Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Even Longer Sixth Siesta of the Third Voyage (Day 216-285) in which odds are good that we might, maybe, perhaps be leaving so here’s what we’ve been doing in the meantime.

Big news, Ravennaires! After nine (!) months in PV, we’re finally ready to move this party south! We are technically four months behind schedule (not counting the four months we spent hunkered down here for hurricane season) so to all those people who planned to transit the Panama Canal with us last July, hold tight…there’s a 50/25/25* chance that we might make it this year so don’t give up on us yet!

*Definitely Yes/Maybe Yes/Couldn’t get out of the slip

So how did we manage to get four months behind? Well, practice does make perfect. Those of you that have been following our (mis)adventures since the first voyage, can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve left when we said we would (and if you lost a finger or two in an unfortunate DIY project, you’d be closer to the actual number.) Mechanical malfunctions, bad weather, and vindictive animals have all contributed to our dismal track record of on-time departures to the point where by rights we should just choose a date three years in the future and count any departure prior to two years, eleven months, and 28 days as a win. But maybe that’s something that will come with experience…until then, we’ve taken to penciling in departure dates and then setting up betting pools as to what will cause the delay. Case in point…originally we were going to leave in late-October—which is when our insurance policy said we could venture out while still in the hurricane box—but with active storms still brewing south of us, we opted to wait until late-November. Weather delays are even money—no odds given. Our late-November departure was delayed by the windlass or, more specifically, the arrival of a part so that the new windlass could be properly installed. Editor’s Note: Just because you order the exact same windlass as you had before, and just because the seller claims it will fit the original footprint, and just because the manufacturer swears on a stack of Bibles that nothing in the design has changed, doesn’t mean they’re not all full of shit. In actuality, the manufacturer moved the gear mechanism up about an inch rendering the connecting rod to the anchor locker too short and necessitating the shipment of a longer rod (Said the Full of Shit Manufacturer: “Technically the design didn’t change, it was improved.”) Odds of a delay due to something mechanical, electrical, and/or electronic? On this boat? 2 to 1. Knowing that we would be waiting for a part, the Deck Boss opted to have knee surgery as recounted in the previous blog entry. So now we have surgery, a mosquito-borne illness, and the holidays to account for—a new departure date is set for early-January which is quickly revised to mid-February for personal reasons during which time the Deck Boss takes advantage of this delay by having yet another surgery. New departure date is set for February 22nd!  Aaaaaand…many beers later during what was supposed to be one of our last dinners out with friends before we leave and we somehow get talked into crewing on a boat in the Banderas Bay Regatta which runs February 28th through March 4th. Odds of that happening? 3 to 1 that the Captain would be asked (he’s that good) and 10 to 1 that he’d agree (the rum helped the odds). Editor’s Note: For some reason, they wanted me as well. I think that’s what you call a sucker bet.  So our new departure date has been penciled in for March 7th. Odds that we’ll be up for leaving after three straight days of racing on a 28-foot boat? 100 to 1.     

So right now I’m sure there are a few people thinking, “Whoa! Another surgery?” and there are others going, “What mosquito-borne illness?” and I’m congratulating myself that I’ve tricked you into reading further than you were planning. Starting chronologically, yes, it’s true, the Captain contracted chikungunya. How did this happen? Not all mosquitos carry a virus so if you get bit, it’s a crap shoot. And the Captain rolled snake eyes. The day we brought the Deck Boss back to the boat after her knee surgery was the first day he got ill. What started as just an icky feeling quickly escalated into what was symptomatic of the flu—sporadic fever, extreme fatigue, and intense joint pain. It was over a week before he had enough strength to get out of bed* and another week beyond that before he felt “normal” again. During this time, we took him to see Dr. Gutierrez who surmised it was either chikungunya or dengue fever, neither of which has a cure. We were hoping for the latter as dengue is one and done. Unfortunately, the dice came up chikungunya, which stays with you for about five years with symptoms flaring up every few months until it eventually peters out. So we have that to look forward to.

