Saturday, February 09, 2013


Status Quo

New Bow Lettering
So, another week has passed and we're still loitering around Mario's Marina here in the Rio Dulce of Guatemala. Our emergency repair engine part just sat in Florida at the freight forwarding service because they didn't know what to do with the package. Our supplier had left off the "magic" code in the address that directed the box to Guatemala. So in the infinite wisdom of the "service" it was left to sit until someone finally asked about it. Sure, we just love to pay extra money for air-freight rushing, not that we're in a hurry and desperate for the part so we can go cruising or anything. Sheesh.

The Admiral in the shade of a cashew tree
No worries though. That just meant that we've had some extra days to take care of non-essential chores and fun stuff - like getting our boat name decals installed on the bow. We had these made for us on Roatan island in Honduras two years ago for about $20US. The only time we remembered that we needed to install them was when we were out at anchor or on a mooring. That was so other boats could find us as the Host Vessel for the Roatan Marine Park. But, we couldn't install them at that time because the boat was bouncing around and our dinghy would bounce up and down and we couldn't get them lined up. The right time to do it was when we were on the calm river safely tied to a stable dock. But we forgot, because we didn't need them then. Finally! We paid the young guys who work at the marina to do it for us. Wasn't that easy?

Pineapple blossoms

And...we're still dog-sitting the Admiral. No surprise there. His human, Teresa, is on a sailboat with friends attempting to sail down from Isla Mujeres (Cancun area) Mexico to here in Guatemala and they have had boat and weather issues. See? That's just part of the lifestyle. We really can't say where we'll be exactly when. Just that we'll be somewhere sometime. So for Teresa, our difficulties have made her life more comfortable because Admiral can just stay at the Niki Wiki Adventure Camp for Boat Pets.

Pineapple patch
Do YOU know what color a pineapple blossom is? The actual little flowers on this pineapple are purple, just a few here in this example - but check out the magenta, yellow, and green leaves! Beautiful! Marina employees have been planting the tops that have been cut off of pineapples and simply letting them grow to make more pineapples. Out in the back yard  behind the building that houses our monster diesel power generator (for the many electrical outages) I found the secret pineapple patch. It's all because of the Admiral and his need to explore (and urinate on) every plant on the entire marina grounds.

Pineapple growing
The pineapple patch is nothing special to look at until you get up close. Tucked away in this far corner it just looks like some landscaping gone half wild. But now I know its secret. There was even one fully grown pineapple that one of the groundskeepers will harvest soon and take home to his family. He's earned it. As I was taking these photos my arms and hands were sliced by the serrated edges of the "leaves" - ouch!! They are like double-edged steak knives. I'll stick to buying mine in the local village or along side the road for a whopping 50 cents to $1US.

As long as we're living in the tropics, I'm enjoying eating the local produce - and planting it too! In this past month I have purchased a cinnamon tree, a root (rhizome) for a turmeric plant, and a piece of rooted cactus plant which produces a lovely fruit called pitaya or dragon fruit. All for about $3US each.

Baby Cinnamon tree
Next on my list will be a black pepper vine which I know where to buy. Heck, I thought pepper grew on trees. That's because where I grew up, in Southern California we had California Pepper Trees and they had little balls that looked like peppercorns. Live and learn. Then I'd love to find an allspice tree and a cacao (chocolate) tree. Why not?

My cinnamon tree is doing fabulously! It had been kept for quite some time in heavy shade at the plant store and looked tired. But as soon as it was tucked into the ground in the sunshine at least half of the day it has sprung to life! Of course it will be many years before anyone can harvest some of the branches for bark for seasoning. I probably won't be here (but who knows?) so I'm just leaving a legacy for future cruisers to enjoy.

Turmeric sprout
My new turmeric plant has struggled. As soon as it was planted, it was attacked by the leaf cutting ants and had the top leaves chewed off! Thankfully, the rhizome had another sprout which has grown beautifully. Did you know that the bright yellow spice comes from the ground up roots of this relative of ginger? That was news to me! Turmeric is also used to dye fabrics and yarn which you know I find facinating.

I'm sure my turmeric plant will recover, but it was a setback. Those dang ants! They are cute as heck marching around in neat little lines as they carry pieces of leaves, but they can be destructive.

My pitcaya cactus hasn't been planted yet. It needs dryer soil than the other plants so I'm trying to find the driest place here. As it's been raining a lot lately, that's been impossible to do. But we've had 2 solid days of sun so I'd better get to to work on that before we leave!

There sure has been a lotta knittin' going on this last week. I've been having fun designing and knitting up some more ornaments for the Advent Calendar Knitalong project on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group. It's funny how ideas for more ornaments spring into mind as I'm busy knitting something else. It's tough to be disciplined enough to simply jot down the new idea and plod ahead with the writing up of the current project.

I can't share photos yet of these projects, but I can share my progress on the Eggplant Parmigiana KAL I talked about a prior posting. This is a lace stitch pattern so I can't work on it in a social situation because it does take a tad of concentration. But the Admiral dog has been occupying my lap...all day...everyday, since he came aboard so I have lots of quiet time.

Spare Fuel Injector Pump cleaned up
Jonesy has been boat-busy. Yesterday he cleaned up our spare fuel injector pump for our big engine because it had rusted while in our spares cabinet. That's what happens on a boat at sea...everything corrodes. We've learned to use those heavy duty Ziplock XL baags. I have to keep a small squirt bottle of sewing machine oil in the galley to keep my hand-crank can opener from rusting. It gets a drop of oil after every washing.

Good-bye s/v Sunnyside Up!
Jonesy also tested the anchor windlass (the electric-powered mechanical thingy that lifts the heavy anchor) and the main sail electric roller furler. Also he took a look at the main sail itself which is still in fair shape. So those have been checked off of the Get-the-heck-outta-the-marina list. So many of our friends have already left. In fact, we don't have neighbors on either side of us anymore because they have both sailed off. No, it's not lonely here because several new-to-us folks have flown in to spend time on their boats during the cold winter months up north. So we are actually meeting folks for the first time that have had their boats here longer than us (3 years)! We just aren't usually here these winter/spring months.

One of those neighbors was s/v Sunnyside Up whose cat, Ginger was an attendee at our Cat Session of the Niki Wiki Adventure Camp. Carolyn and Tom have sailed off for adventures in Mexico and beyond with no plans to return to the Rio here. We managed to get a photo of their escape. Good-bye! Save travels!

Love your knitting designs. I am not quite a lace knitter, just toying with it a little bit. I am going to try your sideways Gansey gloves, however. I love them! Good luck on the boat repairs. We are blizzarded in! Nice to think about you folks in the warm with those beautiful pineapple plants!
Oh, dear, Admiral is adorable!! Pet sitting is a nice way to get a "fix".

I know you are making the best of the engine situation but you must be chomping at the bit to get back to sailing!

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