24th December 2022
Chichime, San Blas, Panama – Banedup, San Blas, Panama via Hot Tub, San Blas, Panama
Every day is just another day. No matter what you do a day is just a day, however depending upon how you fill it that day can be ‘special’ or ‘normal’, and depending upon the frequency of activity a normal day could be considered special. We’ve had a lot of normal special days.
After just another normal day of sailing upwind in beautiful flat seas under blue skies and around palm fringed islands where beaches glowed our day was about to become special. Nestled between a reef and an island were boats who’d we’d not seen for 1000’s of miles. We were about to have a reunion with Zen Again and Cerulean, while Larry the errant llama was about to rekindle his relationship with TT his special stuffed tiger friend.
Our new normal days were a social and snorkelling whirlwind. By day Brock would take us to reefs where the underwater world was explored and by night sundowners were supped in cockpits full of people. In our absence Cerulean and Zen Again had been busy either jetting around the world or refilling their cruising coffers, but both boats had been busy fixing systems that were demanding attention or investing in cool new technology and Zen again had invested in the newest of new technologies ‘Starlink’.
In these remote anchorages with no mobile phone signal and certainly no WiFi our connectivity was limited but thanks to the Elon ‘Egotist’ Musk, and his Starlink system, Zen Again had booming internet. Over morning coffee silence pervaded with the only noise coming from typing fingers and pinging of phones as data flew up to far away satellites. In years to come, ‘thanks’ to Starlink, it will be impossible to ‘disconnect’ and the wonders of the modern world will never be far away.
With Altimate joining us, our social circle was happily increasing by the moment, but in this wider social circle we were about to make a shocking discovery. Happy to share Ruffian’s stores, which had been recently replenished, we were offered the trade of some mince pies for flour. Digging deep into our stores we retrieved the flour and it was alive. Little black critters crawled in every crevice and the flour bags pulsated with their movements. Our weevil war was resuming.
Outlining our predicament to Nikki on Zen Again we thought that our mince pie deal would be off but no, she’d happy accept flour with the ‘feature’ of extra protein, this ‘feature’ however had no place of Ruffian and Fiona came up with an ingenious plan to remove it.
Armed with nothing more than a very fine sieve Fiona created the purest pile of white flour and grisliest mound of squirming beasties Iain had ever seen. These upset full grown flour weevils had been separated from their food source. Mounds of wriggling creepy crawlies made for just another day on Ruffian.
A day was just around the corner which globally is anything but ‘just another day’ and the whole of the cruising community was getting to the spirit of Christmas. Boats were adorned with lights and even Iain succumbed to Fiona’s excitement by managing to ‘not find’ our Christmas lights*. She then discovered them and took to turning Ruffian into a festive ship. With Ruffian all dressed up we joined the rest of the community on a deserted desert island, where trees had been festooned, red and white hats donned and even musical earrings had been dug out from the darkest and dingiest of bilges.
With just another day of snorkelling looming we thought that once again we’d be seeing the usual underwater culprits but as we sought advice from a resident boat our usual snorkel was about to be turned into something special. We were bound for the outer reef with its secret cuts and invisible passes where big beasts maraud the water.
Our snorkel turned out to be special as soon as we jumped into the water with Brock secured to the seabed far from land. Waves crashed just in front of us but all was serene underwater, so serene that a 10ft nurse shark cruised by us, making Fiona steel her resolve and making Iain gasp in excitement.
As we swam around other world rock formations which had been formed by the smallest of creatures and through tunnels which had been carved by the incessant seas, our attention was always being grabbed. Sharks cruised by no more than a reach away and shoals of queen angel fish swam by. If we grew bored by the extraordinary sea life, then we knew that with a quick kick of the fins we could catch the current and be whisked to a whole new fishy habitat. This was not an ordinary snorkel and this day was not just another day.
With just another day around the corner, presents have been wrapped, a posh lunch ashore booked and we are surrounded by friends. Santa has taken off in his sleigh to deliver gifts we’re just not sure if he can deliver to remote anchorages where there are no chimneys and certainly no snow.
* In his defence he did find the 6 inch tall Christmas tree that’s only slightly water and bilge damaged.
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