Sunday, December 29, 2013

 "Hey Gilligan." One of the many deserted islands.
 Fresh Dorado dinner.
 The Panamanian courtesy flag.

Hola from Golfito, Costa Rica. We sailed three days/ two nights to get here from the Panama Canal. We shot out of the Canal Zone with a fresh breeze on a fast broad reach. What the Caribbean deprived us of, the Pacific gave it back. The sailing was fast. The self-steering vane worked perfectly so we didn’t have to steer at all. There was no spray soaking us down. The inside of the boat was dry and there was no rain. It was what passage making is all about. We had the scenery of the Panamanian south coast to our starboard. It appeared desolate with little or no sign of human life. As we rounded back north, past the cape, we entered an ocean littered with small islands and reefs. The ocean was full of life. We saw turtles, manta rays, a snake, birds of all sorts, dolphins, and a sailfish. It was amazing! The sailfish speared itself right up out of the water beside the boat, twice. It then turned and followed my fishing lure I was towing. It didn’t take it though. It was quite a sight. The water was gin-clear. It was a remarkable part of the trip.

We caught a 20-pound Dorado. That is accurate as I had scale with me. I keep a scale with me on travels as we always load up to the max 50 pounds of baggage. My wife, Lindsey, tries to sneak items into my bag so this system keeps her honest.

The boat is in better shape now than when we left. I certainly know more about how to sail her. She has her ways. She is like a mule. When she doesn’t want to go, she will not budge. She loves going downwind. I suppose she is like a person living on welfare and riding the system, she takes the easy way out.

We are taking a bus to my house this afternoon and staying there a few days. Hunter has to get to the airport as we have been gone much longer than we expected. I have 130 miles to sail to the house. We will do that next week. I will keep up the blog as I want to write down some observations and things I was unable to do underway.

Pura Vida,

Glenn the JungleBoy

29 Diciembre, 2013


Costa Rica



"I have fallen and can't get up!"
"Ahhh, this is a very comfortable spot."
 There is a Manta Ray in this picture. Look how clear the water is. It is over a mile deep here.
 Sailing in calm air.
"I am going to tell you one more time, you cannot use my razor."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

 Pedro and Hunter getting the lines ready
 Entering Gatun Lock

We awoke Christmas Day, rested and ready to strike out on the Pacific part of this trip. Feliz Navidad/Merry Christmas to all. I stated how impressive the canal itself was and it is true. The transit itself was equally as interesting. We start by picking up Tito and Pedro, our required line handlers. Both were characters. We left Shelter Bay and went to Area F, the designated spot by the Canal Authorities where we pick up our required pilot. Jose and his trainee, Liz, both come aboard. We now have 7 people on the Reliant, a Pearson 35. It is our responsibility to provide meals of high standard to all. Our schedule was set to go through Gatun Lock and the anchor overnight. We would then exchange pilots, Edwin and Victor (trainee). From there, we transit and finish a three o’clock the next day. Welcome to communal life.

To put the situation into perspective, Reliant has but one head (bathroom). There are three berths inside the cabin. This Pearson 35 has been modified from the standard layout. Hunter and I pulled the backrest cushions off the berths and slept out in the cockpit. Surprisingly, it was comfortable and we experienced no bugs. Tito, Pedro and Meredith were below. I remarked to Meredith how amazing it was there were no mosquitoes. She corrected me, there were plenty inside the boat.

I am a private person. It was difficult to be host on a small sailboat with this concentration of people. We managed with style. Meredith whipped up breakfast, lunches and dinners that everyone enjoyed with enthusiasm. It was extremely hot going through the canal. The stove heat compounded Meredith’s discomfort. We were short on canned drinks. None of us are soda pop drinkers but the handlers and pilots would drink as many as they could. Regardless, we made some new friends. We had an interesting and happy group. It was reminiscent of being in a college dorm.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to a super market that makes Wall Mart look like a corner grocery. This place had everything. It was in the middle of old Panama City and it was packed with people preparing for Christmas meals. I made back my cab fare average I lost in Isla Providencia as it only cost $3.00 to ride from the Balboa Yacht Club to the heart of the city. For anyone considering ex-pating to Panama, it is a very inexpensive place to live.

I suspect it will be a few days until I can blog again. Our next stop is planned to be Golfito, Costa Rica. I would love to explore the islands on the west coast of Panama. I know there are some surf breaks there that are world class. I am out of time as I need to get the boat in charter during tourist season, which has started. Time is a precious commodity. There is so much to do in life, it is difficult to fit it all in. At least on this trip we got to see two of the wonders of the world, the canal and Chitchen-Itza.

