New beginnings

2 years ago I got a call. “Our crew dropped out last minute can you be in Gibraltar by tommrow? ”

24 hours later I was riding on the back of jeep to escape from the floods in the centre of Gibraltar town.

“On liberty” was my first experience of an oyster.  65 knots in the bay of cadiz with an engine leaking oil everywhere was certainly an experience! My first biscay crossing later and we waved goodbye to something I never thought I’d see again.


Now here I am back on board. New name , new rig, new engine, new owners and now new first mate!  It’s funny how life works out sometimes but boy am I glad I took that delivery. If I hadn’t I might not be leaving for the galapagos onboard “Miss tiggy” with her new lovely aussie owners. I dont beleive in fate but somehow I think this was supposed to happen. You make you’re own luck. I’m sure of that.

This journey hasn’t always been easy but the support from those around me far and near has kept me going more than they’ll ever know. It’s a fresh start now and I couldn’t be happier.


Las Perlas

A few hours away from panama we cruised around Las perlas for a few days with some of the boats from the rally.  We pretty much had the ancourages to ourselves and a different boat hosted drinks every night. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the other boats better. Starting to feel part of the rally again!

I had my first dip in the pacific when we took our dingy up the river at the bottom of isle de Rey.  Probably should have listened to the pilot guide and left at a rising tide.  A bit of padding the boat back to deeper water only made for a mini adventure and we then let the current drift us back down the river.

The Panama Canal

Sometimes I feel really privaledged to be doing what I’m doing.  Today was one of those days. The panama canal was an experience I never thought i’d have and one I’ll never forget.


Firstly because we’re so small we had to raft up.  This was surprisingly easy and 3 boats floating along together into the locks was actually very peaceful.
Once through the locks we all moored up in gaton lake. Having neighbours was fun and drifting around on the mooring bouy under the stars was lovely.


Gaton lake

On the second day the rain waited until we had chamoised and then poared down. It was almost like being back in loch Ness.  But the rain didn’t last long and as our group of 10 motored across the lake the ones behind us were beneath a huge rainbow.  Very atmospheric.

The gaton cut was particulary impressive and shortly after we rafted again for the locks down. Once out it was under the bridge of America’s and into the Pacific!


Gaton cut


Shelter bay marina


The Pacific waiting room 

We didn’t have high hopes for shelter bay. I thought our two week stay was a necessary evil and nothing more but we were pleasantly surprised. Yes there’s only one restaurant/bar but they manage to keep it new by changing up the theme ever night.  My fav was haiwian night. The community here really makes this place.  There’s movie nights,  yoga classes , bbqs , kareoke and even a free bus that takes you to Colon.

When not working we’ve spent our time hiking around the jungle surrounding the mariba. It was originally an army base to protect the canal and there’s still batteries to explore in the undergrowth.


My favourite part about the jungle trails is the ants… I’ve found it fascinating how they’ve made their own trails to carry their leaves along.  They’re everywhere… pretty sure I’ve murdered my fair share of ants this week!  Sadly I didn’t see any howler money’s but boy were they loud. .. like a pack of wolfves.


On Thursday we had the pleasure of dining inside the impressive  San lorenzo fort. 50 yachties wandering around in carnival dress looked pretty funny. Lots of wine was consumed along with local dishes like paella . All in all. A pretty good afternoon!


Team Ayesha


World Rally Fleet!

For many reasons I’ve really enjoyed my time waiting in shelter bay. Our neighbours were fab, loud and loving life americans who were sailing to Mexico.  I think they must be the only boat to sail around with a life sized chief!  It’s been so good to be reunited with the rest of the fleet and the oyster team. I’m really going to miss having lots of people wandering up and down the pontoons to chat too.


Best Friend!


I’m sat writing this anchoured outside the entrance to the Panama canal. After a year of planning and preperation  we are finally going to enter the pacific!


Paradise 🌴❤


We had a lovely afternoon at the beach today. For a few hours I forgot about work and everyone I miss back home and just felt at peace. It was bliss.


Starfish Beach

The taxi boat dropped us off at the busiest part of starfish beach and we were briefly disappointed.  But once we walked away from the crowds we managed to find more star fish and the most beautiful empty beaches. Josh went swimming while I napped in a tree.
But one cannot nap on a beach all day so we found the local bus to take us back to reality. The bus was an experience in itself with more and more people piling in at every stop into an already full mini bus.

On our way back to town we drove past the plastic bottle village, which until recently I didn’t know existed. If we had more time I’d have love to have stopped and looked around. The concept is seriously promising



Yestersay we experienced carnival.  And what an experience it was!

After checking into our hostel and a few hours spent pouring over all the local stalls we decided to try out the cinema cafe. And it was the coolest cafe I’ve ever been to. As hard as it is to imagine in the cold back in England…. a dark and airconned room with bean bags and popcorn was seriously the best call of the day! We watched the grand Budapest hotel and stuffed ourselves (mainly me) with popcorn.  5 dollars for the biggest tub you’ve ever seen.  I was so happy!

