ARRIVING TO RIO DULCE, GUATEMALA
After spending more than three months in Guanaja it was time to leave. Our next destination was Guatemala, Rio Dulce. Why Guatemala?
First of all - because we wanted to visit central America mainland. Second, the Hurricane season had already started and although the last Hurricane Mitch hit Guanaja 22 years ago, the island was on Hurricane belt and we did not want to risk. And Third, it is very economic place, what for us was as important as the other reasons above.
Guatemala has a very well protected river Rio Dulce ( translated from spanish language , means- SWEET RIVER) , great Hurricane hole for spending tropical storms season when the nature can become very violent. We heard a lot about this place and were looking forward to see it ourselves and meet more cruisers from all over the world, who arrive there to spend hurricane months.
In the ¨normal¨ times we would have left Guanaja, visited Roatan and Utila and then sailed to Rio. But the sea borders of Guatemala were still closed. As well as Roatan and Utila. Probably more than a half of Caribbean Sea countries were closed at that time. But we WERE LUCKY again.
Guatemala made an exception and with special conditions allowed sailing boats to enter Rio Dulce for being safe in hurricane season.
Which were the requirements?
All boats had to send their boat/crew details and approximate date of arrival and wait for permission. After arrival to Guatemala everyone had to make 14 days of quarantine onboard in INGUAT approved marinas. Anchoring was prohibited and after the quarantine it was mandatory keep staying in marinas.
In the situation the world was living we were happy with that and so on 18 of June left Guanaja towards Livingston, the entrance of river Rio Dulce
It was important to plan the date very well in advance due to arrive to the entrance of river during the spring hide tide.
Rio Dulce is a deep river, but at the entrance there is a very shallow sand bank. Nautical charts show on high tide just 6 feet of depth. Our draft is 1.80m, which is little bit less them the limit
If we were not doing it in spring tide we had to hire a local boat service to lean our boat (attach a rope at the top of mast, make an inclination to the boat and like this reduce our sailboat draft). We wanted to cross without help, so made a decision to trust in our Grain and try.
So, we tried. And we DID IT!
But it was one the most stressful moment after a long time… With a many bumping’s touching sand and following the coordinates we got from a cruising guide little by little we arrived to Livingston and anchored. The sand bar changes every year because of the floods and river sediments, so it was really important that we arrived at the highest tide, with the wind and swell from the back (helping us).
Our last destination was Nana Juana marina, which we finally chose from a lot of others. . There are more than fifteen marinas in Rio Dulce so it was not easy task to decide where to go. After reading lots of blogs, forums and other resources we decided Nana Juana was the right place.
It has swimming pool, boatyard, lots of green area, connection by land and the river to the town, little supermarket and beautiful environment around. It had everything one could need when you have a small kid ?
So after 25 miles sailing through the one of the most beautiful pure jungle river we ever been we arrived there.
And then long and hot two weeks of quarantine in the marina taking care of Jura, who poor boy, arrived in Guatemala with small itchy wounds on the belly and legs. We had no idea what it was and were getting seriously worried. They were really not nice and since we left Guanaja did not get better, just grew bigger.
With the help of the doctor, who came together with customs and immigration authorities during our check in the country in Livingston and Nana Juana marina owner Elisa, who immediately contacted the right doctor by phone and send him photos of Jura,s sores we received the diagnosis of IMPETIGO disease. We got necessary medicines (antibiotics) and after some days Jura was already much better.
Probably he got infected somewhere on land playing in Guanaja and what in beginning looked just a small sores later turned to be an advanced Impetigo. We were really worried. When your child gets sick and you are at sea and have no idea what it is and how to help you feel quite lost. So when stranger persons immediately comes to help you and worries how the baby is feeling during following days you feel such relief and thankfulness.
And our time during the quarantine consisted on basicly surviving CRAZY HEAT with no wind on board of our Grain. Since sailing in Indonesia with sy RagaineII it was the hottest days we expierenced ever. Fortunately we could cool out swimming in the river next to the boat and had a cold beer after:)
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This is a story about our life journey or better said is a story about our life afloat a sailing boat. Our trips, our adventures, our challenges and problems found on the way. Our everyday life floating and our unforgettable moments of sailing and tasting the worldl!
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"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters."
"The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use."
"There are more sharks on the land than in the sea"
If you are going to do something, do it now. Tomorrow is too late.
Don't worry about the world ending today. It's already tomorrow in Fiji.
" Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit."
"A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind. Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway."
"A bad day at SEA is still better than a good day at work"
"The perfection of a yacht's beauty is that nothing should be there for only beauty's sake."
"Remember 'It was a professional who built the Titanic, It was an amateur who built Noah's Ark"
"Sailing - The art of slowly going nowhere at great expense. "
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.