Thursday 13 June 2013

On the road again...

It's been a bit of a while but I'm finally back on the road again. And not alone either. Most of you will know Heather but for those of you that don't a little update. I'd just ridden down through Mexico, Guatemala and was in Honduras. I completed my MSDT, master scuba diver trainer, course and was working in Alton's Dive Center. Happily minding my own business, enjoying sun, sea, diving and along came Heather to ruin it all. She had just finished working on a marine biology project in Belize and was in Utila to do her Advanced, Rescue and Dive Master training. We met, one thing led to another (a chance encounter with a pod of dolphins on our first date might have helped) and we were hooked. We were only together for three weeks and just before she was about to leave I asked her what next. Somehow we both agreed to go to south Korea in the new year and teach English.

After a year of living together, teaching together and generally being around each other a lot things seemed to be going well and I asked her to join me on the motorbike trip the rest of the way down to Argentina. She said yes and so that's where we are. Pretty brief sum up of the last two years but it covers the major points.

Meet Heather (she's the pretty one)
After Korea Heather actually went home for a few months and I headed back to Honduras where I've been working as an instructor again. I made some great new friends there and had a brilliant time. I've had to leave my Utilian family behind now but we were a close group who really cared for each other. I hope to meet all of them along the road again. Utila is a world within a world. It's very hard to describe without actually going but I highly recommend it. The easiest way to describe it are the three lies of Utila. 1. I love you, 2. I'm not drinking tonight, 3. I'm leaving on the morning ferry. Everyone hits one or two of them, most people hit all three. It's a place that's hard to leave and drags you into the lifestyle very quickly. Hard to resist a hammock on the dock all day watching the sun set and then partying until it rises again. Visit if you get the chance.

Heather arrived back in Honduras on the 3rd of June, by this time I was supposed to have the bike mechanically sound and ready to go. Needless to say that didn't happen. She'd been sitting in a dusty garage for a year and taken for occasional rides. The rinse and repeat schedule of my maintenance attempts went something like this: Choose a problem to fix, start work, fix problem and find a bigger problem in the same area, get overwhelmed by problems and halt maintenance. Try again, same again etc. It was impossible to get parts and the local mechanics were freaking useless. One example was a mechanic who was supposed to  change the brake fluid and install new brake pads. When I went to pickup the bike there was brake fluid everywhere including the brake disc and pads. Luckily I was able to get to the pads before they were ruined and clean them up. Anyway the end result was Heather arriving to me stressed out, a very sick motorbike and general chaos.

I went to pick up Heather in San Pedro where we planned to stay one night, head back to Utila and stay in a bit of luxury accommodation for a week. Instead Heather arrived and I dragged her around San Pedro searching for a tyre and various other spare parts. So much for the romantic reunion. Luckily I met a unique individual called Tino. He helped me find everything I needed but more on Tino later.

As a recovery from the dismal start in SP a friend of mine, Rob, offered to let us stay in the Lazy Daze Boat House. We stayed for the week in a bit of air conditioned luxury right across from the Alton's dock and enjoyed every minute of it. Including the shouting and invasions from the old team. Over the week we managed to get a little bit of diving in, a little bit of drinking and just relax and enjoy ourselves. before we really started the trip.

I'll leave you with a couple of Diving photos.

Heather diving

Trumpet fish trying to hide

Inside some coral

Damsel Fish

French Angel Fish

We left Utila on the 10th but that's probably enough for now. Next update coming soon. It might even include some actual motorcycle travel.