Cruising with Vida Dulce

18 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatamala
17 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
16 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
15 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
12 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
11 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
10 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
08 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
02 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
01 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
29 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
28 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
25 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
23 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
21 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
20 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
15 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
14 December 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
04 December 2017 | Guatemala City
04 December 2017

Anchored in Shell Bay

18 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatamala
Susan / a cold rainy day, 66 degrees F
Another cold front passed over last night bringing rain, winds from the north and a forecasted high of 66 degrees F. 66 degrees in Guatemala! Brrrr!! Jerry is in jeans and fleece. We wait until noon to lift the anchor hoping that the rain will ease; we're rewarded for our patience, at least to start. We're comfortably anchored here, it's not that. The issue is that there is no cell service in Cayo Quemado. No cell service, no internet.

While preparing to depart, a two woman paddled dugout arrives on our stern. A daily occurance, locals selling coffee, fish, crafts. We say “no thanks” if it’s not something we need, which it rarely is. Jerry says the usual but I ask him what they have. Tamales. What kind? Pollo (chicken). How much? Q.3 each. Yes! I grab money and say 6. She has 2 in her hand to pass over, looks at me with a strange look in her eye, then looks down at her basket. I can see it’s mostly empty. She probably has regular customers and needs what she has left for them. I change my order to 4. We both smile. Just as they’re paddling away, the older woman picks up something to show me, a dirty roundish thing. She says “yam” and smiles as if to sell it to me. I reply “yam?” She nods. I smile and shake my head “no”. I don’t need yams. For lunch I steam the tamales in their banana wrappers until hot, then unwrap them and sprinkle on some salsa verde. Delicious! I wish I’d insisted on 6! But they’re really not chicken unless you count the 1 or 2 small bones in them (like many Latin Americans they just chop up meat & bones so you have to chew carefully before swallowing), they’re yam tamales. Bright orange smooth filling. No matter, delicious homemade tamales for 42-cents each. Count me in!

It's a cold, sometimes wet 2-1/2 hour motor back to Bahia Nana Juana, known locally as Shell Bay perhaps because of the prominent Shell gas station there. By 2:30pm we're settled in for our second night "on the hook", this time with cell service / internet.

Cayo Quemado

17 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / overcast & cool, 73 degrees F
We anchor just inside the mouth of the Cayo Quemado entrance near Tom’s rigging & sail shop because his dock is full. That’s good with us. I didn’t relish having his dogs wandering about the boat like they did on s/v Island Sol when they were getting part of their new rig installed. Big dogs, muddy feet. Especially when Vida Dulce was just washed yesterday. Cayo Quemado can be a hot, sweaty, muggy, buggy place. This week’s cool temperatures and being near the entrance (which is usually fully occupied with anchored boats) should make our short stay more pleasant than previous ones. Plus it’s good to get back into the groove of anchoring.

Tom and an assistant arrive at 1:30pm. An hour and a half later, the work is done. As quoted and as promised. If we were going to be here next year, we’d definitely have Tom re-rig Vida Dulce. Going back to the shop with them are s/v Island Sol’s rigging cables that Charlie had left with us. No need for us to carry it around and down to Panama to meet up with them as Tom will be doing the work when Charlie & Saundra bring s/v Island Sol back to the RioD later this season, or perhaps next season.

Tomorrow morning we’ll head to (RioD) Bahia Nana Juana / Shell Bay to anchor while waiting for a weather window (and perhaps our bar fridge? Crossing fingers…)

Final Prep Work

16 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / cloudy & cool 74 degrees F
We work our way down our-leaving-the-marina checklist. The last of the shopping, cleaning, cooking, maintenance and repairs.

Speaking of repairs, yesterday I finally remembered to inspect the anchor bridle; I keep thinking about it and then forget to do the inspection before going on to other tasks or taking a shower or.... I'm glad I did. The bridle is half worn through on both sides where it connects to the anchor chain. I ask Jerry to take a look. We need to replace it. Today. Thankfully he locates the appropriate type and diameter of line at one of the chandleries this morning.

In the afternoon we disconnect shore water and power; clean & store the hoses and power cord. We reinstall all outdoor cushions. Vida Dulce looks good! I give Jerry a needed haircut in the marina palapa; he now looks good as well (LOL). We settle our marina account.

Tomorrow morning we'll leave the marina for Cayo Quemado for the rigging work, which shouldn't take too long. We're not sure whether we'll be at Tom's dock or anchored in the bay so keep all lines & fenders handy. Weather in the Bay of Honduras is ugly ugly right now so when that work is complete, we'll come back to the RioD and anchor in Shell Bay until we get a weather window we both like.

