Posts Tagged: ‘sailing’

Cast Iron Canoe: 2017 Edition

May 31, 2017 Posted by Deb

Namekagon River

Namekagon River

A traditional canoe trip that started decades ago and which we’ve been a part of for many years. Our sailing life has kept us away too long, but we made it back this year. Old sailing friends, Forrest and Yvonne on s/v Nazdrowie, who we met in the Dominican Republic in the 1990s introduced us to the group; and it has been a party ever since. This year we picked the Namekagon and Saint Croix rivers over the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Tent City

Tent City

e

We Know How to Fill a Canoe

The weather started out great and stayed better than the forecast for three days. We did have rain and hail, but we built a tarp city and we’re pretty much impervious to bad weather. True to Cast Iron tradition, we had two Dutch ovens, plenty of liquid refreshments, and a wrap-up five-pound bacon fest on the final morning that forced Deb to stay upwind. No injuries to report other than a number of tick bites that sent Deb to the doctor for the anti-Lyme routine.

Tarp City Going Up

Tarp City Going Up

Hail On the River

Hail On the River

We did have a longer than normal 22-mile day due to full campsites that featured a 1.5 mile sprint to beat out another group to 12.3 mile campsite. Unfortunately, Deb and I won the race but missed the campsite sign. The sprint pretty much turned our arms to noodles for the next two days. Oh well.

Land Ho

We look forward to the transition both from the ocean to land in the spring and back to the boat in the fall. With each move, we have a high energy vision of what we’re going to do “this time.” Yeah, right. We seem to forget that the seven-plus days it takes to put the boat away and the exposure to air conditioning and airplane air usually leaves us half dead with colds. This switch was no exception but we did get a couple of days of Casa Grande Palm Creek pickleball in before the bad colds really set in. We motored north in the RV on a three Wal*Mart run with 102-degree fevers. It is now late May and we’re just barely back on our feet again. And hey, it’s cold up here in May.

Wanna Go Outside at 100 Degrees and 100% Humidity?

Wanna Go Outside at 100 Degrees and 100% Humidity?

Plans

Our plans change weekly but our high-energy vision included an extended summer on land with biking, pickleball, a variety of water events, camping, and other north country fun stuff. Now we’re toying with the idea of getting rid of all the mobile stuff including the RV and Neytiri and looking for a home or a townhome. Our future yacht broker is begging us to bring Neytiri back to Florida again and to do so immediately. That ain’t happening but we may get back on the boat early in the fall and sail her back to the U.S.

So … we’re going house hunting at 10:00 tomorrow morning after moving the final leg of our RV trip from Melcher-Dallas, Iow,a to Woodbury, MN. For us, home ownership again is a big and scary change.

Toys Are Out in Iowa

Toys Are Out in Iowa

Celebrating Hayden's Soccer Win with Dorothy, Cindy, and Halle

Celebrating Hayden’s Soccer Win with Dorothy, Cindy, and Halle

Late Entry: The Famous Roatan Yacht Club

We thought it was famous and very nice 22 years ago. We were worried that we weren’t dressed well enough to go into the restaurant. It seemed very British. We had just finished a long ten-day passage from Cartegena, Columbia, somewhere around November, 1995; and we weren’t too presentable. We stored our dinghy there during our last visit four years ago even though it had been closed for new owners and renovations. The carpenters were banging away.

Roatan French Harbor Yacht Club

Roatan French Harbor Yacht Club

Little did we know how far the Yacht Club had fallen. This year, the property has been seized for money laundering and the official government “Stay Out” signs are up. We had to find another dinghy dock to get to town and our Plan B four years ago was the shrimping/fish station. They’ve had a very bad fishing season and we were advised to stay out of that area. So … by word of mouth we found a lady in a small house down from the police station car graveyard with a little dilapidated dock on a shoreline filled with floating garbage. The routine is to hand her 50 Lems (2 bucks) and walk to town.

Only Sign From the Street

Only Sign From the Street

Murder at the Yacht Club: A German Hotel Owner is gunned down at his Business
Nicolai Winter, the German owner of the French Harbour Yacht Club was gunned down at his hotel by a man in this thirties, presumed to be from the mainland.

