11/15/2015, Placencia, Belize
Leaving Guatemala we had mixed feelings. We were truly ready to leave, but at the same time we came to love the beautiful people we met and their stunning country. The whole time we felt safe, cared for, and welcome. We saw a lot of poverty, but everyone appeared incrediably happy. We enjoyed much laughter and banter, friendship and help, from these mainly shy people. Another thing I noticed was that I was not short, in fact most people, even men, were around my height. As my mum always told me, some of the best things come in small packages and for the Guatemalans that seemed to be the case.
We were not expecting the weather to be great, but it was probably one of the most uncomfortable places we have been to. Apparently last year it rained for the two months of September and October, so I suppose we should have been grateful as that would have seriously delayed work. However it was very difficult to get much work done, it was exhausting, even though we perservered. Once we were in NanaJuana we often found ourselves in the pool, even though the water was .... very warm. Sadly the water now in the Rio is very contaminated and dead fish are a common site. People however still swim in the water.
We had to take Ta-b out of the water (called going onto the hard) to have our engine seals redone. As Russ said .... "A quick job". Once out of the water we have to sand down our coppercoat to reactivate it. Well that started up a hornet's nest. Bubbles were found all down the middle of the port hull - yikes, need to recopper coat area, but .... It has to be dry. Guess what, yup it decided to start raining. Not only that, but the sanding had ruined our beautiful polish/wax job.
To make it short we ended up being on the hard for two weeks. I hate being out of the water. Not much fun if one wants to go pee in the middle of the night and the facilities are a dark walk away, just one of the challenges. We did however manage to take a couple of days off. Would have liked to have taken off longer, but at least we got to Tikal which was MAGIC. Tikal is in the heart of the Mayan world, located in Northern Guatemala in the middle of the jungle. It is a huge being 576 sq km with temples, pyramids and palaces and was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1979. The archaeological area covers 26 sq km where more than 3,000 structures have been mapped . There is a ton of wildlife there too. We hired a driver and guide for the day and were lucky to have the place more or less to ourselves ..... and it did not rain. We felt blessed. Our photos tell it all, words do not do it justice.
We were lucky to have a fantastic group of cruisers at NanaJuana. During the world rugby games the banter between the Ozzies and Kiwis during the matches made for great entertainment. The final match between the "brothers" was a ripper - I was on the edge of my seat and certainly proud to be a token Kiwi when we won. Celebrations went on all day and into the evening as it was Halloween and we had also been put into the water before the match. One of the cruisers put on an incrediable party for us, including a gravesite that we were lead through - very scary and a great laugh. Always fun to dress up and party.
In fact we partied (or should we say socialised) every night for the last ten days we were at NanaJuana. We felt we had become locals and had our favourite bars/restaurants, there were movie nights, jam nights, bbq nights and just .... Happy hour nights. We made some great friends and as always it was hard to say goodbye to those we know we will probably never see again. The cruising community is very special.
We at last left dock ten days later than planned and are now in Placencia, Belize. It was a bumpy old ride up and we were glad to be on Ta-b and not suffer from mal de mar. The weather has changed dramatically. 27 degrees and 79% humidity feels .... Cool; especially as it has been windy and wet. Another adventure checking in. Got grabbed as soon as we hit land and visited ... four departments, total cost $295 Belize for two weeks. Took water taxis and taxis, but had an interesting (wet) day. Then 35 knot winds that night with crazy rain, gotta love the sailing life.
Our thoughts are to move on to Cuba at the end of the month. The hurricane season does not officially end until the 30 November. We have been told that getting money is very difficult in Cuba and to arrive with cash. No problem, we will just get some US$ here before we go. Not so easy we find out today, we are allowed only $250 each, per year in cash, in Belize. Anyone want to come and visit with $$$s?
Keep happy and healthy, thanks for all your emails, so lovely to hear when we are so far away. Hugs
10/25/2015, Rio Dulce
Guatemala is a country of incredible natural beauty. After leaving Vancouver our first stop was Atitlan Lake, supposed to be the most beautiful lake in the world and with its three volcanoes it was a marvel to admire. We stayed at Atitlan Villas, accessed only by boat. For most of the week we had the hotel to ourselves, some of the caretaker's family of ... fifteen worked at the hotel, no TV makes for large families ☺ It was a wonderful place to relax and we were thoroughly pampered.
