This is my progress so far: I have built the frames for the decking and the bulkheads, out of thin plywood, and put a layer of fibreglass over the decks. I don't think I can get away with just one layer of FG though, but I have run out of time for this year. The worst thing is that when I return, termites will have eaten the wooden decking and I'll have to start over. C'est la vie. At least the canoe itself will be undamaged.
I have a flight booked from Can Cun on Tuesday, 29 May. I would stay and do more work on the boat, but I want to get my VHF marine radio back. The Customs agent at the Belize Airport seized my radio when I arrived, back in December. Apparently I needed a permit to import it. They gave me a receipt and told me I could pick it up on my way out. Well I didn't fly out, and now I am going to be taking the bus north, to the Yucatan. To take it with me, I have to pay a Customs guard to come with me to the airport, pick up the radio, and then go back to the city to take the bus north to the border. If I do it on a weekend day, it costs double. So my only chance is to do it tomorrow, Friday, 24 May. Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian friends and family by the way.
I asked if they couldn't just hand it over to me and phone the Customs office at the Northern Border, and warn them I am coming, and ask them to make sure I have the radio on me. But they won't do that, because there is a chance I might use it while in the country. Who am I: Osama Bin Laden? Anyway the law is the law. Fortunately I know someone who has a family member in the Customs Department, so I have been given his number to call him and see if we can't work out some reasonable compromise.
The only other option is for me to get a permit for the damned thing. The Communications Department is in Belmopan, right near the bus station, so I could go over there and see if they will issue me a permit. But knowing the bureaucracy here, it will probably take seven different departments to stamp it, and radio will be outmoded technology before a permit is issued. Oh, and the streets of Belmopan are full of rioters these days, due to a corruption scandal involving the prime Minister. So the gov't offices might not even be open. So wish me luck.
This means of course, that I will be spending the better part of three days in CanCun. That will be nice: some beer to drink other than Belikin! I should get a good, off-season rate too, so I may be able to stay near the beach instead of downtown. I'll keep you posted.