Monthly Archives: April 2010

Adios Cartagena!

Ok Gang – we’re outta here (in about 2 hours).

We’ll have our SPOT on, so check our location whenever you like.  I know my Roberta and JoJo will be.  🙂

We’ll also have the Sat phone on in the evenings (our time), so send an SMS if you feel like it – we love it!

And….  a very special Happy Birthday to my dear Bro (in-law, but that never mattered!), Michael Nelson!

Ciaoooooooooo – more from Panama in a week or so.


Pics from Anina Mare – thanks Dri!

Adri gave me some photos to post.  The first two are from some passage, from somewhere to somewhere else during our ‘duo-cruising’ days with Anima.  We’ve loved every one of those days!  Good to travel with another boat, even better with cool friends!  The rest of the photos are from yesterday’s sojourn into old town Cartagena.

Walk On as seen from Anima Mare

Wing & Wing, double-reefed main and genoa.  Scooting along happily.  And the wind is still free!!!!

Wandering around Cartagena – note fruit-selling lady, they are all over the place, colorful and well-stocked.

Strolling…. you can’t see the dripping sweat, but it was hot & humid in the afternoon.

The patio, or cloister, of the Sofitel Santa Clara Hotel.  This was a Convent and dates back to 1621. Now the French got a hold of it and did a magnificient job turning it into a very stylish hotel.  Ooodles charm…

Inside the bar of the hotel is a crypt – down a short steep set of stairs.  This is where they laid the old nuns to rest.  Reminded me of that scene in the third Indiana Jones movie, down in crypts beneath the library in Venice.  Except there was no water, no rats here….

Italian restaurant “La Bruschetta” in the San Diego neighborhood.  We didn’t eat here.

Another restaurant just down the street, specializing in seafood and live Salsa music.  We didn’t eat here either… beyond the fringe of our cruising budget!

Sidewalk restaurants in and Plaza San Diego.

Lara chats with the owner of the corner bar “La Sandiegense” (or something like that).  We cooled off here beneath the fans bolted to the cieling (not cieling fans) and had a cold Club Colombia longneck.

Edu and I catch up in wide-screen movie viewing: Die Hard 4 was playing on Fox Mundo…

Across the street, an “arepa” and grill place.  Know what an arepa is?

They are very yummy!

Chillin at the pizzeria.

What are you looking at?  🙂

With Edu in the Clocktower plaza.

This the horse & carriage plaza, I think “Plaza de los Coches”.

Ok, taxi back, or walk back?

Ok – that worked! Next to last night in Cartagena – strolling the old streets & pizza in the plaza!

Good, so the email posting works fine. Cool! So it’s Monday and we’re still in Cartagena. Fact is, it was too damn hot & humid yesterday to get everything done: we were plain zapped by 2 in the afternoon. So we did what any cruiser does when they need to… we postponed departure by 24 hours and decided we’ll leave on Tuesday morning instead. No big deal, no stress, just more time to prep at a slower pace.

Aside from not getting stuff done at a decent pace, we also had the huge disappointment of not being able to Skype with the Nelsons & Bowers. We’d set up a call when everyone was going to be over at Michael & Judy’s house: Whit and Bran, Lexi and baby Colby, Michael and Judy of course and… my long lost sister Jer! I would have loved to see everyone and say ‘adios’ till Panama, but the internet died about 2PM and never came back.

So we walked into town with Edu and Adri and had a pleasant afternoon and an even better evening – after it cooled off. First we tried to visit the Inquisition Museum (again) – it was closed. Then we tried to find the Pastry shop that Julissa told us about (Mila), closed too. Sunday afternoon is pretty dead in the old town. Then we visited the San Diego neighborhood of old town Cartagena. The coolest! No wonder people like Gabriel Garcia Maquez & Julio Iglesias keep a house here. We also visited the Sofitel Santa Clara Hotel – an amazing place that is actually a converted Convent/Church dating back to 1621 – now one of the most gorgeous hotels in the city. Check it out:

Next was a little corner bar boasting cold Club Colombia and hot Salsa music. The walls were covered with photos of the musicians, from Cuba and elsewhere. Cold beer, then time to find a restaurant… we were craving pizza! After wandering several more streets, visiting antique shops and some tourist botiques, we got it right on our third try and had a lovely meal in the piazza, Plaza de San Diego. Yummy pizza, good Sauvignon Blanc (for a cruiser budget), and good relaxing conversation with Edu & Adri. We talked a lot about South American history and the role of the Spanish and Portuguese (for better or worse). This is a favorite topic with Edu and I’ve learned a great deal from him. I bet this guy ends up a History professor one day… I need to read more about Urdaneta – apparently this guy was an explorer/navigator that put many others to shame! Anyone know of any good books about this guys?

