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.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Paradise


Hey Folks,

It has been a wonderful weekend. AnnMarie arrived on Friday and we've had nothing but fun since she got here. Yesterday we spent the day kayaking with Ron & Diane. We used their new kayak, and they borrowed another couple's canoe. We paddled across the estuary to a small beach, dragged the boats up onto shore and walked across the peninsula, cutting through the property of a local "greetadoria". This is sort of the Nicaraguan version of a surf. They live on the land and perform basic care taking duties in exchange for a place to live. We asked permission to pass through their front yard, so that we could get to a much larger beach facing the ocean. We walked along this deserted stretch of beach. It was stunningly beautiful, tranquil and surprisingly clean. There were shells washed up everywhere.

Now, I'm sure there are many of you that have managed to get through your entire childhood without collecting an assortment of sea shells, but if you grew up near the coast, no doubt you found it necessary to bring home the various treasures that washed ashore. AnnMarie is definitely in this camp. Although she accuses me of hoarding crap, she just can't resist the urge to scavenge every piece of brightly colored calcium she can find. I hate shells. They seem wonderful on the beach, but within a hour of getting them home they start to smell. Plus they dredge up memories of my nut case grandmother, whose sole purpose in life was making absolutely useless knick knacks out of materials she found at the beach or along side the road. Her life consisted of making brickabrack out of various junk, and painting ceramic gnomes. The yard around the house was populated with an army of them; they were hidden everywhere. It was creepy sometimes to be peeing into a bush and notice one of them smoking a pipe and looking up at you. She also saved bits of string and scraps of wood. All of this went into her creations, which you couldn't give away at a yard sale. You know that schlock you see in bad tourist shops...the little block of wood with several shells glued together to look like a large breasted hula girl? My grandmother invented that. The poodle shaped crochet cover for the extra roll of toilet paper [instructions available through Reader's Digest magazine]? My grandmother owns the patent.

So, needless to say, I was not happy that AnnMarie had an armful of shells and Ron & Diane were gleefully adding more to her pile. "They're not coming on the boat!" I insisted. "They're beautiful!" AnnMarie demanded, "I want them. I'm going to bring them home with me." Great, now the both boats are going to smell like a tidal flat. "Fine, but they stay outside until you are packed and ready to leave." I countered, knowing I had as much chance of that happening as finding a competent diesel mechanic that worked for cheap on weekends. Next I heard Ron say "Wow! Hey Ann, look at this, a perfectly preserved olive shell, and a bright pink crab shell!" Thanks, Ron, encourage her why don't you?

Eventually we wandered back to the kayaks and paddled back to the boat, stopping along the way to visit with Joe, the boyfriend/husband of the woman who runs the small eatery just outside the marina. His boat is anchored in the harbor, much to the consternation of Robert, the marina owner. They have been feuding about one thing or another for over a year. It's not clear what exactly started it all, but both of them seem like nice guys...I'm glad we didn't have to get in the middle of it all. The latest rumor was that Robert had somehow convinced the authorities that keeping his boat at anchor in the lagoon was dangerous, and that the only safe place a boat should be kept during a hurricane was in a slip at the marina. This is sort of like saying the only safe place to be during an earthquake is in an expensive hotel room instead of the public parking lot. But, its Nicaragua, and the law is still pretty much for sale here. But, being a socialist country, anyone is allowed to buy it, all dollars are treated equally.

After our visit we returned back to the boat, went swimming in the pool, and then went over to the marina restaurant to listen to Pedro (a local Nicaraguan musician friend of Ron & Diane's) play music. He came with his father and his two sons, an accordion and a guitar, and they serenaded everyone, each one taking turns playing either the guitar or the accordion. It was a wonderful performance, they played traditional Nicaraguan songs, folk tunes that were beautiful to hear, even if I didn't understand the words. At one point Pedro's son, who was maybe all of eight years old, also performed a few songs. At first a duet with his father, who harmonized a full octave below him, then several songs on his own while his father and grandfather played along. It was a really special moment. Also worth noting was their musical skill and ability to change key whenever the son couldn't sing it in the original key. Having played in a band, this is no small feat to do on the fly and both Ann and I were very impressed with the ease and mastery of their voices and instruments.

