Monthly Archives: April 2014

Pirates and Mayhem!!!

After a few nights in Utilla, Kylan enjoying his Rescue Diver class a storm is predicted to blow through. We double checked the anchor. We battened down the hatches (whatever that means) and we got ready for the blow. Blow it did, a powerful squall came in a little earlier than predicted. No problem for us, thank goodness, however, four other boats in the harbor had problems when their anchors dragged and they had to spend some time re-anchoring, avoiding other boats and missing the reef.

The real excitement came when I heard yelling coming from the boat anchored near us. I thought they were having trouble with their anchor, but after a while there was chatter on the VHF radio about them being boarded by an unknown person (pirate) and needing police assistance. Mind you, the wind is still blowing pretty strong. During these tense moments, another boater and I made the decision to launch our dinghies and come to their assistance. We both showed up about the same time where we found a young (mid 20s) white guy who appeared to be highly intoxicated. Three of us were all demanding this guy remove himself from the boat, but it became apparent that he had no ride back to shore. The other cruiser agreed to give the guy a ride to shore and I followed him to make sure there was no more incidents.

With this unneeded excitement behind us, it was back to worrying about the storm blowing through. I slept in the salon so I could easily jump to action if necessary (luckily). At about 3:30 am I awoke to a sound that took me a while to recognize. It was the windlass running. The windlass is the electric motor used to lower and raise the anchor. This night it was raising the anchor. Not exactly what I wanted to have happen in the middle of this storm. I ran outside to stop the mayhem. Grabbing a wrench and a flashlight, I ran to the forward cabin (only accessible from the outside) to where the windlass cables are run through a control box. I got the power cable disconnected, but not before wires had melted and who knows what else. Surveying the damage the next morning, I determined a switch had shorted out and started bringing in the anchor. Fortunately there was a knot in the anchor rode that kept the windlass from raising the anchor all the way and setting us adrift on the dark and stormy night. Praise God things all worked out and by noon the following day the storm had finally blown through and I was able to start fixing the windlass. Which luckily did not burn out the motor.

The next day the cruiser that had been boarded filed a police report and found out the “pirate” had a reputation on the island for causing mayhem. Because he is a non resident, the police are reluctant to do anything about it. Also it costs a lot of money to prosecute, so the person pressing charges is required to pay for most of it. We were told, it is much cheaper to pay to have the troublemaker beat up or worse. And the low cost of the latter is spine chilling cheap.

Two days latter (4/11) we left Utilla on a rainy cloud covered day to head out into the ocean again, only to arrive in West End, Roatan 4 hours later on a beautiful sunny day.

Pictures from Guatemalla and beyond

Sail loft in Cayo Quemaddo. They do good work, but I hope I never go back. :)

Sail loft in Cayo Quemaddo. They do good work, but I hope I never go back. 🙂

Finally got the new anchor shaft. In case you couldn't tell, the new one is on the right.

Finally got the new anchor shaft. In case you couldn’t tell, the new one is on the right.

Rocks and props don't get along. Even in paradise.

Rocks and props don’t get along. Even in paradise.

Our crew hard at work.

Our crew hard at work.

A little shy, but that's one big hermit crab.

A little shy, but that’s one big hermit crab.

Saying goodbye to Julienne

Saying goodbye to Julienne

Child safety seat, Honduran style. Not quite US standards.

Child safety seat, Honduran style. Not quite US standards.

If you go to Utilla, you have to stop by the Jade Seahorse. This is just one of many creations there.

If you go to Utilla, you have to stop by the Jade Seahorse. This is just one of many creations there.

We love visits from all of our friends. (hint, hint)

We love visits from all of our friends. (hint, hint)

Hunch-bull of Finca Paraisio

Hunch-bull of Finca Paraisio

Aqua Caliente

Aqua Caliente

Brian is finally getting a hot shower.

Brian is finally getting a hot shower.

Large toad

Large toad

Kylan and a friend in Aqua Caliente

Kylan and a friend in Aqua Caliente

Laundry day in Guatemala.

Laundry day in Guatemala.

Group shot after the dip at Aqua Caliente.

Group shot after the dip at Aqua Caliente.

El Castillo de San Felipe on Lago Izabel

El Castillo de San Felipe on Lago Izabel

Stray Catz and Alecia Angelina rafted together in Lago Izabel

Stray Catz and Alecia Angelina rafted together in Lago Izabel

I couldn't help myself. I had to slip this one in.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to slip this one in.

