Time to start working on the boat

Monday 20th July 2020
The headache is still there, I had a long lie in. Later I looked for the comet, but nothing could be seen due to poor visibility just above the horizon.

Headache going, another long lie in. Looked for Comet, saw it and took a picture of it over the Magote just after the sunset

NEOWISE. I think the blue streak is the Ion trail, and the other the dust trail.

Unfortunately it didn’t come out so I have used one taken by
Zixuan Lin from China, taken in the Gobi Desert, I think he had a better setup than my iPhone. Thanks also to the NASA Astronomy picture of the day site.

I took a trip over to the Magote and came across a guy dragging his dinghy along the shore through the mangroves. I popped over to find he had problems with his engine. I offered a tow, his dog, that was perched on his bow, barking at me like I was an unwanted intruder, didn’t seem to understand the etiquette of boat rescue. No sooner had we started towing, than I ran out of petrol. I had planned to top up at the beach. A quick refill from my fuel can and we were back into rescue mode. I towed him a kilometre or so back to his boat, he told me he had lived there at anchor on his boat for the last 15 years! On the way to his yacht we were joined by three dolphins swimming alongside. After a swim at the magote I headed back and pulled the dinghy out, I was quite shocked to see the extent of 10 days of growth.

I set about cleaning the dinghy, quite a job. My first scrubbing got rid of most of the barnacles but left the crusty sharp bits so the hull was quite dangerous, you would certainly be bleeding if you ran your hand along the bottom..

I took my trusty Japanese paint scraper, then spent a few minutes on the grindstone giving it a very sharp edge. Using this I was able to slide it over the paintwork and the rubber without harming the surface, but lifting the barnacles. I had to work very slowly and carefully but after a two or three hours it was looking quite good.
I suppose that’s the flip side of having an environment that is overflowing with aquatic life, the water is lively stuff. I’m going to have to get the baba’s hull cleaned by divers before I leave in a weeks time, even though they cleaned it fully a couple of months back, it will be too rough now, in fact the prop will probably be very inefficient and the bow thruster may not even turn!.

I gave the inside a good clean and felt quite happy that after 3 years it’s not looking too bad.

Sadly two of the non-skid strips inside went missing somewhere between Japan and Canada. My contribution to the Pacific Plastic Gyre 🙁

Time to start getting the boat ready properly. I start the day with a really good clean up, I have to move the flares container to sweep under the table and think I better check the dates, phew, I have some that are only a few years out of date. Most of them belong to another century. It’s interesting with flares, they are hard to dispose of responsibly these days, and there’s always the thought that after you have let off the last of your ‘in date’ flares, and the container ship has carried on past, your flare not being bright enough to wake the officer on watch, that you might get some life out of your old flares. So I keep them. However I have run out of space, so I will have to buy some new ones and find a way to dispose of the oldest batch.
I wonder when the next big Mexican festival is 😉

After a thorough clean under the cabin table and around all the nooks and crannies around the cabin sole, I’m pleased to find no dead cockroaches.
The next job is to replace the manual pump on the head, something I have been putting off, because I’m also replacing some of the hoses, and they are a sod to work with. As I’m doing this work, I check the roach hotel in the head I put down after the last one got away.

A Roach Hotel.

As you can see, it’s hard to understand how a cockroach could resist such an inviting place, but checking them around the boat had me wondering if the cockroaches here are a bit more fussy than the Asian ones. So I was delighted to see the one in the head had had someone check in. It seems these really are like the hotel California.

You can check out but you can never leave… thanks to the glue.

I’m hoping, or more likely deluding myself, that this is the guy who escaped from me the other week. and that he was the last one on board. I certainly haven’t seen any others since then. It’s also reassuring to know the hotels can work.

After dinner of omelette (French Brie) I programme the mexican SSB net frequencies into the SSB and label up the channels. I have two frequencies named as hurricane watch, I’m not sure if they are still in use, and as all these nets are voluntary, I’m not sure which ones will be live, but I have 7 programmed in, and next week when I’m back out at anchor, I can check them out.

