Posts Tagged: ‘Rio Dulce’

Roatan Wrap and Return to Guatemala 2017

April 23, 2017 Posted by Deb

The Changes in Roatan

A great island but evolving with up to five cruise ships at a time and thousands of cruise ship people on a power vacation clogging up the roads and filling up the beaches. Fantasy Island has suffered a big change. While the west end of the island parties and booms, Fantasy has hit the skids. Here’s a list:

  1. The well went salty so tap water and showers are with sea water now
  2. The generator partially died so they cut of power to the boats on the dock (us) from 7:00 a.m. to up to 8:00 p.m.
  3. The garbage piled up and the flies invaded
  4. With no A/C from shore power, the flies invade the open hatches and companionways
  5. Boat temperatures run around 93 degrees in the sheltered marine environment
  6. The WIFI bounces between 750 bytes to 10K with some spurts to 200K
  7. The pine trees get sap and debris all over the boat

FrenchCayDockSo … we paid for a month, we stayed two weeks, and we left for the anchorage to get comfortable … no refunds. We were also waiting for our 90-day “stay out of Guatemala” time restriction to expire on April 20.

We each thought Roatan was great for two different reasons. One of us voted for the La Pina Fitness Center followed by Herbie’s Sports Bar and Grill and the other voted for our day trips east and west. We definitely underachieved on the tourist stuff … maybe because we were coming to the end of our year or we were fresh out of buddy boats.

LaPinaPoolLaPinaFitnessCenter

Rather than go through the five-day port captain shuffle on Easter we elected to pay for an agent to clear us out. Bateman did a great job and even topped off one of our phones. Those who didn’t use Bateman missed their weather windows because the port captain told them to come back after the holiday in a week.

The Short, Easy Hop from Roatan to Guatemala

Don’t believe it. We’ve had lots of friends and acquaintances run into real trouble with weather on this stretch, not including the recent incidents of piracy in broad daylight. We motored in calm weather to get to Roatan and figured we would wait for a good breeze to sail downwind back to the west and Livingston, Guatemala.

The forecast from three sources all had the wind from the East North East at 15 to 18 gusting to 21. That is perfect for a downwind run and we put up the gennaker in case the winds were a bit light.

We Had Big Hopes for This Sail

We Had Big Hopes for This Sail

We did not bother topping off with fuel and probably should have. The actual wind was about zero for a few hours followed by mostly winds right out of 270 to 310 degrees at 10 to 15. That’s basically in our face. When the wind clocked, we put of the main and flew for about 45 minutes. The wind finally shifted to the east as predicted and was too light to sail so the main came down. We had a few more teasers and put up sails only to take them down minutes later. Of course, at night we had a squall with blinding rain and lightning in all directions.

Sailing through the Corner of Honduras, Belize and Guatemala

Sailing through the Corner of Honduras, Belize and Guatemala

Star Trek Trivia: Admiral, There Be Whales Here

Star Trek Trivia: Admiral, There Be Whales Here

We crossed the bar at Livingston about an hour ahead of schedule and again very close to low tide. Raul’s office informed us that the computer had us a 89 days, not 90 as is required. It was touch and go as to whether we were going to be let into Guatemala; but when the correct palms get greased, the rules can be bent a little. We grabbed our old berth at the Crow’s Nest in Cayo Quemado and Carlos had his extended family out there to give Neytiri a thorough cleaning and a wax job to get ready for showings up at NanaJuana Marina.CayoQuemadoWaterLilliesNanaJuanaSunsetPoolNanaJuanaDockSunset

Rio Dulce Chisme

January 20, 2017 Posted by Deb

We had an article published in the Rio Dulce Chisme on our adventure to Lago Isabel :

http://riodulcechisme.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1371&Itemid=1

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Lago Izabal

January 14, 2017 Posted by Deb

Few venture out on this giant body of water west of Fronteras. The main reason few go there is fear. We were kind of proud of ourselves 21 years ago when we ignored the old sailors advice and spent 10 days circumnavigating Lago Izabal The highlights then were the hot and cold running waterfalls and hot caves at Finca El Paraiso, the town of El Estor, and the jungle rivers full of howler monkeys. We (Chuck mostly) were also concerned this year because of the old stories that wouldn’t die of drug operations and bad guys.

Once again we set out with a buddy boat Flying Fish with Claudia and Claudius from Munich. They were great and together we put together a wonderful four-day lap of the lake. Now they want us to write an article for the local riodulcechisme net and newspaper.

