04/15/2009, Roatan, Honduras
Have you ever done something stupid? Something on hind site that you know is stupid? And you know you aren't supposed to do something as stupid as the thing that you just did, because you know that God gave you a great brain and your parents gave you such a great education that you know better than to do the inane thing you just did??? No, No, I'm not referring to quitting a good job and selling it all to sail away with your family for a few years. That may be insane but certainly not stupid! I'm referring of course to NOT sticking your finger into a dark hole while snorkeling in tropical waters. I knew that you knew what I knew that I forgot I knew.
I quote from A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine, "Sharp-toothed moray eels can inflict deep puncture wounds. If a bite victim pulls away abruptly, underlying structures (nerves, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments), can be cut. If bitten, try to let the eel open its mouth by itself (which it will usually do), to prevent deep laceration."
Riiiiiiiight. When bitten, hold still and don't pull away while waiting for the eel to let go. Like that's going to happen.
To paraphrase, when bitten in the *** by a pit bull, be sure to hold still while you wait for him to let go, as running screaming to mama will surely result in bits of your 'you know what' being ripped out for said Fido to savor later for desert.
Surely I'll remember such sage advise for next time. ASSuming of course that I could possibly be dumb enough to stick a digit where it don't belong, again! It's a darn good thing it was a bitty 'lil eel rather than one the size you might see in a Discovery Channel special on 'Digit Consuming Carnivores of The Deep'. And no, I won't be their next guest celebrity as I am already booked on Letterman's next episode of Stupid Human tricks.
I did not loose a finger tip, and nor did Rennie get to dig into the Major Laceration section of the immense first aid kit in order to perform minor surgery. She hid her disappointment well and did a fine job of band-aid application. As it was an infantile thing I did we topped it off with a Sesame Street band-aid.
Needless to say I learned my lesson. I think.
PS: The aforementioned attacked occurred at 16 21.28N 086 26.58W in French Harbour, Roatan, Honduras
We are now in Utila Bay, Utila, Honduras at 16 05.53N 086 53.75W
04/02/2009, Guanaja Honduras
Over the last several weeks we have put just under 550 miles under the keel as we work our way north. That's a lot more overnights than we like or are used to. Thank God only the leg from Panama to Providencia sucked. Providencia to Guanaja, Honduras, where we are now, involved two passages. One was a beautiful sail with everyone feeling and doing great. The other involved no wind and a lot of diesel, but was also comfortable. We aren't great fans of overnight passages and are glad that from here to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, shouldn't require any more. So we think!
We left Providencia and went to Low Cay (13 31.26N, 81 20.40W), a whole 8 miles away at the end of the reef. We haven't seen that clear of water and filled with so much beautiful coral, fish and lobster since the Bahamas. Everyone loved the snorkeling and Patrick (Migo) and I came back with a bucket full of fish and lobsters, with Liam's help on the biggest lobster! When I saw a 5-6' reef shark we knew it was time to skeedaddle. We sailed away at dawn the next day for the Vivorillo Cays of Honduras (15 50.50N, 83 18.08W). It was a great sail. Nobody was sick and great attitudes prevailed. The wind had shifted further south than usual and piped up to 20-25 knots which made the anchorage fairly rolly and the water cloudy. As the wind was predicted to blow out in 2 days we decided to wait before pushing on to Guanaja.
Of course when the wind blew out it really blew out. We tried to sail for the first couple of hours but finally gave in and fired up the engine. 24 hours later it was still on. Guess we should have left the Vivorillo's earlier! Oh well, we were in Guanaja safe and sound and ready for an ice cold beer at Graham's Place (16 27.65N, 85 50.03W). Our 'plan' is to enjoy the remote beaches and reef of Guanaja for a few more days and then onto the larger Island of Roatan.
We are going to start adding our latitude and longitude coordinates for all our stops so we can be tracked easily on Google Earth. Consider it homework for all of you following along! More photos to come as soon as we find a strong internet connection.
03/23/2009, Providencia, Columbia
We are at a very interesting crossroads. The Shelter Bay Marina (with the destruction of the old Panama Canal Yacht Club to make way for more container terminals leaving Shelter Bay as the only marina facility on the Caribbean side of the canal), is a very busy spot. It is now a conflux of boats preparing to cross the canal and head off to the South Pacific, boats having just crossed the canal and heading for the Caribbean, boats preparing for a stint ashore in the storage yard after cruising on either side, and boats like us heading north towards the States or Europe or wherever. It is fascinating to meet and talk with people from all over the world (Dominican Republic, Belgium, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, England, Norway, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia, Canada, heck even the USA!), as they prepare for the next leg of their journeys. Everyone is fount of information and questions. It does not matter where you are heading or where you are coming from, someone will have the answers you are looking for or will benefit from your experiences.
And then there are the kids. They hail from all over the world as well (duh), and they all have a ball whether or not they can actually talk to each other. Most can speak a smattering of English but it doesn't really matter when there is a pool involved. It seems the game of Marco Polo knows no language barriers.
The departure from the marina was a crowded affair as all the kids and adults came to see Migo and ourselves off the dock. It was hard to say good-bye to our good friends on Uliad as they are heading through the canal and off to the South Pacific, and the Good Lord only knows when we'll see them and Independence and Sonrisa and . again. The friendships that are formed while cruising may only be a year or so old but they run very deep with a wealth of shared experiences and loads of quality time.
I'd like to say that the 43 hour passage here to Providencia was nice, but I would be lying. It sucked. Two weeks of sitting at a marina and a few days ashore in Jeff's apartment removed any sea legs we had. Combine that with having to beat into sloppy 5'-7'+ seas, after we've had wind on the beam to stern for about 4 months, and no one was happy. Of the 4 boats we left the marina with, all were in agreement that it was the least enjoyable passage anyone could recall.
Being here in Providencia, however, has made it worthwhile. I had never even heard of Providencia until we were doing some planning a few months back. Providencia and the busier San Andres are part of Columbia, yet are just off the coast of Nicaragua. This is a true Caribbean Island with the main language being Creole rather than Spanish, and a very, very laid back style. After so many months in Latin American cultures it is a nice kind of odd to feel like we are back on the island of Bequia! We have had some great adventures here already, but I'll let Michaela tell you about them in another blog!