Movin’ Down Island

With the forecast calling for winds below 20 knots, we planned to move out of El Bight and farther down the coast yesterday morning. However, on our trip into Bonacca for some food and an ATM run, the winds appeared to have picked up instead.

The Aluminum Princess slogged through white caps and sizeable waves in the open waters between our anchorage and town. With Scott wanting to tow her behind us when we moved, and concern for a comfortable stay at anchor, we decided to wait until this morning to change our location.

However, as I worked in the cockpit late yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the towels drying on the line weren’t whipping quite so violently (after getting slapped pretty good in the head by one earlier, I should know). Realizing that the winds had died down, I woke Scott from a nap, and we scurried to ready and go. It was only an hour ride to our next anchorage, but we liked the idea of waking up the next morning already settled.

We raised anchor and headed out of El Bight, around the corner and further down the coast of Guanaja. As always, the views did not disappoint along the way.

As planned, the Aluminum Princess tagged along behind for the ride. After a short and easy hour, we arrived at our next anchorage, off of Graham’s Cay.

Graham Thompson runs a small resort on his island, appropriately called Graham’s Place.

We’d already planned to visit, having heard great things from fellow cruisers. Most hotels and resorts, and some islands in general, aren’t always welcoming to cruisers. Sometimes this is for good reason, but for the most part it’s frustrating and unnecessary. In addition to him being friendly toward cruisers, we now have another reason to like and meet Graham.

Unfortunately, we had no luck with Mexican Fed Ex, and getting the compressor for our refrigerator through customs. At whits end, Scott got Defender involved, the company we ordered the parts from. After more back and forth with no clear instructions or reasoning on the issue, Scott told Fed Ex Mexico to send the stuff back.

He then received an email asking for his credit card number, to pay for “fees and storage.” There was no cost given for said “fees and storage,” and Scott replied that he did not intend to pay. He was through with the matter, having done what little they’d asked of him, with no result or explanation as to why.

Defender has been just as frustrated with the issue. They have someone who deals just with Fed Ex, and with international shipping, and can’t get a resolution. Fed Ex Mexico wants Defender to pay 500.00 for return shipping. Defender has decided to just let the parts go, write it off and refund Scott his money (less original shipping). The company has been terrific to us the last few years, during our refit, and this is a true testament to their exceptional customer service, going above and beyond for Scott.

Ok, so we now turn to Honduras, and getting the stuff shipped there. I again reach out to our friend Louis, who is proving an invaluable resource. He suggested that I contact Graham Thompson, to ask how to proceed. A great idea; a local man, who could point me in the right direction.

It turns out that Graham didn’t point at all. He quickly replied to my email, giving me the information for a shipping company based in Miami, that he and his son use for things that they cannot get locally. Once our parts are in Miami, we can choose to have them shipped via boat or plane, with his name on the package. When they arrive in Guanaja, Graham will be notified. He will pick up the items, pay the fees and we can reimburse him…hoo-RAY!

However, this stupid saga continues. When Scott called Defender to re-order his parts, he feared the sale price originally offered had ended. It indeed had, but they honored the sale price for him…of course. However, the parts are now on back order until the end of the month! This was disappointing to hear, as we know that there are perfectly good parts sitting in Merida, Mexico!

We plan to go ashore and say a big hello and thank you to Graham, as well as get final details before the parts come in to Defender and the order goes through. Since it will take weeks for that to happen, and for the stuff to arrive here, we plan to stay here a few days and then head on to Roatan. We’ll stay there for a few weeks, and then return here to wait for our shipment. Neither location is a bad place to be stuck!

Here are a few photos from our short trip “down island.”

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

4 thoughts on “Movin’ Down Island

  1. The same day I saw your post about your frustrations with international shipping, I had had a conversation with the lads at the boat yard where Dauntless is presently.

    I had needed a new holding tank, and finally found on from Vetus that would ship directly from Denmark.

    The boat yard’s concern was at first they thought I may have got one in the USA and was having it shipped and they described a procedure that was almost verbatim of the goat rope that you were having.

    I quickly clarified that I knew not to get anything shipped commercially from outside the E.U. I think the bureaucracy is far greater than in Mexico or Central America,

    For that matter, he did add that most U.S. companies will not even bother to ship to the E.U. for that matter, so the only solution is to have a friend get it and ship it themselves to you. Now, of course that means that the friend fills out the custom’s declaration. And “used” parts are far less likely to get caught up in the paperwork shuffle, though that can still happen.

    This is their workaround.

    Also one of the reasons that I continue to accumulate parts. I just purchased 50 feet of 1″ inch tubing. I only needed one foot, but I figured the rest would come in handy sooner or later.

    Good Luck.

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  2. I’ve been following your blog since November. Not sure I can help but I own a HVAC company in Missouri. I’ve replaced the compressors for my ice maker and freezer on our Portofino and was able to find the compressors through my local distributors. If you send me the info I can see if I can locate it for you. Would need your help/expertise on how to send it to you. Might be faster than waiting on the “back order”??

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    • Troy,

      I appreciate the offer, but the system is 32 years old and has the Danfoss BD2.5(not even the BD35). I thought about it for a bit, but feared wasting time and money to only have further issues(Aluminum evap), oil & TXV incompatibility from R12 to new freon. So that is why I went the new route. If I don’t get the parts here, in Panama I will be ready to do whatever it takes! Thanks for following the blog.

      Scott

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