Heading Out Under the Bridge, Flying Fish Takes the Lead

Heading Out Under the Bridge, Flying Fish Takes the Lead

Not Easy

Not Easy

Spanish Castillo San Felipe Built to Guard Against British Pirates

Spanish Castillo San Felipe Built to Guard Against British Pirates

Fronteras to Denny’s Beach

Denny’s Beach was and maybe still is on occasion a party destination. We found the place under new ownership, kind of empty, and with bad weather coming. It was also for sale again. We enjoyed ourselves but had a bit of a bumpy night as the northwest wind caught us on a lee shore.

Champagne Birthday Brunch for Chuck

Champagne Birthday Brunch for Chuck

Denny's Beach Sunset

Denny’s Beach Sunset

DennysBeach

El Estor

The town was a former British outpost for supplies to Honduras, hence the name “The Store.” We remember 21 years ago it as a wonderful small town where the women went nuts over a four year old blonde haired son of our travelling companions on Gooseberry. They kept playing with his blonde hair. There was also a women’s coop with large outdoor fabric making looms. They were churning out fabric for Patagonia. We also remember that we had to keep a tight watch on boats and dinghies.

Now the town is bigger, the troops at the Navy base said they would keep an eye on our boats but that it wouldn’t be a problem, the town administrator treated us like royalty with staged photos, and we had a whole lineup of folks helping set up a couple of days worth of touring in the area.

El Estor Waterfront

El Estor Waterfront

El Boqueron, Juan, and the Boqueron Canyon Project

We walked along the waterfront to the municipal building near the city dock and found Eric, a city administrator, just leaving work for the day. He showed us around, took a few photos, and lined up Juan Tacaj, the man in charge of the Seacacar project in Boqueron Canyon.

Seacacar Mayan Women's Coop Making Pendants

Seacacar Mayan Women’s Coop Making Pendants

Village Children at Q'eqchi

Village Children at Q’eqchi

Hanging Bridge at Q'eqchi

Hanging Bridge at Q’eqchi

With only a partial understanding of what we were getting into, we headed off in a large SUV for Boqueron Canyon and a major serendipity surprise. We first got a tour of the school and the Mayan carvings they were doing to earn money. We then found out we were in for an innertube trip after a hike to their ceremonial cave. Then, as you can see, we were treated to one of the prettiest canyon trips we have ever seen with two young boys keeping us out of trouble. Very cool.

RiverElBoqueronCanyonClaudiusMiniCoconuts

Rio Sauce

Rio Sauce

Claudia & Deb

Claudia & Deb

RiverElBoqueronCanyon

Ceremonial Cueva With Juan Tacaj

Ceremonial Cueva With Juan Tacaj

ReadyToTubeTubingCrewTubingCameraTubingFriends

Here is a link to the project run by Paul Heesaker from Silverthorne, Colorado: http://www.riosguatemala.com/legacy-builders

Ensenata Los Lagartos y Rio Polochic

The next day at 6:00 a.m. we were picked up for a tour of the famous howler monkey rivers that feed into Lago Izabal. Our guide worked the whole shoreline and we caught all the animals waking up for the day. We can’t remember how far up we went 21 years ago but there are enough twists, turns, and side channels to spend a day and more if you get lost.

Sunrise On Way to Rio Polochic

Sunrise On Way to Rio Polochic

River Exploration At Dawn

River Exploration At Dawn

Environmentally Friendly Nickel Mine

Environmentally Friendly Nickel Mine

Chuck & Claudia

Chuck & Claudia

PedroDebChuckPlayaIguanaOnLimbFlamingos3GoingDowonRioPabloMtnBkg

Lago Izabal Wrap

Nothing but a positive experience on our trip and this area. It is a shame that leftover tales have kept so many away. Our security was very important to all of the officials we met and we were treated like visiting celebrities.

Fronteras: Guatemala

January 8, 2017 Posted by Deb

It felt like coming home. We grabbed a slip at Nana Juana’s because they had room and they were the only marina that answered our emails. The danger here is that most of the owners are in jail along with some family members. Some think the Guatemalan government will swoop in and confiscate everything, including all the boats on the hard and on the docks. We should write a book entitled “1,000 Ways to Lose Your Boat.”

