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
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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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