When they finished we invited them over to the boat for dinner--AnnMarie had made lasagna, and we fed everyone. Ron & Diane, Pedro and his family, Jeff and Stephanie from Musetta, plus AnnMarie and myself would seem like a lot of folks, but everyone could easily fit at the cockpit table, and it never once felt crowed. Cooking in the galley is pretty easy, even before we make the changes to improve its layout and efficiency. It surprises me how much both AnnMarie and I like our boat. It is exactly what we wanted; a roomy, comfortable home in which to entertain guests without effort.

It also stays pretty dry once you figure out where all the leaks are. I think I've got most all of them sorted now, but it may come as quite a surprise to find out that almost all boats leak. Not from the bottom, but the top. In fact, I've never lived in a house, trailer or tent that leaks as much as a boat. You would think that something designed to cross oceans would be impervious to water from all directions, but nothing is further than the truth. But I'm not bitter.

Pedro and his family left pretty early for our standards, but nine o'clock is pretty late in the day when you are used to getting up before sunrise. Then we brought out a guitar and AnnMarie sang a few songs for our cruiser friends. They seemed to enjoy it thoroughly, although both AnnMarie and I made lots of mistakes (we hadn't played together for quite a while), albeit we were probably the only two to notice it. It was a perfect way to end the day. We bid everyone adieu and went below. After a few hours we managed to get to sleep.

The next morning Ron, Diane, AnnMarie and I walked over to the other swimming pool on the beach. There is a giant triangularly roofed hut next to it with a complete bar, grill and patio. It was the one we saw when we were first motoring in from the bay. The swimming pool there was even nicer, with a shallow wading area where you could stretch out on a lawn chair in six inches of water. Pretty cush. We also went out into the ocean and played in the surf. It was absolutely great. The water was warm, and the waves were fun to dive into. Not so strong that you couldn't relax, but big enough that you had to pay attention to them. When we got back it was time for AnnMarie to pack for the airport. We loaded her stuff into the truck, and got in, along with Ron & Diane, and headed off towards the airport, but making a quick stop in Leon to pick up Robinson.

We got there at noon, but had told Robinson we would meet him at the gas station at 2pm, so we wandered around the town square for a bit, then had lunch at a local restaurant. The food wasn't that good, and a bit overpriced, but Leon is populated with mostly college students (it is one of the largest university towns in the country) and the people watching was great fun. Well, we say people watching but what we really mean is more like girl ogling. The fashion sense and social morays remind me of the Jersey Shore during the sixties. Young men trying to look cool and very attractive young women trying to be sexy and sedate at the same time, everyone trying to be right at the edge of the curve.

You can feel the vibrant energy, and there are night clubs and discotheques everywhere. From what we were told, Leon was one of the Sandinista strongholds, and when the dictator Somoza was trying to suppress the revolution he bombed the town pretty badly. We saw signs of this everywhere, but despite that, the city seemed to be one of the most active, bustling places within the country. Plus, it felt much safer there than anywhere else I'd been. You could almost imagine the place becoming the equivalent of Berkeley in California. Lots of the latest fashions, plenty of young adults, and that vibe you get when it feels like people are pushing their own boundaries all around you.

We picked up Robinson, then dropped AnnMarie off at the airport. It was wonderful having her here, and I started to miss her before I even made it back to the truck. Sailing up the coast of the Americas has been fun, and I've been blessed with great company along the way, but if I could have any one wish, it would be to have repeated this journey but with her along. Oh, well, our plan is to do exactly that, just going the opposite direction, in a couple of years. In the meantime I can't wait to get to Cabo San Lucas, where she will be flying in to meet us again. Yeah for cheap international flights!

That's all for now. Hope everyone is doing well and there is no oil in your bilge.




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