Not a Bad Place to Hang Out

Not a Bad Place to Hang Out to Get the Boat Ready to Go

An Early-Morning Visitor in the Rain

An Early-Morning Visitor in the Rain

Cruiser Swap Meet: A Good Place to Giveaway Things

Cruiser Swap Meet: A Good Place to Giveaway Things

Trivia Night at Catamarans

The first set of three questions were math. Our team got zero on that section despite a former economist and some smart Germans. On one question, we were the only team that did not get it right and I (Chuck) was the one that lobbied for the wrong answer. We rallied throughout the evening and did eventually beat out two teams.

Can You See Trivia Brains at Work Here?

Can You See Trivia Brains at Work Here?

Outboard Challenged

Outboard Challenged

 

Lost on Board

January 3, 2017 Posted by Deb

Chris Stanley from Seakist Services picked us up at Bruno’s bar and restaurant and took us the 20-plus kilometers to our boat in Cayo Quemado (Burnt Key). The annual task of remembering where we put everything and deciding where all the new stuff should go started that evening. It didn’t go well. Major items (chargers, VHF radios, and flashlights) were AWOL and we were ripping the bilges and lockers apart trying to find them. On a whim on day 2 we decided to look in the metal computer briefcase and the search was over. We apparently decided to use the briefcase for a Faraday box in the event of a lightning strike and failed to make a note of that. So … a repeat of the story from three years earlier, but then it was the oven.

Cayo Quemado and Texas Mike’s

The night before we left we celebrated at Mike’s new bar and restaurant. He was fileting freshly caught Cobia as we walked in. They have a good thing going at Mike’s and he draws an exotic crowd … too bad we missed the New Years Eve party there. We were off the next morning and stopped at Tom’s place called Quemado Sails to install the lazy jacks, main and main battens, headsail, and a new mainsail halyard block. We also remembered that we had stored all our battens at his shop earlier that year and all of us had forgotten that.

QuemadoSails

Halfway across El Golfete (a very wide and long part of the Rio Dulce) we ran into Flying Fish. We had been monitoring their arrival in Guatemala from Germany and kind of thought we would miss them. We have been with them on and off since Panama. We had our fenders on and the two boats rafted up right in the middle of the lake for a mini-reunion.

NeytiriFlyingFish

Where are we now?

October 25, 2016 Posted by Deb

We are in Casa Grande, AZ, spending our time hiking, biking and playing pickleball (and dreaming of getting back to the boat in Guatemala).

casagranderiodulce

Putting Neytiri Away for the Sixth Time

June 16, 2016 Posted by Deb

We’ve decommissioned in St. Martin, Curacao, Guatemala, Georgia, Florida, and now Guatemala again. There’s no escaping the fact that it takes seven to ten days of really fun work like pulling heavy sails down, oiling anchor chain, heads, and other wonderful jobs. We took breaks and hit the pool at NanaJuana often but the happy hours were lonely until the last day there when boats started pouring in for hurricane season. That was nice. We finally did the hike at Hacienda Tijax and our guide said we were the best “old people” she had seen for dealing with the heat and humidity. For us, it was cool in the jungle compared to working on a boat. Once we moved to our final storage location in Cayo Quemado, the air conditioning was stowed and we cooked at 97°F with 87% humidity for the final teardown.

Oiling the Anchor Chain in the Guatemala Heat

Oiling the Anchor Chain in the Guatemala Heat

NanaJuana Pool Time

NanaJuana Pool Time

Swing Bridge at Hacienda Tijax

Swing Bridge at Hacienda Tijax

Found a Spot for a Skinny Dip

Found a Spot for a Skinny Dip

Old People Hikers

Old People Hikers

Saturday Market in Fronteras

Saturday Market in Fronteras

How to Cross the Road

How to Cross the Road

Tucked Away for Another Day

Tucked Away for Another Day

Honduras

Deb pieced together a cab to San Pedro Sula in Honduras followed by a flight to Phoenix via Dallas.

Trip from Rio Dulce to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

Trip from Rio Dulce to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

Breakfast Under Coca-Cola Mountain??

Breakfast Under Coca-Cola Mountain??

