Mar Marine

November 13, 2013 Posted by Deb

Neytiri_MarMarine

We are, as of November 13, on the main dock at Mar Marine waiting for a slip to open up. We have the restaurant and sports bar literally right out our cockpit and stepped off the boat in time for movie night. Tonight it was “Two Guns” with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

The unusually bad rainy streak let us catch up with a lot of boat work. Several tricky wiring projects later we now have isolated permanently the starting batteries from the alternators and have ripped out all the “battery combining” relays that were cooking them. The starting batteries get their juice as a trickle charge from the solar panels and that is more than they need. If we get a month or so of complete darkness, we can still jump them if necessary.

I Would Rethink the Name of My Battery Company

I Would Rethink the Name of My Battery Company

Less than a Year in the Elements – Looks Like It’s Time to Sand Down the Spar Also

Less than a Year in the Elements – Looks Like It’s Time to Sand Down the Spar Also

Four Questions

November 4, 2013 Posted by Deb

We just updated our website with the “Four Questions” most commonly asked. Storms? Bad Guys? Bucks? and What Do You Do All Day?  Check it out here:

SailNeytiri.com

Deb’s Birthday

November 1, 2013 Posted by Deb

Deb’s birthday started with a 5:30 a.m. hike to Rio Vista for a pilates class. That’s an early start because the Rio Dulce social life is not for the faint of heart.

Hike from Top of the Bridge on the Way to Pilates

Hike from Top of the Bridge on the Way to Pilates

The days since dinghy poker have included movie night at Mar Marine, Trivia at Tijax (we bet the farm on “How much money is spent in the U.S. on candy for Halloween”, and lost), and a documentary movie night at Tortugal. The shuttle back from Tortugal dropped us back at our boat just an hour ago and everyone sang happy birthday to Deb. Some even hit the right note. We’ve met couple after couple who came here years ago and never left.

Trivia Nght at Hacienda Tijax

Trivia Night at Hacienda Tijax

Washing Day Under the Bridge

Washing Day Under the Bridge

Waterfront Stores in Fronteras

Waterfront Stores in Fronteras

Movie and Pizza at Tortugal

Movie and Pizza at Tortugal

And the Rains Came

October 30, 2013 Posted by Deb

We got an introduction to the rainy season … it poured on and off for days. Several marinas and Tienda Reed were/are going under water. Our trip to the chandlery is knee deep, the boat is up three feet on the dock, and it’s sandals-only for walking.

We hitched a ride with Kallima both to help and check out the bridge dogleg. The bridge has 90′ of clearance and our mast is 65′ so no problem. The Guatemalan utility company, in their great wisdom, hung power lines over the river about 30 feet from and parallel to the bridge that are quite a bit lower. This requires taller masts to hang an immediate 90 degree turn to port, run parallel to the concrete bridge all the way to within 20 or 30 feet from shore, and then hang a 90-degree starboard before hitting a rock. All this with wind and current. An error to port of a few feet would knock the mast off on the concrete bridge and an error to starboard of a few feet would fry the electronics of the boat and take out power to the entire town of Fronteras.

FronterasBridge2

FronterasBridge

MastUnderBridge

The trip under the bridge to Abel’s with Kallima was uneventful. Abel’s itself was another story. The travel lift was sinking in mud and, a few days earlier, bashed a Venezia catamaran into the sides, doing damage. There seemed to be a general cluster f*@k going on and, after a four-hour wait, Kallima decided to bag the haul out and Neytiri did as well. Now we are in search of a haul out and crew to get our new Gori props installed, replace the lower unit seals, and do a bottom job (all in Spanish).

The New "Modern" Front to Abel's Haulout Facility

The New “Modern” Front to Abel’s Haulout Facility

Jacks over Fives

October 27, 2013 Posted by Deb

Fifty two people, seven marinas, and a bunch of dinghies. That was the theme for dinghy poker day starting at Marina Rio Vista and including Marios, NanaUana, Ram, BackPackers, Xcellala, Tijax, and El Progresso Marinas.

Each marina had a deck of cards, food, drinks, and a tour if you were inclined. To cut down on cheating, we had to initial the back of our card when we received it; and marina staff signed off on the card and a visit sheet. The top ten poker hands got the money.

We didn’t hear what first was (four 7’s) but second (9’s over kings full house) got $1,700 quetzels (over $220 and he donated it to local charities). Jacks and fives came in 20th and we got skunked in the raffle. Good time, though.

