welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Monday, May 08, 2006

hot shoes...burnin´ down the avenue....

all you children of the 70´s can name that song, yes?

sorry for the lack of updates....the prep for the canal is a fun and funny whirlwind...starting to feel like a smaller scale version of the wedding in terms of planning, logistics, excitement, expectations, expenditure.

there aren´t words to articulate the heady intoxication of being AT the panama canal...we are marinating in history, stories, lore, beauty. it is extraordinary.

quick crew update: danny and gabby arrive the 13th. Rick and Bill arrive the 14th. our transit date has fluctuated from the 18th to the 12th and back again and every date in between. we get a different answer every day when we call. so....no guarantee on the fam & friends being able to crew for us, but we are doing everything we can to make it all come together. we're buzzing around like hummingbirds, fixing boat parts, fortifying chocks and cleats, lining up tires, plugging leaks, figuring out how the hell six people will sleep on our boat if it´s raining, blah blah blah............

it occurred to us that the last adventure we roped Gabby into also involved transiting VERY LARGE LOCKS in VERY TINY BOATS. i will have to dredge up some pics from that Mississippi trip......and my mom sent some cool pics of my Grandma on her United Fruit passenger liner that brought her to Panama (thanks Mom!).

in the midst of all the errands and stuff we´re having a blast. we transited the canal this weekend on a neighbor´s boat. it was intense. made us that much more stoked to take Ute through (whenever that may be!). it was beautiful. favorite part? when we were approaching the very last lock before the Caribbean and we looked over and saw a HERD of frolicking capybaras in a clearing next to the lock. they looked just like a flock of sheep with bouncy spring lambs...except they were giant rodents. you could have knocked me over with a feather. there were about 12 babies and they were running and playing and bucking. too cute.

we´ve actually found time here and there to enjoy Panama City too..it continues to be friendlier, cleaner, cheaper, and more fun than we´d expected. We´re anchored right next to a causeway that unites three small islands, and the tiniest of the three, Naos Island, right next to our boat, is home to a Smithsonian-administered park that includes an interpetive trail, an exhibit center, and an arboretum. I may have actually died and gone to heaven here. We spent an afternoon exploring the park last Sunday.....it was great....there are 15 wild sloths that live on the island. One of them - we named him Luke - likes to crawl over the fence into the marina parking lot (where we park our dinghy) and sleep in a tree there. At night he climbs back over the fence to feed. we watched him late one night last week and it took him about 45 minutes to make it from one fencepost to the next one...we were cracking up.

Smithsonian has a huge presence here in Panama City...I knew that they had their big research station in Lake Gatun (check out www.stri.org to learn more) but I didn´t know until we started exploring around here that they have offices, research stations, bookstores, interpretive centers tucked away all over Panama City. some of their labs are set up in old bunkers and gun emplacements on the different islands. Right next to our marina is a lab where they´re doing mysterious things with fish in dozens of giant bubbling tanks. I´m dying to know what they´re up to. so cool to have big league science all around us.

ANyway.....more emailing and then I´lll track down some photos maybe. CC

No comments: