This photo is from 2019

A Brief History Lesson for sailors who visit this site.

The 16th-century Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519) helped to establish the first stable settlement on the South American continent at Darién, on the coast of the Isthmus of Panama. In 1513, while leading an expedition in search of gold, he sighted the Pacific Ocean. Balboa claimed the ocean and all of its shores for Spain, opening the way for later Spanish exploration and conquest along the western coast of South America.

Balboa's achievement and popularity posed a threat to Pedro Arias, the Spanish governor of Darién, who was notorious for his barbaric cruelty and lust for gold. Arias falsely accused Balboa of treason and had him beheaded at 44 years of age in 1519 (I am writing this exactly 500 years later)!

I decided to name my Flying Tern sloop "Balboa" rather than "Arias". Laguna Yachts also built a Balboa,

At Christmas time, I always decorate Balboa with colorful lights around the sides and up the spars to the top of the mast. It gets quite a lot of attention in our community. In 2018, I added a large red velvet ribbon to the front of the boat, which created a minor problem. I could not decide what I should call it.

I could simply say that I attached a red ribbon to the front of the boat, but that is not an accurate description. Once you tie a piece of ribbon, it ceases to be called a ribbon and is now called a bow. And sailors don't say, "front of the boat" because they have a nautical term for it. The back end of a boat is called the "stern" but the front of a boat or ship is always called the "bow." Since my sailboat is named "Balboa" I called it the "Balboa bow bow" but my computer's "spell-check" program claimed that I was repeating myself.

Our home is located on "Bentwood Drive." As you can see in the photo below, the name is likely derived from the trees which seem "bent" on "bowing" to the northeast. School children get bored while waiting for the school bus and repeatedly bend the Bentwood sign in the opposite direction.

I grew weary of straightening the sign and decided to make an appropriate sign of marine mahogany and mount it on the opposite side of the street.

In 2020, I plan to attach the red Balboa bow bow to a bent evergreen branch fastened to the bow of the boat. It would add a festive appearance and also hint at our street name!

I can call it "The bowed Balboa bow bow bough." (I hope you pronounced that right!)

Merry Christmas!