On March 6, 2007, around 9:30pm, the murderer checked into a room at the hotel and came back to ask for Winter’s assistance in opening the room door. While Winter with three other Yacht Club staff walked towards the room, the assailant pulled out a 9mm gun and shot Winter several times. The assailant then fled the property on foot.
According to Yacht club staff, Winter was alive for some time after the shooting. Bay Islands Voice was notified of the shooting and called Preventiva Police, DGIC and Ambulance in Dixon Cove. No one picked-up the phone. After a visit to the Dixon Cove ambulance station the attendant said “none of the vehicles are working.”
The frontier police and DGIC police arrived at the crime scene 30 and 60 minutes after the shooting, but no immediate search of surrounding area was done and no road blocks were set up. The murderer, presumed by the police to be a contracted killer, was not apprehended.  Winter bought the Yacht Club in 2004 for in excess of one million dollars. The legal future of the Yacht Club is far from certain. According to Honduran law, in absence of a testament, Winter’s closest relatives: his mother, or his sister will inherit the property.
According to Felipe Danzilo, a lawyer involved in the sale of the Yacht Club, Winter did not yet make all the payments on the property. The previous owners of the Yacht Club: Marcel Hauser and Peter Beuth, still hold a mortgage on the Yacht Club.

Within a week of Winter’s death the old owners of the hotel brought the “Pluribus” company owned by Daniel O’Connor, a American business owner from Tegucigalpa, to serve as a “safe keeper” of the Yacht Club business interests. O’Connor made efforts to assure the continuous functioning of the business: that the employees received their salaries, hotel stayed open and he plans on having the Yacht Club’s restaurant open by Semana Santa. “Every business has a value as long as it is running,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor, who has lived in Honduras for 12 years, was shocked by the lack of concern about the murder displayed by local business community and local business leaders. “This is disappointing in a community that prides itself on being tourism oriented,” says O’Connor. “This will bring a negative impact on tourism here.”

Source :  http://www.bayislandsvoice.com/issue-v5-4.htm

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

Roatan 2017

April 6, 2017 Posted by Deb

We can’t believe it has been four years since Casa del Mar, Aquadesiac, Neytiri, and others visited these waters. We staged at Hatchet Caye in Belize with Jim and Renata of Emerald Seas for the overnight trip to Roatan. Emerald Seas detected some banging in their rudder on the way over to Hatchet and decided to head to Guatemala and RAM Marine to get it checked. We took off at about 3:00 in the afternoon alone. The wind dropped to somewhere in the 2 to 6 knot range and we didn’t even bother putting up a sail. The seas were calm and we motored on one engine at a time through the night. Not much to report except a lot of cruise ship dodging and a bit of adverse current at times.

We pulled into French Harbor, dropped the hook, and wondered where all the boats went. We practically owned the whole anchorage except for a couple of derelicts. An empty anchorage is a security concern since we learned four years ago that we had anchored in “Bandit Bay” one night. It turned out the boats had bailed for West Bay due to weather.

Neytiri in French Harbor

Neytiri in French Harbor

The Port Captain Shuffle

Check in procedures have changed and not for the better. Immigration moved to Plaza Mar in Coxen Hole, the Port Captain has to run everything through the capital now causing up to a five-day delay, and they want three pictures of the boat in digital form to be emailed to the capital. The Port Captain is also AWOL much of the day due to heavy cruise ship traffic (or long lunches) and he walked in at 2:30 p.m. We had been waiting since 1:00 and others longer. Deb had done a great job of putting our three pictures on one 8.5×11 piece of paper; and when we found out they wanted digital only, we took a picture of the piece of paper. No good. They wanted individual shots.

So … we failed. Eighty percent of the cruisers waiting in line until 2:30 also failed. The dockmaster here said they are trolling for tips, but they are on camera so it’s tough to pull off. We did not see anyone trying to buy their way in or out and we really felt sorry for the folks trying to catch weather to get out only to find that it could take days to get their Clearance (Zarpe). To make this short, we paid taxis three times over five days to take us to the Port Captain and back to French Harbor before we got our Entrada. On the positive side, Roatan is a free check in.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island from the Air

Fantasy Island from the Air

Zee plane, Zee plane. Not the same place. In fact, very little maintenance has been done on this resort since the last time we were here. All the wood buildings are kind of right out of the Dirty Dancing era but a little more faded each time we come back. There are no longer fresh water showers for the cruisers but there is a bathroom that works most of the time with a dirty salt water shower. The WIFI is a whopping 10 to 30 K. The Dockmaster, Rob, said that if we were here four years ago, we would really notice the difference now. There are themed events much like Dirty Dancing for the guests and another set for the cruisers in the Palapa bar. We do BBQ night, movie night, and 2-for-1 ladies night. Some of the guys are showing up in dresses for the 2-for-1 ladies night. We even got a pole dance from one of the guys.

