This month’s updates come to us from Australia, Panama and Mexico. Cruising updates from any member of the BCA Currently Cruising Fleet are welcome at any time; please send your update and photos (high res, landscape orientation) to Currents Managing Editor, Rosario Passos .
Pam and Ted Simper, Roundabout II, Fleet of 2012
Roundabout II (Moody 40) arrived safely in Bundaberg, Australia on October 26th. This season, we sailed from Whangarei, New Zealand to Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and now Australia – five countries and five good passages. Either we were lucky or (hopefully) we are finally learning something about the weather down here. Many thanks to Patricia and David on Gulf Harbour Radio, who track the yachts in transit and David provides great weather information and shares his knowledge with the fleet. We participated in the ‘Go West Down Under’ Rally from Noumea, New Caledonia to Bundaberg, AU as the discounts associated with the rally, both in Noumea and Bundaberg were worthwhile. The Rally festivities begin on Monday with 40 boats participating.
We will leave the boat up on the hard here in Bundaberg and fly home in mid-November for several months, before returning to Australia for more adventures.
Gail and Price Powell, Panache, Fleet of 2016
We are currently in the San Blas Islands. We are expecting 25kts+ over the next few days here in the San Blas. Most of the islands here are protected from the north by a reef, which tends to wrap around on the west and east ends. They are not protected from the south, and that is where the wind is expected to come from. While 25kts is not really a big deal, we decided to move in close to the mainland of Panama to eliminate the fetch and keep things comfortable. Now we have an unexpected place added to our itinerary.
We will reach Shelter Bay Marina, near Colon, Panama on or about Nov 22. We will be leaving Panache there while we return to Vancouver for the month of December. After a stop in Calgary, we return to Panama in mid-Jan. We expect to transit the Canal in mid-Feb, spend 3 weeks in the Galapagos in Mar and then cross to the Marquesas early Apr. We will be applying for a 1-year, long-stay visa for French Poly while in Panama City. If we are granted the visa, we will stay in that area for a year. If not, we will have 90 days in FP and then head west toward Tonga before heading south to NZ for the cyclone season.
I can’t get over how much there is to do as one bobs around the world. The San Blas is a very quiet area compared to everywhere else we have been in the last year. So I am using my “free time” to catch up on boat chores, boat insurance, medical insurance, warranty claims, visa applications, dealing with agents (Canal & Galapagos), writing the blog, communicating with other cruisers, arranging for a haul-out, getting parts shipped from the States, finding suppliers in Panama, etc. I had no idea how “busy” cruising would be. Complaints aside, we have had a fantastic time visiting so many amazing places and meeting so many interesting people from all over the world (actually they have been mostly from North America, Europe, southern Africa, Aus & NZ – the Latins tend to be on powerboats).
Recently we had a really interesting Kuna family on board. As I’m sure you know, they are the indigenous people who live in the San Blas. They arrived in their dugout canoe. A father, mother, daughter and 2 grandchildren. We offered the Dad a cold beer and the others a soft drink with ice. They graciously accepted. We conversed in halting Spanish. The mother had dozens of molas to show, the hand sewn appliques that you may have seen or read about. Excellent needlework. Each one is about 40cm x 30cm. Gail bought 3 blue, fished-themed, ones that she will make into decorative pillows for the bunks. The daughter had beaded bracelets that she had made. Gail bought two. We decided not to bargain very much as we were delighted with our purchase. We bargain for most things in countries where that is the custom, but sometimes you have wonder why you are trying to wring every last dollar away from such modest and hardworking people. Everyone was happy.
Fair winds and clean diesel, as they say down here!
Lawrence and Penny Talbot, Northern Ranger II, Fleet of 2015
We have been working our way down the west coast of Baja on the 2017 CUBAR (powerboat version of the Baja Ha Ha) and just arrived in San Jose del Cabo, leaving tomorrow for Muertos Cove and then on to La Paz on Sunday. We will be based out of La Paz for the immediate future.
We are currently cruising in our 50’ Nordhavn (Northern Ranger II), which we purchased this April. We still own our previous boat, the 46’ Nordhavn (Northern Ranger I) which is now for sale (berthed in Ensenada). Ed. note: Cover photo above is Northern Ranger I.
Happy to be back in warm weather (33 degrees C) and dry – not missing the rain and snow at our sticks-and-bricks place up at 100 Mile House, BC!
Please feel free to link to our (Penny’s) blog  – she is the author in the family.
Cheryl and Neil Turner, Phoenix I, Fleet of 2017
We made it to La Paz!
Sailed 1050 Nm from San Diego in 2 weeks!
Challenging and amazing.
Jim and Kathy Matusiak, Solar Flair, Fleet of 2103
We are back at Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama and are planning to head north this season to Cuba and Florida, with stops in-between.
Dennis Giraud, Ultegra, Fleet of 2014
A new cruising season finally begins. We got away on Nov 14 after a few delaying trials and tribulations with boat equipment. There were a number of connector corrosion issues with electronics and electrical things that needed clearing up, a refrigeration issue that thankfully turned out to be nothing, getting the cabin top painted and finishing the new autopilot ram mount. As soon as the refrigeration technician told us everything was operating as it should we got underway. We were heading for Isla Isabel, Mexico’s Galapagos, a National Park and UN World Heritage Site. It is a large breeding area for the blue footed Booby, is teaming with fish, and a great dive site.
We caught our first ever Dorado as we were approaching the Island early in the morning. Our first fish in a very long time and there is little better than fresh Dorado.
We are now approaching Punta Mita on our way to La Cruz near Puerto Vallarta where we are joining friends for the US Thanksgiving. After that, we are heading to Barra Navidad for Christmas and Zihuatanejo for sail fest before starting our “float” home to Vancouver.