Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fish On. Fish On. Fish On.

Yippee., whoopee, yahoo ..for a lot of reasons.
Reason #1 – Lorna and Dave arrived safely to Panama and they get their fourth stamp on their frequent Astarte visitor card. It is great to have them aboard. They started on their very early flight from chilly Cleveland through the Miami airport and into Tocumen International in Panama City. They were loaded down with all kind of parts and stuff for Astarte...and had no problems. It's been like Christmas on Astarte with stove parts, head parts, caulks (West Marine did make good on their replacement), pumps, batteries, dive booties .and the list continues. Each night they have gifted us with something else. Of course the first night was pounds and pounds of Gibson chocolates. T-shirts the next night. It's been great having them here and the week's just started.

Reason #2 - We got out of Panama City. After a month at anchor in Las Brisas...we pulled up the anchor (boy was our new chain a mess with growth, barnacles and mud).and got out on Saturday. Dave and Lorna arrived on Thursday and we went to the airport to meet them We took local transportation there which was a fun adventure on the 25 cent bus – that took an hour and a half. But we saw lots of the city. We cabbed back with all their bags, which took lests than 30 minutes. On Friday, we hired a cab to take us on a last minute grocery shopping trek to get the fresh fruit, veggies and bread (and scotch for Dave). Then bright and early on Saturday morning, we left the anchorage for the Las Perlas Islands. This is a long string of islands that are about 35 miles away from Panama City. For those reality TV series fans - "Survivor" Panama was shot on this group of islands.

Reason #3 – We sailed. We had an absolutely fabulous, sunny day with a steady wind 12-18 knots from off our side – so we could reach and we were moving. It was a great sail.

Reason #4– We caught fish. Not one. Not two – but three fish! We put our brand new fish line (Dave and Lorna brought) on the reel and put it to the test. We also had our trusty old "yoyo" - and both lines got wet. We tried several different lures through the morning. Then, we had a major sail issue. Our mainsail jammed in the mast furler big time. It somehow got twisted inside and the huge crease in it wouldn't allow it to be pulled in or out. So lots of pulling, twisting, winching and bad language later – we managed to at least get the sail down. But, by this point, we had forgotten about the two trailing fish lines...and yes, they managed to get twisted together and then wrapped on the prop (luckily it wasn't turning – we were actually sailing!). So once the sail was down – before we could start the motor to deal with it further, we (meaning Michael) had to go overboard and untangle the mess. He did after several attempts. We had a good swell going so it couldn't have been much fun. But he did it. Then he got the sail off, and he and Dave got it back on the furler and back up. Finally we were sailing again under full main and genoa and moving. Good fish catching speed. Both lines were put back in the water and off we went again after an hour delay. Lures were changed and Barbara (who loves "spoons") put on her favorite spoon lure on the yoyo. Yup, a hit. A lovely "blackie" - a black finned tuna. Just as Michael is cleaning that one – another hit – this time Lorna pulls in a small, but very edible mahi. Yum. Then dave puts a spoon on the reel. A hit. He pulls in what looks like another tuna but it shakes off the hook. Then another hit on the yoyo – another blackie. We call it a day. Lots of fish to clean and then eat and there isn't much room in a fully provisioned fridge and freezer.

That night we dine on a fish medly – simply grilled with a little lime and pepper. Grilled Black Fin tuna and Grilled Mahi. Too bad we only had a boxed wine to go with it! But it was a feast.

So we are anchored at Isla Contradora. We'll probably stay here at least for today and explore the island and do some snorkeling.

Lots of reasons to be happy... oh by the way(Dave and Jamie), we did have bananas on board when we caught the three fish.

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