The Further Trials and Tribulations of Boat Prep
28 November 2015 | Tortugal Marina, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Beth/ some beautiful sunny breaks
Some things are better, some things are the same, and some new “issues” have been found. This boat readiness business goes on and on.
Chris tried every trick in his repertoire to fix our fridge, to no avail. He believes the expansion valve to be the problem and we have to order in the part from SeaFrost in New Hampshire. By the time he finished on Friday, after trying a used one he had in his box of spares, it was too late to get the order in, so we have to wait till Monday, and then wait for at least another week for it to get here. But you know, boats have been going without refrigeration for years, and we will be an ice-box boat for a while. It is not a big deal – just a nuisance.
The fellow who is rebuilding Cordelia’s engine will come by next week to have a look at our Yanmar diesel engine. It hasn’t been professionally serviced for about 5 years and Jim is getting nervous about it. (He, of course, does regular oil changes and general inspections.) Ronnie, who is doing canvas work for Toriba and Ten Years After, will come by to have a look at our really disgusting cockpit cushions and take measurements for recovering them. And Zee, a local marine handyman is coming to give us a hand with a few other projects.
When we attempted to bend on the sails this week, we got 2 of the 3 on without incident (other than trying to do it between rain showers and wind gusts), but there is a problem with the Yankee – our big foresail. It went up just fine, but when we attempted to furl it in, it twisted at the top and got stuck. After three attempts of dropping and rehoisting it, making sure all swivels would swivel, and no lines were twisted, we had to admit defeat. There is some problem at the top that will have to be fixed – and that has to wait for another day. At least we have some room in the salon now with the sailbags out from underfoot.
The other gumbly things that have happened are about me. I got bitten twice last week by tabaneaus – those big yellowish brown deerfly-type flies that actually take a chomp right out of your skin. And then I had the misfortune to get another bite on my foot the very same day I stepped (with the same foot) in a patch of fire ants. Now that is an unfortunate situation! My foot and ankle have been badly swollen from the tabaneau bite, the fire ant bites have blistered up, and my whole foot is SO itchy! Those are truly horrible little things and they bite before you even know they are there – and they itch for days and days and days. By applying a series of remedies: baking soda paste, anti-itch cream, (with the occasional dab of antibiotic cream just for good measure) and lime juice, I have managed to calm the itching a little, but my foot is still swollen, and I am trying not to be too cranky about it!
As for Jim, other than going a little pale at the money he is spending on fixing things, he is in fine shape! Neither the tabaneaus nor the fire ants seem to be attracted to him; a massage from Blanca last week fixed his stiff shoulder and neck, and soothed his aches and pains.
Despite my moaning, our life is good here. Our friends Becky and Casey came up from Cayo Quemado to see us, and we will see Jennifer soon. Our neighbour, Yvette, from Halifax will be here for a few days next week and we are excited to introduce her to our life as boaters. I looked up last years log and discovered that I moaned quite a bit at the beginning of that season too – so this is nothing new – just a few different moans.
The local folks really do have things to moan about – and my own grumbles are superficial in comparison. The river is still very high. Many of the boardwalks here at Tortugal are underwater. The water is up nearly to the docks, although most of them are still ok. Several of the stores in the area have had to close, or else their patrons must wade through several inches of water as they shop. Some restaurants are closed and others have only partial areas open. Even if they don’t suffer ongoing damage, it is hard on them to lose income at this time of the year when the seasonal visitors are coming back. The villages where many of the workers live have experienced ongoing flooding. So many of the houses are built right along the water’s edge, and every rise of an inch or two, or wake from a passing boat washes right into their homes. We are all hoping the water level has reached a peak and will start to fall next week. The forecast is for a few rainless days.
I have put some pictures in the gallery – find the link at the right of the page, near the top. The picture above is of a large bed of hyacinths that came floating down the river and caught up at the dock until the guys pushed it back out.