Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ranguana Cay

We were able to get away from Placencia for a few days before a strong cold front arrived and sail to Ranguana Cay. A little island near the outer reef of Belize, we had sunshine and clear waters. The snorkeling was nice and the island had some nice beaches. We were in heaven. The only downfall is they charge you $10 per person to step foot on land.  It is good for the entire time your there, but we felt it was a bit much.  We had planned on eating in the restaurant and having a couple beers but after forking out $20 bucks we decided not to. 

Looks like Gilligan's Island.

Lots of palm trees and coconuts.

Nice beaches.

Ka'imi

More nice beaches.

Lots of crabs on the island.

Yep, Ka'imi again.

A content Pelican.

One of the cabins they rent. They also allow you to camp.

Showers, urinals and bathrooms.

Another cabin.

A sandy path through the island.

Sea Birds.

Booby's

Pelican

Nice sunset.

Cheers Kim and Mike

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Road Trip to Spanish Lookout

When we sailed into Placencia Harbour a few weeks ago our raw water pump failed AGAIN! We were in 30 ft. of water so we threw the anchor down and Mike fixed it AGAIN! We were determined to fix this problem once and for all. The problem is the set screw in the coupler that attaches the raw water pump to the injection pump, it just kept slipping.  The old coupler had a hole in it as did the shaft from the injection pump and a bolt went through it.  When we had a new coupler fabricated in Marathon, FL we did not put the hole in it, thinking we did not need it.  After all these failures we decided we did need it.  So now we needed to find a machinist, no easy task in a small Belizean town.  We asked around for a few days and got various suggestions. We woke up one day no closer to a solution and decided to hit the shore and not come back until we figured it out. We first tried to find a guy behind Paradise Restaurant, we tracked down his dad who said he could probably do it if we bought a special drill bit. We looked at his rusty drill press and decided against that option. Someone at Yoli's told us there was a guy in the next block over that had a drill press, but we were never able to find him. Next up, Steve, he is married to a fire fighter and is a welder. We found out where he lived and went to his house but he wasn't there. We then went to the fire department but they didn't know his whereabouts either.  We had a phone number but no phone and no Internet to Skype :(. We wandered over to the Barefoot Bar and Grill for a beer and free Internet when we ran into a charter captain that we had met before. He made some calls for us and we finally determined that we would have to rent a car and drive 124 miles one way to Spanish Lookout. We needed to try to track down a guy called Abe who was the closest machinist. We headed into the Office Supply store, where they had the best Internet, to try to Skype Abe. Hmmm...their Internet was down...arrgh. The guy behind us at the Office Supply store overheard us saying we needed to make an important Skype call and he told us that One World rents phones. We were so excited, we were at the right place at the right time, it's funny how things work out like that. We rented to phone for a couple of days and called Abe. He said he could do it if we got there tomorrow so we rented a car and drove 248 miles roundtrip to have a hole drilled into a Stainless Steel coupler.  LOL...it is not always an easy life, but certainly an interesting one.


We left Placencia at 5:30 am, it was still dark and very rainy. The only road out of the Placencia Peninsula had huge speed bumps about every 500 yards. They had signs for most of them, but some were very hard to see in the dark and rainy morning. We would speed up to 40 and get into third gear (the car we rented was a manual transmission) and then come to a stop to cross this bump in the road. We called it third gear alley. Once we got off the peninsula we took several roads to get to Spanish Lookout and they all looked like this. There were tons of pot holes but it was a beautiful drive.  I took lots of pictures but they are mostly blurry because we were going 50 mph. The picture below shows one of many one lane crossings over rivers.





This horse was just hanging out at the side of the road when we got to Main Street in Spanish Lookout.


Abe had given us directions to his place but no street address and he said there wasn't a sign on the building but we should be able to find it. The directions were as follows: Once you get to Spanish Lookout get to Main Street, go about 2 miles and pass Caribbean Tire. Take Center Street to Route 50 and go approximately 1 mile. Take the second drive way past the radio station and you can see it on a hill to your left.  Main Street and Center Street were the only paved roads in Spanish Lookout.  The picture below is the radio station.


We found it!  There is his house at the top of the hill and his shop below it.

 

We met Abe, who was very nice, and his three young sons who also worked in the shop.  He said he could have the work done by 1:00 PM and he suggested we take a look around town.  We had 3 hours to wonder through the small, small town of Spanish Lookout.  We asked Abe if there was a good restaurant for breakfast and he said that Midway Cafe had the best coffee in the town.  We're not sure what they consider good coffee, but this was NOT it...I drink mine black and almost had to put sugar and cream in it to get it down. After breakfast we just starting driving down roads, and everything was very picturesque.  Abe and most of the residents of Spanish Lookout are Mennonites.  It is mostly a farming town with some light industry.  The Mennonites practice their religion to varying degrees in Spanish Lookout. Some are still horse and buggy but there are the progressives, like Abe, who use a little more technology.   We found a very well stocked hardware store and actually went back 3 times, it was almost as good as Home Depot. You just don't find that out here and we were sure there was something else we needed at that store.







Below is a picture of the non progressive Mennonites.


The raw water pump is working great!  We were able to get out of Placencia and sail to Ranguana Cay for a few days with some beautiful weather.  We are now back in Placencia waiting out a cold front and looking for a weather window to head to Roatan.

Cheers Kim and Mike




Friday, January 09, 2015

Where's Ka'imi?