Overnight, a miracle happened: a storm system of some kind moved into the area and really cooled things off. God turned on the natural air conditioning and though it didn’t rain until about noon, the morning hours were much cooler than they have been the last month. The result? WE SLEPT LIKE BABIES! No more waking up early, already sweating, and not being able to go back to sleep. So I slept until almost 11. Very rare indeed.

Now we’re getting into final prep and in the afternoon will make the last trip to the grocery store. Should be outta here tomorrow morning.

In a bit I’ll post some photos that Adri took last night.


testing posting by email

Since we’ve added 24 hours to our departure… we’re leaving tomorrow and not today – I thought I’d try to figure out this post by email feature… so here’s a test!

Michael Martin
S/Y “Walk On”
Skype: “michaelandlarissa”
visit our site:
or our blog:

Just about ready to go…

Well, we’re going to get moving again tomorrow (Monday). We plan to leave in the morning (not too early) and head back to Rosario. A good place for a decent swim (really miss that!) and to clean the bottom of the boat. Then we’ll make a relatively short crossing over to the San Blas Islands, part of Panama. The crossing should be something like 190 nautical miles. We’ll spend a few days in this beautiful place and then continue on towards the Atlantic (Caribbean) entrance of the Panama Canal. Then we’ll cross the canal when we can (delays are about a week at the moment) and…. we’ll be in the biggest ocean on the planet!!!! How cool is that?

Here’s a general look at the next week or so:

We’ve got about a half a million things to do today so I’ll be getting to it.  First, another spray down in the cockpit… it’s really HOT today. says that it’s 90 (32 C), but it feels like 107 (42 C).  I’d say they’re on the low side.  🙂  More later!

a motor boat reminds me of some good old days

Spent some time today with Ken & Fasy Husch, from the M/V Genesis – here on a mooring ball near the Club Nautico.  They were kind enough yesterday to lend me an excellent crusing guide for Panama, as we prep to head to the San Blas Islands on Monday.  The guide is really top-notch and helped me greatly to prepare our navigation and planned stopovers. Thanks a bunch Ken and Faye – great to meet you guys and we appreciate the help! The San Blas promise to be beautiful and serene – a great place to relax and take some picture before heading to the Panama Canal…. Anyway, they came by today to collect their book and we chatted on board for nearly an hour.  Originally from Calgary but ‘sailing’ from Vancouver, our discussions reminded me of how special the Pacific Northwest region is, and how beautiful.  Makes me want to sail there some day… It also reminded me of course of my old summer job in college – as a fishing guide at Yes Bay Lodge (best job I ever had, bar NONE!), and to the great visit there again in 2007 with Dad, Michael Nelson and Nels’s brothers and nephews.  What a great time.  What a special place.  What does it look like?  Well, you really have to go to know, to understand.  But in the meantime, there’s always YouTube:

– – – –
Any-hoo, tomorrow is our last full day at Club Nautico and on Monday we’ll head west, and a tad south. Our plan is to stop for the night at Rosario, and then make the 190 mile passage on Tuesday… I’ll try to post a map tomorrow to show you what that will look like.

Tonight it’s “Pizza Night” on board Walk On, with Edu and Adri coming over, as well as new friends Doug and Julissa from “Starfish”. Promises to be a good time. Lara’s at the store now, getting the pizza dough and the ingredients. Yummy!

Happy Saturday gang!

Walk On in the news… last year.

Just a bit of random news today….

Last year, as I was making my way up the coast from Rio Grande to Rio, one of the places I stopped was the Joinville Yacht Club (Iate Clube, or JIC).  I was very well received here and even left the boat there for a week and flew back to Rio to visit Lara and help get ready to move out of our apartment.  Anyway, they have a tradition of doing a small write-up in their magazine about visiting boats.  🙂  The first bit of ‘press’ we ever got. I loved the place and highly recommend it to all who may pass that way.  The long entrance is not as hard as some make it out to be – but you’ve got to be careful of rocks and shoals, generally well-marked. They’re located at:  S 26º17.521 – W 048º46.843.

