Monday, October 22, 2012


Castillo de San Felipe, Rio Dulce Guatemala

Jonesy protecting us all from pirates
Finally...we actually got to scramble around inside the large Spanish colonial fort Castillo de San Felipe. Although we've driven our little launcha past this historical landmark a few times, we've always been on our way to someplace else. It's only 4 miles from our marina. Isn't that the way it is sometimes? You just never get around to exploring things that are right in your home town - until visitors come, right?

Well, this time it was an Arts Festival which was being staged at the fort that got us up there. We wanted to check it out and I was there to help man a booth where the orphanage Rayo de Esperanza (Ray of Hope) was selling some of the kids handmade jewelry and bags.

British? canon from 1796 in a Spanish Fort
The Spanish installed and operated this fort to keep the English pirates from entering Lake Izabal and looting everything in sight. After several hundred years.from about the mid-1500's all the way up to the early 1900's.  Now it is a popular tourist destination in a lovely park setting.

The Arts Festival wasn't well attended. Hopefully next year word will have gotten out and more visitors would attend. There were plenty of vendors and educational displays! Unfortunately, the first 2 days of the event were the last 2 days of school and most kids had final exams. Oops, bad timing.
Terry perched on canon

We have continued with our walking for exercise despite Jonesy having injured and re-injured his knee. If he wears an elastic brace he can keep it from over-extending his knee and we can get our walk on. Although the temperatures are still high here, there have been brief moments of cooler temps (like in the low 80's) and breezes which have made the walks easier.

And because we start our walks from the town of Rio Dulce, we get to shop for fresh veggies and fruits more often! Yeah!

Teak tree farm
Today we spotted a new-to-us bird. We think it was an Eastern Kingbird either on it's migration down from North America or actually wintering over here. That's one of the fun parts of hanging out in Central America - there are plenty of opportunities to see birds!

And teak trees! These teak trees are along our new walking route. Someday, the wood from this tree farm will make long-lasting and lovely decks and furniture for future sailboats. This time of year, the teak trees are all blooming way up in their high branches. It's hard to see from below, but when you can manage to be on a hill above them you can see the light green to yellowish clusters of blooming "stuff" (that's my scientific term for when I don't know if they are actually flowering yet, or still budding, or have flowered and now there are seed pods).
Blooming teak trees

Life is changing here on the Rio Dulce. As hurricane season ends and as North America starts to freeze there has been both an exodus of folks from the north to down here and even a few hardy cruisers already leaving to head out to the Caribbean Sea. There are folks who have spent almost as much time as we have here but that we have never met. We leave to go cruising just as they come down for the "winter".  But this year we are planning to leave later in the winter.

But, we did lose some very good friends this past week. They sailed away to Mexico and onward to Florida and the Eastern Caribbean islands. We met them many years ago on the Pacific side of Mexico and then reunited on this (Caribbean) side of Central America. Safe travels dear Hooligans Paula, Tim, and boat dog Nigel! We'll see you again in about a year perhaps when we sail that direction!

Treasure Pocket Socks
Got socks! These are some socks with one of my little secret treasure pockets knit into them for the kids in Kazakhstan. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici Sport Self Striping. Although it is called a "sport" weight which is fatter than the usual sock yarn, it is a fluffy and lightly spun yarn (soft!). I started out with size US2 needles on the cuff and soon realized that I needed a tighter gauge for a better wearing sock. So I ended up on my usual size 1.5 needles. The downside was that the yardage is less with this yarn, and the striping pattern so broad, that I ended up with mismatched toes because there wasn't enough yarn to match. They will still keep some feet warm.

No lace knitting to report. It is screaming at me now and I had to confess on the Yahoo group that I was a lace knitting slacker. I WILL pick it up again.

In the meantime, I also am working on a pair of Monster Socks using up some leftovers, finishing up the second sock for an old pattern of mine, and test-knitting for another designer. Here I'm flashing a bit of the test knit. The yarn is Trekking (XXL) and there was no repeating of the color patterning in a WHOLE SOCK! Which means that the finished pair will have to be fraternal twins. Test knitting for others gives me the opportunity to experience different ways of constructing socks and writing instructions.
Roasted peppers and tomatoes

Ok, I'm off to prepare the Chili Relleno Casserole we're taking to the Cruiser's Potluck supper tonight. It will have to be a Guatemalan version because there simply are not the "correct" California or Anaheim chilies available here. So, I'm adding a touch of ground pork and using bell peppers like the locals do for their chili rellenos. Then I'm assembling it all together like I used to do for my family years ago. In fact, it was my son who inspired me because he asked for the recipe recently. I'm tickled that he remembered it and wanted to share it with others.

Looks like a great trip. My son is currently motorcycling from Costa Rica to Cancun. Last we heard from him he was in El Salvador headed to Belize to check out some pyramids.
Slacker? You? I don't think so! I haven't even started my Niebling but will after the State competition in Make It With Wool this Saturday.
Your roasted peppers and tomatoes look great for your dish. Mmm, mmm!
I believe you have mistakenly captioned the photo of the canon.

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" is the motto of the English chivalric order of the Garter.

The motto also appears surrounding the shield on the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. The "GR" on inscribed in the center is for 'Georgius Rex', King George III who reigned as king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 until the union of those two countries in 1801. perhaps this canon was confiscated from one of the British pirate vessels. Very interesting!
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