Lizard patrol

I tried my hand at lizard repatriation.  We’d been out in the dinghy for an explore and returned to the boat to find two such creatures paddling like fury and trying unsuccessfully to climb up the convex hull of the boat. The current would sweep them back 5 meters or so then they’d summon up more energy for another unsuccessful assault to board Grace.

We watched this for a while thinking, what are these creatures doing out here?  We’re anchored maybe 500m from land. It seemed to be such a fruitless pursuit. I wasn’t in need of a boat pet and didn’t fancy waking up with a lizard on my head. (Another unpleasant way to wake up to add to my list).

These creatures seemed knackered. We managed to coax one up onto the paddle board and it sat quietly resting for a couple of minutes. Then it skittered speedily off the board across the water and onto the side of the dinghy. But Lenny the lizard only had one goal. Get onto the big boat. He was summarily back in the water scrabbling fruitlessly at the side of the hull. His mate had disappeared by this point.

I concocted a plan. I’ll get Lenny back on the paddle board and take him to shore. Off I set. Me in the dinghy and Lenny on the board, being towed at a fairly sedate pace. I called by our Belgium friend Jarne to see if he wanted a pet. His girlfriend sails a boat called Gecko. Could have been appropriate.

I was pootling along towards land watching Lenny. Paddle boarding wasn’t for him. He started legging it towards the front of the board, reached top speed then launched himself into the water. And so ended my lizard repatriation. He was big boy with a mind of his own. He’d be okay. Human intervention was not required. Even if it was well intentioned.

This wasn’t our only wildlife encounter recently. On our return trip from Panama City (we’re legal now with proper stamps in our passports) we had the most amazing journey. It was the full on David Attenborough experience. We saw several Bryde’s whales, a whale shark, two hammerhead sharks, manta rays, jumping rays, dolphins, a sword fish and all manner of birds. A was a superlative time. The waters were teeming with life.

That evening at anchor we shone a torch in the water and the water was thick and rich with krill. That may help to explain why there was so much wildlife around that day.

Finally a quick update on our movements. We’re currently cruising around the Las Perlas islands off Panama. More positive news is coming out of French Polynesia with no new cases of CV.  Negotiations are taking place regarding foreign flagged vessels getting into New Zealand and Australia later this year. So we’re pretty hopeful that the Pacific will still be on this year. It may be a very different journey to the one we originally envisaged. Staying positive (well trying to) and just waiting a little longer.

Rude awakening

I’m compiling a list of the worst ways to be woken up. To that list I’d like to suggest sea water over the head. Impact, instant grumpiness. Not just QI, quite irritating, but QFI.

We’d come back into Panama City. We had received authorisation from the maritime medical doctor and the immigration authorities that we could check in…..again. Recall. When the world was your oyster and travel and personal connections were something to relish and gaily indulge in, we’d checked out of Panama. We were on our way across the Pacific. Then the relish and gaily indulgence disappeared and we thought and felt it was inappropriate to head towards a small group of islands mid Pacific that had formally closed their borders.

To complete our paperwork formalities, we took a mooring ball at Balboa Yacht Club. It’s just off the main shipping channel where all vessels, big, small and bloody humongous pass, going to or from the Miraflores Lock. Inevitably there’s quite a lot of sloppy water as all ships create wash. The wash can be evil.

We have 4 cute round port holes in the hull of Grace. At sea they are always closed but its pretty hot here so we had a couple open to get as much airflow through the boat as possible. We’ve been in bed for maybe 20 minutes. I was in that screen saver state between awake and asleep.

You know how this goes without me being explicit. Grace was aligned so the porthole on my side of the bed was parallel to the channel. There was much hurumpfing. Enough said.

So we are now ‘official’ again. We have stocked up on some fresh veggies and fruit and tomorrow we will hightail it’s back to Isla Contadora which is where we’ve been hanging out.

The wait to decide our next move continues. The mended paddle board is no longer mended. The generator has a small water leak. The washing needs doing (by hand) so there’s stuff to keep us occupied. Oh, to have a walk in a beach though.




I got round to taking a few shots today. It was bin day. High excitement. This meant a trip round to the next beach, all approved by the aero naval plus we got to walk up the beach to the rubbish truck. What joy. I never imagined that bin day would become something to look forward to.

So this is where we are and what it looks like. It’s not too shabby.


What colour is Helen’s Toothbrush?

our slightly rude badges ...made by the crew of another boatFriday night. The ‘‘nowhere to go’ fleet of boats in the anchorage tuned in for the  Dave and Helen pub-less quiz extravaganza. Number two in a series of who knows how many episodes.  There were 9 participating boats. Prizes were available. Pencils were at the ready. Glasses of wine and cans of beer adding brain food to the expectant participants.

It took us probably a good 6 or 7 hours to end up with something we were happy with. Is it too easy? Is it too hard? Is it multi national enough? Is there enough variety? We road-tested the bones of the quiz on a couple of folk via the internet in advance. One came back with a two word response to how hard it was. Nice bit of direct flavoursome feedback there. 😀 The other reckoned he got about 70% which meant we decided we were good to go.

We had a couple of rounds that related to our situation here. One round’s questions were all about countries we can’t sail to from here. Lockdown persists. Did you know that over 53,000 New Zealander’s stated their religion to be Jedi in their 2001 census?

We devised a couple of rounds where the answers were all connected. So if you got the connection, but didn’t know all the answers immediately, the connection may provide some help or least aid a guess. Our connection was names of boats in the anchorage. Boats call each other daily over the radio using names so the intel was out there. Or so we thought.

There’s a boat here called Gecko. The question being, what sub order of lizard includes the varieties crested, common leopard, and new caladonia giant. The boat’s owner didn’t get that one. They came in for a bit of stick in the scoring section.

And just to keep the quiz fanatics in line, one of the questions was “What colour is Helen’s toothbrush?’

We haven’t moved Grace for about 15 days. We’ve decided to see if / when / how the global situation develops in the next 2 to 3 weeks. In our time here, I haven’t worn shoes. I have been to the beach twice. Once to get rid of our rubbish and once to collect groceries from Henri. Steps on land maybe 500 in total. So it’s paddle boarding and bits of swimming and hull cleaning for exercise. Plus a friend in the UK sent me a programme of exercises that we just about have space for in the boat.

The sewing machine has been out. The generator has been serviced. We suffer from FSS (flat surface syndrome) on the boat. A friend introduced us to this. When you’re at anchor, any flat surface gets quickly covered in stuff. We are well into our second week of this and it shows no sign of abating.

So chums. Stay well. Be kind. We have some days when our mood is up and buoyant, others when the situation feels stifling and energy sapping. Our next big move. Who knows. We’ve spent hours debating  it without any obvious solution. Maybe inspiration and clarity will arrive one day.

I’ve hardly taken any pics lately. Must try harder.