Wednesday, May 28, 2014

El Tortugal Marina, Guatemala

Sign on the road to Tortugal Marina
 El Tortugal Marina on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala is very cool! We have been here for two weeks now and have enjoyed every minute.  There is so much to do here and on the Rio Dulce that we haven't even scratched the surface.  We have been busy setting up an air conditioner and building a cowling to cover it. When that is finished we need to get busy trying to fix our engine.  But in between we are planning to do a little exploring. There is a fort on the river, a beach up in Lake Izabel, hot water falls and a lot more! This last week we have had a manana attitude, resting and working very slowly on the air conditioner - we don't want to overdue it!  
Ka'imi at dock
The marina has 20 slips and is basically full.  The majority of the people go home for the summer and leave there boats here so there are only a handful of people here right now. They have a restaurant and a bar that serves food all day, a lounge area upstairs with a pool table, TV and lots of books.  There is a resident pero (dog)  named Hefe that is large and a love bug but he hates gatos (cats).  There are two gatos on the premises we have named them Tiki and Sandy so we will be able to get our animal fix on a daily basis.  We also see them run really fast when they see Hefe coming!

Restaurant at Tortugal Marina
The outdoor lounge next to the restaurant is a great place to relax, drink some coffee or booze, read a book or catch up with friends.
Lounge area at Tortugal Marina
The kayaks are for the guests to use, this is right behind our boat. We haven't had a chance to take one out yet but plan to, there is lots of exploring to do on the river.
Kayaks at Tortugal Marina
They have rooms and bungalows for rent.  The one we can see from our boat has 4 beds and is open air. They are $14 dollars a night, not bad.  Underneath is a common area that is very cool and breezy.  We hang out here a lot.
Bungalow at Tortugal Marina
Another view of the common area with a hammock and a few picnic tables.  You can see Ka'imi in the background.
Common Area at Tortugal Marina
This path leads from the common area to the showers and restrooms.
Walkway at Bungalow
This is a view going back to the common area from the showers and bathrooms.

Path coming from showers and bathrooms
A private outdoor shower.  The showers here have only cold water so we use them when it is really hot. There are other showers behind the restaurant that have hot water that we use in the evening.
Shower at Tortugal Marina
Here are the private outdoor bathrooms.
Bathrooms at Tortugal Marina
The path below goes to the dirt road that leads to town and beyond.  It is a beautiful walk just going down this path.  Lots of birds, lizards and other wildlife.
Path leading to the dirt road
It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the town of Fronteras from here.
Road to town
We met Deborah and Kris on s/v Sea Sister and had drinks at Sundog Cafe.  They are refitting their boat getting ready to cruise!  We had a great time.  Sundogs is a great place for food also, they have a lot of vegetarian choices and enough meat to make Mike happy.
Deborah and Kris s/v Sea Sister
Cheers for now Mike and Kim

Monday, May 19, 2014

Livingston, Guatemala and up the Rio Dulce to Burnt Cay (Texan Bay)

Livingston, Guatemala
We are in Guatemala having completed all the formalities for a 3 month stay.  We will apply for a 9 month extension before the 3 months are up, but the procedure to do that keeps changing.  The system is going through procedural changes so we are not sure what's up but as it stands we just have to go back to Livingston and apply.  When we checked in it is was simple we called Raul, the agent, and his nephew and all the officials came out to the boat.  They were there maybe 15 minutes then said our papers would be ready in 40 minutes and we could come into town, pay the fee and get our papers and passports.  We walked up the street to the bank to get our Quetzals, the Guatemalan money and then to Raul's for our papers.  We didn't stay in Livingston long, we checked in and headed back to the boat to head up the river to spend the evening in a safe anchorage.  Livingston is known for petty thefts and wakes from all the boats.  We anchored that night in Burnt Cay, formerly Texan Bay.

Main Street Livingston, Guatemala

Main Street Livingston, Guatemala
Right outside Raul's office is the area where the locals do laundry.  We wish they had a place like that here at our Marina.
Laundromat, Livingston, Guatemala
The pictures of the River can not do it justice it is so beautiful!  It was also a very cloudy day when we traveled through here.
Rio Dulce

Captain Mike at the Helm

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce
Rio Dulce
The local people travel the river in cayucos, a canoe that is dug out of a tree.  We saw children going to school, fisherman and mothers taking their children into town.

