Cruising with Vida Dulce

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
01 June 2018 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
31 May 2018 | Cayo Quemado, Guatemala
30 May 2018 | Livingston, Guatemala
29 May 2018 | Tres Puntas, Guatemala
28 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
27 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
27 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
26 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
24 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
23 May 2018 | West End Roatan, Honduras
22 May 2018 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras

Cayo Quemando Arrival

17 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / rain, rain & more rain, 77 degrees F
All boat systems performed overnight so today we head to Cayo Quemando for the standing rigging work.

Other than a few (important) people there is not much in Cayo Quemando (We hope we have what is needed until we get to Placencia, BZ…). Including No Cell Service / Internet.

We’ve been running around gathering up provisions / supplies / parts / etc. in-between commissioning projects & tasks since we arrived in the Rio less than a week ago. It’s been a sprint! We should be able to slow down a bit while Tom & crew do their work.

Big Day

16 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / rainy, 78 degrees F
This morning Vida Dulce lost more than 450 lbs. The 3 AGMs were removed and taken to the local charity, Pass It On, run by ex-cruiser Julia. She and her team of volunteers love to get discarded batteries. They recondition them then install a resuscitated battery along with a small solar panel in remote villages to provide a light or two in a community building. This is literally the only powered light the village has, so in addition to getting dead weight off Vida Dulce we’re doing a good deed.

On the lithium battery bank front, Jerry has enough confidence in his initial installation that we will not be purchasing backup batteries. Still lots of work to do before his battery management system is installed and operational. Until then it’ll be a hands-on job managing the battery bank.

And we got off the marina dock!! A big step to getting our cruising season underway. We took advantage of a temporary break in the rain to leave the marina for the fuel dock to top-off diesel & propane, and to exchange drinking water jugs. If all goes well overnight, tomorrow morning we’ll dinghy around to do last tasks then get underway to Cayo Quemando for the standing rigging work. Just one day later than planned.

Systems Commissioning Hiccup

14 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / rainy 78 degrees F
The systems commissioning process was moving along nicely until today. The 3 diesels (2 engines & genset) started after a bit of coaxing then ran smoothly. (Jerry needs to change the sail drive oil on the engines but that’s a regular maintenance task, one that needs to be done prior to our Rio departure.) Dulcita has her fuel tank, false floor, solar panel, & battery installed; the Yamaha outboard started up after a few pulls (it also needs a regular service before we depart). The watermaker un-pickled successfully. The food fridge and freezer both started up. Everything propane fired right up. And so on.

Today is battery day. The hiccup is, all of the remaining AGMs (3), now 8+ years old, are dead. We’d planned to switch over to the lithium batteries already shipped in & partially installed however all dead AGMs doesn’t leave us with a fall-back during testing and switch over. In addition once we leave marina shore power, batteries need to keep the fridge, freezer and other items charged overnight when there is no solar charging. We may need to buy one or two of the batteries available here to serve those purposes.

Jerry loves a complex technical puzzle so while we may be a bit delayed getting down to Cayo Quemado for the rigging work, he’ll no doubt have fun getting his lithium battery management system going.

Let the 2019 Cruising Season Begin!

12 January 2019 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Susan / mostly sunny, 80 degrees F
Let the 2019 Cruising Season Begin!

We're back in the Rio Dulce and, as usual, this start is alot of work getting s/v Vida Dulce cleaned up, set up, and doing annual maintenance. In addition to the usual stuff, she'll be getting all new standing rigging before we head out to Placencia, Belize on our way to Roatan. These are our only two planned destinations this season due to timing of other commitments.

Back On The Hunt

10 January 2019 | Guatemala City, Guatemala
Susan / AM rain then mostly cloudy, 67 degrees F
We fly into Guatemala City rather than San Pedro Sula (Honduras) even though it makes for a longer and less comfortable ride to the Rio Dulce and s/v Vida Dulce for one reason only….. current information on our held-hostage marine refrigerator and a new proof-of-life photo.

Our brand new marine refrigerator has now been held by Guate customs (SAT) for 1 year 3 months and 7 days, or if you’re counting days, 462 of them. Transcargo, the company that shipped it in, has failed to secure its release along with the other items not related to us seized by SAT that fateful day.

It’s been many months since we took the last photo of it in storage to make sure it hadn’t been repurposed (stolen) by the authorities. Today we’re on the hunt for updated information from Transcargo themselves and perhaps a new photo. We’re also hoping to gain its release thru whatever means appropriate to the times.

This morning Rita, our Rio Dulce contact with Transcargo, finally responds to our requests for Transcargo Karla’s phone number and the address of the office where she works. We also learn the address of where our fridge is being held, it appears to be the same address as before. Last, we learn Karla’s boss will be in the office at noon today. OK we have a plan. Get a new Tigo SIM & an internet package for our phone, change money (the only Rio bank that will change money for us cruisers is super restrictive about amount / passport / month they will change) and meet Karla and her boss in person. From there we’ll decide whether a trip for a new picture is part of the plan.

It takes forever waiting in this line, then that one, at each place of business so it’s 12:25pm before we locate the Transcargo office (which has no sign declaring it of any kind, and the address was not an exact match making it tricky to locate). We meet Karla and then have a meeting with her boss, Jose.

In brief, a lawyer was hired and has been working the problem for months. SAT keeps changing their requirements and making new requests, which they (Transcargo & lawyer) respond to in a timely manner. There is no resolution, therefore no way to appeal “up the chain”. The seized items are in a Transcargo rented space in a bonded warehouse owned by a bank not at SAT so no possibility of theft, we’re assured. There has not been a similar situation in the past with SAT that has taken this long to get resolved. There is nothing we can do but wait for the process to run its course.

This doesn’t make us happy, of course, however it does make it clear than spending money and time to take another picture of it sitting in the same warehouse isn’t necessary (photo is from the last time came to the Guate City on this mission).

😤 The saga continues...

2018 Summer / Fall Trip Recap

09 January 2019
This hurricane-season road trip took us from Seattle WA to Cape Cod MA - the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean - then South to the Houston area and the Gulf of Mexico before circling back via AZ, CO, & OR. 142 days; 30 states visited or crossed, 9 in which we rode our bikes. For most of those 142 days we lived out of our new Aliner Expedition pop-up camper, towed from place to place by our 4Runner. s/v Vida Dulce is spacious in comparison. LOL!

Most of our road trip adventures have been chronicled directly on Jerry’s Facebook feed so I won’t repeat them here on SailBlogs. For those not FB connections, the highlights include: Oshkosh WI (bucket list EAA annual flying-fest), Laconia NH (Jerry catching up with U of ID friends he hadn't seen in 40 years!), Cycle ADK (Adirondacks) with Ron & Carol, Cape Cod MA (my first visit), Boston MA (a hastily organized yet well attended reunion of people who worked @ Jerry’s first start-up, Gold Hill Computers; most of the attendees hadn’t seen each other in 35 years!), the Grand Canyon AZ and getting settled into our new home in Sedona AZ.

Yep, we bought a home in Sedona AZ and moved. We will now divide our time between s/v Vida Dulce and Sedona AZ. We still own our condo in Tacoma WA (hopefully it’ll sell this year) however I don’t see us spending any more time there in the near future. The greater Seattle area is just too wet and cold and dreary 3 seasons out of 4, and overcrowded year around. We love waking up, day after day, to clear blue skies and uninterrupted views of Sedona's red rocks.
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