A Quick Haul Out – За малко на сушата

Ivo says: "Everything will be OK"

Ivo says: „Everything will be OK“

What is a boatyard?

A boatyard is the most horrible place for the cruiser and his boat, no matter how good the facilities are. Dirty, stinky, dusty, itchy, hot places. No toilets on board, no more running water in the galley, ferocious noseeums and mosquitoes in the evening, noise from heavy machinery all day long, toxic dust, lots of mud, and the fear at night when it’s windy that the boat will „fall down“ from her props. Of course, she won’t fall down, but she shakes constantly and it feels as if there is a permanent earthquake going on. Add to this a Puertorican neighbor who got drunk and sang all night a very melancholic song, about a woman whom he used to love, but she left him. „Abandonaaaaaadooooooooooooooooo….“ Almost made me cry.

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Какво означава „сух док“?

„Сух док“ е най-ужасното място за крузъра и неговата лодка, независимо колко са добри съоръженията. Мръсно, смръдливо, прашно, горещо, място за поправки или склад на лодки. Не може да си ползваме тоалетните на борда, нито имаме течаща вода; кръвожадни комари ни нападат вечер, машини и инструменти бумтят по цели дни, токсичен прахуляк, кал навсякъде и нощем, когато духа силен вятър, се страхуваме лодката да не падне от степенките, на които се подпира. Разбира се, че няма да падне, но усещането е все едно има земетресение, непрестанно. Към всичко това добавете и съседа- порториканец, който се напи и цяла нощ пя една много меланхолична сърцераздирателна песен за жената, която обичал, обаче тя го напуснала. Почти се разплаках.

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Fata Morgana on the travel lift, Puerto del Rey, Fajardo

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After the small routine repair of a bathroom pipe turned into a disaster and a huge through hull fitting got busted creating a three-feet fountain inside the starboard hull, we hauled out Fata Morgana for a quick repair, as this kind of thing cannot be fixed while at anchor. We were lucky to be near marina Puerto del Rey in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, the biggest marina and haul-out facilities in the entire Caribbean region. It’s an impressive marina and boatyard with 1000 slips, 400 dry stack spaces on 50 acres of land, and with 165 ton haul out capability as well as a complete range of boat repair contractors on site.  They accommodated us immediately.

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След като малката рутинна смяна на тръба за тоалетната се превърна в бедствие и се отвори дупка на дънато на лодката, от където шурна един голям фонтан, се наложи да изкараме Фата Моргана от водата по спешност, тъй като подобна дупка не може да се поправи на котва. Имахме късмет, че бяхме близо до марина Пуерто дел Рей във Фахардо, Порто Рико- най-голямата марина в целият карибски регион. Марината разполага с 1000 места за лодки на вода и 400 на суша на площ 50 акра, както и с няколко крана с капацитет до 165 тона.

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„The Walk of Fame“ Marina Puerto del Ray, Fajardo

 

Fata Morgana was once again out of the water, on the hard. Ivo decided to use this opportunity and put yet another layer of fresh bottom paint on the hulls, which he sanded all the way to the gelcoat and painted with anti-fouling paint only six months ago in St Kitts. This time, after he fixed the through hull pipe-problem, he sanded only very superficially the hulls, and painted them. All this work took him two days, without being too much in a hurry.

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фата Моргана отново се оказа на сушата. Иво реши да използва момента и да мацне още един слой боя на корпусите, нищо, че само преди 6 месеца извадихме лодката, изстъргахме старата боя до дъно и сложихме нова. Този път, след като поправи дупката за тръбата, Иво изстърга само повърхностно корпусите и им сложи пресен слой боя. Цялата работа отне 2 дена, без да си дава много зор.

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Ivo sanding the hulls….again…

Why not drop anchor? And measure and mark the chain.

Why not drop anchor? And measure and mark the chain in the meantime.

We even had time to open a couple of coconuts under the shade of the boat and to meet new friends, who drove all the way from San Juan just to meet us. It was great spending time with Galina and Drago and share some stories. Great people.

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Дори ни остана време да отворим два кокосови ореха на сянка под лодката и да се запознаем с нови приятели- Галя и Драго от България, които дойдоха чак от Сан Хуан да ни видят. Беше ни много приятно да се запознаем и да обменим интересни истории и да пием по бира. Чудесни хора.

Драго и Галя

Драго и Галя

Coconut

Coconut

After a couple of days- an unpleasant weekend- we splashed on Monday at noon and came back in the Fajardo anchorage. The fear that the through hull problem is not well fixed and we would have to haul out again disappeared after a few hours (no water was coming in), and now everything is back to normal. Only, it’s a second day now we are trying to clean the boat in and outside.

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След два дена- неприятен уикенд- се завърнахме във водата в понеделник и обратно на котва в заливчето на Фахардо. Страхът, че дупката не е добре поправена и ще трябва пак да се връщаме на сушата се разсея след известно време и сега всичко си е по старому. Само дето вече 2 дена чистим лодката вътре и вън.

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Anchorage near Isleta Marina, Fajardo

Even though being in a boatyard is not much fun, we felt really lucky to be so close to the biggest marina with some of the best boat repair facilities in the region, in a town, where boat parts are easy to find and are not expensive. Plus, the manager at Puerto del Rey turned out to be a great guy, very understanding and helpful, who gave us quite a discount and thus became our next sponsor.

A big Thank You to Marina Puerto del Rey!