Hasta Luego



25 Deciembre, 2013





 At the top of the filled Gatun Lock
 The third chamber, getting dark
 My next boat. Lots of fine boats here in the canal
Turbulence as the lock fills.
Getting bow lines ready

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We are in the Pacific Ocean. We had a good and very interesting Panama Canal transit. Seven people on the boat for 24 hours, two languages spoken. It was interesting. We had boat handling challenges, more and more and more. I  promise to detail you soon. My camera is stuck with seawater sickness so no pictures. I must fill you in as soon as I can about this. The Panama Canal experience is unworldly. Everything is so large and powerful. Machines of great force and engineering marvel are everywhere. I have never felt more small like a small bug except when under the canopy of the galaxies offshore.

We may leave for Costa Rica tomorrow. My wife, Lindsey, is flying in January 1. I don't want to delay that. It will be good to see her. By the way Lindsey, great job organizing Peter and the Canal transit. It went smooth because of you. Gracias mi vida.

I will try to post before I leave if I can. We are anchored out at the Balboa Yacht Club and interenet does reach the boat.

Pura Vida,


Sunday, December 22, 2013


We are in the Panama Canal. We can be tracked:

Our luck has changed for the better. We had a comparatively comfortable two-day sail from Isla Providencia to the Canal. We close-reached for two days in a blustery trade wind. The last 20 miles of the last leg in the Caribbean was spent with full sail and no water coming on deck. It was dry and easy. The Caribbean at last let loose her stranglehold she had on us since we entered her. This was the first time since day one we had a full genoa set. It was a parting gift from the Caribbean. Maybe she rewarded us for our tenacity.

A measurer from the Panama Canal Authority came by and measured Reliant/Relianto to assess the cost for her to transit. All total with agents and handlers cost will be about $2000. Part of our responsibility is to provide good meals for the required pilot that goes with us through the canal. Apparently, they are very serious about the quality of the meals being of the highest standard. It is possible to make the fifty mile trek in a day but at times, boats have to anchor in the middle of the canal overnight. We will have the three of us and two line handlers and a pilot. We have three berths on Reliant/o. We shall see how that goes. I am excited to make the passage through.The Pacific Ocean lie ahead only fifty miles away. Maybe it will be an easy trip or perhaps a new fresh hell to go through. That is what makes this exciting, you never know what lie ahead.

A strange number of incidences have passed regarding similarities to this trip and a book I wrote. I wrote the book last year. It is about a boy and an old man, forced by life circumstance to sail from Tampa Bay to Costa Rica. When I wrote the book, I no intent or thought about buying a boat band duplicating the trip. After I finished the book (nearly finished), Lindsey and talked about opening a charter business at home in Costa Rica. We decided to do it and now, I am now duplicating the very trip I wrote about. Life imitates fiction. A number of very uncanny events have happened that cause me pause. In the book (A Change of Course) the boy, Jeff, gets permission to remove one of the spreader lights off the mast. In the middle of my mast climb out in the Yucatan Passage, the halyard holding my bosuns’ chair, dragged across one of Reliant’s spreader lights and damaged it. I removed it leaving my real boat with one spreader light just like the fictional boat, Primo, that I wrote about. I will report the other similarities later.

I just learned that we are scheduled to go through the canal tomorrow afternoon. Dec. 23. Meredith has more information on her Facebook page, Meredith Brown.

22 Deciembre, 2013

Shelter Bay




Injured Reserve
 Bottom of the Caribbean
 Entrance to the Panama Canal
 Still wet!
Are we there yet?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

 In the Tomb

In my last blog, I indicated I would trade places with no one else regardless the discomfort. I may regret saying that. We harvested very little enjoyment on sail from Roatan to Isla Providencia. The wind was in our face and there was lots of it. Rain swayed sideways with the wind and found it’s way into every contour of our dodger/bimini. When I stayed on the boat in Gulfport and went through some heavy rains, I bragged on how dry the boat was. I feel we are in the other side of a Sea World exhibit.

That is behind us and we are now at the beautiful Island of Isla Providencia, about 250 miles north of the Panama Canal. Mr. Bush at customs was helpful and pleasant. The Columbian Coast Guard goes around to every boat in the anchorage and offers a welcome and a promise that they will aid us in any way should we require help. A fifteen-minute taxi ride cost me $20. I forgot the rule that you ask the price before you get in the cab. The people are very nice.

The island is a photographer’s dream. The scenery is what you imagine a South Pacific island to look like. The buildings and houses are colorfully painted. There is a Spanish fort (I believe it is Spanish. I will research) on the island. The island’s history includes stays by Captain Henry Morgan, the pirate.

