Reunion of Friends aboard Viento Azul
11 November 2021 | Guatemala
Gail Gordon | Perfect!
After a long journey and touring Guatemala City with Byron 'the best tour guide in Guatemala City.' Holt&Kelly , Dave&Amy, and Adam&Mckinley arrived. Colorado is a good 18 hours behind.
The drive to the Rio Dulce is an adventure in itself. The many villages along the way and sights to see are many. The organic macadamia farm on the outside of Antigua, topped off with the Dole plantation is the start. Byron sharing the history of Guatemala along the way stops excitedly for the group to experience an authentic lunch on a river side where only the brave will dare to go for a dip and cool off from the hot, muggy climate of Guatemala.
As the sunsets, Nana Juana Marina is in sight. Perched on the Rio Dulce river bank with the greatest view of the 80 foot high Rio Dulce bridge. Viento Azul is sitting quietly at
the dock with Ted, Gail, and Tracey excitedly awaiting our guests arrival. We too had our own adventure prior to our teams arrival.
You never know what lies ahead and we were surprised after a return trip to the states.
We traveled from Florida and our friend Xochi met us at the Guatemala City airport. A long 16 hour day of travel begs for a good night sleep and we were looking forward to it. I had left the boat ready for charter and was feeling happy to be home. Unknowingly, we walked into an unpleasant surprise. We found that messages often get mixed up . We had hired a friend to do some small varnish work. Instead, we arrived to the middle of an interior paint job that completely upended the boat. Sleeping on the coach top was the best option due to the chaos inside the boat. Needless to say I was feeling very disappointed but also grateful it was not raining and it stayed dry all night.
Before the sun begins to rise, Tracey arrives on the boat from a work away program. She says "Hi, I am here to clean." Well thank God he sent her because I was coming unglued and totally fatigued. She happens to be a great cook and cleaner so we welcomed her with arms wide open as part of our team.
As the suns sets on the river Byron arrives with our guests who are our wonderful friends. It has been a few years since we have sailed together but it is just like yesterday, as love abounds no boundaries of time. Quickly dropping off their bags on the deck of Viento Azul we all hopped in the launcha to cross the river for an America style dinner of pizza at Catamaran Marina. The star filled night was one of beauty with a light breeze combined with good food and friends makes for a great start.
With all the new smiling faces aboard and Viento Azul shining clean, its time to move on to the kind of adventure that really makes you smile.,
It happened to be October 31 and my birthday. To celebrate, we jumped into our launcha and headed up lake Izabal where Aqua Caliente is tucked away in the jungle. A hot waterfall where two streams meet one , hot and cold. Following the cold stream on the steep riverbank, rock caves are recessed in the cliffy hillside. Scalding back down the bank, the river pours out of the cave. Going deep inside into the darkness, waist deep turns to swimming as the way to pass . Twisting and turning the deeper you go the creepier it gets. With a stick rising from the bottom, your imagination soars to the poisonous snakes of Guatemala! As we continue, the quiet turns into a roar getting louder as we go. Our light is one cell phone and one head lamp. Scaling up a few rocks, there before us cascading down in power is the beginning of many falls. The river continues underground for meters where eventually it is a 150 foot climb to get out.
Well this is the point which we turn around and return to the sun and follow the river back to where we started. On this end is a boulder field that provides a great work out with an obstacle course including a grand fallen tree. Just a little farther and the walk tames down. Interesting sulfur springs trickle in off the banks until we reach the falls of Aqua Caliente where the two rivers meet. The hot water never felt so good on our now tired muscles. Climbing higher up the falls following the hot stream, you come to its entrance where fresh clay from the earth is ready for our spa day. The only thing standing between us and the clay is scalding hot water you have to run across. We made clay in hand and headed back down to relax in the river below.
Our adventure home offered a stop at Casa Aqua Azul for delicious fresh coconut soup paired with rice, beans, salsa and 13 amazing beautiful children giving hugs galore!
Before the sun sets, we are back in the launcha traveling across smooth water ready to return to Casa Aqua Azul the next day.
November 1.. We return with chain saw in hand. Ted, Holt, Adam and Dave spent the morning trimming trees and preparing the land up on the hill, which is the future sight to house missionaries coming to Casa Aqua Azul. The property will be planted as a fruit grove to help feed the poor and aid in sustainability to Casa Aqua Azul, a home to vulnerable children of Guatemala.
November 2.. Time in Guatemala moves fast . Viento Azul with all aboard, untie from the dock and head down river. Passing by many river bank villages, the breathtaking canyon walls appear just before you arrive in the colorful port town of Livingston. Here we clear customs, do last minute shopping and enjoy the energy exuding from the many hearts of joyful happy people. An evening of water sports behind the dingy ended our day in the twilight hours.
Dinner was served, the rain came hard and night fell.
November 3.. 5 am even too early for birds, Capt Ted cranks the engine and the clanging of the rising anchor starts the new day. Rain, rain, rain as we gently rock down the way. Looking out the port, black birds are flying by as the water gently laps on the hauls of the boat.
Tracey has competition of a tiny pretty green finch stow away cleaning all the eye lets on our fishing poles. By 9 a.m. we were checking into Punta Gorda , Belize ready to start our salt water adventures, which became fast and furious as we explore the outer islands of southern Belize.