Sunday, 16 December 2012


Alex and I hike up a volcano for a marshmallow roast and steam bath.  The hike was 4 km, mostly up.  Think a 4 km flight of stairs.  We were the oldest in our group and the horse rental vendors centered their attention on us.   We made it under our own power, but one woman, less then 1/2 our age took them up on a ride.  Our group was truly international, with visitors from Israel, Italy, Netherlands, etc.  The Italian acted as interpreter for the non-Spanish speaking persons as the guide spoke very limited English.  the average age was in the mid 20's.  Alex and I did well for the geriatrics in the group.

View of the valley surrounded by volcanoes.

Geo-thermal power generation plant, uses steam produced by the Volcano.

The path with the volcano in the background.

Nearing the top of our hike, above the tree line.

Our guide prepares our roast marshmallows in a volcano vent.

Yum, yum.

I enjoy a short steam bath in a small vent.

November, 2012 - ANTIGUA - GUATEMALA

The next stop in Alex and my inland tour was Antigua, the old Spanish Capital.  It has some of the best examples of Colonial Spanish architecture and town planning in the world.

The town is surrounded by volcanoes.

Very tall local.

Friend Alex.

Civic building on the main square.

Courtyard fountain.

Chapel in convent undergoing repairs.

Convent cellar.

Chapel domes from below.

Convent plans.

November, 2012 - FLORES & TIKAL, GUATEMELA

Friend Alex and I travel to Guatemala's largest Mayan ruin.  We pay extra for the first class express bus.  The bus was the lowest "first class" and slowest "express" I have experienced, with the 3 hour trip taking 4 1/2 hours.  The return trip was worse, taking over 5 hours, due in part to a blown tire.

We stay at the nearest town of Flores, on lake Peten Itza.  The old town is located on an Island, now connected to the mainland by a bridge.  We found a great hotel for $35 per night, including super clean rooms, WIFI in the lobby, AC and cable TV, with lake views.  The island is full of historic buildings, small hotels and restaurants.

We take a tourist van to Tikal and hire a guide.  After about 4 hours on site it starts to rain, cutting our visit short.  The wet mud paths and stone building materials are so slippery that it is dangerous to continue in the rain.  As it was I fell three times returning to the parking lot.  We had been warned by another guest at our hotel, who had returned bruised and cut, the day before.

Tikal is a very large site and definitely worth a 2nd visit.  Next time I would stay at a hotel on the site as the van ride, from Flores, is about 2 hours each way.  Then you can attend sun rise and sun set tours.

Alex and our guide take a break.

Tallest Temple.

View from the top and my southerly barrel chest (aka stomach).

Local wildlife on the path.


Hauling out.
I (Barrie) returned to Guatemala, with friend Alex to haul out Passat II and to tour a bit of the country.  Passat II needs some work to get ready for our planned passage across the Atlantic, from the Caribbean to Europe.
On land sinking.

We sunk up to the wheel hubs in the rain softened yard.

The haul out was an adventure.  Unlike in North America, we were not required to leave the boat before the lift moved.  The lift got stuck in the rain soaked yard. The whistle blew for coffee.  All the workers disappeared.  We were left stranded atop the boat.  After coffee we were able to flag down a worker and get a ladder.  We went for lunch.  When we returned Passat II was safely on the hard.

The surveyor confirmed that Passat II was in great shape overall.  Some rot in the rudder posts needs immediate attention and the Cuttless Bearing has some wear and we are advised to consider replacing it at this or the next haul out.

The bottom blisters are all cosmetic and we can postpone dealing with them indefinitely if we want to.    We opt to have them removed.  Sand blasting the hull was the first step in removing them.  I was away at the time and they sand blasted.  They ended up doing the blister free wood rudder as well.  Sigh.  More work for them (I have a fixed price for the work). 

Why sand blast the wood rudder???

Sunday, 1 April 2012


We leave French Cay Harbour and go to Calabach Bight, Roatan.

We stay on a mooring at the "Turtlegrass" ( owned and operated by Mark & Lori.  Mark is an avid HAM radio operator and we had been talking on the radio for months and looked forward to meeting him and Lori.  They have a small marina (4 slips and 3 mooring balls) and operate a small restaurant, currently 2 days a week (Tues & Thurs).  In addition Mark assists boaters who need to bring in parts & equipment.  Items costing less then $1.000 US (including shipping costs) can be brought in duty and tax free using his service.  We brought in a new OB motor and new Honda generator to replace the ones that died this year and were very happy with the results.