We now look to the two day (hopefully) trip to Colon, Panama. With luck, it will be downwind or at least more free that what we have experienced. The forecast promises more rain but we expect that. This will be the last passage of the Caribbean for this trip. I am looking forward to getting into the Pacific Ocean. The ocean I consider my home ocean after living in Costa Rica the past five years. I would like to explore Drake’s Bay in south Costa Rica. It is named after Sir Francis Drake. It is difficult to get there by land as the road is long and brutal. Reliant will swing up in there with ease.

I will report as soon as we get to the canal and share with you the experience we have getting through. We sail Wed, Dec 18.


17 Deciembre, 2013

Isla Providencia




 In between rain squalls
 Shop at LL Bean
The Graduate

Monday, December 9, 2013

Good at the start

 How does this go?
 Merideth next to the liferaft
 Off watch, for now.
 On watch.
 Cleared in with our Grande3 Honduras courtesy flag. The small ones cost 3X what the large ones were.
French Harbor-not a bad place.

My last entry had us leaving Isla Mujeres with a promising weather report. Hah! Didn’t happen. We are now in the unexpected port-of-call of Roatan, Honduras. We had not planned to visit this beautiful place. The water is gin-clear and the landscape is exotic. We are in a place called French Harbor Yacht Club. A great place with really nice and helpful owners. We are at a dock because I need electricity to effect repairs.

It was another hard sail out of Mexico. The wind was on the nose the entire time. Southeast winds are rare in this part of the world. It was not as strong as the hit we took in the Yucatan but it blew hard. It rained just as much as in the Yucatan if not more. The boat was soaked. All our clothes were soaked. To cap off the situation, we had developed another serious leak. The bilge would fill to floorboards in a couple of hours if we didn’t pump. The boat was trying it’s best to sink. We also had the pressure water system fail and we lost two of our three tanks of water. I found it ironic to have too much water coming down on us, water coming in from the sea, and too little in the tanks.

We decided to yield to the forces and go to the closest place to patch up. We had no detailed charts and we knew nothing about Roatan. We arrived at the island Friday night and tried to ease in under GPS. There was no moon as it was raining. We got close but in the dark, we felt paranoid to enter the harbor. The harbor choice was based on the knowledge there was an airport there. We figured there would be customs there. Therefore, Friday night was spent hove-to offshore, in a rolling seaway and rain. Saturday morning, our luck changed. We got into harbor and easily cleared through customs. I had to go to the airport to clear in. While waiting for Customs to finish their paperwork, I fully expected to see Hunter and Meredith in the ticket line buying plane tickets home.

Once settled in, I discovered a depth sounder through hull that leaked badly. The centerboard pin contributed an equal amount of water. I will fix those. Meredith scoped the town for repair materials. She found a fully founded hardware store but it was closed on Saturday. She also scoped the internet for marine forecast. I found it no surprise that rain was predicted for most all of next week. Hunter and I are going to scope for foul weather gear. We didn’t think we would need any since we were heading for the tropics.

We feel great after a good meal and hot showers. Except for the inordinate amount of cuts and bruises, I feel normal again. We are fairing better on the details. Everyone has come up with ideas that make on-board life easier. Meredith re-organized the stowage. Hunter re-appropriated a laundry bin for a water jug-carrying device and discovered other bi-uses of equipment. We can get to stuff now and life is becoming easier except for the ingress of water. Can’t wait to get back out there.

More tomorrow on Roatan. It seems to be a neat place. It is very inexpensive here.

::: This is tomorrow. I let Hunter use my computer and after, I couldn’t get a inet connection to post the entry. That is OK. He stands watch like a junkyard dog. Couldn’t do without him. Anyway, I spent today kissing the bilge, trying to stop my centerboard pin leak with underwater epoxy. I am making progress. I would like to tell you about Roatan but I have been doing nothing but work on the boat. Ask me right now if I would change places with anyone in the world; not a frickin chance!


09 Deciembre, 2013




 Close to the dock

From the dock.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Relianto is full of fuel, water, and us. We are waiting on customs to clear us out so we can sail to Isla Providencia. If we get weird winds, we will go to an easier place to get to, say Boca del Toro, Panama.

We had the unbelievable opportunity to visit Chichen-Itza, the famous Mayan temple. It makes you feel insignificant when you witness the grandness of an entire civilization that has disappeared. It is interesting to note that, the cause of the decline of the Mayans was the fact that the royalty class grew larger while the productive working class grew smaller. It grew top-heavy and crumbled. I can’t help but compare that to the US right now. The things like congress voting in different health care for them and helping themselves to the spoils of the land, like the Mayans. I suppose we can’t learn from history.