Dirty Dancing Agenda for the Cruisers

Dirty Dancing Agenda for the Cruisers

Dirty Dancing Agenda for Resort Guests

Dirty Dancing Agenda for Resort Guests

This Is Our Back Yard

This Is Our Back Yard

Seaweed

Roatan is in the middle of a seaweed invasion. Massive islands of seaweed are floating in and the staff rake huge piles off the beach. Front end loaders and trucks haul the smelly piles away. The resort is usually losing the battle though the invasion seems to be tapering off lately. One cruiser said he hit an island of this stuff in the middle of the night and his boat came to a complete stop. This level of seaweed in the ocean has not been seen before.

Seaweed Invasion

Seaweed Invasion

The Animals of Roatan

Fantasy Island Peacock

Fantasy Island Peacock

Agouti

Agouti or Roatan Rabbit

Fantasy Island mixes zoo animals with people. We mostly see agoutis, peacocks, monkeys, and iguanas. Of these, the monkeys are a good story. They have been known to run off with cell phones, shoes, anything left in boat cockpits, and they climb up on people as part of their routine. Deb’s encounter was fun as he tried to get inside her shirt but the little …. did tear a key off her laptop keyboard.

Quit Monkeying Around

Quit Monkeying Around

Road Trips

We had our car rental from hell the week of April Fools Day. The morning of our big road trip to West Bay, the battery was dead. No problem for a cruiser, just grab any one of the jump starters and off we go. Our jump starters had partial charges but not enough to bring up the dead car battery so we had to haul out the extension cords and 110 charger. Eventually that worked and off we went, wondering what we had left on the night before that would drain the battery. I dropped a tire off the edge of the road and it got punctured. We pulled off on a hill in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday when everything was closed and started the spare tire drill. We were partially blocking traffic so that was an added bonus. The spare tire had an even bigger hole in it. A Honduran on a motorcycle who happened to own a car wash and gas station stopped by and took our main tire to his shop to try and inflate/fix it. He couldn’t but we gave him something for trying.

So…we called the Alamo manager and actually got him on a Sunday. He drove out, put his spare on our car, and took our two bad tires. Over the next two days, we had to jump the car if we let it stand for more than a couple hours and our newly charged car starters worked great. We did have to drive all the way to the airport to pick up a new tire and there was no one there to put it on so, once again, we got to use the “toy” jacks that they include with those little cars.

Flat Tire and a Flat Spare

Flat Tire and a Flat Spare

After the March Madness final on April 3, the jump start battery just wouldn’t cut it one more time. It was 10:30 at night after way too many drinks in the parking lot of Herby’s Sports Bar and Grill (great place). Thankfully a security guard came over and said “No problem” (the only English he knew) and grabbed a hotel van, jumper cables, and a buddy to get the show on the road again. The next day we called Alamo and swapped cars.

West End, West Bay

West End

West End

Nice places right out of the brochure. We bought a beach pass at the Paradise Hotel for $10 U.S. each which gave us a place to park and access to the pool, shower, and beach chairs. The highlight was the snorkeling. The Roatan wall is right off the beach with massive coral formations and a steep drop into the abyss. We also swam with the most fish we’ve seen in a long time. We got a kick out of diving down to the scuba divers and waiving like “we’re down here doing this for free and you’re paying a bundle.”

Underwater World

Underwater World

We lounged until the end of the day and the flies got too bad. On the trip back, we got beat badly by a guy on a bike. It wasn’t because of traffic, just potholes.

Beacher's Bar, West Bay

Beacher’s Bar, West Bay

East Roatan

On April 4, we teamed up with M.J. and Louisa from CarieAnn and headed East. We took almost every side road between Fantasy Island and the end of Roatan. The highlight was a trip to the Hole in the Wall restaurant in Jonesville.

The Famous Pirate Bar Was Only Open 2 Weeks

The Famous Pirate Bar Was Only Open 2 Weeks

Two Norwegians

Two Norwegians on the Way to Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall in Jonesville Bight

Hole in the Wall in Jonesville Bight

Last Chance Gathering?

March 16, 2017 Posted by Deb

Family and friends from the Eldridge side took their best shot at a cruise on Neytiri before we sell the boat or move to faraway shores. It started as a suggestion from brother Bill; and before we knew it, all the berths were full with an Alaskan (Bill), two Panamanians (sister Barb and Michael Karsh), and a Texan (Joe Sautner). Despite three different points of origin, everyone arrived within hours of each other on February 28 at the Placencia airport. We staged the boat at Robert’s Grove and used their free airport shuttle. Those of you who paid for taxis all those prior years, sorry about finding out about the free shuttle too late.

