We did it! We actually made it out of the river! For a while there it looked
like the gods were conspiring against us, but everything came together and we
were able to leave. The Autohelm depth gauge parts arrived mid-day on Saturday.
The problem turned out to be very difficult to solve. As it turns out it was
probably a cabling issue. The female plugs would fail to make contact when
inserted into their socket. Thus everything would look good until plugged in.
And this was happening with several cables...And checking for connectivity
between ends is very hard, especially when the ends are at either end of the
cabin. But I eventually got it straightened out and even got my speed data back.
The wind data is definitely bad, but I can live without that.
While we were stuck waiting for parts we did lots of projects. One thing that we've wanted was some sun shades made out of a Pheifertex, which is a 70% sun blocking fabric. We had hoped to find someone to do this, but everyone was either booked or we didn't like their work. However, the hut just down the dock from BlueJacket regularly turned into a sewing area, with 3 to 4 sewing machines going at once on occasion. Where better to find qualified help? We had carried the material down, so I measured and cut the fabric and Linda from Que Linda sewed while Sue folded and pinned the material. It turned out great. And I guess that the experience was so good that we even bought a barely used SailRite sewing machine! Sue did some small projects, so I guess now we just need to learn how to use it better. Ah, another challenge!
Sunday was spent finishing some final jobs and stocking up with fresh
vegetables, fruits and anything else that was perishable. By Sunday night
everything was all set and we had a going away dinner with some of the good
friends that we had made.
Art and Lynne who were docked next to us on Margaretville, were great people. Art had built his own steel boat (well, he was more or less still in the process of finishing it), and knew a ton about everything. And he had lots of tools...But more than that he just had a great personality and had tons of funny (in retrospect) stories about managing low income housing. Lynne was a real joy too and did they ever make a great team!
Doug (the VOICE of the NW Caribbean Net) and Linda of Que Linda were jewels too. Doug had spent something like 10 years as an Outward Bound advisor and knew lots about lots of things and was just fun to talk to. Linda could sew like crazy. Oh, and I can't forget Pip, their Perfect herding dog. Pip growled when petted, which freaked lots of people out. She and I got along great.
Berndt, who was Norwegian and owned the 41' Swan named Albertina has been crossing our paths for about a year. Berndt met his girlfriend Kirsty in Bonaire where she owned a canvas shop and her own boat. She sold both of these and moved onto Albertina in September. Where she stowed her 3-4 sewing machines and the rest of her stuff is beyond me! But she was defiantly good for Berndt as the boat started looking better and better and some of the systems were ever repaired...although his depth gauge still reads 6.5 meters all of the time...
Oh, and lets not forget Paul, the cross dressing British single handler who
had more girlfriends than anyone else! I could only guess that women didn't find
a guy who dressed in dresses threatening...And then there's Pierre, the French
eccentric who on some mornings could be seen walking down the dock in his
bathrobe holding a gnarled wood club and a huge Ostrich (sp?) egg and doing his
caveman impression. Ah, and that's just the tip of it.
On Monday morning, after the 3rd night of watching The Soprano's (years 1,2 and 3) as a group, Sue & I cast off the dock lines and headed down the river. Once again it was a beautiful trip. We wound through narrow canyons with sheer rock walls reaching up 300 feet. Most of these were covered with vines and trees. Lots of locals were out fishing in their dugouts. All in all it's just spectacular. We made it through the river and into Livingston just before noon and were cleared out by 1:00.
There was a 1.1' high tide at 1:00 and we crossed the bar at Livingston at around 2:00, never seeing less than 6.5'. We headed over to Cabo Tres Puntas where we spent the night.
That's it for now. On to Belize!
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