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Archive for the ‘2015 Altantic’ Category

Greetings Everyone,

Still here!!  Still waiting!!

The new furler is on its way — should be here this afternoon and put on tomorrow.  The new sail is being made, the radar has been fixed — it was knocked skew-whiff by the runaway furler — and the new steaming light would have been here except someone sent it by ordinary post instead of express post.  After Phil reminded them that he had paid for empress post they said they would send another one straight away — it should be here today.

Sunday was SPECIAL.  We got together with some other Christians and organised an Easter Celebration at the marina.  We all took a part; one lady played the clarinet, I did a flannel graph presentation and Phil spoke on Mark 8:27-33 — Jesus’ challenge to the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  We really felt a connection with the world-wide body of Christ.  On our own it’s not the same.

We feel more hopeful now that things are under way and HOPE to get away in a couple of weeks.  BUT “manana” seems the rule of thumb here so we’re not counting on it.  Oh well — more swimming, more monkeys more books — ho, hum …

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Delays and interruptions are often the real purpose of the journey.  That was the message we got from a sermon we were listening to on board last Sunday and it seems to be true for us in Panama.  We’ve been tearing our hair out trying to get repairs done with the only rigger and sail maker in this area out of the country.  We finally found a semi-retired rigger yesterday and the sail maker is hopefully back next week so we might get away early April.

Meanwhile, so much has happened.  We have found a couple of wonderful “rough diamonds” in Tito our canal agent and George the taxi driver that works for him.  Tito has saved us literally hundreds of dollars.  He is an amazing man who spends his spare time giving to the poor and rescuing orphaned children.  George has carted us all over Colon for nothing and asks us endless questions about how to know God and understand the Bible.

We made a trip through the canal on some friend’s boat and ended up on the way home in the police station in Panama City over a dispute with a local taxi driver over the exorbitant fare he wanted to charge us.  I think he thought we were rich Americans and he could bluff us by threatening to get the police.  Anyway the police were very apologetic and we ended up only paying the correct fare (1/3 of what he wanted).

We met a family, Kenny and Beatrice Shoemaker and their two teenage children who are sailing to the Cook Islands to work for YWAM there and we have spent some time encouraging them as they are finding the going tough.  Those of you who pray for us might like to include the Shoemakers on your list.  They need prayer for safe sailing, direction in ministry and some personal problems that are making life difficult for them.

Another young Danish couple we are also spending some time with.  They had their yacht rolled by a huge wave and two of the crew were thrown out of the yacht.  Thankfully they had their harnesses on and were able to get back on board.  However, the vessel has sustained a lot of damage and the husband especially is very depressed.  Phil has spent some time with them and we hope to have them over for a meal soon and to be able to talk to them about Jesus.

In between times we swim in the pool and go for walks in the jungle to see monkeys and sloths and beautiful birds.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

From time to time I mentally book my ticket home on the next plane. This time I was wet, sick and terrified. We had heard that the waters along the Colombian coast were always wild due to strong winds bouncing off the Andes and a cross current colliding with the NE wind patterns. It certainly lived up to its reputation and we had winds at 35 knots gusting to over 42 knots and gigantic swells — Phil says five metres or more.

I was sound asleep at 2am and woke to BANG!! CRASH!! and the boat shuddering. A split pin holding the roller-furling head-sail to the deck had broken and the whole caboose was pendulumming across the deck and crashing into and even over the guard rails. Phil was trying to catch it and I was terrified. It would hit him and take his head off. Cool and collected as always he threaded a rope through the deck fitting, caught the furler and threaded the rope through the hole where the pin had broken — all in the dark with it bashing like crazy. He then managed to furl the sail and we motored into Curacao for the night.

In the morning he fitted a new pin and we set off again. Phew!!

But no — there’s more (I know — corny). This time I was on watch and BANG! CRASH! The pocket-handkerchief size jib we had out was fully unfurled, loose and whipping the boat rails with a fury. In retrospect, Phil thinks the earlier accident weakened the furler rope which broke and released the whole sail which whipped along the pole and broke the jib sheet. The big jib tore completely in two. Phil managed to tie the bottom half to the guard rails and the top torn sail we left up and sailed at six knots under it alone till morning when he was able to remove the sail completely and limped along in those horrendous conditions under staysail only.

We anchored at San Blas — some delightful coral islands about 80 miles from Panama for a few days rest and then to Panama where we have booked into the marina for a fortnight to lick our wounds and repair our damages before exiting via the Canal to the Pacific — oh I do hope so! — Ocean.