MayaIslandAirplaneExitJoeArrivalPlacenciaAirport

We moved in, kicked back, and spent the next day in Placencia. Oh … and another free shuttle. We pulled off one of the best jobs of provisioning with just enough booze, water, and food (in order of importance) to squeak back to Placencia as the cupboards were getting bare.

PineappleProvisioningProvisioningBelikin

The Loop

The plan was to hit Hatchet with good snorkeling and the Lionfish Grill, Pelican with Dustin, Kim, Ama and pets at Hideaway Caye, South Water, and Garbutt. We added Tobacco Caye on a nostalgia request.

DebChuckAdjustingSails

Hatchet Caye

Nice blow at 18 to 20 both days and nasty wet dinghy rides. We tried to sneak in the back dock to stay drier only to find a deck full of ladies doing sundown yoga. We spun the dinghy and tried a shortcut across the reef at low tide … also a failure. We did better the second day with the exception of a rough water snorkeling incident that reminded us all of how hard it is to pull a mostly non-responsive person out of the water and into a dinghy. It took three of us. Anyway, we talked the group into trying lionfish tacos and they were a big hit. Oh … the blue light parade of eagle rays was off the list because the yoga ladies had the deck again. They were nice enough people, just working a bit hard at being happy.

BarbLookingOffSternofNeytiriMichaelBarbFishing

Pelican Cayes and Hideway Caye

Hideway is also a favorite stop despite its 60-foot-deep anchorage and only one mooring ball. We’ve gone three for three on the mooring ball this season and Dustin (owner) would say that was nearly impossible. Ama was in rare form and is now 4 years old. She has discovered Uno and is relentless at getting people to play and beating them. Dustin has welded up a drag to try and hook other mooring balls that were ripped out by idiots but has only succeeded in tearing up the lower unit of his outboard thus far. Their guests were avid water people and went out each day spearfishing for dinner with Dustin. He supplies all the fish and conch for the resort by spearfishing off the reef. We took the entire group in for a snapper dinner in two dinghy trips and got tips on where to snorkel. Our second day was the best water day for the group with calm seas, good coral, and a beach to operate from.

BarHideawayCayeFishDinnerHideawayCaye

South Water, Tobacco, Garbutt Cayes

MichaelChuckBillJoe_SouthWaterBar

South Water and Tobacco haven’t changed much over the years. South Water is private and it varies how much poking around you can do from year to year. Their beach shrunk considerable from the hurricane. There are young, mostly female, marine biologists everywhere and we got in on a prep for a night dive and a floating/drinking sundowner session. We went over to Carrie Bow Caye for our snorkeling.

ChuckBillJoeDinghy

Tobacco was a day stop and it was too rough to get in the water. We walked around, checked out places that some hadn’t been to in 15 years, and moved on to Garbutt to get out of a blow that was a non-event at Garbutt. We declined the resort at Garbutt and did a final big meal on the boat.

ChuckDebTobaccoCayeNeytiriBackgroundBillChuckMikeSouthWaterWalkTobaccoCayeBarChuckBillJoe

Placencia

We returned to Placencia on Wednesday, March 8, in a nice 15- to 20-knot NE wind and sailed through the back door of the harbor and a 20 boat fleet at anchor. I always worry a bit about the shallows to port on that entry, especially when the sun is going in and out of clouds but everyone else was worried about getting through the gaggle of boats. It’s a fun way to wrap up a trip.

MichaelChuckDebCockpit

Family and friends have all flown home now and the boat is pretty empty. We converted two berths back into garages, did an oil change, repaired a water damaged bed from prior owners, cleaned and lubed all the winches and the windlass, did taxes, and are now studying up for our next leg … the Bay Islands of Honduras via Turneffe and Lighthouse Atolls.

Belize_Dive_Mapsm

Belize 2017

February 27, 2017 Posted by Deb

Belize starts and ends with Yoli’s. It’s a cruiser bar in Placencia run by Reagan and Yoli, and it is laid back like no other bar we’ve been in. There is only one TV so it’s not a sports bar, and you can gamble on the playoffs and Super Bowl if you’re so inclined. Most don’t watch TV because of the human entertainment floating around and through the bar. A cruiser can run a tab under his or her first name and tabs can get as high as $40,000 US (it was eventually paid off), many walk behind the bar and grab their own drinks, and a few listen to the Lost Refers and buy their t-shirts (we have two). Within minutes of dropping our hook we walked up the dock to Yoli’s and the Lost Reefers were playing. Actually, it was their lead, John, alone that day because the rest of the group were up in Belize City. A great welcome home to Belize.