We visited numerous lakeside villages enjoying the customs and traditions of the Mayan culture; especially the simplicity and friendliness of the local residents. The most basic luxuries by western standards are beyond the reach of almost everyone. Water from the lake is carried to one room houses, where there is a fireplace outside for cooking, and a family of ten all sleep on a large matress on the floor. It is difficult to understand why the world has turned out this way with such an enormous gap between the rich and the poor, a gap that seems sadly to be growing. Only the adventurous tourist travels this area, the environment is chaotic, animals roam freely, food is basic, no english is spoken, etc.. However, it is stunning, as are the people, and it was difficult not to buy everything offered; especially the hand embroidered clothing and table wear.
Each Mayan village has its own local clothing. For the ladies this consists of a long woven skirt, a sash and then a blouse with intricate stitching. They also wear emboidered material around their heads; which helps balance the huge baskets they carry. The men; especially on Sundays, wear long stripped pants with elaborately embroidered bottoms, fancy shirts, with cowboy boots and hats. They do not seem to feel the heat in all the heavy clothing. Everyone, even little kids wore the local clothing, it was gorgeous. It was difficult to get photos, as the people are very shy and I felt most of the time it was not appropriate.
Our next stop was Antigua. A very different place, with a lot of charm. We had a fun week touring the local villages, farms, museums and art galleries. Whilst trying to learn a little more Spanish. We ate well too, our favourite spot was called "Porquoi No" where for $10 we ate fabulous prawns and steak mignon accompanied by fantastic music. It was a very small restaurant with a lot of character. You had to use a rope to get up the stairs to the five tables, the whole area decorated with all sorts of musical instruments with writing covering the walls and ceiling. The waitress was probably the best we have ever had she was great value, and with her husband the chef, we were always welcomed as family (and felt like we were too).
Then back to Rio Dulce to Ta-b. We hired a minibus as the elections were going on and public transport was having problems. Instead of taking us all day, it only took us 4.5 hours. At a cost of $150 we would highly recommend doing; especially if there is a group of people.
Ta-b was in excellent shape on our return. The marina staff at Tortugal had done a fantastic job of looking after her. Moorage was $350 a month, which included checking everything out on a regular basis, plus cleaning the inside and outside each week and opening all the hatches on sunny days. The marina/hotel is delightful and we enjoyed a month living in the jungle, where the boys helped us polish and fix gelcoat areas amongst other numerous jobs.
However, the location we were in, although perfect when we were off the boat, was not perfect for living on board. We got no breeze at all and by about mid morning we were having serious trouble doing anything. 35 degrees and 91% humidity was tough, although as I write this it is a cool 28 degrees and only 85% humidity. Rio Dulce means "Sweet River" but is nicknamed by locals as "Sweat River" it certainly has been a place to detox and loose all the land weight we put on..
We had made quite a few friends in another marina called NanaJuana; which has a fabulous pool, quite the community with yoga and water aerobics, amongst other social events. So we decided to move. It is a great place to spend our last month in the Rio Dulce whilst finishing boat jobs. The World Rugby is on at the moment; which has pleasently slowed down work as we watch the games. We will not leave Guatemala until after the final game on the 31st October ... it's Halloween too, so should be an excellent last day ☺ in the marina. We have been adding to the economy, giving away jobs we would normally do, getting a mani/pedicure (girl was definitely an artist, see picture) have yet to have a massage by a professional at only $15 for an hour (100 quetzales local money), life is certainly cheap here.
Recently we have been getting May Moths(?) they live for 18 minutes and then die. They come out at dusk and can be a pain for about 1.5 hours, swarming any lights, we have a few on our dock, before dying in huge numbers all over the boat. No hatches are open that is for sure, however hot it is. At dawn (early here) we hear the birds going crazy feeding and cleaning up our decks, only thing is they then leave their deposits. So after yoga at 7am, if not before, my first job of the day is to wash down Ta-b ☺
Sadly we have had some health challenges. Russell has been sick three times. First with a very heavy cold/cough that lasted at least a couple of weeks, then a stomach bug that put him down for three days and just recently another flu bug that put him in bed for a couple of days. I have been okay apart from the odd doggie stomach; which is very common here. Think the heat does not help and lots of people have been down with something or the other. Fingers crossed our immune system is now all set up for the western caribbean.
To be honest we are ready to move on. The local town Fronteras is not a place to spend any time, very dirty, smelly and chaos on Saturday, market day. The food is cheap, but pretty basic although I did find some snow peas yesterday ☺ One has to be very imaginative cooking. My freezer is ....... still not working, new this, new that .... I find it very hard to live without it, but have been promised it will be working before we leave. I do have a new dingy cover though, first quote was $450 second was $250, yes I went for the second and it is fantastic.
