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On the Water – Ilene Little. The Tipton family decided to spend their Spring Break in two different locations. Dad and son came to Panama while mom and daughter opted for Rome. Two journeys; two very different worlds. March 10th saw Mary Daly and 15-year old Lilly off to Rome for a week. A day later, Paul and 17-year old Martin headed to Panama for a four day and three night survivor adventure with the Sailing Club Panama.
Martin’s interest in sailing and in boats drew him and his dad to Panama. “I plan to get a degree in mechanical engineering and for a graduate program, I want to focus on marine engineering and eventually to specialize in some field related to building boats,” he said.
Martin was 12 years old when he began building boats, starting with a little catamaran out of big plumbing pipes for hulls, and progressing to wood-hulled boats, which he used to sail on Long Island Sound. Currently, he’s building a trimaran.
Lilly’s choice to travel with her mom to Rome mirrors her interest in traveling and exploring cities.
Martin planned their sailing trip on a 16’ Bahia Laser sailboat to explore and camp out on the small islands in Panama’s Pearl archipelago. They would live off what they could bring with them or catch to cook for their meals. Their guide was Jacob Baró, one of the owners of Sailing Club Panama.
Martin was the helmsman for the entire trip. “I sailed at least 90% of the time, “said Martin, “Jacob only took the tiller when I got tired, and dad took a turn at the tiller for about an hour or two.”
A Bahia is a small racing class day-sailor with about 12” of freeboard. With three guys onboard, twelve gallons (50 liters) of drinking water, a tent, a sleeping hammock and cooking essentials, there isn’t a lot of room for provisions. It’s a small boat, “It’s intimate,” quipped Paul.
“There were a lot of things about Paul and Martin’s trip that we would have loved and enjoyed,” said Mary, “but we didn’t really want to be on a little boat with five people in close quarters for a week, and we weren’t sure we wanted to sleep out under the stars every night of our vacation.”
Paul was a little hesitant about the concept of four days surviving at sea, “but I certainly knew that both Martin and Jacob are good sailors, so I really didn’t feel out of my comfort zone on the boat,” he said.
“Dad liked the camping part of the trip, but I’d say the sailing part was really what I was attracted to,” said Martin.
Martin described one day sailing north of Isla Del Rey in the late afternoon when the wind and the seas started building. “The five-gallon water container flipped over and was draining out into the ocean,” said Martin, “but it was tied to the boat, so we retrieved it.”
“That was probably the roughest seas we encountered on the trip,” said Paul, “We were moving very fast and we had a fish in the boat too, so it felt like there were ten things going on at the same time.”
This Survivor Tour that Jacob does is amazing. Any adventurous soul should do this.” Information on the trip can be found at http://www.forca3.net/panama/adventures/.
One of the unexpected delights of the trip was making ceviche underway. “We had chopped onions and limes all ready to go, so we’d mix it all with some cumin, and 45 minutes later we’d be eating ceviche from the fish we had just landed. We never stopped sailing,” said Paul.
Meanwhile in Rome, Lilly led them to places where they sampled as many antipasto appetizers as possible. “We ordered a lot of steamed mussels and also beautiful fresh sardine and because it was artichoke season we tasted them roasted, fried, and all kinds of ways.”
“This year, because of the difference in interests, we had ‘a vacation divorce,” quipped Paul. “But we missed each other and next year we’ll be going somewhere all together,” said Mary.
A video of the tour made by Martin can be viewed at https://youtu.be/trDWvBH5qfs.