Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 4

May 29, 2002

This is the 2nd night and over 300 miles out of Panama City and we are now in Costa Rican waters. Good-bye and good luck to our friends in Panama and thank you for the wonderful memories.

We have received e-mails from many of you inquiring about the drop off in our correspondence since the run thru the "Canal". A major reason for the dearth of messages in the past three days is the conspicuous absence of our "ace correspondent," Jeff Merrill. While Jeff was on board, it was almost taken for granted by Cap'n Dan and myself that a most thorough report of the day's activities (and MORE!) would be reported to everyone back home, abroad and to all ships at sea. Jeff, your public obviously misses you, as we do. You were a great shipmate and I hope we can carry the torch from here on out.

Another reason for the lack of news can be attributed to the transit through the canal itself which held our complete attention and fascination and the swift night departure - including refueling and reprovisioning - we made from the Flamenco Yacht Club in Panama City. This was followed by a long night and readjustment to the underway routine. Now, two days later, Dan, Kevin and I are fully rested and focused on getting this "little bulldog" to Acapulco.

The canal transit for me was the hi-lite of the trip so far, as it was for the others, I'm sure. The crowning moment was when NORDHAVN was in the front position of the MIRAFLORES lock chamber and as I stood on the bow talking to my daughter, Kerry in Key Largo, Florida with a cell phone in one hand and waving my red bandana in the other, hearing her shout through the phone "I see you daddy"! I don't know who was more excited me or you, Ker.

Now two days at sea and after somewhat of a letdown following the excitement of the canal crossing, Dan, Kevin and I are getting the momentum and enthusiasm for being at sea again. Kevin is a seasoned and well informed seaman and his knowledge of the Raytheon navigation equipment has added a new dimension to the trip. In addition, he is a more than adequate fisherman and for the first time on Leg 4, we have had lines in the water. We dropped our first line in this morning about 0700 in somewhat rough seas that had the boat pitching and lurching forward. In the matter of three hours, we had strikes from two marlins, a sailfish and a dorado but in all cases we couldn't get hooked up. Of all the strikes the most disappointing was losing the dorado. I had visions of that one on the dinner table. Disappointed we were but not discouraged.

Following my afternoon watch, instead of dorado, I prepared a meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green peas with Kevin once again dropping the fishing lines off the stern and Dan on watch in the pilot house. The meatloaf was half done when Kevin yelled out "fish on". Dan put the engine in idle and the two of us rushed to the cockpit to see a huge dorado breaking water and Kevin straining on his fishing rod. "Grego, man the gaff." "Dan, get on the gloves to grab the leader." "Grego, get my camera....." Excited??? Naaaw! Fifteen minutes later, we landed the big bull amidst shouting, laughing, and chest popping. The big fish measured about 5 feet from head to tail and my estimate was between 35 and 40 pounds. Way to go, Kevin!!!! The meatloaf dinner was good but our thoughts are on tomorrow when I'll be cooking fish for the first time. With the seas starting to flatten out and fish in the refer, life aboard NORDHAVN is good.


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