Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Up the River
We all sat in our cockpit and passed around documents, copies of documents and pens. It all happened so quickly that I didn't have a chance to serve the ice cold Coca-Colas to our guests. Dang, I guess I'll have to just have a few more rum and cokes in the coming days. Or add a wedge of lime and call it a "Cuba Libre". That way I can count it as a serving of fruit!
Livingston is a "wild west" outpost. It is only accessible by boat (no roads) and thus has developed a different culture than the Spanish/Mayan interior of Guatemala. The population of Livingston dates back to the slavery and pirate days in the Caribbean.
So, in the afternoon our little caravan headed up the Rio Dulce river gorge. This is a photo of our boat entering the interior. Yep, look closely, we are way up there. See? You have to have other boats along for the journey not just for safety, but to take photos of each other's boats!
We were greeted by the sounds and smells of the jungle. We could smell different floral scents and woody/earthy scents. The birds and cicadas were plentiful. Unfortunately, it was also very smokey. This is the end of the dry season and there was apparently lots of slash and burn going on in the agricultural areas.
The limestone cliffs are quite high in some areas along the river. At one point there is a steady flow of water from the limestone at the bottom of a cliff and locals use this as a water source during the dry season.
Here you can see how smokey it was that day and see how high the cliffs are compared to our 63 foot mast on our boat. We have heard that this is the location for the filming of the first Tarzan of the Jungle movie. I wonder if I could knit while swing from a vine?
All three of us sailboats arrived safely at Mario's Marina and summer camp for cruisers. Jonesy even took my suggestion and BACKED the boat into our designated slip. Whoa! This big boat really doesn't like to back up at all and shows us that by going in the wrong direction. But this time, Jonesy did a great job (Okay, the guys at Mario's also helped a lot by grabbing the lines and tugging us in). But we are quite happy. This way, we can board our boat from the dock and walk directly through the opening in our cockpit instead of walking all around the outside (in the sun or rain). And, our rear stateroom where we sleep is in the shade every afternoon with the bow (pointy end of the boat) facing into the afternoon sun and getting hot and HOT. We're in a steamy jungle here.
We bought our window A/C unit and then stopped for another errand. As I waited in the van I noticed this SUV. Hmmm...so your rear door is missing. Just get another one, tape over the missing window, and use straps between your tow hitch and your luggage racks to hold it onto your car. No problem!
Also on the needles is a set of leggings with feet for the baby house in Kazakhstan. I'm using some lovely baby/fingering weight Lang wool in a soft green shade. Plus, I have some teal which I'll use for the feet (because I don't have enough green). I'm still trying to think of a decorative way to do this so it doesn't look so much like I HAD to do it, but rather that I CHOOSE to use two colors. Perhaps a little Fair Isle patterning of the 2 colors before switching to the teal booties/footies.
Now look...that doesn't look so hard does it?
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
If not sock, then not knit
First up is a pair of socks knit for our good friend Cheryl on the sailing vessel Interlude. These are simple ribbed socks in Lang Jawool cotton & wool blend. Cheryl and Karen will be traveling to the high altitudes in Chile and Peru next month and needed warm clothing! I love to knit socks. Sounded like a good match to us.
On the Mittens for Akkol yahoo group we have been having a Sock Knitting Marathon event for the 530 pairs of warm wool socks we need for the kids in the orphanages. I seem to be getting down to the bottom of my sock yarn stash so I worked on matching up odd balls of yarn for custom socks.
Then, because some of the sock yarn was just plain butt-ugly (which of course is why it was still in the stash), I got to play with my fiber dyes and make them look better. For a horrid purple and white splashed dots Opal yarn, I over-dyed it with a dark purple. I now declare the yarn acceptable for knitting and it won't hurt my eyes when I knit with it. These are the lace socks from that yarn. It is one of my new designs called "Roads Traveled Socks" and will be available in the future on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group.
