20th September 2023
Shell Bay, Rio Dulce, Guatemala – Shell Bay, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
We all strive for independence. Financial independence, political independence, systemic independence and celebrations always happen when we obtain it. Whilst we revel in our Independence from shore all the people around us are celebrating their independence from their old colonial masters.
On Ruffian we continued with our search for independence. During our time ashore our starter battery had suffered and was showing no signs of life and having a working battery that can start the engine is a key factor to our independence. We smiled thinking this would be a quick victory and something that would be easy to tick off our dwindling to-do list.
We measured and remeasured the battery, checked the connectors and knew exactly what we we looking for in all the automotive shops that dotted the roads around us. Walking into the first shop they had batteries but they were the wrong size, the next shop had ones of the wrong capacity and the next one had lug terminals instead of eyes. With this new information we now needed both a new battery, new cables, new crimps and new cable eye’s. This was now not a simple project of independence it was turning into a full struggle.
The struggle continued on Ruffian as we set about removing the old battery cables to take to the shops crimper. Cables that hadn’t been touched in years had be coaxed out of impossibly small paces and all the cables that lay over them had to be persuaded to move. In heat this was hot sweaty work and Iain was sure that his sweat, as it dripped onto he batteries would lead to his electrocution and his downfall.
Finally the cables were transported to the battery shop where the crimper and owner were now nowhere to be seen. After many abortive visits everything was finally together in one place ; the owner, the crimper, the new battery, our cables and our credit card. At last with the battery was reinstalled and we gained our hard fought independence.
While we were fighting for our independence the whole of Guatemala was getting ready to celebrate theirs. 201 years ago the Guatemalan people were granted independence from the Spanish and since then they’ve been celebrating. Everywhere we looked there were pickups full of people with whistles and horns and all making their way slowly along the roads. In front of these pickups ran groups of torch bearers commemorating the runners who spread the word of independence far and wide.
Our time being independent from the land was growing thin and we were starting get get ready once again to get to work on Ruffian ashore at Ram Marina, in the meantime however there were drinks to be had with Cushla and new parts of the lake to explore. Going for drinks we could have either got a water taxi ashore, or put Brock on the dock of a pash hotel; but no Iain wanted to maintain independence and so with the sun setting we tied Brock up to a dock in a boatyard.
Enquiring if the yard would be locking the razor wire rimmed metal gates as the sun set we were heartened to hear that security would always be about, we’d always be able to get back to Brock and our decision to maintain our independence was a good one. We then climbed to the high point that overlooked the lake, where we would see Ruffian bob at anchor and take in the sunset with cold flowing beers.
As the evening drew in and time grew late we said our goodbyes to Cushla and set about our little commute home. The ‘town’ was eerily quiet, the roads empty of all traffic and not a single light illuminated the dark alleyways. We approached the equally dark and quiet boatyard and found that the gates were locked, the razor-wire sharp and Brock inaccessible.
With no way down to Brock we started exploring alternative routes home, but they all ended up with us needed to get to Brock and luckily Iain had ventured down a dark and dank alleyway that happened to end at the waters edge.
With all options exhausted and Brock a mere 200meter swim away through alligator infested waters Iain stripped and waded in. His sphelt like body and gentle stroke* made quick work of the route around piers and parked boats that led into the boatyard. He now just had the worry of coming across shotgun wielding security guard with nothing to protect him other than his pearly white torso and under armour pants.
Climbing into Brock he made a quick getaway, picked up Fiona and waved goodbye to all those alligators who he’d managed to evade. Like all the Guatemalans on the street he had maintained his independence and in years to come he could imagine people stripping and night swimming in his honour.
*Read bumbling hulk and inefficient splashing.
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