Most people go cruising for longer times, are always together and take things slow. We aren’t most people. We are part-time cruisers. For about 5 – 6 months per year we enjoy the cruising life, yet we usually move faster than others, because of the other 6 – 7 months.
‘Winter on the Bering Sea’
This year so far hasn’t been too bad, as far as winters go. The jet stream has been holding unusually far to the north, at the same time it dives unusually far south over the eastern US. So, frigid for New York, pretty temperate in Alaska. We’ll take it. They don’t have to beat ice off the deck and superstructure in Manhattan!
Our season got off to a bit of a rocky start. A refrigeration problem had us running at less than capacity for the first couple of trips while folks in the lower 48 mobilized to get the parts and technicians all gathered up to fly to Dutch and get it straightened out. We spent almost 4 days in town while this was going on. That’s a lifetime in this business. The good news is that we did end up sitting out a pretty nasty blow. The 300 foot ‘Katie Ann’ took 2 windows out of their wheelhouse and also stove in 2 steel hatches on their bow. 5 staterooms were completely demolished by the force of the water. It looked like a tsunami hit in there. The skipper gashed his head pretty bad as the wave was coming into the pilothouse. We assume he hit his head while ducking. Rogue waves are out there, and they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nobody was seriously injured, though. Good news.
Otherwise, it’s been pretty uneventful up here this year. Decent weather and not too cold. The ice pack is much farther north than it has been in the last several years, which is actually a negative development for us. We like the ice to be near our fishing grounds (but not covering them, of course). The colder water temperatures found near the ice pack tend to concentrate our target species.
I’ve just got a few more days up here, and then it’s back to Panama, Rocket Science, and Jenny. Our next leg up to the east coast of the US will begin shortly after I get there. We’ll probably sail straight to Bimini. Jenny can’t enter the US via private yacht, so we have to go to the Bahamas so that she can take a 30 minute flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Looks like I’ll be single handing (assisted by 4 paws) across the Florida straits. Thank you, US immigration!
While TJ is up there, dealing with the “real world”, I’m stuck on a jungle island. Everything we heard about Bocas del Toro sounded just wonderful. And it is, in fact, absolutely gorgeous. The fact that most people forget is that a jungle island with not even a store to go shopping is charming for a little while, when you are with your spouse. When you are by yourself, it is much different (which is, in fact, true for most places).
The first couple of weeks I loved the place. I enjoyed the quiet time a lot after our race from San Diego to here. Then it started to get a bit lonely. Funny enough I met a ton of Germans here. There were enough of us to start a revolution and take over the island! That helped, and so did a trip to good old Germany at the end of January.
I loved the break from the constant 90 plus degree days. As always it was good to see friends and family. Leaving was hard this time.
Back in Bocas I have now decided: screw the heat! It’s too hot for the dog to join me, so I have been spending many long, hot afternoons exploring the island, hiking through the jungle, getting muddy, beat up, sweaty, and being happy.
Soon enough we’ll be out of here and heading to the Bahamas!