Water Level Down; Job Completion List Up
11 December 2015 | Tortugal Marina, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Beth / overcast some days - in disposition and weather
The water level has dropped considerably along the river – about 1 metre now. Instead of stretching UP to reach the boat from the dock, and then up again over the stern, we crouch DOWN and duck our heads under the solar panel before climbing UP over the stern. It is still an acrobatic act, but we are getting pretty smooth at it now.
The boardwalk back through the nature preserve is completely above water and we no longer have to walk along planks to get to Blanca’s tree house massage room.
Our project list gets shorter, longer, shorter, and I sometimes wonder if it will ever again be reduced to straightforward routine maintenance???
To update the last project-based posting:
The diesel engine guy never did come by. Ronnie, the upholsterer didn’t come for a week and when he finally did, we were off the boat. The fridge part got held up in Guatemala City for an extra 5 days (for a whole variety of reasons, depending on who answered the phone). Zee (Minstrel) came when he said he would but our list for him kept growing, so he had to fit us in among other jobs over several days.
Jim found and fixed the first problem with our water lines, but when I returned to the boat one day last week, the water pump was running continuously and water was spraying beneath the floorboards in the cabin. Fortunately Zee had a piece that would fit, so after a couple more days without running water we had another fix. Neither Jim nor Zee could ever figure out why our toilet bowl kept filling with water unless the seacock was closed, so he added an inline valve to the hose – one more thing to open and close but at least it is on the wall behind the toilet and not down under the bottom shelf in the locker.
And then I discovered that the drain in the galley sink was badly corroded and leaking – so that got added to the list, and then checked off.
Jim discovered the solar panel wouldn’t charge the batteries. Bad fuse – and fuse holder. Check.
I took our cockpit cushions across the river to Elmer. He will recover them with some off-white vinyl he has on hand. It would have been nice to have a slightly darker colour, but these will be fine and they will be finished in a week. Partial check.
As for the diesel engine mechanic, Jim got a referral from Don Miguel – the chief property guy at Tortugal. (Note – Don is not his first name – it is the honorific bestowed on senior men – I am not sure how senior Byron (the marina manager) or Manuel (the go-to-man for most everything else) have to be before they get to be Don Byron or Don Manuel!)
So … Don Miguel sent Gary and Giordy over and they have been working for parts of the last three days. Jim looked up the mechanical section of our Spanish for Cruisers book (Thank you Nancy Parsons – you have saved us yet again!) so he could become familiar with the appropriate Spanish words, and Dave (Cordelia) has taken on the role of interpreter when needed. The starter solenoid has been replaced, the stop button cleaned of corrosion, perhaps the throttle is adjusted so it doesn’t slip down to 2400 rpm’s no matter where we set it, the whole engine has been serviced and cleaned, filters, belts, oil, impeller replaced. Check, check, check, check. But we ran into a major hurdle with the attempt to adjust the transmission cable – the lever that shifts from neutral to forward to reverse. Right now it is in pieces and one crucial part slipped to the bottom of the bilge. Major NO check. We are waiting for the return of the mechanics.
The part for the fridge eventually arrived (and a very frustrated Jim may or may not post a whole story on that little storm). The short story is that after many, many phone calls to UPS, the part got put on the Cargo Expresso truck, the driver called Byron as he got close to Rio Dulce, and Byron – bless his ever-loving heart – hopped in the lancha, raced to town and met the driver at the bridge for the handoff. Seakist Chris arrived yesterday to install it. He needs to tweak the amount of refrigerant in the system today but we should then have a working fridge and freezer. Partial check.
The swelling in my foot went down; the fire ant bites are not nearly so itchy; the wonky hip that was painful when I walked received daily attention from Blanca (Massage therapist) and is now mucho mejor! (much better!)
We will be here until the end of next week – waiting for cockpit cushions and a completed fix of the engine – but then I surely do hope we will be able to spend a few days at anchor down the river in Cayo Quemado.
We are practicing the art of smiling no matter what, letting go of schedules, being grateful for the abundance of good weather, food, friends, and learning experiences. And it really doesn’t matter when we go, how far we go, or where we go. We are already on a journey.