Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Almost ready.

Friday, 30 November, 2012, still at the buoy. It is pitch black out. The moon is just starting to rise behind some heavy clouds and we have had a bit of light rain in the past few hours. The bay is flat calm and the fish are jumping all around the boat. Friday night brings the weekenders to the beach so there is a bit more music playing from the western shore and most of the properties are lit up, some with Christmas lights. The eastern shore is mostly dark. They rely on generators and batteries there and few can afford such luxuries. Apart from the barking dogs and an occasional flash of a flashlight glow there is very little activity. Before I start the new chapter I must add a PS to the last one. While in Antigua we discovered something everyone from our generation would appreciate. Remember the Lone Ranger and his sidekick Tonto? Well, we had found out a few years ago that Tonto means stupid in Spanish. Fran was mortified and I was a bit disappointed that Hollywood would show that kind of blatant discrimination. Well last week we discovered that Tonto name for the Lone Ranger was Kimosabe. OK, close but no cigar. It was actually Quien no sabe, or, loosely translated, he who knows nothing…. Who knew all those years ago that the two were passing insults back and forth. I have to watch a few episodes again. We just got back from having supper at Mary Sol’s restaurant with Colette a little while ago. We had the best fried whole fish ever! Colette’s guidance really helped since we gringos didn’t have a clue where to start. It was a 2-3 lb red snapper baked crispy, just the right size for the 3 of us. Who knew that you can eat the skin and tail…. Colette is leaving Sunday and this was one of the last chances we had to have a nice quiet time with her. She has been the ideal landlady as we have occupied one of her buoys and we certainly hope we’ll see her again in Canada during our summer’s home. Our ranks are beginning to thin out. Last week Beverly J left and today Whiteshell (Comox) departed for points south. Naughti Moments has gone to the marina dock for a few days and we’ll be following soon for a few days of last minute preps alongside. It will be nice to have shore power for a change and lots of water to wash the decks and hull before we depart. It looks like we are on schedule, so far. It has been a busy week. The lines are all where they are supposed to be, thanks to some help from Ken who helped me get to the masthead to sort out broken messenger lines and a loose steaming light. The sails are bent on and the forward head is back in operation….. The last item was an unexpected one. The smell of sewage was beginning to get strong in the Vee-berth and we discovered that the holding tank was full and overflowing something we had experienced on our maiden voyage. We still haven’t figured out how the Y-valve was in that position but it was making quite a mess. Once we had all the valves back in order we had to pump the tank out with the hand operated pump and it broke on the first pump. I was not looking forward to this repair but I had most of the day as Fran was going shopping. The job wasn’t as messy as I had anticipated. The poopy water wasn’t up to the pump so I was able to remove it and do a jury rig repair with a screw and some 5200, the cruiser’s best friend when a difficult gluing job presents itself. The pump held together while I pumped out the tank and, hopefully, will last for the next few years as we don’t expect to use it much. The cleanup was a bit more daunting but was completed by the time Fran arrived back. Steve and Linda (Warren Peace) are still adding up the list of items that they will have to replace due to their lightning strike. It looks like most of their electronics have been fried. Thank goodness that they were insured. There are so many cruisers who do not have any insurance. They will be delayed but they will leave here with a complete fit of up-to-date electronics. There is a silver lining to their cloud…. We are now convinced that the problem with our inverter/charger was caused by the same strike. Warren Peace was only about 75 ft. away from us at the time. Lightning is very unpredictable and will cause the weirdest types of damage. After some investigation we have counted out the microphone problem on the VHF radio as lightning caused. Looks like the repairs we had done to the radio last summer caused the issue so we are now discussing the problem with ICOM. If and when we replace the radio we’ll be looking for another brand. Way too many issues with ICOM products. Monday, 2 Dec, alongside the marina dock. We moved Gosling to the dock yesterday. A few days before I removed the bags that we had wrapped the prop blades with and cleaned the bottom as best I could. The bag idea worked well. There was very little to scrape off and the hull has survived the summer remarkably well. There are a few barnacles but, overall, it is not bad. The extra copper we put in the bottom paint in Guaymas has paid off. We shouldn’t have to do another paint job till Cartagena. We have had a minor problem with the dinghy. There has been a slow leak and we narrowed it down to one of the valves. When we tried to fix it the inevitable occurred; it broke, so we scrambled to find a way to get parts delivered from the US. We found out that Gail and Mark (Mangareva) are arriving Friday so we ordered the parts and had them shipped by the fastest means to their place. Hopefully everything will fall in place and we’ll be ready to depart on Saturday. Saturday we attended a pig roast on the Island. Ian (Blyth Spirit) had bought a piglet s few weeks ago for the event, a benefit for one of the young men on the Island who is trying to make his mark on the local boat maintenance scene. The proceedings are to purchase a VHF radio so he can communicate with the cruisers. It was turned into a potluck at Jan’s place, a local gringo lady who has lived here for some years. The pig was slowly cooked over a coconut fueled fire and was absolutely delicious.
