Guestblog Gaby

I spend most of my time in the water or near it because of my work. Although most of my fieldwork is on boats working with fishermen, collecting data or diving, I had never sailed before. I would always jokingly tell him, I wouldn’t sail with him, but deep inside the thought made me very exciting. And suddenly one thing led to another and in a blink of an eye we were in Puerto Cortes , the biggest port in Honduras near the border with Guatemala . Patric met me there , as I had to spend a few days of fieldwork there. I had to collect some tissue samples of deep sea fish and meet with a few fishers, it was nice to introduce him to some of the work I do and a few of the many things i’m passionate about. Before we headed out ,we stopped by the Fortaleza de San Fernando de Omoa, the biggest Spanish fortress in Honduras and I had Patric try the best baleadas ever ( Honduran dish made of hand made flour tortillas, refried beans, avocado and eggs), after that it was time for Guatemala!

We arrived in Tortugal Marina, where I met Southern Mist. I had never stayed in a boat so the whole experience was all new to me . Patric showed me around and explained a few things , there were some warnings regarding toes being smashed , hair being pulled and bruises but other than that I was quite excited! The next day we went to the store, Patric asked if I wanted to drive the dinghy, I thought he was joking.. he wasn’t and I did not hesitate to say YES! It was much easier than I thought and a lot of fun, turns out Im not that bad of a dinghy driver. We usually would wake up with the sun , and then head to the Marina’s restaurant and have coffee with all the cruisers. There ,we would catch up with everyone, talk about projects ( cruisers have endless list of projects), sailing, marine life (my personal favorite) and just enjoy the company of everyone. We were waiting on Patric’s package which included the new standing rig, wind generator and stirring cables so since our project list was on hold…we decided to check out the Castillo de San Felipe (Another Spanish fortress) , Finca Paraiso , a waterfall near Fronteras and spend a lot our time burning fireworks (a personal favorite).

We thought that Patric would meet me in Roatan for New Years Eve, so I left after that to Tegucigalpa (Capital of Honduras) to spend christmas with my family , although I wanted to sail back with Patric my mother would have shun me for life if I missed christmas. So later that week we realized that was not gonna happen, and that Patric’s package was delayed due to christmas and the Guatemalan government. So I surprised him in Rio Dulce, and his package actually arrived after I did on his Bday! So after that Patric worked really hard to get everything ready to get to Roatan, I helped on a few things , unfortunately I had to work myself on boring marine biologist stuff on my computer. Finally the day arrived for us to leave, we went to the store to get food and Patric and I put the sails up,pulled out of our slip with help of everyone .We were going to anchor for the night in front of the Marina and head out really early to Livingston. Then I learned another of the many sailing rules: Something always breaks !… and so it did, the alternator. I was quite bummed as that probably meant we wouldn’t leave together. Time was ticking for me as I needed to get to Roatan for work, and then I learned another rule of sailing : You cant plan much and its not on you time , but on weather’s time. Somehow the universe conspired and Patric managed to get an alternator, there was a decent weather window and we would make it to Roatan right on time! So 9 bruises later, some pulled hair and some smashed toes later we were ready to go to Livingston and then the next day to Roatan!

Sailing down Lago Izabal was beautiful! The vegetation surrounding the river was lush, and green and birds where everywhere you glanced. It was so peaceful, that for a second I forgot where I was. We spent the night in Livingston and we were out very early in the morning.There is something very beautiful and captivating about being alone in the middle of the ocean. The sailing during the day was easy breezy and there was even time to make burgers. We spent a lot of time in the bow just watching the waves roll by ,and its was by far my favorite . At night we took four 3 hour shifts, both of mine were fine, but during Patric’s second shift we got a squall and I woke up to the sounds of the wind against the genoa. I must admit I was a bit startled, but it all left quickly as it came and Patric pretty much had everything under control. We sailed past Utila, and a few hours later we were in Roatan and the day was just beautiful. We watched the anchor sink in the crystal clear waters of West End and before you could know it I was in the water happy to be in my Island home :) .

And so time has flown and its now March…Southern Mist has been busy in Guanaja, and Cayos Cochinos. Patric is somewhere near Drowned Cays , Belize today and Ive just come back from Mexico and Belize ,and in Roatan now, so our life is always a lot of back and forth but happy.. but Im sure the Captain will have much to say regarding sailing. Im looking forward to going back to Rio to see everyone again. But for now I have a big marine megafauna monitoring (sharks, rays, turtles and finfish).. so we will be busy tagging sharks!!!! :) :):)

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