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И въпреки, че с лодка на сушата никак не е приятно, извадихме късмет, че този инцидент се случи толкова близо до марина с необходимите съоръжения, в район, където лесно се намират части за лодки и не са скъпи. Освен това, мениджърът на марината се оказа готин пич, много разбран и услужлив човек и даже ни направи солидна отстъпка от цената на услугата по изкарването, след като му обещахме да го добавим в списъка на нашите спонсори.

Хиляди благодарности, марина Пуерто дел Рей!

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Travel lifts, Puerto del Rey, Fajardo

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The Trap

 

 

“I call it ‘the trap’. You think you gonna go there and stay for a week; you get there and stay for a year. Some people stay there forever, never leave,” Leonardo, a sailor and a dear friend of ours we met in Cuba, told us a few weeks ago.

Notorious among cruisers for being a place protected from hurricanes, Rio Dulce has become a main destinations for boaters from around the world during the stormy summer months. We also came here to hide from the hurricanes and Rio Dulce quickly became home.

 

View of Rio Dulce from the bridge

View of Rio Dulce from the bridge

 

Rio Dulce is a small area nine miles upriver from the town of Livingston, at the edge of Lago Izabal. All there is here is a bridge linking two aldeas (small villages), Fronteras and El Relleno, and the many marinas and anchorages in the waters around them.

 

The Rio Dulce Bridge

The Rio Dulce Bridge

 

In 1980 a massive cement bridge designed by the US Army Corp of Engineers was built by a Puerto Rican company. Standing 90 feet above the water, the bridge connects the east and the west banks of the river and the main road between Guatemala City and Tikal with lots of heavy truck and bus traffic. On the east bank of the bridge is the small village El Relleno, and on the west bank is the bigger town of Fronteras.

 

The Anchorage in front of Fronteras

The Anchorage in front of Fronteras

 

In the past few years Fronteres grew from a bus stop to a small town with everything that a small town might need: a school, a clinic, a post office, a few banks, many small shops, hardware stores, panaderias (bakeries), cernicerias (meat shops), shoe shine stands, pharmacies, fruit and vegetable stands all perched on both sides of the main road, the same heavy-truck-and-bus-traffic-road.

 

Quiché women making and selling tortillas in Fronteras

Quiché women making and selling tortillas in Fronteras

 

By the way, there are no sidewalks, you exit a small shop and you are on the street. It is an adventure shopping there especially on market day, which is Tuesday, when the vegetable stands are packed with fresh produce (always at very low prices) and everyone, locals and cruisers, are out to stock up.

 

Fronteras Main Street

Fronteras Main Street

 

El Relleno, on the other side of the bridge, is nothing like Fronteres. It never grew up. There isn’t a busy market street, but a few tienditas (small shops) on the ground floor of people’s houses and a small primary school where our daughter Maya, almost ten, has been accepted in fourth grade and is currently studying along with the local kids, learning Spanish.

 

Noial, Kaila, Sofia, and Maya in front of El Relleno Primary School

Noial, Kaila, Sofia, and Maya in front of El Relleno Primary School

 

And then there are the surrounding waters with their many marinas and anchorages, a city of masts. There are probably more boats here than houses in the two villages, and more boaters, mainly Americans and French cruisers, than locals. Twenty five years ago, there was only one marina in the area. Today there are about twenty competing to attract clientele. Each one has excellent services and amenities. Electricity, water, hot showers, laundry 24-hour security, book exchange, trash disposal, open air community rooms under grass canopy roofs and hanging flowers, work-shops, tiendas, beautifully decorated restaurants and bars under thatched roof, swimming pools, Wi Fi, gym, beach volleyball, tennis and pool rooms. Many of these marinas are accessible only by water and are surrounded by jungle. Some even offer jungle bungalows for rent. The best thing about all these marinas is their prices ranging from US$ 150 to US$ 250 per month. In United States you would pay more only for your monthly gym fee.

 

Maya and a friend enjoying the swimming pool at marina Nanajuana

Maya and a friend enjoying the swimming pool at marina Nanajuana

 

Us, and all the other boaters not staying in any marina but anchoring out for free wherever we chose for the week, are welcome to use some of the nearest marina services gratis. We have been welcomed to all the dinghy docks, swimming pools, volleyball courts, book exchange, and Wi Fi, as well as to free popcorn movie nights, Wednesday at Mar Marine and Saturday at Tortugal, yoga and Pilates groups every morning in Mar Marine and Bruno’s, watercolor painting groups Wednesday mornings at Bruno’s, Pot Luck Dinner Monday evenings at Mario’s marina. Every Sunday there is the boaters’ inter-exchange market happening at Mar Marine, where cruisers bring anything they want to get rid of and try to sell it. Here you can buy used boat parts, anchors, generators, cruising guides, even used clothes and shoes.

 

Ilan, Maya, Noial, and Lovam drawing a Quetzal bird. In Mario's Marina

Ilan, Maya, Noial, and Lovam drawing a Quetzal bird. In Mario’s Marina

 

It is easy to feel home in a place like this. Here we met new friends, young cruising families with kids, and with all those activities our days are pretty busy. And there is so much to explore around Lago Izabal and beyond. Rio Dulce is a trap, such a lovely place…

Mira choosing fruits at the Tuesday market in Fronteras.

Mira choosing fruits at the Tuesday market in Fronteras.

 

 

 

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