I’m not sure who keeps track of these things. There has to be an official list somewhere. But, as of 6:57pm Friday 13 March 2015 could someone in charge please add Tawnya L. Midkiff, Robbie F. Robertson, and Kevin (CB) L. Midkiff to the list of official ShellBacks!

For those of you who do not know all things archaic and nautical. A Pollywog is a lowly sort of human that has not crossed the equator on a boat. Once one of these pitiful creatures has somehow managed to accomplish this feat they are elevated to Shellback status.

I’m not entirely sure what sort of benefits come with this, but at a bare minimum I should get 10% off (or at least free refills) at Long John Silvers for the rest of my life. Soooooo…..suck it landlubbers!

I wanted to get this post up and the pictures posted before we left the internet.

We wanted to haul the boat out of the water to clean the bottom and slap another coat or two of bottom paint on. It was one of the main things we wanted to get down while we where here in Panama City. The cheapest place to do that here is at the Balboa Yacht Club & Marina.

It worked, but you have to see it to believe it.

This picture was NOT taken in 1923. That is Tito and that is the winch he used to pull us out of the water.
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These are the tracks we were pulled up on, and I believe those tracks were old as hell when that new fangled winch was installed.
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There were some sketchy moments getting it all lined up and tied down properly. But we got it in and out of the water with minimal pants poopery.

I’ll just toss in a few more pictures and call it good. Enjoy.

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I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but Palarran now has a red bottom, instead of black.

We are officially cleared out of the country, have our exit zarpe and our next official port of call is the Galapagos Islands!!!

Tonight should be our last night in Panama City. We plan to stop for a day or two in the Perlas islands just to get the city off of us and chill out. We have been running around like crazy for the last week or so, trying to get the boat ready to go. And she is, but it will be nice to spend a couple days snorkeling and laying about on beaches for a day or two.

We will be out of internet range till we get there. My best guess puts us there sometime around the 15-17th of March. We are looking at a 8-10 day passage if all goes well and the wind holds. Otherwise it could take longer. Right now, my money is on longer than shorter.

As always we will have the Delorme tracker on, so you can follow us along in near real time at share.delorme.com/kevinmidkiff

I have the website set up so I can post blog post via email from my SSB/HAM radio. And will try to do that at least once a day while under way. No pictures, just text. They will most likely be short and boring, but at least it’s something. Also, I might not do it at all…so…..

It’s just we sorta forget to write blog post sometimes…..a lot.

We are currently in Panama City. Big town, lots to do. Lots to spend money on….holy crap are we spending money. Mostly stocking up on food and boat parts. Once we leave here and head out into the Pacific Islands everything gets very expensive. So we are stocking up now.

Before we got here to Panama City, we spent a month in western Panama. All very remote islands. Incredibly clear water. Unbelivable beaches. Unfortunately, 2 of our 3 cameras have broken and we are down to our big SLR, which we do not like to take on the more adventurous trips.

We do have some pictures to share though.

Tawn testing out our new dinghy/emergency liferaft. :)
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One nice thing is the telephoto lens we got for the camera. That is a howler monkey. The white spots?………his balls! Hell yeah!
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This one is a white faced Capuchin monkey. Unfortunately, you cannot see his balls.
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A bird
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Classic picture of the boat at anchor.
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Oh look! How very cool. A bunch of Bananas stung up and swinging in the cockpit.
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We traded some local Panamaian a couple D cell batteries, 1/2 a gallon of gas and a little bit of fishing line for that bunch of bananas, a basket of oranges and limes and 4 coconuts. Wanna know what is not cool about bananas. They all go ripe at the same time. What the hell are you supposed to do with a shit load of ripe bananas?

The remote islands of western Panama were awesome but as much as we would have liked to spend more time exploring them. We needed to get to Panama City so we could get some boat projects done before we took off for the Galapagos and the South Pacific Islands.

Mother nature however had different plans for us. The first day we attempted to round the point, we were having a great sail. Sailing in company with our friends on Papillion. About 30 mile from the point, the wind cranked up on the nose and we ran into a little current running a knot or two against us. Then the wind cranked up a little more. We were getting no where, so we turned on the motor and tried motor sailing. We were running lower on fuel than we thought and since we were healed so far over, we ended up sucking air into the fuel lines. So, Tawn kept sailing while I went below to bleed the fuel lines.

After that bit of fun we continued on and things mellowed out a bit. Started making good progress again…..until we weren’t. Punta Mala (Bad Point) is just that. It can be quite mellow. That day it was not.

We were getting 25-30 knots of wind on the nose with an adverse current of 2-3 knots pushing us away from where we wanted to go. We were getting a VMG of less than 1 knot. And big steep waves hitting us every 4-5 seconds. It sucked ass. So in order to save some very unnecessary wear and tear on the boat and rigging we fell off and headed 15 miles back to an anchorage called Bahia Benao.

So glad we did. We ended up staying there for a week. Surfing, hiking, getting stitches. We had a blast.

When the weather finally decided to cooperate we took off. By then there were 5 boats in the anchorage waiting to go. We all took off at the same time. Not gonna give you a blow by blow description of the crossing, but we did make it around the second time.

And in case you are wondering what it looks like. Here is the a picture from about 3 miles away.
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We spent a quick couple days in the Las Perlas Islands and have been here in Panama City since getting ready to sail out to the Galapagos.

Panama City skyline.
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