August on the Rio
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 22 Aug 2011 19:49
On return from our trip to Antigua & the City someone turned the heat up! The sort of heat with accompanying humidity that breeds total apathy. A simple movement producing instantly wet T shirts (or anything you happen to be wearing) from first thing in the morning to well into the evening. Needless to say the more physical jobs on the growing jobs list have taken a back seat for the time being. It doesn't mean to say we haven't been doing anything, only just at a slower pace! We've also met more of the jungle critters. The Admiral was surprised by a vine snake whilst walking the board walk back to the boat from the 'compost heap'. A porcupine joined us for happy hour, observing us from the rafters until it then decided to explore some boats at the dock in the early hours. Having re-appeared once too often it was subsequently bundled into a large plastic dustbin (not an easy task) by the Marina Manager and taken for a short launcha ride to a more remote location to start a new life.
Porcupine overhead Goose with attitude under the rancho Sticky the stick insect!!!
In between trying to keep cool, calm & collected we've been on a couple of outings exploring the locality and enjoying some excellent food.....
One of a number of restaurants hidden in the jungle creeks - BBQ night special..............
Any activities or events on offer for cruisers are advertised on the morning radio net or on the local web site. A recently refurbished marina, part of the Amatique Resort in (yep) Amatique Bay outside of the Rio Dulce, advertised an opening party with everything free for cruisers for the day. A marketing ploy to attract those coming & going from the Rio to visit for a while. They even offered free moorings for those that could extract themselves from their summer docks and a free launcha for those who couldn't, wouldn't or had forgotten how. Cruisers favourite word again -FREE!
Through El Golfete lake through the gorge and out to the open ocean
So early one morning the launchas called at Monkey Bay & picked us up for a very speedy ride to the Caribbean! It only took one & a half hours to get there, it would have taken Ajaya at least 7 hours under engine! After welcome speeches & a welcome drink we were given a tour of the 'facilities' in the marina.......... err, not quite finished yet............
There will be wood on the concrete docks.....Alamo style shower block will have showers..........there will be power on the docks & maybe mooring balls!
A short bus tour of the gated resort took us round the villas (for sale or rent), the plots (not many sold), the hotel & apartment complex (said to be full but they must have been out) & on to the restaurant, pool & beach area where we were to spend the rest of the day. After more speeches from local dignitaries, a blessing & ribbon cutting we were served a super barbeque washed down with copious beverages. A clown entertained & beauty queens paraded (not sure why) before we hit the pool.........................................and the slides....................
The pool featuring.............. a leaking galleon........................................................and the restaurant..............
Clown & clowning..............
A great time was had by all - we were bussed back to Rio Dulce via Puerto Barrios which gave another view of the area. The Resort did an excellent job & we are sure many cruisers will call in there on their way up or down the Rio. The marina only reopened after dredging had restored decent depths in the entrance but they still have a long way to go & we wish them well.
On another sweltering day we took the dinghies 5 miles up the Cienaga River, a feeder river for the Rio Dulce. Starting out at full tilt along a clear deep section all went well until we hit a dead head or underwater obstruction at which point we were thrown forward in our dinghy with the stop cord duly killing the engine in the process which probably prevented prop damage. Ooops. Set off again at a slower pace! This river runs for 30 miles towards Belize and we expected to see all manner of creatures along the river bank. WRONG! All we saw were cows!!! hundreds of the things staring at us whilst enjoying their lush grass.
We enjoyed a little picnic along the way, tied to a large overhanging tree (checking for the slithery things of course) then chomping on some cheese and biscuits all washed down with a cool beer. God! life's so hard sometimes! Having put the world to rights in such a tranquil setting we set off up river again but it became shallow so we all called it a day and motored back to Monkey Bay.
"Up the lazy river in the noon day sun ...... Linger in the shade of an old oak tree" (probably wasn't oak actually) Yes the hat looks awful!