Living here in Belize, we’ve really gotten accustomed to the bounty of things that are available to us. There are so many fish, so many tacos and despite our best efforts, there is always so much delicious Belikin Beer. We have so many charities, social gatherings, and activities available we rarely sit around bored. But in this land of plenty, there is a lack of one thing here on the Island…… Dock Cleats.
As boat owners who have no insurance, we try our best to dock our boat and secure the craft with the best possible line configuration. But in San Pedro, here is how it typically goes.
Ronnie says: Ok, Lisa when we pull up to the dock, go over there and grab that line and jump on to the dock and find a place to tie up.
Lisa jumps off the boat, rope in hand but didn’t tie up the line to the boat…. boat floats away. Second try.
Ronnie yells: that is ok, just tie it up to the dock and toss me the line as I get close. Ronnie pulls up again, avoiding broken dock poles, battling wind, and wavy water. As he gets up to the dock, Lisa is standing there confused because there is no obvious place to tie up…. boat floats away again.
At this point the desire to dock in the first place dwindles. Ronnie makes a third approach. Ties a rope to the boat, jumps off and wraps the rope around an extremely weathered pole. 30 minutes later, rope is rubbed raw and boat floats away. The swimming race begins. Can Ronnie swim faster than the boat that is blowing in the 17 knot winds? No worries, it has smacked into another dock and is now sitting there waiting for Ronnie’s arrival. Ronnie climbs in the boat and drives back to the dock for the fourth time. This time, it is to pick up Lisa and change their plans.
After a solid year and a half of this happening, our docking confidence is in shambles. But we keep on trying.
Enter the 2016 San Pedro Boat Christmas Parade! (Click here to read this tale) We strapped a 20 foot marlin on the top of our boat and were planning on docking at the Sand Bar (bar and hostel) dock for the award ceremony. Did I mention it was forecasting 18 knot winds? Based on our track record, we knew we needed to do something a little smarter.
After a little research, Ronnie found a few solutions on the internet that would work here. Solution 1 Solution 2 So, off we went to Captain Sharks (Marine supply store) to buy one of these. Well, specialty items like this are not in high demand so they just don’t exist. Plus, the boat captains here are brilliant with docking and securing their boats. Only us newbies need training wheels.
With our hopes squashed, we went to the local hardware store, Castillo’s True Value to try to find something to rig up. After spending around 30 minutes attempting to piece together different types of hooks and threaded rods, Ronnie decided to just buy a piece of metal and just bend it to the shape of one of the two solutions.
He found a round piece of metal that is 1/4″ thick and 3 feet long. At the low low price of $7 BZD, we picked up two of them and made our way back home.
He bent them (with the help of Mr. Charlie here at Grand Caribe) with a vice that happens to be in the construction area. It took around 20 minutes to do both.
With a 10 second training session, Lisa had this all figured out. Tie rope to Magicleat, tie rope to cleat on boat, jump off boat, find a crack big enough for it, twist it and done.
Later that night, we pulled up to the dock with our giant float, in high winds with 1000 people standing there watching us. Lisa jumped off and secured the front and our friend Doug, put the back one in place. It was impressive. No tears, no swimming, one try, and we looked like pros. While we were parked there, a couple of people asked us where we got them. So this is why we wrote this tale. Hopefully, it will help someone else look this good.
Kendall Beymer (Ecologic Divers) was one of those people:
Those are the best things I’ve ever seen. I want 40.
For those of you that aren’t in a pinch and who live in the USA, just buy one of the two solutions above. But for those of you who want one and can’t get it, here is ours with the dimensions. There is nothing magical about the size of it. The reason it is the size it is is because the vice was about 1 1/2 inches thick. The ring at the top is that big because we found one piece of pipe laying around that we could use to bend it… and you guessed it, it was 2 1/2 inches diameter.
One thing magical about it though is that it held the boat in windy wavy conditions for 2 hours without bending. This is truly a Magicleat.
Added plus, the metal rod we bought is strong steel and must be galvanized or something like that. We dipped them in the salt water and left them out for a day and they are not turning to rust.
Hope this tale helps someone!