VistaRioDock

NanaJuanaDockDeb

Deb used to teach fitness classes here 19 years ago -- had to commute 45 minutes with a trolling motor from Suzanna's

Deb used to teach fitness classes here 19 years ago — had to commute 45 minutes with a trolling motor from Suzanna’s

PokerResults

Our Back Yard: Cayo Quemado or Texan Bay

October 21, 2013 Posted by Deb

It was a long, hard week just to get to where we could move the boat even though it was handed over to us in excellent shape.

The folks at SeaKist were/are great. We were running out of water and did not want to fire up the watermaker, the internet was non-existent, and only one of our phones would reach civilization. So we left for Fronteras and Ram Marina for at least a few days.

We also need to practice getting under the bridge with a 65-foot mast. The bridge is not a problem but the power lines about 30 feet beyond the bridge require an immediate 90-degree turn to the left, a run parallel to the bridge, and then a sharp right. Oh … and there is current.

The SeaKist Crow's Nest Summer Home for Neytiri

The SeaKist Crow’s Nest Summer Home for Neytiri

Dinghy Ride to Check Out the Neighborhood

Dinghy Ride to Check Out the Neighborhood

Water Lillies Along the Way

Water Lillies Along the Way

Swirly Wake

Swirly Wake

Neighbors Down the Way

Neighbors

Living On the Water in the Mangroves, No Land

Living On the Water in the Mangroves

Jet Pack Expo At Backpackers, Sunday Afternoon in Fronteras on the Rio

Jet Pack Expo At Backpackers, Sunday Afternoon in Fronteras on the Rio

Four Hundred Pounds

October 11, 2013 Posted by Deb

We decommissioned our U.S. visit which included putting away two cars, winterizing the Sea Ray, mouse poison everywhere, and stashing all the toys we got out. The trailer and old Sanity dinghy found a new home over the summer; and we built a second floor in the pole barn in Iowa so for the first time, we had room.

We planned on shipping several hundred pounds via ocean freight to Guatemala but Deb decided to try and fit everything on the plane. After two trips to Wal*Mart for new bags and shuffling stuff around to make five 49.5 lb. bags, we were packed with, including very heavy carry-ons, a total approaching 400 pounds. Of course we had to pay at the airport but it was cheaper than shipping. The only problem was that we had to carry it through airports and bus terminals and fit it all into the odd cab. It is quite doable in the U.S. where you can rent large carts but imagine a scenario where five or ten guys are trying to grab everything to “help” or get you to go to their cab, all in a foreign language. It was too much luggage for two people so we were planning on the old Venezuelan caterpillar approach of advancing about 20 feet at a time moving quickly between piles and yelling NO a lot.

All That and Three People in One Cab for 5 Hours

All That and Three People in One Cab for 5 Hours

Waiting at Bruno’s for the Final Boat Run to Texan Bay and Neytiri

Waiting at Bruno’s for the Final Boat Run to Texan Bay and Neytiri

Decommisioning - How Many Boats in This Picture?

Decommisioning – How Many Boats in This Picture?

Wrapping up a U.S. Summer

October 5, 2013 Posted by Deb

We had a U.S. wish list when we arrived from Guatemala for a cold Memorial Day Cast Iron Canoe trip. We thought we had the summer under control until September snuck up on us. We had to shift into a whole different gear with no more than a few days between final medical, dental, and end of season functions. Oh … and some of the boat part orders had 23-day shipping estimates on them and we cut that a bit thin. Our biggest regret was missing friends that we had promised to visit and we’ve been taking some jabs for that.

A Day at Our Private R/C Field with Dan and Anca Smith and Our Housemate, Bob Dreyer.

A Day at Our Private R/C Field with Dan and Anca Smith and Our Housemate, Bob Dreyer

After a Year of Training and Anticipation, Rubber Duck Racers Walk to the Starting Line

After a Year of Training and Anticipation, Rubber Duck Racers Walk to the Starting Line

And They’re Off

And They’re Off

The Mighty Mississippi

September 21, 2013 Posted by Deb

Since we dug the old 1973 SeaRay out for the trip to northern Minnesota in August, it seemed like we should use it more before it got buried in storage again. We love the Mississippi River, but one of us had concerns (Chuck). It is an awfully old boat to be taking into sometimes challenging waters. The challenges come from traffic, locks and dams, and debris. We added a few more challenges to the list in our September trip but more on that later.

We would never risk taking company along on this trip due to the high probability of bad things happening and that was a perfect fit for Jeff and Marti (cousins on Deb’s side). We called with about five days notice and they signed on. We met in Muscatine, IA, in the late afternoon, loaded the boat, parked the cars and took off in search of uninhabited sand beaches with lots of firewood.