Our plan is to go to Tikal and Semuc Champrey (two of the top sites in Guatemala) before we leave, so we are looking forward to four nights away hopefully next week. At present we are on the hard (on land) getting our engines sorted and bottom smoothed, slight problems as always and weather (has now started to rain during the day) is not helping. Gotta look on the bright side ... ohhh I feel a song coming on .... of life.
On that note (like the pun?) I will sign off. Next Blog will probably be from Belize. If any of you are around that way next month, please let us know as it would be great to see you. Enjoy the photos in the gallery. Hugs
What a summer we have had. Leaving Ta-b safe in the Rio Dulce whilst we travelled has proved to be an excellent decision. She is being so well looked after in Tortugal Marina and at a third of the price we would normally pay. We recommend the marina to all our cruising friends.
We started our trip in Vancouver celebrating Amy's graduation from UBC, a very special day. Her flatmate Ali was in Toronto for a couple of months so we became Amy's "roomies" subletting Ali's room. It was a treat to spend so much time together and with Edwin just a couple of blocks away it was a perfect place to stay. Russell's sister Jillie also spent a couple of days with us on her way back to NZ from Croatia, a memorable family time.
Within a few weeks Russell flew to New Zealand to see his family and I flew in the opposite direction to England to see mine. In a short space of time we both managed to see a few friends whilst spending as much time as possible with our respective Mothers. Russell's mum Gypsy is 92 and still living on her own (with help) and walks up to the village every day for her daily capaccino. She is still very with it and I look forward to seeing her when we arrive in NZ with Ta-b in November 2016. My mum sadly is in the last stages of alzheimers. It is terribly hard watching someone you love so much go through such a cruel disease, I only hope that they find a cure in the near future.
Back in Vancouver we spent our time around appointments, kids, friends and enjoying all that the summer months have to offer. It was our first summer in Vancouver for eight years and we certainly lucked out with the weather, I think we could count the overcast and/or rainy days on one hand. We even managed some time on the water, sailing with a friend one day and going up towards Deep Cove on a friend's Grand Banks on another.
We took a trip into the interior to visit the Okanagan Lake area and then on up to Sun Peaks to visit friends Ken and Cathy. We love Sun Peaks, however it was our first summer visit and we loved our mountain hiking, lake canoeing, golf and even go carting. It was a busy and fun filled few days.
Another trip was to Sechelt to see friends who we have not seen for a long time, one of them being Amy's godmother. It was soon after the forest fires, when Vancouver suffered quite a few days of smoke filled skies, and you could see the devestation that the fires had caused. Certainly a few days of rain would have been welcome, everyone was praying for them, but while we were around they did not come. It has been the same in Guatemala, the rainy season which normally starts in May has not arrived.
Another trip to the islands was also planned. First we went to Salt Spring Island. Getting off the ferry felt like coming home, as in the past we have spent a lot of time at Scott Point, one of our yacht club outstations. We stayed with Rich and Kim who have just built a house and met their realtor our second night there. Well one thing led to another and the following day we went to look at a house on Old Scott Road. It was love at first sight and although not planned we are now, just over three weeks later, proud owners of a very special waterfront home. Now we are able to look forward to returning to land in a few years time.
After Salt Spring we continued over to Vancouver Island where we spent time in Nanoose Bay, Victoria, Cumberland and Fanny Bay. It was great to catch up with many of our friends who live there, and to know that they will soon be our neighbours.
Our last few days in Vancouver were spent going to Bard on the Beach, A Comedy of Errors an excellent production. Having a party for Amy and Edwin's friends and also another for ours. Lunches here, dinners there and the last appointments to make sure we are in top form for our next adventure. Both our laneway house and condo rentals were excellent and we would recommend airbnb to everyone. If you do think of using airbnb please let us know as we get credit for an introduction ☺
We are currently staying at Atitlan Lake in Guatemala, apparently one of the most beautiful lakes in the world to visit. It certainly is spectacular. We are spending a few weeks traveling before returning to Ta-b. Our upcoming plans are to work on the boat for a couple of months before setting of to Belize in November, weather permitting. We hope to be in Cuba for December and will head down to the San Blas islands via Jamacia/Cayman Islands (always depends on winds) in January.
