Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Every dog has its day

I sit in the cockpit and work through a lesson Duolingo, as the neighboring dog makes itself again clearly noticeable and loudly communicates to its environment that he is not at all in agreement with the measures that prevent him from leaving the boat. Also the good coaxing on my part, interests him only little. It may be that it is because of the language barrier between a US-American dog and a German skipper. Although, or just therefore, I unpack my finest English. After half an hour, Ming, his watchdog, comes back and apologizes for Body, the neighbor's dog. 

The neighbor's dog

"Oh and by the way, I could take a boat through the canal tomorrow, but I need someone to watch Body." I notice how, anticipating what is about to happen, my left eyebrow reflexively raises. "Last time Body was on the boat with Loren, but she has a cat and that wasn't such a good idea. With you, Body seems comfortable." In fact, we've had Body with us for a day because Loren, with the cat, was on the verge of despair. On our boat he can run around but not jump off the boat. At least that was the state of the day we had Body with us. "So," I say, not wanting to make it quite so easy for Ming, "you mean he's comfortable with us." "Yeah, at least he's not barking his head off. I'll take him for a walk before I leave and be back the next day, in the evening." I agree and so it comes to pass that Body moves in on our boat a day later.

Port maneuvering in Shelter Bay Marina, Panama

It is windy, the gusts whistle with 25 knots again and again through the marina. At pier E, so exactly opposite us, a change maneuver is prepared. A yacht is to be moved to the opposite bow. For this, a yacht has to be reparked. With a care line, which is laid to our adjacent free box on port, the ship is to be pulled into the box. Since the angle is favorable, my stern cleat is used for pulling. Body watches the activity with interest, until he discovers another dog on the approaching boat. With one leap he is in the harbor basin. While he swims away from the ship, Gaby panics and screams for Body. I ponder what is worse now, Gaby's screaming or Body's barking when he is confined to the neighboring boat. While Body does a harbor lap, the boat drifts ever so slowly into the box. A neighbor fishes Body out of the water and all is well again. Well, almost. Body is of course soaking wet and has to be dried out before he makes himself comfortable again on our cushions in the salon. In the late afternoon we go for a walk with Body. From this point of view a dog is a good thing. You move because the dog needs to be moved. With all the things that needed to be organized, and getting spares, we were so busy that we didn't even realize we hadn't walked in a long time. As we hike through the forest, I think about it. In Colombia was our last longer hike and we enjoy the cool forest air.

Waldspaziergang Fort Sherman, Panama

The biggest problems has made the pulley for the mainsail halyard. Broken in St. Kitts, I provisionally installed a pulley from a blog, but it has since broken as well because it was too thick and jammed in the guide. Various attempts here in Shelter Bay to find someone who can make a reel have been in vain. I order what are called "pullys" from Amazon, which are used as pulleys on bodybuilder equipment. Made of aluminum, they at least have the right diameter. However, they are also too thick and have to be tapered by three millimeters. By bus and cab I drive to an area of Colon where one can actually, as a "gringo", only go armed. 

Lathe in Colon, Panama

The lathe had seen its best days at the opening of the Panama Canal, but never mind. So you don't have to google, the opening of the Panama Canal was in 1914. I unpack my aluminum rollers. The polished rolls flash in the sun and my counterpart gets shiny eyes. With chunks in Spanish, English and German, I try to explain to her what I want. In addition to the taper, the hole for the bolt must also be drilled out. I draw the dimensions on paper. She nods and tells me to come back at 11:00. In the cases where one does not expect it, one makes the best experiences. The rolls, one as a substitute, fit on the tenth. The people are extremely friendly and helpful. Of course, you have to take into account the possibilities they have, but for the circumstances the result is very satisfactory. 

Small-scale enterprises in Colon, Panama

I drive with someone who just picked up an alternator to the next bus stop and back to the marina. Body is asleep and we take the opportunity to hoist me into the mast. The pulley is quickly replaced and Gaby is very pleased with the little effort it now takes to operate the halyard. Well, once you've got the hang of it, you've got the hang of it. Next week we have to do the engine maintenance. We'll tell you next time whether we're back on the dog or still on the dog. Until then, always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.

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