Here’s a pic from the online magazine, with the article.

Their site:

A special hello to Joao de Deus.  🙂

sushi, enchiladas, boat prep & another day…

Very quick post – just to keep posting. You never know, somebody might be watching.

All’s well, starters, but here’s a very brief update:

– – – – –

Two nights ago, Larissa and Adriana decided on Japanese night and so did these wonderful Cali-type rolls and asian noodles.  Edu and I were happy campers.

perhaps – no, certainly, not a great photo, but the only one I’ve got!  Thanks to Lara & Adri for a great “Japa-night”

Last night, we visited with new friends Doug & Julissa aboard “Starfish” and had a great dinner of enchiladas (brought about some homesickness, I have to say), washed down by Doug’s powerful mojitos.  Wow.  I think he used to live in Havana!  🙂 Anyway, we loved it, and enjoyed spending time with them on Starfish – Just bummed we don’t have any photos from yesterday – it was fun!


– installed new engine room bilge pump switch,

– then talked to Mom & Dad via Skype just before they headed off on four wheels for Phoenix.  GREAT to see them! Hopefully they’re home safe now,

– cleaned & reorganized everything under the sofa,

– got down & dirty next to the starboard side of the Yanmar & tightened all the electrical connections of the solenoid, starter motor, & alternator

– double-checked the impeller for the third time.  it’s fine, (still – for how long nobody knows) so I decided not to make a mess and take it out.  If you know what I’m talking about (changing the impeller) and you think I should have anyway, I invite you to come and see the space available for aforementioned job…

– fixed the barbeque light (swivel light in the stern that helps when bbq-ing after sunset – ask Japes & DuDu)

– stitched a ripped zipper on a backpack, rather new, no reason to get rid of that – used Marlow whipping twine, should do the trick

– washed & de-molded spare raingear (that had been hiding somwhere), as well as all neoprene & diving stuff from the aft locker, as well as some ‘staydry’ bags

– got some lemons at the market, needed those for the CL’s

– paid the club for the last week (we’re on the discount rate now, yeah!)

In other words, we’re prepping to leave.  And I do have some things to write about the coming months.  That will come soon enough.

Hope you’re having a great day.


Hot Days & Hotter Nights!

The truth is that staying in a marina isn’t always the best situation possible.  Sure, we have unlimited water and electricity – and that’s always nice.  We even have a cheap wi-fi connection that allows me to blog a bit and chat on Skype.  That’s nice too.  But in a marina you’re “stuck” in a slot, or a slip, and that means that you’re not necessary in the best position with regard to the wind angle.  No freedom – the antithesis of what we’re doing anyway! When you’re on a mooring or on the hook (anchor), the boat swings to face the breeze and generally it’s more comfortable in the cockpit.  In the marina, no such luck – you take what you get and the wind doesn’t always blow from the direction you want it to.  We haven’t been that lucky the last couple of days – what small breeze there has been seems to have avoided our boat.  The result?  Temps in the 90’s and humidity too.  Hot.  Not Arizona hot, but definitely hot and uncomfortable.  The solution?  Shower baths in the cockpit with the hose – every 15 minutes or so… Reminds me of a time when I was a kid and we didn’t use the extremely expensive air conditioning in the house.  We used an evap(orative) cooler.  So… sometimes I would go into the backyard and take hose baths in the middle of the night.  Then, I’d sleep in the hallway, beneath the big box fan which was supposed to push air through all the bedrooms… that’s the life when you don’t yet have cieling fans installed in every room.  Right Mom & Dad?   On Walk On, we don’t have air conditioning, nor a big box fan – just little boat fans that can’t beat the heat of the day.  At night they’re great, but they don’t really cut it by day.  So…. we’ve escaped to the mall a couple of times, and are considering esacping to a hotel pool one of these days – once we can accept that it’s not cheap.

Nuff complaining about the heat!  The best way to beat the heat is to try and forget about it, and then enjoy the evening and late night in the old town.