Feeling 100% today, if you ignore the dodgy back and the sore neck. I’m not mad about this aging thing.
I have spent the last few evenings watching YouTube videos of people building log cabins, one guy, in Latvia, really only had two tools, a chainsaw and a scraping thing for removing bark. It was interesting to see the chainsaw used as a chisel, a planer and sander. I wish the boat builders would hurry up and get some videos out. They both just went into the forest, chopped trees down and dragged them back to their site and then built ‘a log cabin’.

Instead of that I spent most of today building a computer program to throw random numbers between 1 and 999,999 at me, either as a number, or as a Spanish translation. I have to guess the correct translation back to english or spanish, depending on what the program randomly wants. it was fun working out the rules for constructing the spanish for say 981,596 which is    novecientos ochenta y uno mil quinientos noventa y seis. Doing this will test me on numbers but was also handy for learning the rules for constructing numbers.
It was a lovely day, not too hot with a gentle breeze, so I spent a while in the cockpit with the laptop, around 5 I headed out in the kayak, I haven’t done this in La Paz, but the wind had dropped and the water looked very calm. Once out I paddled over to the Magote and explored some creeks into the mangroves. It was such a lovely way to pass time, get exercise, and stay cool. I paddled into the bay against the current so that when the wind rose as the sun set, I would have the wind and tide to push me back to the marina. I took a very leisurely path back, taking in all the docks and little beaches south of my marina. I spotted some very interesting boats but because I was convinced I was going to capsize in the Kayak, I didn’t take a camera with me. Next time maybe. You can get a lot closer in to the shore in a kayak, and people don’t mind you being so nosy compared with a dinghy.
Back on the boat, I gave the covers and solar panel a wash down, the sand gathers on everything here, that’s one of the problems of a desert environment I suppose.

Maria, a good Mexican name, is back.

Paul Collister

Cooler days

Monday 13th July 2020:
The morning net had an announcement from Bill, he thanked everyone for helping him find his missing cat, which had been gone for a few days. Social media had helped spread the message, however on facebook, the cat had become a dog and also had changed its name. I chuckled at how this kind of summed up the accuracy of facebook stories. I don’t know if we can blame the same source, but later a man called in with a panicky voice asking if it was true there had been a massive outbreak of covid in our marina with some deaths. The marina manager took to the radio to explain that he wasn’t aware of any problem, but to keep wearing the masks.

Today I acquired a sheet of expanded polystyrene that was surplas to the needs of SV Jersey Girl and used it to make a surround for the aircon which is now above me on the coachroof.

This has worked well and the unit is delivering chilly air into the boat pretty much 24/7 now. I used a big knife to cut the foam sheet. Here’s a picture of the knife, you can probably guess the next bit.

It was quite funny really, The knife is new and very sharp, and I was thinking how I need to be super careful with it, I don’t want an accident and have to head off to covid city central for stitches, so after each use, I carefully put the knife safely out of reach so I wouldn’t step on it as I moved between the cockpit (Workshop) and the coach roof hatch. It was while I was carefully cutting through the foam, that the foam split, and suddenly there was only air between the tip of the blade and my knee, which the knife instantly decided to explore. It sunk about 10mm into the skin just above my kneecap and I was a little freaked and expected a torrent of blood as I legged it down into the cabin to treat the cut. Amazingly it turned out to be ‘a mere flesh wound‘ as the python sketch once had it, and healed within a few hours. I guess that’s the thing with accidents, they still happen despite your best efforts to avoid them.

Later on I call in on Arturo to swap Spanish books on my way to the supermarket. Sadly I get there too late to buy my beer, despite being alcohol free, it’s still subject to the 18:00 curfew on beer sales.

Long day of spanish, I offer to buy dinner for Arturo later as he has been putting a lot of extra hours into the tuition lately, so we arrange to go to a place he has heard is good called Bismarkcito. The bismark comes from the famous WWII ship and I point out to Arturo that we don’t have a lot of Bismark themed restaurants in the UK. Probably in a similar way they don’t have many eateries themed around Mr Trump. Although I did see news that Mexicans have been stealing the razor wire from ‘The Wall’ and using it to enhance the security on their homes. There’s a joke that Mexicans are saying they stole parts of the wall so they could build a wall around their home, and Trump paid for it!
I’m thinking that the restaurants may be forced to close again soon given the way the covid numbers are rising here.

Arturo and I at the Bismarkcito on the malecon. I’m rubbish at selfies, especially when you have to social distance.

