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???