Friday, December 30, 2011


We made it! Three locks up. Through Gatun Lake. Three locks down. We are now safely anchored in the Pacific Ocean with the huge Panama City skyline as our backdrop (actually as our front facing scenery with the sun rising behind it).
We had a great crew – special thanks to Markus of "Namani" (and to Nana and Nicholas for lending him to us), and Sue and Lenny from Windancer (who trekked from Portobello to make the transit). They will always be part of the Astarte "crew" for their help through the Canal. Everyone got along great – and were helpful and put up with "cozy" accommodations. We enjoyed sharing this magnificent experience with them.
MacNell (not quite sure of the spelling) was our going up (three Gatun Locks) Advisor and Ricardo was our "Canal Advisor" for the transit across Gatun Lake and through the three down locks at Pedro Miguel and Miraflores. We were lucky as they were great. We were particularly thrilled to have Ricardo – because as fate would have it – he was also the Advisor on "Anthem" the boat we line-handled for in February 2010. Amazing. That was incredible as was he. He is so calm and interesting and filled with information about the canal, Panama and the various boats, tugs, dredges etc. we went past. Plus, he's just really a great guy and was fun to have as part of our crew.
A a great big thanks to all who tried to watch us going through the locks on the internet. Sorry that you wasted so much time staring at the internet – and that the Gatun Locks internet wasn't working properly. Plus, as you'll read, our scheduled time wasn't exactly "on time." Thanks for all the nice notes and congratulations as well – we appreciate knowing we have lots of support and love to keep us afloat.
So let's go back to the departure and fill you in on one of the great adventures of our life – bringing our own boat through the canal.
Erick Galvez was our agent from Centenario Consultant Agency and we can HIGHLY recommend him to anyone choosing an agent. He was efficient, always did what he said he would and on time. His line and tire fenders were in great shape and delivered (and picked-up) on time and as promised.
On Tuesday, December 27 we cleared out of Colon for Balboa with the Port Captain. Erick delivered the lines and tires on time and they got tied on. Barbara did the provisioning run for feeding the crew and advisors. And we cleaned Astarte top to bottom inside for guests.
On Wednesday, a little last minute cleaning and our "crew" arrived. Lenny and Sue came over from Portobello and Markus from a few slips away. The snafu started when the fuel barge pulled out – we were planning on topping off diesel. Thanks to Des and Carol from "Island Fling" for selling us some gasoline; and Markus and Nana from Namani for letting us buy some diesel from them to top the tanks. We would have made it – but its nice to have every possible thing covered "just in case." We loaded the fuel and got lines organized, a crew photo and then pulled away from the dock to head to "the flats" to anchor and await our time and advisor. We jogged through massive ships and dropped the hook and waited. We got notice that our advisor would arrive at 1830 (6:30 pm). So we decided to have our big meal mid day and enjoyed a lovely dinner together...unfortunately no wine.
At about 1840 the advisor arrived. It looked like we would be going through with one big sports fishing motor boat and a catamaran. The cat was being delivered from South Africa to Tahiti for the Moorings Charter company by a delivery crew of Richard, Savannah and Josh. Great folks we had met the night before. We pulled up anchor in the dark and headed towards the locks – a giant boat trailing us (very frightening to have a 600 foot boat behind you). They would ultimately be in front of us in the lock. The sport fishing boat had navigation light that didn't work and wouldn't be able to transit unless they got them fixed and to the locks in time to make the tie-up. We were relieved as we preferred the option of tying to the catamaran rather than the sport fisher as the hull shape is a better match.
We then waited. And waited. And waited. There seemed to be a problem in the lock with the boat that was passing through. We had rafted up with the catamaran– tightly tied with lots and lots of fenders between the boats. So finally – about 2100 (9pm) we started through. The catamaran captain Richard and Michael were coordinating speed and direction with the help of Carlos the advisor on the cat. Because we were rafted – we only needed two line handlers on Astarte – but we teamed up, Barbara and Lenny did the foredeck and Sue and Markus handled the stern.
We got into the lock staring up at the giant container ship "Merchant" from Nassau. A big black hull was not very far in front of us. The "mules", which are motorized engines on rails, handle their lines on shore with deck hands aboard. We have human beings on shore who walk along with our lines. But first, they toss a monkey fist aboard the boat which you have to grab and then tie with a bowline to your big line and feed it back to them. These guys (male and female) toss like they want to knock you off your feet. They line drive it aboard. The lines (fore and aft) are caught by the able Astarte crew, competent knots tied, and the lines are pulled up by the canal linesmen. They then put our line, which has a big loop on one end, over a large bollard. The lock gates get closed and the water starts to come in – quite quickly. We have to pull in the lines to compensate for the incoming water to keep the rafted sailboats centered. The same routine is happening on the starboard side of the catamaran.
