Saturday, May 12, 2012


Up-Island in Roatan

Niki Wiki on a mooring and dinghy in Port Royal, Roatan
Demo socks for class and Akkol
Hello! We have internet! It's expensive and is pay-by-the-hour so we won't be trolling FB or posting emails, but we just had to blog!

We caught the short pause in the trade winds and were able to motor up-island to the eastern end of Roatan. Whoo hooo - new territory for us! The seas were smooth and it was a pleasant little 2 hour trip up to Port Royal. Well, that is after we turned around and captured our dinghy which had decided to go on it's own sea cruise. Just as we passed the reef at the exit of French Key Harbor, the painter (rope) that was towing our dinghy broke. Luckily we noticed it right away and were able to turn around. Masterful steering by Jonesy and quick reactions by Terry to grab the long boat hook resulted in a successful dinghy rescue operation. We are always nervous when towing the dink behind us rather than lifting it up out of the water and onto the davits (pulley and bracket system) on the back of the boat. The polypropylene rope had simply shattered at a splice. The splice held, but at the point where the end of the splice met the rest of the rope it gave way.

We picked up a free mooring which is generously provided to cruisers by the Mango Creek Lodge. The owners of this beautiful eco-resort, Patrice and Terry, invited us to spend some time at the resort and we had some great discussions about world-wide cruising and the politics of the island. One evening we purchased a lovely lobster and fish dinner then stayed for a rousing game of Mexican Train Dominoes with Patrice and another cruiser who was passing through. It was like a mini vacation! We enjoyed the peace and quiet of the eastern end of the island where there are no roads and no noisy tourist facilities. The snorkeling was fantastic as expected and the breezes enabled the sock knitting marathon to continue.

1-100_1580The socks above are another pair of demo socks for my upcoming July sock knitting class in Philomath, Oregon (more details to come). The white parts are the "in-class" working areas and the self-patterning yarn is the homework. These, as almost all of my finished warm projects will be sent to the kids in Kazakhstan at the orphanages through the Motherless Child Foundation.

Wood carving on door in Honduras Check out these wood carvings which are on the doors of the rooms in the Mango Creek Lodge - aren't they beautiful? The original artist has now passed away so these are real treasures. I have shared just a couple of these with you here, but there are many, many more carvings on doors, bed headboards, mirror frames, and furniture throughout the resort. I love how the wood changes colors too.

1-100_1569 And here's another pair of socks knit during this time. As I was sitting in the cockpit I looked towards shore and suddenly realized that the yarn colors that I was using in these socks were the same Caribbean pastels that were also used to paint each of the over-the-water cabins of Mango Creek Lodge! Great minds think alike. So I just had to get a photo of one of the socks in the gardens behind the pink cabin (the one that we insist on calling "salmon" because the guys don't like to even think that it's pink.)

1-100_1589 Yep, still have to darn in those loose ends on the second sock. But fortunately there are a lot less than a knowledgeable knitter would expect because I cheated and used some self-striping yarns for some of the color changes. The tiny scallops on the cuff is a little experiment of mine. I've been looking at crochet edgings and thinking about how to replicate them in knitting because I do like the look of them. Another pair of monstersocks (artistically(?) knit from leftover assorted sock yarns) for the kids of Kazakhstan

1-100_1566 These are the over-the-water cabins at Mango Creek - and that's Jonesy in our dinghy zooming to shore. So after a few days up-island in Port Royal, we decided to drift back west again. The safe cruising season is coming to a close in early June so we need to get moving towards our summer camp at Mario's Marina in the Rio Dulce of Guatemala.

This short 1 hour trip was a little rougher than the last one. The seas were about 4 feet, lumpy and bumpy, but at least they were coming from behind us so it wasn't uncomfortable. We made it to within 50 yards of the narrow opening in the barrier reef to Calabash Bight when our naughty dinghy went walkabout again! Unfortunately this time we were in very shallow water with the wind and seas pushing the Niki Wiki and the quickly moving dinghy right into the reef! Much as we tried, we couldn't safely maneuver the big boat and hook the dinghy so I leaped from out and down from the deck and landed in the dinghy. No injuries!

Calabash Bight channel opening looking out to sea
Shamefully, it's now time for me to admit that I've never mastered the outboard motor. Nope. Jonesy handles all the transportation. If I'm always with him why do I need to learn? Well, because someday I may be in a situation where I'm sitting in a dinghy, in high seas, being quickly driven towards a reef. Much shouting (swearing) and frustrated arm gestures were exchanged between the two skippers of the Niki Wiki.  Jonesy had to throttle up the big boat engine to avoid going aground and he headed through the channel into the safety of the bay. I finally got my act together and zoomed ahead of him. Yes, the water was a beautiful teal blue but who cared at the time?

1-100_1584 After about a full minute I began to actually enjoy myself! What freedom and fun! I dinghy'd (get that? I dinghy'd) over to the mooring ball and thread my dinghy painter (rope) through the ring on top of the ball to wait for Jonesy. When he caught up with me, he tossed me the bow lines and I thread them through the ring on the ball. All safe.

After radioing the nice folks at the Turtlegrass Marina (where the cool people hang out) to let them know we had grabbed one of their free moorings, Jonesy got to work on the dinghy line. Yep. It had broken again but this time at the other end at the old splice. Lesson learned: Line breaks once - throw it out. Jonesy had another opportunity to make a boat repair in an exotic location. This time he used a new piece of line and carefully melted only the loose ends and not the main line when he sealed the splice.

I got to work making tacos with all the fixings for lunch, ate, then fell fast asleep for a long afternoon nap. Why? Because I could.

I need a nap too after reading of your adventures. As usual the pics are stunning. What a wonderful little resort with the over the water cabins....Darrlaa
Yay! You learned how to drive the dingy! We knew you'd need to know how to do that. The east end sounds great to me.

Mmmmm, tacos with all the fixings! Glad you learned the dinghy...I was afraid Kaleigh would learn before you! ;-)
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