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Showing posts from February, 2022

Alfred Hitchcock

THE BIRDS, THE BIRDS!!! We've several uninvited feathered passengers on board tonight. What's worse is they've been eating fish curries and taking laxatives. Or so it seems!! It's a deluge of bird poo. Dawn will bring hours of cleaning to remove the smothering we are suffering. I never mind it raining men (hallelujah), I draw the line on it's raining poo. A girl's got to have standards. Tomorrow we need to figure out how to discourage these guests. They are not afraid of us so a scarecrow won't work. Even if we had a plastic bird of prey on board, these guys have never seen an owl or a hawk so that's not gonna work either. We could rummage in the bin for shiny lids and tie them to the pulpit? We could try shooting them with the hose? Vaseline on the rails? It's going to be an all out offensive tomorrow. Shock and Awe!! as that eejit Bush once said. Putin - watch and learn. Ruth's army is on the warpath. Mary

The Mary Wicks 5 to 15 knot workout

The first thing I feel most of us would have to overcome to maintain a fitness routine on a passage with lots of crew on board is self-consciousness. The way I look at it is, well, we are all used to seeing folks running and cycling so what's the big deal if I choose outdoor yoga or pilates? So go ahead! At 53, my exercise priorities have long since left the body beautiful. I'm looking to maintain bone health, joint range, soft tissue strength and of course balance. As a physiotherapist who has specialised in musculo-skeletal pathologies I know only too well what bullets are coming for my muscles and joints down the tracks. Thankfully I know how to dodge them so I have therapeutic exercises in my routine. With all that in mind, I have put together an hours long exercise programme and I am really enjoying it on board. It's hard to share without videos and descriptions but I'll name them as I go, more to give folks an idea of what's working on board so far with the

Lava lamp

How many of us can say that our work life balance isn't sweet harmony? None, I'd guess. Days at home are like an overpopulated excel spreadsheet - where every tiny rectangle has a rushed task assigned to it. The "could-haves", the "should-haves", the "deal with it"piles, the "to-do lists". Not so now on board. We are in the doldrums for two days now. The shape of time has changed for us. We are in a place where ryhthms of nature shape our day - tide, wind, sun and moon. There's a lazy hourly metronome adding a gentle rhythm to our days: Tick - log Tock - log, plot Tick - log Tock - log, plot Bored? No. With the absence of the wind we feel like we are in a lovely lava lamp land gently gliding along in no rush to leave its peace and contentment. Mary

Adios terra firma

We set sail for Galapagos today. Five non stop days of sailing with a mixed bag of breeze forecast. More girls than boys on board- rare on a yacht. Let's get sailing lads. It's time to separate the men from the boys!! Girl power💪🏻! Mary

Kermit the frog

As the great Kermit once said, " It's not easy being green". Lilly white with the occasional streak of sun burn where we'd missed a bit, we landed on the surf beach. Tee shirts, shorts, bum bags and sandals . The Irish on holidays . Well Holy smoke, the cruising guide only said this anchorage was uncomfortable in a southerly. It never mentioned that you'd be extremely uncomfortable because it's Bay Watch ashore! You had to be tanned, 20 years old in a bikini with no gluteal coverage to blend in. We were lambs to the beautiful people slaughter . Selina are a company that have groovy hostels for hipster 20 year olds and this beach has three.They really are fantastic as you can see in the pics. Oh for a time machine. Hostels we're nothing like this when I was young and traveling - they were more like the " The Roach Inn". Hourly rates and group reductions !!! Once we had accepted our anatomical and sartorial situation we e

Rock me Mama

 Rock me Mama like a wagon wheel, Rock me Mama anyway you feel, Hey, hey, Mama, rock me. Rock me Mama like the wind and the rain, Rock me Mama like a south bound train. What a glorious first nights sail across the gulf of Panama Not for the faint hearted but we're rough we're tough, we drink our coffee black 🤠🐄!!! 25 gusting 30 plus big rolling sea on the beam and a harden up into it to our destination. Ruth 2's motion is like a rocking cradle . Had we done that sail in the J109 last night sleeping would have felt like trying to snooze on a bucking bronco! I wouldn't recommend anyone take on James in chess. You'll loose! The boat was the hedgehog 🦔🦔🦔, crossing the TSS and James calmly and expertly anticipated everyone's move before deciding on ours and we crossed the lanes without a hiccup . At anchor on the surf beach now. Too windy still to surf. PHEW! I get to hold off making a complete ejjit of myself for now.🏄‍♀️🏄🏄‍♂️


Firsts in your fifties are often unwelcome and seldom fun. Your first pair of reading glasses, your first repeat prescription, your first "procedure". Our days in the Las Perlas islands have brought us only joyful firsts. The most spectacular was a dolphin mega pod that stayed with us for more than an hour as we sailed to Isla Canas. Eibhe had never seen a dolphin , so her young amazement brought me so much happiness. Then....., our first whales, so close we could see their detail and the small fish they were chasing. Last night we had huge bats fishing alongside the boat. Silent, agile and swift. I never knew bats could fish like sea birds. The islands are mostly uninhabited. The vegetation lush and gorgeous, the beaches white and idyllic and we are the only boat here! We enjoyed watching hundreds of the tiniest hermit crabs I have ever seen tottering around in the tree line on one island, humming birds on another and beautiful fish snorkelling off another Eibhe bro

What’s for Dinner

Ah …, The weekly food shop, the bane of most folks weeks . How to feed a family with varied palates and preferences and not cave and do five Spag Bols!! Our thanks to chef Cormac from the National for his expertise with our meal plan. You learn that thick skinned fruit and veg lasts longer than thin, bananas ripen everything so buy green and keep separate , store everything separately as mould spreads, only wash veg you can dry, don't cut anything. Store in cool dark places and check fresh stuff daily. Tins, dried and jars are king , fresh fruit and veg a treat. Four of us filled four trolleys to the brim doing a top up shop yesterday .🛒🛒🛒🛒!! Failed in the pharmacy by Google translate for seasick meds, I happily made a fool of myself miming someone vomiting in a boat. It got laughs in the queue and the pharmacist instantly knew what I was after. Next issue is storing your food . In a boat under the floor and the seats is your larder. Your underwear drawer can get command

What’s For Dinner?