* Now for those of you who knew the Captain in his lubber days, you’ll recognize the gravity of this statement. Because this was a man who never took a sick day. Never. Ever. He could have had small pox, intermittent blindness, and an axe stuck in his head and he’d still be at work. I once had to forcibly haul him into an emergency room one afternoon because he’d broken his rib playing hockey the night before and was having trouble breathing. Luckily the rib had punctured his lung, because if it hadn’t I’d still be hearing about “the time you dragged me away from work over nothing.” We went through the same thing a few months later. It was the crack heard round the warehouse and all I got on the way to the emergency room was “I’m sure it’s just a sprain. I can’t believe you made me leave work early for this!” (It was 6:30 pm.) Luckily, he had broken his ankle so I could distract myself with the medical paperwork while he went on and on about how he’d “probably miss half a day of work” due to the surgery. Editor’s Note: After the surgery, he insisted I drive him to work. After much arguing, I finally relented. Of course, he was so looped up on pain meds that he just slept on the floor of my office, but technically his 100% No Sick Days record still stands.

So the Deck Boss did indeed have another surgery—this time on her hand. She suffers from something called Dupuytren’s Contracture which her doctor, Dr. Marron, calls “Spiderman Syndrome” because it’s near impossible to pronounce Dupuytren. This is basically where the connective tissues in the hand contract to the point that your fingers bend toward the palm and you can no longer extend them fully. It primarily affects the ring finger—hence looking like you’re about to fling some serious webs and/or hang two and a half instead of the usual ten. The corrective procedure is not without risks and could severely affect the use of the hand (of course, not doing anything about it WILL severely affect the use of the hand) but the Deck Boss liked her odds and long story short…the surgery was a success. Editor’s Note: For those suffering at home where the operation is generally classified as elective, the procedure took about two hours and the recovery about three weeks. Total cost: $1200.

In preparation of might, maybe, perhaps leaving, we have been doing some provisioning—mainly stocking up on those items that might be harder to find down the road, especially things for the boat. Banderas Bay has a good smattering of marine supply stores (well…if three is considered a good smattering) but our options might not be this good again until we hit Panama City. And that’s a long way from here…literally, figuratively, spatially, geographically, and longitudinally (it’s really frickin’ far!) In preparation for the journey south, we’ve scrubbed the boat inside and out, polished and treated all the teak, replaced frayed lines and halyards, organized lockers, pulled up soles to clean (and RAID) the bilges, updated our inventories, tested all the electronics, and had the engine room checked out by a mechanic. I think we each have a mental list of what might possibly blow up when we leave but we’re careful not to say anything aloud or even write anything down. Because the last time we did, it came true (Reference blog post of May 18, 2016. Exhibit A: Windlass.)

Now since I don’t have any kick-ass pictures of us cleaning, scraping, fixing, or shopping and because you really don’t want to see any post-surgery photos (trust me), I’m kind of at a loss as to what to put here for your visual pleasure. So I thought I’d go with a picture of the local Hooters.
They have a different concept as to what sells chicken wings here.

And finally, because you’re dying to know…

Update from the front lines of World War C. The battle for galley dominance against the cockroaches continues with casualties on both sides, notably numerous fatalities on the roach side and my dignity on the other. Trench warfare is ongoing with the introduction of sticky traps. This is basically a little cardboard tunnel with a tantalizing treat pellet stuck in the middle of an extremely sticky floor. I lay them out at night and in the morning gloat over the victims stuck in the gooey mess each wearing their best “oh shit!” face. Thanks to the sticky traps, I have identified that we are dealing with two types of roaches. Long, light brown ones (Cockroacheus Totallus Assholius) and a round, dark brown variety (Cockroacheus Completus Bastardius) of which the former is infinitely more stupid because they have been known to run INTO the tunnel when the light is turned on. We have coupled this with those plug-ins that emit a high-frequency sound that is supposed to drive pests out of your home. We used them at the print shop with great success to combat a vermin problem. The jury is still out as to whether they’re keeping down the roach population, but at least we needn’t be worried about an infestation of rats, mice, hamsters, or gerbils. And as a bonus, they have a blinking blue light so you know they’re working. We put them in the heads and they make great runway lights when you’re trying to find the toilet in the middle of the night.

