Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Rio Dulce: Leap's Fresh Water Home

"Time to head up river", as the saying goes around here. The river being the 
Rio Dulce in Guatemala. We will motor up river to the village of Fronteras, a favorite hurricane hole and hang out for cruisers.

Once again the winds were with us when we set sail from Utila, and we had a wonderful down wind sail until midnight. Threatening storms sucked up all our winds and forced us to retire the sails and motor until 6am when we again, could sail. In the morning as we approached the coast of Guatemala a rainbow marked the entrance to the river at Livingston, Guatemala

 Rainbow Greetings

Our arrival was delayed by lack of winds and the desire to sail in spite of the light winds. Our projected 7am arrival turned into an 11am arrival, in part due to our diesel motor stalling 300 yards from the customs anchorage and nearly getting stuck on the sand bar as the tide was rapidly receding. The motor restarted but was to give us trouble the entire trip up river; as we were about to learn. 

Approach to Livingston

Views on Starboard

View on Port

After clearing customs in Livingston, Guatemala we began our slog up river. We do not use the term slog lightly. Our normally reliable Perkins usually cruises right along at 2200 rpm. This day it would not run much above idle - 1400rpm- therefore cutting our forward motion/speed in half and doubling the time of the upriver run. The slog resulted in our not making it to Fronteras that night.
 We dropped anchor in El Golfito, a lake the river runs through and waited for daylight before beginning our final slog to the El Tortugal Marina outside of Fronteras. 

Leaving Livingston 

Heading up the Rio Dulce

Homes along the way not far out of Livingston

Further up river in what appears to be thick jungle, yet a red Satellite dish on the end of the dock.

The gorge is full of the sounds of birds, but we are to late in the day to hear monkeys howling.

We lost count of how many fisherman we saw working the river in cayukas.

Our anchorage in El Golfito - Starboard view

Port view - it is raining and a storm is moving in over the mountains.

Leaving El Golfito heading to Fronteras

Even though we were having engine trouble the two day river trip was brightened by the gorgeous scenery. We have been told, the  best time to make the 26 mile run is in the early morning hours when the birds are singing and monkeys are howling, and of course have an engine that is running smoothly. When we go back downriver we plan to do just that.

Leap resting happily at El Tortugal Marina, Fronteras, Guatemala. We hope she enjoys the fresh water.

El Tortugal Marina's restaurant and cruiser hangout, a very nice place with a very kind and friendly staff. Leap is in good hands until we rejoin her in November.  

We are on our way to Mexico and the Gloriamaris, a 50' Prout Catamaran that is waiting for our professional services. This will be our first paying job in two years and we are looking forward to a positive cash flow and recharging the sailing kitty. Our next post will bring more news of the Gloriamaris.

Bryna and John are planning a winter sailing respite aboard Leap this coming January through March. 
We are looking forward to more adventures.

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