On the fridge front, Jerry confirmed with Giovanni that he can drive the fridge to the San Pedro Sula ferry for Q.2000 (US$ 278). Expensive, but an option if we take a wx window before it arrives here.

Prepping To Leave The Marina

15 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / cloudy & cool 73 degrees F
The latest cold front has passed, leaving us with cloudy, cool, breezy weather. Well…. I’m pretty sure I’m getting no sympathy from most at 73 degrees F. LOL Long-timers are complaining; they can’t remember it being this cool in a years. Good walking and working weather, I say!

Jerry’s last two packages arrive. Last, besides the bar fridge, that is. Rita is looking into possible ways to ship the fridge to San Pedro Sula (Honduras) as an alternative. Jerry is very pessimistic that we’ll hear good news on the 25th. I’m more optimistic and would like to wait here at anchor until then. It’s good to have a shakedown period, anyway. We had a couple of initial bites on the fridge (selling it) however neither of them have followed up with us.

Power is out here at Tortugal Marina (again!!) - power is out here frequently, even when Fronteras and the other marinas have power - so our scheduled Vida Dulce outside washdown is delayed to tomorrow morning. We’re still planning on getting out of the marina Wednesday morning to travel to Cayo Quemado for the rigging work. From there we’ll checkin with ChrisP on how the weather is shaping up in the Gulf of Honduras.

Upcoming Conundrum

12 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / fair skies, 86 degrees F
Five of Jerry’s 7 packages arrive today. As did our rigging materials. Jerry’s last two packages will be here early next week. And as expected, no news on the bar fridge although we have to ask anyway. Cayo Quemado Tom can do the work this coming week down there. Which presents us with a conundrum. What seems sure is that when we leave the marina for Cayo Quemado next week, we will not return to the marina. Whether we return to the RioD and anchor out until we hear about the bar fridge or just leave for Roatan (given a good wx window) is the question. If we can find a buyer for the fridge, the choice is clear. If we cannot find a buyer, do we really want to walk away from a nearly $1k equipment investment?

One alternative Jerry came up with is: when the fridge is delivered, rent a car in Roatan (Honduras) & take the ferry to La Ceiba (Honduras) and drive to Fronteras (Guatemala) to pick it up. One day there, one day back. But it appears that the Roatan-La Ceiba ferry is passenger only with limited cargo. Well, Jerry thought, he’ll rent the car in La Ceiba then. There’s the issue of the border crossing but he’ll have paperwork so presumably that wouldn’t be much of a problem. He mentions this plan to our dock neighbor, Luis, a longtime semi-permanent resident here who travels between Honduras and Guatemala regularly when Luis asks about our fridge status. Luis didn’t like the plan, for a number of reasons. So, scratch that.

I guess we’ll make the decision next week when the remaining packages have arrived and we know how the near to longer-term weather trend is looking from ChrisP.

Meanwhile we continue the getting-ready-to-depart process. Jerry did diesel maintenance yesterday; all 3 ready to go. He takes the outboard to the Yamaha dealer for it’s free break-in tune-up. He installs the new Harkin traveler end blocks. We schedule the final exterior cleaning of Vida Dulce with the marina guys for Monday. I draft a passage menu plan and start a final provisioning list. And so on.. It’ll be a busy weekend.

98 Days & Counting….

11 January 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / sunny, 84 degrees F
Jerry calls the Transcargo contact directly this morning; we can’t get much information from Rita (here in the RioD) lately. Of course the topic is what’s happening with the items held hostage by Customs. He’s told that she will not know anything until the 25th. The person handling it is on vacation until the 22nd. Holy Smoolley…. that’s 2 weeks from today before something is known! 98 days and counting….

We start actively looking at local options. As a part of our walk for exercise, Jerry looks at local fridges and takes the measurement of a possibility. It isn’t a DC capable fridge but Jerry could make a 120 V only one work. The fridge sitting in the Guate City warehouse is an US $800+ Isotherm marine AC / DC unit, the ones available here are household types, around US $200. He also calls Chris, the local refrigeration expert to find out if he knows of anyone needing a marine fridge that will be in the RioD for several more weeks or months. One option is to sell the one we’re waiting for to someone who’ll be here to pick it up, and buy something else locally or have one shipped to Roatan. Today’s possibility turns out to be a no-go; the measurement is fine width and depth but it’s a few inches too tall. It sits in a locker under the outside sink so too tall or wide or deep is a no-go.
Vessel Name: Vida Dulce
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Jerry and Susan Barber
About: Jerry and Susan moved aboard Vida Dulce in late October of 2010. We are currently in the Caribbean.
Vida Dulce's Photos - 2017 Rio Dulce
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