A couple of days ago, the war was escalated with the introduction of Inse Control Gel.  Aside from the RAID, I’ve been trying to utilize as many non-toxic pest solutions as I can. Not because I’m morally opposed to full-scale roach slaughter but because there are pets on board and they do have their not-so-bright-moments. Like when Edgrrr got pissy because there was a dog hair in the water dish and swished his tail so furiously that he got it stuck in the roach tunnel. Or when Otter tipped over a bowl of borax trying to get to a container of margarita salt (don’t ask, we can’t figure it out ourselves.) But Inse Control Gel is the WMD of World War C. When I finished translating the text on the box, I read it to the Captain…”The gel is appetizing to the cockroach. To the consumed they do not feel poisoned therefore they do not loose their eggs so it comes to them and they all die.” “What does that mean?” he asked. “I have no idea.” I replied. “But I like that last part.” So carefully avoiding any areas where pets (or humans) could come into contact with it, I squeezed out little dollops of the appetizing gel (or as the translator app said, “treat balls”) in strategic areas around the galley. Best case scenario, it will cause mass genocide. Probable scenario, it will gradually deplete the population until time, tide, and even more lethal products finally eradicate them. Worst case scenario, the little bastards will use the gel to make foot ware that allows them safe passage across the sticky floor in the roach tunnel to get to the treat pellets.

Do we have a chance of winning the war? It may be a longshot, but as Han Solo so succinctly put it, “Never tell me the odds.”


  1. Goodness. Now I'm infinitely grateful to be a land lubber. Y'all be safe. ~:)

  2. So glad the writer's block went away, very much enjoy the blog each time a new entry appears. Just a reminder that Mel and I will be bobbing around in the bvi's from April 10th till the 20th (hint, hint). We'd love to share a rum or two with you guys..... bottles that is! I realize that's a few miles from where you are now and travel can be slow, but who knows.

    Wishing you the best.
    Full sails and smooth Waters,

    1. Doug,

      We'd love to see you guys but I think we'll still be on the Pacific side.

  3. So glad to hear the roaches did not carry you all away..we had our concerns. Sounds like you are taking to the sea nicely -- and after all - a calendar is just a measure of days -- it is so nice to pick your own time for starting and stopping. Mike and I are enjoying Island life here on Hat Island. We joined the fire department - having been fire fighters and EMTS 15 years ago. So far we have had a dog over cliff rescue, medical calls, a house fire, and last Thursday a boat rescue. We are still battling our carpenter ants - using boric acid and sugar mixture -- with about the same luck as you are having. We are pleased to report we have played golf every month since we moved over (moved in May)- though February was just one day - which golf attire consisted of boots and down 3/4 length coat - I looked like a puffy pumpkin with legs (my coat is orange). We are still working on our sail boat too. Love your blogs -- miss you all - Neighbors from A dock

    1. We had no idea that you were back on dry land! We're glad you are doing well and have been able to enjoy a few rounds of golf.

  4. Hola, nice to get an update..we are on half pause mode on our mission...ran out of $$ and racked up too much debt to venture further south back to work we go..boat and ernie and 2 cats in cat an I are in U.S...but at least san diego so we get conjugal visits! Not sure what our future holds...but so nice and entertaining to catch up with you all...fair seas, friends!

    1. I hear ya about running out of $$. Retired life, for us at least, got expensive in a hurry. At least yo are in San Diego for now. If I ever have to go back, that's where I'm headed.

  5. Hola, nice to get an update..we are on half pause mode on our mission...ran out of $$ and racked up too much debt to venture further south back to work we go..boat and ernie and 2 cats in cat an I are in U.S...but at least san diego so we get conjugal visits! Not sure what our future holds...but so nice and entertaining to catch up with you all...fair seas, friends!