19/04/2015/7:56 pm, boat in Rio Dulce, Guatemala/crew in Halifax, NS, Canada
We are safely back home in Halifax after a wonderful week at Tortugal Marina in Rio Dulce and a couple of fun and friend filled days in Antigua. Details coming soon!
09/04/2015/2:25 am, Tortugal Marina, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
We spent Sunday swimming and visiting while most of the neighbours went to the Round House to play pool volleyball. While we had a great time when we went last season, I felt a need to spend our last afternoon in quieter pursuits, and Jim being the agreeable sort of fellow he is, went along with it. So we had a lovely visit with Sarah - who was enjoying a quiet afternoon too - admiring the progress and the new additions to décor in the house she and Tim are building in the aldea. We managed to find Annie and Tom at home in Texan Bay and it was just wonderful to have a short quick visit with them while Annie is here for a visit. We blew kisses to Jennifer as she chatted with a boater on one of her moorings.
And then it was time to move on up the river. We would have been really morose about leaving our bit of paradise for the season if it weren't for the fine Gringo Bay Fry Up we enjoyed on Martin and Karen's porch Monday morning. Our plates were heaped with homemade sausage, badu, (a root vegetable we have discovered this year. Boil it, peel it, then slice it, fry it. mmmm) scrambled eggs with homegrown basil, fruit salad and scones with their own special marmalade. Oh such a feast.
We couldn't grumble and be sad as we waved goodbye and sailed around the corner. How lovely to be able to say, "See you next year" as they go off to Alaska and England, and we go back to Canada knowing that we'll meet up again here in the next winter. (This woman and her children paddled by as we left.)
Our docking at Tortugal Marina went smoothly. Jim called ahead to let them know we were coming, and Manuel, Byron and Dave (Ten Years After) were on the dock to help us in. Byron looped our long stern lines around the posts from his dinghy - so much easier than trying to throw them over as we pass by. And every time we do this, I am SO grateful that we bought heavy 60 and 75 foot lines back in Ontario. We used them in the locks of the St Lawrence seaway, on Nova Scotia docks where the tide dropped and lifted us, and in marinas like this where there is no side tie up and we need to be securely tied to posts behind us. We step very carefully over the bow pulpit onto a plank that sticks out from the dock to get ashore. (Remember that, Sue?) There are times when a swim platform on the stern would be oh so convenient. I like being bow in while we are here though - it means that as we sit in the cockpit, we face out to the river and not to the dock.
Many of the regulars are still out cruising, but there are lots of folks to share morning coffee and end of the day food and drink with. We met with Byron, the marina manager, for and hour and a half today while he went over their contract with us and took detailed notes about our boat and what we want him to take care of over the summer. We feel we are in good hands.
The sails are down now and stored in their bags; the sun cover goes on tomorrow; cleaning and sorting and packing continues. We nestle ourselves in between bags to stay and bags to go when we sit in the salon. The parts Jim ordered to repair the windlass arrived today so he will see if that will work. Fingers crossed that it is not a bigger problem. Three more days till we catch the bus out of town. And we are seeing pictures of snow at home. Oh dear. It's going to be hard to go from barefeet to boots!
04/04/2015/2:18 am, Buenavista Bay, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Martin said he would take us on an outing up the Rio Lampara and to the waterfalls. It sounded like fun and we enthusiastically said, "Yes!" not knowing quite the adventure it would be.
After the rain stopped on Saturday morning, Martin and Karen picked me up from Madcap, went over to Casey's to collect Jim who had just emerged from the casita after one of Becky's excellent massages, and continued on down the Rio Dulce to Hotelito Perdido where John and Angie (Angela G) had been enjoying lunch. With the lancha loaded, we turned into the Rio Lampara and zoomed carefully through the green waters with Martin offering commentary, "This is Foolish Bob's place. That is where Chiqui grew up" as well as the admonition, "The Canadians are responsible for spotting logs and rocks." That was no small responsibility because the rain lately has brought all manner of debris down from the riverbanks, but we were lucky - this stretch of river was mostly clear and we had no mishaps.
We went as far as we could along the river - about 5 miles - before clambering out on the right bank while a young boy took the lancha over to the left bank to tie it up. The path from there is always rough, rocky and winding up and down through the jungle, but on this day it was also treacherous with slippery mucky sections. We made our way along about a half-mile of it, turned left at the fork and descended to a beautiful swimming hole at the base of a small waterfall. The blissfully cool water felt just wonderful after our sweaty, mucky hike, and we splashed and played in this swimming hole surrounded by lush greenery.
Then Martin said to me, "There's a little hole behind the falls. I'll show you!" and that's when the experience turned from a lovely adventure to a new location into a "Woweee!!!" kind of a day for me. I followed him under the overhanging rock to the place where he said, "I'll go first. Then you follow and I'll grab you when you get there." I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and plunged into the splashing, plummeting water.
You have to understand that this is something I would never have done a few years ago. I was, for most of my life, timid about going into deep water, about going far from the edge - or the boat - or where I would have to hold my breath. But I did it!
It was only a few seconds and a few feet along before I felt a strong hand on my arm and I was pulled into the teensy alcove. I sucked in some air, found rocks under my feet and must have looked wildly excited because Martin, with a grin as big as mine said, "It's just like being eight years old, isn't it?" And yes it was. It was magnificent.
He swam out through the falling water while I stayed and laughed with the sheer joy of it all. A few minutes later I swam out too, emerging with enough endorphins in my system to last all day. I love how such a little event can be such a big experience. How perfectly wonderful it is that we can experience this childlike glee when we are grey haired and decades past childhood.
We scrubbed the mud out of our sandals, toweled ourselves off and headed back up the path. We all made it safely back with no tumbles or scrapes - just muddy feet again - and with me fairly dancing along and still exuberant about the reward at the end of that trail.