Then the Panama and South Pacific are on the agenda for next year so that we can arrive in New Zealand before the Cyclone Season in November 2016. We have various friends who may join us, sadly we are never able to say when AND where we will be because of the wind (the weather controls our lives when we are sailing) so it is either where OR when, never both. However, if you are in the area do let us know, as we may be close and it is always fun having friends on board for a week or so.
On that note I will sign off. Please see the gallery for all of our pictures, they often tell so much more than words and I do add captions for more information. Stay safe, happy and healthy. Hugs J&R
06/28/2015, Rio Dulce
Our trip from Honduras to Rio Dulce in Guatemala was uneventful - thankfully. The area is known to have pirates so we travelled overnight with two other boats for safety. We had a great sail and checked in at Livingstone with friendly officials coming and seeing us on board. Some boats have a problem getting over the bar at the entrance of the Rio Dulce (sweet river), even at the highest tide some have to be tipped sideways with help, as it is not very deep. Ta-b has a very shallow draft and so luckily we had no problem.
We motored up the winding river through the tropical rainforest rimmed with mountains in the afternoon and got to Texan Bay by happy hour. What an amazing experience. The first part of the river is quite narrow, the steep sides rise up to 300 feet and there is lots of vegetation; then it opens up and becomes a surreal piece of water. There were lots of Mayan Indians fishing in their dug out canoes, thatched homes along the shore and a fabulous amount of wildlife. The water was flat calm and so tranquil we immediately fell in love with the area. This second part of the river, until just before Fronteras is a reserve, I have added a picture from google in the photo gallery.
Texan Bay is one of the first inlets where you can anchor after Livingstone. It is delightful with two marinas, is very peaceful with lilly pads and has lots of mangroves to explore. We were seriously thinking of leaving Ta-b there after meeting Chris, who has the smaller marina, and could fit us in. He specializes in refridgeration, perfect for us with our broken freezer, and is also great at electrics. So far he has been fantastic in helping us look after Ta-b. However, once we got to Fronteras and were able to get a berth at Tortugal Marina (one of 13 marinas in the area as it is such a perfect hurricane hole), at a price we could not refuse; we decided it was easier to stay closer to town, enjoy the marina ambience and spend more time with our friends on s/v Emerald Seas.
After a morning of exploring the mangroves around the bay we set off for Fronteras, the main town of the Rio Dulce 20 miles up the river, where we anchored off San Felipe fort just south of the bridge in Lago de Izabel. We had the place to ourselves and are looking forward to exploring the huge lake more when we get back, I have put a map of the area in our gallery. It is such a incredible place and we enjoyed wizzing around on our tender getting to know the neighbourhood.
Within a few days we were at dock prepping Ta-b for the hurricane season. We are mega careful, pulling everything down, cleaning, checking for damage, etc.. and storing. It sounds like a quick job, but we take our time; especially in the heat, and have found it can take up to a week. This time we got a day behind as when we moved from one berth to another we encountered a swarm of wasps at the top of the mast. This caused great hilarity amongst the marina staff, especially when one by one they went up the mast to try and get rid of them. These guys earn an average of $15 a day and were open to putting on wet weather gear, leather gloves, sailing boots, helmet and netting (which they fried in) as part of their "job" to look after the boats at the marina. It took all day and a few bites (I got three) before we got rid of them.
Fronteras is a real outback town with a lot of character. One of the main roads in Guatemala goes from south to north over one of the biggest bridges in Central America. Mega trucks with cows (apparently you have to be careful as the sides are open and cows go when they want to; which is probably why all the shops have awnings) ramble through the town and when they go over the bridge you can hear them a long way off.
The people of Guatemala are such happy people, always smiling and laughing, even when they do not understand what we are saying as we do not speak Spanish - yet. Because no one earns much money, everything (apart from boat parts) is cheap. We had two meals at the marina before we left, with sundowners, wine, etc.. and the cost ..... $44 for the two. The entire region is not only beautiful, but rich in history and culture, so we are looking forward to spending more time getting to know the place. There is even a hot water waterfall, a must on our bucket list.
The Rio Dulce is a long way from Guatemala city where the airport is. However the bus service (6 hours) is excellent and the roads much better than Columbia. We stayed a night in the city before flying to Vancouver and spent a bit of time looking around, I think the area we were in was very upmarket as it was very different to Fronteras and Livingstone.
