08 March 2013

Hard Ship

JOY, sitting on her bare bottom.
Last weekend we were motoring across Gatun Lake with our friends Tim and Cath aboard s/v Helena May. The weather was, well, Panamanian, but it mostly didn't rain. We even got to have a wee bit of an escapade when we went to shore after having bid our "Panamanian Cruise Directors" safe travels and fond farewells. Our stay at the Sheraton was a slice of paradise. Tim and Cath: we thank you kindly for your unparalleled hospitality, but you are just not equipped to compete with unending hot water, a mini bar and room service. Short of ironing our t-shirts we availed ourselves of every amenity the Sheraton had to offer. Emboldened by our night of luxury living, we successfully navigated our way through the wilds of the Panamanian bus system and to top it all off, DID NOT get mugged in Col√≥n in the dark in the rain waiting for a taxi.

And then we were back at the marina and our "palace in the clouds." Life on the hard, it turns out, isn't that much different from living in a hotel. True, there's no hot water unless we walk the two blocks to the marina showers, which we might as well do since that's where we have to go for a toilet, anyway. We wash hardly any more dishes than we would staying in a hotel since it leaves a big, dirty puddle under the boat which never dries. There's no room service, but the marina restaurant is closer than the bathrooms and the food is almost as good as the candy bars and potato products we prepare at home. But, what we do have that our hotel room did not is a maxi bar. No college dorm sized fridge here. No sireebob! We have cases and cases of beer and bottles and bottles of spirits and the best part is that we don't have to walk down the hall to get ice; it's right here.

And, of course there are always projects with which to distract ourselves. I'm waiting for a beetle to die that I trapped under a tupperware container several days ago. I've just deleted 205 tv shows I've been storing on my Mac. (It was so full I couldn't open Photoshop and anybody who uses Photoshop knows the magnitude of such a disaster.) And while her partner Jaye is on vacation, Jane is singlehandedly turning The Monkey's Fist into a lean, mean blog collecting machine. And just today we discovered that ants have discovered us, so I'll need to annihilate them periodically. So it isn't as though we're just waiting for things to get done around here.

We'll be up here for about another week or so. The paint on JOY's bottom has to dry, of course. Once they apply it, that is.  We need to replace the propeller that got mangled when we went aground plus a few odds and ends. Then we'll be back on water to tackle the rest of our repairs.  If all goes as planned, we'll be bored of this whole refit thing in a few weeks and we'll leave to embark upon our own Panama Canal cruise. South Pacific, don't go anywhere, we'll see you eventually!

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