Kids, Don't Try This At Home!

Hi, and welcome to the adventures of "Triton", a 45' Robertson & Caine Leopard catamaran we purchased in July of 2007, in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We sailed her back to Emeryville, California, located in the lovely San Francisco East Bay area, worked a few more years, then set off cruising in the fall of 2014. This journal is the story of our ongoing adventure, the folks we've met along the way, and the hardships and joys of that journey. Please read along and let us know what you think!

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here to start from the very beginning of the entire adventure. You can navigate from post to post simply by clicking the NEXT or PREVIOUS phrases at the top or bottom of each page. To find out what we've been fixing, changing, upgrading, click on the Triton Boat Work link under Related Websites. If you want to subscribe to this blog (and get emails letting you know whenever we update it) just click on the icon that says "subscribe to: posts (atom)" at the bottom of each page.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Wasted Day


To Whom It May Concern,

Well, Its almost 5:30 and I've accomplished almost nothing today. This is partly because of the rains we got last night, which made the already bad roads much worse, but also because I couldn't sleep last night. Maybe I was just bored, tired of feeling sick, hot, humid, run down, frustrated and missed being home, but I couldn't get to sleep. I decided to draw a picture of my view from the bunk. I ended up drawing a picture of myself drawing a picture of my view from the bunk. My knees are actually a bit fatter, but who'll know?

This is not exactly the most exciting thing to be looking at, but it is pretty much what I've been seeing for too long. Anyway, it gave me something to do, and took my mind off of things, but didn't make it any easier to nod off.

I didn't fall asleep until sunrise this morning. Then Ron & Diane woke me up around 8:00am. It had been our hope to take the rental car into Chinandega (the nearest main town) to buy supplies, batteries, diesel, solar panels, etc., and if possible, upgrade the vehicle to a four wheel drive truck. We got about 600 yards out of the marina compound before we ran into a patch of road that was impassible. There were foot high ruts in a muddy mess that had filled in with water, and several locals standing around it wondering what they might do to try to get their own vehicles through.

The day before there had been a wedding on the marina grounds, and it was impossible for the wedding guests to be driven within a mile of the marina. The trucks and buses would take them as close as they could get, then each guest had to scramble along side the roads and walk through muddy fields to get to the reception. Imagine asking your aunt Sally and Uncle Ernie to do that for your wedding-- at least getting "towels" would be a reasonable wedding gift.

Heavy rain is the Nicaraguan equivalent to our snow days. It makes the mud and stone ruts they call roads unusable, brings commerce to a halt, and traps people in their homes. Since many of the locals live a "hand to mouth" existence, this can mean not having any food on hand, or in mouth, the next day. Today was like getting five more inches of snow after a two day long major blizzard. It was so bad that the school bus couldn't make it in or out, which meant that neither the teachers nor the children could get to class. I did not see a single unhappy child. They were all running up and down the road, playing various forms of tag and "kick the can" (although down here it is called "kick the mud clump"), and giggling about the funny looking Americans. What surprises me most about them is how the children have all adapted to the environment, and can scamper and rough house in the roads or fields, but still not get dirty. Everything within a foot of the ground is covered in mud right now, yet every single one of these kids is wearing a pristine white shirt and neat blue slacks or a dress, and I'm yet to see a single child with dirt on them. Left alone at that age, my younger brother and I would end up mud wrestling within ten minutes, and the only bit of us not caked in clay would have been under our eyelids.

Since we couldn't get out to town, we stopped at one of the local "cafes". It is an open sided brick hut and unless you already knew it was a central point in "town", you'd assume it was just another shack, among many other shacks, but they serve breakfast and lunch, coffee and sodas, and the owner's husband spoke English. We sat and talked with him over weak coffee with too much sugar in it for a few hours and caught up on the local gossip. Apparently there have been a few murders in the neighborhood lately. One gentleman was found floating in the water after having gone drinking ad fishing with another friend. The friend turned up elsewhere claiming he hadn't ever seen the dead man, but other witnesses saw them both getting into a canoe together earlier that day. When the police arrested him he was down at the beach, with all his worldly possessions in a knapsack, waiting for a boat to take him to Honduras. He is awaiting trial now. In a separate incident, a well known hoodlum has been seen attacking and robbing people a little further up the road. The cafe owner explained that the police would be here tomorrow, armed with AK-47's, to "shoot to kill and ask questions later". They take law enforcement quite seriously down here.

What is odd, though, is the very, very peaceful nature of the general population. These are not angry people. They do not bicker or fight amongst themselves. They live in tough conditions-- what we would have called a hard scrabble existence, with almost no work available, and, for the most part, get along well with each other. Although the children can be typically rambunctious, and the young men behave like young men everywhere, the adult men and women here are typically quite shy and retiring. Whenever you engage them, they seem somehow surprised that you would bother. I've met many of the folks who work at the hotel and marina, and am yet to come across anyone who is anything but calm, reserved, quiet and dignified. It is rumored that once the main road is completed they will begin on the road into the marina. If so, then this area will change dramatically, and most probably for the better. There are a lot of folks who would love to come here, but right now the roads make that impossible. Having a paved road will change all that instantly, and probably mean a lot more work and much better working conditions for the folks who live around here.

After our coffee we wondered back to the boat and I tried to take a quick nap. A few minutes later, Ron banged on my boat and asked if the bride from the earlier wedding party and her friend could come aboard to take some pictures on my boat. She was a quite beautiful young lady, and they both giggled a lot while Ron snapped pictures of them sitting on the bowsprit and then posing in front of the mast. I was asked to be in one of the photos, but I'm not quite sure why. I wonder what they will make of these pictures twenty or thirty years from now, when their grand children are looking through them. "Hey mom, whose this fat white guy with you and aunt Consuella?"

Well, the power is back on, so I should probably get back to work. It gets dark pretty fast around here, and for the most part it is very quiet. There is a beautiful swimming pool just at the water's edge, right next to the docks, that no one seems to use at night. I've been sneaking over there every evening and taking a dip. I'll sit in the water and watch the thunderstorms roll in across the jungle tops, and hear the fish splashing around in the estuary, and it is about as peaceful and serene a moment as you can imagine. I wish that you all could be here with us.

Cheers for now,



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