S/V Adventure

Follow the O'Neil family, sailing in their Catalina 42, on their 2-year sabbatical to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, and Central America, Galapagos, the South Pacific, and New Zealand.

08 June 2012 | Home
05 June 2012 | 100 miles to the Farallons!
02 June 2012 | 475 miles off the coast
31 May 2012 | 579 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 694 miles to go
30 May 2012 | 800 miles to go
29 May 2012 | 915 miles off California
28 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
27 May 2012 | Past halfway between Hawaii and SF
26 May 2012 | Halfway between Hawaii and SF
24 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
23 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
22 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
21 May 2012 | Middle of the Pacific Ocean
20 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific Gyre
16 May 2012 | Pacific
18 September 2011 | Home
07 September 2011 | Crossing the southern tip of the big island
05 September 2011 | Pacific

Renting a van in El Salvador

06 February 2008 | Marina Barillas, El Salvador
3:30 pm - My tribute to Barney...
"We're going to Antigua, I buckle my belt. We're going to Antigua, I buckle my belt. We're going to Antigua, I buckle my belt. Buckle up my seat belt!" We were all singing as we drove our rental car past the bridge. We only had 8 hours to go.

8:00 am
Kathy yells, "Hurry! We have to be at the shore at 8:30. That's when the rental car will be here."
"Why do we need to hurry? Wait... I thought we were renting a van?" Casey questions. She loves to question everything. "I want to eat my breakfast."
"You have time to eat your breakfast," Kathy said, "Just don't waste time." That was just what Casey was waiting for: an opportunity.
"Mom! I'm not wasting time. I just want to eat my breakfast. We don't have to be in a hurry. Why can't I eat my breakfast?" Casey loves the circular argument.

We'd rented a car from San Salvador which is approximately 1 hours away. The van will seat 8 and costs exactly 600 for the week with insurance. It's a great deal and everyone feels that this is our best bet for getting to Antigua and Tikal in Guatemala. A driver wants 250 dollars just to take us to Antigua. Lila, from the travel agency, gave us this price the previous day and we thought that we were very cleaver to find a rental van for this price.

9:00 am (Yes, we missed the 8:30 timeline)
We call the marina and arrange to be picked up. The marina driver promptly shows up and we begin to load his panga with our luggage. I wasn't sure if we were going to sink it, or not. I just need 3 pairs of underwear and can really work it down to one in a pinch. Kathy and the girls on the other hand...

We're all in a hurry; the rental car should arrive at any minute. There's lots of bickering and some pushing. The panga driver is really nice and takes it all in stride. I try and tip him and he won't take it. He tells me with a smile, "No problema."

We're told by the staff at the marina that the rental car company is running a little late. They expect to arrive at 11:30. Hmm...

We're told that the rental car company is still running a little late. They expect to arrive at 12:00. Casey complains that she needs lunch. I let her order a pizza from the restaurant.

No rental car.

No rental car.

Rental van arrives. We're happy and excited. The driver gets out and immediately jumps on his cell phone. We begin the process of trying to figure out how to load our luggage and our driver explains in full Spanish that the car that is supposed to be following him is lost. He'll be right back. He drives off with the van; we all look at each other dumbfounded.

2:00 pm
Rental van arrives again. The other car is still missing; the driver of our van decides he'll wait at the marina to be picked up. Kathy, Debbie, Bob, and I sign our names to some forms in Spanish and we give the guy a lot of cash. It seems that if we use our credit card we'll be charged a lot of additional money.

2:30 pm
We're ready to go. The van is a little smaller than we'd like, but we all fit. I call shotgun but Kathy gives me a dirty look. I end up sitting in the back. Bob becomes the designated driver. We begin our trek driving on dirt roads and past people that live in another century. These people still have oxen and carts. The girls wave to them; I don't know why.

3:32 pm
The engine of the van revs up. "Something's not right," Bob says. The singing stops. (Okay, I'll come clean, there really wasn't any singing.)

3:32:30 pm
"Whoa! All the gauges are dead," Bob yells.
"Should we turn back?" Debbie asks concerned.
"Yes." Bob says with authority. Kathy agrees. I was reading my book "The Client" in the back and just realize that something might be wrong. I quickly went back to reading. I don't want to know.

"I'm going to turn around," Bob says and begins looking for a place to pull off of the two lane road. He spots an opportunity and begins to slow down and turn. He then immediately pulls back to the right. The car behind him decides to pass across the solid yellow line just as Bob made his turn. Bob waits a second and starts his turn again. Unfortunatly the van can't pull a tight enough circle. In front of us is a 2 foot drop. He needs to back the van up.

"I've lost power steering. Oh no! The engines gone too." Kathy opens the side door. "Everyone out of the van!" (She's so great under stress.) Casey, for the first time in recent memory, complies. We run to the front of the van and start pushing it backward so that Bob can make the turn. Big trucks are coming; we're running out of time. We make it.

We safely get the van to the side of the road. Bob and I do the guy thing and pop the hood. "So," I say to Bob, "What do you think is wrong?"
"I think it's electrical."
"Oh! Me too!" I agree. I don't really know what's wrong, but it makes me feel like I'm contributing. "What do you think we should do?"

Chase comes over and starts pulling fuses. He shows one fuse that had apparently burned out a long time ago. The fix was to wrap some copper wiring around it and stick it back in.

Debbie pulls out Satellite phone and calls the marina. "Herberto! Could you come and get us? Where are we?" Uh... We're on the side of the road." After some map checking by Kathy and Debbie, Francisco is on his way.

Two ladies walk by with three machetes - the big ones. (I call the machetes "The Decapitator 2000.") It seems more and more people are staring at us. We know that darkness is rapidly approaching. We're stuck on the road and every 30 seconds a truck zooms by at 60 mph. It's just a matter of time before they attack. Casey give me a lecture on how we should have waited a day and none of this would have happened. I don't follow her logic, but agree anyway.

Francisco arrives and has the rental car agent with him. He apologizes and hands us our money back. He decides to stay with the van. There's no other rental van available. We drive one hour back to the marina.

Kathy gets on the phone. "Lila! Hi! This is Kathy. Okay... We tried it our way; now we'd like to try it your way..."
Vessel Name: Adventure
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42
Hailing Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA
Crew: The O'Neil Family
About: Sean (Captain and Line Man) Kathy (Helmswoman and Cook) Tara - 12 years old at trip start, Casey - 11 years old at trip start (Crew and Students)
Extra: We're on a three-year sabbatical from the daily grind to see the Pacific coast of the US, Mexico, Central America and the South Pacific and stopping at New Zealand.
Adventure's Photos - S/V Adventure (Main)
1 Photo | 1 Sub-Album
Created 10 November 2008
27 Photos
Created 10 November 2008
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 9 November 2008
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2008
34 Photos
Created 26 April 2008
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 April 2008
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 19 February 2008
10 Photos
Created 19 February 2008
1 Photo | 17 Sub-Albums
Created 30 November 2007
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 31 August 2007

S/V Adventure

Who: The O'Neil Family
Port: Marina Bay, Richmond CA