Getting Ready to Leave the Rio…

Hacienda Tijax
Rio Dulce, Guatemala

This month saw many of our neighbors flying back up north to visit friends and family before moving their boats– Ans and Gerald back to Holland – Rosie back to England – and many others doing the “grand tour” of Guatemala, to Tikal, Chichicastenango, Antigua and the like.

The cats and I simply stayed home, trying to busy ourselves with painting the deck furniture, varnishing the teak table before Ole got home, and project managing the construction and canvas projects we had contracted out to local craftsmen. Added to that were a bi-weekly zip across the river for happy hour at the Sundog Café (TWO gin and tonics for the hefty price of one – 75 cents!), a restaurant visit once a week or so, and the odd visit by our buddy Spiff, I was kept entertained.

But ten weeks is quite a long time to be alone on the boat without Ole, and the prospect of keeping the boat here another seven or eight months during Ole’s transition to a new ship made my feet (fins?) itchy. So at about one in the morning, a week before Ole got home, we decided just to use this upcoming vacation period to head further south to Panama.

The first highlight of the month was Ole getting back at about 3:00 am on the 27th. We rested up for a day or so, then started our “before we leave the dock” list. Thankfully, there were no huge projects – just a lot of piddly ones (current count is 38), including finishing the carpentry that our contractor had not, changing a few gaskets in the engine room, installing red lights in the instrument panel to eliminate glare at night, and bandaging up the boo-boo we got while bashing into Spiff out on the Lake.

Another highlight was the Halloween party at the Sundog, apparently an annual tradition (this is the second annual). Sundog is unique on the river, catering more to the European crowd than some of the other, more Americano-concentrated spots. It’s run by Babette and her boyfriend Jurin (pronounced “Yuri”) a 30-something Dutch couple with looks crying out to be discovered by Hollywood. Both of them are charming, cheerful, and fluent in about 5 languages, right down to the joking and swearing.  Their party started at 3:00 in the afternoon, and was reputed to have gone on until sometime after 2:00 a.m. – though we couldn’t attest to anything later than about 10:30, getting way too old for very much heavy partying. The apex for us was the Macarena – it was all downhill after that!

Current plans are to leave the 8th of November – my passport stamp expires then – and head north to pick up some of the places we missed while cruising Belize.  We’ll then turn south toward the Bay Islands of Honduras (Utilla, Roatan, and Guanaja), then turn the corner of Nicaragua, stopping at Providencia and San Andres before running south to Bocas del Toro. As we cruise, updates and photos will be more frequent.

By the way – Maggie the cat is still going strong, though thin as a wire. Alianna, the sailboat across from us with Sim and Rosie aboard, has a young cat named “Ali” who has not yet learned the finer feline social graces. She comes aboard and challenges our two, and little Maggie is the one who routinely kicks ass. Fortunately, nobody’s been in the water of late – but that could change!

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