Friday, February 22, 2013


Ship-Shape and Ready to Cruise

Pixie and Ellen Shopping
We have another count-down to launch of our cruising season - T-minus 6 days and counting! The mis-directed emergency repair engine part finally made it into Jonesy's hands and was installed within hours of arriving. All other systems are "Go". We actually had a nice high-tide to get out earlier but a big storm was hurtling towards us with seas of 10ft, winds up to 35knots and rain. Nope. That's not our style so we have sat tight and squeezed in an extra week of socializing.

Of course that also meant that I needed to continue grocery shopping. One of the fun benefits of living "on the river" is the weekly visit by Esperanza. When the business that she worked for decided not to provide this meat and dairy products delivery service anymore, she put together her own shop in town and continued the personal delivery. This young Guatemalan gal is quite the entrepreneur isn't she? She's extended the offerings to include fresh fruits and vegetables which we all adore. So every Tuesday we hang around the docks in the marina here so we can be first in line to make our selections.

And because we had some extra time, Jonesy also managed to squeeze in some not-so-critical repairs to the boat. We had lost our wind indicator (vane) which sits way up high on top of our mast. How? Friggin' Frigate birds. These "magnificent" big sea birds love to sit up on top of the mast. But their weight has caused the delicate wind indicator to bend. Several times we have paid folks to go up the mast and make repairs. This last time the dang thing just broke right off and disappeared into the sea. Sure, we have electronic wind speed and direction indicators, but simply looking up is a lot easier to quickly grasp the wind direction.

Man up Mast - Niki Wiki gets a Wind Indicator
For at least a year, Jonesy has had the word "Windex" on our whiteboard shopping and to-order-do list. I kept asking him why he needed window cleaner when we had a squirt bottle full onboard.  Davis Windex is the brand name of the wind indicator. So now we have ours ordered, recieved and installed. Finally, we can stop having this silly conversation...for awhile. Maybe longer, because our new model has an anti-bird spike on the top of it. Jonesy hired a brave soul who did the mast-climbing while Jonesy and I manned the halyard and safety line. Yes, there is a man at the top of our mast in this photo.

Being here in Guatemala during the month of February is new for us as we are usually out in the Caribbean somewhere by this time. One of the things that I've enjoyed being here during late winter is seeing plants blooming that I've never seen do so before. The other day I noticed the big cashew nut tree in the back gardens area of the marina. By the time we come back in June there are cashew fruits on the tree. But now here are the tiny thick-skinned red and green blossoms! They have a funky sweet smell that is not very pleasant almost like marigolds.

Another pleasure has been being able to spend some time with my friend Teresa and her Read Smocking Machine! Teresa used to make smocked dresses for her daughter many years ago (said kid is now 30-years old) and she has hung onto this precious machine. We set it up and smocked a length of fabric for me to embroider. This will be the yoke of a sundress for my 1-year old niece Ella. The machine saves a bunch of time! Without it I would have to carefully space and hand sew the 8 lines of gathers. Now I can just dive into the embroider which is the fun stuff!

Of course there has been a lot of knitting going on too. Mostly I've been doing mindless knitting of socks for the teenagers in the orphanages of Kazakhstan. But there's also been brain-bashing charting and writing of complicated instructions of new designs for other hand knitters.

Beautiful young women in Kazakhstan with handknit socks 
The very best knitting related experience for me was the posting of photos taken by the director of the Motherless Child Foundation when she was delivering the warm knitted clothing in December. What did I see? Lots of photos of kids holding up a pair of my handknit socks that they had selected from the stash as their own. One of the older girls who was modeling for her "graduation" portrait was actually wearing a pair of my socks!! But the most squeeeeees came when I came across this photo of FIVE girls who had each selected a pair of socks knit my me! Aren't theese girls adorable! This just makes me want to knit more, more, more!

Jonesy's Perkins Punk Necklace
And speaking of adorable. Here's Jonesy wearing his new "Perkins Punk" style manly-man cruiser necklace (our engine is a Perkins diesel, not steam). We figured that these little phenolic resin auxillary driver dampers cost as much as a piece of nice jewelry! So, he might as well wear the spare part we bought on a nice 35cent chain instead of hiding it away in the spares locker! All in good fun.

Off we go! (we hope)

Bon voyage! (Has to be me saying it, since your dock-side companions have sailed ahead.
Yippee! All systems once again go for you & Jonesy!! SO happy for the two of you!
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