Rod Heikell's very informal site on sailing around bits of the world and an eclectic collection of things nautical or nearly so.

Skylax blog PANAMA 2008

Skylax blog PANAMA 2008


This edited blog covers our cruising in PANAMA and the SAN BLAS ISLANDS in 2008. I have edited out some items of the general blog and put them on other more directly related pages. The blog runs chronologically backwards, as it were, with the latest entries for 2008 first and the earliest last.

Skylax position reports

We will be posting position reports with Yotreps from September 2007 WHEN WE ARE ON PASSAGE. Position reports can be found at Yotreps from either THE REPORTING BOAT LIST or you can download the YOTREPS POSITION REPORTER and locate our track on the world map.

Yotreps  has a side bar menu with the reporting boat list and also a button to download the Yotreps Reporter (reporter software) and instructions on how to use it. The software is free.

You can find Skylax either by our call sign or name:


Call sign   MGAY

From the Skylax blog 08-03-09

Panama Canal Yacht Club - this photo says it all

Photo from YBW

And less than a year ago we were sitting here drinking beer, planning the transit through the canal, gassing, getting taxis into town and the supermarkets, filling up the water cans... less than a year ago and now this club, loved by yachties over its 80 year history, is gone.

From the Skylax blog 03-03-09

Panama Canal Yacht Club is closing

There will be a lot of sad cruisers around when the news that the PCYC is closing, nay has been demolished by the port authority, and officially will exist no more from April 1st. Even sadder is that new cruisers will have little alternative to Shelter Bay Marina now PCYC has gone. Where will cruisers anchored in the Flats Anchorage be able to leave their dinghies safely? Or have a beer, or an all-day breakfast or chilli beef, or talk and trade...




Panama Canal

A couple of short vids of going through the Panama Canal that somehow escaped going up when we went through - probably for the good reason that they are not going to make you explode in a belly-laugh or cower in the corner for the sheer horror of it all.


Miraflores Lock

These photos were taken from the observation platform at the last double lock before the Pacific (the Miraflores Lock) by Peter Metherall. Thanks Pete!

Skylax and Kaama rafted together coming into the first lock

Going down

Second lock

And so into the Pacific



Yesterday we chugged through the last lock, Miraflores double lock, and then the short distance under the Friendship Bridge to the Balboa YC where we were lucky to get one of the last moorings going. I'll do the Panama Canal transit in a bit more detail later, but for now we are taking it easy, sorting out a bit of official paperwork, and looking at the Pacific which here looks pretty much like the grey overcast Atlantic we have just left. Still along with Keats I'm looking with wild surmise, not from a peak in Darien but at the peaks around the anchorage and the Pacific lapping on the hull.

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold.
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
    He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
    Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

     -- John Keats
                                                             Miraflores lock, and then the Pacific

Balboa Google Earth



Annotated Google Earth of Balboa

Balboa YC: Moorings @ 50 cents a foot by arrangement with the office or try on VHF Ch 06. They are often full in the busy season March to May. Bumboats (Ch 06) run 24 hours to and from the pier and you are prohibited from using your dinghy. Fuel and water dock (approx 3.5 metres at low tide). WiFi to the anchorage. Bar and restaurant ashore. Also a Country Inn nearby with a TGI Fridays (not great).

Playita anchorage: Reasonable protection except from west sectors when it can get very bumpy. Dinghy dock with water ($5). Restaurants in Playita.

Flamenco Marina: VHF Ch 10. All facilities at $1.50 a foot. Fuel dock. Restaurant and bar.

For more annotated Google Earth maps go here



A caution on Colon

I think some of us were getting a bit cocky about walking into Colon. OK I only did it a few times, always in the day, and tried to keep to known safe areas though I did stray a few times. I had one incident which might have turned out nasty for me, but I kept walking, kept the guy talking to me while I walked, and said I'd give him a dollar when we got to the gates of the PCYC. It worked. Two days before we were leaving Kris, a tough wiry and streetwise South African who is delivering a catamaran with his partner Mary got stabbed while coming back from Colon. It was 7 at night and in a fairly public thoroughfare. They wanted his backpack and stabbed him three times while trying to get it off him. No warning, no requests, just kept stabbinbg until they got the backpack. He has two deep wounds in his back and another more serious one in the chest which has punctured his lung. He is in a bad way in hospital and I wish them all the help any of the gods out there can give them.

So just remember, Colon is a bad place. Take a cab, it will only cost a buck or two.


