SAILING MEXICO

    Hi there friends and family!  We have finally gotten around to posting a web site update.  We hope this update finds
    you all healthy, wealthy, and happy.  You can find corresponding pictures by clicking on the Photo Album button above.  
    And don't forget, you can always look at our previous explorations by clicking on the archived Journal Entries (above)
    and the corresponding archived Photo Albums on the Photo Album page.

    Even though it has been a year since we took off to explore South America (our last journal entry), we really do not
    have much to report as we are still here in Panama/Colombia.  We do love this area!  Between the incredibly beautiful
    San Blas Islands of Panama and the historic city of Cartagena, Colombia we just can't seem to tear ourselves away.  
    So this web site update will be short on text and long on pictures.  Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights
    from this time period:

 We hauled out Southern Belle in Cartagena for a much needed bottom job.  We spent almost a month on the
hard during which time we took care of numerous little projects.  Living on the boat while she is in a shipyard is
always difficult, but here in Colombia it was next to impossible because of the types of projects we were
undertaking.  So we rented a small apartment in town and Joshua attended the Montessori School for a month.  
It was a lot of hard work for George and Melinda, but a very good experience for Joshua.

 We hosted visits from family and friends in the San Blas Islands.  First we had Byron and Dorothy Horne,
Melinda's sister and her husband who hail from Longview, Texas (also known as the Cultural Hub of East
Texas).  Next we had a visit from our good friends David Lewis and Kellie Coyle of the sailing vessel Sweet
Lorraine.  Dave and Kellie are from Ventura, California.  Then our good friend and international sailor, Betsy
Crowfoot stopped in on her way back north from South America to North America.  Betsy is from Southern
California and is a freelance writer for various sailing magazines.  Our son Gabriel and his beautiful wife
Jennifer (our only daughter) spent a wonderful week with us here in paradise.  Gabe and Jennifer live in
Nashville, Tennessee and are expecting a baby boy in January!  All kinds of wonderful things happen when you
visit the Southern Belle!  This will be George and Melinda's first grandchild, and Joshua and Justin's first
nephew.  Our most recent visit was from Melinda's childhood buddy Susan and her husband Rob Dixon.  Susan
and Rob live in Keller, Texas.  We sure did have a great time with our friends and family aboard Southern
Belle.  The Islands are beautiful!  Anybody else want to join us?

 In November, after celebrating Thanksgiving, we headed back to Cartagena to spend Christmas and New
Years.  Cartagena is especially beautiful during Christmas.  They go all out decorating the Old Town area and
there are many activities for children.  The New Years celebration parties are also something to see in the Old
Town area.  Music is everywhere and the fireworks were incredible.  On January 7th we celebrated Melinda's
50th birthday in Old Town Cartagena, then prepared to sail back over to Kuna Yala.

 In addition to friends and family, we have also started taking charters here in the San Blas Islands and to and
fro Cartagena.  We have met some wonderful folks.  People from exotic places such as Switzerland, Sweden,
England, Chili, Ireland, and Australia to name a few.  We have enjoyed everyone we have met.  Some of the
pictures in this entry were shot by our new friends who travelled with us aboard Southern Belle.

 On February 25, 2010 we attended the Kuna Indian celebration of their Revolution, in which they won their
independence from the iron-fisted rule of the Panamanian Military/Police.  The Revolution took place on Carnaval
Day back in 1925 after the Kuna's had suffered years of oppression.  On the first day of the celebration, which
took place on Isla Tigre, the Kuna's gathered in the large open meeting area for a telling of the story of the
Revolution by one of the elders.  This was followed by traditional dances which also told the story of this
historic event.  One special "act" was provided this year by Southern Belle.  We had guests aboard, Roi (from
Israel) and Jessie (from Australia), and Roi performed a fire juggling act which had all of the Kuna Indians (and
us cruisers) enthralled.  The second day of the celebration started off with a reenactment of the period that
culminated in a Kuna Indian Revolution.  The reenactment was quite graphic and lasted for over two hours.  
During this time Kuna Indians portrayed as Panamanian Police would go through the village harassing the people
and occasionally arresting one of the locals.  They would rip him from his home and beat him mercilessly in front
of his screaming and crying family while they dragged him off to a mocked-up jail facility.  The acting was quite
realistic and the whole experience was very gripping.  After the culmination of the reenactment everyone
needed to unwind so we cruisers were all invited to take part in the Chicha Drinking Portion of the celebration.  
All the men and women of the village gathered in a very large hut to drink of the local hooch they call Chicha.  
Chicha is made from sugar cane and can pack a real punch!  The women sit on one side of the hut and the men on
the other.  The whole thing consists of much chanting, drinking, and smoking.  The Kuna's will go for as much as 4
days straight, or until all of the Chicha is gone!  We aboard Southern Belle left the next day, only a tad hung
over.

 We took a couple months away from the boat and visited the USA.  We won't bore you with all of those
pictures, but we do want to say how great it was to see so many friends and family.  For those of you we did not
get a chance to visit don't worry, there is always next time!

 Let's see....... Did anything else stupendous and amazing happen since our last journal entry?????  Oh Yeah!  The
SAINTS WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!!  Yeah you right!!!  Who Dat say they gonna beat dem Saints!!!!!  We, along
with 40 other cruisers and a bunch of Kuna's, watched this most historic Super Bowl on Isla Corazon de Jesus.  
We had a big party at Senior Yanni's house.  Yanni is one of the few Kuna's who has a big screen and Direct TV.  
Thanks Yanni!  It was Super Special!





























    OK that's it for this journal entry.  We are currently in the rainy season down here in Kuna Yala, but anytime is a
    great time to visit these beautiful coral islands.  So come on down!  Until our next update we wish you all fair winds and
    following seas!
PANAMA / COLOMBIA
Iguazu Falls National Park, Argentina