Friday, March 23, 2012

“This Could Be a Bad Idea”

“5 AMS [like in amateurs] In Control. 1 Van we hope survives - 1 filmer we also hopes survives - $200 a day”
Rome Snowboards
Our son Derrek is one of the ‘5 AMS IN CONTROL’ on this Rome Snowboards road trip. The aim is to shoot some  footage for Rome’s snowboard video production team. That’s Derrek on the right.
image  This COULD be a bad idea…
Think snow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dock Visitor

This croc decided to cruise behind Jeorgia and look for small children and dogs on the dock the other day.
shelternayIMG_9294 Well, I don’t drink vodka. I went to the local hardware store yesterday to get some paint thinner. All I could see was gallon plastic jugs of it. I didn’t want that much. Then I noticed on the shelf below it were these bottles of what I assume is Russian Vodka. Each had a ‘T’ marked on the top of the cap to indicate it really wasn’t vodka, but paint thinner. Doesn’t seem like the safest way to recycle bottles and labels, even in a personal responsibility culture.
I have a detailed picture of the 6 inch second degree burn on my hip that I decided to censor from the blog – too ugly. Thanks to Silverdine and lots of clean wound care it is starting to look like I’ll heal back to my beautiful self. Chris is working and traveling around Malawai till the 21st.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crossing the Bar

March 8th, Mike
Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home!

Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark;

For though from out our bourn of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Tennyson wrote “Crossing the Bar” in 1889, three years before he died. The poem describes his placid and accepting attitude toward death. Although he followed this work with subsequent poems, he requested that ‘Crossing the Bar’ appear as the final poem in all collections of his work”. (

Monday, March 5, 2012

It always gets more complicated when you get home

When we landed in Panama City’s Toucumen International airport the line at immigration was crawling along. The system that looks up each passport when it gets swiped through the reader seemed to be moving at some sort of sloth’s speed. When we finally got through immigration we headed for baggage claim.  Chris’ bag was sitting beside the carousal. My bag was nowhere to be found. I’ve called Copa AIrlines about a dozen times now trying to at least figure out if it left Lima or not. The last call the guy sent me a claim form over e-mail. It’s one of those easy forms that wants original sales receipts for all items over $100. Right. It is kind of a pisser because I had a number boat repair items that Meghan carried down from Seattle in the bag. I also had my apnea dental appliance. This thing makes for a lot better sleeping for me – and for Chris. The thing cost me something like 2 grand by the time the Seattle dentist was done billing me and the insurance company. Oh well, travels woes.
Next up was traveling to Portobello from the mooring at Panamarina so we could straighten out our boat paperwork. Whenever you move into or out of a port that has a Port Captain you are supposed to check-in and then check-out with him. We had checked into the San Blas in December, but have never checked out as the Port Captain was not around each time we left. We’d heard the Port Captain in Portobello was much more sympathetic to this than the one in Colon. The fine is something like $300. Portobello is the old Spanish primary harbor for moving pillaged gold and silver from South America back to the homeland. Today it is a pretty sleepy little town. Mainly run down buildings and the church with a Black Jesus statute that is famous across the country. image
We headed into the Port Captains office to plead our case. I can tell we’ve been down in Central America a long time now, when the surroundings just don’t seem to stand out anymore. I’m sitting in the chair next to the Port Captains desk waiting for him to stamp some more paperwork. The building is clearly distressed. The ceiling has black water stains. The ceiling fan is slowly turning and wobbling with each turn. The immigration officer's desk is an old steel office desk that has large rust patterns on the front. Chris is sitting off to the side on what looks like an old church pew. The walls around the back courtyard that you see through the open double raw wood doors are falling down. The last paint job was probably for some major renovation many years ago. Any way, the place looks normal to me and I’m just working with the Port Captain to get our paperwork. He listens to my story and hands me a blank sheet of paper. “Write your reasons here” Chifundo, the Port Captain, tells me. I craft up a nice story, sort like a blog entry, just hand written in my illegible scribble. He takes and just sticks in my pile of paperwork without reading it. We are now lined up for the final stamp-stamp and stamp on the remaining papers and we are legal again.
In the “You can’t make this sh*t up category”, Chris headed off to the airport yesterday for 3 weeks of work in Malawi, Africa. She gets to the airport in Panama City and can’t find here flight. She’s a subcontractor and she was sent her itinerary from a Seattle corporate travel agency. She needed to get to Atlanta so she could catch her 14 hour flight Johannesburg, SA. No flight to be found – “huh, it’s all written on the itinerary with confirmation numbers!” she casually tells the checkin agent. Turns out she was booked out of Panama City, Florida, not Panama City, Panama. Just a minor reschedule, an 8 hour delay and she was off to Sao Paulo, Brazil with an additional 12 hour layover in the international terminal, then off to Jo-berg.