Cruising with Vida Dulce

04 March 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
25 February 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
25 February 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
24 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
19 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
10 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
09 February 2019 | Placencia, BZ
05 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
27 January 2019 | Placencia, Belize
25 January 2019 | Placencia, Belize
23 January 2019 | Livingston, Guatemala
23 January 2019 | Cayo Quemado, Rio Dulce, Guatemala
17 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
16 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
14 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
12 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
10 January 2019 | Guatemala City, Guatemala
06 June 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
04 June 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Ready For Hurricane Season

04 March 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan | sunny & hot 90 degrees F
It’s been a busy week getting Vida Dulce prepared for the next hurricane season and catching up with our friends here in the RioD.

We’re taking a lot of stuff off that had no where else to go until now and was cluttering up Vida Dulce. We had to buy two extra pieces of luggage from the charity Pass It On to max out our airline ticket limit of (no additional charge) number of bags and weight. De-cluttering is always a big job in itself yet feels soo good when done!

What A Welcome!

25 February 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan | sunny, windy, 90 degrees F
It was a welcome that will be remembered for years.

We were just getting settled when our friends Charlie & Saundra, s/v Island Sol, called on the VHF to welcome us back to the Rio. HH & dinner tonight? Yes!

Shortly after that call it was shower time. Jerry headed up to the marina showers first, chatting with other cruisers we hadn't seen in a couple of years on the way up and back. When he returned I went up for my shower. As I was about to step back aboard marina staff shouted that I should wait.., stop..., not board Vida Dulce, pointing at the bottom of our mast. Honestly it took me a minute to realize what was and should be stainless steel was black. And the black was moving. And other black bugs were buzzing around. A wasp swarm was attempting to establish itself there. Luckily we have hornet / wasp spray aboard, purchased in Roatan a few years ago at the Ace Hardware there. We'd bought it for pirate boarding protection since it's long distance spray, bad for the eyes of said unwelcome guests.

Once the swarming settled down, these unwelcome guests were treated to said spray and it does kill on contact. It was a little dicy as the wind was still blowing hard but the spray hit most of the intended and they fell without causing harm to us or others in the vicinity who came to watch the spectacle. We've not seen swarms of wasps here, but we've not seen winds like we experienced here either, so who knows where they came from nor why they decided Vida Dulce was their preferred next home. Just happy to have put an end to that notion.

OK, that handled, I climb back aboard Vida Duce. A few minutes later our friends Mike & Kim s/v Ka'imi, cruised by in their dinghy just to see if we'd arrived. The happiest of happy hours in recent times commenced with the six of us sitting in our aft cockpit catching up over beverages. A truly memorable welcome back.

Guatemala Check In

25 February 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan | sunny, windy, 90 degrees F
After a fairly quiet night in Tres Puntas, we lift the anchor at 7am for the 2 hour trip to Livingston. An hour into the trip the winds kick up, blowing to low 20’s with higher gusts and the sea turns into a field of whitecaps. Thankfully all on our stern, following winds and seas. We get over the infamous Livingston bar with 1 ft to spare, anchor and wait for the check-in process to begin.

Normally this means a lancha arrives with all the officials who come onboard to inspect us, gather our paperwork and then go back to their respective offices to type up the clearances; an hour later we go in to collect it all & pay (agent) Raul. This was not a normal check-in process for two reasons. First, the sea state in the Livingston anchorage is soo rough, the officials are not going to visit incoming boats, no way. Raul tells Jerry to come to his office this time. And the sea state is rough! Dropping Dulcita (dinghy) and getting on-board and it untied was a feat of balance in swell, opposite current and blustery winds. Second reason, since we’ve been gone only about a month, we only had to pay for immigration (Q1100 / US$147, 2 passports) and a cruising permit 1 year extension (Q500 / $67) when it’s up in June. That is Q1800 / US$240 less than the usual check-in fees. With the June 2019 - 2020 extension it does mean that we must be out of Guatemala for 3 months the next time we leave.

