I’m a City Dweller….get me out of here!!!

Sunday afternoon we were ready to splash – with only food and some old working clothes left in the apartment – so we accepted Charlie’s invitation to have dinner with him at another restaurant hidden up one of the Rio’s tributaries. At five we took off into the mangroves….to this lovely little place and had a great steak dinner (which is a pretty unusual find here).  We had a fun time.

into-the-mangroves our-destination local-restaurant having-fun-up-the-river

By eight we were back in the apartment quaffing our last cold beers before soaking up our last night of air conditioning and mindless TV before retiring to bed.

Monday morning we were up very early and paid our marina bill – no cash no splash LOL – and headed to RAM’s West Marine-affiliated chandlery to collect our big order which had been sitting waiting patiently for our return.  Well…we were there ages which annoyed lots of other clients….and, finally, they agreed to let us take our goods and to return the following day to pay.   The till could not work out the final amount left to pay and the young guy was totally confused by their complicated system.

We were heading back to our apartment when we were suddenly called on the radio – they were ready to splash us in ten minutes!  So we headed to Morphie and made sure everything was ready for her trip to the water.  The travel lift turned up – we got off – the ladder was removed and they lifted her off her blocks.


This made us nervous, especially as they left her hanging there while one of the guys topped up the antifouling in areas affected by the stands and chocks.  We just sat on the wall helplessly and nervously watching while the guys took a short break as they waited for the newly-applied antifoul to dry.


Finally Morphie was on the move and we followed behind on the torturous long walk until she was lowered into the water.

the-long-walk-starts into-the-watersplash-down

Richard walked the plank and checked for leaks…and then we were pulled out of the launch area until we were snug alongside the fuel dock… feeling very relieved the ordeal was over for another year.


While Richard was topping up the ten fuel cans on the rail I did a final trip to the apartment to collect our frozen food, hand in the keys, and returned just in time to pay the huge fuel bill LOL. We sat on the fuel dock – turned on the fridge / freezer – and waited for confirmation that we were good to move across to our slip in NanaJuana. That came sooner than expected and we motored around the corner very pleased that everything had worked as it should. Then we realised the fridge was playing up….which we expected because we knew that its thermostat was dodgy in the summer.  The freezer was, thankfully, working perfectly.

We spent the rest of the day sorting ourselves out and headed to the pool for a quick cool down before returning to Morphie for our first evening and dinner on board followed by an early night. We were tired but happy to be back on board.


Tuesday morning we awoke refreshed having slept through – despite the lack of air conditioning on board LOL. And the fridge still needs some help. On the list!  Our first task was to get dink off the coach roof. We pulled him up above the deck with the Genoa halyard…pumped air into him…and launched him over the side into the water. Then we got the outboard off the rail and lowered it down onto dink’s transom. Mission accomplished. We then sorted out his gear and locked him to the dock. Next job was to reinstall the ropes / pulleys / cushioned pads etc onto the arch. After that it was time to reinstate the dorade – this has to be removed when dink is on the bow – and put up the canvas. Here she is looking pretty in her slip.


In the meantime we had a visit from the varnish guy who is going to make good some “keepers” that had been affected by the UV during our time on the hard. We also spoke to a canvas guy who we hope is going to make canvas covers for our fuel cans as they are also getting affected by the sun.  Plus we would like a couple of lightweight sun canopies to cover the boom. Then we took ourselves off to get some drinking vouchers / internet to make arrangements for the refrigerant guy and electrician (utilising the winning bids from Saturday’s auction).

We also approached a stainless steel welder to help us with the Iridium Go installation on the arch. Oh yes and we finally agreed and paid our outstanding bill at the chandlery. Phew…busy and so very hot…so we spent a few hours in the pool before returning to Morphie for dinner. Sadly we can’t pick up internet on the boat here so we went back to the hotel reception to check on emails before another early night.

Wednesday morning we awoke to rain and cloud. So the guys coming to do some varnish keepers have cried off starting today. The canvas guy has been and gone – and we have shaken hands on the deal with promises that it will all be finished by the end of the week.   That would be amazing.

In the meantime we’ve temporarily fixed the fridge by isolating the dodgy thermostat and injecting some gas. But we still need to replace the thermostat before we set off and the whole system given a proper check. Access to trades will become more difficult (and significantly more expensive) once we leave the Rio. At ten o’clock we were expecting the welder. He did turn up eventually and had good ideas but he couldn’t fit us in until 20 December at the earliest. Hmmmm… we definitely want to have moved on by then. He has gone away to look at his schedule to see if he can do it earlier but told us to shop around just in case. Not confident of getting this done and not a job we can tackle ourselves….

We carried on working.  Richard has added additional clips to our safety harnesses so we have both short and long tethers available when under way. He has also sewn together some webbing straps to fix our new helm seat in place for long passages – although we probably won’t use this for a while yet.


Appointments have been finalised with the electrician coming Friday and the fridge guy Monday.   So we just have an alternative welder to source. Lunchtime – in the crippling heat – we took dink across to Fronteras.


