Monday, November 22, 2010

Out of LaCeiba for good!

Funny how what once was tolerable seems less so the closer it gets to the end. That’s how we were feeling as we slipped away from La Ceiba Shipyard early Wednesday morning with a huge sigh of relief. The woman who made Doug's lunch every day was starting to mark his styrofoam trays 'delgado' 'skinny', so it was clearly past time for us to resume our normal life.

We motored toward French Harbor, Roatan, and then, actually got to sail at a tolerable rate of progress. And then, we caught a fish. It seems like years since we’ve hauled one in. PHOTO OF FISH IN BUCKETPhoto & Video Sharing by SmugMugAs you might recognize, this is a red-meat fish, not to everyone's taste. We have a special marinade that we call 'fishkiller sauce', made with garlic, ginger, soy, oil. Makes anything taste good! Also, if you saw how fast a tot of alcohol to the gills stops a fish, you'd think twice about your own next shot! We used some of Thelma's Canadian Club which has been languishing in various bilges for quite some time.

And then, anchored in the familiar harbor, I got to go for a swim. We visited some friends, I finished a good book (Margaret Atwood, Payback).That evening it rained and we caught nice drinking and shower and washing water. Could life get any better?

Well, no. Doug was eager to move east towards Guanaja despite the looming rainclouds of a widespread frontal trough. It rained and rained some more, the west wind never materialized (thankfully, neither did the lightening). As befits a shake-down (trickle-down?) cruise, we found leaks running behind the chart table, past acres of wiring, under the refrigeration compressor and out onto the cabin sole.

But the weather cleared decently on our final approach to the anchorage at El Bight. Flow analysis easily revealed the source of the leak – the chainplates – and now they’re all goobered up again. I caught more rain, started another book (Reefer Madness, Eric Schlosser, also very interesting) and life is fine again.

Being tied alongside a dock is nice for a change, but it’s great to be on the hook, where the humidity generally blows on through the boat rather than congealing on every interior surface. Even my wooden cooking spoons were growing fur! The solar panels and wind generator are back at work, trying to keep up with our ever-increasing power needs.

We’ve even got an invite for Thanksgiving dinner, which will be on Friday, since the supplies get off the boat late on Thursdays. Of course, we can’t commit until Thursday night – gotta check the weather, you know – but I hope we get to go. It’s the first invite I’ve ever had where jello shooters are on the Thanksgiving menu. Remembering that fish, I'll probably stick to beer.
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On the gadget front: I've got a fondness for cunning little things that work with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of 'elegance'. Here we have something called Super-Siphon. It's just a shaped piece of brass, with a pretty blue marble inside, attached to a plastic hose. If you want to start a siphon going you just stick it into the 'out bucket' and jiggle it until the flow starts. Neat, eh? And it really works.
*one definition of cunning Executed with or exhibiting ingenuity.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And We're BAACK!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugDoug returned to Honduras a couple weeks ago, rarin' to go on the bottom job, and a few other things he had in mind. I stayed in Maryland, emptying, cleaning, painting and renting the house, selling the car, doing things my way! Neither of us got as much done as we had hoped, but that's to be expected. After the usual self-inflicted last minute rush, it was a relief to spend a few hours in anonymous airports, spacing out.

My first night on the boat, which was still out of the water, I woke up in that disconcerting, middle of the night place, not knowing where I was. It took a long time for pieces of information to drift in: this is not a feather bed, I was on an airplane recently, where was it going? oh, and a bus too...that's Doug over there...it's the boat and my toes are pointing east-ish. Finally I got myself drilled down to LaCeiba Shipyard, where I find myself today.

But not for long, I hope. We need to get the sails back on, the cover stowed, if it ever dries out, the interior wiped down with vinegar. We need groceries, a fresh cruising permit, maybe some refrigeration gas (or, no refrigeration!) After a summer of sort of minimalist living, I feel like we need to get rid of some stuff here too (books!). And then we need to get moving.

The sooner the better - this political season was shocking!