Archive for: ‘December 2013’

On To Belize

December 20, 2013 Posted by Deb

We finally grabbed a two-day window that promised no rain but no wind as well. The forecasts were right and we saw our first sun in weeks. It was an excellent trip motoring in flat calm over the speed bump and left to Belize. Our only regret was that we were motoring in one of the best sailing countries we have ever seen.

Small World Story Number 44

We started running into Rio Dulce immigration shuffle folks literally minutes after dropping our hook in Placencia. Peter from Rendezvous gave us a whirlwind tour of Placencia and we got the answers to the basic new arrival questions of “where to put the dinghy,” “where to put garbage,” “where to get laundry done,” and “where to get water, fuel, food.”

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Peter introduced us to his new crew member, Phillipe, a French Canadian. Just a week before we had done a rare Skype call to an old friend (Richard) in St. Martin and he mentioned that a guy named Phillipe, who had crewed with him for a number of deliveries, was hanging out at Bruno’s in the Rio Dulce. We looked and never found him in the Rio but smacked right into him in Placencia. It’s great when that happens. The offshoot is that when Phillipe texted that he ran into us, Richard got him a gig on a delivery he’s doing to Tahiti.

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion in Placencia

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion

One of the Caribbean's Amazing Signs -- Ch

One of the Caribbean’s Amazing Signs

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Placencia greeted us with three days of mostly rain and some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had excluding the mountains. The changes to Placencia in the 18 years we’ve been gone are total. We did not recognize a single building or landmark other than the beach. We also found only Diet Mountain Dew … damn.

San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the far north of Belize, was a three-day sail, moving the boat from around 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. only because it’s reef country. The trades finally kicked in with sunshine interrupted by the odd 30-knot squall. The final day we had two reefs in the main and half a headsail, and we were doing eight knots in six and seven feet of water. Shades of the Bahamas and a bit nerve wracking. We did not perform as well as in the old days or on charter cats, getting ourselves in thin water far more often than we should have. But … there’s Mountain Dew everywhere here.

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Company

We are turning Neytiri from a two-person boat into a six person boat for three rounds of company as well as dealing with the leftovers from months of rain. We have green stuff growing on the boom, green and black on the lines, rust on the stainless, fender marks on the hull, and the barnacles have started again. Merry Christmas.

Guatemala Wrap Up

December 17, 2013 Posted by Deb

Down to four Mountain Dews now. We have heard rumors that Belize has the habit.

Guatemala greeted our exit plans with day after day of rain. Despite the weather, we had several chances to say Hi and Bye to our friends on Casa del Mar and others. Once again we found ourselves in second at trivia night going into the final question. Once again we would have won had we gotten the final question right. It was multiple choice for “how many kilometers from the castle to the bar at Livingston (they call the bar a speed bump around the Rio) and the multiple choices were every number between 20 and 50 (thanks). The correct answer was 43 and we guessed 47.

Last Jungle Shower at Mar Marine

Last Jungle Shower at Mar Marine

Trivia At tHacienda Tijax with Judy on Quest and Peter on Rendevous

Trivia At Hacienda Tijax with Judy on Quest and Peter on Rendezvous

Music at Backpackers from a Michigander Cruiser

Music at Backpackers from a Michigander Cruiser

Early Morning Fog on the Rio Dulce -- Heading Back to the Ocean

Early Morning Fog on the Rio Dulce — Heading Back to the Ocean

Checking Out of Guatemala in Livingston

Checking Out of Guatemala in Livingston

 

Lake Atitlan

December 1, 2013 Posted by Deb

Panajachel

PanjachelOverAtitlanAfter a quick overnighter in Antigua, we grabbed an early shuttle for Panajachel and Jenna’s B&B. Jenna’s was the highest rated hotel/hostel/B&B we have ever seen. Deb saw a 100 percent five stars on TripAdvisor. We did a quick lap of Panajachel to try and find a sliver of anything we remembered from our two prior visits. Not a chance … massive changes to that area in the 19 years we’ve been away.

Panajachel-MarketBy this time, we were suffering from flu, cough and related complications. I started and probably gave it to Deb. Not only does that make travelling wonderful, we were gearing up for a week of Spanish classes in San Pedro and, since our Spanish sucks, needed more strength than we had.

San Pedro

san-pedro-la-laguna-lookingThe high marks our friends gave this town were well deserved.

DebChuckNicksPlace

DebNinaSanPedro

Our Walk Out the Door to School

Our Walk Out the Door to School

Deb in Class With Her Maestra, Lupita

Deb in Class With Her Maestra, Lupita

San Pedro was kind of a throwback to another time with narrow streets and lots of horses. Of course there were motorcycles and cars but they were all fairly quiet and moved slowly … either that or run over the people that were walking everywhere. The 20-something crowd was huge in San Pedro but this time, it looked like many of them had found a home and had been there for some time. We stayed at Sak’Cari for about $40 per night because it was next to the school. Most were living in San Pedro for much less. We stood in line at a cash machine and watched them take out cash in the neighborhood of 300 Quetzales. That’s not even $40 U.S. and they probably live on that longer than we do when we push the max at $2,000 Quetzales.

ChuckHammockSakCari

SnowonAtitlan