We were assaulted by the noise, smells, trucks, and manic activity all over again. Nothing much changes here on the river.  But as we needed to get some basic provisions it was a necessary evil.  Four heavy bags later, wilting in the heat, we returned to Morphie completely drained so took to our bed for a siesta once we had unpacked.

Wednesday evening we headed across to MAR marine via their complimentary water taxi service for movie night. Great dinner, happy hour all night, and thoroughly enjoyed the Tom Hanks film Scully, about the pilot who landed his plane on the Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board.  Here is a picture of the actual immediate aftermath of that dramatic event.


Thursday morning we were up early and the varnishing work started in earnest. We got more money out of the ATM and I did laundry while Richard sorted spares. Then we found another welder through Edgar the dockmaster here…who also acted as an interpreter. Allegedly the work starts Monday. Fingers crossed!

Richard carried on sorting through spares and packing things away while I sorted out our first aid supplies – spare items to be stowed and an emergency kit to deal with all eventualities in one place. At one point looking at the mess spread across the whole of the cabin sole Richard said he thought I could perform open-heart surgery and still have supplies left.    Well….you can’t have too much…can you?!?

Lunchtime we had a reunion with Charlie and Saundra (who had just flown in from Texas) and went out for a nice lunch on the river. Check out Saundra’s local Garifuna fish soup – yes that is a whole crab peeking out LOL.

charlie-and-saundra fish-soup

Back to Morphie and we did some more tidying before taking ourselves off to the pool for a short bobbing session. On our return we were surprised that the canvas man turned up within minutes – he must have been watching out for us. He had finished the job. Amazing turnaround and good quality work. Woo hoo…things are starting to come together.

Friday morning and we woke to more rain. Damn….another day without the varnishing guys. But the electrician turned up and while his minions did the small job of swapping out the oil pressure gauge he and Richard put the world to rights in terms of electronic equipment.    We could have done this small job ourselves but, as the welding had not been done, the original task we wanted help with was not going to be worth doing.  Never mind.  This guy was interesting…he was sailing from the US to Panama…he came across the Rio and hadn’t left since. I really can’t imagine living here for 20+ years. After the electrician had gone Richard took apart the navigation station and put in new power supplies for the digital barometer and the Iridium Go. Here he is having fun….


Then he cut the holes in the panel and installed them.  Brilliant job – well done!  All we need now is that welder.  Pulling the cables into the arch and installing the receiver will be the final part of the installation – so the nav area will remain looking like this for now.


While Richard was creating a mess down below I took all the fixings for the cans off the rail – the footman loops we had purchased as marine stainless steel clearly weren’t.   Grrrr….   They have rusted badly making a right mess on deck which I had to clean up.   Not happy.    We couldn’t take them apart and replace them as we don’t have enough spares on board – so the only way forward was a compromise solution.   So I took them all off….cleaned them up…and covered them in a rubber solution which, hopefully, will reduce the rust.   Here I am re-fixing them to the rail….


Oh yes we also put up the new lightweight canvas to give us some additional protection from the sun.


Phew – busy day – and later on we cooled off in the pool chatting to Jo and Ulla.

I guess you might be wondering about the title to this blog?  Well….it is spider season here in Guatemala. My absolute nightmare as they frighten me. These beasties are everywhere and each morning Morphie is covered in new intricate webs. Thankfully no tarantulas have made it on board or into our bed as was the case for one cruiser on the radio net the other morning as he sought advice on venomous spider bite treatments.


I pushed seven smaller ones off the deck today this morning – and trust me that is really brave. But I did beg Richard for help with a particularly large nasty looking beastie. This one was aggressive, reared up and jumped at him before it became fish food in the drink. My fear of spiders is not helped by the fact that many of them here are venomous with some of the smallest being the most dangerous. Yuck!

On top of that we are being feasted upon by other bugs despite taking preventative precautions. We often wake up with blood on the sheets where some critter has got squished during the night. And they seem to like biting my face so I feel like a teenager with bad skin and zits.   Oh yes – and the best story for last – after bobbing we cleaned up onshore. The hotel public toilet / shower facilities are pretty big so we locked ourselves in and shared a shower. At one point Richard told me to move urgently – and I can’t see without my glasses – so I followed his instructions. Grabbing my specs to finally see what was going on as Richard worked hard at dispatching the critter – I was horrified to find out that a scorpion had actually been walking across my foot!!!


Seriously….it was a small one….but OMG….get me out of here!!!   Richard has never met a real live scorpion before – my hero – so brave.

Saturday morning and I’m sitting in the hotel reception with views over the pool making the most of the internet to get this blog done.


I’m also simultaneously downloading more KAP files from Google Earth. Frustrating that I lost time with computer problems so that I’m still working on this – had really hoped to have finished this by the time I left home.

Anyway, more boat jobs to do after I’ve finished this, and am hoping to be able to go bobbing again this afternoon.   The tracker should be going live soon – so watch this space.  In the meantime, bye for now.