Tourists Doing the Rio Dulce Thing…

Hacienda Tijax
Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Tijax filled up this month, with boats arriving from England, France, Holland, and the US. After casually meeting a few cruisers on the dock, Gerard (from France) took it upon himself to organize a cocktail party in the dining room at Tijax so we could all meet one another. The party was the same night Ole arrived home from Sovereign, so he missed the initial meeting, but came up to speed quickly as we organized a couple of private excursions.

The first was about an hour away from Fronteras – to a place called “Finca Paraiso.” It’s a private ranch that happens to include a river with volcanic hot springs. There were eight of us — two from England, two from Holland, two from France, Ole and I, who rented a mini-van and driver, carried picnic lunch in backpacks, and spent the better part of the morning in the river. [Read more…]

A Gringa (Partially) Does Holy Week in Antigua

Easter Sunday
Tijax Marina
Fronteras, Guatemala

Nuestra Senora de la Merced

If we Americans are guilty of pageantry and associated gluttony at Christmas, we are only outdone by the magnitude of Holy Week (Semana Santa) in Guatemala in general, Antigua in particular.

Monday I took a shuttle van with our boat buddies Rosie and Don from Chickcharnie for the 6-hour trip to Antigua. The drive was amazing and relaxing in that someone else had to be responsible for negotiating the potholed mountain road and building holiday traffic. We arrived in Antigua at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and checked into a triple room at a private, restored 17th century colonial house run by the charming, outgoing Karla, who spoke no English but greeted us like long lost family. [Read more…]

Relaxing on Garbutt Cay

Garbutt Cay, Fly Range
Belize

After just about an hour’s cruise from Bluefield, we arrived on the west side of Garbutt Cay, and anchored in about 20 feet of water. It was so still, and the water so calm, that we opted for an early afternoon swim and a few cold Lighthouse beers.

About the time we were out of the water and suitably dressed, a catamaran bearing a family of 7 and a Texas flag where the US flag should be came right up beside us to anchor for the evening, launching the kids in a kayak and the parents in the dinghy to go fishing. [Read more…]

A Clash of Cultures in Paradise

Bluefield Range, Belize

Bluefield Range Resort

Another astonishingly pleasant day. After pulling up anchor at about 11:00 a.m., just a scant 4 hours later we crept into a perfectly sheltered little bowl amidst three mangrove cays with about 12 feet under us. The trusty cruising guide spoke of the “Bluefield Range Resort” on the southern tip of the westernmost cay, but binocular surveillance showed a ramshackle collection of stilt buildings with all doors and windows open and looking pretty well abandoned.

The post-nap dinghy trip over to the “resort” confirmed that the place was indeed deserted, but not abandoned. The cay is barely a quarter mile long and maybe 50 yards wide at the widest point, with a few scrubby trees and mangroves along the north end. The grounds appeared raked, there was no trash or flotsam on the shoreline, there was a neat fire/trash pit, and the place looked tidy. When we found a laundry bucket with warm water and clean clothes in it, we got a little spooked, as there was no evidence of anybody around. [Read more…]