The architects used shadow and light in ingenious ways that change and appear at different times of the year to indicate harvest, planting, time to play games...

The weather forecast promises good sailing. We have had fun here and we have the boat again in ocean-going condition. We are ready to sail on!

 Our new Friends
 Meredith in Ruins
The Main Temple
.The Royalty Stand at the Sports Field
02 Deciembre, 2013

Isla Mujeres

Quintana Roo




Sunday, December 1, 2013

 In the mix of Yucatan punishment
 In Mexico

We awoke this morning with some serious boat work to do. We tore stuff up in the named storm that hit us in the Yucatan. I feel better now, that I have learned this was a major meteorological event. Check this;";

In the thick of it, this was our staus. We had a major leak coming from the no-drip propeller shaft seal. We had an all-out gusher coming in. What happened was an adjustment that needed to happen to stop the water from filling the boat. Understand; I am not a panic sailor. Fortunately, Meredith and Hunter are not either. Whilst sailing in that storm the weather people named Boreas, we were being required to pump like mad to keep the boat afloat. The boat was driving down the faces of waves requiring steering manually. Neither of our three auto-pilots had the snuff to keep the boat going straight. Waves were breaking over the boat. I am a surfer that rides big waves in Costa Rica all the time. I live there. I attest; the waves breaking over out boat are going to form up on some shore in Mexico and will rival the waves we surf at home.

All that was difficult but okay, the storm the leak, all manageable problems. What happened next began to tip the edge of my composure. The shrouds, the wires that hold the upper section of the mast in the air, had slipped from the spreader tips. The mast above the spreaders was whipping about like a noodle. Imagine, being in the Yucatan Channel taking a butt-whippin’, being dead beat tired, and now you have to go up the mast and keep it from beating itself to death. That would be if I could gather my tools and mast climbing gear together before the mast came down. I had to do this instantly. I don’t like going up a mast when at a dock, much less in twelve-foot seas. At that point, I admitted to myself, I had some problems.

I have to go now. We are going in for our Mexican Thanksgiving. I have plenty more to tell you about. I have plenty to be thankful for. I will continue this manana. You will then begin to understand why I am so thankful.

November 28, 2013

Isla Mujeres

Quintana Roo


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gulfport Florida to Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Holy Cow, Mr. Toads Wild Ride! I don’t know where to start. I suppose I will start from this very moment. We are in a restaurant, Ballyhoo. It is near the Customs office in Isla Mujeres, Mexico and we are glad to be here. November 21, we sailed from Gulfport, Florida, near St. Petersburg on a very pretty November day.

The weather was perfect with post-cold front stable north east winds. It was exactly what we wanted. Our now tried and true sloop, the Reliant (Relianto), excels in. We rolled off the miles for three days. The Magnificent Meridith, Joe (the statue) and myself, set into the rigors of an offshore passage. We divided the duties and life aboard Reliant had become systematic in an enjoyable away. The trip was becoming all we had hoped it would be. But then….

I will put it this way, it is colder here at this moment in tropical Mexico that it was in Gulfport, Florida when we left. How that happened was because a massive cold front busted through the Yucatan Peninsula like a bullet through cheese. We got caught. I don’t have time now to tell you how the mast came so close, so close to coming down and how there was gallons and gallons of water coming in the boat, more than we could bail and a host of other incidences that happened on this short trip. I will do that tomorrow as we dry out the boat and get ourselves back into the human race. I have sailed many passages and this on was for the books.

Note: Do not depend on paper-mache rain gear.

Isla Mujeres
Quintana Roo, Mexico

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20th, 2013

With luck, we sail for Cozumel in less than twenty-four hours. There seems to be an endless litany of things on the “things to do list”, all to be done in 24 hours. That is the good thing about list, they can be trashed.

We hope to set out tomorrow. First stop anticipated is Cozumel, Mexico. My fine and able crew, “Marvelous Meredith” and “Hunter Joe-the Duck Dynasty snook fisher’, rejected my plan of sailing straight to Isla Providencia, about 950 miles. I like their plan better. Though I am looking forward to getting home to our house in Costa Rica, I don’t want to get in a hurry. Sailboats don’t hurry very well.

So, Relianto is set to got except for the un-glamorous job of pumping out the waste tank. Can’t wait to do that.

I will have a tracking device so friends and family can follow us on internet. I will post instructions later on how to keep in touch online and follow us.

-Captain Glenn