It's hard work pulling in. We manage to get it done for the first lock, but the most frightening part is actually when the huge boat in front of us – starts. They put their engine in forward and the canal water becomes a class 5 rapid. Wow – it is really churned up sending the two rafted sailboats dancing. We are still attached to the canal walls with the four lines – but you can really see the pressure on those lines. You pray they hold as will your cleats. Whew...the first lock done. Two to go. But now, the boats, still attached, motor through to the next lock as the canal line-handlers carry our lines into the next lock. Two more times the routine continues – lines released, pulled back aboard, lines re-fed and retied. Pulling them in. Letting them out. Nervously watching the huge frieghter ahead churn up the water.
After the last lock, our two rafted boats stayed together (unusual) for the trip to the mooring where we will spend the night. The advisor wants us to stay rafted up on the mooring but we don"t think that's a good idea so we unraft. The lake is rolly enough with boat traffic and wind that we would listen to squeeks and squaks from tires, fenders and lines all night if we were rafted up. The party would have been fun – but sleeping more difficult. So they tied to one mooring and we tied to the other and it was around 2330 when that was completed. A few cocktails and beers were consumed. The advisor wanted a hot meal – but we told it would take too long and he would be picked up shortly. So we made sandwiches and lots of snacks.
We called it a day around 0100 (1 am) - it was a mighty long day for everyone – but the hardest locks were now behind us and it went very smoothly.
Day two: Thursday, December 29, 2011.
0530 the Astarte crew get up to coffee and breakfast and the advisor arrives around 0645. We head out just about immediately after introductions, warming the engine and untying from the bollard. The catamaran has left a few minutes earlier. It is a beautiful day and Ricardo is a pleasant addition to our crew.
We head through Gatun lake which is quite pretty. Sue has the binoculars in search of wildlife and everyone is amiably chatting and sightseeing. Barbara is whipping up brownies and pasta salad and snacking is non-stop. Ricardo is very informative about how our next locks will go – we find out two ferries that do this passage daily will be in the lock ahead of us then the rafted sailboats. Down is easier than up as you simply let out line versus bringing it in. The wind is blowing pretty good though – so we have windage on our side- pulling us away from the wall (that's good) but we need to keep the catamaran off the wall on the other side putting more pressure on our lines, cleat and crew.
We get into the first lock – a different view as we're sitting so high in the lock this time. Monkey fists are caught by both Markus and Lenny(one handed, by the way). Good work. And the process continues. But in between these locks, we have to motor rafted together – so monkey fist catching and bowline tying has to actually be done three separate times. The crew of Astarte for the passage has a 100% catch record with no windows broken, no solar panels lost or wind generator blades ruined. (Of course hatches and solar panels are covered with cushions, blankets, towels, line etc.)
After we are through the last locks, we are in the Pacific.
We unraft with our partners on the catamaran and make our way to an anchorage in what is called Las Brisas. It is around a few islands. The skyline of Panama City is bold, the sun is shining. By around 1530 (3:30 pm) we are anchored. Markus decides he will try to make the trip back to Shelter Bay right away so we get the dinghy unrolled and put back together. Tires and lines will also be picked up by Erick's son at 1630 (4:30pm). So we get Astarte ready and un-adorned with canal passage gear.
The fun news was that as we came into the anchorage we started to see lots of boats we know. People we hadn't seen for months or even years came out to say hello. Our friends Blake and Sunny from Slow-Mocean were on deck and we hadn't seen them since Puerto Rico. Feel Free with Liz and Tom we last saw in the San Blas. And we anchored near Yvon and Carmella of Taima. Voyager is anchored up there – haven't seen them yet. And so it feels welcoming. The wind was hooting out of the north and its a bit rolly.
A few celebratory Astarte rum punches and we would head in for dinner. Showers, cleaning up, dry clothes and we make our way to shore. The tide (which today was a 16 foot tide – that's normal) – was in.
We head in and unfortunately its not the easiest dinghy arrangement. You tie up then have to use a small plastic rowboat (very wet and tippy) to pull yourself across to the dock. With the wind and waves and tides, it can be a very wet trip to get to the other end. Barbara was soaked by the time we made it to dinner. We headed out for a bite – the crew all quite tired – but we enjoy a pizza together and head back.
Exhausted – we call it a night after putting the dinghy and outboard up (everything has to be locked).
Day Three: Friday, December 30:
Everyone had a great, much needed, night sleep. We get up to a nice breakfast and Michael takes Lenny and Sue ashore and then cleared in with the Port Captain. Its a holiday weekend, but all went well. Then we'll organize Astarte putting things back in the V-berth and forward head – after a repair – unfortunately it broke on Day one....bummer with guests aboard). But we'll probably take a few days to relax and appreciate that we made it to the Pacific.
Again, thank you so much to everyone for getting screen grabs from the lock cameras of us going through. We can't wait to see them. We took lots of photos and once they get sorted we'll post them as well.
We made it. Woohoo!!!!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ready for the Canal Passage

