Sunday, October 6, 2013

Guatemala Day 5 - Mistakes and Check-in at Livingston, Guatemala - September 30

Today I made two mistakes that cost us a loss of an hour and a half of wasted engines time, and we missed our timeslot to travel down Rio Dulce to Fronteras.  The first mistake was that I thought that the trip to Livingston was only 5 nm, about an hour, from where we anchored.  Well, it was almost 2 hours.  This was a small mistake, but then instead of heading across the Sea of Honduras directly to Livingston, I set off for another port, Puerto Barrios at the end of the Sea!  I am not sure how I messed up so bad, but obviously I saw the wrong port on the chartplotter and headed off!  We were almost to ready to enter the channel, when I realized my mistake.  We were already 1 hour late, and it was going to be another hour and a half to Livingston!  I really felt stupid about this mistake, so now I will double check all waypoints before heading out!  My fear is what this delay would cause, as now we will have to anchor at Livingston for the night, not a good thing.
Sunrise at Baja Tres Puntas
One of our visitors while heading to Livingston
The next challenge was to cross the bar at the mouth of the river.  I was told not to worry, as our catamaran needed only about 4 feet.  Since we were coming from the south, our alignment points were off  a little, and we ended crossing the bar a little south of the optimal place.  As we started across the bar, the depth went from 15 feet to 1 foot.  Then it crept all the way down to .1 foot. It sat at .1 foot for 15 minutes, while I slowly motored forward.  Talk about a white knuckle 15 minutes!  We then watched a larger boat cross the bar a little north of us, so we headed that direction.  We finally saw the depth gage creep up to .2 and then .3 foot, so we let out a breath of relief.  The next time I cross a bar, I am going to watch the local traffic first!
We finally made it to Livingston, Guatemala! 
We arrived in Livingston around 12:00 noon, just in time for lunch.  We anchored just in front of the public pier, and waited for Raul to come out to meet us.  We them figured out that everyone was at lunch, so we also ate lunch, waiting for the team to come.  After about 2:00, and no one had come, even after calling on channel 16, I got the dinghy ready to run in and chase someone down.  Just as we were getting in the dinghy, we saw the team board a boat and start coming out!  As it turned our, Raul was off somewhere, and his nephew was helping him out.  The group was really nice and asked us some questions about the boat and how long we were staying.  They then heading off, for their offices, and me to the ATM for local currency.  I then meet Raul's nephew in his office, and he had everything ready for me!  It really was easy!  I then returned back to the boat an hour later, and mom came out of her stateroom after a nap, asking if the guys ever came!  We had to laugh, as she missed the whole group and process!  We then wondered why the officials didn't ask to see the 'other' gringa on the boat, as I gave them her passport and she was on the crew list.
Streets of Livingston, Guatemala
We then took the dinghy into the dock of BugaMoma, and we walking around the streets a little before it got dark.  We then ate at BugaMoma for dinner, which would be our last formal dinner with Phil and Julie :(.  We enjoyed whole fried snapper while they ate chicken fajitas!  The food was good, but the waste discharge next to the restaurant was overwhelming.  I thought that Phil was about to lose it, so we quickly moved to another table.  We ended up moving a couple of times and finally the smell went away.  I don't think that it was a normal thing, as the waiters took pictures like they were going to report it.  They did throw some sort of soap in the water to help disperse the smell.  It wasn't the best first impression of Guatemala!
Phil, Julie, and mom at BugaMoma
View from BugaMoma Restraurant
 Phil and Julie at BugaMoma Restaurant
 Pescado Frito!!!
Mom with her whole fried fish! 
After dinner we headed back to the boat.  The harbor had large oceans swells coming in, which bucking into the river current made some large crazy waves.  Getting back on the boat was a challenge.  Everyone made it safely back on board, with no 'mom' incidents (see earlier blog about my mom's dinghy etiquette).  Phil and I then set the secondary anchor with the dinghy to give us a little more safety.  We also left our outside light on, in addition to the anchor light, as boats, without lights were zipping in and out of the boats.  This was a crazy harbor, as there were boats zipping around us constantly.  There was no such thing as a 'no wake zone'.  We left lots of lights on during the night, but still I didn't sleep very well.  We hope tomorrow will be a better day, as we will travel down the river!
Sunset from Livingston Harbor

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