Paperwork in hand, we motor up-river to the marina zone of the Rio Dulce, towing Dulcita because it was too rough to get her lifted on the davits for the trip. It continues to blow low 20’s the entire way, winds we have never seen here in the Rio. But we’ve never been here in late Feb, so there is that…

And then getting tied up in the marina in those winds is a challenge. There must have been 6 marina guys handling lines, tying most off to piers; we’re med-moored this time, taking up 2 monohull spaces. A challenge met by everyone getting done what needs to be done in coordination; we get settled without incident. All of the marina guys say there has been no wind here until today…Gotta laugh….

Belize Check Out

24 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
Susan | partly cloudy, 85 degrees F
Our BZ passport stamps expired today so we’ve checked out (on Fri as officials are closed Sat / Sun) and are headed back to the Rio Dulce, Guatemala. A very short cruising season for us this year for a good reason: Jerry has been invited to present at SOT-10 in Hong Kong (April 1-4) on how his Mintaka Innovations weather instruments (Mintaka STAR and Mintaka STARX) are being used by NOAA / NWS for shipboard weather observations. How great is that! Of course I’m going along and we’ll spend a few extra days exploring. So back to the Rio Dulce we go to get Vida Dulce prepared for hurricane season.

Still in Placencia

19 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
Susan / sunny & hot 91 degrees F
Man it’s hot here. 91 degrees F under bright blue sunny skies, with a soft breeze that will build as the afternoon goes on. Time for some Tutti Fruitti gelato! While it’s calm here, just north of us and off-shore, the winds are a-howling. We’re happy to hang here for a bit longer.

Placencia Art Walk Weekend

10 February 2019 | Placencia, Belize
Susan / AM rain, afternoon sun, 83 degrees F
This weekend is Placencia’s annual Art Walk Festival. Two days of art, music, and food along the narrow boardwalk that runs from the town pier to near the opposite end of town. Local artists line each side of the boardwalk with their temporary booths, tables and blankets, some walk the boardwalk mixing with us visitors (Belizean & tourists / cruisers) as we walk and crowd and look and buy. Wood bowels & sculptures, and conch shell jewelry & trinkets vendors are most plentiful, they are joined by bead work and canvas artists, and those selling their local jams or bread. And, of course, there are the ever-resent Belize t-shirts, hats, keychains and knickknacks vendors. All mix with ad hoc restaurants and bars.

Yesterday (Saturday) we enjoyed lunch at the boardwalk location of Finger Lickin’. It was delicious, and finger licking because they don’t supply knives, just a plastic fork and a single napkin so you literally use your fingers to eat your piece of chicken or pork chop or rib or sausage, and lick them clean. We happen to stand in line behind a couple who reside in the capital. I suspect he was an gov’t official of some kind because they were smartly attired, and asked us where we were from, and then how many times we’d visited Belize (many) and when I mentioned we’re on a sailboat in the harbor he asked what our experience is like checking-in and staying. I said it is very expensive compared with Guatemala or Mexico or Roatan (Bay Islands of Honduras) both to check-in and to stay. I told him because of that, we stay here as little time as possible preferring Roatan or Mexico. His comment was “that needs to change”. I went on to explain that we are charged by the day to be in the country, plus if we are in one of the many marine parks we are charged by the day again for the boat and each passenger. It gets expensive quickly. We spend a lot of money in the countries we visit - in restaurants, bars, grocery stores, car-rental & tourist activities - and because of these costs we pass thru Belize as quickly as possible. “That needs to change,” he says again. Perhaps we would have talked more but the Finger Lickin’ grill guy declares they are out of ribs & chicken for 15 minutes (and you know that is a Caribbean 15…) so anyone who wants pork chops or sausage should make their way to the front of the line, and off they went to get their lunch.

Today we walk the boardwalk a little after 2:30pm. The festival is in its wind-down phase. Most of the eateries post “sold out” signs or are simply gone. The product vendors still there talk up their special discounts hoping to lessen the inventory they’ll have to pack up and store until the next time. A high school steel band plays for the visitors that remain. Many are headed for the bus stop, or the Hoky Poky ferry, or their cars. We walk the length of the boardwalk then the few blocks to the grocery store to pick up a few items, then back to the dinghy. A nice Sunday walk under sunny blue skies.
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
26 Photos
Created 20 October 2017
17 Photos
Created 2 September 2017
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