Good news! We’ve actually made substantial progress on the necessary repairs for Beatitude. Over the past few days, things have really come together, although there is still work to do.

Beatitude at rest in Shelter Bay.

Finally, after trouble-shooting several battery/electrical issues with the twin diesel engines, they seem to be up and operating. These problems were just solved yesterday. Also, yesterday, the electronics/control board for the watermaker were replaced. It also seems to be functioning normally at this time. Woohoo!

Greg and I troubleshooting the engine starting battery issues. The port side battery is beneath our bed.

Watermaker parts.

Several days ago, most of the other electronics were replaced/repaired. The wind transducer atop the mast was replaced. The VHF antennae atop the mast was also replaced. Its predecessor had been blown to smithereens. The radar was replaced. The AIS was replaced. The autopilot was replaced. The VHF radio was replaced and now works (Although it was the wrong model. It did not include a remote mike at the helm station. So, a new one is being ordered.) It was additionally felt that the chartplotter had escaped damage from the lightning strike. However, after replacing almost all the other Garmin electronics, it was apparent that the chartplotter is also bad. So, it is being ordered. Our charger/inverter has been replaced and appears to be functioning well. Our stern light has been replaced, and the foot switches on a winch have been replaced. Whew!

Erik, from Radio Holland, replacing the fried VHF.

Our new radar ready to go up on the mast.

Additionally, our Aussie rigger, Mike, has replaced our genoa roller-furler. The furler seized up on the way to Cartagena and has been non-functional since. The new one works like a charm!

Mike, removing the old furler; new one ready to take it’s place.

The new furler is on, but the headstay needs to connect to the chain plate on the front of the deck. They are a few inches apart. It wasn’t easy. Two lines winched from the top of the mast to pull it forward. Four blocks (pulleys) to pull the forestay downward. Three big guys pulling with all their might = Success.

Mike and I, assisted by another helpful cruiser, Mark, in attempting to reattach the forestay to the chainplate.

Items remaining on the to-do list prior to departing Panama: Replacing the chart plotter. Replacing another module on the autopilot. Switching out the VHF to the correct model. Replacing a PCB control board at our electronics panel. Replacing the bow light. Repairing the deck light. Replacing a winch solenoid. And, the biggie: Repairing the generator. Several parts were replaced, but did not solve the problem. More parts are being ordered and will be brought back to to Panama from the states.

New starter, new relays, and two new toggle switches replaced on generator… Still, it doesn’t work. 🙁 More parts to come…

Despite the list of items remaining, I’m feeling optimistic. We now have working engines and working sails, so our vessel is now moveable. Cindy and I are flying back to the U.S. today, and the electronics should be ready to be installed upon our return to Panama on the 28th of this month. If all goes well, we could begin our journey northward up through the Western Caribbean in three weeks or so. Of course, glitches and complications might still arise which keep us in Shelter Bay for a little longer. We shall see. Pray!

Joachim, a German engineer who lives on a boat in Shelter Bay Marina, is leading this project: The building of a very tall bridge over the canal. In a year or so, marina inhabitants will not have to deal with the ferries and locks to cross over the canal.

Cindy, with Jack, a Dutch born, U.S. immigrant. He is a devout Christian sailing single-handedly around the world. Cindy holds one of his books – The Mastmakers’ daughters – about his Mom who was in Nazi concentration camps and knew Corrie Ten Boom.

Besides, doing boat work, Cindy and I have continued our daily jungle walks. We spot new creatures all the time. We ran across a nine-banded armadillo the other day. He was very shy and didn’t like to have his picture taken. He was unbelievably quick in eluding us. We spotted a Yellow-crowned Amazon Parrot and a bird with the weirdest call, the Montezuma Oropendola. Of course, we spotted the usual monkeys and coatis, although it seems there are less of them this time of year.

My jungle partner.

There is a nine-banded armadillo in there. Did you know, that if frightened, they can jump up to 4 feet in the air? 🙂

A beautiful hawk (the name of which I haven’t figured out yet.)

The Yellow-crowned Amazon Parrot — A beauty!

Skittish Capuchin fleeing our approach.

The Montezuma oropendola, whose cry is described on Wikipedia thusly: “,,,consists of a conversational bubbling followed by loud gurgles, tic-tic-glik-glak-GLUUuuuuu. Both sexes have loud cack and crrrk calls.”

For Valentine’s Day, we took another trip into Panama City to celebrate. We stayed a couple of nights at the Waldorf Astoria and had a great dinner at our favorite Panama City restaurant — La Posta. Mmmm!

Valentine’s day in Panama City, Panama.

This is the life. 🙂

There are some very unusual buildings in Panama City.

My hot Valentine’s date.

A delicious dinner at La Posta.

Enjoying the pool at the Panama City Waldorf Astoria.

As previously mentioned, we are back in the states for about a week-and-a-half. After a one-day stop in Miami, Cindy will be off to Ohio, while I do a few shifts in Vero Beach and Green Bay. Our fingers are crossed in hopes that Beatitude will be ready to cruise once again shortly after our return to Panama.

I’ve done more doctoring at Shelter Bay than all of it put together since we started cruising. A few staples in this head wound, and all is well.

Monkeys and Humans

Time flies when you’re waiting for boat work! Well, not really. It’s been a week since my last update. I had hoped to include tons of pictures of work being done on the boat — but, alas, that was not to be. Not a soul, other than Cindy and I, have done anything on this boat. We did, however, receive our replacement freezer which was shipped all the way from the U.S.! And… we did go into Colon to La Casa de las Baterías and purchase the needed replacements for the starting batteries for our twin diesel engines and outboard engine. That’s it in regard to the repairs which are necessary for our departure from Shelter Bay.

The Delivery of our Freezer/Refrigerator

New in place of the Old (and Fried)

The Battery Guy replacing our damaged starting batteries with new ones. The battery for the port engine resides beneath our bed, which explains why Cindy is sitting atop the mattress to keep it from smacking the guy in the head.

Cindy and I washed and rehung the salon curtains. Our icon of the Theotokos highlighted by the sun.

I have equally high hopes for boat work over the next week. But, my hopes have not fared well lately. For instance, the cruelty of being a Georgia sports fan was renewed again last evening. My hometown Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 late in the 3rd quarter, and still found a way to squander a game that was all but impossible to squander. For Super Bowl Championships, there’s always the next century.

Ready for the Super Bowl Party at Shelter Bay. There were probably about 30 present for the festivities.

Other than the aforementioned setbacks and my several-day bout with a respiratory virus, Cindy and I are doing well. We’ve continued our daily jungle walks and have enjoyed each others company, as we usually do. I’m blessed to spend my days with someone whose companionship I find it hard to do without. We’ve passed our time accomplishing small tasks on our vessel, praying, reading, singing, playing games, watching movies, and occasionally hanging out with fellow cruisers.

A Walk in the Jungle

Walking in the a Tropical Rainshower

A little Coati running across the path in front of us.

Lovely Butterfly on our walk

A Crimson-Backed Tanager. Magnificent.


Searching for the ever-elusive (almost) sloth

Daddy Howler

Mom showing Baby how to eat one’s vegetables.

Cute Baby Howler

Cindy’s sketches on a number of Jungle animals she plans to paint

It has been a little difficult watching boat after boat leaving the marina for their journey through the canal and out into the Pacific. Inevitably, there are trade-offs. For us, we’ve decided to forego the Pacific in order to enjoy certain other pleasures ashore for a while.

Our Aussie neighbors aboard Ooroo are leaving the slip headed for the Pacific

Looking over a chart of the Western Caribbean with fellow-cruiser, Don, in anticipation of upcoming passages.