7 Hours of Spanish today, it’s a lot easier to stay inside with the aircon and study now. The lesson is mostly about the history of linguistics as that’s something Arturo is fascinated by, even if it isn’t helping me learn to speak the language, I’m getting a good understanding how the science/art of translation has developed over the last 3000 years. Later I rush to the Supermarket to build up stock of beer, I’m expecting it to disappear again soon.

I’m able to buy some cinnamon sticks there which I use with the Ginger to make the Jamaica (Hibiscus) drink. I boil up the flowers with the herbs and sugar to make a concentrate which goes in the fridge for a later date.

Almost a week with the air conditioning and I’m realising why I hate it so much. I haven’t been out to the Magote to swim and snorkel with the fish this week, I haven’t walked around the marina trying to catch the breeze, I haven’t spent much time outdoors at all really. I could be anywhere when I’m inside the cabin. When it gets too cold in here, and I turn the aircon off, then within a few hours it’s unbearable. So I’m trying to use the time to study hard and as soon as the hot season ends it will have to go.
One thing I have been impressed by is how my macbook seems to have worked out I’m learning Spanish. It has silently gone from trying to correct my spanish spelling into the closest english word when I’m making notes in Spanish, to now only underlining the word when I have spelt it wrong in Spanish, as if the laptop has been configured to be Spanish.

The Jamaica drink, quite nice.

I read today that the Covid infection rate here is rising quickly and the weekly provisional figures will mean we have to move back from Orange Alert State to Red if they are confirmed. Even if they are not confirmed now, they will be next week sometime. So I’m pretty sure full lockdown is on its way back here.

I’m planning to leave the marina in two weeks time and head north. There are places to moor on mooring balls in Puerto Escondido which is near Loreto, So I will spend a week or more heading there, a week or so there, then head back down here for the start of September. Puerto Escondido is a very safe hurricane hole I have been told, I could also haul out there if needed. Arturo is coming with me so he can get to swim with the dolphins/sharks, and I get full on Spanish lessons. All of the beautiful Islands and beaches we pass are closed, but we can probably spend the night at these as we are on transit to another major port, and that kind of passage is allowed.
Kathy will be flying out in the third week of September if all goes to plan and the only question I have at the moment is if I should try to fly back for a few weeks at the start of September and hope the boat is safe without me. September is peak hurricane season here, although they can occur anytime now up until December.

returning from my evening exercise as the sun sets.
A fish market on the beach that opened and was instantly shut down by the locals, never to re-open


Quite a dull weekend really, I had a headache for most of Saturday and Sunday, usually when I get persistent headaches it’s down to my eyes. If I lose my last pair of decent specs overboard and move to a earlier prescription lens which isn’t quite right I end up with headaches. This last week has been very disappointing for me as I have reached a milestone with the deterioration of my nearsite vision. I have had 61 years of being able to read without needing glasses, in the last few years I have used reading specs for some small print on labels, but this week there have been days when I couldn’t read from the computer screen, and I can’t read books at all now without glasses, the change happened quicker than I expected. So most days I have been straining to read stuff, I’m assuming that’s the cause of the headaches. Of course it could be something else, like a brain tumor and my eyesight might return to normal, just before my head explodes, who knows.
The heat outside most days (39 deg C, 102f today), has caused me to stay inside during the day enjoying the new Aircon. Once the sun is low in the sky I have been cycling along the Malecon,

Besides making for a great sunset, hopefully the cloud will cool us down a little tomorrow

I recently re-read Steinbeck’s book The Pearl which is set here in La Paz, I read it when I was at school, but can’t quite remember how old I was. It had a big affect on me at the time, and I think fueled my early cynicism about life in general. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing this sculpture on the Malecon is related to the book.

The Pearl

Clay and Brenda, who have been bashing their way north for the last few months left San Francisco on Saturday morning and made a dash north in the small break in the weather. That night, off the coast of Northern California they heard a mayday from a 40ft vessel and went to their aid. It was too foggy for the coastguard helicopter to assist and the boat was sinking faster than the coast guard cutter was going to take to get there, so the crew, an elderly and a younger couple transferred to Clay and Brenda’s yacht, and later transferred to the coastguard when it arrived. As I understand it the stricken boat is now lying on the seabed. Very sad, but at least everyone survived. The sea state wasn’t good so hats off to everyone involved in getting the crew off safely.
I had a look for the comet tonight, but visibility was poor. Still there’s always next time round 😉

Paul Collister.

