In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that we are not going to be able to keep Tanda Malaika here in Channel Islands Harbor or Ventura Harbor, because there are no live aboard slips available for a yacht our size. So, we have decided to move to where she is. Red Frog Beach Marina in Panama!
This place we will call home, is a tropical rainforest filled with white faced monkeys, sloths, toucans and iguanas. In the water you’ll see manatees, dolphins, a plethora of reef fish, and crocodiles etc. It’s paradise!!
Red Frog Beach was discovered by Columbus in 1502, and is located on Isla Bastimentos, an island which is part of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. The entire archipelago covers an area of about 97 sq miles and population is 13000. The full service marina is well maintained and provides a free 10 minute water taxi ride to Bocas town on Isla Colon, where the grocery store is, 4 days a week. A fruit and veggie boat comes by the marina every Saturday. The creatures will attend the International school that is there, and if the older ones wanted to make a few extra bucks, they could find employment working the zip lines and rainforest canopy tours. We will have hundreds of islands to explore, tree houses to build, fishing to do and Spanish to learn.
I do have to let you in on a little secret (if you promise not to tell a soul). For those of you that know me already, you’ll know that I am not afraid of anything. I’m an adrenalin junkie dare devil, but….I am SO afraid of frogs and especially toads!!! I would rather head butt a tiger shark and insult it’s mother, than come across a frog, and I happen to be moving to – of all places, Red FROG Beach!! My plan is to take a flame thrower with me, which I will keep aimed and ready 24/7, and may the best man win!
Emma came running into the house exclaiming, “I’ve built a sanctuary, come and see it,” and then bolted out the back door. I made my way across the back deck and down the ramp to the dock in the back yard, to find her by the kayak she’d been exploring for hours in. She had collected several starfish and showed me their ‘sanctuary.’ They varied in color from reds to orange, tan and brown, and she was in love with her new found friends. She placed them on her legs and enjoyed the ticklish feeling of their movement, then gently put them back into the water. After a while she set them all free, back in the ocean.
Just another magical day in the life of a 12 year old explorer.
Four days ago we were on our way home, and as we pulled into our neighborhood, Hannah yelled, “STOP THE CAR!!!” as she projected her body from the passenger seat and out onto the road. It was only when I watched the direction she was moving her body in at lightening speed as she cussed and waved her arms, that I noticed a seagull and a crow attacking two baby birds. At that point I jumped out too, and the seagull took off flying with one of the babies in her mouth. Hannah reached down and grabbed the other baby before the crow could fly off with it, and she handed be this tiny, frightened featherless little creature.
We are not rookies when it comes to taking care of animals, especially injured ones found on the roadside. We’ve raised everything from sugar gliders and squirrels, to pot bellied pigs, chameleons, snakes, chinchillas, millipedes and llamas – just to name a few.
Hannah decided his name should be Waldo. We took him home and cleaned the small wound on his back. Thankfully, he had just been fed, which gave us time to head to Petco for some baby bird formula. From experience I know that it is difficult to keep baby birds alive, and I was really worried that given the trauma Waldo had gone through, he would not make it through the first night. But…here we are four days later, and he has a healthy appetite, he loves to cuddle into my neck and if he hears my voice he starts to chirp. I think I have child number 12 on my hands!
We’ve spent so much time trying to come up with a name for our new home. We’ve heard all the superstitions concerning renaming a boat, but since we aren’t the superstitious type, we are giving her our own name. Beside, Emma announced to us that she read that if you do rename it, you just have to get a virgin to urinate on your newly named boat, and all ill juju will be washed away. She, of course, volunteered to do the honors!
We figured that since she’s an African built yacht, she deserves an African name, and the one we have chosen, means “Guardian of the Sea.” Her name will be Tanda Malaika. Maybe a little tough for some to pronounce at first, but before you know it, it’ll roll of your tongue beautifully like it does ours.
I spent several days calling marina’s to try find a live aboard slip where we could keep our new home, and each time I’d be given the same responses. No slips big enough are available, and you can’t have more than 2 people living on a boat in our marina. Finally on Friday, I drove from one marina office to the next, asking in person, and what I found out, is that pretty much all marina’s between San Francisco and San Diego, have been zoned to allow no more that 2 people on a live aboard.
