Wednesday, May 30, 2012


End of season doldrums

Socks for the Akkol Orphanaage
We've got it...those end-of-the-cruising-season-doldrums. Not because of anything WE do, but because the weather has turned gloomy, rainy, squally, and the wind if there is any at all is out of the wrong direction (west).So we are just kinda stuck on the boat for the most part, reading and knitting. Not really complaining because it sure beats working.

Because of the constant cloud cover the solar panels aren't making amps for us so we have to conserve electrical power and have even been running the diesel generator. Sometimes it is dead calm - no breezes - and humid beyond endurance. That's when I turn on my little 12-volt fan. It's noisy, but at least I'm cool enough to knit. Because if I'm knitting, I'm happy so Jonesy's happy.

We can't even get in the water to cool off because the west winds are driving the water from the scruffy town of French Harbor towards us - and that means murky, icky (sewage) water (remember this is a Third World country). That also means we can't run our reverse-osmosis water maker so we also are on water conservation mode.

Tropical depressions (good name for them!) are already forming and tropical storms and hurricanes are becoming a threat - and a reality on the Pacific side of Mexico already! Many of the other sailboats have already sailed off for safe ports for the summer. Some went way south to Panama which is out of the hurricane zone and others have headed into the Rio Dulce of Guatemala where we will soon be joining them. Every year I dread going into the steamy jungle of Guatemala - that is until I experience the gloomy, hot weather in May then I remember why we go to the rio. Now I'm ready to see my FRIENDS in the Rio and crank up that shore-powered A/C. That is until we get the delicious trade winds blowing on us out here again and the sea turns turquoise - then I want to stay in the islands forever!
Island water highway tree tunnel to the next little bay

another little channel cut
We're now back in French Harbor after our little trip up-island. After leaving Port Royal, we spent some time in Calabash Bight before coming back here. Along the shore of the island the residents have cut channels between the bights (bays) so that they can travel by motor boat without going out onto the rougher ocean. This makes for faster, safer travel. We took our dinghy through these channels and went exploring all the way down to the "big" town of Oak Ridge.

This sleepy little water-front town used to have a bustling shrimp industry in days past. The old concrete buildings have been torn down, but the residential houses remain and mostly right over the water!

Water front general store
We found the on-the-water grocery store and made some necessary purchases of fruits, veggies and salty snacks. For a water-front community, having all the stores along the channel makes perfect sense as most folks travel by boat.

It was one of those Hallmark holidays "Mother's Day" and this little shop happened to have some beautiful purple Old Navy brand rubber flip-flops - the perfect gift for the cruising mom. My old ones had almost worn through the bottoms. I just feel so special in my new purple shoes!

After spending a few days in the tranquility of this remote part of the island of Roatan, we thought it was time to head back to civilization. Oh, and our water pump on the big 'ole Perkins engine in the boat had sprung a leak. Dang.
So we headed back to French Harbor here and Jonesy got busy on the internet to find a replacement pump for this 20+ year old engine. Found it, had it shipped air-express to Roatan from the USA. The shipping costs were almost as much as the part itself- but it was worth every penny as we are now ready to tackle our passage to Guatemala in just a few days. We are looking at a good weather window which coincides with the high tide we need to cross over the sandbar at the entrance to the river.

KNITTING: It's been all about socks. I've had a wonderful few weeks simply knitting socks for the kids at the Akkol and Uruprinka orphanages in Kazakhstan. Just for fun, I added a little treasure pocket to this blue pair. Then I tucked a tiny little Honduran coin into it for good luck too. To keep the pocket secure I later added a button closure. Then, I just had to do it again on the next pair of socks!

This pair of striped socks are for demonstration purposes for my up-coming sock class I'll be teaching this July in Oregon. I have knitted one complete sock, then just the leg of the second sock. This is where I will demonstrate the knitting of the heel. See? It's all ready to go.

Because one of the pairs I finished up this past couple of weeks  is a new design of mine which won't be released until this fall, I can only show you a little bit of the beautiful yarn used. This blue and green yarn was a gift from my recent boat guest. Now it is a completed pair of new socks and is also being used in a new pair I'm knitting now as one of the colors in a stranded-knitting design.

Ahhhh...the sun is out and the wind has come up again from the east - the wonderful Caribbean trade winds. Jonesy has already gone up to sit in the outside cockpit and soak up the breeze. This is the view of Little French Key that we see from the boat. I'm off too....

Hi Terry,

I'm sitting in my office with the fan going because our weather has suddenly become quite warm and still. Bob and I decided to stay in Mexico until the middle of June because it can still be rainy and chilly in Washington until early July.

But, I can relate to your issue when the winds die down completely. I have been knitting cotton baby kimonos because just about everyone I know is having a baby!!

I've stored my woolen yarns and fibers away for the summer. Lots of mothballs!! It will all be waiting for me when we return in October.

Safe travels to cooler climes.
I love reading your post. I also love your images. I like the way you discuss your topic. All in all, you made a good post. Thank you for sharing.
Terry -

Love the last picture! It's colors like that which made Caribe Blue my signature color.

Simply beautiful!

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