Mother and child in a Cayuco

Fisherman in a Cayuco

A little girl taking her mom and brothers somewhere

A little girl going to school in here uniform

Burnt Cay Marina (formerly Texan Bay)

Our anchorage at Burnt Cay

Cheers for now, more about our Marina and the town later Kim and Mike

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

We are up the river Rio Dulce in Guatemala at our dock at the El Tortugal Marina. It is beautiful here! Will post some pictures when we get the internet set up.

Cheers Mike and Kim

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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Placencia, Belize

Ka'imi at anchor in Placencia, Belize

We are in Placencia, Belize a little bit sooner than expected.  We have been here since Thursday, May 1st.  We noticed oil or fuel under the engine block while we were in Cay Caulker, but thought it very minor.  At Colson Cay we noticed that is was getting worse so we decided to get to Placencia were there was a town and a protected anchorage.  We left Colson Cay and anchored overnight outside the Blue Ground Range Islands.

Blue Ground Range
We left the next morning with light wind allowing us to use the Spinnakerand sail directly to Placencia.  Soon we lost all wind and started the motor but found our raw water pump was not spinning. The raw water pump draws cool salt water into the engine to cool the water that runs through the engine.  With that not working the engine will heat up and sieze.  We quickly put the Spinnaker back up but it was taking us directly to land, not a good place.  Mike worked on it a bit but wasn't having any luck. The wind picked up suddenly and it was enough to get all four of our sails up, the Genoa, Staysail, Main and Mizzen.  We would have to tack all day to get to Placencia, but at least we could sail.....uhhh...that is until the wind completely died again.

Spinnaker Up
We were 7 miles outside of Placencia and the plan had been once we get to the harbor we would drop the dinghy with a 15 horse engine, tie it to the side of Ka'imi and use it as a motor getting us to the anchorage. We decided to drop the dinghy right then and there in calm seas and no wind to power us into Placencia. We were not sure we had enough gasoline to make it all the way but at least we would be closer.  We took turns of about 2 miles each and it was HOT.  We took our water bottles and drank some then poured it on top of us.  The good news is we had enough fuel to make it all the way and anchored safely in the harbor.
We had three dolphins on our Bow when we left Blue Ground Range they are good luck for us.

Wonder what would of happened if we wouldn't of seen the dolphins.hmmm

At anchor we secured the sails and straightened things up then sit down to a well deserved beer or 12.  We went to sleep then woke up at 1:00 am to a squall.  The winds were near 25 and the rain was massive, it was more rain than I have ever seen.  As it approached us it sounded like a swarm of cicada's coming at us. We looked at each other and said what's that, then boom it poured.  It lasted 2 hours with lots of lightning and rain.   Some of the lighting strikes came very close.  After an hour our dinghy was full of water.  We usually bring it up on the davits and take the plug out so we don't have this problem, but we left it down that night in case we had a problem like dragging our someone else dragging.  So Mike went out and emptied the dinghy, it took a long time!  We then brought the dinghy up on the davits, yes in the middle of the lightning and rain, it is not always paradise with this lifestyle, sometimes its sheer panic and well...bad!  We were worried about dragging with strong winds a not having a motor, but the rest of the night went better and we finally got to sleep.  The morning makes everything better, Mike was able to fix the raw water pump and the engine is running, we do want to watch it and baby it a bit until we get to a dock at the Rio Dulce, Guatemala where we can make sure it is all fixed.

Speaking of Rio Dulce, that is where we are headed.  We will probably leave Placencia Monday and sail overnight to the mouth of the Rio arriving early Tuesday morning when there will be a high tide.  The mouth of the river is 5.5 ft a MLW and we draft 6 ft so we have to go at high tide.

Placencia is a nice little village.  We are able to tie up our dinghy at Yoli's Bar and from there you can get anywhere in town.  There is plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, ice cream and groceries.  The beer is Belikin and it is quite nice :).  I will post some pictures of the village below.

Yoli's Bar where we tie up our dinghy and occasionally have a beer.

Wallen's Grocery Store at ground level and Pharmacy at top where we shop.

One of many fruit and vegetable vendors.

Typsy Tuna fun bar and grill on the beach.

Typsy Tuna Beach View

John The Bakerman where we get our bread.

Inside  his shop.

John making bread, he is following in his father's footsteps.

The one mile sidewalk along the beach.

Shortcut to the beach between a restaurant and house.

Beautiful houses along the sidewalk.

We are doing exceptionally well, happy and healthy!  Cheers  Mike and Kim

Laundry Day

Trash Day

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