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!)