Archive for: ‘November 2013’

Volcan Pacaya

November 25, 2013 Posted by Deb

We grabbed a shuttle for Antigua, found out that our room at Casa Amarillo had not been booked, and ended up next door at Hotel Don Quixote. That night we signed up for a whirlwind active volcano hike (Pacaya) followed by a half day at a luxury spa (Santa Teresita).

Once again, we were 2.5 times the age of everyone on the tour except for one couple. The sign about 2/3 the way up the volcano got our attention. It read “You are now entering an extremely dangerous area.” That’s OK, the volcano was overdue for an eruption … overdue is kind of a Guatemalan tradition. We all kept going but a British couple went from being in the lead to the back of the pack and she looked a bit worried (and cold).

PacayaLava

Hike up Pacaya Volcano

Hike up Pacaya Volcano

DebHoodiePavaya

PacayaFogChuck

Lava Marshmallows

Lava Marshmallows

ChuckMarshmallows

Santa Teresita

We got stopped by the police for an ID check on the way back to Antigua from Volcan Pacaya.

Deb and I (plus one other) were the only ones that had our passports with us. I believe our driver paid the police off but not before we all got a lecture (in loud Spanish) about not having proper ID’s. We were dropped off next to a waiting shuttle to the spa and could hear most of the folks in the van ask why they hadn’t heard of that option. Deb did a great job putting that day together.

SpaDebStairs

DebSpa

ChuckSpa

Into Guatemala

November 22, 2013 Posted by Deb

The high school and college counselors don’t tell you to drop everything and run off to the middle of Guatemala for a year or so. Apparently hundreds or even thousands of 20 somethings and younger figured that out on their own.

We buttoned up the boat, packed, and grabbed a 2:30 p.m. shuttle for Semuc Champey for the famous Guatemalan disappearing river, caves, pools, and general gorgeous jungle stuff. The main route was closed so we beat the van and ourselves through what they call roads for six or seven hours until we ran out of gas about 3 km short of our hostel.

We got there, checked in, upgraded our room, grabbed an appetizer and beer and noticed the next oldest person for several miles in any direction was 28 and he was a veteran traveler on his last run before getting married.

View from Zephyr Lodge after our long, long trip to Lanquin

View from Zephyr Lodge after Our Long Bumpy Trip to Lanquin

ZephyrLodge2

Toilet Bowl

The cave started out moderately and escalated. The toilet bowl was the highlight for us followed closely by a climb up a ladder in the middle of an underground waterfall. The toilet bowl was an act of faith. A bunch of water disappeared down a hole and we were supposed to allow it to suck us straight down. The guide, in Spanish, said to give him our right hand across our chest as we slid in butt first but that we were to rotate 180 as we got sucked through. It worked and we fell into another chamber below. Most got a bit bloody at some point on the trip and we did have one broken tooth in our group, a girl from England.

We’ve been in lots of non-U.S. caves and knew what to wear (really good water shoes) and how to protect ourselves.

Entrance to the Cave

Entrance to the Cave

"No Way, Chuck"

“No Way, Chuck”

We Go Down There? You First@!

We Go Down There? You First@!

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

ChuckRopeSwing

ViewBridgeSemucChampey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

ChuckDebTopSemucChampeyRiverSemucChampey

Pandora

Pandora

DebSemucPools

ChuckJumpSemuc

A New Record

The river resurfaced below the pools and the jump was about 50 feet. Of course, it wasn’t just a jump because you had to swim quickly across to an eddy before being taken over the rapids below. Three in our group jumped. … Lopez, the guy who did the back flip off the bridge, is a snowboarder. Instead of using the launching area the locals used, he took a run at the cliff, did a flying backflip, and completed it perfectly 50 feet later. The guides said that was a first.

LopezJumpSemuc

Guatemala: Rio Dulce Shuffle

November 14, 2013 Posted by Deb

We’re supposed to be mobile but stopped at RAM Marina for “a few days” and left 22 days later. The rains have continued and the river is at a six-year high. Walkways, volleyball courts, dog crapping areas, and boat storage areas are under water. Even the legendary store, Tienda Reed, is fighting to stay dry.

Sand Bags and Drive-Thru Dinghy Shopping

Sand Bags and Drive-Thru Dinghy Shopping

Of course, that also means that anything resembling sewage systems have been flooded and … well … probably shouldn’t have any cuts on your feet or calves when you wade through it.

How the Well-To-Do Guatemalans Get to Their Boats

How the Well-To-Do Guatemalans Get to Their Boats

We finally fought through several rain delays and motored down to Cayo Quemado Sails to pick up our newly tuned up main and genacker. We have always had to dodge fishing traps but the river was also full of the invasive water hyacinth.

Turning a Boat into an Island

Turning a Boat into an Island

CayoQuemadoSalesLaunch

TomUpMast

This Little Guatemalan Nutria was Swimming Around the Boat and Teasing the Dogs in the Sail Loft

This Little Guatemalan Nutria was Swimming Around the Boat, Teasing the Dogs in the Sail Loft

We hung out with Chris, Kelly, Carlos, and Oscar at Seakist Services for a couple of days and got re-acquainted with the real tropics with lots of rain, heat, and odors from us and the boat. It was a good trip though, and all the boat parts are together in one place and most are installed. We had the rig inspected by Tom at Quemado Sails and the report was “old, tired, but not broken.” That’s a $15,000 maintenance chore that we’re hoping to put off until next season.

Mar Marine

November 13, 2013 Posted by Deb

Neytiri_MarMarine

We are, as of November 13, on the main dock at Mar Marine waiting for a slip to open up. We have the restaurant and sports bar literally right out our cockpit and stepped off the boat in time for movie night. Tonight it was “Two Guns” with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

The unusually bad rainy streak let us catch up with a lot of boat work. Several tricky wiring projects later we now have isolated permanently the starting batteries from the alternators and have ripped out all the “battery combining” relays that were cooking them. The starting batteries get their juice as a trickle charge from the solar panels and that is more than they need. If we get a month or so of complete darkness, we can still jump them if necessary.

I Would Rethink the Name of My Battery Company

I Would Rethink the Name of My Battery Company

Less than a Year in the Elements – Looks Like It’s Time to Sand Down the Spar Also

Less than a Year in the Elements – Looks Like It’s Time to Sand Down the Spar Also

Four Questions

November 4, 2013 Posted by Deb

We just updated our website with the “Four Questions” most commonly asked. Storms? Bad Guys? Bucks? and What Do You Do All Day?  Check it out here:

SailNeytiri.com

Deb’s Birthday

November 1, 2013 Posted by Deb

Deb’s birthday started with a 5:30 a.m. hike to Rio Vista for a pilates class. That’s an early start because the Rio Dulce social life is not for the faint of heart.

Hike from Top of the Bridge on the Way to Pilates

Hike from Top of the Bridge on the Way to Pilates

The days since dinghy poker have included movie night at Mar Marine, Trivia at Tijax (we bet the farm on “How much money is spent in the U.S. on candy for Halloween”, and lost), and a documentary movie night at Tortugal. The shuttle back from Tortugal dropped us back at our boat just an hour ago and everyone sang happy birthday to Deb. Some even hit the right note. We’ve met couple after couple who came here years ago and never left.

Trivia Nght at Hacienda Tijax

Trivia Night at Hacienda Tijax

Washing Day Under the Bridge

Washing Day Under the Bridge

Waterfront Stores in Fronteras

Waterfront Stores in Fronteras

Movie and Pizza at Tortugal

Movie and Pizza at Tortugal