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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hopkinson

Happy 2020 from City Dogs!

First of all, Welcome to the Future! It's 2020, we finally made it. Let's all just take a moment and think on where we're at, where we've come from, and where we're going.

It’s been a while since our last blog post, maybe one of our longest breaks writing on the good old City Dogs blog since we began writing for it back in the summer of 2017. But we're going to get back on a regular schedule, with at least one blog post per week for 2020, even if some of them are just amazing Champagne Boating on a Budget recipes from Andrea's cookbook. The holidays are always busy down here doing sailing charters in the Western Caribbean Bay Islands of Honduras as North Americans head south to escape the frigid conditions back home, so we’ve been busy working doing what we do best: taking discerning guests out on private, unforgettable sailing adventures, but that’s really no excuse for not posting on the blog.

We even managed to squeeze a little diving in before the end of the year, and while the water temperatures are let's just call them refreshing, it’s nice to see the coral recovering from the temperature spikes we had in September-October. Steve’s also been busy trying to get through his first hard edit on the rough draft of his island novel, while pushing ahead with writing another new untitled novel, so there’s only so much time in the day to spend typing behind a keyboard, even if the view from our office isn’t quite so bad.

In between charters we’ve been getting tons of stuff done, checking all kinds of projects off our land and sea based To Do Lists. Off the top of our heads, we did a full breakdown of the watermaker (swapped out several o-rings, seals, and cleaned everything up and put it back together again), we also changed the diesel engine oil and oil filter, we correctly wired our alternator so that it’s actually putting out amps into our battery bank, and we most recently fixed our shore power reverse polarity problem. The last was a new hurdle thrown onto the track just as we're getting ready to leave for an overnight charter, like the universe saying: think fast! Kind of like when the engine kill switch cord broke a couple weeks ago and we had to figure out how to turn the engine off without using it.

Electrical problems are one of those things we just normally hire out to fix back in the States, but here, even when we’re working with a professional, you just muddle through. When we (and by we, of course we mean Steve) were jabbing the red and black ends of the light bulb tester into the small exposed areas of white and black wires we’d wired into the end of the shore power cable, and felt that sudden, jittery numbness spread up through our body, we thought, that’s a definitely a good connection. There’s definitely some juice there, some current flowing through my body.

Thankfully Steve didn’t drop the light bulb onto the deck of the boat, but these are just some of the adventures we get into doing boat work here in Honduras, especially in a rush during the holidays. Reminds us of that time we almost got electrocuted on the beach in West End when our dinghy engine mechanic dropped the electrical outlet he was using as an extension cord to try and cut through our engine lock into the surging waves on the beach.

These kinds of things just don’t happen back in the States, but we’ve learned a healthy fear of electricity. It’s right up there with the wind and the sea as forces of nature that demand respect. But you also don’t get to be one of the only boats out in the water, snorkeling, diving, and skirting through some of the most amazing aquamarine tropical environments on the planet back in the States, either. There are definitely tradeoffs, like not getting to see the new (and apparently terrible) last Skywalker Star Wars movie before it comes out on BluRay.

But as we move into our third year of operating sailing charters from our Beneteau Oceanis 393 monohull sailboat, we’re filled with nothing but gratitude for all the amazing, generous, caring, and funny people we’ve met in the Bay Islands of Honduras (Roatan, Utila, Guanaja, and Cayos Cochinos). There are many different communities living in the islands with all kinds of amazing people with views up and down and sideways along the political spectrum, but we all get along because we all appreciate the same things. Locals, expats, visitors, most of the people we run across are of a similar mind, full of passion and love for these gorgeous islands and the people and ecosystems that make them unique. It takes a village to keep even the most modest operation going, and we certainly wouldn’t still be going without the friends we’ve met along the way.

We had a wonderful island Christmas, celebrated with some old island friends and some new ones here on Roatan and we had a blast! We didn’t do a thing for New Year Eve and we loved that too. We just stayed in, had a really nice steak dinner with mashed potatoes and fresh salad and watched some of the new Watchmen series on HBO. It's really good stuff but a little dense after a couple glasses of wine. As a fan of the graphic novel (and to a much lesser extent, the Zack Snyder film), Steve’s always wanting to interrupt and tell Andrea all about the history that the show hints at.

Tomorrow we head out for a few days, the original plan was to go Utila for a few days, then head over to Cayos Cochinos, do some diving in both places, but we think we’re going to have to change it up. Looks like we might just go to Cayos instead because there’s another storm coming through on Sunday that’s going to mess everything up since neither the anchorage in Utila nor the Cayos mooring field are any good when these winter storms blow through. Course, the storm might come through earlier. Or later. Or not at all. Not much we can do about it though. We can’t fight the weather and we’re not going to try to weather a norther anywhere but on the sheltered side of Roatan.

So it goes!


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