The Jungle Medic

The following is a reprint from our article in Sounding Magazine. Enjoy.

Cruising does not always mean boisterous passages or cocktails on the aft deck at sunset. To the contrary, much of our time is spent exploring the country side and getting to know the local people. This approach for my wife Susan and I has enriched the experience far beyond what we expected when we moved aboard Sea Trek, our Mariner 40, and started the cruising life almost 18 years ago. Beginning in mid April of 2005 the passage from the
Florida Keys, down the coast of Mexico, and wandering through the many Cays in Belize had been wonderful. But that did not compare to our fantastic experience upon arriving on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.
We had heard from many sources, of the wonderful work done here by Bryan Buchanan and his wife Riechelle. Bryan is a certified paramedic and has done a residency here with a family practitioner and he has also done some dental training. Both he and Riechelle have been Missionaries in third world countries for several years, the last few here in Guatemala. They primarily travel to remote villages that do not have access to medical care and set up their clinic for the day, but they will offer care and medication to anyone that might need it, including the local cruising community. Bryan and Riechelle are known locally on the river as The Jungle Medic.

A Trawler Makeover

With all of the reality TV shows bordering on the ridiculous this might not be a bad idea. We certainly are delighted with the progress on Beach House and the compliments pour in from everyone that sees her. Especially those that have seen her prior to our taking ownership. The transformation has been amazing and when we walk down the dock we sometimes have to stop and admire our handy work. We are still a long way from being cruising ready since most of our efforts have been on the exterior and redoing and improving the teak, paint and canvas. Electrical and electronics have been slow going and we have only completed what needs to be done to keep her safe and keep the on board equipment working. With the heat of the summer bearing down on us hard, it might be time to work on interior projects in the air conditioning.

For Many of Our Cruising Reports

Please do drop by our site for our sailboat Sea Trek at to read our detailed reports on our cruises to Cuba, Central America as well as our coastal trip from Houston, Texas to Beaufort, South Carolina. You will also find lots of information on our cruising equipment and preparations. Enjoy.

Refinishing The Hatches

We have not slowed down on the projects we just haven't posted because we have been so busy. The teak on the exterior is just about finished, leaving the flybridge yet to be done. For the last couple of weeks we have been repairing and refinishing the forward hatch and the hatch and entrance to the aft cabin. Both of these have leaked quite a bit requiring us to keep a sheet of plastic over the hatch under the canvas covers. Once we had them off it was quite apparent why. The forward hatch had two pieces of glass in it that was set in a grove with the edges exposed and held in with caulk. The caulk was old and in spots broke down and the water was able to get in around the edges. Once the wood was thoroughly sanded and the old caulk removed, we recaulked with 3M 4200 and put a nice teak trim over the edge of the glass and overlapped the wood. With the caulking underneath sealing everything it is now water tight. A good thunderstorm this afternoon affirmed that we had indeed solved that problem. A few seams that had opened up were also sealed with West System Epoxy. As with all of the exterior wood we had to sand off all of the deck stain the previous owner had applied. We did find a product at the local hardware store that was for removing deck stain and it did make the job much easier. Both the inside and outside of the hatch needed to be stripped and sanded.

Product Safety Recall: Garmin® BlueChart g2 and g2 Vision v2009

Product Safety Recall: Garmin® BlueChart g2 and g2 Vision v2009

Posted June 4, 2009 | 09:17 AM in Marine | Permalink
CAYMAN ISLANDS/June 4, 2009/Business Wire – Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, announced today that the company is conducting a voluntary product safety recall of the 2009 version of its marine cartography data card known as BlueChart® g2 and g2 Vision. The affected data cards have been sold between April 8, 2009 and June 3, 2009.
In certain waters, the data card provides inaccurate indications of the depth of the water. This creates a risk of boats going aground, which could result in damage to the boat and/or personal injury.

While Garmin has only received reports of data cards giving inaccurate depth indications in the waters along the coast of Sweden and Denmark, out of an abundance of caution, Garmin has voluntarily chosen to globally recall all 2009 versions of the BlueChart g2 and g2 Vision cards. Garmin has notified relevant authorities about this issue and is working closely with them. No other products are affected by this recall.
Affected products are the 2009 version of the BlueChart g2 in Garmin proprietary card format, BlueChart g2 in microSD/SD card format and BlueChart g2 Vision in microSD/SD card format. Customers are being advised not to use these data cards for navigation.
Affected customers will be provided with a free replacement BlueChart or BlueChart g2 Vision v2008.5. When the 2009 version has been corrected Garmin intends to make it available free of charge to those customers. For more information on the recall and to determine if their cards are affected and eligible for a free replacement, go to

Check Your EPIRB Registration

We posted earlier about what happens when you activate your EPIRB. Now comes a notice that perhaps there is a problem with the EPIRB registration at NOAA.

Cobham Life Support, ACR Products, the world's leader in safety and survival technologies, is urging all EPIRB and PLB owners to double check their 15-character identification code registration.

According to a recent Marine Board of Investigation inquiry, which is looking into the sinking of the scallop boat Lady Mary, there was a discrepancy in the EPIRB's identification number, marked on a decal that the boat's owner had received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after he registered the EPIRB.

In the case of the Lady Mary, the emergency signal initially received by authorities was regarded as unregistered which may have led to delays in response time while emergency center controllers waited for additional satellite passes to fix a location. Had the controllers been able to pull the Lady Mary's registration data, they could have contacted emergency contacts to confirm the status of the boat and its general location prior to a satellite fix.

"Because this situation came to light, we are urging all beacon owners to compare their 15-character identification code printed on the beacon with the registration sticker they receive from NOAA just to ensure they both match," said Chris Wahler, Marketing Manager for Cobham Life Support, ACR Products. "If there is a discrepancy, we urge the owner to contact NOAA immediately to correct the information."

An EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) is a satellite-signaling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is deemed to be grave and imminent, and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or valuable property will occur without assistance. All US beacons must be registered with NOAA following purchase. Registration, including the beacon's unique 15-character identification code, often is made online at

Despite the requirement to register all EPIRBs and PLBs, some reports show that up to 40 percent of EPIRB activations are from unregistered beacons, a possible deadly mistake when minutes can make the difference between life and death.

In an emergency, the EPIRBs and PLBs transmit on 406 MHz via the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system with the sender's unique, registered, digitally coded distress signal. The code allows emergency officials monitoring the system to tell who is sending the signal (thanks to the coding and registration data). Once the emergency is confirmed and location data is received from the satellites, a search can be authorized.

Wahler said proper registration is vital in the early minutes of an emergency so rescue center officials can obtain critical data about a boat's owner, home port, emergency contacts and other information to begin a search even before a satellite gets a fix on a beacon's location.

See our previous post on