Tag Archives: Retirement

What Good Are Plans If You Can’t Change Them?

I’ve had problems sleeping, lately. I get up in the middle of the night to take a whiz and can’t get back to sleep because variations of the shanty boat build whirl around in my mind.

I thought about filling milk crates with empty 2-liter plastic bottles and then found out there’s only one dairy in the whole country that uses them and they won’t sell them. Using other kinds of containers to hold the bottles are no real answer to the problem, either. In any case, I would have built a plywood pontoon around them.

So I got to thinking about using foam flotation. I found a place that sells open-cell foam ceiling tiles and could buy enough of them to provide, literally, tons of buoyancy. The problem with them is each 2’X4′ panel is only 1/2″ thick. Also, open-cell foam, I discovered from rummaging around on line when I couldn’t get back to sleep, will absorb water over time. I’d also have to  find a way to keep the 35 sheets that came in a bundle together.

Closed-cell foam doesn’t absorb water. There’s only one place in all of Panama that sells closed-foam sheets. The sheets are 4’X8′ and 4″ thick. They cost $100 each. I’d need 24 sheets to get the size and amount of buoyancy required for what I have in mind. I’m NOT spending $2,400 for floatation.

So, I’m looking at a site that shows some people building pontoons and stuffing it with foam.

Foam filling

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As you can see in the bottom pic they’re using a combination of bottles, 5-gallon pails and foam. They also mentioned in their story that they weren’t making the pontoons water-tight because they were making a single river trip and the shanty wasn’t for long-term use.

The foam isn’t providing any buoyancy of its own. None at all. What it’s doing is providing potential buoyancy should the pontoons be breached.

Well, I intend on making my pontoons watertight using a combination of glues, epoxy filets, and glass over wood. I also plan on building the pontoons in separate 2’X2’X4′ sections. They’d be easy for an old geezer like me to build and move around than building two long 20′ or 24′ pontoons. These segments would, of course, each have closed ends so that a breach in one wouldn’t flood the whole pontoon. Then I would fill them, like seen above, with a collection of discarded bottles.

So, we’ll see if sorting this out in the daylight will help me sleep through the night.

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Advantages of a Shanty Boat vs. Sail or Powerboat

I have a very dear friend in Florida who is always trying to convince me to give up the shanty boat idea. “Come up here,” he says, “and get a REAL boat. Then you can sail it back down to Panama if you want.”

Well, there are a lot of reasons I don’t want to do that. One, I don’t really want to go back to the States even to visit. People around here often ask me if I don’t miss my family and friends up north. Well, sure. But if I travel some place I want to go to somewhere I’ve never been before. I don’t need to go visit those people up there. I KNOW what it looks like where they live. They should come down HERE and take part in the adventure of a different country and culture.

But getting back to the theme of this post. One of the big disadvantages of powerboats and sailboats as live aboards is the DRAFT. My lovely Nancy Dawson which I lived on for nearly six years drew 4′ feet.

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That meant that I needed to be in AT LEAST four and a half feet of water and also take into account the tidal range. For instance, over here around Boca Chica where I’d like to be, the tidal range is as much as 19 feet! Take a gander of these sport fishing boats at Boca Chica…(By the way, there are MANY world record catches off the shores in this area).

 

Jolie Aire-Golfe Juan

The boat I ran over in France, after we changed the old, short-weighted wing keel which made the boat dangerously unstable for a spade-type keel drew over TEN FEET!!!

 

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Because of this great tidal range (it’s only about 3′ over in the Bocas del Toro area) if you’re in a sailboat with a keel or a power boat where the props and rudders hang below the level of the keel, you have to be anchored quite a way from the beach in order to stay afloat or pay an outrageous fee for a dock at a marina.

With a shanty boat you can choose from a couple of options. You could hang around, see where the low tide line is and anchor yourself just off it and walk ashore since your boat will only have a draft of a foot or so. Of course, six hours after you left it will be high tide and you’ll either have to wait for the tide to fall or swim out to your home. OR, if you’ve built your boat sturdy enough, you can go inshore as far as possible and “take the ground” as they say if you’ve found a nice protected spot where there isn’t much wave action to bounce you around as the tide drops.

