|We are shifting gears, both literally, since John successfully repaired and reinstalled the port side transmission, and figuratively, since we are taking a holiday from our holiday for a week or so.
Mr John, or Papa John, father of Roatan Joe has stopped in at La Punta to rest up before he sets off to take Central America by storm once more. Papa John is 75 and was never exected to live this long after a serious heart attack many years ago. Out of a group of 20 patients, he told us, he was the only one who opted NOT to have a heart transplant. The other 19 are dead and gone. Papa John beat the medical odds and truly appreciates each and every day he has on this earth.
"Life is good". We have heard him say it many times as he perches on Diamond Lil's step plate, his favorite spot, to tell a few tales and listen to a few of ours. "Hurry up and leave", he said, "so you can get back and I can leave. I need to rest a few days before I head back to the mainland." Resting up for John means beginning the day bright and early, out for a swim and snorkel while us youngins are still yawning over our morning coffee.
Then he's off on his 4 wheeler (no golf cart for this boy) to the early morning market to buy fresh vegetables and scout around for a young, well muscled local kid to assist the Captain with the heavy, aukward part of the transmission job, putting it back in.
He found our man and Garvin had the trany hauled from the workshop to the boat quicker than I could turn on my camera and capture it on film. John supervised while SuperMan heaved and hauled and grunted and yes even sweat. I hovered around the back deck, wiping SuperMan's oily fingerprints from the fibreglass around the engine room door and unlike John he couldn't tell me to go away!
Before long she was in and John fired her up and tested her, back and forth, forward to reverse, back to forward, straining the dock lines (and breaking one), but the news was good all around, the repair was successful.
Papa John figured that Captain John was such a good supervisor that he'd have him supervise some jobs that he needed done in the bunkhouse. The earthquake (which YES Mel really did happen) had left the bunkhouse more than a little misaligned. In return for John's assistance Papa John paid SuperMan for our job as well. This teamwork is great!
So Captain John, or house-sitting John as he is known at Hole in the Wall, and I are off for a week in West End and Papa John was all settled, with no shortage of locals coveting the much sought after work at La Punta. I had to laugh when I gave Papa J instructions on dog feeding and asked him to please water "my, I mean, your plants".
Now if there is anything that makes a soul appreciate the open sea, it's a few months at dock. Yes it is second best, I admit, sometimes even the best, for the time being. But being out here, well that's what it's all about. We had a flat calm, perfect power boating weather day for our 22 mile cruise to West End. Out went the fishing lines because this summer heat apparently gets the fish biting. We chugged slowly past West Bay and West End, rounded Gibson Point and fished a little bay that is supposed to be good for tuna. Then back to West End, where we picked up a mooring ball in the Marine Park whick surrounds West End and Sandy Bay. Back to crystal clear water. Yahoo.
I feel like a tourist with a week to soak up all the sea and activity here. I'm not though, which is the best part. Walking through town we meet up with people we know and as I munch on a burrito, watching the sea and the passersby, I tell John that this is my favorite town, anywhere!