September on the Rio.......

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Tue 4 Oct 2011 22:16
Well we naively thought after our trip to Honduras that it might have got cooler by now. Nope - someone turned the thermostat up yet again. So the jobs list hasn't really diminished this month, just our enthusiasm.  Skip did complete one outstanding task over several sweltering days.  He trouble shot and repaired......wait for it ...... the starboard hot air heating unit !!!!????
Without much effort from us (except to open the wallet) we've had our mainsail repaired,  the main sail cover completely restitched and a very smart dinghy cover made - they call them 'chaps' over here!  This was in its self a long process run entirely on the 'manana' principle.  After a while you learn that Ronnie the canvas guy never turns up when he says he will,  just sometime after that! The chaps looked splendid until our first outing.  When trying to get on the plane the wake water siphoned under the canvas and filled the dinghy with water.  Apparently this is a common problem with certain shapes of RIB tubes so back they went for modification. A week later (this was called 'tomorrow' in their book) saw us speeding around Monkey Bay with the same weight ratio trying to fill the dinghy with water - which it did, not as much, but enough to be a nuisance.  To give Ronnie his due he fitted another modification for no extra cost.  The final fitting took place up the river outside a shop where Ronnie found the Skip in our dinghy who'd just rescued a lady in a launcha with engine trouble!
                                                      Smart new dinghy cover - not quite the same green but near enough.
In an attempt to keep cool we've been on a weekly pool hunt.  This normally takes the form of a spot of lunch somewhere.  If it has a pool that's where we stay immersed for the whole afternoon, if not we dinghy off to a place that has.  For the price of a couple of beers most places don't mind at all. Often fellow cruisers are berthed in the attached marinas so we are considered 'guests'. Our vote for the best pool so far goes to "Nana Juana Marina", big enough to get some exercise, clean & deep with a fantastic view. 
The view                                                               the pool                                                                the wallowers
It was also Guatemala Independence Day on the 15th.  One of the nearby marinas hosted a party for the cruisers with free lancha pickup, buffet BBQ, fireworks, games & entertainment (yes YMCA, the Birdie Song & La Macarena are still going strong out here!).  The next night another marina had a Guatemalan food tasting with Marimba band.  The food was excellent but the band was very loud, it rained and the roof leaked. 
Limbo dancing, musical chairs looking like pole dancing (for tequila shots) the two ladies aren't hiding under one hat - its a lamp shade!       & fun. (No piccies of us!)
Another feature of September is the horrendously noisy & terrifying thunder storms that barrel round the area.  Nearly every night just after "Happy Hour" the rumbles start , then the lightening both sheet & cloud to cloud illuminate the sky followed by torrential rain. With the hundreds of tall yacht masts it is amazing that there aren't more direct hits.  The boat actually shook several times.  One night a close call wiped out the electricity transformer supplying the marina. Luckily there is a generator as it took two days to repair. 
                                                                   Dusk & another storm brews .........
The Admiral had wanted to do a Jungle Canopy walk since first spotting a leaflet in Tijax Marina.  Our friends on Chanticleer moved their boat there at the beginning of the month so the two girls set off early one morning (Skip had a 'man cold' at the time!).  It was an interesting jaunt through farm land, rubber plantations, up a hill to the Shaman Tower with wonderful views over the river & finally the rope walk through the jungle.   By this time it was hot & unfortunately very buggy, although the view of the jungle flora & fauna from the bridges was breath taking enough to cancel out the whining of mosquitoes for a while. 
View from the tower                             Nearly 100' up
Despite the current high level of the river the critter count hasn't increased much, although, we are aware of a gecko living on board (Buddy Geko!). We've been unable to catch him but feel that he would do more good eating the insects than any harm.  A new "guard" dog puppy called 'Daryl' has been introduced to the marina & is causing havoc on the docks, leaving unsavoury gifts & chewing hose pipes & furniture much to the chagrin of the marina manager.  The older dog 'Spice' has taken to protecting our end of the dock.  Perhaps this is due to our recent habit of giving her a slice of ham & a consolatory cuddle every morning.  Unfortunately, she has taken to barking for it now if we are not on parade in time.  Then there is our personal aquarium - if you throw a slice of bread in the water (only in the morning) it erupts with large fish fighting & jumping clear of the water to get at it.  Sadly they are not good eating.  Too bony.
                   Spice's daily ham                                          life's too hard for the new kid 'Daryl'
As we've moved into October some of our pals have gone back to their home countries to catch up with friends & family before the new season starts & others are beginning to arrive back on the Rio.  Last weeks "All you can eat" Taco night saw us saying goodbye to some & hi to others on a table of 17! With less weeks to go (hopefully) than we've been safely holed up on the river the count down has begun ..........................
'Mile high' key lime pie                                   hi's & bye's                               spot the new shirt!