with us as far as Denver, then she’ll head to SLC while he and I continue on to Idaho Falls. We begin our travels on the 14th, and I pray my sweet dad will be able to hold on that long.

While he was doing that I took apart our head so Danny and I could try figure out why it wasn’t draining.  The macerator was working fine, but we figured something was plugging a hose. We ended up finding that the hose was just old and lined with a layer of a calcified cement like substance from years of salt water etc. I love working on projects on the boat.  I learn so much and feel even better educated and prepared for what’s to come. My goal is to know every square inch of this home of ours intimately, and to have the skills to fix anything and everything.


The veggie boat came at 11:30am as it usually does on Saturdays.

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It still amazes me how inexpensive produce is. The ladies on the boat are so sweet and I love to support them.  Their produce is generally in far better condition than in the grocery stores in Bocas. In the past I have prepared a menu and then shopped for it, but here, one has to purchase what ever produce one can find, and then come up with a menu for the supplies you have.  It’s really quite fun.

When the day was at it’s hottest, the creatures retreated to their berths to read and talk, and at one point I heard more laughter than usual.  I went into Jude and Emma’s berth to find the two of them and Mycah wrestling and tickling each other. It’s not an uncommon scene around here, and always fun to watch.

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Tonight when all the girls walked over to the public restrooms together, Jonathan and I hid in the dark and jumped out and scared them when they walked past.  I learn a helpful bit of information to keep in mind for my own safety in the future:  Mycah reacts the exact same way I do when I am startled – I enter ‘fight’ mode rather than ‘flight.’  When I jumped out and scared her, she had no idea who I was and she back handed me with all her strength and got me square in the shoulder.  I was completely impressed (and surprised) by the force of her clout!

Karma came and bit me in the butt later on though…I later walked to the ablution blocks and when I reached the doors to go in, I saw sitting in front of me, a big fat toad the size of a vw bug. It had one eye on my eyes and the other eye on my jugular! I slowly backed away and paced back and forth at a distance, trying to not make eye contact, when a big black Jamaican man walked up and I asked him to save me. He looked like he was about to burst into laughter and said, ‘Oh no mon, dat ting can not hurt you mon.’ I explained to him that he had been mislead his entire life and that they can in fact hurt you, and he doubled over in laughter and gently moved it to the bushes on the other side of the building. I took the quickest shower ever and came back and lay my head on Danny’s chest to get my heart rate down! The creatures had to remind me that it makes no sense for me to feel no fear diving with sharks, and then fear toads, but it makes absolute sense to me.

I am so grateful for the lessons life has to offer. I am grateful for this beautiful world, and the people with whom we have opportunity to enjoy the journey with.

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Working on Tanda Malaika

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This morning Danny cooked us all a delicious breakfast with eggs, sausage and cheese, then rang the big brass dinner bell to call everyone up from their berths to enjoy it. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

After that we returned to the anchorage by Bocas Marina for Jeff, the little midget mechanic man to work on the boat a bit more.  He has the funniest sense of humor and had Danny and I laughing several times today. While on our way over there, I sat on the bow and across from me, Danny sat on the other bow chair with his remote in hand, and navigated the boat the entire way to Bocas from his perch.

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Emma and I took the dinghy into town for some filters we needed for the engines.  She is so fun to be with.  I love her spunk and love for life. She is such a free spirit and isn’t afraid of being a true individual with solid unique opinions and ideas. I find her so refreshing and I love her so much.  In just two days, her and Aidan are going to be 13!! At that point all 11 of our creatures will be teenagers and older. I remember when they were all little, people would say, ‘enjoy them while they’re young, because when they are teenagers they won’t be so fun to be around.’ I have to say that I LOVE my teenagers. They have been nothing but amazing individuals who have taught me so much and who keep me laughing.

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After returning to Red Frog Marina, Oom Steve came by and he and Danny broke out the guitars and sang and played for a while.  I love hearing them play, and I especially love listening to Danny sing.


This evening Danny and I have been looking at flights to return to Idaho to be with my sweet Mom and Dad. The time has come…

Bugs for dinner

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Last night we anchored at the North Bocas Anchorage, and it was the first time we’d been there. It was a picturesque little bay surrounded by quaint homes at the edge of town.

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It felt like we’d gone back in time.

