Friday, November 22, 2013

Rio Dulce, Guatemala to Belize - Day 1 and 2

Day 1 -  15 NM
This morning started really early for me, as I woke up at 5:00!  This was the day that we would finally be cruising again!  I watched the sun come up and then made coffee.  We were leaving today from Mar Marine and heading down river to a little backpacker hotel called Round House.  We planned on anchoring there, as it was supposed to be a safe anchorage, and eat dinner. 

There was a Swap-n-Shop today at Bruno's Marina that I wanted to hit before we left.  I broke one of my fishing poles and was looking for a replacement.  Also there was a couple of cruisers that were back on the river that I wanted to meet.  So I woke mom up early and we headed over to Bruno's for the Swap-n-Shop.  There wasn't any fishing poles for sale, but I did run into both couples that I wanted to meet.  The first was Bill and Joanne from s/vUltra.  They have a blog that I have been following for the last two years.  I also met Mark and Michele from s/v Reach.  Their blog is  It was a pleasure to meet both couples, and it was a shame that we were not able to spend more time with them.  They both were scrambling for table space to display their treasures!  I was happy to get a few minutes from each couple, before we had to head back to the boat.  Of course I forgot my camera, so no pictures!

Mar Marine gave us a free breakfast for all of the help with their Internet that we gave.  So we took the dinghy from Bruno's over to the Mar Marine Restaurant for breakfast.  We ended up eating with Geff and Rose and said our good byes.  Then it was back to the boat and Stan, Oliver, and Vivian help cast off our lines and we were off!  A quick stop for fuel at the Puma station and we were heading down river. 
Breakfast at Mar Marine

Our trip down to Round House was easy as we motored all of huge way.  Our autopilot quit working, as the gear driving the chain was spinning on the shaft.  I think maybe the key between the shaft and the gear must have slid out, as it looks like the Moorings had placed a small piece of wood there to hold the gear on.  Sometimes I wonder why they rig something like that and then don't go back and fix it correctly.  I will probably have to wait until we get back to Placencia to repair it, as tightening the Allen screws didn't seem to work.

We arrived at Round House around 1:30 and anchored just off of their dock.  I ran the dinghy in go their dock and went up and checked out their place.  They have a really cute restaurant and backpacker hotel with around 14 beds.  I talked to Dani, one of the owners and her friends.  We had reservations at 7:00, so I headed back to the boat. 
 The quietness of the river!  We were happy to be cruising again!
 This large stump became lodged on our port bow!  A little push with the boat pole, and it went on it's way.
Round House Backpackers Hotel
They had two hammocks on the dock that were almost always in use!
The hotel was up a pathway in the jungle, overlooking the river,

The river here is very beautiful with the jungle flowing right down to the water.  There were no trucks and jake brakes shattering the silence.  It was amazing the birds and the beauty surrounding us.  We missed these things at the marina.  It is nice to be cruising again.

We had a great home style meal with their four guests and the owners, Dani and Chris.  The group was from different countries, Belgium, Canada, France, and Austria.  We all shared travel plans and stories and had a great time.  It is really nice to talk to people from other parts of the world.  All of them were in their 20s and traveling around on the cheap. 

Dinner at Round House Backpacker Hotel and our new friends

Tomorrow we head down to Livingston and check out of Guatemala and sail to New Haven, one of our favorite anchorages.

Day 2 - 18.6 zigzag NM

Today stared really early, as I wanted to get down to Livingston and check out of Guatemala.  The night on the river was very peaceful, and the morning was magical.  The mist was hanging over the mountains and the birds were calling everywhere.  The river was so peaceful and Mayan fisherman were already out throwing their cast nets. 
 Quite and peaceful
No one was up yet at the Round House Backpackers Hotel!
Mayan fishermen fishing the way they have done for centuries

We headed out around 7:30, after rousing my mom up!  She isn't much of a morning person, but I needed her help to raise the anchor, fighting the river current.  We motored down to Livingston in less than 2 hours and anchored just off of the municipal dock.  As always, it was a beautiful and peaceful ride down the river.
The river felt really mysterious this morning with the fog and quietness

The beautiful bluffs

Getting close to Livingston 

 Water taxi heading to Livingston

Livingston - not our most favorite place, but necessary for checkout!  Thanks Raul!!!
There were two other sailboats anchored there with the yellow Quarantine flag flying, checking into Guatemala.  We had talked to Raul earlier in the week, so our checkout should be ready.  I ran the dinghy over to Bugamama's dinghy dock and walked up to Raul's office. 
There was a slight delay on our papers, so I talked to a guy that had one of the sailboats that was checking in.  His name was Marvin, but I didn't catch his boat name, but it may be s/v Bad Dog.  He had a Walmart blue recycle bag, so I started up a conversation.  He was from Key Largo, Florida and was headed down to Fronteras.  I still had a Guatemala Tigo chip for our cellphone, and I had planned on giving it to Raul to give to Geff on s/v My Peace, but since this guy needed one, I gave it to him.  Well, it turns out that he caught a huge cobia fish on the way, and offered half of it to us!  Wow, this was great!  So I finished my checkout, and stopped at a local store and spent my remaining Quezales, and headed over to his boat.  He gave me the larger half, as he didn't have freezer space for any more.  I took the fish back over to my boat and filleted it into four large pieces. 
 Thank you Marvin!!!!
Filleting the cobia into four large pieces, before we headed out

We then headed out across the bar and into the Gulf of Honduras.  The bar was easy for us this time, as we watched a couple commercial boats head out.  I remembered when we arrived, and the depth gauge sat at .1 foot for almost 15 minutes.  We were sweating bullets during that time. 
Once over the bar, the wind was, of course, coming from the north east, the exact direction that way we need to go.  We sailed for almost 4 hours and only zigzagged our way across the gulf a few times.  Finally at 2:00, I made the decision to head over to Tres Puntos instead of New Haven.  The wind had quieted, and the only way to get to  New Haven was to motor all of the way. 
We had to cross the busy shipping lane for Puerto Barrios.  We gave them all of the space they demanded!!!  They were flying!
So we headed over to Tres Puntos, making it in a couple of hours.  Mom actually sailed most of the way as the wind was only 8 knots, and we were only going 3 or 4.  It was good practice for her to sail.  We anchored with three other boats and had a great evening. 
Three other boats already anchored here

 Finally, beautiful sunsets again!
Mom cooked a big slab of the cobia and it was very good, Que Rico!  The anchorage was very quiet and with a full moon, it was almost daylight.  We heard howler monkeys as the sun was going down.  This was what cruising is all about!  
Happy to be cruising again!

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