Thursday, March 20, 2014

Return to Roatan AGAIN

Return to Roatan Again

Friday 7 March – Thursday 16 March

As the sun was rising Friday morning in Guanaja and we were getting ready to leave we noticed the bilge pump going off more frequently. Normally our bilge is very dry, and we had noticed after the passage from the Rio and during our time in Roatan that it would go off intermittently. We did several searches / inspections of all the thru hulls and found NO leaks, so we contributed it to running the A/C, which drains into the bilge. But now after not running the A/C it was going off even more. We inspected the thru hulls again, and this time found the leak in the starboard forward head sink drain. The bronze thru hull was cracked between the hull and the shutoff valve. We had had a similar problem with the second sink in that head on the port side back in December 2012, so knew it could easily turn into a major problem. It was an easy decision to return to Roatan where we knew we could get hauled out and have it repaired. As we got close to French Harbor we called Jerry the dock master at Fantasy Island Marina to get the phone # for the ship yard. Jerry called them for us and explained our problem and they said they would be able to haul us out that same day.

We arrived back into the Harbour shortly after noon, lunch time for the ship yard. Jerry let us tie up at our old spot at the dock, until they returned from lunch, this gave us a few minutes to have lunch also. By 1:15 the boat yard had a crew moving a big barge out of the way so we could move into the slip with the travel lift to get us out of the water. It is a slow process, making sure the straps are in the right place and then slowly lifting the boat and moving to land, then resting the boat back down on chocks so it can “stand” safely on land, so we didn't finish until 3:30. I called friends, old neighbors from Kemah, who have a second home in Roatan to see if they were still in town. They were and offered their assistance in whatever way we needed. Friday after Steve removed the leaking thru hull, he showed it to the yard manager who said he would go see if he could find one if not he could have it made. He couldn't find any on the island or the nearest mainland town, so we had 5 made so we could replace all of the similar thru hulls. It was late Friday afternoon, and the machine shop promised to make them over the weekend to be ready Monday morning. We spent a quiet night on the boat, with a meal we had made for our overnight passages.

Saturday morning Autie & Janie came to pick us up to get us out of the yard. Steve had a short list of things he would need to do the repairs so we made the rounds to the different shops looking for and getting all but one, a 1.25” deep socket to remove the remaining thru hulls, but a call to the boatyard manager at home confirmed he had one we could use on Monday. We also made a stop to top up another weeks worth of internet. Autie & Janie took us to lunch at Gio's in French Harbour, a place we had heard about but had never been to then back to their house in Parrot Tree Plantation for a relaxing afternoon in the pool. They again graciously offered for us to stay at their house but Steve did not feel comfortable leaving the boat unattended in the yard. They lent us one of their cars to go back to the ship yard for the night. Plans were made for Sunday afternoon since no work would be done in the yard.

Sunday morning Steve ran to Ace Hardware and started to get things ready for Monday before Autie & Janie came by at 11:30. They took us over to Sandy Bay, near West End, to go to Blue Bahia for lunch. Another great restaurant with a great location on Roatan. A stop at Sundowners Beach Bar in West End for a beverage where we also picked up some DVD movies. Then over to Fosters in West Bay , all new spots for us to see. Heading back via Coxen Hole stopping at Gio's 2nd restaurant location for dinner. On the way back the car died, alternator problem, got a taxi to jump us and being a diesel made it back to the boat yard. Janie used their 2nd car to lead Autie who used our spot light as a headlight to get back to their home in Parrot Tree. NOT your typical day in a boat yard !!

Monday was a working day for Steve, once we decided he did not need my help, I went over to the Pineapple Resort for a massage. We had made plans to be picked up at 5 to go to dinner with Autie & Janie at a friends house. One of their friends Steffie opens their lovely home up on Mondays to serve dinner to a group of their friends. A great venue for them all to get together.

Tuesday Autie & Janie wanted us to go out to Mango Creek Lodge in Port Royal out further east on the island. They had bought the place about a year and a half ago and wanted to show it to us. We had met the managers Doc & DeDe the night before and had been hearing a lot of wonderful things about the place. Tuesday morning we got another thru hull put in, BUT Steve said there was still too much work to be done for him to go. Another weather window was coming up on Thursday and he wanted to be sure the boat was back in the water and ready to go by then. So when Janie came to pick us up at 1, only I went & Steve stayed to work on the boat :(.

