Sunday, November 25, 2012
2000, 24 November, 2012. Onboard Gosling, Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador We have just returned to Gosling from Antigua, Guatemala. It has been 2 weeks of intense Spanish; well, as intense as 4 hours a day can get, 1 on 1 with an instructor, but with homework thrown in, the “intense” classification might just be appropriate, OK, we are over 60, so any brain drain over 20 mins is pretty serious….. Fran and Carol had arranged for the courses online at the Antiguena Spanish Academy. Initially we were a bit nervous as this was within weeks of the volcanic eruption of Fuego, just west of the town, and of the earthquake in Guatemala City. That one, and some of its aftershocks, had also been felt in Antigua.
Friday, November 9, 2012
0800, Friday, 9 Nov, at the buoy, Bahia Del Sol Up early today, before Fran for once. She seems to have had a good restful night. So, as they say, let them lie….. It is another clear and bright morning. It is already getting hot so the new fans I have installed will come in handy again today. The few hours of rain we had this past week appear to be the final remnants of what has been a very wet summer and the start of the gradual transition to the dry season. Our min/max thermometer indicated that the cabin only reached a max of 98F this season, however, the humidity would have made it feel much higher. We left last Thursday via Vancouver and San Francisco, so we had a leisurely day via the ferry and to Surrey where we met up with Bill and Janet (Optical Illusion, who will be catching up to us after we leave here, the boat is in Huatulco) and Ken and Carole (Nauti Moments) who graciously offered to accompany us to where the truck was to be stored for the winter and also drove us to the airport. They left the following day to join us. We flew with United and TACA, the predominant Central American airline. The TACA plane was a newer A-320 and the service excellent, much better than United. We arrived at 8 AM to a considerably hotter climate than we left. All of our baggage was there (whew) and we later discovered that only a bottle of contact cement had been removed by TSA. The going rate for a van taxi is $30, for the 40 minute drive, such a deal! It was with heavy hearts that we left Rosie behind this year. The airline industry is making it more and more difficult to bring animals as cargo. Also, after considering the areas we were heading to this season, it was getting increasingly difficult to plan pet friendly stops and inland travel. We’ll miss our alert dog but she is with very good friends who will undoubtedly teach her a bunch of new tricks and spoil her. When we arrived at the hotel/marina, Carlito was waiting for us with his panga to take us out to Gosling. He is Murray and Colette’s right hand man at Island Marine where Gosling and 8 other boats, (Including Nauti Moments and Warren Peace) have spent the summer. When we arrived onboard we were amazed at the sparkle and cleanliness. The crew had washed the upper-decks and even polished our stainless. When we opened her up Fran’s phobia of finding mold and mildew everywhere was eased. The boat had been aired out repeatedly during our absence and the interior had been wiped down several times by Murray and Colette’s crew. The fans, we had left on, also helped. There were a few closets that had a bit of mold but nothing serious. Fran’s vacuum packing of the majority of our clothes, bedding and dry goods paid off in spades. After getting the dinghy and outboard from storage ashore we were ready to start prepping for another season. We needed to get our bags unpacked and their contents stored in an already strained storage network. We must remember to take the time to get an inventory before we depart next spring. It is a common cruiser’s dilemma to bring lots of stuff from back home that really isn’t needed, especially clothing. Maybe if we were younger we’d remember what we had onboard form season to season. Next we had to get water onboard and start the process of putting up all the running rigging, sails, tending batteries and getting all of the items in Murray’s storage lockers, including all of the electronics back onboard. So far we have found a few items that have failed, probably from lack of use. One is the command microphone and the other is the charger-inverter that is, once again, not responding to a shore power input, the same problem we had 2 years ago and cost us about $600 to get repaired. Half of that was shipping costs to the factory in Minnesota….. So, it has been a busy week but we have had the time to socialize. Carole and Ken arrived, as scheduled, last Saturday and there are several other boats at the other marina that have, either just arrived or have spent her summer here. Among others are, Ideal 1, another Victoria boat, Timeless, Que Bella, Mita Kuulu, Blythe Spirit and Saucy Lady. A few boats left this week to continue their adventures, including Contento and Desmarais, a couple we had met in Guaymas in 2008. Yesterday was the first big shop. 4 couples shared a local mini-bus for the day and went to capital, San Salvador. The normal routing is a few hardware stores, a fabric supply store (where you can get Sunbrella for a low a $4.50/yd), a large shopping mall, Price Smart (Central American version of COSTCO), a large grocery store and back. We left at 8 and were back at 4, a long and expensive day but critical to our progress. We’ll do this again before we leave. Things are much more expensive in Costa Rica so stocking up here is essential. Sunday we are on our way to Antigua, Guatemala for our 2 weeks of Spanish lessons. We heard about the earthquake in Guatemala 2 days after it actually occurred. There was quite a bit of damage in the capital but Antigua was spared, as was the lake Atitlan area where Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) are doing their language training for another week. Once we get back from that we’ll be focused on preparations for our departure. We are aiming at the first week in December.