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. 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

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