Next up are a very simple pair of ribbed socks knit from Regia yarn in a blue color scheme. At first I was tickled that I had found 2 50gr balls of yarn in the same colors so I could knit a larger pair of socks. But, when I started the second sock with the second ball, I realized that although they were the same "colorway", they were not only different dye lots,
Scrounging around in my stash I came up with one ball of a Regia striped yarn and one ball of a solid blue which were a great match.
Each ball alone could only make one sock, but together, they could make a pair. So, I used the solid yarn for the cuff, heel and toe, and the striped yarn for the leg and foot. Do I know how to have fun or what?
But wait, there's more! Here's another pair of "Roads Traveled" socks. These are the smaller size and are knit in a pastel multi-colored yarn.
And there was some test knitting again for the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo group. This sock is called "Incurvation" and was designed by Janine La Cras. I knit it with a Regia sock yarn. The pattern is lovely, but there is knitting action on every single round - no restful just plain knit stitch rounds. So although I have started the second sock, it may be some time before I finish it. I need to have projects that are easy for knitting while socializing or riding in crowded buses and these are not the project for that.
Finally, here is this year's christmas stocking for the Holiday Mystery Gifts group (yes, I consider this a "sock"). It is my "Beaded Beauty Christmas Stocking" pattern and will be available on July 1st for the knitalong. No, I haven't finished knitting up the photo sample yet, but the pattern is with the test-knitters and I really will finish this. Really. Just as soon as I finish these other socks...
Monday, June 06, 2011
Time to move on
The little village at West End has been very quiet these past few weeks. The big cruise ships are visiting less frequently. The cooling trade winds have been less intense and even missing on some days which means we have been left to swelter in the heat and humidity with only the ocean water to cool us (oh darn).
Many of the other yachties have already left for safer seas. Some left a while ago to head north up to Florida and then up the eastern seaboard of the USA. Others have headed south towards Panama and Colombia for the summer to hide from hurricanes - or even go through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean.
We are returning to Guatemala and going straight back up the Rio Dulce river to Mario's Marina again.
But first, there's a lot of preparation to do before we head out to sea. We have some maintenance, and potential repair, and of course, provisioning. To support the tourist industry, there are a lot of specialty food items imported into Roatan which are also available in a couple of the larger grocery stores in the towns of Coxen Hole and French Harbor. These items are not available in Guatemala, or really anywhere else that we've been in the last 5 years (except the outstanding Riba Smith store in Panama City).
So Cheryl from the sailing vessel Interlude quickly volunteered to go up our mast in her bosun's chair (I think she's an adventure junkie and risk taker). After we got her all rigged up to the halyard (rope thing that goes up high) we all hoisted Cheryl up the mast.
The good news was that there wasn't a problem. It was only that the rigging tape had been destroyed by the sun and had disintegrated away exposing the bolts (see photo). No biggie. We didn't have any more tape aboard so we added it to the (growing) boat parts list for me to haul back from the states this summer.
Next on the agenda was cleaning the prop. Our propeller had accumulated a beautiful garden of aquatic life. Unfortunately, this would inhibit our forward motion when using the engine. So I
How do you like our dead boat pet? Ah, the tropics...you just never know what you'll find on the boat.
Our 26-hour overnight passage direct from Roatan to Guatemala was planned so that we left at the crack 'o dawn. That way we arrived in Livingston, Guate at the peak of high tide. Why high tide? Because we have to cross a sandbar at the entrance to the big river and need to be sure that we have water beneath the keel.
We joined up with the sailing vessels Interlude and High States to make the passage together. There's safety in numbers. Besides the 3 rain squalls we went through, it turned out to be a very pleasant motor passage for all of us. Low winds, low seas, and no pirates, just had to keep our eyes peeled for the freighters coming from the banana and pineapple plantations of Honduras and Guatemala and heading out to somewhere in the world.
Well, that's enough for today. Tomorrow I'll share some of the knitting that's been going on.