Our plan is to go back to Guatemala on the 20th August and we have booked a week in Antigua city and another at Atilan Lake before returning to Ta-b. We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends this summer, the first we have had off the boat in eight years. Carpe Diem
We spent a wonderful time exploring the Bay Islands of Honduras. Unlike the mainland they are safe, with a easy laid back energy. We arrived in Guanaja, the most easterly of the three main islands, after a wonderful sail. Checking in was a breeze and for once free. We immediately celebrated with a cold beer at the local hang out where we met Anne and Jim, who had just arrived to spend a month at their waterfront pad on the north part of the island. They quickly became great friends and introduced us to all the local expates who have homes on the island. What fun we had.
Guanaja is only 11 miles long and three miles wide with one road; which used to be the airport runway (they now have a new one). It is stunning. Everyone gets about by boat which is wild, boats .... everywhere - a little like Venice. The main town Bonacca is based on a wee island just off the south coast, it has lots of character with thatched homes on stilts, perched on reefs and it was decorated for Easter with palms all over the place. Guanaja (we nicknamed it Ganga) suffered horrendously from Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It was the worst hit of the islands with two days of maximum sustained winds of 180 mph; which destroyed nearly all of the plants and trees on the island, uprooting or knocking down almost the entire mangrove forest and most homes. It is estimated that the hurricane produced waves of 44 ft in height and the rains caused further damage and loss of life. Our new friends had many stories to share.
We stayed in Sandy Bay opposite the Manati Bar and Restaurant where most cruisers anchor, although we were one of only four boats. The Manati is a locals hangout, Saturday being a lunchtime ritual where we made more friends including George and Ginger who own the Clearwater Paradise Resort. George invited us to join him and about 20 other locals for a day out on his diving/fishing boat. He took us around the island and we stopped at some of the best places to snorkel. It was a terrific day where we ended up at Anne and Jim's for a lobster dinner and sleepover. We were also invited to Clark's Cay, one of the private reef islands off the coast, for lunch. What a gorgeous home with six guest cabins and a main living area to die for, all rebuilt after Mitch.
We took the tender to Graham's Cay one of the reef islands off the south coast and saw the turtles, quite the resort, and very quickly got to the stage where we did not want to leave. We wanted to spend time at the other islands, so we had to move on, but we know that we will be back to spend more time with Jim and Anne one day.
Our next stop was Roatan the biggest island in the Bay Islands. We started off in French Harbour before moving around to West Bay which was much more sheltered from the high Easterly winds that were coming through. French Harbour is gorgeous and the snorkeling on the marine reef beside the boat was wild. There is a Barracuda called Fred who is huge and way too friendly, plus dozens and dozens of large lobsters fighting over fish carcases that are feed to them. Quite the sight.
We then popped around the corner to West Bay which was a perfect place to chill and we hardly felt the wind. We met lots of other cruisers and I was fortunate to link in and dive a lot with friends from s/v Expectations and s/v Emerald Sea as Russell at that time was having problems with his back. The diving in the islands is comparable to Bonaire with the reef system reported to be the second largest in the world. It certainly was beautiful and I was really upset when my underwater camera broke, so there are not many "fishie" photos on our blog.
We would have liked to have sailed around Roatan and explored it more by water, but we were stuck (again) and so jumped buses and hired cars to look around. We were able to enjoy the annual Garifuna festival; which celebrates the arrival of the first Grifuna people who founded the oldest permanent settlement, Punta Gorda on Roatan in 1797, after escaping slavery from St. Vincent. It was arge and lively with street parades, music, dancing and lots of eating. Yum.
Next stop was Utilia. Probably the smallest island and delightful, we can understand why it is so loved; especially by the younger crowd. Imagine our first night going ashore to the "Rehab" bar with loungers, swinging seats and great happy hour prices. We met three "kids" one from Oz, one from NZ and one from ... Vancouver and soon became friends whilst learning about their different travels.
Everyone who spends time in Utilia dives and for $200 you can get your PADI certification over a week with accommodation included. Can't beat it. We met some fascinating locals, two who were wonderful to us although I forget their names, dash I must write these things down, but even if I did they would be on the boat. Anyways, one guy who calls himself a nerd because he used to work with Steve Jobs, but has lived on the island for over 11 years, tried to help me fix my laptop over three days. He would take no cash, the books I donated to the library he has set up was enough. When he isn't diving, teaching and enjoying the feedback from the younger crowd he takes apart dead computers to make new ones for the locals. Part of his buzz is helping the islanders and on top of the computer services he offers he has set up a library (including kids toys, videos, etc..) a small bar/restaurant and cinema on his property.
