It’s been a while since I’ve sailed. My last sailing venture was at Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off of Honduras, and that didn’t actually include much sailing because their appeal for crew was really just an appeal for a wallet. But today I got to sail in the Beer Can Races at the Austin Yacht Club, on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, USA. “Sailing in Austin?”— some people have asked, surprised. Yep! Austin, Texas doesn’t have ocean, but it does have Lake Travis. And, in summer the lake is warm and inviting for swimming too. (Unfortunately, it’s about 53′ less of a lake now than “normal” due to dry spells and water use — but those boats still able to launch still get to enjoy it.) So today promised to be the first of a lot of sailing for me for the next month while I get to call […]
Richard, who selected me to be the line handler in December 2012, making it possible for me to transit the Panama Canal, published this about me: I put a post on CS to look for extra crew for our Panama Canal transit. Of the people who responded I thought Deborah sounded the most interesting so she joined us for the day. I must have made the right choice because she proved to be very good company and an asset to our crew.
It is 8:20am. I am again sitting at Captain Jack’s bar, upon the bar stool immediately beside the radio. I woke up before 7, took a fast (cold) shower, threw my sarong on to rush from the bathroom, then quickly donned my dress to run upstairs. There are two reasons for my early rise and rush — but both are because late last night I met a guy named Aaron who was lucky enough to be invited onto the boat that is sailing to Bocas del Toro this morning and I asked him to please put in a word for this solo traveler. I wrote down my contact info and my credentials. He said “I want to be the person that wakes you up with a call to get down to the boat. Sleep with that phone.” I absolutely did sleep with my phone! But, I do not get Claro […]
As I get ready to head to Panama I am hoping to see boats again, to get out on the water in a kayak or canoe, to snorkel — and hopefully to finally sail. If I am very lucky, I will soon be seeing this hurricane-free Caribbean marina at Bocas Del Toro, which sounds so fantastic to me. The Marina at Red Frog Beach (part of Island Global Yachting) at Isla Bastimentos in Panama. Per the website, it “offers unparalleled access to beautiful sandy beaches, resort amenities which includes 2 new restaurants, a large island activity lounge, small general store and boat service to Bocas del Toro town.” The site goes on to say: “…you can spend time exploring the pristine beaches of Bocas del Toro and the towering rainforest preserve at Red Frog. The islands in Bocas del Toro in Panama offer everything you need to relax. The 250 […]
After I got off the sailboat I was on, I had the opportunity to see or speak with five sets of cruisers who had known me. Three of those couples said they were relieved that I was out of that situation and told me that they were concerned for me. Each stated why — and the reasons were consistent. So this is an appeal to cruisers. If you meet up with a person who is on board another person’s sailboat or motorboat and you have any question about that passenger/crew person’s safety, please, please, PLEASE, tell that person! I was not aware that there is a ship’s roster and the repercussions of not being on it. I was not aware that 3 lights, or any lights, are legally required on a boat at night to mark it safely. I was not aware that it is required to fly flags. I […]
I left the boat today, partly because of my discomfort at lack of true answers and because it appears they are unlikely to actually go to Panama. I will be staying at Mango Creek Lodge for a few days. This is my view now: the beautiful tropical jungle of Roatan and the over-the-water cabanas!