Indian Nose

Indian Nose

Anna and Maria dressed up  in full Mayan dress.

Anna and Maria dressed up in full Mayan dress.

Cobweb at the top of Indian Head

Cobweb at the top of Indian Head

Fog has engulfed us on top of Indian Head

Fog has engulfed us on top of Indian Head

Sunrise at the top.

Sunrise at the top.

Anna showing off one of her super-powers.

Anna showing off one of her super-powers.

From left to right; Kylan, Brian, Anna, Juan, Pablo & Lupe

From left to right; Kylan, Brian, Anna, Juan, Pablo & Lupe

Anna and her new friend Maria.

Anna and her new friend Maria.

Picture from the dinning room table. Bathroom is the first door on the left... It's the only door on the left.

Picture from the dinning room table. Bathroom is the first door on the left… It’s the only door on the left.

Our bedroom. One of the few rooms with four walls.

Our bedroom. One of the few rooms with four walls.

Anna helped out with the tortillas. About one of hers to 5 of Maria's

Anna helped out with the tortillas. About one of hers to 5 of Maria’s

Even I helped out once with the dishes.

Even I helped out once with the dishes.

One of many resorts surrounding Lake Atitlan

One of many resorts surrounding Lake Atitlan

Anna and Kylan enjoying a fast boat ride

Anna and Kylan enjoying a fast boat ride

Boats anchored out on Lake Atitlan

Boats anchored out on Lake Atitlan

Central Park San Pedro. The rooster is important.

Central Park San Pedro.
The rooster is important.

One of the pimped out school buses squeezing through the busy market.

One of the pimped out school buses squeezing through the busy market.

March 26- April 3 Guatemalla to Honduras

Monday March 24th back on Stray Catz, it looks like everything will be ready for a Wednesday departure for Honduras. That is everything but the weather.  According to the forecasts it will be Monday March 31st (Kylan’s birthday) before there will be good weather. Five extra days to wait. We hadn’t seen Tikal yet so…. Thursday morning we were on a bus to Flores, Guatemala. In the interest of saving money we didn’t spend the extra $20 for the luxury bus and ended up having to stand in the overcrowded isle of a bus for 3 of the 4.5 hour trip. Not fun. But we got to Flores found a hotel and made arrangements for a sunset tour of Tikal the next day. Flores is this neat little town on an island in Lago Peten Itza.  Like Lake Atitlan, Lago Peten Itza too has risen several feet in the last few years and most of the outside road that circles the island is under water. The town is a little touristy, but all the locals seem very nice and friendly.  Just to give you an idea of the size, you can walk around the outside of the island in about 30 minutes.

Tikal was impressive. The shear size and number of the ruins alone was incredible. We climbed most of the Temples. We saw two kinds of Toucans, spider monkeys, coatimundies, tarantulas, parrots, toads, and many other types of birds. We climbed to the top of the tallest temple to watch the sunset, then gazed at the stars from the main plaza. After that we hiked back to the van in the dark. A wonderful trip except for the fact I left the camera on the van and somehow the next day no one could find it. Kylan had some great shots of one of the toucans, and some of the shots from the top of the temples were good too, but we can’t prove it. I was bad enough about putting pictures on the blog before, now who knows what will happen.

We took the luxury bus back to the Rio Dulce, which enabled us to watch and listen to some Latin singer who by the looks of it, is as popular as Elvis Presley once was for 3.5 hours. But at least we had air conditioning and a seat.

We left Sunday morning the 30th  so we could pick up our main sail. This enabled us to hike up to an underground river just off of the Rio Dulce.

On Kylan’s birthday, we checked out of Guatemala and headed out to sea.

It seems that the weather has it in for us every time we try an ocean passage. It was beautiful when we left, but by night fall the winds had picked up, and the seas which were directly head on, kept pounding us, so we headed for Puerto Cortes again. This time we checked into Honduras and looked around the town some. I don’t believe they get a lot of tourists there. We were looked at a lot, and many people spoke to us for no reason. If only we knew more Spanish.

Two nights there and it looked like the weather would be good to go the last 70 miles to Utilla, but alas we were wrong again.

The last 20 miles the wind had shifted to straight on the nose and the seas had risen to 10 feet, so Stray Catz was taking a beating. Up every wave and slamming down in the next one. Moving along at about 2.5knots. We pulled into Utilla Harbour at 8:30 at night in total darkness.

Praise God we had been there before and were able to follow our previous track through the reef, and praise God when we dropped our now repaired anchor, it grabbed and held the first time and we were set for the night.