We motored over to the main Bocas Marina to meet with a mechanic named Jeff.  He is the cutest little man and reminds me of a Hobbit or an Oompa loompa. He’s probably barely five feet tall and has long eyelashes and a confident personality.  His small size is perfect for crawling around in boat engine rooms.  Danny looked like Andre the giant next to him! While Danny was busy with him, the creatures and I took the dinghy in to Bocas for a few supplies.  The twins found a see-saw and laughed as they rode it for a minute.

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While I was down for an afternoon siesta, Danny bought 6 lobster from a local fisherman who came by the boat in his dugout. When I awoke, he told me that he had caught them himself and I looked down in the 8ft of water we were anchored in at the grassy bottom and wanted details.  He told me a long story of how he’d caught them, and I was ready to jump in clothes and all and catch some more! Then, I saw that familiar little grin from the corner of his mouth and I knew he’d been pulling my leg! He got me again!


After arriving back here at red Frog Marina, we took showers and started on laundry, as well as on dinner. We cooked the bugs in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, and enjoyed a delicious meal together.


Mycah protested a bit because she felt bad for them,  but we finally convinced her that it’s okay and all part of the circle of life. (Maybe next time she catches a fish she won’t scream and throw it back in!)

I am so grateful for our home on the ocean, and for the opportunities it provides us to experience the world around us, hands on. We are so blessed and don’t take it for granted.

Return to Starfish beach

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On Danny’s first day back he was anxious to get back to work on Tanda Malaika. Several items had arrived in shipment while he was away for the month, so he had plenty to do.


His first order of business was to replace the solenoid to the windlass.  We have a deep appreciation for the windlass at this point – after having to raise and lower the anchor by hand for all this time.


Next was to install the system that allows us to operate the boat with a remote control.  I joked with the kids saying Danny now has a new remote control toy, which also happens to be our home! This will be especially handy when it is stormy out and  we want to adjust our heading from below deck.


We also adjusted and stowed our scuba compressor. When we purchased the compressor several months ago I told Danny that it was too big.  That there was no place on the boat big enough to stow it. Well…he was right.  It fit.

After all this work we decided to set sail for Starfish beach.  It is one of our favorite places.  We made sure our water tanks were filled and then headed over to the fuel dock for diesel.

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Aidan had climbed into the dinghy which was being towed behind the boat. right before we left, and Jude thought it would be funny to untie the dinghy and leave Aidan adrift. It was so funny to see the surprised look on his face when he realized he was  being left behind. He quickly started the outboard and raced to catch up with us.


While filling the tanks, some of our new friends in the marina motioned for the creatures to come to them, so 3 of them fired up the dinghy and went over. She had some papers prepared for them with a whole bunch of little tips covering every subject imaginable, for cruising. I’ll post some of them on a later blog.

Finally we set sail, and it was a beautiful journey with good wind and calm seas.

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We arrived as the sun was setting.  Aidan had kept a watch out from his perch high up on the furling jib.


What a beautiful sight. Orange and yellow skies above bright green coconut filled palms, all perfectly bordering a peaceful little bay.

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This morning we awoke to this breath taking beauty, and Danny grabbed the Hawaiian sling and he and I went snorkeling for fish.  he took a couple shot but didn’t catch anything this time.  Better luck next time:)

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We spent the day playing on the paddle boards, swimming and relaxing.

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It was a magical day and it’s so good to have Danny back. He adds so much light and joy to the family and we have missed him terribly. I am so grateful to share this experience with him and our wonderful creatures.DSC_0003-8 DSC_0004-6

He’s Home!!!

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The past couple of days have been quite busy, as we have prepared for Danny’s arrival. That combined with painfully slow internet, I wasn’t able to post a blog entry.

Sunday was beautiful. In South Africa when the sun shines and it rains at the same time, we called it a monkey’s wedding. There must have been one massive mass wedding because it seemed to do that all day.

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We enjoyed a wonderful church service and then spent the day reading, relaxing and playing games.  We also had one of our family counsel meetings and came up with a game plan concerning preparing for Danny’s arrival. We keep a pretty clean and organized boat, but we wanted it extra spiffy for him.

Monday morning began with all the creatures scrubbing decks, while I baked bread and cleaned below deck.

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I am so grateful for hard working and reliable children. Cleaning decks, windows and stainless steel can be back breaking work, with all the little grooves, nooks and crannies, and as I worked inside I could hear the kids singing, laughing and chatting as they worked so hard for several hours. By the time we were done, Tanda Malaika looked bright and beautiful!

We set sail for Bocas so we could grab a few groceries and get them stowed before going to the airport to get Danny.

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There is never a time that we set sail, that someone doesn’t comment on how we love our life.  Living on the ocean is an amazing life!


