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
There is a phrase in spanish – ‘tienes una flor en el culo’. Directly translating to English language, is- ‘you have a flower in your ass’. It means- to be very lucky in something.
This is what some of our friends use to say about us. Maybe they are right or maybe not. Usually, we answer ,there is lots of effort, uncertainness, worries and work behind that all, what they call pure luck.
But this time, at Guanaja , we had to give them the reason. We had flower in the ass😊 We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
After meeting our new friends- Txomin and Doll- we got to know much better the island, Mangrove Bight town and it,s people! Furthermore, during all this pandemic time, we felt safe and sure we are in the best place to ‘survive’ the craziness of the world. We had wild nature around, amazing coral reefs at sea, lot of wind for energy, water from waterfall ashore and supportive people in town. Not sure if managed to describe it good enough, but this time we were not shamed to accept , how lucky we were!
We had some worries, of course. For example, what will happen if the island gets infected. There is no hospital, the nearest one in Roatan island or at mainland. Would be a lie to say that we didn’t care about it. But living on a boat and having a “cruisers chip” turned on, we learned to avoid having the too bad thoughts and preferred keep believing in –
don’t worry (taking care) be happy.
Guanaja government was keeping restricting the unnecessary movement between sectors and there was no hope that it will end soon. Island was still with zero Covid cases, but in the mainland the number of infected people was growing. So, after waiting for about two weeks in El Bight we decided to go to the capital and ask the port captain permission for sailing to other side of the island to stay close to our new friends. In this kind of situation having a small baby on board and talking Spanish helped us a lot to convince the authorities. We got a green light to sail. Even if it was just a permission given by words, without any paper or document signed in. We were told that if we get stopped by police, we have to tell that Bonacca port captain Walter let us go.
For us, that was enough. We prepared the boat and next day early morning set sails to Mangrove
¨You are not allowed to touch the land for 14 days. Must go direct to your boat at anchor and stay there mentioned period of time. Since today these are the new rules, we apply for our islands to avoid the Covid-19 ¨
This was our reaction to what we were told by the officials on early morning of Monday, 16 of March, 2020, after our arrival to the harbour of Bonacca, the little cay and the capital of Guanaja, Bay islands, Honduras. It took us 3 days of beautiful broad reach sail to get here from our last port in Caymans. In reality we arrived to the bay day earlier, on Sunday, but as on weekends all official institutions are closed we decided stay on boat and instead relax and celebrate Egoi 40th birthday.
That Monday morning, we could not believe what we heard. Before leaving the Caymans we already heard something about Covid in Italy. But we were so concern about checking the weather and planning the trip that did not pay big attention to news. To be honest, we were thinking its another type of Flue and it will end soon.
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.