Cruising with Vida Dulce

25 May 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
24 May 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
23 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
17 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
16 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
11 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
08 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
03 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
01 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
26 April 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
25 April 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
23 April 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
16 April 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
12 April 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
11 April 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina Roatan, Honduras
10 April 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina Roatan, Honduras
09 April 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina Roatan, Honduras
05 April 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina Roatan, Honduras
30 March 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina Roatan, Honduras

Cleaning & Prep Day

25 May 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / bright sunny day, evening thunderstorms, 94 degrees F
Today is cleaning & start putting Vida Dulce "to bed" day. If it were cooler it would be perfect. Light breeze in the morning, bright sun, relatively low humidity making it the perfect day to take down the outside white shades get them cleaned up and sun-bleached. But it is super hot, 94 degrees F, real feel 112 degrees F. The good part is things dry fast. The bad part is both Jerry & I verge on sunstroke while doing our outside tasks. We're needing to do more than planned today when I discover the next several days will be thunderstormy and that's not going to help things get clean & dry to store in the cabin. Today is an all-out cleaning & outside tasks day.

First up for me, clean the guest suite so that items from the garage (Jerry needs to pickle the watermaker) and outside can be stored there. Sun shades, bimini, all outdoor cushions are washed, sun-dried and stored. To save water and time on the washer/dryer, towels and sheets go to the laundry here at the marina. Jerry secures the mainsail. We take down the genoa, also stored in the guest cabin. Jerry does several other tasks including calling Garmin AGAIN on the autopilot; they're going to send more new / refurbished parts to our Seattle address for us to transport down for next cruising year. By happy hour we're overheated and exhausted. After cool showers, even cooler drinks are enjoyed in an air-conditioned cabin. We will sleep well tonight.

Livingston / Rio Dulce, Guatemala Arrival

24 May 2017 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / hot, hazy & humid, 98 degrees F
We arrive in Livingston, Guatemala to check-in at 7am after a 20 hour passage from West End Roatan, Honduras. We took a different route this time due to recent piracy activity. Just a few weeks ago a sailing vessel was chased down & boarded by 4 armed men who took everything of value. There were two other such attacks in the Dec / Jan timeframe in the same area, off Puerto Cortez on the rhumb line between Tres Punta & Utila or Roatan. This is a well traveled cruising route which makes me wonder if the perps are being led or informed by a former cruiser needing funds. Same with the piracy attacks that have been occurring this season off Punta Gorda, Nicaragua going the other direction on the "Panama-bound route". To stay well clear of trouble going to Livingston / Rio Dulce many cruisers are choosing to travel West into Belize and go in behind the reef before turning South towards Tres Puntas / Livingston. We considered two such routes however last night was sooo dark - new moon, filtered stars, no ambient light from anything - that we didn't feel comfortable taking either route under those conditions in the event there were boats anchored along our planned route. Both of us would have to be on watch, one with a flashlight @ the bow and the other at the helm, meaning no sleep for either of us. Instead just a few miles out from the Ranguana Cay arrival waypoint, we turn South, keeping the reefs several miles off our starboard. Seas a little rough at times, however we had a 2 kt favorable current nearly all of the way which helped time-wise.

We'd emailed Raul (agent) and faxed him all documents including our zarpe on Saturday to expatiate the check-in process. He scheduled all officials to visit Vida Dulce at 9am; it was more like half-past but all five were super efficient with their paperwork and questions. We go to Raul's office an hour or so later, wait while one boat ahead of us finishes their process; we're in country legally by 11am. Cost for the check-in / 3mo permit plus 9mo extension (all in) is Q3,400 / US $485, same Q as hast year however with the change in exchange rate more than the US $454 of last year. A quick stop at the bank for Q's and we're on our way up river to the marina.

At the marina, our slip is waiting as are the guys to help secure our lines. By 4pm we're enjoying AC - it's a hot sticky humid 98 degrees F here! - and a cold arrival beer.

Joel & Misti, and Vida Dulce Departs Roatan

23 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / beautiful sunny day, 90 degrees F
It’s been a good week. Lots of snorkeling & sun-time & relaxing for Joel & Misti. The West End has been a perfect combination of good weather, clear water, and interesting reef / fish snorkel / dive spots. A slice of paradise.

Meanwhile Jerry & I’ve gotten Vida Dulce ready for the passage to Livingston / Rio Dulce and started on the put-to-bed-tasks as we’ll have only 5 days upon arrival there before flying out to SeaTac.

This morning at 10am we dinghy them into Palapa Papa’s for their ride to the airport. By 10:30am we’re pulling up the anchor and heading out.