Yoli's and A Lonely Lost Reefer

Yoli’s and A Lonely Lost Reefer

Jerry Jeff Walker

We caught him at the Minnesota Zoo last year but Belize is home for him, and the two-week long Jerry Jeff Walker Camp Belize in San Pedro started shortly after we arrived. We had friends flying in for the first week featuring a number of concerts and a lot of impromptu music on the beach. We headed north with Flying Fish in the hopes of getting in on the music and seeing friends. We made it to Colson Caye and got a weather update. A potentially tough norther was coming and that part of Belize has little protection from the north or northwest. We spun for more sheltered turf and Flying Fish kept going because they had company coming through Belize City. We watched weather for a few days, but the friends from the U.S. flew home long before we arrived in San Pedro.

Jerry Jeff Walker at Fido's on Ambergris Caye

Jerry Jeff Walker at Fido’s on Ambergris Caye

Roberts Grove Marina

We settled in for a stretch of bad weather and kind of stayed. It’s nice here, there were plenty of boat projects, and we could squeeze in a bit of exercise. The resort is going downhill each year and we hear lots of rumors as to why. This year Habaneros was closed half of each week, the bathrooms had no paper, diesel was not available, they were down to only one working Hobiecat, and the gym was closed. We talked our way into the gym each day and Deb wrote a long letter to management about the other stuff. The next morning we had diesel and from that time on we’ve been treated like royalty. We believe, and rumors support, that there was some kind of a labor/management issues and her letter shook things loose (as in the workers had not been getting paid).

Our Own Private Restaurant With Live Band Just Outside the Cockpit

Our Own Private Restaurant With Live Band — Just Outside the Cockpit

Morning Workout Beach at Robert's Grove

Morning Workout Beach at Robert’s Grove

Floating Gym

Floating Gym

Robert's Grove Sunrise

Robert’s Grove Sunrise

Bike Rise Up the Peninsula to Na'ai Resort

Bike Ride Up the Peninsula to Na’ai Resort

Goodbye Trip with Flying Fish

We spent time with Claudia and Claudius on Flying Fish in their decompression phase after company left. We did the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival and several restaurants with them. Both boats sailed north to Caye Caulker, and was that a ride! We had up to 31 knots just as we were crossing the English Channel and it was pretty exposed. As a result, we did the length of Belize in two days with hours to spare.

Reggae Band at the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival

Reggae Band at the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival

Placencia Sidewalk

Placencia Sidewalk

Finally Got a Photo of Neytiri Under Sail

Finally Got a Photo of Neytiri Under Sail

 

Hurricane Earl

San Pedro and Caye Caulker recovered well from the hurricane. There was a lot of new construction. The Lazy Lizard at the Split survived so the young backpackers still had a place to hang out. The TMM dock was destroyed and rebuilt but TMM is long gone. Sad.

Lazy Lizard on Cay Caulker Post Hurricane

Lazy Lizard Backpackers on Cay Caulker Post Hurricane

New, Shorter Version of the TMM Dock

New, Shorter Version of the TMM Dock

Hurricane Earl on San Pedro

Hurricane Earl on San Pedro

Water Caye, Garbutt, Pelican, Hatchet and Home

We made a point of checking out the new resort at Garbutt and the new bar built by Reagan (Yoli’s) at Hatchet Caye on our trip back south. At Garbutt we ran into Rendezvous (Peter), Wanderlust, and Wahoo (just in back from the East Caribbean) and were invited to one evening of their floating party north. We don’t know how they can keep up that pace because we were partied out after only one night with them (and low on rum).

Floating City Goes by From Water Cay

Floating City Goes by Water Cay

Garbutt Caye Sunrise

Garbutt Caye Sunrise

Hatchet Cay Pet Pelican

Hatchet Cay Pet Pelican

Neytiri & Flying Fish Together at Robert's Grove

Neytiri & Flying Fish Together at Robert’s Grove

Last Voyage of Flying Fish

Last Voyage of Flying Fish

Heading North to Mexico and Key West

Heading North to Mexico and Key West

Where Are We Now? Belize!!

February 4, 2017 Posted by Deb

Hanging out at Robert's Grove in Placencia with Side Trips to the Reef in Southern Belize

Hanging out at Robert’s Grove in Placencia with Side Trips to the Reef in Southern Belize

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.

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Rio Sauce

Rio Sauce

Claudia & Deb

Claudia & Deb

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Ceremonial Cueva With Juan Tacaj

Ceremonial Cueva With Juan Tacaj

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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

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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.

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