Earthquake Rocks Roatan
Jun 2, 2009
|I was woken from my sleep by a very odd movement of the boat, nothing I had ever felt before, more like an up and down sensation than the usual side to side bump and grind. Then "boom", an explosion, well that's what it sounded and then the power went out. I got up and looked out into the darkness,wondering if a big generator or something had blown up. The thought of an earthquake zipped through my mind in a flash, but I discarded the thought and went back to sleep. The Captain slept through the whole thing.
When he stepped outside in the morning he noticed the locked door to the house open. Then, a window, also locked, in the shed open. He called the dogs and neither one came, so he checked the boathouse where Chiquita sleeps. No Chiquita but a bunch of wood knocked down from the rafters where it is stored, and out 15 hp engine that he had removed from the boat lying in the water. Right away he suspected foul play and came to get me. We checked the house and saw a few knocked over cups and vases and a front shutter open but nothing else. We unlocked the bunkhouse and what a mess, stuff from shelves everywhere, only two jars broken but a bottle of syrup and ketchup that look like they had been shaken all over. Stuff everywhere and yet no sign of forced entry, all still locked tight. Bizarre! Vandals, we thought, or someone looking for something to steal. Still no sign of the dogs and after much calling Chiquita finally came. It took another five minutes to find Jip hiding over in the mangroves on the far side of the property.
I called Joe Roatan and told him the bad news, he'd been broken into. I couldn't understand why the dogs didn't bark. Then my freind Jeanie calle from Guatemala to ask me if I had felt the earthquake. Then it all made sense. So I called poor Joe Roatan and said it's ok Joe you weren't robbed, it was ONLY an earthquake.
The power was back on my 10 am Thursday morning, about 7 hours after the earthquake or terremoto as they call it here and John zipped across to the store and bought a phone card for our modem so we had internet. The store looked even worse than the bunkhouse, with jars broken and spilled everywhere, except the liquor shelves, which had been reinforced with an extra strip of wood and the good news was ... not a drop spilled.
We noticed a water leak through the boathouse wall and discovered a pipe broken in the bunkhouse, probably by something falling on it. John rummaged around for a few odds and ends and had it all together in no time and while we cleaned up we could hear neighbours dropping broken glass into the garbage. It was much the same all over the island.
The islanders had tuned in to their battery operated radios in the night and heard the tsunami warning and many of them headed for high ground. In West End no staff showed up for work on Thursday, at the hotels, or restaurants or stores. I'm sorry I missed that. The scheduled cruise ship landed with no problem, a relief to the Islanders, who could not suffer damage to the cruise ship dock without economic disaster. There was no loss of life that we have heard on the island so all is well.
The update was to be called "Boat Jobs" but with an earthquake front and centre the boat jobs take second billing. However, they are endless and we have been busy while we are here at the dock with all the luxuries of land. We stripped down most of the canvas up on the flybridge, all that needed the sewing repaired or reinforced. We dingied it over to our friends Kay and Bob on Bettie over at Larry Wood's dock in Jonesville and she zipped it up, total cost $47.
I cleaned it all before putting it back up and picked out all the old, hand stitching I had put in over the years, which I swore took longer than it did to resew it. I found the best place to work was on our bed, while the bedding was in the washer and on the line, I spread it out with the wind blowing through the hatch on me, safe from the burning heat of the sun outside and it was perfecto. Back up it went, piece by piece, like a puzzle and one more job was stricken from the list.
John pulled the port side transmission out, not an easy task as he squeezed into pretzel type positions to get at all the bolts. The dilemna was always whether to repair or replace it. Can't get new, so it would have to be used. Once it was out the process of pulling it all apart began and during this he realized that there was no possible way to tell whether any used transmissions were good without such disassembly.We took the gear assembly into Los Fuertes to have the bearing pressed off. However, the bearing was broken in the process and they had to grind if off. He has Larry Wood down in Jonesville, who is a retired Canadian diesel mechanic helping him and they ground off another race so they could get to the back clutch pack and thrust washer. John wrote to a Bayliner Owners Club member who had the specs for the thrust washer and friction disks. Back to Larry's to measure our parts and the thrustwasher is NFG but the clutch pack is good, a relief. Just today John ordered the thrust washer and race from Florida and were able to order the bearing here on the Island in French Harbour. We cannot move the boat until it goes back in.
Meanwhile the mount on the 15 hp outboard went again and John and Larry set to looking around for parts. Off they went, in search of this old geezer and that old feller and happened to stop in this bar and that. Now we have several people looking for the part but since John fixed in it Guatemala and it lasted for 8 months, no harm in fixing it again. So today he did that. I sat inside the boat writing while he ground and banged and cleaned a few feet away in his little shop and hopefully fixed it.
So Mom and Dad, it didn't take long before we got to try the 2.2 hp motor which is running like a charm, getting John out and about to take care of business.