Monday, November 09, 2009


Goodbye to Cartagena

Goodbye Cartagena! Goodbye Carmen, our favorite fruit vendor! Carmen pushes her cart through the neighboorhood offering fruit for sale. Then, in the afternoons, she stops by the marina, loads up her fruit in a large pan and carries it on her head! She walks the docks shouting out the types of fruit she has for sale; mandarinas, banana, avocados, pina, and my favorite, melon.
I can be a boat vegetable all day and still get my fresh fruit!

And speaking of the boat, Take a look at our new handmade teak yarn and cupholders. We had a local craftsman make these for us and I love them. We have one on each side of the helm seat so now there is plenty of coffee cup, binoculars, beer bottle, and yarn skein safe stowage. When we are underway, the rocking of the boat has knocked our drinks every which way and made quite a mess. The one cupholder we had on the boat was out-of-reach in an awkward location. And then there's the yarn balls that would roll around at times. These little additions will greatly enhance our quality of life.

The same craftsman also mounted the freeform tiles that I made in a class many years ago at UC Davis. Yup. That's our last name. I always wanted this by our front door at our land house, but never got around to mounting them. So now it is safely attached to the interior of the boat.

I've had a few requests to show you the inside of our boat - some of the living spaces. So I'll start with is the "wet bar". You can see where we've mounted my tilework. Nope, no booze in these cabinets. Instead that's where we store all of our paperback books. Right now it is packed full to get us through the next few months. We cruisers exchange our books whenever we meet up. So there is always a good variety.

The gauge and the curtained area are the watermaker that Jonesy installed. There used to be an ice machine here, but it died. Ice makers are for dock queens as they suck up so many amps - too many for cruisers. So this became a convenient place for the watermaker (reverse osmosis) equipment and controls.

Next up is a photo of the port (left) side of our salon. That's where I have sat all summer working on my computer. The table has wine racks underneath but we don't drink wine and besides, if there are bottles in those racks you hit your knees on them! There is a bunk along the back wall there if you remove the back cushions (for narrow people only like our son Brett). Hey Brett! See that teak bar across the back shelf? That was your idea to prevent all the stuff from falling on you when the boat heeled. The local carpenter made that for us this summer.

And...hidden behind the setee is the majority of my yarn stash. This is one side of the locker. My stash is crammed along the entire back wall which makes for great insulation. Really.

So, off we go! Our first anchorage will be Bahia Cholon on the island of Baru. This is still in Colombia and is only 18 nautical miles away. Just a short hop, but is supposed to be very Caribbean and quiet. After spending a few days here, we'll move on to the Rosarios, then out to the San Bernardo islands - all still in Colombia. Then there will be an overnight sail over to the mainland of the Panama/Colombia international border. After dealing with the paperwork cha-cha in Obaldia, we'll cruise along the remote San Blas Islands of Panama (Kuna Yala). Until we have internet again - SEA YA!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Bumps in the Night

Our sailing vessel Niki Wiki sits here tied to the dock at Club Nautico, Cartagena - but only for a couple more days! Soon, the diver will swim down and release our 5 bow lines from the moorings at the bottom of the bay. We'll toss the lines off the stern and off we'll go! Well, go, as in go over to the fuel dock and fill the tanks with diesel. Then we'll anchor out in the bay for a night to sort through all of the onboard systems.

Then we'll be off to explore more of the San Blas Islands (Kuna Yala). Look closely and you will be able to see Jonesy sitting up on the bow of Niki Wiki monitoring the sunset, and I'm standing on the stern (backend) watching the fellow take a picture of us. Why have someone else take the picture? Well, the new dock that has been being built next to us this past couple of months is not complete (this is where the picture was taken from). There is only a concrete framework. I tried to walk the plank, balancing on the narrow (8-inch wide) beams, but it was just too scary.

