Cruising to Shelter Bay

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Yesterday morning was a drizzly one at Red Frog Marina.

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We checked out at the office and took Tanda Malaika over to the fuel dock and filed her up, as well as 10 jerry cans of spare diesel and 3 of gas for the dinghy. We also have two spare cans of water stowed.


We then sailed over to Bocas for a few provisions. The creatures, Danny and I picked up coolant, grease and some groceries, then headed South East and set the sails. The ocean was gorgeous with 8-10ft rolling seas. The creatures sat on the bow and were splashed as they dipped down to the water and backup again. Aidan stood on deck and jumped up as the boat began to rise from a dip, which sent him flying high.

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We all got settled into our little routines and comfy places for our 18 hour sail.

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As evening fell we arranged our night watches. Skyler, Emma and I would take the 9pm -midnight watch, Jude, Mycah and Aidan from midnight to 3am and Jonathan and Danny from 3am to 6am. The evening was beautiful as the sun began to set and colors changed to a richer hue. Danny had set fishing lines and at one point reeled in a nice catch of seaweed and a while later something big took the hook and snapped the entire line.

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When the sun goes down and it’s cloudy, the ocean is a dark, dark place. I took this photo off the starboard side while sitting at the helm around 10pm…


See how beautifully the water matches the sky!!!! It’s an amazing feeling, trusting your boat and your instincts and instruments as you ‘blindly’ sail, unable to see the waves to read them and anticipate dips and swells. Your body adjusts and rolls with it all, as your movements become one with the boat. It reminds me of my days in the saddle as I trotted or galloped and my hips moved fluidly with my horse. It’s a wonderful thing. Everyone on board (except me) took motion sickness pills and it made them a bit sleepy and took the edge off any nausea. I haven’t ever been sea sick but I’m sure my day will come! I’m told it’s pretty miserable. When my watch was over I washed up and snuggled down in my bed. There is no better feeling than being rocked to sleep by the ocean! I quickly fell asleep and woke at 6am.

At the helm, were Jonathan and Danny, and I told Danny to go lie down and I’d take over. Jonathan went as well, and before long, Aidan came up and sat with me. He had wanted to watch the sun rise, and came topside just in time. We were about 2 hours out from Shelter Bay at this point, and could already see huge ships lined up to go through  the Canal. The ships were lined for over a mile.

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As we drew closer, I marveled at how huge some of them were.

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A pod of dolphins came to escort us in, and Aidan and I walked to the bow and watched them bow ride for several minutes. There were probably about 8 of them.


As we rounded past the breakwaters to enter the the bay, we could see the city of Colon’s skyline. Two pilot boats were escorting a huge container ship to the canal entrance.

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As we drew closer to the marina, we could see the coast guard assisting a sailboat that had ended up on the reef. Danny had heard them calling them for help as they beached themselves on the reef, but we were too far from them to assist. Danny called in to the marina office to find out where they wanted us to dock, and I called in to the sleeping creatures, telling them all hands on deck.

We have such a great crew.


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Danny backed Tanda Malaika in to her new slip like a pro, and we all got busy spraying the salt off her and organizing. There are always valuable lessons to learn each time we sail, and this crossings lesson, was to hang the fruit hammock properly on the stern, because if not, we end up with freshly made applesauce all over the deck.


Danny and I took a nap while Jude made no bake cookies. (we call them gorilla poops). I think for dinner tonight I’ll make some pizza. The crew will love that!


4 thoughts on “Cruising to Shelter Bay

    zoannkeck said:
    November 15, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    so does your equipment let you know when there is a boat close by? Do you ever worry about running into one?

    Liked by 1 person

      belindagovatos responded:
      November 16, 2015 at 1:29 am

      Yes ZoAnn, we have a radar that picks up boats or any large objects, as well as rain clouds. Also we have something called AIS which shows vessels. I don’t worry about running into a boat, but I do think about the 100’s of huge containers that falloff container ships every year. They could do some damage.


    belindagovatos responded:
    November 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I love you!!!


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