We arrived in time for St Patrick's day.  We joined Mark & Lori at a local restaurant to celebrate.

Thanks to Lori for the picture of  SV "Passat II".

The Tirtlegrass Marina restaurant.
Passat II on the mooring at Calabash Bight.

Sandra at St Patty's day lunch.  Where's the green???

Irish songs.

Jim & Laura SV  "Nilyah (sp?)"

Mark & Lori share and Irish kiss.


The Mayor of Roatan served notice on the West End Park to remove all boats from the West End by the end of March.  Rummer has it that he wants to put in a marina next to the land he and his family owns there and does not want competition from the mooring field. 

Not one to overstay our welcome we move on to French Cay Harbour to re-provision and check out the new Brooksy Point Marina.  We have anchored out and stayed at the Fantasy Island Marina in past years.  Early this year Fantasy Island raised there rates so high that the boaters boycotted them.  Mike and Lila at Brooksy Point built a VERY cruiser friendly yacht club in just weeks to meet the need.  Fantasy Island have since reduced there rates, but are still having to work hard to bring boaters back.

We checked out the facilities at Brooksy Point and are happy to report that they are great.  Prices are reasonable and the service second to none.  Services include med tie moorage, weekly shopping trips via free bus, 10% discount at Eldon's grocery store, clean washrooms & showers, reasonable priced self service laundry, garbage drop off, fuel delivery (2 Jerry cans per week), bar and restaurant, Wi-Fi, almost daily cruiser organized events.  Current membership fee is $15 US per week.  We recommend this as the best facility on Roatan and possibly the Caribbean.

The sun deck at Brooksey Point YC

"Tinker Toy" at the dingy dock.

Moorage for boats up to 9 ft draft.

Babe at the Bar.

Something to live by.

Wayne's (SV "Big Fun") birthday party..

Sandra & Joyce (MV "Eileen Farrell")


Near the end of our stay at West End, Roatan we had several days of rain.  Had we known that we were to get so much rain we would have saved ourselves the backbreaking work of hauling water, as described in the previous post.  On the plus side we got one of the most beautiful rainbows ever.  On the downside we got "Boat Fever" an extreme form of "Cabin Fever".

When the sun returned we went to shore to enjoy a lunch with fellow boaters.   While we enjoyed lunch "Passat II" went "walkabout".  The pin holding the shackle at the base of the mooring backed off and she headed for the reef.   If not for the fast action of our fellow boaters in the anchorage we would have lost her.   Our heartfelt thanks to these unsung heroes.

Picture of the SV "Passat II" rescue by Jonesy on SV "Niki Wiki".

Rain, rain, go away!!!

Rainbow over SV "Sun Bow"

The rescue o"Passat II"

Saturday, 31 March 2012


After weeks at anchor with little or no rain we are forced to forage for drinking water.  This is one of the very few times we wish we had a water maker on board.  To obtain 45 US gallons takes three trips to town.  The total weight hauled is 450 lbs, but it is moved from store containers to boat jugs; store to dingy; dingy to boat; boat jugs to boat tank.  The total weight handled is 4 x 450 or 1800 lbs.  It is an all day job, for less then 1/2 boat tank of water.

Note to potential boat quests.  No long showers!  We are proud to say we can now shower in about 1 1/4 gallons each of water.  I say my super short hair keeps this average down, but Sandra claims that I have more hair overall (face and body).  I think voting on this issue will be split along gender lines.

At the store transfer the water to boat jugs.
Haul to dingy.
Hoist onto boat.
Siphon into the boat's tank.

Monday, 19 March 2012

February, 2012 - MORE ROATAN WEST END

We eat out; we eat in with Bon & Fran.  We do more snorkeling.  Life is good.

Chicken & beer at beach side restaurant.

Dinner aboard SV Passat II.

??? and Blue Tang

West Indian Sea Egg

School of Hog Fish???

Four Eye Butterfly fish.

Common Sea Fan

Pillar Coral

Coral Landscape

Spotfin Butterfly

Queen Angel