                                                                               PCYC, the safe haven in Colon


Panama's buses


Panamaís buses

Panamaís buses are a riot of colour flashing through the streets of the cities and towns and along pot-holed rural roads connecting villages and towns and the two cities of Colon and Panama City. They are the transport link that keeps Panama going and prices are low. A two trip from Colon to Panama City is $2.50. The buses are painted with motifs and scenes in vivid central American style and depict everything from religious figures (JC and Moses are prominent), bucolic scenes of houses in idyllic Alpine landscapes, fantasy scenes with witches and demons and computer game warriors, pop-stars, cartoon characters, and lots of pouting busty girls. The buses are all named: Lazarus (raised from the dead remains of another bus?), lightening, snoop dog, and of course lots of girls names. The buses are mostly Internationals like the yellow school buses in the USA.


 OK, how does the driver see out of the window?


Colon Google Earth

Colon Panama

Flats anchorage: Anchor in 11-14 metres. Soft mud bottom. Anchor chain in here for more than a week or so is stripped of its galvanising in the toxic soup of the harbour.

PCYC: VHF Ch 74. Alongside & stern-to berths. Around 45-55 cents/ft/day. Dinghy dock for $2 a day. This is the only secure place to leave a dinghy. Includes water from a nearby tap. Fuel dock. Railway sledge up to 20 tons. Restaurant and bar. WiFi. Laundry. Tito, a 'fixer' for the canal will be found here, or at least one of his 'helpers'. A tatty but very convivial place and close to supermarkets and hardware shops (take a taxi around $2-3)

Shelter Bay Marina. VHF Ch 74. Around 150 berths up to 40 metres or so. Secure. Fuel barge. Water and electricity. Around 45-55 cents/ft/day. Restaurant and bar. A new marina with a yard and hauling. A bit out of it though a bus runs into Colon and back every day.

If the PCYC lease is not renewed this is likely to be the only show in town.

For more annotated Google Earth maps go here







Colon to San Blas

Gotta get out of town


While Colon has itís attractions, and I do like the place, the anchorage in the flats is beset by wash and grime drifting over the docks and onto the yachts at anchor there. For most things in Colon you take a taxi, most rides are a couple of dollars, because there are parts of the city that are dangerous. In the time we have been here we have heard of at least three yachties who were mugged. You donít go out at night. That said Iíve walked into town a few times to send a fax, get petrol and some other little jobs, and as long as you are street-wise, stick to the main streets, and walk with a purposeful manner, it seemed OK.


Once we had sorted a few work things back in the UK via the internet and completed some boat jobs we hauled up the anchor and after a good half hour cleaning the chain off, set sail for Portobelo. This is the bay where Drake based himself while sacking Spanish cities up and down the coast and he reputedly buried at sea off a small islet at the entrance still called Isla Drake. The scourge of the Spanish Main, sacker of cities and privateer for Queen Elizabeth terrorised this coast and for centuries mothers would keep the kids in order by telling them El Terrible Drake is coming to get you. The Spanish then fortified the bay although that didnít stop Henry Morgan from sacking it nearly a century later.


We anchored under San Fernando fort where the jungle comes right down to the waters edge and howler monkeys occasionally can be heard at dusk. The town across the way has basic shopping although you wouldnít leave your dinghy over there at night.


The coast up to the San Blas has anchorages aplenty in small bays on the mainland coast and behind islands, though we only stopped overnight at Isla Grande. Although the weather is reasonably settled with light trades from the N-NE, at this time of year small lows come off Columbia bringing rain, lots of rain and thunder and lightening, but nothing wind-wise to worry about although you get occasional light westerlies.


You clear into the San Blas at Porvenir where the Kunas charge $12 per person to cruise around the islands. These are more cays than islands with fringing coral protecting anchorages. As long as the sun is reasonably high in the sky you can see the reefs and passages through  them. It is no place to rely on electronic charts.

 Puerto Yate

As soon as you arrive at Porvenir the mola ladies in their ulus, dugout canoes, arrive to sell molas. They are pretty insistent and you will often have two or three canoes holding on to the boat and mola ladies imploring you to buy their molas. Yeah, course we bought some. After that itís bon-bon and caramello request time for the kids in the canoes. Apart from one strident lady who told me to get out of the water, (I was cleaning the prop), and get some money to buy her molas, its all pretty amicable.

Home on the cays is a lot of wooden and bamboo buildings with a few more substantial coral block and limestone buildings and some of the alleys between the houses are so tight you need to stand aside to let others through. Toilet facilities are a little hut on stilts perched over the sea.

