San Blas update

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 14 Nov 2012 17:15
Sorry, no images for this blog due to non availability of internet connection
We are currently situated in the eastern Holandes Cays and finally our weather has taken a change for the better in the last few days, with trade winds re-established giving us the chance to get out on the reefs.
We re-fuelled in Nargana when Paco the fuel seller received a 200 gallon delivery of diesel. We took on forty of those gallons all, as usual, strained through an old torn piece of shirt to remove as much of Paco's back yard sand as possible. It was a messy affair.  With so much recent rain and his yard covered in soggy sand everything felt gritty. Back onboard we filtered every last drop of the precious fuel which took five trips from the boat to Paco's dock and back. Once we had everything ship-shape we lifted the anchor and headed back to Green Island for the night. From there it was back to the Holandes Cays, arriving just as a very nasty weather system rattled in having had a lumpy sail all the way.
The nasty weather continued including one nine hour period when the whole area was surrounded by lightening storms accompanied by torrential rain. We'd hoped that we were getting towards the end of the wet season storms but apparently not.  Nine hours is a long time to contemplate a direct lightening strike with the consequential loss of thousands of pounds worth of electronics that can be wiped out in a flash so to speak. Unplugging as much equipment as practical we could only sit onboard and wait for it all to pass.
During the worst of this storm we took refuge on our bed in the forward cabin well away from our own 50 foot lightening conductor i.e the mast. With rain hammering against the windows and over the noise of thunder came a familiar 'cheep' from somewhere in the cabin. Another bloody finch was perched inches from Phil's head on the dividing partition. It was as shocked as we were and flew out immediately to sit grumpily on the aft cockpit seat before finally taking off for goodness knows where. Like our visitor, the thunderstorms cleared off and the following morning we were rewarded with blues skies, fluffy clouds and trade wind breezes but, we are assured, the squalls and nasty stuff will return after the weekend!
With better conditions for swimming we have been out on the reef frightening the fish with the new Ajaya speargun. So far after four expeditions we have speared 6 fish which included an unfortunate Parrotfish which was lurking behind the intended target. This innocent bystander, however pretty it may have looked, still ended up on the barbecue. The 'Admiral' acting as fish-spotter drew attention to a flat fish half buried in the sand at just 8 foot depth. We were both amazed when the spear hurtled out of the gun at a range of 3 feet and bounced off the quarry just as if the thing had titanium deflector shields! It lazily swum away pursued by Phil frantically trying to reload the gun. But it disappeared into the sand under a coral outcrop and that was that. But we had enough for supper and counting the 6 fish caught so far we calculate that by dividing fish caught into the cost of the spear gun we are at £12.30 per fish. But with 2 hours in the water each time at least it's good exercise for us all as the fish seem to swim much faster when we're around.
One of the joys of this lifestyle is the wonderful people we meet. One of the sadnesses is bidding a final farewell. On November 7th Frankie from 'Infinity' whom we had met in Bocas sadly lost her long battle with cancer. But not before bravely flying all the way to Australia from Bocas via Miami and the UK to bid her own farewell to her family and friends. One very brave and determined lady who will be sorely missed not only by her devoted husband Roger but by all the many friends they had made whilst cruising.