We arrived at the airport early and relaxed in the air conditioning for a bit. We were all so excited and time passed slower than ever. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and went outside to watch for his airplane to come in, and was soon joined by the creatures. It finally arrived!

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Very soon we we saw our sweet Danny and lots of hugs and kisses were exchanged, and we returned to Tanda Malaika where we all jumped overboard and swam to cool off for a while.

Danny loved his welcome home signs.


We returned to Red Frog Marina and enjoyed our evening together. For dinner I served BBQ chicken, broccoli, a big potato salad I’d prepared and homemade bread.

It is truly wonderful to have Danny home!

Adventurers Dream

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Ever had one of those days where you are in the mood to clean everything, and you find yourself cleaning those places you wouldn’t ordinarily? Today was my day. I opened up the panel behind my shower where the holding tank is and scrubbed that clean, then I climbed down into the engine compartments with soapy water and scrubbed those too! It took a while and I worked up quite a sweat, so I asked the creatures if they felt like going on an adventure, and lucky for me they were. (Come to think of it, I can’t remember a time they’ve turned me down).

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We set sail for who knows where and ended up some place magical…the mouth of a river that meandered through the dense rain forest.

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We dropped anchor, grabbed some masks just in case, my camera and a big bottle of water, and climbed into the dinghy to explore.


Jude was operating the outboard while Mycah and I sat at the bow watching for submersed logs, crocodiles and large snakes, and the rest of the creatures watched wide eyed with excitement.

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Giant palms spread their fronds like huge umbrellas overhead, and bright beautiful ferns displayed their intricate leaves like peacock feathers along the banks. In some places the water was brown like chocolate milk and in other it looked like an emerald pool because of reflections from above.

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Periodically we would see something large moving under the water as it rippled toward our dinghy, but we chose to not discuss or dwell on those, and just continued on.  The river took many turns left and right and left and right…sometimes narrow enough to scare the crabs back into their muddy holes as we passed, and sometimes wide and full of foliage. Mangrove roots stretched freely and grew where ever they pleased, and giant air plants hung from the trees high above. At times it felt as if we had discovered a place where no other man had ever been before, then around the next unexpected bend we would see evidence of life other than ours.

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One of my favorite things to photograph, are reflections….

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We came across a couple of women with two little children, who paddled behind us. A daily routine for them in this beautiful jungle.

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What an absolutely magical place. One minute we had discovered the Nile, and were surrounded by ornery hippo’s and hostile natives, and the next we were in the Amazon, surrounded by piranha and anaconda as poison tipped darts flew through the air at us.

After traveling the winding river for a couple of hours, we came to the opening that took us back to our faithful home on the Caribbean Sea.


Captain Aidan took over the dinghy and navigated the final stretch.


Since the water we were anchored in was filled with jellyfish, we sailed to a spot close to the marina and once again dropped anchor.  This time, to play as well as scrub the bottom of Tanda Malaika. (because I was still in a cleaning mood)


Once returning to the marina, we found a huge smack of jellyfish alongside the dock.

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What an amazing day of beautiful sights we have had.  I can’t wait to take Danny there. Only two more days until he’s home:):)

Back in business

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Our little corner of the world was once again saturated this morning.


I spoke with my Sweetheart on the phone for a while, then did laundry. Afterward I used the public restrooms to take a shower, and while I was shampooing my hair, out of the corner of my eye I saw something run past my feet. I turned to look behind me and saw this little guy taking a shower with me…


Finally the rain stopped and Steve came over to help me install the repaired starter.

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It was music to my ears to hear it start up, and we decided to immediately take Tanda Malaika out for a sail. It felt so freeing to leave the marina and head for open ocean.

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Usually once we leave the mangroves and islands behind, we are able to find excellent wind for sailing, but today there was only 1.8 knots of wind. Gentle rolling seas and calm air.

We were visited by a beautiful little bird, who stayed with us for close to an hour.

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After trying to find wind for a while we lowered the mainsail and motored out for a short while, but Aundrea was feeling extremely green with seasickness, so we turned around and motored to a calm place where everyone could jump off the boat and relax in the water.

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Eventually we made our way back into Red Frog Marina, passing beautiful sights along the way.

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Aundrea and Aidan entertained us with a dance on the tramp!


I docked the boat better than I ever have, with my trusty deck hands and skippers tossing and cleating lines, and we got settled in for the night. I has been another beautiful day of life, and I am grateful to have had yet another day filled with love and laughter with my sweet creatures.