The crew of Lenny & Sue from Windancer and Marcus from Namani are aboard. The tires are tied to the boat. The long lines are on deck. The fuel tanks have been filled and the boat is provisioned for two days and six people.
The passage was originally scheduled for 3:45 pm (ET) but it's been moved later – now we may transit under the lights. We get our "advisor at 1830 (6:30 pm eastern time). We are heading to the flats shortly to anchor and wait.  Web site is:
There is a catamaran with a South African crew aboard will be transiting at the same time and they are fun people so we think we will be side-tied with them.
Otherwise, we're as ready as ever to go.
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Caroling by the Howler Monkeys

We awoke on Christmas morning to the sweet (or scary) sounds of the howler monkeys bellowing – we were sure it was their very special version of "White Christmas" in 8 part harmony. This was followed by a very distinct "Silent Night" but obviously in Spanish.
The sun is out on this Christmas morning - after a day of on and off rain. Cookies have been coming out of the Astarte galley over the last few days – and this is quite a feat as the oven is quite small and you can only make about 9 cookies at a time (and I only have one custom made cookie sheet that fits!) But four varieties of cookies emerged.
On Christmas eve, we had a lovely steak dinner and actually splurged and opened a bottle of nice red wine. We kept the Christmas lights on extra long and listened to Mike Mullin's Christmas CDs he's made over the past years (compilations of music from "rockin'" to "chillin'" to Guitar) It was lovely even with the rain.
This morning, we'll do the traditional cookie delivery to our surrounding boat neighbors. We ride around in the dinghy (If Yoshi the outboard has the Christmas spirit) and hand out wrapped cookies. No singing allowed – we'll leave that to the nearby monkeys.
Then we'll make a few side dishes to bring up to Capt. Jack's Canopy Bar and celebrate Christmas with lots of other boaters and local folks. Capt. Jack is making a few legs of lamb, a ham, mashed potatoes and everyone else will bring various side-dishes and desserts. There will be a "Chinese" gift exchange – this is a fun event where you get to pick a gift from the pile or one from someone else who already opened one.
Tomorrow, we'll leave for Shelter Bay again to prep for our trip through the Canal on Wednesday. We have two line handlers already and hope we get another one today at Capt. Jack's. The one who had committed to us – bagged us. But we have Lenny and Sue from the boat Windancer. They should be a blast. They have been cruising for many years and never been through the Canal. They are a lot of fun and really nice and competent and we are grateful they'll be with us.
The next few days will be busy so may not be able to do an entry. We should be going through the Gatun locks on December 28th, probably late afternoon EDT – so tune in to the Panama Canal website
( )
and look for us. We are a white single-mast sailboat with blue canvas. On the front stay (that's the line that runs from the top of the mast to the pointy end at the very front of the boat) – look for blue canvas on that stay that has two white stripes on it (this is our chafe protection on our sail – but it is quite distinctive). We also have a dinghy on the foredeck as well as we'll have blue cushions covering our solar panels over the bimini top. This is to protect them from the lead centered monkey fist and line that gets tossed down to you from the canal workers. Many a solar panel, hatch or window has been broken by these balls of line. So watch for us – if we get a more definitive time for Wednesday we'll do a quick post on the site with that info.
Merry Christmas to all and we hope you got everything you wanted from Santa. We did – we have each other and we're pursuing our dream.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas To All From SV Astarte

In the tropics it’s hard to believe it’s time for Santa to make his run. No snow. No chestnuts roasting. No egg nog (though plenty of rum). But there are Christmas lights twinkling aboard Astarte (enjoyed for about an hour each day – the allotted energy allowance). And we have CDs of Christmas music. And of course, there will be some holiday sweets from the galley.