We sailed around the Lemon Cays, back to Porvenir and the other cays nearby and over to Chichime Cays. Iíve got to be honest here. There are only so many white coral sand beaches fringed by coconut palms that I can take. Three to four days is good for me before heading back to places that have a little more human activity going on and are in their own way just as beautiful. So we sailed back to Portobello and in a day or so will head back to Colon to give John on Quequeg a hand to go through the canal. You need to have four line-handlers apart from the skipper so other yachties generally give a hand to one another.






Ulus are the wooden dugout canoes paddled and sailed by the Kuna Indians. Anyone who has ever attempted to get in a dugout canoe and paddle it will know just how unstable these things are. In Haiti it took me 15 minutes to get the hang of it and to work out that the canoes are asymmetric so you paddle them on just one side. Canoes here in the San Blas also appear to be asymmetric though itís difficult to see when you look at them.


The rig on the sailing ulus is usually lateen with a tiny jib or a crab-claw type sail like those used on proas in the Pacific islands. Often you will have a guy who hangs out on a rough rope trapeze to keep the ulu upright. They sail around the cays and reefs and between the cays, often up to 4-5 miles from home. Iíve read somewhere that C A Marchaj in his tome on sailing rigs and aerodynamics reckons the clab-claw rig is the most efficient sail to windward, though Iím not sure whether that applies only to proas or to dugout canoes as well.


Anyway these things scoot around all over the place and are surprisingly efficient to windward given there is so little under the water to stop leeway. I guess the slim shape helps. Steering is just by an oar out the back of the canoe. Most of the sailing ulus are fishing out over the reefs and itís unusual around the cays not to have one or two coming up to you with a selection of fish or crayfish and crabs to sell. I have to say we were a bit crayfished-out by the time we left the San Blas.





Before we left Colon a week ago a couple of outboards were stolen off yachts in the flats anchorage. Both of them were lifted up on davits and the outboards chained on with 8mm stainless chain. The outboard thieves have taken to carrying bolt croppers to cut chain and cable. Here in Portobello Iíve just been talking to the unfortunate Mario off Valuda who had his outboard stolen a few days ago. It to was chained with 8mm stainless chain to the dinghy which was tied on to the back of the boat. He found the dinghy ashore minus outboard so the thieves were obviously not interested in the dinghy.

Itís standard practice here in Panama and in quite a few other places I can think of to lift your dinghy up out of the water alongside the boat and use cable or chain to lock it on. This seems to work better than davits though itís not the complete answer. In risky areas we quite often lift the dinghy with outboard right up onto the foredeck and then lock it on. Alternatively we hoist the outboard up onto itís mount on the pushpit and then just put the dinghy sans motor on the side or on the foredeck. Since we sleep aft we should hear someone trying to break the padlock and cut the cable to get the dinghy off the pushpit. To my knowledge none of these guys have boarded boats to steal the outboard off a dinghy.

We do have a slight advantage in that the thieves seem to be after outboards over 10hp so a smaller 5hp like ours is less at risk. I know several cruisers here that have sanded the Ď1í off a 15hp to make it look like a 5hp.

While the locals get all the blame itís sometimes your fellow cruisers you need to keep an eye on, sad as that may be. In Isla Grande we waved cheerily to a young couple returning to their boat in the anchorage. We got a surly look as a reply and a half-hearted wave. Soon after they departed to a green steel boat anchored inside the reef-bound harbour. I didnít think too much of it until we went ashore and wandered around to the harbour. The young couple were energetically loading bits of boat equipment from the steel boat, which looked neglected but seaworthy, into their dinghy. They returned to their own boat after dark and loaded all sorts of gear onto their boat. Now their may be a perfectly innocent explanation for all this, but their behaviour did seem furtive and they left early in the morning the next day. Still I didnít notice any spare outboards lying around the deck.



Power of the Pen



Either the power of the pen or some angel was looking down on the boats here. After a meeting of the canal authorities all dates have been advanced by nearly a MONTH. Our new date is May 28th. Thanks to Dick Durham at YM for his journalistic skills.





Dick Durham at Yachting Monthly gets on the case for the Panama Canal Authority hostages on

Canal zone


More than 150 yachts are in a marine 'traffic jam' on the east side of the Panama Canal, awaiting transit to the Pacific Ocean. Many have been told it will be 'weeks' - in one case two months - before they will be able to get through.

This delay could put them in danger of meeting the cyclone (hurricane) season in the South Pacific. One yachtsman is so concerned he is having his boat driven across the Central American isthmus on a low loader. YM Blue Water Letter writer, Rod Heikell and wife Lu, aboard Skylax are among those being held up.

