Where’s Lizzy: The Last of South America

posted by / News / June 11, 2007

Latest word from Lizzy is that she’s made it to the Galapagos Islands. Here’s some entries from here last days in South America. Everyone wish her smooth sailing as she heads out into the wide blue yonder of the Pacific Ocean. —SURFING


2/20/07 Yesterday I followed a local man in his dugout “cayuco” and dropped anchor where he deemed best, in 50 feet of water. The wind switched this morning and when the 16-foot tide dropped out — it was too late. We’d swung over a high-spot and Swell’s keel kissed the sandbar before I realized what was happening. The water proceeded to slip out beneath her, leaving my prized mound of fiberglass helplessly stranded for hours on her side like a beached whale. Heather and I already scraped the barnacles from the upturned side. All we can do now is hang-on until the water lifts her up again.

3/3/07 First light. We’re 30 hours into the roughly 40-hour passage around Punta Mala. I’m nauseatingly tired, but relieved that we’ve finally cleared the shipping lane. Paranoia still has me looking over my shoulder like a shoplifter. Apparently I didn’t get the memo about the mass containership exodus that took place overnight. We dodged twenty-two tankers headed to and from the Panama Canal over the last ten hours. That can’t be normal? A short windchop and strong headwinds made for extra fun course changes, too. When five ships were bearing down on us from both directions, the radar screen brought on flashbacks of playing Atari Space Invaders with my brother — except I can’t shoot the {{{300}}}-foot steel enemies coming at me at 20 knots, and ‘Game Over’ means something much worse than pushing ‘Restart’.

3/15/07 My ‘To Do’ list while in Panama City has lengthened like a comp leash in a heavy hold-down. While Mckenzie and Kemi are off chasing the first pulse of south swell, I’m stuck here holding hands with the maintenance monster and making an exhilarating canned food and parts inventory. There’s a conspiracy going on amongst Swell’s equipment. Everything has decided to break at once. I just pulled my head out from under the bathroom sink after hours crammed in there replacing a cracked thru-hull valve. That’s done, so at least we’re not sinking anymore! Now I’ve just got to deal with the broken motor mounts, install the extra water tank, fix the outboard motor, repair the headsail, change the main engine oil, clean the carburetor in Genny, fit the canvas for the rain curtains, JB-Weld the holes in the faucet, fix the rusted-out sink, troubleshoot the bilge alarm, and then go buy everything I might possibly need for the next four months in the South Pacific! Deep breaths, focus, one thing at a time.


4/9/07 A few days out of the city and I’m already drenched in dreamy island decadence. The only traffic jams here are pelican and cormorant formations crisscrossing overhead. From where Swell is anchored, I can easily paddle to a rippable righthander or a shorter, but ledgier left. Finally I can focus on my roundhouses rather than wrenches and ropes and repairs! I can’t get enough of this place! The crowd is, well just Mckenzie and I. The fishermen stop by with fresh fish everyday. My tools are stowed away. The swell is non-stop. The outboard is actually running. Does it get better than this?

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