Christmas is always a tough time to be away from family and friends…but we have each other aboard and have made many friends since we’ve started cruising. This is our third Christmas aboard Astarte and it’s funny that with all the miles under our keel, all three holidays have been spent in the country of Panama.

Because we keep our log page up to date ( most of you know what we’ve been up to all year. 2011 had us visiting only two countries – Panama and Honduras, but many ports and islands in those countries. Michael did visit a few extra counties to earn a few cruising dollars in China and Korea. Barbara had a few articles published as well, and earned some beer money selling her writing.

We visited the States for Barbara’s mom’s 90th Birthday where it was great to see the entire Sobocinski clan. We also saw lots of family and friends in Salem and then went on to Michael’s brother and sister-in-law’s in Nashville. And finally a last stop – though not together- in St. Pete Florida where we stayed at the very nice “Richard and Rene Resort and Party Center”. Thanks to those who came and visited with us while we were in the States as well. Sandy made the trip from Oregon to Salem, Michael’s mom came to Nashville and Tim came from Philly to Salem. Thanks – it meant a lot to us. We conned Barbara’s sister Carol into helping us with our paperwork this year – thank you for that. We may be out here cruising around – but we are supported by lots and lots of family, friends and even strangers. We are sincerely grateful.

Astarte took a few “land trips” this year as well. She was hauled out for work in Honduras where she got a new bottom job and then unfortunately, had to be hauled again in Panama for a new shaft. Thanks Richard for your help giving us much needed advice and getting us the shaft material.

Here’s a quick, rhythmic re-cap of our year on Astarte. We wish you all a very merry Christmas.

January we enjoyed two sets of boat guests
Lloyd and Margaret, Dave and Lorna none were pests
We snorkeled, sailed, drank and ate
Explored the San Blas which is top rate
When we have great company life aboard is best

February we enjoyed on Panama’s coast
The San Blas, Linton and Portobello the most
We celebrated Valetines and a birthday
Drinking champagne aboard our boat Astarte
It’s been two years aboard so we drank a toast

In March it was time to start heading North
So we checked the winds, the waves and so forth
To Honduras we sailed for six solid days
The Colombian Navy stopped us on our way
And at La Ceiba Shipyard we hauled for ten days

April brought our frequent boat guests Kathryn and Mark
To Roatan, Guanaja and the West End Marine Park
They spent water time as they wished
But they had no luck when they fished
It was a fun for us all even when Mark saw his big shark.

May kept us enjoying our time in the Bay Isles
And we were graced by Jim’s visit, he came many miles
We saw sharks, lionfish and even some snakes
We showered in waterfalls, but caught no fish steaks
Eating, drinking and snorkeling, lots of laughs and big smiles

June meant it was time to head South once more
Hurricanes start forming and heading to shore
But first some time with Walt and Honoree
Good friends with whom we like to play
Then we sailed off to Bocas and boat projects galore

July was busy putting Astarte to bed in her slip
Thanks to Anna and Ian for the place for our ship
Then off to the states by boat, bus and plane
And Mike’s off to China he must be insane
Barbara spends time with family and friends on this trip

August is a big birthday month for Gen our sweet mother
After her 90th to Nashville we go to see Mike’s brother
Trish, his mom, comes for a fun few days
Then Mike and Barb go their separate ways
Thanks so much to Carol, Richard, Rene and others

In September, Mike’s back from work in Korea and trip to St. Pete
Barbara’s been in Bocas where cleaning the boat’s quite a feat
Tommy arrives with a giant sailbag in hand
It’s great to have him aboard and not on land
When Mike and Tom are together hold on to your seat.

