Whilst Belize suffered some damage from Hurricane Earl with power lines down and some devastated beaches, in the Rio it was eerily calm and dry for a few days whilst the system passed just north of us. On the diagram you can see how close it came, as we are in the medium green section. In the north of Guatemala there was a lot of rain so we wondered if the river level might rise here and got ready to loosen our lines and those of our neighbours but it barely changed and all was well.
So with that little excitement passed, we have just continued to enjoy the socialising and time to relax. Most days we float around in the swimming pool just to cool down, as it is incredibly hot at the moment. Over 90 degrees most days and blazing hot by 0900. I shower and by the time I’m dressed again I feel in need of another shower, not pleasant. Our awnings and fans help a lot but we stay inside the boat more and spend time on the Internet or tidying up the lockers.
Recently we had a lot of the contents of our friend’s boat to store whilst he had a prospective purchaser to stay on his. Unfortunately, despite flying from Canada and spending a week here, the deal didn’t go through as he had decided that having a boat was going to be out of his comfort zone. Disappointing after all the hard work and expense put in getting the boat ready but we all know you have to be lucky to find a genuine buyer and even more so to find ‘the one’ who falls in love with your boat!
On the subject of boats something that always amuses us are the names some people give them. Ours is bad enough, usually needing an explanation of where it came from but we have noticed that many Americans like to give their boats names which are statements, such as ‘Sold The Farm’, ‘Never Bored’, ‘Smart Move’ and ‘Best Day Ever’. They are often linked to what the people used to do, for example ‘Fried Chicken’ and ‘Plane To Sea’.
Skype has been keeping me in touch with Kym and John’s wedding plans, down to helping choose colours, picking flowers and looking at outfits. We have already booked our flights in May using another batch of air miles earned over 5 years ago. The taxes alone were 1.5K GBP though, not nice. We have enough air miles left for a final flight and after that we’ll have to pay the entire fare. I love flying but am especially excited this time as we are flying on the Airbus A380, a plane I saw in testing many times at Filton when I worked there but never got to fly on. We have almost no luggage to take to the UK but will take a case inside another so we can bring out the usual supplies on our way back to Washington. Better check the rules for importing foods, as I’m sure the USA will be very strict.
By the beginning of September we will have been in Guatemala for 3 months and our Immigration and boat permits need to be updated. We contacted Raul, the agent in Livingston and I met him during his regular visits to Nana Juana to remind him we need the new paperwork. The boat gets a 9 month extension pass but our passports only get a 90 day stamp each time. Some cruisers just go off on a short break abroad but Raul somehow manages to get the passports updated and I’ve left everything in his hands but it does feel weird to rely on someone else for the first time. I’ll be glad when it is completed.
The boat work continues slowly and is mainly being done by contractors. We last bought fuel in February in Panama, so don’t use much over the year but when we need the engine, we really do need it! After the engine cut out off Utila one windless night due to a blocked pipe or filter, we decided to get our fuel polished and the tanks emptied and cleaned out. We have never done this and don’t know if the previous owners did, so there could have been 14 years of gunk in the tanks. Although Mike on ‘Tomorrow’s Dawn’ kindly lent us his machine, we couldn’t get the fuel pumped through so paid Roger Day 60 pounds to bring his kit to our boat and do the job for us. Most of his kit was kept off our boat in his launcha meaning a clean and easy job. It didn’t take long and we have shiny tanks filled to the brim with 500 litres of clean fuel. Rather than leaving the dock, we jugged the fresh diesel and filtered it as we added it to the tanks. The fuel from RAM is very clean anyway, as they filter it too and are very careful to clean out the cans for you beforehand as well. Fingers crossed all will be well with the fuel supply now.
We have obtained quotes from local workmen for polishing our stainless steel and smooth white GRP. It is quiet here with many cruisers gone back home, leaving people looking for work. At 15 GBP a day we think it is better to give them some money than try to spend time out in the heat doing the polishing ourselves. When we bought the boat there were some thin cracks on the stern platform and we have always wanted them repaired. We also have a couple of scratches on the white GRP and a stress crack around the starboard fuel filler cap and are in the midst of having those mended. The old GRP was dug out and several layers of new GRP added, smoothed and shaped. Next the shiny topcoat will be painted on to match the colour and the non-slip finish can be replicated with a special template. I will be posting photos further when this is complete.
As prices are so competitive it is tempting to get a lot of work done here. We are even thinking of getting replacement stern cabin mattress covers made for when we finally sell Beyzano. Having used those cabins as store rooms and the occasional guest cabin for 8 years the mattresses could do with being re-covered and we can always keep them in a cupboard until the boat is emptied ready for sale.
Being at Nana Juana is still lovely and we are very fortunate to be here for the hurricane season at less than 200 pounds a month, including electricity. Our view from the stern must rate as one of the best in a marina and we wouldn’t be without the pool. Several of the ‘inmates’ meet there each afternoon to chat and chill, along with socials on Fridays at the Palapa and Sunday BBQs under the boatyard Palapa. The bar is shut and the restaurant is expensive and not as pretty as many of the restaurants in other marinas. It is too big, isn’t under a thatched roof and it lacks ‘atmosphere’ being empty most of the time. The grounds are pretty and we feel very secure here, seeing the security guards wandering around all through the night.
Next weekend we are heading off to Texan Bay once more, in ‘Horizons’ with Jeff. Texan Mike is opening a new restaurant across the bay and holding a Tex-Mex evening and a BBQ to celebrate. Cruisers have been asked to donate anything a new restaurant might need to help him out. It will be a good excuse to go sailing again and it is really pretty bay to anchor in. Our friends Robert and Carla on ‘Moody Mistress’ flew back from Canada this week and brought me 5 packets of ginger nut biscuits for the lime pie base. Good to see them again. Time passes by and our fears of being totally bored here were unfounded but we are planning next season already and looking forward to being at anchor again in clear water. With the flights booked and the marina berth at Deltaville also reserved we do at least know we have to be in the Chesapeake by 1 May.