All That Fom One Boat

All That From One Boat

MississippiCampingSeaRayIsland

Fog Mini-Tornados in the Morning

Fog Mini-Tornadoes in the Morning

Sunrise

Sunrise

Friday the 13th in Lock and Dam Number 13

The challenges started on Friday the 13th. The lock operator asked us if we, “knew what we were getting into.” He successfully got us curious and his concern was that the wind was coming straight out of the northeast across a very large open lake above the lock and it did not look to him like we had the boat for it.

He offered/suggested that we ride the lock back down and turn back south. We said we were going to go for it but most on the boat got a bit freaked as the waves squirted thru the gap in the lock doors about 3 feet above the normal waterline. Lots of noise, too.

The gates opened, the waves crashed in, the water in the lock boiled; and we wrapped a handling line in the prop. Big Oops. Jeff cut his hand trying to free the line, the boat rotated 180, we thought the Mercruiser drive (sail drive to cruisers) would get ripped off, and we had a bit of a time crunch since locks don’t take a timeout for 19 foot runabout issues. There wasn’t a whole lot of choice so I peeled down and jumped into yet another body of water full of air and strong currents. I was reminded of Devi on Arctic Tern in Dominica when she said she could “feel the devil biting at her a…” near that waterfall I tried to drown in.

We freed the line while riding a bucking bronco, fired up the engine, shoved it quickly in gear, and shot a column of water about 15 feet in the air because we forgot to lower the lower unit. We cleared the lock and plowed through the rough lake just off plane and the SeaRay handled it very well.

We Had to Wait for That Guy

We Had to Wait for That Guy

They Let Us in RightTthru There

They Let Us in Right Thru There

Keeping Us Off the Lock Wall: A Slimy Job

Keeping Us Off the Lock Wall: A Slimy Job

Galena

The Galena side trip is something we would not have done with full information. It’s a kayak/canoe river that used to be the home for 16 paddlewheelers before they chopped down all the trees and it silted in. We did some prop damage, slid over sunken trees, dodged downed trees, and churned a lot of mud. Then we heard that you can’t take a boat in there. Anyway, it was wonderful and the highlight of the trip.

We Were Told Later This Hasn't Been Navigable Since the Early 1900s

We Were Told Later This Hasn’t Been Navigable Since the Early 1900s

Galena-Illinois-Poopsies

The Kindness of Strangers

Our challenges were not over. Getting into and out of Galena put us late in the day and it was beach hunting time. We were low on fuel but felt a quarter tank would get us to Savannah, IL, easily; and our preferred campsite was about a mile shy of Savannah. It turned out that the SeaRay is out of gas at 1/8 of a tank on the guage. We were within a mile of a great campsite and the sun was getting low when the engine sucked the last drop. It is not a good idea to be mid-channel with barges lurking about so we paddled directly to shore.

Who would give a complete stranger three gallons of gas and loan out your favorite gas can? I hiked to a couple of houseboats we had passed earlier and interrupted a wonderful steak dinner for four on shore with tablecloths and all the trimmings. They gave me their generator gas and would not take anything for it. After four hikes, they had their can back and we had three gallons. The alternatives to finding those great houseboat folks were all bad and would have cost us at least a day. Now we have to do something for a stranger to adjust our karma.

Heading South

The Birds are Staging for Their Flight South and So Are We

The Birds are Staging for Their Flight South and So Are We

You Can Never Go Home Again

We tried to drop the boat off at one of the few places left that will deal with ancient boats, Red Rock Marina near Pella, IA. They, however, had shut down most of their operations and emptied their chandlery. That gave us a little time to kill so we went searching for one of the prettiest little beaches on the reservoir.

In the early 70’s we would ski until dark, camp and party on that beach, get up early, drive the boat back to the marina and stick it on shore, change clothes, and go directly to work in Des  Moines only to repeat the cycle that afternoon. We couldn’t find our beach. Years of erosion turned what must have been a small pocket of beautiful white sand into rocks and a coal seam. Bummer. Deb did get poison ivy in the search, though.

RedRockNoBeach

In the News!

September 4, 2013 Posted by Deb

Sail Magazine contacted us by email while we were underway from Honduras to Guatemala. They had read our blog and might want to put a little article in their new special Multihull Sailor issue. I thought that was pretty cool, but by now it seemed like such a long time ago. The magazine came out yesterday and we rushed to Barnes & Nobel to see if we had a mention. Pretty cool article in their “CAT PEOPLE” section.

CAT People

CAT People

The photos were taken by 1) a tour guide on top of a mountain in St. Kitts, 2)  by our friends John and Cyndi on Cynergy from a beautiful sunset in the San Blas islands, and 3) by Mike & Linda on Casa del Mar from Honduras’ best kept secret, Cayos Cochinos.

Multihull Sailor, special edition of Sail Magazine

Multihull Sailor, Special Issue of Sail Magazine