Then there was a lovely single mum who used to work for Tony and Guy hairdressers in England who works from her apartment. She also manages one of the small boutique type hotels, the only type to be found on the island. She advertises by word of mouth and a sign that says she can help you if you are having a bad hair day. Well I certainly was and I spent a wonderful morning with her and her son. For less then a third of what I would pay in Vancouver I had a new hairdo that I am thrilled with. The average pay in Honduras is $15 a day, but she was worth a lot more than that so a bit tip was called for.
The tough thing about living onboard is sometimes having to move on, but we had an agenda and needed to get to Guatemala. The weather and moon were perfect for us to leave with our friends from Vancouver Island on s/v Emerald Seas and having a buddy boat was a good idea in the waters off Honduras. We hope one day to return to the Bay Islands as it is a very special area, having no big cruise ships, hotels, etc.. with great hiking, snorkeling and terrific island life living.
Isla Providencia is an island where we immediately felt at home. Even though it is part of Colombia it is 475 nm from its mother country, being closer to Nicaragua only 125 nm away. However it is really is isolated being in the middle of nowhere, a place that cruisers stop for a break on their way north or south going along the western Caribbean. It is only 4.5 miles long by 2.25 miles wide, but has a wonderfully protected harbour formed by the big island and its little sister, Santa Catalina island; which is connected by a foot bridge. It is protected by an 18 mile long barrier reef, so fantastic for diving/snorkeling and the land has a rustic beauty with its mountains as a back drop.
There are 6,000 residents and most of them speak English as well as Spanish. There is a small airport flying mainly tourists from San Andres each day, a busier island 54 nm south. Luckily there are no cruise ships or international flights and there are only a few boutique hotels. With ten other sail boats it was our kind of place.
We rented scooters for a day at a cost of $20 and explored the island. The shop was not interested in a driver's license or credit card swipe, just wanted to make sure we had a fun day. The people are all very friendly and helpful. There are very few cars on the island, but thousands of motor bikes; quite often with a whole family of four on board. Helmets? Did not see one. Lunch was at Artoro's in South West Bay where they race horses bareback on Saturdays. We had a massive mixed plate of lobster, prawns, conch and fish that we could not finish for $15. Yes, here we are millionionaires as you get about 40,000 pescos for $20. We were therefore surprised when our agent "Mr. Bush" charged us $100 when we checked out (he started off at $150) especially as we still had our cruising permit from Santa Marta (while we were in the San Blas we were only "in transit"). Apparently if you stop in Providencia you have to have a tourist permit which costs $30 per person, however long you stay, the rest was his fee - not cheap; which is why sadly a lot of boats do not stop.
We only stayed for three days as our weather window showed that the wind was due to disappear. The night before we left we had another excellent meal of prawns and lobster (have never eaten so much lobster before) with two other crusing boats from the US at a restaurant called Sea Storm on Santa Catalina - they specialise in corn ice cream, had to have and very tasty too. Our new friends were heading south, although one of the couples shared that they visit Providencia every year, for about 6 weeks each time, and they have many friends ashore. We can certainly understand why as everyone says "hello" and wants to have a chat with you as you wander through the town.
Our sail to Providencia was amazing. A total of 275 nm and we had to slow the old girl (Ta-b) down as otherwise we would have arrived during the night - this is certainly not an area to arrive in the dark with its many reefs off the coast. To be honest we always plan to arrive in the light, but sometimes the wind plays games with us ☺ Apparently six boats have sunk hitting the reefs in San Blas this year, most by entering at night . We have been using our radar much more than normal, not only does it show boats that may not have AIS, but it is also is great for ear marking reefs and the odd rain squal. A great friend to have on board.
We normally work on a 5-6 kn average, but have upped it to 6-7 kn especially as we have been getting up to half a knot of current with us. The wind to Hondurus was a perfect 15-20 knots with fairly kind seas, but yet again we went too fast and had to slow Ta-b down, sailing with two reefs and pulling some of the geni in to get the perfect speed. It was odd to be sailing a lot of the way in very shallow water off the coast of Nicaragua and then Hondurus. With another 330 nm under our belt in less than a week, we certainly have been chewing up the miles and are looking forward to a slower pace in Hondurus in April.
Happy Easter everyone and enjoy the pictures in the photo gallery. Make sure that you highlight the first to scroll through, so that you get the pictures information.