Lara and I left the boat yesterday about 4-ish in the afternoon.  We were going to visit the Inquisition Museum, but after walking to town – slowly in the heat – we got there a bit late to make the visit worthwhile.  We took in some more sights and atmosphere and then came back for dinner.  Lara did chicken and a great recipe from our friend Deboarah’s blog.  It was pasta (bavette) with lemon and feta cheese – really yummy.  Check out the recipe (pushing traffic for Debby!): – it’s in Portuguese, but some will appreciate it.  We promise to make it for the next visitors… whomever they will be. 🙂

Debby’s Link:

Then we rested and went out on the town just before midnight.  Cartagena has similar hours to Spain and so the night really begins only at midnight…

We went to Club Havana (or something like that) to take in the Salsa/Merenque/Rhumba music by a live band and dance.  It was great!  We danced and refreshed with decent mojitos until about 3.30 and then came back home.  The temps in the evening are much nicer of course and so we only had to sweat the normal sweat, not the heavy-duty daytime sweat.  🙂 We met lots of interesting folks too – a guy from Buenos Aires doing a thesis in Cartagena, a French girl who could dance like nobody’s buiness, a local girl who gave us advice about other nightspots, and a Norwegian gang on extended backpacking leave who spoke very well about Nicaragua.

(a photo from the site… I didn’t take my camera)

This is the site from the club (the video on this page gives you a flavor of the music & scenery).

We came home in the middle of the night.  I was amazed to see that the port, just astern of us, was in full swing.  Talking to some locals in my broken Spanish (“Portugnol”), I discovered that the commercial port never stops, at any hour, or on any holiday.  24-7-365!  So I took a picture, at about 0400! . 🙂 It was a long exposure shot so the slight movement of the boat made it, well, not so clear, but you get the idea.

Ciao for now.

PAREM AS MAQUINAS! Guest-blogger Post dos Fuefos Fabio & Deborah

Galera, demorou pra ser finalizado, mas agora de volta na Suiça, Fabio & Deborah mandaram um excelente post… em Portugues!  Sei que os amigos Brasucas estavam com uma certa saudade dos posts em Portugues e entao, espero que gostam quanto eu gostei de ler e relembrar esta visita ilustre e tao divertido. . . Saudades queridos, saudades!

Ai vai….

– – – – –

Well, we’ve been considering how to write this post… at the end of the day, half of the crew is Brazilian and due to the lack of posts in Portuguese, we’ve decided to bring the Brazilian twist back to these pages…
Apologies for the ones who cannot read it in Portuguese!

Lately the flow of posts has been so intense that I hope this little one doesn’t pass unnoticed… 

Pi-Pi-Pi-Pi!!!! Esse foi o som do despertador às 4:30 da manhã. Abrimos os olhos pesadamente, pois tínhamos ido dormir depois da 1 da manhã (sim, como bons brasileiros que somos deixamos pra arrumar a mala na última hora!), e mal pregamos os olhos durante a noite devido a ansiedade e antecipação! Finalmente depois de um distante agosto, em Búzios, iríamos encontrar nossos muito amados amigos e bem no meio da grande viagem, ou sonho, do Walk On!

Apesar do começo da primavera, Zurique nos relembrou que o inverno não estava  muito distante e lançou sobre nós uma leve neve quando chegávamos ao aeroporto. De lá, quase duas horas até Madri e depois 10 horas até Bogotá! Mais um vôo regional de uma hora até Cartagena! Somando tempos de esperas e atrasos nossa viagem levou um tempo total de 25 horas! Para a Deborah até que foi mais confortável, pois por uma sorte dessas boas mesmo ela foi “upgraded” para a classe executiva! Enquanto isso, Fabinho do Valqueire teve que encarar as 10 horas de vôo ao lado de uma colombiana bigoduda de olhar suspeito, que iria pra Ciudad de Cali.

Finalmente chegamos em Cartagena, e o calorzinho às 10 da noite já deu uma ótima impressão do lugar. Pegamos o táxi e: “Buenas noches amigo, por favor para El Club Nautico de Cartagena”… depois de uns 20 minutos nosso táxi parou na frente de uns tapumes, estilo obra do César Maia, e falou que podíamos descer pois tínhamos chegado! Em uníssono respondemos: “É aqui??!!!”, e já começamos a imaginar que seríamos levados para um quartinho, e daríamos adeus aos nossos fígados! Já estávamos imaginando que em questão de segundos acordaríamos numa banheira de gelo! MAS… eis que apareceu um coroinha com aquela cara de “La garantia soy yo” e confirmou que ali realmente era o clube, e em poucos instantes já estávamos caminhando arrastando nossas malas no píer em direção ao WO43… até que vimos o Michael!!!! Com toda destreza que nos é peculiar quase caímos dentro da água tentando embarcar… Finalmente abordo, longos abraços e o módulo “gargalhadas” foi ligado e não paramos mais! Apesar de cansados, já abrimos a primeira latinha e as férias estavam oficialmente inauguradas!!! Miguelito pôs “fire in the hole” e o churrasquinho começou a rolar! PERFEITO! (apesar da cerveja ter acabado aos 20 minutos do primeiro tempo, mas tudo bem! Thanks Larissão!!!)