Hot Hot Hot

Monday 6th July 2020.
Did I mention it’s getting hot here, this morning I popped to the supermarket and bought some bananas which seemed fine there, but by the time I reached the boat they had ripened into a mush. My neighbours were fitting an aircon that looked just like the one I had been eyeing up in the supermarket.
Besides my Spanish, I don’t get a lot done due to the heat.

Over to the Magote for a swim, I spot a few rays as I snorkel around. I have brought my cheapo GoPro copy and its waterproof case but as I swim around filming the fish underwater I can see bubbles floating up from the camera. It takes a few seconds, but I figure that means as the air is heading out of the camera case, so must water be heading in. I manage to get the camera out and dried fairly quickly, and it seems to still be working, but I expect the rot has set in now and it won’t be long before the salt crystals get to work on it.
I pay for another month in marina, I’m going to be here until the start of august then I really need to get out and do a bit of sailing, It has been too long and I might forget how everything works. Kathy is planning to return here in the middle of September if I don’t return home before then. I need to asses the Covid situation, flight options and the hurricanes before I can decide to head back. If I dont head back I will sail the sea here until Kathy’s flight, then return to La Paz to meet her here or in Mexico City.
Last night we had quite a strong gusty wind, I wondered if it was a Corumel, a strong wind that comes in from the Pacific over the land. I thought about getting the sails down soon and then remembered that the yankee headsail had jammed once on the way up, and I started to worry it might happen on the way down, and if that happened in a building wind I could be in trouble. So while it was calm I took both the headsails down. They didn’t jam, but the staysail was quite stiff, and the Yankee furler was jammed and required a bit of a tug before it ran free. I need to give it a good service soon.

I pickup a kilo of fish from the fishermen on my way home from the beach, I think that’s enough work for one day, given the heat. I do manage to put the sheets (Long ropes) from the headsails in buckets of fresh water to try and get the salt particles out.
My neighbours have not been seen outside their cabin since the aircon was fitted.

The hurricane that didn’t get named Cummings, but is in fact Christina is south of us and building in strength, 50 – 60 knot winds at the moment, possibly reaching 90 knots tomorrow, but its track takes it west of us so we won’t need to worry, Cabo San Lucas is going to get some good surfing waves from it.
I’m glad I took the sails down now.

My Spanish lesson is delayed as Arturo has to help a friend take her son to hospital. I have heard the hospital here is now approaching capacity with Covid cases and if numbers continue rising at the current rate they will be struggling to cope in a few days time. La Paz is the capital of BCS (Baja California Sur) and I think all the covid patients in the state are brought here. So it doesn’t mean that La Paz itself is a hotbed of infections, but it is a problem. I’m not aware of any track / trace/isolate system in operation, there’s no testing for the general public until you reach the hospital, but you can buy a test locally for a few hundred dollars.
After the lesson I head off for an evening shop and notice the aircon in Chedraui is on special offer at around £105. I take this as a signal from above. They only have two left, so I decide if one the units is still there in the morning I will buy it. My theory is I only need it for 3 months max, say 90 days, if I sell it for £50 then, I will have had 90 days of cooling for £50, so about 55p/day.

In preparation for the aircon purchase I have to practice some spanish. My problem here is that I need to get a taxi to bring the Aircon from the supermarket back to the marina, yet I have read that Taxi drivers are suffering a lot more infections than the public in general, thereby making it riskier for me to travel with the unit in the cab. I start of by telling the security guard at the marina that a taxi will be arriving with an aircon and can he guard it until I get back on my bicycle. He understands me completely, even shows me where he will store it. Next I cycle to the store, pickup the last remaining unit and wheel it out to the taxi rank. I then explain what I want, that goes well, and when I arrive back at the marina on my bike the taxi driver and guard are putting the aircon unit into a cart for me to take to the boat. I love it when a plan comes together.

I’m going to have to build some ducting / coaming to get the unit the work on the coachroof over the hatches, but for now I shove it in the companionway hatch stuff a pillow in the gap and switch it on. I wait and wonder if I should get a jumper out ready for later.