So, we will need to go to Plan B. (more to follow tomorrow concerning that)
As I was leaving the last marina, I noticed a little old man with a mischievous smile, who had also been searching for a slip. As we left, I mentioned to him how tough it’s been to find a place for our cat. He said he couldn’t believe how things had changed in all the years he’d lived in this area. I then asked him, since he knew the area well, if he knew of a good diesel boat mechanic that could help us with our daughters boat engine. He spread his arms wide then hit his chest and said, ‘you’re looking at him! I know a diesel engine better than I know a woman’s body.’ I smiled at his enthusiasm and took him up on his offer to look at Hannah’s boat. He took a good long look at the engine, made a few adjustments – all the while laughing and telling us tall stories of the open seas. He said his mother named him Mark, but he’s known as Blue Bones, because he loves sailing in cold places where ice bergs and beluga whales are seen off to port and starboard.
The next thing I knew, Blue Bones had the little diesel engine humming happily. I have a feeling we’ve not only found ourselves a great diesel mechanic, but also a new life long friend.
The moral of the story is that the old saying is true: Never, judge a book by it cover:)
For several years now, Danny and the creatures and I have spoken about our desire to circumnavigate on a catamaran. We’ve spent many evenings pouring through sites like Yachtworld, The Multihull Company, The Catamaran Company and several others. During the day we text each other links to various boats we have found. It was difficult finding the right boat for our family that fit into our budget. We knew we wanted a catamaran, and that it needed to have 4 double berths. We wanted it to be structurally sound but weren’t afraid of hard work to fix it up a bit if needed.
About a month ago I told Danny about a guy who’s name is Phil Berman. He owns The Multihull Company and I had a gut feeling that if anyone was going to find us a boat, it would be him. Phil is not only an honest, knowledgeable businessmen, but he is an excellent sailor. I appreciated the fact that he did not only ‘talk the talk’ but he ‘walked the walk.’ Within 2 weeks of contacting Phil, Danny and I were in Florida, looking at boats with his trusted employee, Jeff Jones. Jeff showed us many boats and was so patient and informative. He was clear and made us feel like he had all the time in the world to take care of our needs. He answered all our questions and didn’t pressure us in any way. At the end of the day, our favorite boats, were Leopard 46 and Lagoon 450.
We liked the openness and size of the Lagoon. The ceilings are tall, the all running rigging leads back to the helm for single handling if needed, the hulls are wide and comfortable for a liveaboard, and we liked the overall look of the boat.
The Leopard was was also beautifully layed out for single handling, it has a large trampoline at the bow and convenient steps or seats for easy access to the hard top bimini. The interior was comfortable and flowed well, and like the Lagoon, it has all the electonics we needed.
After considering all pro’s and con’s of both boats, we decided on the Leopard 46. We decided we were willing to give up a tiny bit of living area for a more efficient sail. Overall, the Leopard was just more our style, and just like me, it was made in Africa. Leopards are produced in the beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.
We returned to our hotel room, chatted it over, and called Jeff that evening with our offer. By the next morning, the offer was accepted, and we were on our way to purchasing our new home!!
Our family officially began on April 10, 2014. I had 7 children, Kjira (23), Hunter (20), Jonathan (17), Hannah (17), Mycah (15), Aidan (12) and Emma (12), and my sweet husband, Danny, had 4 children, Ashley (23), Jacob (21), Jordan (17) and Aundrea (15), so combined we have 11 beautiful creatures. We were married bare foot on the beach at sunset, on the Big Island of Hawaii, and then shortly after, settled in Oxnard, California.
Danny is a tall, dark and handsome corporate jet pilot, scuba diver, musician, genius, who is creative, thoughtful, loving and adventurous. I am a scuba instructor and corporate flight attendant, who loves cooking, photography and anything outdoors, but most importantly, being a mother and a wife. I love my life, I am madly in love, and I am so excited to live every day with my Soul Mate.