We are in Belize.  We didn't make it out of the Rio in December as planned. We made our way down to Burnt Key on December 14th and took a launcha to check out in Livingston.  When we returned we started the engine to top off our power supply and our engine started smoking like crazy. We were not sure what the problem was but we had recently had the injector pump rebuilt and thought it might be related to that. We had also just done an oil change and used oil we purchased in Mexico.  That oil didn't look so good.  We decided to head back to Tortugal, get some non Mexican oil and have the Mechanic check things out.  We did an oil change with some good oil, after we found that we had a fuel leak in the oil crankcase.  We fixed all our engine problems, but could not leave the Rio because the tides were not right.  We need a high tide to get past the sand bar at the mouth of the Rio Dulce.  We found a high tide on December 31st and decided to leave then.  
Burnt Cay Sunset
The next problem was our boat documentation, it would expire on December 30th.  The documentation was delayed in processing (they said they were backlogged) so we were going to try to get it once we reached the Bay Islands.  Well that plan wouldn't work now!  They had sent us a temporary documentation so we sent for the mail that would possible make it to the Rio on December 30th.   Jeesh...we are cutting things close.  The good news is it all worked out, we got our mail and made it out of the Rio on December 31st at 4:30 PM.

We anchored off the coast of Cabo Tres Puntas, Honduras.  The weather was not looking good for a trip to the Bay Islands.  It was 20-25 knots of wind on our noise and 7-8 foot seas, which probable meant 25 knot winds and 10 ft seas...LOL.... We had a good window to make it to Belize so we headed there.  We are in Placencia, Belize where we will hang for a bit.  We had an issue with the raw water pump and are fixing that, then we will head out to some of the islands on the reef for some snorkeling and diving :)
Oh the joys and woes of cruising!

Cheers Kim and Mike
Dolphins on the Bow

This path takes you to the main street past the soccer field to the Grocery Store

This path takes you to the main street and the Town Pier


Placencia Harbour

Placencia Harbour

Placencia and the Caribbean Sea

Placencia Beach on the Caribbean side

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays and New Year to all.  We are finally ready to head out this morning.  We will be hanging out on the hook in the Rio Dulce for a few days then head out to the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras.  We will post when we can!

Cheers Kim and Mike

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving on the Rio

Hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday.  We had a fabulous dinner here at Tortugal Marina with friends. The owner Daphne hosted with the main meal and everyone brought a dish to share.  We had a fantastic evening.

After Dinner

The North Side Crew, Mike, Kim, Patric, Donna, John, Nicole and Dean

After Dinner

Our Host Daphne
We are finishing up the last of our projects and hope to be heading out to the Bay Islands of Honduras in a couple of weeks.

Cheers Kim and Mike

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ka'imi Gets a New Deck

This year while in the Rio Dulce for hurricane season we had planned  to re-caulk and sand the front decks of Ka'imi.  The Marina had a carpenter and teak guy, Daniel Lopez,  that they recommended.  We determined that the  deck was to thin to repair. Daniel said he could take the teak off, lay some fiberglass and paint on non-skid.  The price was very reasonable and he had been recommended by the Marina and other cruisers who had work done by him so we hired him.  His card claims that he does Marine carpentry, varnish, fiberglass and paint, metal polishing and waxing.  Well, we know for sure he does not know how to do fiberglass.  

To make a very long story short we were ripped off.  He started the work July 21st.  They tore the decks up then we waited for Daniel to show up  for work.  We had the Marina help us contact him but he was either unreachable or said he would show up at a certain time but never come.  There were a couple other boats in the Marina that had hired him and they were having the same problems. He was a no show for over three weeks and finally came back on September 17th.  He put one coat of fiberglass on and during the next 5 days spent 1 or 2 hours on the boat then left, even though the weather was good.  We were very discouraged as we had given him two-thirds of the money and we were getting nothing in return.  The fiberglass work that he did was terrible and we could see it would need to be re-done.  He and his crew left resin fingerprints and footprints on our cabin sole, new Lexan hatch and teak railings. What a nightmare.  We also found out that he wasn't even paying his workers their wages. We finally fired him.  Right now, as far as we know, he is banned from working at the Marina.  We would not recommend him for work of any kind.  We had heard he was a good carpenter and  he may be, but he does not know fiberglass and has zero work ethic.  We did not get any of our money back.  After the fact, we heard other people had complaints with Daniel. In our marina Dances with Dragons and Lydia both had complaints with his work.
 
The bright side to this (if there is one) is that we found Oscar.  He was doing a job on a boat in the Marina and came highly recommended.  We also saw the quality of his work and were very impressed.   Oscar is shown in the picture below with Ludwing who also came highly recommended but was too busy to take our job. He knew Oscar very well, they worked together at one point and Ludwing said he would do a great job.
They started by redoing the work that Daniel had done.  In no time we had 5 layers of fiberglass on the deck.  That is Franklin in the picture below, Oscars nephew and apprentice.  He did very fine work.
Next they measured the boat and made patterns for the non skid gel coat and fiberglass panels that they would custom mold.
The next step was making the non skid gel coat panels.  They start by putting mold release on the mold panel then apply gel coat and two layers of fiberglass.  When dry they peel off the panel and we have custom made decking.
Franklin making his way around the boat.  Doesn't look easy!
The panels have been cut and they will put the deck together like pieces in a puzzle.  First they lay the resin down.
Next they place the piece of decking on top, using large rocks and weights to keep pressure on the panels.
Work in progress.

The picture below is of Jose.  Franklin stepped on a nail and hurt his foot.  He couldn't come to work for two days and Jose stepped in to help out.
All panels are in place and now comes the hard part of making it look pretty.
They ground the seams out, laid two layers of fiberglass in the seams and sealed with gel coat. The gel coat was then polished until it was nice and shiny.
Beautiful decks, they did an excellent job.  They also showed up to work everyday.  Below they are cleaning up some of the resin that Daniel and crew left on our boat.
Thank you Oscar and Franklin for doing such an outstanding job! We would highly recommend these guys for fiberglass and painting work.

Cheers Kim and Mike
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