We couldn’t have
asked for better conditions (ok maybe SOME wind would have been nice) for our
sail down to Guatemala.
The sea was flat
calm, there was not a breath of wind and the sun was
We motored all the
way (couldn’t even motor sail), but made such good time we were able to cruise
along at 1400 revs.
I have to say that it
was what most people imagine cruising to be like, you know lazing on the deck
sunbathing, beautiful weather and gorgeous blue seas.
We have anchored in a
lovely little bay at Cabo Tres Puntes (Cape of three points) for the night
before going into the Rio Dulce river tomorrow morning. No sooner had we
anchored than we were approached by a snorkeler who swam straight up to our
anchor to check it and then back to the cockpit to introduce himself. It was
Richard from the Hula which was anchored next to us. I have to say it was a
unique way to meet someone, they usually dinghy over. We were also anchored
close to another boat, Linus. Little did we know who we were about to meet.
When we were back in
Jacksonville in November last year, talking to Joe & Lynne from Windspirit,
they gave us contact details for their Swiss friends who kept their boat in
Guatemala and would be happy to help us out and advise us of safe marinas to
leave Beaujolais. Yes, you guessed it, Laurent & Eliann from Linus were the
And it didn’t stop
there, it transpired that Richard comes from Cottingham and went to the same
school as I did….how amazing is that?
It is with mixed
emotions that we are going to the Rio Dulce (Translated means Sweet River). We have heard so many people say
how beautiful it is with its high cliffs and jungle on both sides. It also has
lots of wild life, especially Howler Monkey, reputedly the loudest creatures on
the planet. It also has waterfalls and hot springs and much, much more. It is a very
different destination to what we have experienced so far, no reefs to dive or
bays to snorkel. So we are really looking forward to it. But at the same time we
are, well I am at least, nervous about it. Why? Because we have to cross the bar
at the entrance to the river. This is a shifting bar and at the top of the tide
(there are only a few times in the year that they have the really high tides in
daylight hours and this is one of them) the depth is probably only going to be
6’6” max (as they shift, you can’t be sure) and we draw at least 6’8” (sometimes
7’ depending on how much fuel, water and provisions we have on board at the
time). So you see the challenge. How to get over being 6” too shallow????
Well there are a
couple of solutions, one is to hope that the bottom is soft and you can power
through, ploughing your own furrow – but then you might get really stuck. The
other is to enlist the help of a local fisherman, who for US$65, will take a
halyard (a rope) from the top of the mast and haul the boat over, thus tilting
the keel the more we heel over!!!!!! A bit scary either way if you ask
Well the plan is to
go over tomorrow morning, high tide is at 09.15, so we will set sail about 07.00
(pop!!!! Have I burst your bubble about cruising being luxurious and
glamorous??) and go and have a look see, give it a try and bail out if
necessary! If we can’t get in we will head straight to Honduras and have to miss
out on the Rio Dulce. So if you are reading this blog entry in the
2nd week of April, it means we made it!!!!