The temperature drops from 36 deg to 32 over the next hour, It feels a lot cooler and the humidity is right down. But I’m expecting better, when suddenly it stops working. I notice the mains power has gone, I check the time and it’s 14:00 and I remember they are turning off the shore power to the whole marina today until 19:00. Oh well…
I jump into the dinghy and head off to the Magote, I can’t think of a better way to cool down.

Out of service sub, en route to the Magote. I expect it’s hard to social distance on a sub.

One of the problems with coming from Liverpool is that you can’t get away from the bloody beatles. In a small sailing club in Japan we had to karaoke to ‘Let it Be’ , In Borneo we could hear Macca coming out of the piped music, and now here they have a bloody yellow submarine! I hope it doesn’t go the same way as the scouse one which sank, twice, in the famous Liverpool Albert Dock, with passengers on board, before they took its license away.

I thought the whole point of a submarine was that it could sink ok. Thinking about it, one of the first ever submarine sinkings was on a maiden voyage from Liverpool, the HMS Thetis? I think a good motto might be, ‘avoid submarines with a Liverpool connection’!

I have the best sleep in months last night, other than the fact I dreamed about Liverpool Empire being in ruins. It’s a great theatre/venue in Liverpool, many world famous acts have performed there, but in my dream it was in a very sorry dilapidated state. I wonder how it will fare in this post covid world. I expect a lot of arts venues will struggle, most of the ones I know could barely pay the bills before.
The boat is so cool I even pull a blanket over me at one point.
I spend the day mostly inside enjoying the cool air, but hating the noise of the aircon and feeling so confined.
I practice the Spanish I have learnt during the week.

La Escoba, the Brush. Barrer, To Brush or Sweep. Trapeador is the Mop.

I have taken to labeling things so I don’t forget their name.
Apologies for a rather dull blog this week.

25 deg c, Bliss

Paul Collister.

Rain at last

Monday 30th June 2020.
Today is really hot and humid, and the cheery man giving the weather report on the morning net informs us that we can expect to add another ten degrees to this over the next few months. That has me worried. My google search history is now mostly made up of the phrases ‘Mexico’, ‘Aircon’ and ‘Cheap’. I have seen window units for about £130 at the supermarket, and if they make it bearable in the cabin, just for the next few months, and allows me to get some sleep, then I’m up for it.

I head out for a swim in the afternoon and end up returning via the south side getting close to the shore so I can look into people’s gardens and also check out the abandoned hotel from it’s beach. It also means I pass through the Navy’s dock and get a good look at their setup, I’m hoping they don’t get upset. I see a man on the back of their bigger warship look my way, then he goes back to his half asleep watch from his hammock.

I have a recipe for making the Jamaica tea, but I’m lacking fresh ginger, which I can’t find in the supermarket. I’m hoping it has rejuvenating properties, as I feel I may be aging prematurely here. Just the other day I was in the supermarket checkout queue under a sign that said ‘Priority Aisle for the elderly 7AM to 11AM’, Which given it was now the afternoon was irrelevant, however a younger lady in front of me looked around, saw the sign, looked at me and started apologising, saying she hadn’t realised it was for the elderly. If I hadn’t started this dammed Spanish language learning nonsense, I would have been blissfully unaware of the sign and her exclamations.
I suppose I need to get used to this.
Today it rained for much of the day, which was wonderful, however I hadn’t quite realised how the rain and heat makes for humidity, in such a stark way as today. The rain stopped around 11 and the sun came out, full on, within an hour the humidity was unbearable as the wet surfaces quickly gave up all moisture to the air. By the evening it had become quite pleasant, with the temperature below 30c for the first time in many days/nights. The only downside being the amount of bitey things flying around the cockpit.

Today I watched a new video from our good friends Robert & Vanessa, who set off from Canada on their boat ‘For Good’ at the same time as us. We boat buddied (if that’s a word) with them around the outside of Vancouver Island from Port Hardy to Tofino last year. They have produced a wonderful film of their trip and I suggest you connect your computer up to a big screen with surround sound before you watch it as Robert, who is a real filmmaker, has made a high quality production, and it isn’t doing it justice to watch it on a mobile phone screen. Most of the footage is stunning and makes me want to go there and see it myself, but then I remember I was there. He documents the places we both visited much better than I ever did. I feel slightly guilty about the terror they describe as I encouraged them to set sail in the big swells, I knew it was perfectly safe, but had forgotten just how scary it might feel first time around.

