|Hard to believe, but last week Captain John and I met Raul Morales here in Fronteras to apply for our boat extension. We also had our passports stamped, which we are required to do after being in the country for 90 days. That marks the half way point of our 6 month, hurricane season stay here in Rio Dulce, Guatemala.
I have had a few questions about the hurricanes and any affects felt here. The only affect so far has been that the storms have sucked the normal, rainy weather away from our area, leaving HOT, but practically rain free weather. However, I read in yesterday's paper that 5 departmentos in the south and west of the country were declared to be under an orange rain alert the day before yesterday and thousands of people were being evacuated from flooded areas which I imagine is related to the hurricanes, making us, just a few departamentos away lucky.
It is like night and day from the weather last year, which I remember and being HOT and WET. Today's high is forecast to be 96, if you factored in a Canadian "humidex" it would be about 204. We have given in and taken to using "sweat rags" like the locals. Any small towel or large washcloth will do. You simply wear the "rag" around your neck or over your shoulder or keep it close by to wipe the constant stream of perspiration from your face and body. It is also necessary at times to place it on the table in front of you when eating or using the computer, otherwise your slippery forearms slide about and make a gross mess. My body clock goes off each afternoon when it's time for my hot flash pills because the furnace inside gets turned up a few notches. Oh yeah, could I do hormone replacement commercials here!
The best thing to do, really is just to try to forget the heat and get busy with something, anything to take your mind off it. So while the Captain lies inside with two fans pointed in his direction, reading his book, I climb up to the flybridge and open the windows to let the heat out and get busy cleaning and scrubbing. If the windows aren't opened regularly the humid climate grows mould up there even though the back door area is always open. So I wipe and shine the windows and polish the stainless steel. One day last week we received a beautiful, cool downpour and I put on my bathing suit and went out and scrubbed the superstructure from top to bottom till Diamond Lil sparkled.
John and I climbed the bridge one afternoon after hearing a "attention to the fleet" plea for help on the VHF radio. I woke the Captain from his siesta to tell him that men and fire extinguishers were required for a very large fire behind the gas station over at Backpackers. I grabbed my camera and set off at a quick pace up the bridge, not an easy feat in the afternoon heat, to film the fire. John was right behind me. We watched for about an hour, hoping that 2 large gas tanks would not catch on fire and explode (video attached).
I joined a group of cruisers who walk somewhere different each Sunday morning at 7 on a walk from the bridge to the Castillo and back to Tortugal Marina (about 6 km), where the owner, Daphne treated us all the delcious liquados and a tour of the marina. We stopped in the little town of San Philipe de Lara at the home of a Canadian couple who lived for many years on their boat and ended up buying property here. They offered cold water to the two dogs we had with us, one which we picked up along the way and to all of us and gave us a tour of their home. They had family that lived at Roches Point near Keswick and we reminisced about times we had both spent anchored there in the past.
The biggest news of all is that after 3 months of trying to find motor mounts for our outboard motor, which are apparently obsolete, John finally gave in and repaired the old, broken mounts himself. Alas, we have had wheels and have enjoyed some marvellous dingy riding. I'm very proud of his resourcefulness, something that seems to be necessary in order to survive down here in Central America.
So with our outboard motor running and our 90 day extension all completed, we set off on a short boat ride, along with several other boats from the area to a lovely little place about 15 km downriver, at the point where the Golfete narrows down into the gorge, called Texan Bay.