Rod reports: 'There are around 50 yachts in the Flats anchorage at Colon, another 30 in the Panama Canal Yacht Club (PCYC), 30 or 40 in Shelter Bay Marina and a similar number cruising the Atlantic Panama coast. All of us are waiting to go through the Panama Canal and things aren't looking good. On Skylax we arrived a week ago and our given date for the transit is June 23rd, a nine and a half week wait. And the same goes for all the other yachts here except for anyone with a few thousand surplus dollars who can arrange a special transit.

'Rumours are rife and cruiser chat in the bar at the PCYC can reach heated levels even in tropical temperatures. The pilots are on a go slow. The lock operators are on a go slow. The canal is not interested in yachts as it makes more money out of ships. The latter I've had whispered to me by staff at the Panama Canal Authority, though only a whisper you understand.

'A lot of the yachties are getting concerned about crossing the Pacific to Australia and NZ before the start of the cyclone (hurricane) season in the South Pacific in November. Sure we can all do long passages missing the good bits and barring breakdowns arrive exhausted on the other side, but that's not really what we had in mind for the coconut milk run. Some of the skippers here are taking drastic measures. One is getting his yacht taken overland on a truck and trailer. Another yacht is going to spend a season cruising on this side. Another plans to cruise Ecuador and delay for a season before heading out across the Pacific. And South African John is crossing back to the Azores and then down to the Canaries and across to Brazil to head down around the bottom of South America and eventually get into the Pacific that way. "Wasn't in my plans, " he said, "but the devil goes where the wind blows and that looks like the Magellan Strait."'

Manager of vessel transit operations for the Panama Canal, Abraham Saied, told YM that the peak time for canal transits is between February and April, but for reasons still being analysed the commercial traffic this year is much heavier than usual.
Groups of yacht transits have been dropped from two per day to one per week because they 'impact negatively' on commercial shipping transits, he said. 'The yachts take time to raft up together and handling them through the locks takes 30 minutes or so longer than commercial ships.' Normally up to 38 ships a day are expected at this time of year, but on some days up to 50 ships a day have been arriving. 'We are taking one step forward and two steps back,' Mr Saied said. 'We are hoping to get the backlog through in the next few weeks,' he added. 'And traffic normally drops off during June and July.'

Blue Water Rally spokesman Richard Bolt, said: 'This is worrying news. We make sure we go out and negotiate beforehand to make sure our yachts are not held up. This year we got all our yachts through in 48 hours.'

Yachting Monthly, 28 April 2008






On watch you need to keep an eye on any nearby shipping and if it looks a bit iffy then give them a call on VHF to establish their CPA. This always led to conversations like Ďmotor vessel in approximate position da-de-da this is sailing yacht Skylax in position da-da-da on a true course of daa, overí. Sometimes we would get an answer and sometimes not. So when I was back in the UK I bought the simple stand-alone NASA unit and a VHF aerial for Skylax.

We had it fitted in no time and connected up to the GPS below despite the primitive little instruction manual that comes with it. Like most NASA stuff it has itís limitations, but for the price it is a grand little receiver and does what says on the box.

On the trip from Sint Maarten down here to Panama we only used the radar once. The rest of the time the AIS provided sufficient information to establish a CPA and when we did call up, we had that all important handle, THE NAME OF THE SHIP. Over seven days we probably called up half a dozen ships to establish a CPA and they all answered. For other ships, and remember we are on the rhumb line for ships approaching and leaving the Panama Canal and ports in Columbia so there were a fair number around, we had sufficient information from their position, course and speed to establish that they would be well clear of us.

It also has the benefit of drawing very little power compared to the radar that we would normally turn on to establish distance and course relative to us. It has a few little niggles. Lu finds it hard to get used to a N-up read-out compared to head-up. It occasionally gets a bit flustered and loses the GPS signal, though re-booting the GPS plotter usually sorts that out. And it has no on and off switch so Lu installed a little push-pull switch so it can be turned off independently Ė the breaker feeds other instruments as well.

So for £200 I give it full marks and it suits my KISS philosophy keeping all instrument systems separate rather than linked. We could have bought an AIS engine that came up on the Garmin plotter in the cockpit, but that would mean a hardware or software failure there would shut down not just the plotter but the AIS as well. I also installed a separate VHF aerial on the pushpit instead of a splitter to the masthead VHF aerial. This gives us a spare aerial for the VHF should anything happen to the masthead unit and despite no being very high, we have had signals from ship up to 16 miles away.