Here is my latest pattern to be introduced to the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group..."Bumps in the Night" Fingerless Mitts or Mittens. These are knit with sock weight yarn and have a simple garter stitch columns and 'bumps' patterning. The bumps are like bobbles but are much more subtle and are worked in just one row so they are easier too. Although I made a fingerless mitt as a sample for the pattern, I will be ripping back the top edgings on this hand and knitting it up as a matching full mitten. That's because it will be sent to the Akkol Orphange through the Mittens for Akkol Yahoo group.

Yesterday a group of us went over to Mister Emerald's shop on the Boca Grande penninsula here in Cartagena for a lecture about emeralds. Colombia is known for their emeralds ("Romancing the Stone") and we all wanted to know more about this RARE rock. This photo is of a natural emerald in it's hexagonal crystal shape with a flat top. This one is very large but has a lot of inclusions or other material which clouds the stone. Thus it doesn't have gemstone quality. But, of all the stones I saw, I like this one the best!

Friday, November 06, 2009


Beaded Bauble Ornament

Introducing - The Beaded Bauble Ornament

This little (3" high) knit decoration is worked in the round sock or fingering weight yarn with beads added. I knit mine with Lisa Souza Sock! yarn in pumpkin color with red sized 8 beads. Pattern is for sale on my website.

We're shopping 'till we're dropping getting the boat provisioned to go out exploring for a few months in remote areas. Sure, we'll be able to get fresh fish and bananas perhaps, but everything else we have to take with us. The refrigerator is humming along nicely and freezing (whoooo hoooo!) but it is small so I have to buy small amounts each day and let that freeze before adding another little layer (meat, cheese, chopped onions & pepper mix). Of course we'll save a little spot for a quart of ice cream as an occasional treat for Jonesy.

Today I get to go to another Friday's Ladies Luncheon after which we will have a speaker come in to educate us about emeralds. Yep. Gemstone type emeralds. These green beauties are one of Colombia's treasures. I'm just looking. Seriously. No, really.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The Other side of a Door

All those doors along the streets of the old city of Cartagena kept my curiosity humming - what life was behind those portals? Well, finally I actually got to go inside! Whooo hooooooo.

A fellow cruiser has rented a small house (apartment) while their boat is up "on the hard" in the boatyard for extensive repairs after being struck by lightening this summer here. She invited some of us gals over for bridge lessons (I watch, listen, and knit only) and to swim in the pool. First photo is the OTHER SIDE of a Cartagena front door. You can see the much smaller door (about 5'3"tall) within the big door. To the side of the door is the window that faces the street. The windows jut out from the front walls about 12" in a lot of the houses. We were told that they were built this way hundreds of years ago so that the womenfolk could be "safe" in their houses, but still chat with their neighbors.

Here is the view of the downstairs area from the back of the house looking forward. Notice how narrow it is! This is the total width of the apartment!! Also notice that the center of the unit is a courtyard open to the sky! The weather is always warm here so the living spaces are open to catch a breeze off of the Caribbean Sea. I love the broad wood beams that were used to support the 2nd floor.

Up there is a single bedroom and a bathroom separated by a hallway to the side of the opening for the courtyard. Thus, if it is raining, you will get wet dashing from the bedroom to the toilet. On the next level up is the rooftop patio. This is where you can catch the sea breeze, gaze out over the city rooftops and spy on the neighbors who are doing the same thing.

Then go back down the stairs - oh, notice how there are sections of these "floating" concrete stairs without handrails and that you could fall down 3 stories to the laundry room below? I'm terrified of heights when there are no railings, but I made it safely down these this time. Soon it was time to relax with some watermelon slices and wine while playing in the pool.

Isn't this little pool great? It's located in the interior courtyard and is just the right size for cooling off from the heat. I love this little apartment, but the rents are high in this desirable central neighborhood. This unit is about US$1,000 per month. I know, that may not seem like a lot to US city dwellers, but in Latin America, that's top dollar.

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