05. Mar, 2011

Never a dull moment!

Never a dull moment!

We are currently in Belize and leave soon for our last hop over to Guatemala where we will head up the Rio Dulce river and where, with mixed feelings, we will bid farewell to Pako. As if in anticipation Pako has thrown us a few curved balls over the last couple weeks to keep us on our toes! There are four words we have used OFTEN on this trip at the end of the day (generally with a stiff drink in hand)…. ‘never a dull moment!’

Two recent ‘never a dull moments’ are worth a mention. The first was as we were weaving our way down the shallow waters of Belize, we were approaching a narrow cut between two islands which required us to turn on the engine to motor through. Unfortunately after a few splutters our engine died and refused to come back to life. Without an engine, and approaching a narrow shallow cut we were only left with one option as the winds were not in our favour to get through the main channel. We had to sail through a narrow gap on the opposite side with a charted depth of 0.5ft less than our 5.5ft draft!

Luckily the tides were in our favour but even so the depth gauge dropped to 5ft and the alarm was going mad as we skimmed our way through, leaving a muddy wake behind us… Next challenge was getting into a harbour with no engine but luckily we sailed to the harbour entrance and finally some friendly staff came to our rescue and offered us a tow in! Not a moment too soon as we were getting blown very close to some nasty rocks ashore.

Then about a week later with a repaired engine we ventured off to the beautiful Sapodilla Islands in the south of Belize. As we are approaching our anchorage we managed to hook a nice fish, but not surprisingly drama was to follow. As we pulled in the fish, in a last frantic attempt to save its life, it flapped madly and managed to get the large lure hook straight through my finger! We now had a flapping fish and my finger attached to the lure, and Nicky had to use her vice grip to pin the fish down to avoid my finger getting ripped open. We finally managed to remove the hook from the lure, but then with no pliers on board strong enough to cut the hook bard off we were forced to sail another hour to a nearby island (with a small settlement) with the hook still firmly embedded through my finger.

After some desperate radioing by Nicky we were met by one of the locals as we anchored and they whisked me to land on their boat for ‘surgery’. The operating theatre was a chair under a coconut tree and the procedure involved some solid bolt cutters and lots of sympathetic bystanders! Never felt such relief in my life!

I was then given a lift back to the boat where Nicky was still heroically battling to lay a second anchor on her own as we were dragging anchor and getting dangerously close to a shallow reef. It was hard not to burst out laughing at this stage as Nicky was frantically paddling little Pakotini with anchor in tow, trying to reach Pako. Aah man… never a dull moment for true!