22-04-08 In 'The Flats' anchorage at Colon

Wi-Fi in the PCYC...


Change of plan


We were halfway to the San Blas Islands when Pete on Penyllan emailed us with news we didnít need but were at the same time grateful, in a grudging sort of way, to get. There is an eight week waiting list to go through the Panama Canal he told us, so we are going to go direct to Panama and get on the list and then cruise off to the San Blas.


A slight change of course had us headed for Colon (pronounced Col-lone) to do the same thing. We left St Maarten on the 10th April and arrived in Colon seven days later, a nice easy comfortable trip covering 1180 miles in seven days and eight hours. We didnít really get into 160 mile plus days until a few days had gone by and we were boat-fit againÖ and our body clocks had adapted to the 3 on 3 off routine through the night. We ate too much, caught no fish (again) despite Lu investing a small fortune on a Penn reel, new 200lb nylon and enough lures to stock a small shop, and as per usual we just held on while Skylax and Mole the autopilot did the work.


So here we are sitting in the Flats anchorage in Colon with 50-60 other boats and thatís not counting the boats in the Panama Canal Yacht Club (PCYC), Shelter Bay Marina over the other side and boats cruising the San Blas while waiting their turn. It seems the canal authorities make a lot more money out of big ships going through (and Pana-Max, the biggest ship that a lock can take, is very big) and so only a dozen or so yachts are being let through every week. But there are rumours around that more will be let through soon, so we are hopeful though itís still looking like June or at best the end of MayÖwe live on the ripe smell of every bit of cruiser gossip that goes around.


At the PCYC Teeto is the man most people use to organise the transit and he, or more usually one of his employees like JC or Lucian do the running around. So we signed up with Teeto JC, our man on the ground proved to be efficient and courteous and whisked us through the whole process pretty quickly. Basically it goes like thisÖ

1.        You go to the PCYC where there is a handy dinghy dock which costs $2 (all prices are US dollars) a day to tie up your dinghy and you can also fill jerry cans with water there (included in the price). You get a receipt.

2.        Just along from the dinghy dock is the immigration office where you get stamped in. They will want to see your boat docs, exit papers from the last port and of course passports.

3.        While wandering up to immigration one of Teetoís helpers will button-hole you and ask if you need help to do the transit. Now some people do it all themselves, but for $35 itís great to be driven around the various offices in an air-conditioned SUV Ė worth every cent I reckon.

4.        You go first to the Panama Canal Office where you present your papers and get an appointment with the admeasurer (why admeasurer and not measurer I donít know), which is usually the next day. Then you go to the port office to get a cruising permit ($69 for three months). Then off to another immigration office to get a visa ($2). In between times JC, who drove me around, organised colour photocopy passport pics (from the passport), talked about Colon and all sorts of other things.

5.        Then you are delivered back to the PCYC until the admeasurer has seen you.

6.        Our admeasurer Caesar, arrived next day, jumped off the big pilot boat onto the deck and measured the length of the boat. Boats over 50ft pay more and thatís all he was really interested in apart from making sure our horn (an aerosol job) worked. I then dinghied ashore to meet him in the PCYC where the paperwork was completed in the bar. You then take the relevant papers from the admeasurer to Citibank, JC driving again, and pay the canal fee ($600) and the buffer, a security deposit ($800) for any damage or transgression of canal rules. The buffer is refunded or not charged once you are through. One thing JC was firm on was that when they asked you in the Canal Office how fast your boat can go, you must say 8 knots. If you go slower than that then apparently the transit will coast an extra $1000. While I have seen the 8 knot figure on the official paperwork, I havenít really been able to nail down the additional $1000 surplus. Still it is no surprise that all the boats here, pretty much regardless of size, can do 8 knots.

Caesar measures up   Pilot boat

7.        You also need four 110ft lines of at least 7/8Ē diameter and fenders. Not surprisingly Teeto can provide the ropes ($15 each rental for the transit) and car tyres wrapped up in plastic to make sure you are adequately fendered ($3 each rental/we took 12). You can also hire a professional line handler at $110 for the transit and having talked to a few people, they are evidently very good and we may employ one. Normally other yachties here go through as line handlers to see what it is all about. You need four line-handlers apart from the skipper.

8.        So adding it all up we are talking around $800 for the transit (Skylax is 46ft) assuming you get your buffer deposit back, which nearly everyone does.


