Rio Dulce


June 29th

And so to to my final day of sailing.

It was all under power of course since I was going against the river Rio Dulce. It was all I had come to expect and more. The views were absolutely beautiful with locals fishing from dugout canoes and pangas (powered log canoes). The river itself flows through towering cliffs and then changes to a broad, shallow valley which it fills (this part is called El Golfete), with mountains in the distance. It then narrows until its source at the mouth of Lake Izabel. The only snag was shortly after the narrowing, there I was warned by a fisherman to go around shallows that extended from the north shores. I'm glad they told me which way to go everywhere I went the depth shoaled.

I called RAM Marina and pulled in probably about 2 o'clock. There were people there to help me in and the docks were wood to the waterline and easy in to get in and out. There's a gas station and grocery store so I stocked up my sorely depleted beer stocks.

July 5th

What a day. Was told the boat would be pulled at 1:00 then almost 5 minutes later told it would be 3:00. So I did laundry early, and caught a tuk-tuk into town and walked to El Castillo de San Philipe. A very interesting small little castle situated at the start of the Rio Dulce and Lake Izabel. The cstle was more than enoght to cover the width of the river here being no more than 50 yards. Its remarkably well preserved. Even if the canons looked english not spanish.

I caught a taxi back to town, since it was getting on past 1 when I left the castle. Not 2 minutes after getting out of the taxi I realized I didn't have my phone. Shit! It must have fallen out of my pocket in the taxi. I chase after it but its gone too far. SO I finish my mission and get 2 tarps to cover the boat in my absence, and get a tuk-tuk back to the marina. I ask the office girls to call the phone, its on and ringing but oot being answered. Its ringing now, but I fetch my tablet, download the find my phone app, and get the appropriate password from Hiam using skype. There's my phone just the other side of the bridge.

So I leave my tablet with the girls in the office and hop in another tuk tuk back into town. The girls in the office will call the tuk-tuk driver if the phone moves. We get across the bridge and there's a blue taxi. Yay! It looks like the same old POS taxi but its definitely not the same driver and my phone is not in his car. Shit! We back track to a spot under the bridge where the taxistas hang out and the tuk-tuk driver talks to 2 guys, about what I'm not exactly sure. Then he gets a phone call and we're back on the trail, my phone is moving. We head down the hight street, make a left and there heading towards us is the beat up old taxi I used. A shout at the tuk-tuk driver and hop out, he hops out too. The taxi driver stops and hands over my phone. I'm happy and throw Quetzales at him. He's happy!

We head back to the marina and I throw Quetzales at the tuk-tuk driver then go to the ATM for more and then throw those at the office girls. Whew! I would have lost all my sailing pics without that phone. I treat myself with a couple of beers and then find out the boat will not be lifted tonight. The same boat has spent all the afternoon in the travel lift trying to be splashed. Not sure what the issue was but the last time I saw it it was being dove on by some poor shmuck. Started to put the tarps when some guy (a local) wanders down the jetty looking like he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders. Its Byron, the yard guy, “can I move the boat to the gas dock”, they'll lift it without me in the morning. He leaves his helper with me and we go to the gas dock. We're tying up when he asks whats my draft – 5' 6” - same as my height – yes.

Next thing we're casting off lines and I'm heading to the dock opposite the gas station. Byron basically holds the boat off in the wind while it makes it way over to the other side. The poor little runabout filling up at the dock looked like it was going to get crushed, but Byron new exactly what he was doing.

I finish (sort of) putting up the tarps when the guy from Maine ask me if I fancied a cup of tea. I'm all out of beer, rum and whiskey, so I visit. Turns out this guy has been on his boat for 11 years and has circumnavigated solo. I had a great time talking with him, just wish I could remember his name. It poured with rain.

July 6th

Rained like hell for the rest of the night and into morning. Luckily I put the tarps out last night and the boat amazingly stayed dry. Early start to the day. Gathered everything together to leave. Shaved, ate breakfast, cleared all the remaining food out. Went to the office, who hailed a tuk-tuk and I'm heading out. Boat is still in the water, but they're big boys, I'm sure they don't need my help.

Bus trip went well, 7 hours for $13 bucks, no problema. Guatemala was very hilly, if not downright mountainous and very, very lush. Didn't read much on the bus, just so much easier to watch the world go by. The bus went into Guatemala City and then we all got shuttled onto a minibus. I thought it odd ,but the streets of the capital are quite tight and bringing a 45 seater in would have been tough, especially since we were here at roughly 4:00pm – rush hour. The taxi ride to the hotel cost more than the bus ride – and I shared the taxi! (100Q versus 80Q). The hotel is a converted single story Spanish style house. Its quite dated, but clean and the staff are just so helpful. I ate here and the food was simple but more than adequate. I'm actually finding Guatemala City a little cold, had to put a t-shirt on under my shirt.




The approach

Not a cheering sight

Getting closer to the rift

Forested banks

Forest or jungle


The view behind

Towering cliffs everywhere

Mountains everywhere

Pretty, pretty, pretty

Cliffs giving way

Entering the Golfete

Big mountains in the distance

The Golfete is wide

View from the Fronteras bridge

Looking the other way

Brown Eyed Girl from the Bridge

Castle at the junction of the river and Golfete

Inside view

Canons can easily cover the river here

British canons in a Spanish fort

Brown Eyed Girl resting up