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02/12/2012, Marios Rio Dulce
Utila was the last of the three bay islands of Honduras that we visited. This island is more laid back and a haven for backpackers who come over on the high speed ferry from the mainland of Honduras to spend a few nights and maybe do some scuba diving. We spent a week there and enjoyed the stay (once we got the anchor to hold) We met several boats we had been talking to or listening to daily on the SSB net so meeting them in person was a treat and felt like we were seeing old friends.
All the cruisers were invited aboard Domino a 66ft power cat anchored near by for a potluck fish fry. The boat is large and swallowed all 12 of us without being crowed at all. We had a wonderful fish fry and had a tour of their boat.
A french couple (he is a physician) who lived for many years in Southern California, they had the boat built in Paraguay and have cruised for 2 years.
Later that week we did the superbowl at a nearby dive hotel, and a presentation with pictures on the whale sharks that migrate through the area. It was a wonderful week to cap off almost 3 months in the Bay islands. We could come back for more since we havent seen everything the bay islands have to offer, maybe some day.
02/11/2012, Marios's Marina
This morning we arrived at Marios Marina in the Rio Dulce Guatemala! What an adventure since our last entry. Our internet stick ran out for Honduras and we have had no internet capability until we purchased a new stick in Guatemala. We also were unable to operate the SSB email connection due to propagation issues and problems with the Pactor modem. But all is well now.
After our last entry we spent some additional time in Utila and then checked out of the country (very easy and Honduras charges nothing! the first country to have that honor). We planned an overnight sail to a staging area for the entry over the bar into the Rio Dulce. However the wind did not cooperate and we motor sailed into the wind for 15 hours until the engine overheated forcing us to sail in 2-3 kts of wind. It picked up later the next morning and we tacked and tacked and tacked against wind on the nose and a 1 kt adverse current! Finally, late the second afternoon the wind died once again and I tried the engine once again. I should also point out that by then I had, reviewed the raw water sea strainer and topped off the engine coolant. I saved the raw water pump impeller for the next anchorage. Well we ran the engine at very low RPM for the next 4 hours and made the anchorage at sunset of the second day. We made SSB contact with the net reported that we were safe and sound and went to bed for 12 hours. Thursday we got up checked the impeller (it was fine) and then dove the sail drive lower leg in very poor visibility. I was able to remove some small shells from the raw water intake using a dental pick, and I also check the prop. Did I tell you that we repeatedly ran over sacks of plastic wrapped garabage that fouled the prop (and may have been a contributing reason for overheating) I knew there was garbage in the ocean but seeing it constantly is so sad and a reason to wish they had never invented plastic!
Friday morning we arose with the sun and prepared to motor the last 10 miles to arrive at high tide to cross the Rio Dulce bar. The bar is reported to be 5.5ft with a tide of 1.35ft we should be ok barely (we draw 5ft9inches officially but with overloading the boat is it 6ft even? We crossed one mile over the bar sometimes go to 5ft 8inches but we did ground much to our surprise (small calibration error or did we just burrow through the soft mud?) We got in anchored out with the Qflag flying and in about 30 minutes we had the port capitain (complete with pressed uniforma and shined shoes), a doctor complete with scubs, immigration official, and customs, along with an agent. We made pleasantries, they asked questions, and we completed the process onshore after I had retrieved money from the ATM. Fast, friendly, and convenient, no taxi rides, to distant locations, no offices that can't be found. simple and quick Got to love Guatemala.
Then we left motoring up river against the flow 1-2 kts and arrived at La Laguna formerly Texan Bay, where we anchored for the night. The trip up the river gorge was beautiful, and we both noted more wildlife since we left the pacific. Pelican, Cormorants, Frigates, and a little finch like bird that loves the boat, as well as Connies says a Manatee (not yet confirmed)
Saturday morning up early for a trip across a lake call El Golfete, to the "Rio" where there are numerous marinas. We were welcomed into Marios, and have met many cruisers in the first 30 minutes.
Sound Effect finished the SSB net Friday morning and pulled the hook for the first time in 2 months and left French Cay Harbor and traveled on to Utila the last of 3 of the Bay Islands of Honduras. We had a boisterous sail with very short steep waves but we were going down wind at hull speed under reeefed main alone. We arrived and anchored only to find out we were in the path of the fast ferry that comes several times per day. It was suggested over the VHF radio that we move to a better position which we did. We anchored in new spot and I dove the anchor finding it pretty well dug in but I was mistaken! An hour or two later and we had moved several hundred yards into very shallow water. So up came the anchor and we re set with 10 to 1 scope about twice our usual amount. It was quite a surprise since we have never dragged with the Rocna anchor before . It is eel grass over sand which is not ideal. We set a GPS anchor alarm to alert us when we are sleeping but it will be a tough night.
The wind has been blowing 20+ all day but is forecast to lessen overnight and into the weekend hope so.
Very sad to leave so many friends in Roatan but we are ready for new adventures so we are moving once again.
02/02/2012, French Cay harbor
Connie and I both are avid readers even before we came on this voyage but now we read even more. We bought a Kindle just before we left, but trading paperbacks for free is still the best. However we have ordered free books, and occasionaly a book in a series that we have wanted, and it is cool to be sitting on the boat wanting a book and a couple of key strokes later it arrives ready to be read.
Now comes the woe part. Connie has been playing a word came fairly regularly on the kindle that leaves a border in the same place for an hour or more per session and low and behold we have lines in the Kindle. This is a problem with reading a book unless you are willing to guess what the 3rd line down on each page is. I would probably try to send it back if I wasnt sitting in Honduras. This is the kind of problem we had in computers before screen savers (hence the name) so my advice dont play games (as I am writing this Connie is playing a game on Kindle so you see how well she takes advise).
We will probably leave in the am so we may have to go back to no picture remote blogging until we get into the Rio Dulce.
02/01/2012, French Cay Harbor
Boat projects this week, the life of a cruiser. I needed to grease two bearings on the dinghy outboard. The problem was I had the large tube of grease and the small grease gun. So here you see me trying spoon grease into the smaller gun from the larger tube. When you dont have the right tools you improvise.
Connie did a small sewing project to repair the under seat dinghy storage bag that had succumbed to the IV. Nothing lasts very long in this UV environment.
I also had my second crown fitted today so we will be leaving at the end of the week for the next island in the chain Utila. We plan to spend most of tomorrow saying good bye to all of our friends and getting the boat ready for see after two months at anchor.