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

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