Earthrace moves & Biofuel prices up again

Posted By on March 28, 2007

Sunoco X151 Biodiesel
Topped off with B20 at my regular Mt. Gilead Sunoco biofuels station today and can’t help but grumble as the prices continue to go up. ULSD was selling most stations for about $2.64 on my way north and saw them a little lower in northeast Ohio. Nevertheless, I’m not going to complain too much knowing my biodiesel purchases circulate dollars in the U.S. and probably support Ohio farmers. (preferable to Venezuela or the Middle East IMHO) Besides, I drive a Volkswagen TDI and at 46.5 MPG (last fill) am using less fuel than most vehicles on the road … and running a cleaner renewable fuel to boot.

Also … Earthrace is off and moving again. I’m not sure what’s happening but the Captain’s Log from yesterday didn’t look as if they would be moving??? (see below)
Earthrace moving

Captain’s Blog (27 March 2007)

More delays. Captain’s Blog. Day 17. We leave Antigua at about 8am and drive back down the hills to Puerto Quetzal. It’s like leaving a sanctuary. This has been such a wonderful stop and we’re all disappointed to go, but we have a date with a Judge later today. We’re also looking to have things ready for us on Acapulco, but we’re not sure what speed we’ll get with the reshaped propellors. They were both pretty gnarley after the accident, and GC5 spent a good day smacking them back into shape. But what speed we’ll get we’re not exactly sure. So as soon as we get to the Navy Base we’re in to see El Comandante. “Yes Capitan. Of course you can take out your boat for a test run.” We’d asked this many times the previous week, and he’d been resolute in refusing us. It seems he’s remembered El Presidente wants us looked after. “I think we’ll get between 13 and 15 knots”, says Scott confidently. I have no idea, but I had a dream last night it was twenty, so I go with that. Ryan comes back with his “It is what it is”. Our concern is if we only get 5 knots, we’re 4 days from Acapulco, whereas if we get 20 knots, we’re there in one day. We ease Earthrace out from the dock and idle up. There’s a flurry of activity with Navy personnel worried we’re doing a runner. I gently ease forward on both throttles and almost immediately shudders go thundering through the thin carbon hull. GC5 looks alarmed. We try each engine individually. It seems they are both equally stuffed. “Oh man. All we’re getting is 6 knots”, says GC5 dejectedly. It seems between 6 and 7 knots, the props just start to shake too much. I take a peak down in the engine bay. The port engine is rocking sideways in a series of belly dancer like jiggles, its rubber mounts surely stressing under the additional motion. So we need our new props. Hytorq in Canada machined them for us, and they’re currently with David in Acapulco. So we hatch a plan for David to get them airfreighted same day from Acapulco to Tatachilla in Southern Mexico. GC4 will drive up to Tatachilla in Mexico to pick them up, hopefully with some kind of escort, and get them back over the border by morning time, then back to Puerto Quetzal by noon. GC5 then installs them on Earthrace. By which time hopefully I’m a free man. It seems a plan destined to come unstuck. Word comes through our meeting with the Judge has been delayed until later in the day. Fernando is working on it. Finally at 1:10pm, he comes back. “Captain, the Judge will meet with us. There have been developments.” By the time we drag everyone away from emails, 20 minutes has passed. Lionel is driving along some old goat track of a road to get us to the location where the Judge sits. “Is this the main road”, I ask? It is one of them I get back in a translation from GC5. The road gets worse and worse. Dogs and chooks are running everywhere, and Lionel is intent on stopping for every little pothole he can find. Then he gets lost, and is asking local service stations for directions. In the end the 30-minute run starts to eat up hours. I’m sitting in the car getting more and more pissed off with Lionel, not helped in demeanour with my sprained ankle. It’s gotten worse instead of better. My toes are an ugly black, and the lower muscles all look red and inflamed. It’s at the stage now where I can only walk for very short periods, before the pain of blood rushing to the area gets too much. So I resort back to hopping everywhere. Finally Lionel gets us to the area but we cannot find the courthouse. Hours late we wander / hop up the stairs to where the Judge sits. Our legal team is there, with Fernando looking nervous. “Have you seen the Judge”, I ask. It turns out we’re next. A few minutes later and we’re sitting in front of her. Where are the legal team from the families and the prosecutor I’m wondering? After about 15 minutes of Spanish, we’re ushered out. “Captain. We will all meet the Judge again tomorrow at 11am. There is another issue. The Ministerio Publico have now requested you be detained and your boat to remain impounded, so that you may face further charges.” Which charges I’m wondering, as until now there have been no charges at all? “We have their court documents,” says Fernando, “and tonight we will read them.” Something else worries me. We still have not met any of the fishermen or their families. We’ve been hassling our lawyers from very early on we’d like to meet them, but it never seems to happen. I broach the subject with Fernanado, who assures me we can meet with them all immediately before the court appearance. Fernando then hauls me off to a hospital in Guatremala City to have my leg seen to. It’s even uglier than it was this morning, and the angry red zone is surprisingly working its way up my leg. “An infection, Sir”, the Doctor says, pointing out how hot the inflamed area is. An intravenous injection of antibiotics, a prescription, a decent brace, and I’m on my way. Big day tomorrow.

Comments

  • Mark W

    Hi Rich:

    It appears that the crew and captain were finally cleared of all charges and allowed to leave. See the article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10431485

    Thanks for including the captains logs on your blog, it’s been very interesting to read and follow along.

    Mark

  • Thank you for that link Mark. For those of us checking in, it is frustrating not to be getting more real time data? I semi-expected that when they started this project, that part of the ‘armchair’ experience was going to be following them. Unfortunately for one reason or another they are being slow to implement technology? (perhaps its just the legal side or maybe nobody wants to pull the trigger and post something live?)
    Thanks again for the NZ story.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.