Still lounging on Rio Dulce

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Well....things remain interesting for sure.  I am still happy and healthy, and yes.....still in Rio Dulce.  Since my last post I have seen a myriad of events.  But with my third world living experiences (New Orleans being the most recent) I have been not been rattled by much.  

Malaria, a launcha sinking, lightening striking and murder.......hmmmm.....Where shall I start first?  I guess with the malaria.  No one I know, but a woman who owns a small marina right around the corner  from  Tortugal contracted the disease a few weeks back.  A reminder that I am in the tropics, specifically the jungle,  and I need to continue to take precautions.  It hasnīt scared me off, only reminded me of the reality of my environment.

Launcha sinking.  Took place right in front of our marina one beautiful sunny day about 2 weeks ago.  The launcha came to pick some folks up to take them on a day tour to Livingston and the boat, like so many here, was particularly overloaded.  As soon as it pulled away from our dock and increased itīs speed, it took on water from over the front bow (swamped) and sank like a rock.  There were 10 people on board and luckily they were all rescued.  Lots of ruined cameras, passports, cell phones, and such, but thank goodness no fatalities.  The staff at Tortugal responded quickly and appropriately and were able to get everyone to safety.  Other tourists over the last several years have not been so lucky.  Lesson One.  Donīt get into a launcha that is overloaded or that doesnīt have life vests (this one had no life vests on board).  I am told by the folks who were on the boat that their full day packs got heavy very quickly.  If they were further away from shore, the outcome might have been very different.

Lightening strike.   I had the good fortune to be asked by my friends, Wolfgang and Barbara to cat/boat sit for 6 days while they made a visa run to Belize.  I was thrilled to be asked and quickly jumped at the opportunity.  After a full day of learning the ins and outs of the boat and their dinghy (they are docked at a mooring just off the Marina, not on land) I felt confident I could pull this job off.  Plus, my friends previously mentioned in this blog, Claudie and Dietmar on Tandem, would be acting as back up if I needed any help.  More than anything I was thrilled to be having a kitchen to cook in.  Most of you know how I get if I cannot cook for a has been 4months since I cooked a meal for myself and I was thrilled to go shopping and to cook for 6 days. 
I got on the boat at about 3 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon and proceed to get settled in.  During the night rain started to fall and I woke up several times.  At about 4 am the storm increased and I got up to close the hatches on board.  There were several really bright and loud cracks of thunder and lightening and I started to worry because I was entombed in a divining rod with a bed.  There was one particularly loud one that scared the crap out of me and then it seemed to roll off and I eventually fell back to sleep after reading for a bit. 
At 8 am I woke to Claudie knocking on the side of the boat asking if I was okay.  I rustled out of bed, and sat and the cockpit and chatted with her.  The particularly loud clap of lightening that scared the crap out of me had actually hit their boat and they have some pretty serious issues on board.  Being a fiberglass boat, it handles lightening a little differently than wood and aluminum, and once it enters the boat, it needs to find an exit.  It did so in the form of holes in and around the water line on the boat.  The boat on the other side of them got residual electricity from their strike, and have ultimately lost about $3,000 worth of equipment.  Momo, the boat I was on just 50 feet away.....nothing.  Amazing.  Tandem quickly got to a marina that could get them out of the water and to dry dockage to assess the damage, and as I have since been told, the bottom of their boat looks like someone took a machine gun to it.  Their total damage is too extensive to list here, but suffice it to say it is bad.  I am THRILLED and amazed that neither of them were injured.   Mother nature comes really close to me yet again.......

Murder.  Two nights ago two Alaskan cruisers were attached on their boat anchored about a mile from my marina.  The husband died of his injuries, the wife is being flown back to the states today for medical care.  They were under anchor, not in a secure area, and from what I understand went to bed without securing the hatch on their boat.   Not good.  It is like leaving your front door wide open.  It is a sad and tragic tale, and to keep it in perspective, the last murder  of a tourist/cruiser took place here about 8 years ago.  But, this is an area that depends on cruisers to support their economy and the government has responded appropriately and is doing their best to handle things as best they can.  Another lesson that violence is matter how far off the beaten path you are, you can fall victim to it. 

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.  I wanted to move to a third world country and I am getting a clear picture in a short period of time of the pitfalls that doing so with present to me.  But, I lived in NOLA.....crime capital of the world (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but not far off).  I am not easily rattled.  My Aunt Mary used to say "you have to give something to get something" and that becomes more clear to me every day.  I  am, however, not deterred.  I am only armed with more information. 
I have decided to take a sailing class this weekend and am very excited about it.  I will post again when that is completed.  Hopefully by monthīs end I will be on the road.  
Until next post.....BESOS Y'all.
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badnomad on

armed and delightful
Sounds like you have been having quite a time the past months, glad to hear it is all working out. Stay safe, use your head. I have been doing a lot of sailing, a little surfing and a lot of reading, summer has blown by. Am off to the UK at the end of August, for 2 weeks, looking forward to getting in a bit of traveling myself. thinking about a few days in NOLA early Nov.

miss/love ya


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