To The East End of the Island

17 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
beautiful sunny day, 90 degrees F
Jerry and I have been having an email conversation with the owner of Kiteboard Roatan, a kite-boarding school at Camp Bay Resort, about his or a student’s interest in purchasing Jerry’s kiteboarding kit - kite, harness, lifebelt, board, etc. Chris isn’t interested because a German company sponsors the school however he may have a buyer. Jerry & I keep the car one more day, pull everything out of storage & head out to Camp Bay Resort. Turns out Camp Bay is literally at the end of the road on the East end of the island. Since we start at the West End, we literally drive the length of this island’s main road. Miles and miles of the road as we near the East End is gravel & dirt, in pretty rough shape in areas. Everyone out there drives a pick-up or SUV; our econo, mini-tired vehicle is a poor match however we take our time and eventually make it. Along with no paved roads, there is no cell service. It’s remote and beautiful, and with the easterly trade winds blowing almost constantly the perfect place for a kiteboarding community and school.

Chris inspects the equipment, commenting that while old (2013) everything is in good shape. He brings the potential buyer over and helps with the sale. A price is agreed. He goes to get his money, we’re getting ready to leave, when one of the kite valves blows. This is a common issue with kites as they age - the glue holding the valve to the bladder gives up under pressure over time and / or the valve fails - and straight-forward to repair. However the buyer gets skittish. Chris & one of his guys pulls out the bladder on that side, inspects the both and finds a small spot where the one valve has separated from the bladder. A long discussion ensues about how common this is, the cost of new valves if needed, and so on. Jerry asks if they have some glue that could be used to see if it’s just a glue issue, rather than a failed valve issue. They do. We all wait an hour as the glue does its work. The kite is reassembled, blown up and we wait some more. After a bit, with an additional discount for possible repairs, the transaction is complete with the caveat that if the kite doesn’t hold air for an hour, the deal is off. He knows we’re in a rental car and leaving Tuesday morning so he’d need bring everything back to us in the West End if so. Jerry gives him his email address. Chris tells the buyer he’s gotten a great deal on good solid equipment. We cross our fingers because we’d really like to get unused equipment off the boat & sold, and we really don’t want the hassle of bringing it back to the States to sell.

Follow up: no email & we’ve departed so the equipment is sold. Yea!

Joel & Misti Arrive

16 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / a beautiful blue sky sunny day 90 degrees F
Joel & Misti leave rainy cold Seattle on the red-eye and arrive in nearly double-temp beautiful sunny Roatan. Both ready to dry out and warm their bones. We rent a car because it’s not much more than the (tourist) cost of a taxi to the West End. Plus we can get groceries for the duration, or at least most of it. Last time we rented an economy car, it was roomy enough for 4 plus a full trunk. This economy car is seriously just slightly longer than a SmartCar. Their carry-on luggage & duty-free goodness fills the storage space. Nonetheless we shop like we have plenty of room. Beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts, canadian bacon, regular bacon, two cases of beer, two bottles of rum, eggs, cheese, fresh veggies & fruit, more bags of chips that has been on the boat for awhile, tortillas, and more…. Joel, Misti & I have bags under our legs, on our laps, and between us, plus the beers stacked on top of the luggage. This little car is Loaded Down. And then ice is needed. With only 1 fridge working the cooler will have to do beverage-duty. Even with that 20 lb extra weight just two heavy & slow dinghy trips is needed to it get all to Vida Dulce.

By happy hour / sunset, everyone is happy & relaxed & enjoying the warmth. Pain-killers working their magic. It’s a lovely evening.

We Meet Again

11 May 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / clear blue sunny day, breezy 89 degrees F
I look out the window this morning after putting the full teapot on the stove to heat and see a new arrival in the anchorage, a catamaran. Thinking it looks familiar I grab the binoculars to take a look. The boat name is Viva. We know a Viva, owned by Bob. Last time we saw him was in Portobelo, Panama several years ago. In fact that last time, we shared a cab along with Green Flash Dave to Panama City. Viva Bob was headed through the canal and to the Sea of Cortez where he said he would be until his last days. I mention the Viva catamaran to Jerry who also takes a look thru the binoculars. He agrees it looks like the Viva Bob boat. We'll run over later to check, he says.

A couple of hours later we notice Viva is much much closer to the reefs than before. Another reason to head over. We need to go to Palapa Papa's anyway for internet. We dinghy over and who comes out from the aft cockpit... Bob! Well, I'll be... he says. Hi! We chat for a bit then I ask him if he'd re-anchored recently. No, he says, we're just dragging. All nonchalant. All four of them are sitting in the aft cockpit having coffee and a bite to eat while dragging back toward danger. Bob is low-key, but really?! They'd arrived from San Andres, a rough 72 hour passage, he said, so perhaps it is just exhaustion. We mention the moorings - he'd anchored on the edge of the mooring field anyway - and gave him the usual cautions. His reaction was OK, yeah, it probably makes sense to get a mooring but no actual movement to do so until Jerry said we'd pick one of the ones we thought were still viable for him if he'd like. He jumped on that quick.