October has us working on projects in the rain and wet
We housesit for a few days for someone we had met
At Rana Azul we celebrate Octoberfest
Then we head to a new place on our quest
To Bluefields we land a lovely place for our anchor to set

November comes and off to Portobello we go
Another haul out we need so we won’t need a tow
We give thanks at Captain Jack’s
With a feast and lots of snacks
But our outboard is starting to make us have to row

December has us in Colon and Shelter Bay
It’s nickname, for a good reason, is Shelter Pay
The new shaft is made
The new chain is laid
And we get everything ready for Panama Canal Day

This twenty-eleven has been a great year
We’re thankful for family and friends so dear
The Caribbean has been a lot of fun
The Pacific now calls so we head west with the sun
Now is that Santa and his reindeer we hear?
Peace and love in 2012…

Barbara and Michael
S/V Astarte

Friday, December 16, 2011


No, not a mental institution (though there are days!) We are now committed to going through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific aboard Astarte. We have been “Admeasured” by the Canal Authority and have paid hundreds of our favorite US dollars to our excellent agent, Erick. And we have a date. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, December 28, 2011. You can watch us go through the locks on the Canal's website.

The Admeasuring took place on a rainy Tuesday. Ingrid was our Canal Authority official who came aboard to do the paperwork and measuring.

Yup. They take out a big tape measure and actually measure the boat bow to stern. Then its lots of questions and paperwork. Questions include how fast the boat will go, how much fuel you carry, do you have a clean, working toilet, will you have bottled water for the adviser etc. She was aboard about an hour and then we signed away a bunch of papers including the fact that anything that happens while in the locks is our fault!

With that completed, we called our agent Erick Galvez and picked a date. We thought it would be fun to be on the Pacific side for the New Year. Now we have to find three additional people to join us as line-handlers. You need four line-handlers and the captain aboard to go through the locks. Any volunteers? You have to be here by December 27 and it takes two days. We'll be in Panama City (Port of Balboa) by the afternoon of December 29).

After we paid Erick, we fueled up (ouch) and then left Shelter Bay Marina. We always love what we call “zero dollar days.” That's a day where we don't spend any money (sure we eat food that we bought earlier – but we don't actually spend any dollars.) Tuesday was anything BUT a zero dollar day. Between paying for the marina fees and the Panama Canal passage fees – we burnt through a couple of thousand bucks!

We have to head back to the marina on the 26th to get our tires for fenders and our four 250 ft. lines (the agent provides these) and some groceries for the Canal crossing. Now we are trying to find other cruisers to line handle for us and get the boat ready.

New photos have also been put on now that we have a better internet connection – pics of some of the yard work and new chain.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday Relaunch

New shaft made and replaced. New cutlass bearing installed. Through-hull repaired. Boat waxed. New chain on board and old chain gone. Ready for launching...and we did get put back in the water on Monday afternoon.

It is always a scary moment when your boat is taken off the stands and put on a truck and moved. Then it is taken off the truck and put in the harness to lift into the water. But all went well and no water came in where it shouldn't. The shaft seemed to make an immediate difference with less vibration.

We are now in a slip at Shelter Bay and were hoping to get the local mechanic (actually a Canadian who lives on a boat here) to make sure the engine is aligned but last night we found out he is too busy. Bummer. Michael (who's managed to do everything else) will have to pull out the feeler gauges and Nigel Calders' "Boatowners's Mechanical and Electrical Manual" and get it done himself.

Today, we hope to get "ad measured" for our Panama Canal passage. That is where a Canal authority comes down with a tape measure and actually measures the length of your boat and charges you according to how many "containers" it can hold. Or something like that. Then we have to pick the date to go through.

It has been unbelievably rainy the last several days – monsoon rains. Its hard to keep the boat dry with wet clothes hanging everywhere. We have enjoyed the $1 Happy Hour beers at the bar (who's bartender is a 14-year old Canadian named Dylan). Connected with our old friends from "Voyager" Lynn and Byron who will be going through the canal this week. Re-met some folks we met in Roatan Desmond and Carol from South Africa and have enjoyed their company over a few drinks and dinners. Carol made us all a "Milk Tart" the other night – a traditional South African dessert – mighty tasty. So though we were exhausted each night with many hours of hard work, we have enjoyed some social time here as well.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

No it's not May – it's December 8th and that means a holiday in Panama. It's Dias de la Madre – Mother's Day. So Happy Mother's Day to our moms and all the Mother's reading this.