Ian Tending to the piggy that didn't go to the market....
Ready to dish out. We are spinning our wheels as we wait for the dinghy parts. There should be at least 3 boats leaving on Saturday. We are in most respects ready to go, although we are a bit low on propane but we should have enough for the next few weeks. It is very difficult to get bottles filled here. The locals rely on a tank exchange system. Cruisers with our fancy aluminum tanks that need a special adaptor must go to the other side of San Salvador for fill-ups. We missed the last propane run two weeks ago while we were away on our Spanish lessons. The Sarana Guide indicates that San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua should be a much easier place to fill up. The following photo is of the group at lunch in a small fishing town of Herradura in the mangroves.
A look at the early morning sky is revealing what the Olmec (pre-Mayan) astronomers had predicted way back when they were the dominant people of Mexico and Central America. The sun and all the planets are lining up so that on the 21st of December they will all be on a flat plane, much like the planetary models we were shown in grade school. Little did we know then that this phenomenon occurs only every 28,500 years? Jim Papp explains it this way in an internet article: This rare astronomical event, foretold in the Mayan creation story of the Hero Twins, and calculated empirically by them, will happen for many of us in our lifetime. The Sun has not conjoined the Milky Way and the plane of the ecliptic since some 25,800 years ago, long before the Mayans arrived on the scene and long before their predecessors the Olmec’s arrived. What does this mean? Due to a phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes, caused by the Earth's wobble that lasts almost 26,000 years, the apparent location of the Winter Solstice sunrise has been ever so slowly moving toward the Galactic Center. Precession may be understood by watching a spinning top. Over many revolutions the top will rise and dip on its axis, not unlike how the Earth does over an extremely long period of time. One complete rise and dip constitutes the cycle of precession. The Mayans noticed the relative slippage of the positions of stars in the night sky over long periods of observation, indicative of precession, and foretold this great coming attraction. By using an invention called the Long Count, the Mayans fast-forwarded to anchor December 21, 2012 as the end of their Great Cycle and then counted backwards to decide where the calendar would begin. Thus the Great Cycle we are currently in began on August 11, 3114 B.C. But there's more. The Great Cycle, lasting 1,872,000 days and equivalent to 5,125.36 years, is but one fifth of the Great Cycle, known scientifically as the Great Year or the Platonic Year - the length of the precession of the equinoxes. To use a metaphor from the modern industrial world, on Winter Solstice A.D. 2012 it is as if the Giant Odometer of Humanity on Earth hits 100,000 miles and all the cycles big and small turn over to begin anew. The present world age will end and a new world age will begin. Over a year's time the Sun transits through the twelve houses of the zodiac. Many of us know this by what "Sun sign" is associated with our birthday. Upping the scale to the Platonic Year - the 26,000 year long cycle - we are shifting, astrologically, from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. The Mayan calendar does not really "end" in 2012, but rather, all the cycles turn over and start again, vibrating to a new era. It is as if humanity and the Earth will graduate in the eyes of the Father Sun and Grandmother Milky Way. So now you know the facts. Celebrate the new era, if you will, but don’t bury your head in the sand. This is a time for a new beginning not the end of it all….

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