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From Utila, Honduras to Rio Dulce, Guatemala

           Utila…what a quaint little island.  It is best known for being the cheapest place to learn to SCUBA dive, prices range around $250 for certification.  We already have our dive cards but we are thinking about a refresher and a few dives while we are here.  With that in mind, there are lots of young, backpackers on the island.  This also means a lot of night time establishments for their entertainment.  From our boat we got to share in the music, we enjoyed the bar that played the oldies more than the one that played rap. We never did partake personally in the entertainment, the latest we were on the island was 7:00, the noseeums come out and we head to the safety of a boat with screens and coils.    The guidebooks told us that there were surprisingly well stocked grocery stores and they were right.  It was great to stock up on some American made products: for Cindy, Mild Pace Picante, all the Mexcican products are too Spicy and for Scott, Pop Tarts.  We had a beautiful snorkel just off the island.  We floated over a 100 foot wall of coral.  It was amazing to see everything up close in five feet of water and then swim over the wall and look down and see all the bigger fish.  The biggest excitement we had was a rescue helicopter landing right between us and the quarter mile to the shore.  Yes, it even landed in the water.  I told Scott that this was probably the closest we would ever come to a water rescue or I pray that it is.  


            What a difference a day makes or make that an e-mail makes.  Yes, that is right, they need Scott for a job (updating the computers on tow from Africa to Scotland) and the second line said that they wouldn’t have room on the tow for his assistant.  It requested that Scott send his passport back to Houston immediately to get the visa.  We spent the night brainstorming with our new friends on Highland Light, who had just arrived from French Harbor, Roatan.  We weren’t comfortable sending Scott’s passport by mail, so do we go to Roatan or Rio Dulce for Scott to catch a flight?? We got the green light to take a week and get the boat to the Rio.

So the next morning, off we went with HL and Lady H.

 

First night we made it to Laguna Tinto or Diamante Bay.  It has earned it’s name by the color of the water.  We can see why it is know as one of the best hurricane holes in the area. The next day we were off to Tres Puntos.  The staging area for heading into the Rio.

            Rio Dulce is the hurricane hole for the NW Caribbean.  We have heard about it for years from our friends on Dragonet.  The only problem is getting into the Rio, who would think that one, six foot sand bar could be so scary.  We have heard many stories of people bumping, being dipped, and being towed off.  Make sure you go across at high tide, we’ve been told by everyone.  So, our luck was with us, that Monday, June 15 was a two foot high tide.  We ended up with a small flotilla of six boats crossing at the 9:07 high water mark. 

0110 This is the outside buoy that you head 222 degress and we also had the most current waypoints to make it over the bar.   As the ole’ saying goes, much ado about nothing.  We never saw less than one foot and a half of water under our keel.  If we wouldn’t have planned it with the high tide it would have been another story, since we draft six foot.   
            Livingston is the point of entry into the country just inside the bar.  There is a wonderful boat agent, named Raul, that makes it all very easy. 

Scott and Skip from Jave Moon returning to the boat with our passports.  Ready to head up the river.  The next 7.6 mile stretch is the jungle lined gorge, is where Johnny Weissmuller once swung through the trees playing Tarzan.  Scott said it wasn’t quite right because everything was in techno color instead of black and white. 

Java Moon entering the river. 

Tarzan’s hanging vines AHHHH  HHHHHHH!

Up to 300’ high limestone cliffs. 

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The palm trees are just spectacular.  (above) Our kind of boat house.         With a name like Texan Bay you know we had to stop, especially after we heard that the marina restaurant had Tex Mex specials every day, unfortunately no margaritas.

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  Our flotilla at anchor and all of us relaxing with today’s special, enchiladas.  Linda (Rainbow Rider),   Skip (JM), Owner of the Texas Bay Marina, Gary (RR), Scott, Doug (HL). 
            With over 500 boats seeking safe harbor during the season, there are many marinas to choose from near the bridge in Fronteras on the Rio Dulce.

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Three of us found room at the Tijax.com EcoLodge and Marina.  We liked this one because:   1.  they had a side tie slip for us  2. close to town  3.  launches available so Cindy won’t have to worry about using the dinghy 4. road access (many marinas are only water access) so Cindy has somewhere she can walk  5.  Cabins, so there is a constant flow of new faces  If you click on the marina button and look at the big picture at the bottom, if you start from the left, long pier,  go in one 90 degree corner and that is right where we are tied.  Scott did a marvellous job backing us into that slip between boats in a similar configuration.  Even the marina pier boy said, “Good Captain.”  Yes, all 6,755 miles has taught him a lot about handling our boat. 

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That's our boat on the right with the wagon cover.   Scott was able to spend a day getting the boat ready to sit until November and get Cindy set up with internet and cell phone before he was off  to Guatemala City to catch a flight to Houston. 
            What is that forming in the Caribbean??  Tropical Storm Alex!  If we would not have been able to go to the river, Cindy would have been sitting in Roatan, where the storm passed practically right over.  Very rarely, about once every 15 years, an early storm forms in the NW Caribbean.  What luck, that it is the year that we are there.   Luckily Alex brought only one day of light rain to the river. 
            A week later, Scott got word that he probably wouldn’t be leaving for Angola until July 10.  So on June 28 Cindy was off on a 5 hour bus ride to Guatemala City and then a flight to Houston to be with Scott. Tropical Storm Alex hit me again with three days of rain.  The rain actually delayed the flight coming into G City by two hours which subsequently delayed my arrival into Houston.   We enjoyed a week together before he boarded the plane on July 5.             
            FYI:  Scott has the Spot GPS device with him so you can check the SAT Tracker link to see ♪♫ Where in the World is Scott Traveling Now? ♫♪  Hopefully you too will enjoy watching his progress from Houston, to Angola (Africa not Indiana), to Scotland, back to Africa, and then back to Houston. 

 

 
 
       
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