Gallery

Gallery – Panama

Gallery – Panama

There are different places one can go cruising in Panama. We visit San Blas and Portobelo and dock Mabul in the marinas of Linton Bay and Turtle Cay. Preparations for the Pacific are in full swing. Together with the crew of SV My Motu we rent a car to make various trips to Colon. In Shelter Bay Marina I pick up our new anchor chain, deliver lithium batteries from sailors in San Blas and in return get Canadian passports for people in San Blas. We buy food and alcohol in the Zona Libre, I get our liferaft serviced and pick up packages from the US. Before the second San Blas round with Georges, we visit Portobelo, a small town with a great history, and after transiting the canal on My Motu, we explore Panama City while Mabul lies patiently waiting for us in the Turtle Cay Marina.

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Gallery – San Blas II

Gallery – San Blas II

After all the jobs in Linton Bay Marina and Colon, are done, Mabul is equipped with a new 80 metre long anchor chain, six brand new AGM batteries with a capacity of 630AH and an incredible amount of food. Karin returns from Switzerland with not only some boat parts, but also her father Georges. We spend a short time in the marina and then set off under engine in total calm. If you ask the people here, you quickly realize that this is the best way to cruising back to San Blas. Once again we drop anchor off some small sand islands, snorkeling, cooking, drinking… Georges is doing amazingly well on board and brings new vigour to the galley.

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Gallery – San Blas I

Gallery – San Blas I

The next leg from Providencia will take us together with SV My Motu to Panama, or to be more precise, to San Blas. We heard a lot people saying, cruising in San Blas is a must, so we want to spend a few more nice weeks at anchor here and then sail through the canal to reach the Pacific. We clear in at the small island of Porvenir and spend two weeks exploring the archipelago with its more than 350 islands. But there are still a few jobs on the list before we can cross the channel, such as a liferaft service, then we need to buy the new anchor chain and loads of food. I sail single-handed into Linton Bay Marina for the first time, while Karin deals with things in Switzerland. Linton Bay is where Karin and her father Georges will return to from Switzerland so that we can sail one more time to San Blas.

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Gallery – Providencia

Gallery – Providencia

After leaving Rio Dulce, we are cruising 600 miles with a rare, extremely helpful but uncomfortable westerly wind to Providencia, a small Colombian outpost off the coast of Nicaragua. Here we drop anchor off the island’s largest town, meet the crew of SV My Motu and will spend Christmas together until after New Year. The island is easy to travel around by golf kart and, in addition to dream beaches, has plenty of jungle and super friendly inhabitants to offer. We find a reggae bar from which we watch the start preparations for a small fishing regatta, climb to the highest point on the island at “the peak” and the underwater world speaks its own language.

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Gallery – Providencia Diving

Gallery – Providencia Diving

We’ll see gray reef sharks – 99 guaranteed!” says our dive guide Justifer as we descend to the reef. Diving in Providencia means immersing yourself in the world of sharks. They approach us curiously and eye us up. One reason for their trusting nature is that the local islanders feed the sharks with lionfish, which have spread invasively here and threaten the other underwater inhabitants. During several dives, we are enchanted by the elegance, curiosity and speed of the sharks.

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Gallery – Rio Dulce

Gallery – Rio Dulce

For over three months we have been living on and around the Rio Dulce, while Mabul is being refitted in the boatyard. We share the boat problems with Riki and Martin from SV Arancanga and the family of Pablo and Dini. They repair their boats in the neighboring boatyard and also live in our little jungle commune. Thomas from SV Irmi is also part of our sailing community, but still lives on his boat. We discuss boat problems over an evening rum tasting and together we go on adventures outside Rio Dulce and travel to Antigua and Tikal, cheer on the gauchos at the rodeo, get annoyed at the growing number of screaming roosters and laugh at the imaginary turkey. It is this community of like-minded sailors that makes living around Rio Dulce so unique – despite the heat, rain and lots and lots of work.

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Gallery – Guatemala Refit II

Gallery – Guatemala Refit II

It took six weeks to put things back together for the first time during the sailboat refit II in Guatemala. The deck project is going well. After some touch-ups with fiberglass, two coats of polyester filler are applied to the deck. After an incredible amount of sanding, seven coats of gelcoat were sprayed on. Meanwhile, Alex rebuilt both toilets, relocated a thruhull, glued in new plastic seacocks, and tinkered with what felt like 100 side projects.

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Gallery – Guatemala Refit

Gallery – Guatemala Refit

In this first gallery we show how Mabul is disassembled during the sailboat refit in Guatemala. Only three days after we arrived in Rio Dulce, our dear Mabul is already hanging in the slings. Karin flies to Switzerland and the prop has to come along. After an inspection of the underwater hull, I get to work, the list is long. Soon Kevin and Joel, the Guatemalan workers, start with the deck project. First the old teak has to come off, then gelcoat on the deck and new paint on the stern and waterline.

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Gallery – Upstream to Rio Dulce

Gallery – Upstream to Rio Dulce

After our last leg from Mexico, we arrive outside Livingston in Guatemala. Here we wait for the spring tide so that we can make it over the shallow sandbank. After clearing in, we head upstream to Rio Dulce under engine through the deepest jungle. Our destination is the RAM marina, or rather boatyard, to refit Mabul.

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Gallery – Mexico Diving III

Gallery – Mexico Diving III

Cozumel, another mecca for divers, is located in the middle of the Gulf Stream off the Caribbean coast of Mexico. The island owes crystal-clear water to this, as we have hardly seen it before, and makes a terrific drift dive out of every reef. So we drift effortlessly, sometimes for kilometers just above the reefs along the west coast of Cozumel and admire the diverse nature. Amazing how intact everything seems, considering the blatant mass diving tourism that has been taking place here for decades.

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