Two days ago our starboard engine, sometimes known as the Evil Twin, refused to start. Mike and I moved ahead with plans to head to Caye Caulker on the Good Engine, the port. (We love the redundancy of a catamaran.)
Soon after anchoring we started searching for a diesel mechanic and came up with nothing. Our best bet was to head to Belize City on one engine to repair the starboard engine and polish the fuel which had collected algae and debris after sitting for eight months in the Rio Dulce. We weren’t happy about that option, especially since it could affect plans to buddy boat to Isla Mujeres with Bob and Karen on Gypsea, a beautiful 46’ Broadblue catamaran. We looked forward to their company but understood that they were eager to reach Key West and points beyond.
Mike and I soaked our worries with several rum and lime drinks at Tropical Paradise Restaurant where we used the wifi and warned family and friends of our dilemma. We were still kicking around our options as we strolled the dirt streets of the Caye Caulker settlement when suddenly we heard, “Hey, guys! Guys!” Who in the world knew us here and was calling us?
The voice belonged to Keith who gave us each a big hug. We had met him and his boss Jimmy of Raggamuffin Tours while stationed at Abel’s Boatyard in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. While we were getting new bottom paint on Happy Times, Keith and Jimmy were turning an ugly duckling into a swan. For years Jimmy tried to buy a dismasted Fontaine Pajot catamaran from a friend in Caye Caulker who used the boat for a weekend getaway while it was anchored upriver. The boat was in sorry shape but Jimmy desperately wanted to add the catamaran to his fleet of touring sailboats. When he finally got his hands on it, he sailed the boat to Abel’s and began a six-week update and renovation, resulting in a nearly new boat. We became friends with Jimmy and Keith during our projects, especially when I shared the cake and brownies I prepared to keep my workers happy.
Running into Keith was a blessing. He immediately offered the services of Jimmy’s mechanic, Pancho, who came aboard Happy Times and worked with Mike on two problems: a bad glowplug relay and a couple of bad wires as well as air in the line that prevented any diesel reaching the engine. In about an hour’s time I started the starboard engine and heard its familiar throb.
Mike and I celebrated the rest of the day. We shared our good news with Keith when he came by in a lancha, thanking him profusely. We also shared our good news with Bob and Karen and toasted the good karma of bumping into Keith.