We had a two-hour window to switch planes, and we missed by about 12 hours. It’s funny that we made all our sailing deadlines for three months and a little storm over Dallas blew the endgame. We waited until 2:00 a.m. for a crew to show up for our plane; and as they walked up to applause from the crowd, they announced that they had “timed out” and the flight was cancelled. We found a hotel for the night and cancelled our reservations for a car and hotel in Phoenix. They were pretty nice about refunding some of our money. The next day we slept in and did our first UBER ride to the airport. It was $45 for a taxi to the hotel, and we split a $16 dollar fair back to the airport the next day with UBER. Wow!

Casa Grande

Both the town and the RV were right where we left them. The difference was that Palm Creek, where we did the early winter last year, was a ghost town. We found the odd human at the pool from time to time but 119°F for three days kept the few that still lived in the RV park inside. We ran 48 amps of A/C around the clock and the refrigerator pretty much gave up trying. It was nice to be back in the land of big box stores but the ghost town RV Park had us feeling like we late getting out of Dodge. We headed up the hill (8% grade) to Flagstaff and the V10 got a workout. We did not need A/C again until we got out into the flats of New Mexico and Kansas.

An Entire Wall at Palm Creek Labelled Romance

An Entire Wall at Palm Creek Labelled Romance

Lake Afton in Kansas - Almost Home

Lake Afton in Kansas – Almost Home

Propane Fill - Short Hose Workaround

Propane Fill – Short Hose Workaround

Staging in Iowa

We stop for a week or so at the pole barn in Iowa where we store all our summer toys. Oh … and the odd car and van. This year we’re extending the layover to attend a birthday party for the kids of nieces and nephews. It feels like they were kids themselves just a few years ago. Tick Tick.

Our Private Trail Got Popular. Great Western Trail from Martinsdale to Des Moines

Our Private Trail Got Popular. Great Western Trail from Martinsdale to Des Moines

Calorie-Positive Biking at Cummins Tap – Great Western Trail

Calorie-Positive Biking at Cummins Tap – Great Western Trail

Deb Even Took Time Help Out with Bible School

Deb Helped Out with Vacation Bible School

Sunday Pool Day with the Family in Iowa

Sunday Pool Day with the Family in Iowa

Rio Dulce and the End of a Sailing Season

May 17, 2016 Posted by Deb

DebFlagAtSeaIt’s a nice, leisurely 40-50 mile sail to Cabo Tres Puntas in Guatemala where we stage for crossing the dreaded Livingston bar the next morning. It was great to get back to the jungle, howler monkeys, and a giant water slide (What??). There were only three lights on at night for the whole peninsula and they have a water slide?Cabo3PuntasWaterslide

We thought it would be a lonely, kind of nervous feeling night off that part of Guatemala and we had not checked in detail for any incidents in that area. Instead, we ran into three other boats. Oh … there is a cruise ship going to Puerto Barios now. Who’d’ve thought.LivingstsonSeafront

Jail

We crossed the bar, had the various government departments visit the boat, and went ashore to pay approximately $465 U.S. for our stay in Guatemala. There was a two-hour wait for our cruising permit because the officer in charge started the job the day before and could not get the system to print. The woman who held that position for years and had been telling folks to not use an agent but to just come to her, was caught for large scale embezzling. After a two-month investigation, they made her pay back the money (she had to get a loan) and then they arrested her.

The next jail chapter involves the Nana Juana Marina where we are currently residing. The entire management staff and some ancillary folks got arrested just a few days ago. This place is running on autopilot. They were skimming too. The arrestee list included a nice Austrailian woman who was connected somehow but basically just helping out. Money made it into her account as well. We don’t know what it means for this marina but some folks are dropping their boats back into the water as a result.HomesRio RioCurveBackstagePass RioNeytiriClouds RioDock

Cayo Quemado

CayucoRioThatchedHouseWe had a dinner date with Chris and Kelly of Seakist Services and we made it to Cayo Quemado with two hours to spare. Again weather and “events” had to all line up for us to actually make good on a commitment made weeks or a month earlier. We met up with Cannon Ball again as well. They built a home around the corner from Texan Bay and we met them in Pelican Cay, Belize. We will be returning to Cayo Quemado, or Texas Bay, to store the boat on May 29.

Fronteras

BrunosChucNothing much has changed in two years. A few folks have died, including our trivia partner Don and the guy who sold imported meats and cheeses and ran the AeroPostal outlet here where we had parts flown in. The main drag is full of buses, 18 wheelers, tuk tuk’s (motor cycle driven cabs), large and small cycles, and lots of people on foot with only inches between your body and the giant wheels going by.FronterasTruck

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

 

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.