We’ve returned after some inland travel to find our boat, once again, perfectly fine: no outstanding leaks or mold or fires or bats or lightning strikes. Nothing. Evidently the Time Machine has been cooking it’s own meals and entertaining company just fine without us, thank you, and I’m beginning to think we’re just kept around to adjust the rigging.
First thing we do upon return, aside from a cursory examination of the estuary to be sure the boat is still in fact where we left it, is hang out at the hotel bar and check up on the local cruiser gossip to see who’s left, who’s come back, who hopped ship, who got struck by lightning, etc. Also, we need a ride back out to our boat. Rarely is there anything very exciting: “Jan has to go to Guatemala to get her visa renewed!” Glamorous is the cruiser lifestyle.
We were told that last year a group of something like fifty people lived here on their boats through the season; now there are ten. Boris, one of the more impermanent permanent fixtures around here, entered the estuary over a year ago for a quick stay while his wife recovered from a bit of fluish something-something, one thing led to another, and he’s still trying to get the hell out of here. Should be July. Oh wait, it’s July now. August then.
Jan is now a permanent estuary resident. She arrived in a 60-foot sailboat and got some local panga guys to help guide her through the bar. She had a guy hanging off her rigging, white-faced, screaming “Rapido! Rapido! MAS Rapido!” as she ran the bar in her nine-foot draft sixty-foot boat (did I mention it’s sixty feet? That’s roughly twice the length of us). I think she said she bumped the bottom a couple of times during the entry and once inside, she anchored, bought a bit of land on the island, and stayed put.
Then there’s Crazy George. “They call me Crazy George but it’s NOT because I’m crazy.” He lives on a squat little sailboat that boasts a diesel generator capable of keeping up with his all-electric kitchen (including electric stove and oven, apartment-sized refrigerator, and a standard house-sized family of counter appliances), a set of external deck and cockpit floodlights that light up his boat brighter than the sun itself, air conditioner, and a hell of a sound system. He single-hands and likes to stay around 75 miles or so offshore when traveling; at night he says he turns on all his lights and blasts the radio so everyone, in case they are accidentally blinded by the visual splendor that is Crazy George’s Angel, will at least hear him coming and steer clear. “Hell, I don’t play Harry Belafonte when I’m out at sea, I play, uh, you know, what’s his name.” (Eric Clapton, Cocaine.) And then he goes to sleep.