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Sound Effect does the big U
Fishing on the rio
sunny days rainy nites
02/22/2012, Marios marina

Last night we noticed insufficient water inflow in the head (toilet) We have had this before so out come the tools and we dis assemble the head pump handle. We have had debris before but today we had a decapitated fish as you can see by the pix. This will NOT become an appetizer for tonites dinner.
Ah the joys of boat ownership.
Yesterday we had a farewell lunch with the folks on Catalyst, a boat we met here in the Rio and exchanged ideas.
Today we will reprovision, tomorrow move down the river, and hopefully Saturday, over the bar and head north, weather permitting, to Mexico.
When we get to Mexico we have several potential stops, however they may get nixxed due to weather as many of the Mexican anchorages cant be entered in heavy weather.
We should have internet for two more days more later.

Spiders
Sunny no rain
02/20/2012, Marios Marina

Just a reminder that I have posted the Tikal pix and this is one of them
Juan grabbed a Tarantula out of the area just off the trail to show us.
For you star wars fans. Spielberg and Lucas came to Tikal to film one 5 second scene in I believe Empire Strikes back when the Millenium Falcon is landing on endor you see the tops of the Tikal temples through the jungle.

Flores
Sunny day cool evening
02/19/2012

Friday morning we got and checked out of Casa De Don David hotel and traveled to Flores. We used a collectivio (small 15 passenger van) to Santa Elena, bought our ticket back to Rio for Saturday and then a Tuk Tuk to Flores. First if you dont know about Tuk Tuk's This is a 3 wheel motorcycle or scooter with a driver and room for two passengers. We chose a hotel out of lonely planet guide book and minutes later we were checked in. No reservations necessary. The picture is from our second story balcony and on the left is our hotel restaurant, and across thes street in the restaurant we ate at for dinner.
Saturday we bussed back to Fronteras on the Rio Dulce about 3.5 hours and returned to our boat. It is good to be back home from our little vacation.

Tikal
Sunny
02/18/2012

We entered the park with our tour guide before sunrise on Thursday with a small group. We covered miles on root covered mud trails from temple to pyramid to temple. Tikal is the most famous of the ancient Mayan sites that are located in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. This one is located in the lowlands of Guatemala near the Mexican, and Belizean borders.
The mayans occupied the city from 900 BC to 900AD. and built something on the order of 10,000 structures. Many of the temples are temples built over temples built over temples. They used no metal, and had no beasts of burden, yet they built a city in a location with no running water. As they excavated for building they created resovoirs that they plastered over to create a source of water from rainfall alone. They prospered because they were at the crossroads of the Mayan civilization.
We were very fortuante to have a very passionate guide to tell the story of the Mayan people and answer our questions. As a young Guatemalan student in school he was taught no history prior to Christopher Columbus, but when he first visited Tikal as a young adult he was inspired and motivated by the anger he felt that his school system had failed him. He became self taught and was extremely knowledgeable. We climbed countless stairs and walked many miles but were very satisfied with the day.

Casa De Don David
Great
02/18/2012, Remate

Wednesday we got early and started out for Tikal. This involved first a water taxi ride to Fronteras, then tickets for a bus ride on the second class bus to Santa Elena. (four hours). Then a taxi ride to our hotel in Remate. The hotel is Casa Don David, on the shores of a beautiful Lake. The topiary in the picture is from our hotel room overlooking the gardens and lake near sunset.
The tree to left which is the centerpiece of the gardens is the Mayan sacred tree the Cieba, which holds up the heavens with its branches and the roots go to the underworld. We have visited some Mayan sites before but Tikal is the biggest and best and the one we had been looking forward to for some.
We got to bed early as we were to be picked up by our guide at 5:30AM

Castillo
Beautiful sunny day
02/14/2012, Rio Dulce Guatemala

Today we visited the Castillo de San Felipe built here on Lago Izabel in the 1600s, to protect against English pirates and collect customs taxes.
We toured with another couple off the catamaran Catalyst who are veterans of the Rio Dulce but had not yet found time to visit this castle.
It was a half hour dinghy ride up the river to the edge of Lake Izabel.
We had a wonderful guide who agreed to speak very slowly and try again when we didnt understand but in the end we completed the guided tour all in Spanish.
They have 19 original cannon still on display and allow you to go just about everywhere up and down tiny stairs and into the cells where they kept prisoners.
Afterwards we went to a local restaurant doing a Valentines Day special lunch. This is attractive because cruisers dont want to be out after dark on the river due to unmarked fishing nets that the locals run etc.
Hope everyone else has a happy heart day.

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Who: Jim & Connie Merritt
Port: Tacoma WA
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