In either case you’re going to want/need to have a dinghy. I wrote this several years ago…http://onemoregoodadventure.com/2009/04/29/the-boaters-car-of-pickup-truck/

My choice for a dinghy is the Puddle Duck Racer. I’ve written about it before on this blog. http://pdracer.com

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Meds in Panama

One of the things that suck about getting older is the medications you have to take. I take a mess of them which is one of the reasons I’m a strong advocate of going out and accomplishing your dreams while you’re still young and healthy.

I went to the pharmacy this week, and this is what it cost here in Panama. I don’t know what it would be in the States, but I have a feeling I’d have to take out a loan to finance the order.

To keep my blood pressure in check, and it’s absolutely perfect these days, I take two meds. One is Zestril (10mg). This is also known as Lisonopril. One caja (box) contains a two-month supply. The list price here in Panama is $58.80, so that’s $24.40/month. Then I also take Cardiotal (Atenolol) 100mg. It’s cheap with a list price of $16.80 or $8.40/month. And since I carry three stents in my arteries I take Clopidogrel which is generic Plavix which sets me back $22.25/month.

Actually none of the meds are really a two month supply. The Zestril has 56 tablets to a box and the Cardiotal has 48. The Clopidogrel comes in 24 pills to a box. It’s all sort of like how companies package 10 hot dogs in a package and the bread people sell you 8 rolls.

Now, since I have COPD I take a couple of other meds for which, unfortunately, I can find no generic equivalent and they’re expensive. Both of them are powders that are inhaled with little plastic doo dads. One is Spiriva and it sets me back $59.69 for 20 tiny little capsules. The other is called Onbrize and it costs $83.70 for 30 caps which is the closest to a month’s supply I get.

So, adding it all together, though I didn’t buy the Clopidogrel this last visit because I still had a month supply on the shelf, the bill came to $218.99! BUT WAIT!!! If you’re a “Jubilado” (old fart, I like to say) you receive a 20% discount on meds so they lopped of $43.80 and I ended up paying $175.19. That happens to be how much I pay to rent my fully-furnished, air-conditioned house.

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Dream Material

I have said before that the “Tiny House” movement has some great ideas that could easily be adapted to shanty boats. Today while looking for something else, I stumbled on this site which is certainly grist for the mill and should keep some of you dreamers from falling asleep.

The site is: http://cabinporn.com Go to the archive to find several years worth of thumbnails that are definitely inspirational. Some have already made it to the water.

How about this wonderful floating raft cabin built by Stephen Burgess on his family pond in Freshwater, California.  Contributed by Rebekah Burgess Abramovic.

Raft Cabin built by Stephen Burgess on his family pond in Freshwater, California.  Contributed by Rebekah Burgess Abramovic.

 

Tell me this one isn’t cool as all get out…

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I wouldn’t be surprised to find this way up in the Atchafalaya Basin somewhere…

 

Atchafalaya

Rustic river shack in Lychen, Germany.  Contributed by Jessica Prescott.

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Floating cabin on the Albion River, California.

More floating cabins on the Albion River, California.#1

 

Another floating cabin on the Albion River, California.

More floating cabins on the Albion River, California.#2

Enjoy your dreams…make them come true, though.

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What Day Is It Today?

good morning

What’s it’s going to be like for Mardi Gras today? Degrees in Fahrenheit, current conditions at 7:30 Eastern Time and expected highs.

New Orleans – 36 (feels like 27) High 51
Rio de Janeiro – 84 (feels like 92) High 89
Las Tablas, Panama – 79 (feels like 83) High 90
Bocas del Toro, Panama – 73 (feels like 73) High 89
Dolega, Panama – 73 (feels like 73) High 90
Boquerón (my house) – 73 (feels like 73) High 89

The reason I listed Las Tablas is because it’s where the biggest, most elaborate Carnival celebrations in Panama are held. They rival New Orleans and Rio.

Dolega is there because it’s the closest town that goes whacko over the Carnival Weekend. It would be a two-bus ride to get there and take a bit over an hour, but it’s just too nutso.