I noticed two more Mega Yachts arrived yesterday.

The other is hidden behind him.

I’m hoping they don’t break free and drift down on me in a storm.
Now on the subject of GPS, a lot of you will think of GPS as a system for finding out where you are, which it sort of is, however most people probably don’t realise that GPS is the USA brand for their global navigation satellite system (GNSS), and there are several other GNSS out there. It’s a bit like how Google became a verb, despite them going to court to try and stop it. GPS is just one version, The Europeans have Galileo, the Russians have GLONASS and the Chinese have BeiDou.
The British planned to launch their own system before they saw the cost, as they can’t fully use the European one after Brexit. and instead have bought into a satellite broadband internet company, some say by mistake, but perhaps the military will be using google earth on their phones instead of GNSS.
Anyway, some recent launches have meant that all four systems are up and running to various levels and I wondered if I can use any of them. Looking at the satellites on my ships main GPS receiver I can see 11 GPS (USA) satelites, but nothing else. This is a shame as the GPS is actually a Chinese brand! I downloaded an app to see what my iPhone8 could see and was quite surprised that it is receiving signals from 35 GNSS satellites.

There are 7 GPS (USA), 10 Galileo (EU) and 14 BiiDou (Chinese) and no Russian ones, if I’m reading this correctly. That’s a lot of Satellites to choose from, I expect I would see more if I could use my external GNSS antenna on the boat.

Later while eating my dinner I felt something slowly crawling over my bare foot, which for some reason didn’t bother me, I think I imagined it was a gecko, but when I looked down it scurried off into the dark, I just saw it was big, a couple of inches long maybe. I wasn’t mad on going to bed with this guy wandering around, especially as it headed into the dark near the V-berth where I’m sleeping. I grabbed the biggest bowls I could find and went into hunting mode. I could just make it out in the dark and pounced. I figure this particular cockroach has been smoking weed or something as he/she was so slow. I removed it and started it on it’s first swimming lesson. Given that it was marching along the main thoroughfare of the cabin, I’m hoping it blew in through the open hatch in the wind and got confused. We have been very lucky and have never had a problem with roaches onboard, despite being in the tropics for most of the time.
Regardless, the poison is out along with several roach hotels, which if you don’t know, are pretty little houses made of cardboard that are full of attractive smelling roach food, in the middle of very sticky glue.

I head off to Chedraui Palicio, which is a bigger supermarket, or ‘super’ as the locals say. They have a bigger range of veg and I manage to score a few roots of jengibre (Ginger) for my tea project. It’s a fair trek on the bike and it’s also baking hot, even at 9:30 in the morning, I go early in case I am mistaken for a pensioner again.
Later my Spanish lesson is fun, and we end up discussing the Falkland Islands or Las Malvinas as Arturo knows them. Of course I hadn’t appreciated quite how opposite the Latin American understanding of the dispute was.
Later I call around to the chandlers to see if my pump for the head has arrived, but I find they are shut.
The heat is unbearable now so I take the dinghy over to the Magote and drop the anchor a little off the beach and snorkel around. It’s absolutely stunning, when I am in just a few feet of water, near the beach, I am surrounded by so many small fish, hundreds or more, If I look into the water from the beach they can’t be seen, but just dip below the surface and they are there, quite amazing. I really am very lucky to have this on my doorstep. I will take my gopro next time and try to capture some of the magic.
I fall asleep watching a boat building video, he was just fitting the knees when I fell asleep, when I woke up he was painting the hull, I slept through several episodes and it was now 1AM, heading to bed I spotted a cockroach on the bulkhead in the head. A Benny Hill chase ensued, where I had him captured twice and he escaped both times. So I don’t have a one of visitor, more likely an infestation. I wonder if I will sleep with the thought of thousands of Cockroaches climbing over me, but in the end I have one of my best sleeps ever.

