Saturday, March 16, 2013
Not Always Palm Trees and White Sand Beaches
|Oil Barges in Robinson Caye|
We, and the professional weather gurus, thought that the late winter storms from the north were done terrorizing us for another year. Nope. We have again had to hole-up in a safe place to wait out another one of these "norther" brutes. Sailboats all throughout Belize, Mexico, and the Bay Islands of Honduras scrambled a couple of days ago to relocate to anchorages which give better protection from north and northwest winds and waves. Not just the 25 to 30 knot winds, but also the high seas and rain that accompany them. It's no fun riding a boat which is rocking, rolling and bucking like a hobby-horse on worn out springs. Things break, including humans in these conditions. It's not just uncomfortable, but there is the risk of pulling the anchor off the bottom and taking a walkabout (dragging) to someplace you don't want to be, like on the reef.
|Entertainment: A tugboat moves the barges during the strong winds|
We had a lovely night as the only sailboat under the stars in calm water. There we traded bottles of rum, tequila and vodka for over 5 pounds of fresh-caught and filleted snapper with the fellows from the fish camp on one of the cays. That's my most successful fishing this year! I use Liquor Lures.
The weather forecast on the sideband radio network put the storm out a couple of more days so we had time to sail north up to another group of isolated cays. Robinson cays are, again, mostly mangrove mounds but they offer more protection from the incoming storm. So, above is a photo of our view as were were tucked safely away with a couple of oil barges ("lighters") until the blow dissipates. Yep. We were here alone to wait out the storm with scenic oil barges and scrubby mangrove cays as the view, but not for long.
A tugboat arrived and asked us to move for a a few minutes so they could swing both barges out and go to work. Of course we happily complied (who wants a barge bashing into them driven by the wind?). So we hoisted the anchor and took a little motor trip in the narrow channels within the mangroves. It was an interesting little tour including going aground in the mud once, and having to spin this 50-foot boat around in a narrow, and shallow area and not hit the other sailboat which had anchored there for one night. Let's just say there were some tense moments, and we were very relieved to anchor again in our spot after the tug and barges left.
|Alone among the mangroves - See? No waves!|
|DAK canned ham - ugly, but tasty|
We did tap into our shelf-stable storage just for some variety. OK, I just gotta say these DAK canned hams are not what they used to be years ago. They are now more like coarse SPAM with scary bits of fat and pink-ham-slime. But it tasted yummy crumbled (as it couldn't be sliced), fried and mixed in eggs.
|New VHF radio|
Next, Jonesy tackled our weak transmission signal on our SSB (Short Wave Radio). He climbed up the back stay, then dove down into the bilge under the rear bunk to clean corrosion off of the antenna connectors. They are clean now, but we still aren't getting our signal out very far.
I finished the bottom ribbing, then cut off the cuffs and reknit them looser and longer in plain rib. Finally, I have picked up and knit the two sides of the zipper placket, and am now working the neck edge. After so many years in my UFO stack, this sweater is going to be done. Zippers are wildly inexpensive in Mexico and we'll be there in a couple of weeks.
|Manatee viewing site - note how close we were to the mangroves!|
We watched a manatee loiter about off of the stern of the boat, and our favorite topic of discussion was what we would eat for the next meal. Such is the rhythm of life at anchor in a group of remote cays off of the coast of Belize.
|Corrosion on copper connector for the SSB|