top of page
  • Writer's pictureChantal Malherbe


Extract from our Pacific Crossing on board

Friday, July 18, 2008

A 24 HOUR DAY ON SHIMMI: Estuary/river navigation can only be done on rising tide into port joke what so ever! We arrived at a tiny port with cute little marina. Tied up along side another cat (no space left) *had to rush to fuel dock with 1 hour left before tied too low. To get to the fuel dock we had to squeeze past the bow of a yacht and a speed boat with 50cm on either side of Shimmi (crazy crazy stuff), then had to come along side the fuel dock made solely out of STEEL with NO FENDERS OR RUBBER ON THE DOCK. Ok so now we've got 40min to fuel/water up before the tide is too low to get out. After 30 min we have fueled up but still got a half tank to go of water (very low pressure)....but have to get off the dock. As Golla starts the engines he says: 'actually don't know how to get out of here.' Guys are jumping from one yacht to the next fending off our bow as we squeeze out. We are then told to tie up along side an old converted barge/restaurant where we can carry on taking on water....this we do. Now we are finished, deon talking about the G+T we're going to order at the very lovely marina restaurant. But now the shit really hits the fan: as we come off the dock the current is NOW so strong that it whips us around 90 degrees and pushes our stern onto the beam of another yacht and the CORNER OF THE STEEL DOCK IS ABOUT TO STAB our hull on the port beam. Deon pushing with the strength of 3 men and I'm pushing with the strength of one man and when I realise the 'dock guy' from the marina is just watching instead of pushing us off I up my brute force to the strength of 3 men. we are now 1 cm away from this dagger like edge. Then our rig hits a speed boat that is tied up off this converted barge about 1m above our deck. Deon and I are now pushing us off the speedboat. Golla is pushing the stern of the other yacht and then running back up to drive us forward.... he's running to and fro between stern, throttles, speed boat and the ghastly STEEL DOCK...I don't know how but we came out unscathed....ADRENALIN PUMPING. THAT CURRENT WAS JUST RIPPING DOWN THAT RIVER. So anyway...lovely evening at marina restaurant (margheritas and latino music) the end of the meal it was pouring with rain so after waiting half an hour we decided to undress put all our clothes in a black bag and run for the boat. Indie and I used the restaurant's umbrella. Next morning early big shop, purchased batteries and said goodbye to Deon (WE LOVE DEON...he had a wonderful time...spoke kak for 5 weeks). 2pm (rising tide) we head out of port pedregal (after I ran to and fro between port captain's office and merchant marine getting us cleared out) Golla navigates all the way through the estuaries towards boca chica. At 5pm we are about 1/4 mile from the sea and what happens but the tip of the mast HITS a RIGGING CABLE (between two telephone poles on either side of the river). I'm bathing Indie and think we have hit the bottom as tide now going out rapidly... Sprint upstairs. There's a freaken fat electrical cable around our mast and mast is jirating badly. Golla throws the boat into reverse to try and reverse us against the current and let the cable go slack and drop off the mast...the current is so strong that the engines are just keeping us in the same position. the cable drops down the forestay and then gets hooked on the bow and across our life line. i am running around the foredeck waiting for the smallest sign of slack on the cable so that I can throw it off. Golla comes up to help, we get some slack but not enough and suddenly we are now about to hit a jetty with two speedboats on it. speed boat driver already getting his boat fired up. golla sprints back to the helm slipping on the trampoline on the way. drives us away from the jetty. now the cable is off the life line and running over the tip of our port bow...i'm leaning over the life line waiting for slack to just push the freaken thing off. finally i get it off. NO DAMAGE. Windex and anchor light still working....weird. SO LUCKY. Nearly lost our whole rig twice in 24 hours. Golla still got to climb up the mast and check things out properly and he's still got to dive and check propellers etc after our shennanigans at the fuel dock. THEN to drive out of the estuary we literally went through a narrow exit of breaking surf. we arrived at our anchorage after dark and left a 6am this morning for Morro Negrito (has a surf camp....huge cyclone swell arrived today) and BIG G ready and in place for BIG SURF. Wanted to get the hell away from where we snapped the cable as didn't want any locals harassing us for money etc. What the hell that cable was doing strung up so low we will never know...And why had no other yacht hit it?? QUESTION MARK ?? The cable did look very new. Still can't believe how golla drove us IN and OUT of the FUEL DOCK and then OFF the BARGE followed by brilliant manoevering to free us of afore mentioned KILLER THE CABLE.Of course Josh and Indie are as happy as Larry. Josh was watching Jungle Book during KILLER THE CABLE FIASCO and didn't notice a thing. You would be so proud of Josh these days: eating his food, can entertain himself for hours lego, coloring in, painting, etc etc actually at the moment it's lego lego lego (deon bought a set to add to the lego i got from you and josh has gone lego beserk!)3 hours later: finally at Morro Negrito surf spot and Golla has surfed very large waves pretty much all to himself.......husband in his element!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lots of love C

