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.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Musetta, just another normal cruising couple


Dear readers,

It has been a fun filled week. No, actually, it has been a humidity filled week, and the fun has been trying to find ways to avoid it. The rains have pretty much subsided, although we notice thunder and lightening off in the distance most evening, and get the occasional sprinkle if we go to sleep and forget to close a hatch [the only way to absolutely guarantee dry weather is to close every portal on the boat, raising the level of stuffiness to something approaching a teenager's gym locker], but for the most part it is just plain sticky. It's that kind of weather, that after about twenty minutes of doing anything (including sitting quietly and reading), you find yourself dripping with sweat. We take frequent dips in the pool, shower several times a day, and are still sweaty ninety five percent of the time. The other five percent we are drying off.

The plan to get the boat ready is moving forward, our lovely catamaran appears to have survived my absence and for the most part we are on track. Robinson joined us last week, but then went off for a bit when AnnMarie arrived-- which was convenient because he said he needed to go to Leon for a dental appointment. Of course, Leon is also one of the hippest college towns in the country, and is famed for its night life, and has fantastic beaches for surfing and taking in the scenery. Sadly, his dentist wasn't able to see him, but his grin didn't seem to suffer any.

Now, I realize that quite a lot of my posts contain complaints about the weather, the food, the natives, the shops, etc., and it would be easy to think that the cruising life is actually pretty bad, so I apologize if I've given anyone the impression that it is merely a life of boat repairs punctuated with expensive interactions with government officials, shop keepers and mechanics. There are many other aspects that I've omitted, and in my haste to describe my sojourn I've left out some of the more rewarding items like mosquitoes the size of parakeets, black mold so evolved it has elected its own form of government, the brighter sides of malaria and Dengy fever, and the ability for both stainless steel and fiberglass to rust.

One of the more amusing things about this area is the large number of building devoted to Jesus's testicles. Now, you may not know this, but "testicle" comes from the word testity. More accurately it would be "to give witness". The Romans referred to their nuts as "little witnesses". It's a kind of cute way of considering the family jewels, thinking of them both just hanging around watching all that porn, but up close like.

Well, in an interesting twist of language, Jehovah's Witnesses, when translated into Spanish, tends to also bring up a delightful mental picture. I can't help but smile every time I drive past one of the numerous white buildings that, roughly translated, say "Testicles Of Jesus". It just brings up this image of a room full of devot school girls, all down on their knees, hands clasped in front of their chins in prayer, worshiping our lord's nutsack. I know that if I'd died for all man's sins, that would be my idea of heaven. Maybe this religion thing ain't all bad after all?

Oh, and another thing that I've seen down here that makes me wonder are the Coca Cola signs. Now, lots of things go better with Coke, like cheerleaders, Congressional Aids, and evangelical preachers, but I'm yet to get what exactly they are advertising here. I've noticed these weird signs through out Managua, Leon and Chinandega. I mean, sure, Viagra is great with a lot of things, but I just don't see the marketing connection. I can only imagine what those marketing gurus will team up with Mountain Dew.

Speaking of words I don't understand, I've also made friends with Jeff and Stephanie, on "Musetta", a beautiful mono hull with an elegant interior. Apparently Musetta was a major character in an opera that if I had gone to a better school I would recognize. AnnMarie knew this right away. I thought that Musetta was some kind of Mustard.

Anyway, they are currently sailing their boat to the Panama canal and hope to cruise the Caribbean next year. As it turns out, they started out from the same marina as us, and have kept their boat in Emery Cove for years. They berthed on G dock, which is the other side of the marina from us, and we never seemed to have crossed paths. For such a big world, it is surprising how small it can be. We have bumped into no less that six other boats from our marina. Amazing.

It also turns out that they are "Foodies" with a capital FOOD, and Stephanie is one of the best shipboard cooks I've ever met. Without the least effort they throw together fantastic meals, made all the better when compared to the gray burger fare to which I've become accustomed. This has turned out to be a bargaining chip because, while I am incapable of cooking anything more complicated than octopus, pineapple and mayonnaise surprise, they have very limited electronics expertise. They had several problems with their computer and some other electronics equipment they'd been trying to install, so we've worked out a "will consult for food" deal, where I charge them by the salad. I've also taken to sneaking over to their boat when they are away and disconnecting things to insure a constant supply of great meals. Sadly, they are leaving in a few days, and I'll have to go back to my traditional canned food bonanza. Unfortunately, Jeff knows too much about diesel engines or I think I could keep them around even longer.

They are definitely interesting people and a cut above the average duck. I had said as much to them, in a conversation we were having about cruisers, where I suggested that most cruisers I've met tended to be pretty far outside the "normal" curve. They both seemed surprised to hear me say this, and protested, saying "Oh, we're pretty normal. We don't think we are that unusual at all." This was pretty early on in the conversation that evening, and I just shrugged and nodded. We then continued on talking about their boat, their trip, and what all they had been up to. Stephanie went on to describe how they had decided to make their own cushions. Now, lots of folks make their own cushions (and usually they end up looking like it), but my "normal" friends decided to add an embroidery pattern that matched other features of the boat, so they bought a sewing machine and she taught herself how to do this, first embroidering the fabric, then sewing it into cushions and pillows. The result was as good as any work I've seen done professionally.

Okay, that's just one thing. That doesn't make them that unusual, you might say. True, but it was only the tip of the anal-retentive, over-achiever ice berg. The interior of the boat is trimmed out in brass. They polish it. All of it. It looks brand new. There isn't an item out of place, a speck of dirt, a wire mislaid. Everything is perfect. And these are cruisers! Living full time on board and sailing about, and yet their environment is beautiful, elegant and spotless. Jeff, who knew nothing about sailing, engines, mechanics, electrical repair, navigation, etc., taught himself pretty much everything they needed to know to keep a boat going. This is no small feat, especially for someone without prior experience or specific aptitude for it. Stephanie decided to take a course in olive oil tasting. She ended up being something of an expert in it, able to determine which grade of oil it is from its smell alone. As the night progressed I learned more and more of their achievements. At some point I said "Oh, I'm so glad to hear that you are both normal. I'd hate to think what you would be like if you weren't."

From that point on I teased them about being over the top, and it became one of the running jokes between us. Another was a dress Stephanie wore one evening. To me it looked like there was a kind of a pattern of the "Star Trek Enterprise" logo on it. No one else thought it did, but it became a constant source of amusement to what her blush when ever we asked her what was on her butt. Again, cruising is mostly location jokes. You had to be there. But we laughed constantly and their company was a true delight for us. We are both looking forward to getting together with them in Emeryville when they get back, and introducing each other to our favorite restaurants

Well, all this talk of food is making me hungry, so I'm off to grab some gray burgers, cold French Fries and a warm soda. Hope your food fare is at least as exciting.

Cheers for now.



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