[050628; 2201 UTC,
Estero de Jaltepeque y Rio Lempa, El Salvador
N 13 degrees
18.2/W 088 degrees 53.9]
Apologies for a long period of silence but life has been active in both wonderful and stressful ways. We just returned from a week in Antigua de Guatemala, originally called “Santiago de Los Caballeros” in 1527 when it was founded as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala that stretched from present day Chiapas, Mexico to Panama. There we studied Spanish under “immersion” conditions with individual lessons and a homestay with a wonderful local family. We have many stories about the places we visited and many beautiful people and crafts we saw, but first we have to tell you about Jake’s “incident”.
When we left for Guatemala, Jake moved over to be with friends Jay and Danica on their sailboat Alkahest (“Camp Alkahest”) who love animals but have none of their own. Too, Jake’s hunting skills were going to be tested to help find “Mickey”, an elusive visitor who was leaving trails of tiny poops in some of Alkahest’s lockers. The day before we were to come back, we received the following email “from Jake”.
Dear Dad (and Mom),
Happy belated Father's Day Daddy. There's a good reason why I didn't send an email yesterday ... so here goes my confession ... It all started Saturday night ... Aunt Danica's daughter, Amber, arrived and Uncle George, Aunt Jan and Uncle Bruce all came over to meet Amber. By the time they left and Aunt Danica, Uncle Jay and Cousin Amber got settled it was around midnight. Of course it was a hot night, so the boat was left opened so I could roam. Aunt Danica woke up around 6:30am Sunday morning and came out looking for me ... no Jake. She checked outside and then asked Amber if I was in the V berth with her - but I wasn't. Aunt Danica started to panic and Uncle Jay came and started looking for me too ... then Cousin Amber started looking, but nobody could find me.
Aunt Danica then got on the radio and announced to the fleet that I was missing. A lot of people jumped in their dinghies right away and started looking for me. There were people on shore and in their dinghies speaking with everyone they could see and calling my name. Nobody found me. Aunt Danica & Uncle Jay went back to Alkahest and made posters (they had some good pictures of me) and offered a reward (not that they could possibly have enough money for what I'm really worth) and then Aunt Danica, Uncle Jay, Cousin Amber and Uncle George went distributing my picture. The Salvadoran navy guys said they saw a cat that looked like me (they lied though) and so that got everyone's hopes up that I was on shore. Everyone was really, really nice to Aunt Danica as she was upset and crying about me. All of the Salvadorans liked the reward part and so ALOT of people were looking for me.
Aunt Danica, Uncle Jay, Cousin Amber, Uncle George and Aunt Jan got really, really hot and stopped at the hotel for a cold drink and to regroup. Meanwhile, Aunt Collette was telling Aunt Danica about a time when her cat, Shadow, was being watched by LaniKai and Shadow went overboard here in the estero. Lanikai couldn't find Shadow and when Collette returned 2 months later she put up posters and stuff, but no luck. She had just given up on Shadow when Shadow appeared at the Bahia Del Sol hotel one night - 4 months after disappearing. Aunt Danica almost had a heart attack, because she wanted me back on Alkahest BEFORE you got home and not 4 months later!!
As everyone was getting ready to leave the bar to resume the search, we had a call on the VHF saying that someone on the island thought they had me. So everyone headed over to the island and guess what? THERE I WAS!!! I was up on a post, wet, muddy and crying, but unhurt. Uncle Jay took me down and wrapped me up and they took me home. Aunt Danica couldn't stop smiling. And the man who found me couldn't stop smiling because he got the reward. I slept for 12 hours after that and never moved!!
Mommy & Daddy, I was so exhausted!! I think what happened was that I tried to get up on their awning and it isn't really stiff (I should have tried the bimini) and maybe I fell over sometime during the night. But I can't remember, so of course that's only a guess. I got swept down the river, but fortunately I'm a big strong and healthy boy and I was able to make it to shore. I'm still pretty quiet and every so often I cough up some water and fur balls (it took a lot to get me cleaned up again), but I'm not hurt.
But, just so you know it wasn't my fault, there was something in the air on Father's Day because Winston off of Indigo Moth jumped ship (literally) while Carl went to take Gemma to the airport. Chuck on Mirage found him and took Winston back to the boat and tied him in the shade (as the boat was locked), but he chewed through the rope and jumped ship a second time!! There was so much activity on the radio about lost pets that day and everyone was either looking for me or Winston. What a day!!
While I was recuperating (sleeping), everyone went to the beach to cool off and have a drink and then they all came back to Alkahest for a party (I didn't participate). I'm still a little slow today and I still haven't ventured outside yet - but I'm ok.
From Aunt Danica:
Yes, Jake told the story the way it was ... and we are SO happy that Jake is around to tell the story. I can't tell you what an awful feeling it was – but he is ok. He has been a treat to have - so don't worry about us (a little grey hair never hurt anyone!!).
We were on our way back to the Bahia from Guatemala first thing the following morning and couldn’t get back any sooner. Knowing Jake was safe with our friends and making a slow steady recovery was important in keeping our anxiety level down.
Jake was not injured in his fall though since that time Jake has had some complications and he remains under a vet’s care. As we write this, he’s in an animal hospital in San Salvador, suffering from pneumonia possibly from aspirating vomit into his lungs from gastritis caused by ingesting irritating muddy, salty water. He is under around-the-clock professional care there with potent antibiotics and now an IV to bring his hydration level back to normal while the fluid in his lungs is reabsorbed. We expect to pick him up on Thursday and the vet remains confident Jake will be okay and we have to believe him. We miss having our kitty feisty and healthy and it really breaks our hearts to see the poor guy suffer.
We have more stories about our adventures and our project to raze and rebuild a kindergarten on a poor island adjacent to our anchorage, but we’ll save them…
Sus amigos del velero, Carina
Leslie, Philip and Jake, el gato supremo nadador
Estero Jaltepeque, El Salvador