It been work, work, work aboard Astarte. We feel like we've been going non-stop for weeks. Sorry for the lack of log entries. On Sunday, we left Portobello harbor where we did get a lot of projects done (or at least attempted). Heading into Colon and the Panama Canal area is exciting. There are about a hundred ships in the area almost all the time. Some coming from the Pacific and heading into the Caribbean and others preparing to go through the canal and sitting at anchor or motoring around awaiting their turn. You feel very small in a 42 foot sailboat amidst the 600 foot container ships, tankers and car carriers. Plus you have the chemical ships, military vessels and various other seagoing freight ships, barges and tugs. It is exciting to maneuver through them As you enter the Port of Cristobal you have to call Port Control and ask for permission to enter. After getting through the breakwater, we took a hard right to Shelter Bay Marina which was our destination.

We stayed one night in the marina and did all our paperwork for hauling out for our shaft replacement. We luckily got hauled relatively early on Monday morning. It is always quite scary watching the travel lift balance your boat out of the water. Here it then gets put on a truck and driven into the yard and stands are placed around it.

They do squeeze the boats in this yard. They backed us in between two boats which was quite thrilling. There is very little room on one side of us. We had hoped to get some scaffolding so we could wax the hull – but it won't fit on one side.

Once settled, Michael worked on getting the old shaft out – which wasn't as difficult as we thought it might be. Also, lots of calls to Marine Warehouse to make sure our chain and new shaft material would get here as scheduled. We were assured it would be here around 4 pm. So with the haul-out done,shaft out, we called the machine shop to confirm that we would be in at 7 am the next morning with old shaft and new material. With the Thursday holiday we were hoping it would get done by Friday so we could minimize our time (read: expense) in the yard. Well, 4 pm came no shaft or chain. 6 PM came, no shaft no chain and no response as to when and where it was. At 8 pm we canceled our cab for the 6:30 am pick-up. Still no idea where it was though a cryptic text message said something about car problems.

Finally the next day (Tuesday) around 10 am, we hear it will be here around 4 pm. We call the machine shop and hope they can still squeeze us in on Wednesday. Around 3 pm, the delivery comes. The new shaft material and 200 feet of new anchor chain. Whooppeee! We make arrangements for a 6:30 am pick-up so we're at the machine shop when it opens Meanwhile, Michael has also taken apart and repaired a broken through-hull. He also has replaced a water pump on the fresh water system which continues to be a problem. Perhaps the pump he repaired is the problem so he replaces it with a new pump. We've been taking fresh water out of the engine room every day.

Wednesday arrives – we get up with the sun and get all the bits together to go to the machine shop. We're ready and waiting for the cab by 6:15 am. 6:30 no cab. 6:45 no cab. Call Teddy who we arranged the transportation through. He tells us his brother (the driver) is stuck at the locks. 7 am no cab – we know he's not at the locks because now we've seen a half-dozen cars come through. 7:15 no car. Lots of calls – lots of frustration. By about 7:30 the car comes and gets Michael and the two long pieces of metal in the car and they head to the shop.

Meanwhile, Barbara is heading into town as well to get some groceries on the 8 am bus.

Michael manages to get the shop to work on the shaft immediately even though we are a day late. The shop thinks they can actually get it done in a day. Amazing (especially in Panama where nothing moves quickly). But then again, that's what they say – what will reality be?

Believe it or not – the new shaft was done by that afternoon and Michael went in to get it and even got a ride back with the new and old shaft.

Thursday (today), a holiday for everyone but the good crew of Astarte. Luckily we didn't have to get going at sun-up. By noon, the new shaft is installed as well as the feathering prop. The prop probably took longer than the shaft! It all looks great. Thanks again to Barbara's brother Richard for his help in getting us the shaft material.

Next project – getting the old chain off the boat, the rusty chain locker cleaned out and the new chain measured, marked and put on board. It will make a huge difference anchoring and keeping the boat tidier – and fewer rust stains on the boat. (Thanks Tom).

Plus, the fresh water system problem wasn't the pump – it's elsewhere – so that project is still not done. And, before we get back in the water we'll grease up the centerboard pin and all the through-hulls.

Perhaps we'll make it back in the water on Saturday!

It feels like an early Christmas aboard Astarte with all this new stuff.

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