The process of getting the picked-up mooring pennant line to one of the people on the bow, and that line secured is a bit of a circus. Bob is extra cautious in positioning Viva as to not run us over, which is much appreciated, however his crew didn't know where to lead the line, then lost it when we gave it back to him, then Viva was too far away and needed to re-approach. Then the crew couldn't get the line attached to a cleat when he got it back a third time. But we all hung in there and eventually got one line thru the mooring pennant and back to the boat and secured to a cleat. Bob obviously needs to dive the mooring, attach a safely line and get the proper bow lines to pennant run and secured, yet at least they are safely away from the reefs. We mention that we're headed to Palapa Papa's for internet & cold beers. They all need both as well so will meet us there.

We have more than two hours of software downloads to do so order a lunch to share and a couple of beers while waiting for those processes to complete. Just as we're finishing, Bob and his crew of three arrive in their dinghy. One needs a doctor. Jerry tells him about the Anthony's Cay clinic, how to get there, between Bob's crew they make sure he has the appropriate collectivo bus fare and I run out to stop a passing bus for him and the other gentleman, letting the bus driver know where to let them off. The one that needs the doctor is acting somewhat confused. Thinking back, it was him on the mooring line fiasco.

We spent a hour or so answering Bob's questions and getting him up to speed on the Rio Dulce (he'd been there years previously, just needed the newest info). I walk Charlene down the main street to show her the best places for local, inexpensive food, and help her purchase fresh produce from the produce pickup that just happens to be along our walk. Then Jerry & I say our "so long for today" and head back to Vida Dulce.

We got a good samaritan karma bank deposit and got to catch up with a cruiser we'd thought we'd probably never see again. Which goes to show, you never know...
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 - Main
4 Photos
Created 15 December 2016
9 Photos
Created 17 October 2016
20 Photos
Created 1 September 2015
North Coast, West section 2015; Havana to Baracoa Bus Trip 2016
100 Photos
Created 15 May 2015
38 Photos
Created 11 March 2015
50 Photos
Created 25 December 2014
The road trip included 7 States: WA, OR, ID, WY, CO, UT, MT
16 Photos
Created 3 August 2014
Hurricane Season 2014
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 14 June 2014
Pictures of our stay in Honduras 2014
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 4 January 2014
10 Photos
Created 18 October 2013
4 Photos
Created 20 September 2013
Our Dec 2012 - Feb 2013 visit
55 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 31 December 2012
Happy Holidays from Isla Providencia, Colombia
11 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Photos of my on-board garden
16 Photos
Created 28 September 2012
4 Photos
Created 26 December 2011
Pictures of our time in Panama, Sept 2011 - Dec 2012
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 29 September 2011
Pictures of our visit to Columbia, May-Oct 2011
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 15 July 2011
Photos of our series drogue and May 2011 practice deployment and retrieval
24 Photos
Created 13 May 2011
Pictures from our brief visit to Bonaire, Curacao & Aruba in May 2011
35 Photos
Created 11 May 2011
Pictures of our short stay off Isla Pelona in May 2011
17 Photos
Created 11 May 2011
Pictures of our time in Grenada, April 2011
48 Photos
Created 23 April 2011
Pictures of our island stops in the Grenadines, April 2011
36 Photos
Created 4 April 2011
Photos of St Vincent, April 2011
11 Photos
Created 2 April 2011
Photos of St Lucia March 2011
46 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
68 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Photos of Dominica 2011
3 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Photos of Iles des Saintes, Feb 2011
12 Photos
Created 17 February 2011
Photos of Guadeloupe, Feb 2011
49 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
Photos of Barbuda, Jan 2011
15 Photos
Created 14 January 2011
20 Photos
Created 30 December 2010
2 Photos
Created 26 December 2010
Photos of Red Hook, St Thomas and Vida Dulce getting a new bank of batteries and the installation of her new custom made arch which will support 4 solar panels.
28 Photos
Created 9 November 2010
Haul out of Vida Dulce in November of 2010.
23 Photos
Created 9 November 2010
Lots of photos of various places not in other albums. Most are included directly in a blog entry.
27 Photos
Created 31 October 2010
15 Photos
Created 11 September 2010
A "Working" Trip with Jim to start outfitting the boat for cruising.
31 Photos
Created 10 September 2010
11 Photos
Created 5 April 2010
34 Photos
Created 5 April 2010