Mettacomet Impacks Planet Earth!

Trip Start Dec 25, 2009
Trip End Feb 13, 2010

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Where I stayed
Chili Camp

Flag of Colombia  , Chocó,
Friday, January 22, 2010

Aw Shit, where to start!  This is being written on day six of a five day boat trip, and we are still another boat trip of 16 hours to get to Turbo, then 200 miles to where we were supposed to land one day ago.  This really has been the trip from hell! 

Lets discuss the boat in some detail.  The 50 foot Mettacomet is a 1942 metal craft that has been fitted for sails.  The diesel engine is of the same vintage and is the only thing that runs as advertised.  The boat has no safety railings on the front deck, all of the ropes are very old and frayed. The anchor has to be raised by hand, there is only one fire extinguisher on board.  The french cook Richard was Vietnamese who lived in France and was handy with a knife. Richard was preparing sandwiches during the only day he was on board.  He sat in the step into the kitchen.  He started to make the sandwiches by placing the bread on the crotch of his filthy bathing trunks, someone handed him a plate but he just waved it off.  The boat has no electronics on board.  There is a small hand held GPS, a marine radio that does not work, and that is it.  The electrical wiring is all exposed to the elements and to accidental knocking them.  The heads are inoperable with the hand pump pumping sewage directly into the beautiful beaches we stop at and directly where he has us retrieve water to wash dishes. I have lots of experience in boat inspections and have never found a less sound vessel.  As a passenger carrying vessel it just is not safe in any respect.  The only life boat was last inspected in May of 2004!  In this heat and salt water environment is most likely would not work.  The boat dingy leaked enough that it had to be bailed first thing in the morning.  The dingy engine failed on day 4.  The sleeping quarters were beyond description. The bedding was growing visible mold and the sheets were dirty and soiled to start.  The fish hold was converted into a 15 person bunkhouse.  It was about 12 X12 feet. The heads had no hand washing of any kind.  The cook quit on day one and the first mate shortly thereafter.  We had to take over all of the crew duties including all of the cooking and cleaning and pulling up the anchor.  The food was not properly stored on ice resulting in the meat turning green and having to be thrown out on day 2.  The vegetables were gone on day 2 also except for the very hearty potatoes onions, and green peppers.  Bacon was a main course on several meals. 

Fern and Rene took over the kitchen and really saved the trip for the rest of us.  They cleaned everything including the crusted dish towels.  They figured out what was good food and tossed out what was not edible, most fresh items.  Even Harve told us they saved his trip.  How ironic is that, he originally kicked them off the boat only to be saved by them.  Great guys to travel with!

The ladder that we all used to get back in the boat was a real safety hazard as it was just 2x4s held together with rope.  The steps would twist and send the person falling in to he water hooked in the ropes.  On day one, one of the guys cut his big toe rather badly on the ladder and bottom of the boat, Harve didn't care and was unable to come up with a first aid kit.  We doctored him up with our own kits.

The sailing was always rough with 3-5 meter waves topped with a three foot chop.  Nearly everyone aboard was feeling poorly or actually sea sick.  Three out of the four of our group had major difficulty the first day. 

At the end of the first day of sailing/motoring we stopped at a nice Caribbean  Kuna tribe island. We were to spend one evening here and move on to another island.  Since the cook quit we bought a fish from the natives and had a fish feast prepared by the locals on the island.  This was a very nice experience for all of us.   The Australians who are traveling with us are a real hoot, entertaining us most of the days with their pranks and skits.  They dressed in pirate hats and with eye patches and plastic swords.They pillaged the three thatched huts and had the small kids and adults giggling.  We hung out in the morning ready to leave when Harve gave us the word.  We hauled the anchor and then as we were maneuvering out, he yelled in French and told us to drop the anchor.  We thought there was something wrong.  No he just changed his mind, we would spend another night here! 
The captain, Harve Guiter was a drug addict who openly used marijuana regularly.   I will not call him captain again as this is a direct affront to all of the other good captains plying the waters.   He started with his first joint at 3.30 each morning and had one every hour of so after that.  He admitted that he had a cocaine problem for 33 years and had quit one month ago.  I think not!  He was a typical drug Dependant person and used lying as a first effort.  This never stopped.  His mood would swing with the intake of the drugs and was unpredictable ranging from ranting and raving to dancing and singing.  He drank many bottles of wine during the day and evening, mixed with beer that he commandeered from his passengers.  

This behavior and decision processes continued with decisions changing sometimes within minutes.  It was driving all of us crazy.  We just wanted the trip to end! 

We pulled the anchor and sailed for another 7 hours of rough sailing.  We passed by some spectacular islands with pristine beached and good mooring in protected harbors.  Instead of one of these places we moored in a slightly protected trashy site with no redeeming value.  A boat load of sick people who were stranded on board.

Well we are now in the small port of Subzero.  It is a border town in Columbia.  We got stamped into the country yesterday.  Some of the passengers  got off with a yell of relief.  We spent another god forsaken night on the boat.  This time it actually could get worse as it rained hard forcing those who normally slept on deck to seek shelter.  Very tight quarters even tighter!  We were able to make arrangements to get our bikes on to a cargo ship that looked like it should be in the Bogart movies.  We loaded up the bikes and will leave with the vessel India Kuna at 5 am tomorrow.  A 16 hour 30 mile journey that will stop in several small villages along the way to drop off and pick up cargo.  Wish us luck!  We should be in Turbo tomorrow at 9.30 pm.

We are off the boat from hell and on to the boat from last last century. Adventure abounds and we cant be more excited about it!!

We are all well and happy.  We say hello to our family and friends.  This lengthy story will have to be written later.   

 For another perspective read the blog of Charles and Ben on
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Jene on

Thx to all concerned and the happy birthdays. Hope to read them soon. Love, Jene

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