Back to the chandlers and my pump has arrived from Cabo San Lucas. The man I normally deal with is at the counter and he knows nothing about my order, I did it via emails, the manager comes out and brings the pump with him, The assistant looks amused as he produces the same pump from the shelf behind him, he says they had it in stock in La Paz all the time.

Back on the boat the temperature is rising and I have a stack of homework to do. The one hour lesson with Arturo goes on for nearly 3 hours as we keep going off topic, I’m teaching him the finer points of English, at one point we have a great laugh as he asks me to rip out a piece of paper from my notebook, but he uses the phrase, ‘Take a piece of sheet’, now his accent is quite Mexican and I’m sure you can work out how it sounds, he can tell from my expression there is a problem, so I take this as an opportunity to get my own back for his uncontrollable laughter the other day. I have him repeating ‘Piece of sheet’ over and over trying to get him to say sheet properly, Sheeeet Sh eeeeeeee eet I keep saying but he keeps saying ‘Piece of Shit’, eventually I tell him to only ever say ‘Sheet of Paper’ unless you are talking about certain famous world leaders, and we move on.
Later I head off to Soriano, a more down to earth supermarket to tool up for ‘Cockroach Wars’. They have a great selection, but which one to go for. I pick up a killer spray, but see on the label it says, safe for children, I put it back, I’m thinking I can take a stronger brand, but realise I’m unlikely to find one that says, ‘Kills Children’, but I want ‘kills children, old and weak people‘. I’m not taking any prisoners. I end up buying a Powder Spray, a liquid killer and an Aerosol, I have a stack more roach hotels. I wouldn’t want to be a creepy crawly on this boat right now.
When I bought Sister Midnight some 4 1/2 years ago in Malaysia, it had been sitting unoccupied for a couple of years, it had had a lot of cockroaches living there but they had all died, probably because there was no water or food onboard, I removed dozens of dead guys then. They don’t seem to decompose like most creatures. Since then we have only ever seen one and it was quickly caught and removed. I have been a bit lax, Kathy would regularly brush up the crumbs and dirt in the main cabin, I tend to do it only if I have spilt a bag of of flour or similar. Now the work surfaces are spotless.
Before I leave the supermarket I look for a lighter for the stove, the electric ignition is broken and we use the plastic gas lighters that are everywhere here. I’m sure you know the type

Anyway, my phone can’t get the internet so I don’t know the word for it in Spanish and I’m wandering around the kitchen section looking with no luck when an assistant asks if she can help, from the top of the ladder she is on. I’m able to say thank you, and explain I’m looking to buy a …. for a stove, and I perform the lighting action, which is basically holding the invisible lighter and pulling on the trigger while pointing it at her. I then realise it looks like I’m in a rap video trying to pretend shoot the poor assistant on the ladder. I quickly stop, she shouts across to another assistant to come and help, and thankfully I’m led away to the correct aisle.

On the way back from the super I pop down to a little fisherman’s cove, this is the place where Arturo had to babysit the restaurant overnight.

A lovely spot with great potential post virus

Cycling along I’m realising how much nicer it is nearer sunset, a better breeze and generally cooler. In the mornings when I normally go out, I rarely see another cyclist, right now it feels like the Tour de France is passing through town. It’s very pleasant, I muse on the sounds of the birds as I pass under some trees, there a regular squawking sound I can hear, it stays with me after I pass the trees and I soon work out a spot of oil on the pedal will fix that, all the same it’s a beautiful evening.

I stop off at the basketball court and sit at the edge looking out over the bay where one of the original fishing families is based. There are two families that have fished here since the land was settled, possibly before, and this location is home to a dozen or so of their descendants. I’m hoping to learn more about this history at some point. the other family is based at the other end of the Malecon.

Where I get my fish
Locals come here and try to catch some free dinner

Back on the boat I prepare for action.

The moon seemed very bright tonight, but I didn’t hear of it having a special name this time round, I’m going to jump in and name it a ‘Marina Moon’

Saturday is a lazy day, no Spanish lesson, but stacks of homework I mostly ignore. It’s hot so I razz over to the beach and cool down.

Navionics have added, at no extra cost, some cool depth contour imaging.

Sunday, more heat, another trip to the Magote for some very refreshing swimming and lots of homework. I fall asleep watching wooden boat building videos, again.

Paul Collister.