 Ah, The weekly food shop! The bane

Kiss of the Oceans

Snugged up in Flamenco Marina getting ready for the Las Perlas islands tomorrow . We're attaching a link to the video of our canal passage. Get the popcorn out and standby for an Oscar nomination " Best Go Pro Movie"!! Mary

A Canal Passage never to be forgotten

      Monday morning started like any other on the rally with a wonderful yoga class given by Sabine from IRENE IV which Jeanne mary and I thoroughly enjoyed ! The day then moved slowly with a number of postponements to our anchoring schedule outside the marina . (I even had time for a quick cycle in the jungle ! ) We eventually headed out mid afternoon into a steady 25 knots to await our pilot . He arrived around 5.30 pm Tony ,a charming and highly skilled individual who guided us for the next 5 hours . We approached the first of the Gatun locks as darkness fell and nested with IRENE IV and IRISH BLESSING  with much more ease than I imagined !IRENE IV s pilot then took overall control and For the next two hours she led the Irish nest  through three separate locks .The crew quickly got used to their stations and the only nervous moments were when the line handlers through the monkeys fist on the foredeck but with John

Slán agus beannacht

 We've said good bye for now to our wonderful hosts and the boats feels empty with out them. We miss Ruth's care and kindness , Liams wicked sense of humour and his tuna salad! I doubt that there are many people in the world that can say their dream has come true. Thanks to Ruth and Liam mine has, and I am sharing it with my amazing daughter Éibhe , the man I love Andrew and my dear pal Jeanne. I'm so happy. Go Raibh Mile Maith Agaibh Mary

A passage through the Canal planned for Valentine’s Day !

  Our schedule for passage through the Canal is confirmed  Ruth II will go with the very first "nest" of Oyster boats tomorrow alongside our Irish pals on Irene IV ( my cousin Louis !) and Irish Blessing from Chicago . We leave here at 9 am tomorrow and head towards a holding pen to await our pilots . Then in early afternoon we all approach the canal and before entering we nest the three boats together ( Ruth II will be on one of the sides ) and we will  have two line handlers working on each of the side boats . We have three locks  to go through tomorrow before entering Lake Gatun a man made made lake where we travel for approx 30 miles and then anchor for the night . The following morning Tuesday we repeat the process with another three locks and then head to a marina on the other side at Fernando .Liam and I will then leave for home and the boat will prepare for the passage to the Galapagos! We welcomed Mary Andre Eibhe and Jeanne on Friday time

Colourful Cartagena

   We have just rejoined the boat after four amazing days touring in Cartagena . What an incredible city ! We were lucky enough to be staying in a super hotel Santa Clara Sofitel in the heart of the the old city . Originally a Poor Clare convent my mother would have been proud although there was very little remanents of the Contemplative order ! We quickly agreed a  routine of discovering the city on feet all morning ing relaxing by the pool in the afternoon and returning to various evening spots that had been recommended by our Oyster rally friends . On day 1 we took a walking tour with our own guide Rocky and got a great sense of the history including the gruesomeSpanish inquisition ! Day 2 Aideen led us to the art district Getsmani and we found some beautiful graffiti and street art captured by her fab photos above . Day 3 we forced ourselves into the Spanish Inquisition museum and also Mags and I climbed to the Castillo de Felipe well worth it ! 

Approaching Panama

    Sadly our ten days in Paradise ended on Friday with a ten hour passage from San Blas to Panama City . We left Lemon Cays at dawn and set off on our passage to Shelter Bay . We had 15/ 20 knots on the beam most of the way, great sailing  conditions and a lovely introduction for Caron Mags and Aideen to ocean passages ! Their only regret was the lack of Dolphins !  As we approached Panama we had to negotiate literally dozens of massive Cargo ships mostly at anchor presumably waiting to go through the Canal ! Liam as always calmly steered us through the breakwater and into our berth in Shelter Bay where all the Oyster rally will gather for the next ten days prior to going through the Canal. We were the first boat to arrive and got a great welcome. We ate on land for the first time in a while and then after a short run inthe jungle on Saturday we travelled back to Panama City . Today Sunday we said goodbye to Caron who is heading home and the rest of us have trave

Farewell to Paradise

On Tuesday we sailed to Coccos Banderos, the furthest west of the island groups and our last settled mooring. Yet again we were met with electrifying blue seas which you simply can't believe are real. Lots of coral reefs provided great snorkelling and there were no shortage of sting ray and starfish sightings. The Oyster boats on the round the World Rally are beginning to amass in numbers now before the Panama Canal crossing so everyone has been taking the opportunity to get to know each other. On Wednesday Liam invited one couple over for drinks but in true Liam style, the boat was soon teeming with their fellow adventurers and the G&Ts were flowing freely! Fascinating group of people. Highly successful through their own ingenuity and endeavour, taking time out to live the dream. And what a dream it is! Mags, Aideen and myself are only getting a glimpse into what the year ahead holds for Ruth & L