So tonight we will get a date, almost certainly sometime in June, though there is every hope and some indications that we will go through earlier than the given date. Meanwhile the beer and the food in the PCYC is very good and cheap. There are old friends here and new ones to be made. There are always a lot of shades of blue and this one is not bad at all.

AND THE DATE IS JUNE 23RD. But I'm optimistic, so is the canal authority that it will be two and possibly three weeks earlier. Still not great and that puts pressure on us (and all the others) to get through the Pacific before cyclone season starts (November but December really).









More Passage Food



Moroccan Minted Beef

For two


OK, you need a bit of steak, but all the other ingredients are easy to find or adapt.

Olive oil

400 gm of beef cut into narrow strips about 10cm long-ish (just cut it into strips)

1 onion sliced

heaped teaspoon ground cumin

tin of diced/crushed tomatoes

small bunch of mint or two teaspoons of mint sauce

teaspoon of finely grated or chopped lemon rind (or lime)

Dash of lemon or lime juice

Half cup of slivered almonds

Chopped parsley or coriander (or the mint) if you have it to garnish


Sautť beef in the oil until cooked through. Put aside on paper towel and sautť onions. When soft add cumin and lemon rind. Let them cook gently together then add beef again with tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, and mint sauce (if you have no fresh mint). Cook slowly for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped mint (if using it) and slivered almonds.

Rice or cous cous to go with it.


Turkish Borlotti Bean Stew


This tastes a whole lot better than it sounds and anyone ho has been to Turkey will recognise it as a staple in local locantas there.


Serves two with some left over for lunch the next day


1 tin Borlotti beans (or try haricot or cannellini beans)

1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes

2 fresh tomatoes diced

2 tbspoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves finely sliced

2 onions sliced

2 tbspoons brown sugar (or white)

2 celery sticks sliced (celery keeps wonderfully well on passage but omit if you donít have any)

1 cup chopped parsley (or add some dried parsley)

1 tbspoon dill seeds (or fennel seeds or maybe a teaspoon of Chinese five spice)

1 tbspoon lemon juice


Lu used celery and dill seeds because we had them.


Saute onions and garlic in a pan with the oil. When soft add celery, tinned toms sugar and the herbs. Cook for a bit then add the drained can of beans and 1Ĺ cups of water and maybe a pinch of stock and fresh ground pepper. Cook for 10 minutes then add chopped fresh toms and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.



Luís fruity chicken curry

For four


2 tbspoons olive oil

500 gm chicken bits (thighs, breast, legs) cut into smaller bits if large.

2 onions sliced

2 cloves garlic finely sliced

1 can tinned crushed or diced toms

2 tbspoons mild curry powder

1 tbspoon coriander seeds

Big thumb finely chopped or grated fresh ginger

10 dried apricots chopped

1 mango preferably not ripe (then it doesnít go all mushy) diced

1 banana sliced

Tin of coconut milk


Saute chicken in hot oil in pan until cooked through and browned over and then put aside on paper towel. Saute onion, garlic, curry powder, coriander seeds, and ginger until onions are soft and covered in spices. Tip in tinned toms, coconut milk, put chicken back in and add apricots and simmer for a good 30 minutes. Then add diced mango and sliced banana and return for another 10 minutes.

Serve with rice.

 For more on cooking on board go to Gourmets and Gourmands


Counter-knowledge and the red tops

When I mentioned to Paul Gelder that the new Yachting Monthly web site had the same name as mine he suggested Dick Durham would put a link in. There were no heavy issues here, my website is a small insignificant thing compared to the Yachting Monthly site which has the whole editorial team on it's side. And I wasn't too bothered. But no-one was talking about plagiarism or rip-offs or even a minimal amount of hubris. Just to set the matter straight Dick - though apologies to you if it was someone else...


YM blog

What is a bloggerist? It is some saddo who canít even think up his own material and rips off other peopleís stuff from cyber-space.

And thatís what Tell Tale has been accused of by no less a figure than respected ocean sailor, pilot book author and YM columnist Rod Heikell.

His own sailing blog is called Tell-Tales Ė you can find it on - as the more discerning among you will know this is the name of YMís latest blog station, too.

Sorry, Rod, we completely overlooked this and our new ether network name was coined by office staff coincidentally. But cheer Ėup : our site has not got a hyphen, so the two can live together happily without compromising the other.

By the way Rodís blog is well worth reading on a regular basis: it covers he and his wife Luís Atlantic and Med cruising aboard Skylax, their Warwick Cardinal 46 and what they have done to upgrade the boat.

They are off soon on a new adventure: across the Pacific.


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