03 March 2006

Still waiting but morale high as the trust crew onboard Gipsy Moth IV try scuba diving

3rd March 06

Location: Flamenco Marina, Amador, Panama (feels just like home now!!!)
Weather: Hot start, windless, cloud and wind building during the day, even rain for 2 minutes.

Well you’ve guessed it, the computer says Noooooooooooooo! But we’ve got Bob Marley on the CD so, now everything little thing is gonna be alright! We have had a couple of things fixed by the computer chaps, but the main problem still remains. The Ellen MacArthur Trust Crew are not ones to get down in dumps though, and we have been busy, very busy, as you are about to find out……….
My day started with waking to find Sam the skipper’s legs poking out of the engine bay, the fuel filters needed changing before we could start the engine to charge the batteries. This was followed shortly afterwards by a trip with Taxi Billi, our local Taxi driver, to Panama City to get a new Video Camera so that we can keep you all entertained at Fakenham High School, Norfolk and everywhere else, I then got to walk through Panama City to the Panama Sony Centre Service Department to retrieve the tape out of the old Cam, which had given up the ghost, they kindly performed this 45 minute operation for free, so many thanks to Antonio and his team.
Fiona, Jack, Emily and Lucy tell me its been -7 degrees on the Isle of Wight today, its been 38 degrees here again! Just at the hottest point of the day the Primus stove stopped working, No Tea!!! Primus says Nooooooooooooo! So Sam and I melted in the boat whilst sorting it out and testing it, great game, NOT! All ok now. Once again, as my old friend AF use to say when things went to plan, “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Jon Curtis (Mate)

Hey everyone we got a surprise today from Sam our skipper and it was amazing. He took us scuba diving we all thought we were going to the beach but when he told us to bring the flippers, snorkels and mask we thought it must be more than just the beach. Sam taught us all about the different signs and safety procedures before we got into the pool, when we got in the pool he took us down to the deep end one by one to show us how to dive properly and after that he left us to it. We all had a go at underwater filming and doing summersaults with all the gear on it was lethal craic!!! I even had a go at taking all the gear off underwater apart from the regulator (mask that gives you air so that you can breath) and then putting it all back on again. I had to be giving a belt with lead to make me sink cause I couldn’t stay underwater for long. I am definitely gonna do it again sometime and hopefully the next time we scuba dive it will be in the Galapagos. Anyone jealous? Hi to everyone in Drumglass High School hope everyone is doing alright and working hard. Still missing you David and loving you loads. Say hi to all the dudes for me you know who they are. Keep safe baby! I would say hi to my parents but they don’t know how to work a computer but they know I love them anyway. Hi Kelda and Heather missing ya lots xoxox

Barbara (crew)

After we got home from the scuba diving we had to clean the winches, this consisted of taking them apart piece by piece, then we washed them with the alcohol to polish them up and make them shine, we then had to put oil them to help them move more freely, and make them work more affectively. After we had cleaned the four of the winches on the bow of the boat (which is the front of the boat for those that don’t know laugh out loud hehe) We have to clean the rest tomorrow at the stern as it started to get to dark for us to see the little parts of the machine. The mothers of the boat which are the people in charge for the day (i.e.)they clean, cook and make tea for everyone when they want it etc. Well they started on dinner it was veggie fajitas tonight I had super noodles they were yum yum.
P.S I would just like to give a shout out to all the lads at La Salle Boys school in Belfast, thank you for following my progress hope to keep you interested e-mail me or the crew any time you want lads I would be happy to speak to any one of you guys. Thanks to everyone who is backing us all the way we really appreciate all your support keep following our progress and we will try to keep you up to date on everything that is going on.

