Destruction Aftermath, Book 4
Chapter 17

Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy

It was a fine, clear, hot morning when we sailed out of Port Lavaca. Once we were out and on open water, Jen and I went to the bow and stood enjoying the feeling of the fresh air on our faces. We admitted to each other that we wanted to make another long trip at some time in the future. We were quiet for a while just enjoying our time together.

Jen smiled at me and said softly, "We are going to have to think of another name. I'm pregnant for sure. Oliver concurs." I hugged her tightly and told her that I loved her. She said, "Our trip will be delayed a little bit. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all. There are some things that are more important than traveling. We'll tell the group later." We stood together with our arms around each other for a long, enjoyable time.

We were headed just a little south of due east. We would pass between the Yucatan peninsula and Cuba. George wanted to check out Havana and Cancun while we were going by. We decided to make a run to Havana and then curl back around and run for Carlos in Guatemala. That's what we did.

We followed the coast of Cuba easterly until we came to a big city. It was in bad shape from the recent hurricane as well as those in years past. We blew the ship's horn and shot a few flares but had no response. We left the harbor and retraced our route until we could just see the Yucatan. We turned south going by Cancun and headed for Carlos in Puerto Cortes arriving in late morning the next day.

Carlos was a tall, thin man in his early forties. He had been a ham before the Day. He was married but his wife hadn't survived the virus. His kids had been very sick but survived and were both just older than I. Carlos and Jim hit if off well and Jen and I got on well with Pancho and Delores, his children. Pancho was pursuing a young lady, Malinda, who seemed shyly interested while Delores had been married for two months. Her husband was named, Roberto, and was eager to meet new people. He and Delores were happy together and had that glow that newly weds seem to have.

We were introduced to many of the others in the community. Carlos and Juan were the leaders though they held no formal positions. We were able to help get better electricity operating for which they were thankful. Jim talked with Carlos and Juan about closer contacts as did George. George and Carlos had much in common except for the Lavacan's refinery and all that had meant to them.

While the older men talked, Jen, Janice, Bennie, and I were given the tour of the area. Pancho and Delores were great hosts and evidenced a lot of interest in our travels. I could tell that they wanted to come back with us to Port Lavaca. We were willing but four more people would be a crowd on the Rose.

The landscape was lush and tropical with many fruits and vegetables available that we didn't have. There were bananas by the dozens. That night, we had fish broiled over an open fire with roasted bananas and sweet potatoes. It was delicious. George's wife, Lois, was talking with the cooks planning to use their methods when she returned home.

We spent three days there touring and getting to know people. The older men talked and frequently involved me in their discussions. The end result was that Carlos and Juan wanted a tighter relationship than we had ever created. He wanted to trade, particularly with the Lavacans, for oil. He wanted our expertise in hydro-electric. He felt that oil, electricity, and communications would keep his people from slipping away from civilization. Carlos was amazingly well-read. I'm not sure why that was amazing to me. I found out from Delores later that her father had been a college professor before the Day. At any rate, Delores and her husband would accompany us when we left. One of George's brothers, Joe and his wife, Kim, would stay and help with increasing the abilities of their fleet. This would keep us from being too crowded in the Rose.

We left to tearful goodbyes and shared on two meters for most of an hour. Once well out of the harbor and in the open, we headed north planning to check the area of Cancun and Cozumel. We were curious and would check for survivors though didn't expect any to be found. By this time, people who survived the Day were dead or managing acceptably.

Cozumel was desolate. The beaches were still there and we spent some time playing in the ocean and tanning. However, when you looked away from the water, the damaged and deserted hotels would make you sad. The place had been hit a number of times by hurricanes and, of course, had no maintenance or repairs. The ruins were gradually easing away into obscurity.

We left Cozumel the next morning and sailed up to Cancun. We found more devastation there but there appeared to be some recent signs of people. We sent off flares after tying to the dock and waited for a response. When none came, we sent out to explore the town and found more signs of recent visits by people. It may have been months or days but people had been there. We went out armed and careful. Looking for additional signs that might give us a clue to the intentions of the people who had visited before us was important to George and Carlos and their people. This area made a good stopping off point.

We walked through the city carefully but not trying to hide our presence. If someone were there, we wanted to see them and talk with them. Janice, Jen, Bennie, and I were accompanied by George and Lois and Roberto and Delores. We were walking along the rows of hotels. They were now empty and in serious need of repair. The years had not been kind to them. Sometimes, we would walk down the road and sometimes we would take to the beach. The beach was beautiful as long as you didn't look inland. The damage was worse because the brunt of the winds came from the ocean. We saw two signs of fires along the beach as we walked.

Janice and Bennie would look into hotels and any other buildings trying to find clues about recent visitors. On one visit, they surprised a group of wild pigs and shot one for supper. While Janice field-dressed it, Bennie searched for something with wheels to transport it. After a little discussion, we headed back with our prize dragging it with a hand truck. We arrived back at the Rose and began to cook the pig slowly over a pit. Later that evening, we ate a feast. The pig was excellent and we had plenty of fruits and vegetables. In our search, we had noticed no open water which made me think that no one lived here permanently. The next morning, we all loaded back on the boat and continued north toward Port Lavaca. We would coast even though that was not the direct route.

With that plan, we turned west to follow the Yucatan peninsula shortly after Cancun. We rounded the top and were now sailing south. Our aim was to dock in Campeche for the night as it was the next big city on the coast. We made port in the later afternoon and docked in a good spot with plenty of sight distance.

We hadn't seen anyone and, while we weren't hiding, we didn't want someone sneaking up on us as we were docked. We would spend the night on the boat and then explore in the morning.

They came in the night.

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