Uma pequena nota pessoal [Fábio]: No cockpit do barco, ali em Caratgena tomando uma coca-cola (lembrem, a cerveja tinha acabado!), morto de cansaço, mas com uma imensa sensação de felicidade, minha cabeça voltou no tempo e me lembrei perfeitamente do dia em que, não sei porque motivo, acho que fui pegar alguma coisa na casa do Michael, ou esperar a Deborah que tinha saído com a Larissa, sei lá, enfim, me lembro que cheguei lá e o Michael estava com as “plantas” do Barco em cima da mesa…era apenas um projeto! E foi naquele momento que fiquei sabendo do Grande Plano! Claro que achei fascinant, mas parecia tão distante, tão irreal… e agora eu estava ali! Não apenas dentro do Barco, mas em um outro país e bem perto do momento que eles iriam atravessar o Canal do Panamá!!!! Haja Coração, amigos da Rede Globo!

Enfim, voltando pro relato: No dia seguinte, devido ao fuso (- 7 horas em relação à Suíça) acordamos super cedo. Apesar de estar a beira do mar caribenho, Cartagena não tem as águas cristalinas… mas até que o nosso clube “obra do César Maia” era simpático.
O calor já estava mostrando que não estaria de brincadeiras e logos depois do café  partimos pra uma volta pela cidade velha. A cidade velha foi uma agradável surpresa!!! Cercada por uma muralha, com ruelas charmosas  e de sobrados coloridos com suas varandas carregadas de flores… Depois de 5 minutinhos caminhando e tirando foto de igrejas, paramos de fingir que somos turistas normais e sentamos logo num boteco pra começar o festival de cerveja e mojitos!

No domingo de Páscoa, os amigos do Anima Mare  já estavam em Cartagena e, para variar, rolou um churrasquinho! No Final, passamos 4 inesquecíveis dias em Cartagena, que uma cidade adorável!

Depois  de Cartagena, uma “rápida” navegada para Ilhas Rosarios. Finalmente encontramos as águas cristalinas Caribenhas! Obviamente tudo regado a muita cerveja, caipifrutas e um campeonatozinho de dominó e sueca!

Neste momento, no verdadeiro “cruiser style” na sombrinha do cockpit, rodeados pela água cristalina caribenha, de roupa de banho e óculos escuros este post esta sendo escrito. Muito dura essa vida de cruseiristas!

Imaginamos que o Michael ira escrever detalhes do dia a dia em Cartagena, por isso estamos sendo econômicos nos detalhes, pois para nós o importante é escrever aqui como estamos felizes de fazer parte, nem que seja por alguns dias, dessa incrível aventura dos nossos amigos!!!!

Alguns pontos altos dessa viagem:

  • Velejada no Walk On no Caribe
  • Snorkel nas águas Cristalinas
  • O apelido “Fofa” virando “Fuefa” em espanhol
  • Mojitos no alta da muralha da cidade antiga, vendo o pôr do sol, com um ventinho alucinante, dando as maiores risadas do mundo
  • Táticas do Bope Aquático
  • Walk On coiffeur
  • A “meinha” de Fábio e Michael

Se pudéssemos voltar no tempo, há quase 10 anos atrás, jamais imaginaríamos que teríamos um feriado na Colômbia a bordo de um veleiro do Michael e Larissa, que estão dando uma volta ao mundo!!!!  DEMAIS!!!!

Bem, se é só  uma conversa de bêbado ou não, o tempo dirá, mas já fizemos o “Pacto Pasqualino”, e na próxima Páscoa nos encontraremos em algum lugar do mundo (Pedro e Verônica não sabem, mas eles já foram incluídos nesse pacto!)

Bem, é isso! Michael e Larissa nós amamos vocês! Bons ventos, e já estamos contando os dias para nos vermos novamente!

Fábio e Deborah