Autie had taken their Martinez runabout boat “Patrona” out to Oak Ridge earlier, so now Janie & I were driving there to meet him at BJ's bar & restaurant. BJ's is the “parking lot” / pick up point for anyone going out to Mango Creek as there are no roads leading there. We also met up with Michelle who is a massage therapist on the island and was going out to give two of the guests massages. Loaded up the boat with our overnight bags and we were heading east by 1:45. A ride thru Oak Ridge Harbor, then thru the mangrove cut to Calabash Bight, out past the reef then back in thru the reef at Port Royal. Arriving at Mango Creek Lodge ( 45 minutes later. Mango Creek Lodge is an all inclusive Eco lodge, with 5 cabanas over the water for guests. It also has a main house along with staff lodging and a wood shop. They do all of their own wood work for the resort and it is very impressive. A tour of the grounds then a short rest before dinner. One of the guests had a birthday that evening and Janie & DeDe's were coming up, so they decided to have a little celebration dinner. Lobster tail, steak, asparagus, & risotto, followed by a champagne toast and 3 different cakes and a chocolate pie !!! Just a wonderful lovely evening the only thing missing was Steve of course. I had called him right before dinner and he had a very productive day getting all the repairs done and was just cleaning up glad he still had a meal already made and waiting.

Wednesday easy lazy morning for me while Steve was finishing up in the yard. The yard takes credit cards but the card machine was at a different location so Steve had them stop by the grocery store on the way to pick up a few last things. I went for a little boat ride with Janie & Autie seeing the bays further east, then back to the lodge to pick up our bags and head back by 11. When we got to Oak Ridge and the car I called Steve and he was already being launched, and was just tying up at an empty spot at Fantasy Island Marina until I got back. Janie & I also stopped at the grocery store for a few more things before going back to the marina. Said good bye to Janie, not able to thank them enough for all their help. Jerry the dock master stopped by and said we could stay the night at the dock for no fee and come to happy hour at the palapa hut one more time. It was hamburger night also but we had not made reservations and thought they were sold out but Jerry said they had room for 2 more. Steve went for a swim and relaxed on the beach for a few hours while I cleaned up the boat from all his work. Stowing everything away for our early departure the next morning. It was a good turn out for happy hour and hamburger night, so we had a good time seeing friends one more time. Steve also cooked a steak to make a steak salad for when we were underway the following night.

Thursday we were under way by 6:45 AM, motor sailing in calm seas with light winds. Later in the day the winds were even less and more on the nose so we were just motoring. As we were approaching Guanaja we talked to friends Gina & Bruce on Dream Catcher who were just leaving Guanaja to head to Providencia also. We kept in touch via the VHF radio for a while but then they turned off to go via one route while we planed an overnight stop at the Hobbies Cays. We arrived there around 11:30 AM Friday morning. A nice little stop, able to snorkel and rest some BUT not really worth it. If Steve had not been working so hard over the last few days it would have been easier to just keep going. We had a nice swim and a very restful night and made another meal for our next overnight passage before taking off early Saturday morning.

Saturday started to leave at 7 AM, when the engine did not sound right, shut her down then Steve bled it again. Started up again and tried to rev the RPM's in neutral, but they did not increase. Shut the engine down again one more bleeding and Steve checked the pressure of the fuel filters and noticed they were off. So he changed the filters and she started back up sounding like she should. Underway by 8:15, motor sailing out of the reefs surrounding the Hobbies Cays then we were able to shut the engine down and sail. We had good winds 15 – 20 knots and 3-5 foot waves on the beam for most of the way. The water off Nicaragua where we were traveling with no land in sight is only about 100 feet deep, which just seemed really strange after sailing ½ mile off Roatan and being in 1000's of feet deep water. It was a good 3 day passage and we arrived in Isla Providencia, Columbia 3 PM Sunday March 16.

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