New countries, jungles, beautiful cities, lightening, rain, patience, family and friends sums up our travels in 2016. Since January, we have traveled 2,375 nautical miles adding five new stamps to our passports (El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Columbia). In November the southwest Caribbean, where we are, experienced not only its latest but also the most southerly hurricane. It then passed through Nicaragua over to the Pacific with the eye passing directly over our friends on Third Wish who were anchored in Costa Rica (they are okay). Since we began cruising, Mexico experienced the biggest hurricane at a Category 5 and the earliest blowing through prior to June 1. Hope this isn’t a trend!
We started January 2016 at the always fun La Cruz marina in Banderas Bay, Mexico. After loading up on our favorite pizza, tacos, and shrimp we headed south stopping at our favorite places in Mexico (think French baker) where we had traveled in 2015. As we moved south past the point where most cruisers turn back, we reached more remote areas including the famous (and dangerous) Acapulco and met people with many years of cruising experience from a variety of nations. Our scariest time was crossing the bar into El Salvador. Way more drama then we wanted. Through Costa Rica and Panama we experienced intense and frightening lightening storms but also hiked in the jungle, caught our first glimpse of monkeys, sloths and volcanos up close and personal. We loved the cities we visited, Oaxaca, Antigua and especially Cartagena, Columbia. One of the highlights of the year was transiting the Panama Canal with Austin, Nicki and friends. I had read The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough and was thinking we would have saved a lot of miles if they had put the canal in Nicaragua.
In September we spent three weeks in California visiting with family and friends all the while fulfilling our cravings for food and drink that we miss (Celestino’s pizza, craft beer and a properly made cocktail!). Packing the thirty or so items we had shipped to Austin in our two carry-on bags was a challenge but it all fit.
We’ve been in Panama longer than planned due to Hurricane Otto followed by high winds and seas this time of year known as the Christmas winds. But we have made many friends here, was introduced to Abuelo and club soda, and even had the birth of a baby girl on our dock.
Reflecting on this year would not be complete without remembering the two dear friends we lost. I know we will beat cancer someday.
Thank you for reading our blog and following along on this adventure. In 2016 we had visitors from 66 countries. Gary and I wish all our family and friends good health and much laughter in 2017.