The Voyage of Neytiri

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The Four Questions

We travelled back to the U.S. for the winter holiday every year during our first outing on Sanity nineteen years ago. It was difficult to explain the cruising lifestyle to others because their image of a cruising lifestyle was shaped by movies and television. In 1996 we returned to land full time and took up careers, bought houses, cars, and kept the odd plant alive. We did the occasional “Voyage of Sanity” presentation for a church or school and found a similar pattern to the questions. I call it Storms, Bad Guys, How Could You Afford It, and What Did You Do All Day Long … not in any particular order. Spending any time breaking the image just caused eyes to glaze over.

So, here is my attempt to answer the four questions at this stage of the Neytiri saga.

Storms?
We got hit with a 45-knot squall while on a mooring ball at Hatchet Key, Belize, in 2016; we messed up on tide/wind calculations at Dotham cut in the Bahamas in 2015; but that’s it. Those stories are covered in the blog. Our trips in 2017 have been short enough that the forecasting has kept us out of trouble. In 2016 we did Florida, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala in about six weeks; but the only weather issues were not enough wind a couple of times.

Stormy Belize
Hatchet Caye, Belize

Bad Guys?
We monitor a number of nets that report on incidents in the Caribbean. We don’t necessarily avoid problem areas. In fact we’re in one now, but we take precautions accordingly. Statistically we’re safer from physical harm than a commute to work in the U.S. We fly through San Pedro Sulu, Honduras, twice a year; and that city is way up on the world danger chart. Large cities have places you do not go into either all the time or at certain times and that includes our former home city, Minneapolis.

Right after we sailed to El Estor in Lago Isabal, Guatemala, with Flying Fish and wrote up an article for the local paper about how safe it was once proper arrangements were made, a boat was robbed of a dinghy and engine there. That happened on the day the article was published. We hear about dinghy theft all over the Caribbean and it is not a minor item. A new replacement for the dinghy runs over $4,000 U.S. and a 15-horse outboard approaches $3,000.

San Pedro SulaSan Pedro Sula - Dangerous?

Bucks?
We survived Florida. It was expensive but the farther afield we sail, the easier it is on the budget. In fact, the sailing portion of our annual budget is almost exactly half of that during our U.S. visit. We have found Guatemala to be very budget friendly, and Belize is okay if we stock up well in Guatemala. We also know some Belize tricks. All together, we are at around 160 percent of our budget during our working years.

What Do You Do All Day?
We are in Roatan now and life is a bit atypical. The general theme is a tourist day, a workout day, and a work day. The tourist days are usually renting a car and travelling this incredible island. We are never lost because we never have a destination, just a direction (and there are really only two directions). We do take snorkeling gear and we do kick back on the beach like the tourists. There isn’t much time left for anything but popcorn and a movie when we get back. If we get back soon enough, there is usually a cruiser gathering in the Palapa. We try to hit movie night and BBQ night.

Our workout day is very unique to Roatan. The La Piña Fitness Center and Spa is right below Herby’s Sports Bar and Grill and they are both thumbs up from us. The fitness center is our own private gym with almost every piece of equipment an LA Fitness has. The equipment works, the A/C is cool, the 15 TV’s have English channels, the hot tub and saunas are part of the deal, and we get to shower. Showering is a big deal since fresh water showers are no longer available for marina guests at Fantasy Island. If we shower on the boat, we have to make a lot of water, we introduce a lot of humidity to the boat, and we have to clean up afterwards. Herby’s, two floors up from the gym, is a U.S. style sports bar with a large drop down projector screen for big events, four huge TV screens in the center, and fifty regular large screen TV’s showing most of the sporting events on the planet. It’s a great place to get back all the calories burnt at La Piña and then some.

The work day is the same old story. In Roatan we have added chore of cleaning pine tree debris off the boat every day. Today was a run to Ace Hardware, varnish stripping on the navigation table, we made 25 gallons of water, and we completed and filed our federal and state taxes. Fun.

Pina Health ClubLa Piña Fitness CenterPina PoolLa Piña Pool & Spa