In Las Tablas – 

Las Tablas in the day time – 

In nearby Dolega. The spraying of water here and at many of the Panamanian Carnival celebrations is because it’s HOT under the broiling sun when you’re just 8 degrees north of the equator…

It’s a bit different over in Bocas del Toro where the Antillian culture is stronger than the Latin. 

There’s a line in this song that says “throw the baby out the window” but it doesn’t mean a REAL baby.

There is a Mardi Gras tradition of having King Cake Parties during Mardi Gras Season (most people don’t realize how long that actually is. It begins on Epiphany, the 12th night after Christmas and continues until today, Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.) Hidden in the King Cake is a tiny plastic baby doll, and traditionally the person who gets the baby is supposed to throw the next party. So, some people who get the baby and don’t want to throw a party have been known to surreptitiously palm the baby out of their mouths and throw it out a window. Some, more desperate have been known to actually SWALLOW it.

Everyone loves the Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans.

But for most of you suckers it’s just another TUESDAY!!!

 

 

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Exercise

I have to admit that until very recently I’ve avoided exercise as much as possible. I’ve lived for nearly three-quarters of a century firmly ascribing to  the belief that one should never run when they can amble, they shouldn’t amble when they can ride. A person should never stand when they can sit and they shouldn’t sit when they can lie down, preferably in the shade of a tree somewhere with a good book.

But a few months ago I was diagnosed with COPD. After some basic tests it was determined that my lungs are only operating at 34% of normal. That’s really not a big surprise considering that for more than half a century I infused my lungs with lots and lots of licit and illicit substances. I stopped smoking a bit over a year ago.

For a long time I’ve known I had emphysema. One doesn’t have to go to med school to figure that out when simple chores leave you gasping for breath. I have pollen allergies and a few months ago something around here in Boquerón was flowering and really giving me a hard time. So I went to the pulmonary doctor at Hospital Chiriquí. One of the things he insisted that I do was to get in shape. “Well,” I thought, I AM in shape. Round is a shape, isn’t it?”

One of the things he insisted that I do was to walk at least a half hour a day. Well, I tried it, but it didn’t work out well. My hips are pretty arthritic. The walk from my house to the end of the street to get the bus is only 211 yards. That’s two football fields and an end zone laid end to end. By the time I get to the caseta I’m in serious need of some heavy-duty pain killers. No kidding. But while a few months ago I was also winded to the point that I needed five minutes or so to return to normal now, with the prescriptions I take, I don’t feel like that anymore.

But I did take the doctor’s orders to heart. I went out and bought a bike because the motion of riding a bike is different than how you use your legs when walking.

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Regular readers may remember that this is the same place I took the picture of the motorcycle a few years ago.

I have to admit that I don’t ride every day. I should, but it’s really a pain in the ass and I go in to David a couple of times a week, and a trip into the city takes up three or four hours at least. Not only that, in order to go for a ride I have to “suit up.” Normally when I get up in the morning a put on a pair of shorts and walk around in flip flops. Period! That’s it! To go riding I have to put on socks, shoes, pants and a shirt.

Until a few days ago I’d been riding from my house up to the Town Hall (El Palacio Municipal).

House to town hall marked

It’s three quarters of a mile and ALL uphill. The difference in the altitude between the house and El Palacio is 77 feet. That’s the equivalent of nearly an eight-story building. I’d have to stop four or five times to catch my breath, but at least my hips didn’t hurt though my thighs felt the burn. I did, though, enjoy the glide back to the house.

Saturday I discovered something a bit easier with more level ground. And one of the bonuses is that there’s no traffic to contend with.

Marked Circle

Going from the house to the main road is slightly uphill for the first third of the street. Then, hanging a left it’s a nice coast down to where I make a right hand turn. From there to the next turn is all slightly uphill as is the short leg. Half of the long leg back to the main road is uphill. Each lap is a quarter of a mile. I can do two laps before I have to stop to catch my breath. Four laps and back to the house is a mile and a quarter with little breathers in there while gliding. Today I did just under two miles before going home. It’s the dry season which means it’s really hot when you’re in direct sunshine. When I get so I can do five or six laps without having to stop for a breather, I’ll tackle the ride up to El Palacio again.

 

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