Back in the blistering heat we watched the carnival start to kick off from the balcony of the hostel.  In bocas the tradition for carnival is for the men to dress up as diablos  (devils) and parade the streets looking for other men to challenge them with sticks  which they then whip.  Boys as young as 8 start off as red devils and can add a bit of black to their costume every year for 12 years. After this they start to add bits of white.  The symbolism behind the tradition is that they are banishing the evil out of their lives. The costumes are all handmade by the locals and are extremely scary looking… hence the lack of photos.. I didn’t stray from the balcony while they were about!

After the diablos had been banished for the day,   Carnival Queens were crowned. Dancing girls (One as young as 3!)
paraded the street followed by their class mates playing local instruments and drums. My favourite drum set was attached to the wheels off a wheelie chair.

There were a local dance group on stage who were brilliant and then kids were asked to come up on stage for dance compititions. Our fav was a little tubby boy who couldn’t dance for toffee but was giving it such a go. It was the funniest, most adorable thing I’ve seen in a while!  It was then the adults turn to humiliate themselves and the English contestant did just that. With dance moves that looked more like he was playing football it  looked like something out of the inbetweeners.
This was then followed by a local band with a terrible singer so we decided to call it a night!

Not so Lazy Sunday

We had the best day off this weekend. The day started well with a breakfast buffet and then a woodland walk to the beach where we let our breakfast settle in the hammocks before hiring surf boards.


Let’s just say I spent more time tumbling in the waves then on them.  The most spectacular being when the front of my board dipped ; throwing me flying forwards over it into the water, with the board then flying over my head with the wave and dragging me with it.  However through some stubborn determination I did manage to crouch surf all the way back in on my final go so all was not lost!  Despite the tumbles and the flamboyant bruises that went with them I am absolutely loving surfing. Hopefully by the end of our voyage I’ll be half decent!

After a super quick shower and turn around we then took a 30 minute boat ride through all the mangrove swamps ( no crocodiles spotted mum!) to the green acres chocolate tour.  Instead of taking us to a big factory like we expected , the Green Acres chocolate company actually consists of a house  and a shed set into the most gorgeous botanical garden I’ve ever seen. Robert takes you around his garden showing all the different spices and fruit plants and then afterwards takes you to his shed to explain how he turns the cacao seeds into chocolate as we know it. The chocolate shed itself was very Heath Robinson as all the “machinery” has to be run off solar panel. To top the tour off Robert’s wife then lets your try her brownies and chocolate rum. All in all a really great tour and well worth the 40 dollars we spent!


Robert our tour guide about to lead us through the Rainforest Garden



Robert’s Shed… Better known as the Panama Willy Wonkas

As if that wasn’t enough we ended the day with a lush BBQ outside ( Josh cooked !) Sometimes busy is GOOD 🙂 x



Red frog Marina and Bocas del toro.


The marina where we are staying is located in the Red Frog Estate on Isle de Bastimentos. While it’s nice…it’s not the real panama experience.  On the other side of the island beach bars like Palmar hostel and Nacho Mamas feel much more authentic than the resort’s restaurant.  And cheaper too!  There’s a beach where you can swim on a calm day and surf on a rougher one.


The running joke here is that it’s the velcro marina. With so many live a boards here it’s honestly true.  There’s a nice little community with everyone piling into the 9.45 am taxi boat to get their daily shopping from the town.


Yes this is the ferry.


Bocas town itself has to be the real gem of this whole place. It’s so bustling with life it’s hard to know where to look. There a real mixture of locals and surfer backpackers. Unlike the quiet tracks of the red frog resort it feels really safe.  For me it’s heaven cause it’s full of surfing boutiques and local craft stalls. Plus there’s loads of cafes selling smoothies and cheap food.  Every where you look there’s a hostel or a supermarket and we’ve been slowing trying out the local restaurants.


The highlight of the whole town has to be buying a bikini from a guy who knows Richie Ramone. It’s carnival next week and he’s supposedly visiting him.. I’m definetly going to have my eyes peeled on the look out as we watch the festivities !


In hindsight we perhaps didn’t need to stay so long but there’s so much to explore it really hasn’t mattered. To anyone visiting Panama it’s a must. It’s not like anywhere you’ve ever seen before.

The darker side of paradise

For a while as a kid Ellen Mcarther was my hero. But I could never understand why she gave up the sailing and got so keen on eco matters… that is until I started to sail further afield.

To try and put it in a tangible way..I’ve caught more plastic bags then I have fish, I’ve not been on a single delivery where I havent seen a crisp packet float past and every dingy ride I manage to salvage something from the water.

But that’s just whats on the surface. The real danger is when it breaks down into tiny particles and creates a plastic soup which ocean life mistakes for food. The ocean is slowly becoming swamped with it.  So if you have been enjoying reading about my travels… I ask you to take 30 minutes out of your day and watch this film.  It’s very easy watching and features music by Jack Johnson 🙂

Plastic never disappears… it’s time to rethink how we use it!