This morning Irene and Robert came over from their boat, Flilat I was thrilled that I would have a chance to speak with them! They came to ask Skipper-man to translate a label that is in German. I greeted them, called Skipper-man, and then tried to stick around so I could speak with them afterward. But Skipper-man literally pushed me aside and off the bench, so I was unable to maintain a conversation or set up another meeting. Later, I mentioned to Skipper-man that I was glad they were here and he asked why. I told him, “she has a Mac and she invited me on board to fix some of my problems.” Then Skipper-man announced we were move to a buoy closer to the land. My hopes of connecting with Irene were dashed but I was thrilled that although we’d still be anchored out, separated by water, it would […]
Today we moved again. Again I expected to sail on to the next island but again we just motored a short way. We are in Port Royal, anchored out at a buoy kindly put out by the owners of Mango Creek Lodge here in Port Royal. It is their beautiful, colorful over-the-water cabanas we face. I knew about Mango Creek Lodge from Lori, who told me and said it is a nice courtesy to go on land as soon as we get there and say hello to the owners. I told this to the family as we pulled in and tired up to the buoy. And they did go in. While I was cleaning up below, they quietly dropped the dingy and headed ashore. I came up and looked at them, hands up to ask “what…” No reply. how long would they be ashore? Why wasn’t I allowed to come? […]
As the past 2 days, in the morning I went up to the cafe to check email and keep in touch with people to let them know I was safe. It has become difficult to explain to clients that my month of being out of touch has not begun yet, so I am quite uncomfortable. As I sat there, Nico came in to let me know “we are going out to visit the area for the day.” That was ok. They needed family time. But were they just going to motor away in the dingy and not tell me? Here is where bring “crew” can be uncomfortable: it turned out I, the woman of the boat felt I was acting like a guest and not working. I was crew and waiting to sail and in the meantime trying to be helpful with the kids and to help her cook. (And […]
Today was a terrific day. Mark, owner of Turtlegrass Marina here in Calabash Cove took us out on his motorboat for a tour of the area. Now I have seen some of Roatan’s unique life on the water. The island is mountainous so there is on,y one main road across it, with small offshoots leading to homes or neighborhoods. Many homes are right on the water, built on stilts, and boats are a major mode of transportation. Businesses are either a tad inland so you can still arrive by boat or they are right on the water. The island, or at least this area, has many small inlets or waterways called Bites. Some passages are narrow and lined with mangroves so one proceeds slowly through them. We went to a supermarket or general store that was pretty well stocked. I also bought some great tasting oranges from a fruit cart. […]
Today we finally moved out of the harbor to which I arrived. We are on our way to Panama. Well, not quite…. Turns out no one bothered to tell me that we were stopping at another location a few miles, if that, away. We are in Calabash Cove. But we didn’t raise a sail to get here, so still no sailing. Not that I mind seeing more of Roatan. I just wonder why I cannot get any straight answer about plans. “We’re cruisers. We have no plan.” That is what I am told by the skipper/owner. Except that the post inviting people did have a plan.
We remain anchored out here off Roatan having gone nowhere. So much for the promise of moving on in a few days. It is pretty here but I am not getting to meet local residents of Roatan and not learning Roatan culture. I was promised plenty of sailing but we have yet to raise a sail. I rushed here, passing by places and sights I very much wanted to see. I hope it was worth doing so but am now doubtful.
Exactly one week ago, on Sunday evening, April 15, I arrived at The Sailboat. We remain anchored out here off Roatan. I am loving it, but not fully. I am not seeing Roatan but am seeing the water, which is beautiful. I would like some more interaction with locals. We were due to leave yesterday but things happen, or at least that is what I am told when I try to learn the immediate plan. I am told we will move on in a few days.
Sunday. The day after the two Passover Sedars for which I’d come to Playa del Carmen. Per my recent non-plan revisons, it was my day to leave town and continue south. But the night before, while I was using someone’s Mac, he’d been interested in possibly joining the boat. That, plus I heard there was a woman in Playa that may be my cousin and I wanted to meet her. A funny thing happened today. The rabbi’s brother, an amazingly exuberant man full of song and laughter, an enjoyable leader, asked my next steps. I told him I was heading to Honduras to meet a sailing boat but sadly, it meant rushing down the coast to be in Placencia, Belize, by Friday at 9:30am, to catch a ferry. He said don’t rush, take my time and enjoy Playa and all the places down the coast. I said, you think so, […]
A message I posted in January while still in NYC and working out my next steps. It got me some advice, but not actual boat leads. My plan changed and I returned to LA, leaving the country from there. [Now we head into April and I am still on the lookout for boats.] American world traveler wanting to crew Caribbean, Latin America My name is Deborah and I don’t own a yacht but I’m on a quest to sail in the next months if people will allow me to come on board and contribute. A few months ago I learned I needed to give my rented LA condo back to my landlord to live in. It was the opening I’d wanted to travel again. (When I lost a great apt in my 20s I hit the road and backpacked about ½ the world by myself for a few years.) This […]