Calm Days with Evenings of Excitement
13 January 2016 | San Pedro, Belize
Beth / 30C, calm, 100% humidity
It seems like we haven’t really done a lot during our days here, but we have had a few memorable moments!
We spent most of Sunday on the boat, giving the decks a good cleaning (with that nice fresh water we have!), tidying up and wiping down the interior too. Late in the afternoon, we walked along the waterfront – enjoying the sight of children splashing in the water and building sand forts.
David (Expectations) came up from Caye Caulker in the afternoon and we popped by to say hello on our way home – and then went aboard to visit with him and his visitors. And we heard two interesting pieces of information. David needed to get an extension from Immigration, and when he went by the office, it was open and the officer said he would process him right then instead of waiting till Monday. No overtime fee either – just the usual $25. US. Louise and Roesmary told us of a lovely Nova Scotia couple they met in Caye Caulker – on a boat called the Lizzie Belle. Of course we exclaimed, “Dave! We met him in Guanaja!” and they said “No! Pat and Jess! (I think I have the names right) They are the new owners – from Mahone Bay!”
So – we are sorry we missed them but it was interesting to get an update on the Lizzie Belle.
Back aboard Madcap, we had a less pleasant evening. Remember I had been waxing eloquently about our wonderful Manson Supreme Anchor? Well, it is not perfect. To be fair, we had changed direction about 120 degrees from when we first anchored on Thursday, and the wind was now blowing 20 knots with gusts to 25. And we dragged. Back to the same old routine – the sun sets, the wind comes up and we have to re-anchor. And we don’t like it any more than we used to!
To complicate matters – as if we needed that – as Jim was hauling the chain up, the hawse pipe that it feeds through into the anchor locker popped right out of the base of the windlass. So, as soon as we were free, I kept us circling around while Jim pulled out the whole length of rode – chain and line – to free it from the loose hawse pipe fitting that was just hanging loosely on the chain. With that done, we found a new spot and he dropped the anchor again – hoping and praying that he only had to do it once, since it would be horrible to try to pull it up again without that guide helping the chain to stay on the windlass daisy wheel. (So many little details and strange words! Have I lost you yet?)
We dragged again – there is just a thin layer of sand over limestone here - but only a few boat lengths and then the anchor caught and we held. Dinner was tostadas with cold beans and cheese – not quite what we had planned, but fast and filling, and we alternated anchor watch till about 1 am when the wind died down to 10 to 12 knots. Jim said, “I am too old for this!” but really we aren’t; we are just tired of it!
The next morning, when Jim went for a swim, he discovered that the anchor was lying on its side and had caught behind a tiny clump of coral. Whew! It was a nice save for that night, but we couldn’t stay there. He rebolted the hawse pipe in place, brought up the anchor and we cruised around looking for sandy spots. It took two tries, but we found a good one – 2 feet of water below us, and when Jim swam over it, the tines were well dug into the sand and it was sitting upright – and we are closer to town too.
In the afternoon, we both had massages in a sweet little cabana on the beach. Jim is the massage connoisseur and he did some research to find someone with good recommendations for deep tissue massage. He sure found her! Shirlene at Just Relax knows what she is doing. She is set up at the north end of the island by the Hotel del Rio, and is easy to find by dinghy. Several white stakes mark the approach to the dock, and we could tie up in sight of her tent on the beach. We liked the fact that it is more private up there away from the hustle of the centre part of the beach. And the massages sure helped our achy backs.
Today was filled with water-making, grocery shopping and food prep, and we tried to do our checking out so we’d be ready to go first thing tomorrow. All was going well at Immigration till the woman said, “That will be $180. B please.” What?? We were expecting $30. B because in Big Creek we have always paid $15 B each for departure. Apparently they charge $40 here and then because Jim told them we were leaving tomorrow morning, they were charging us $100 B for the overtime stay! So we packed up our things and said we will be back in the morning. They kept the paperwork and we will do the exact same thing tomorrow. It means we won’t get an early start, but its no big deal.
Wed, Jan 13/16
Got all checked out with Immigration, Customs and Port Authority. Still a $40 B per person fee at Immigration (and the guy acknowledged that it is only $15 in Big Creek.) no extra fees – just topping up our daily $5 B boat fee at the Port Authority. And the port captain remembered us from our check in 4 years ago! – he said he was glad to see that the Captain still has the same woman with him!
Dead calm here now so an easy exit from the anchorage, and a motor sail for a while. We are heading for Puerto Morelos, but may stop off before that if weather indicates that we should.