Maria XXX

Apart from the computer saying Noooooooo everyday, everybody on board is saying yes yes yes. The morale on board is extremely high; we are all getting on well with each other considering the tight space we are living in. The girls had a great day thanks to Sam, Jon and Simon for organising a get treat in the form of Scuba diving. A full day on board with the cleaning and maintenance to get the boat ready for the off, when that might be we do not really know yet, fingers crossed it will be soon. Dinner tonight was a master class in cooking thanks to Laura and me as her lovely assistant, and once again another day has elapsed. Which brings me to the only bad experience to date and that includes all the travel and the meeting of hundreds and hundreds of local people throughout Panama. Sam had borrowed two hose pipes yesterday so that we could refill the water tanks and wash down the decks. The hose pipes went back to what we thought were the rightful homes, later to find that we had lost a nozzle from one of the hose pipes. So first thing this morning we had a very angry USA skipper from a large sport fishing boat, cursing ten to the dozen about his 6 dollar nozzle to myself and Simon, we both looked confused as we thought Sam had returned the hose pipes the previous night. Not so bad, but then he started to curse at the girls about his 6 dollar hose and how upset he was about losing this nozzle. I went to the Chandlery got his 6 dollar nozzle and a few beers to calm the waters which he accepted after a swift conversation on how we sort out problems in Northern Ireland. His behaviour was extremely poor considering the great reception we have had here in the marina from everybody. As it turned out Sam had returned the hose, but unfortunately someone had pinched the nozzle overnight and we bore the brunt of this chaps rage. Lesson for today, Money might buy you a big boat but manners are priceless.

Peter Topping (Crew Leader) and peace maker

This afternoon the girls and I went to the Duty free mall in Amador which is right beside the flamenco marina where we are docked (still!), although it has its advantages as we get an extra 10% off for being there!Woo-Hoo. Most of the customers there are just passengers from cruise ships who visit mainly to restock on vodka (darling) or pimms and Cigars (stereotype ya think?), although they probably have more money than us on our budget pocket money we get as slaves on the yacht! At the mall (you guys!) we all bought a set of maracas (headaches all round then) and Barbara invested in a lovely multi colour sarong (just like Josephs!).We got a few funny looks in one of the shops because we put on Pocahontas style head “attire” and pretended to be Indians…weirdo’s eh? Some of the clothes in this shop were particularly dodgy and looked like Pat Butchers wardrobe (Eastenders) but then there were some really cool bags made of reptile skin ( how I wish I had Paris Hiltons money!) Buy of the day was a very funky blue checked (Bros style) hat we bought for Peter we thought we’d get it as we have given him quite a bit of abuse over the last week and also the poor bugger is getting his head burnt off him everyday. we actually bought it as a joke but it turns out he carries it off pretty well and we all want 1 now ( I want that 1!) My favourite bit was the duty free…purely because it had air conditioning. We are all going back again tomorrow and bringing the video camera so we can capture some of the modelling in action for everyone to see!
Hope you are all enjoying catching up with us and sharing the fun! Just a quick hello to Carol-Anne and the rest of the Henderson’s crew reading and watching, can you ask Mr.John to release our £40K cheque please? We need it to buy sweets! Take care guys

Love Laura xoxo

Well another action packed day aboard the good ship gipsy moth, after an early start changing fuel filters and bleeding the engine the crew slowly started to appear from their boudoir! And so we proceeded to kick them off the boat so the team of electronic engineers could do their stuff. Upon our return I was greeted with a large….enormous bill to pay for the communication systems which needed to be paid before they would authorise a next day delivery for the final bits. So I jumped into this old car, with two non English speaking Panamanians, it was not the normal insane kamikaze driving that scared me on this particular occasion but the well dodgy area we were passing through, I sank down into my shoes as one of them reached over me and pushed the door lock down to stop anyone getting in. Upon arriving all 5 of my credit cards decided not to give these very pleasant people any wonga! After lots of cold sweats in an air conditioned building and 2 and a half hours of international calls it was decided their credit card machine was broken and so they dropped me back at the marina with all my fingers and toes! PPhhewwwwwwww!! Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
“The reward of things well done is to have done it”

Captain Sam