Please keep praying for us. Life does seem unusually harsh some days.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

We continue to be amazed at the friendliness of these people in the church here. We showed the DVD of our ten year overview in the Louisiades and had a tremendous response. One lady collected clothes for us to take there on our way home. Another, Mary Levis, asked for prayer as her heart is to serve in Africa as a missionary. Another part Javanese couple — there’s every nationality here — invited us for dinner on Friday night and another picked us up the following day and took us for a tour of the island and to see the flamingos.

I am learning to speak a bit of Papiamento and said, “Bo ta mi amiga” to one young woman. She said, “Oh no — not friend. You are my sister in Christ — Bo ta mi ruman muhe”.

We are sorry to leave here as Bonaire will always have a special place in our hearts.

But now our parts finally arrived from New Zealand and Phil has put the windlass back together and it’s GOING. And so are we. Next stop San Blas Islands

God bless,

Pam and Phil

Admiral’s Update No 6 2015

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Greetings Everyone,

Those of you who are tracking our progress on Yotreps will realise we haven’t moved. I think all the mechanics on the island have had a go at fixing our anchor windlass without success and we are now waiting for parts to come from New Zealand. The parts are quite inexpensive but the freight is $NZ350. If we used ordinary mail it could take anything from two to six weeks to get here.

Meanwhile we keep meeting interesting people. Dave Peterson, a technician with TWR, gave us a tour of the Trans World Trans Radio building and their transmitters. The have giant antennas and 400,000 watt transmitters to beam Christian radio into the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, parts of Central America and Europe. Bonaire is an excellent location as the antennas are near the salt mines almost sitting in salt water and it is almost as good a conductor as copper which gives the signal a really good boost. Dave and his wife, Mari, were formally missionaries with the MAF in numerous countries — Congo, Afghanistan and Albania to name a few. Last night we had dinner with them and enjoyed swapping stories and having some family time with their kids.

Please pray that our spare parts arrive safely and that we don’t have to order any further parts. Phil is a bit concerned that the armature may be faulty as well. We have met five other yachts heading for the Panama and the Pacific and would like to connect up with them again.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Have you ever had your taste buds all set for an ice cream and found the shop shut? Well we were all set to sail to Tobago Cays, feted as THE snorkeling grounds where you swim in crystal clear water over gorgeous coral with the turtles, Phil went to get the anchor up and the anchor windlass wouldn’t work. Change of plans. We waited until midnight and he dismantled the inner forestay and wound up the anchor by hand a few links at a time and we set sail for Grenada to tie up at the yacht club marina to do repairs.

Great timing!! We arrived the day before the annual international regatta and there were boats everywhere. We didn’t think we would get a berth but they squeezed us in, literally, and the infallible skipper emptied the anchor locker of chain and fixed the problem we hope. After walking several hours and many kilometres around the town unsuccessfully looking for the parts he needed he ended up using the old parts and hopefully it is working OK.

We are now getting ready to sail to the ABC islands off the coast of Venezuela but of Dutch origin. First stop Bonaire. The not so intrepid sailors are going to head well north then angle back to put at least 200 NMiles between us and the Venezuelan coast. We are hearing horrible rumours of pirates, political unrest and on the Los Roques islands, threatening starvation. Please pray for a safe and trouble free trip for us and if anyone has any up-to-date info on the safety or lack of in this area, let us know.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

I have been reading “Caribbean”, an historical novel by the master of that genre, James Michener and it has brought home to me the incredible bloodshed and racial tensions that have troubled these islands and to some extent still does. Most of them changed hands back and forth from Spanish to Dutch to French to English numerous times and each island has its cannons and old fortifications with a story to tell. The scenery is beautiful with some magnificient natural harbours that can hold a fleet — just as well as the anchorages here are nearly as crowded as the Med.

At present we are in one of the Grenadine Islands, Bequia — pronounced Beck-wee. It has a magnificient harbour and I stopped counting boats at 100 yesterday — with impressive views from the encircling clifts, crystal clear water and sandy beaches. We had a fine sail down from St Lucia with 15-18 knots on the beam most of the way. It has low grade tourism and friendly people, fruit markets with pink grapefruit, soursop, papayas and much more.

We had one of those very special encounters on Sunday which I am not going to be able to do justice in a short e-mail. We attended the 26th anniversary of the Bequia Pentecostal Church with virtually every church on the island represented and every part of the three hour programme first class. We were the only whites there in well over 100 people. The music was done by two island boys about ten years old, one on the keyboard and the other on drums — up-coming stars!!

Yesterday was a special Australia Day BBQ on the beach with eight or so Aussies and a few ring-in would-be Aussies. We entertained everyone singing Waltzing Matilda and the National Anthem. We are enjoying these few weeks break before tackling the next long leg across the top of South America.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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