SURF's UP...well sort of

Posted by Trevor at 9:46 PM

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hoessit. Have had some average surfs, now heading towards a well known surf area called Morro Negrito (google it). Josh is now finally swimming without water wings/life jacket, we went to a small beachbreak yesterday, he is now surfing and standing up on a big boogie board, he's claiming it...I push him into the wave, then he stands up and cruises in towards the beach. Gets faarken thumped in the shorebreak, but he has no fear and feels no pain, only starts tjunking when I say that the surf is over...this is a kids dream i tell you, amazing to see him developing, every day, he is becoming a strong well muscled little 3 and a half year old, he has also taken to posing with fish, for photos: he also knows all the names, Mahi Mahi, Yellow fin tuna (caught quite a few of those lately), Big Eye Jack, Ignoblis, Spanish Mackerel, just to name a few. We went down to Coiba Island, it used to be an ex penal colony like in that book Papilon, now no-one lives on this island, the fishing was phenomenal, one morning we could not even get the engines up to rev before the next strike...eventually we took the rods out. We found a perfect little river mouth sandbar setup, had some kiff waves then the onshore came up...also was not much swell around. There is supposed to be a dik swell arriving Friday from a tropical cyclone which will cross over from the Caribbean north of I am amping to be in the right place for this now we are headed to Morro Negrito where the wave P-land can be found. A nearby island has a surf camp, you can google it...So far the waves in Panama have been VERY arb. Catalina is a wedging B grade reef break which has a lame barrel on just the right conditions, yet it is super crowded by these Nias style local boys who absolutely rule the wave when its on...they take off on every wave, if you are a gringo they just drop in like you don't exist...faark that. I swear this wave would not even be a shit stain on a piece of toilet paper in Indo. And the other waves in the area are a joke...they are like those Sea point waves which only the body boarders ride, short little kuk things. The main problem is that there is no coral growth around these islands, so you don't get those perfect South Pacific and Indo style set ups...but, all is not bad I can assure I said before we have been slaying the fish, we only keep yellow fin tuna at the moment, our freezer is chockers full. All other fish we throw back...I think the best waves generally speaking in central america are either beach breaks or sand bottom points. I met up with an Argentinian oke Diego who has shown me where most of the Panama spots are, he claims this area, he joined us for a 3 day cruise with another ozzie. But this Argentinian has never been to Indo, when I showed him some Indo pics on my old laptop his bek was hanging open, he shut the faark up about Panama after that...One thing I can tell you is that the words 'word class' are being used far to losely for this area. Soooooo, now we are motor sailing towards this Morro Negrito hopes are not very high. From what I can read between the lines, P-Land is a pretty pup wave, the other waves in the area gets crowded with seppo longboarders, these okes must be anybody's worse nightmare, hearing that accent just makes my ears burn...I heard a rumour that there is a boat access only right hand point break on the other side of the headland where Pavones is situated which is even better than Pavones...but I take that with a big pinch of salt. A seppo shaper told this to me in a bar in Catalina, I was pretty wasted on all kinds of white spirits, I mean the liquid kind in a glass bottle with kiff sounding spanish names like Caipi Rosca, unfortunately the next day you are faarked so it might as well have been klipdrift. Most of the latin chicks have kiff big tits but they dont last well past 35. Anyway, I am starting to digress. This morning I put my so-called fixed alternator back on, turns out the naaiers in Panama city thought that spraying the thing black means its fixed. Not so, I can assure you that just spray painting and alternator is NOT going to fixed it as well. For that you actually need to open the faarken thing...but who gives a faark, by the time the gringo realizes that I did faarkall to his alternator he is going to be long gone and I am $100 richer... Plus it was a kuk sprayjob. Why spray a green volvo alternator black? Because you are a thieving @#$##@, thats why. Now Ian the Rat sends me a email that a big swell is hitting this area on Friday, which can you believe is the day I have to drop off my dad at some harbour far from surf...what's the odds of that happening. So I am dropping him off a day earlier on Thursday, then I am going to drive all night to get down to where the waves are on Friday, hopefully this P-land wave is at least 10% as good as G-land. I'll even be happy with 5% as good as G-land. I mean, imagine having the audacity to call a wave P-land, like its the G-land of Panama....faark off I say, show some respect and DONT name it after G-land. Rather call it Poesie II, Cheeseburgers or something. Anyway, I am generally in a belligerent mood right now, I would give my left ball to be in my beloved Indo right now, but maybe things will improve as we head up towards Nicaragua and El Salvador...I hope you are all well, I don't have it in me right now to write individual letters, please dont take offense w.r.t. this group email, I know it would have pissed me off, I hope all you families etc are well. Truly! PS My wife is loving the least her wave quota is back on target!!!Cheers Golla

28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page