Showing posts from February, 2015

Rio Dulce Gorge

I've booked my flights home for 3/13.  I'm flying out of Guatemala City on Friday the 13th.  So I've less than 2 weeks here in the Rio Dulce Marina area.  In fact I'll likely take the bus to Guatemala City 2 days early but certainly one.  It depends on what I find as far as hostels near the airport and if I want the extra day in the big city?  I guess it also gives me an extra margin of time for any bus breakdowns.  It's a 6 hour bus ride.  But this is about the Gorge of the Rio Dulce.  It's impressive especially the first half or so of the 7.5 mile "gorge".  The cruising guide book talks of seeing parrots and hearing howler monkeys but on the drizzly day we went through it was only pelicans, cormorants and egrets.  For those who ever saw any of the old Johnny Wiesmiller Tarzan movies I guess they were filmed here or at least some filming was done in the Rio Dulce gorge.  It makes me want to find some of those old films and watch them again.  I think …

Anchored near Fronteras

We had a nice restful sleep and were underway at 8:45 am to the Marina area of Rio Dulce. It was a 4 hour cruise and while we had hoped for good lighting for photos of the 7.5 mile gorge section it was cloudy then began to drizzle. It still made for interesting photos I think. The steep 300 foot jungle covered limestone gorge is impressive. As we approached the El Golfete section it rained very hard. By the time we reached where we decided to anchor the rain had stopped and some remaining clouds keep it cooler.

Entering the gorge of Rio Dulce

Taken from the Cafe we are having a Pizza. Asperida is lined up with the white boat on the left so hidden somehow?

Also from the Sundog Cafe

Posted with BlogPress on iPhone
Location:Highway 5,Livingston,Guatemala

Grand Cayman to Rio Dulce

As it turned out we should have cleared out and left on Friday the 20th.  By Saturday morning it was rocking and rolling even though the wind was supposed to be NE.  We went to town with the wind about 12 knots but by the time we got back it was gusting to 22 knots and the waves were too big to deal with the dinghy but we managed.  Although not without damage to the ladder brackets.  It went smoothly to undo our mooring line and we were underway, first raising the missen then letting out a partial genoa.  It took a while but we managed to get the sails balanced for auto pilot.  Early on we were doing 6 knots and it said we would arrive in 3 days and 8 hours but now we are getting about 5 knots.  It's really rough but we are going in the right direction and it's more comfortable than it was on the mooring.  It's about 12:30 am and we left the mooring about 12 hours ago.  I'm on the 12 to 4 am shift and we switch for tomorrow.  It's February 22nd and my 61st birthday…

Cold front comes through

GYesterday, Wednesday, it was the start of our second full day of south winds and good sized breakers on the reef.  Before my trip to shore on Tuesday I watched all morning to see how they were breaking and where I'd want to approach the gap in the reef.  It's right where the cruise ship passenger shuttle boats dock on a single concrete pier.  A red buoy marks the right side but it's well inside the reef so it doesn't really mark the gap on the outside.  The waves were intimidating on my approach so I used caution and stayed well out until I saw the gap straight in line with the pier and went in successfully with waves on either side breaking on the reef as I rode in on a wave that didn't break due to the deeper water.  The waves yesterday when Walter went ashore might have been even bigger than Tuesday but mostly it was that they came even more from the south not SSE like Tuesday.  He set out and I was surprised he was on a direct line toward the gap rather than s…

We plan to set out Friday 2/20 ... Now looks it like Sunday

It's Wednesday almost noon on the 18th as I write this.  We have sat moored on the boat through 2 days and nights of southerly winds mostly 10 to 15 knots, occasionally stronger early on when still SE.  It's now down to 5 knots or less and is supposed to be light as it swings west then north.  About 1 am early Thursday it should be NNE at 20 to 25 knots.  This continues through Friday but since it's off-shore and there won't be waves it won't be a problem taking the dinghy to shore.   Actually we have gone to the shore.  The first day Walter went to find out about whether Sue might be coming.  Yesterday I went and there were good sized waves even in the gap in the reef I took the dinghy through.  With our mismatched pair of oars, one not able to fit the oar lock you have in mind the non ideal scenario that having an outboard issue could lead too as the waves were breaking 4 footers or more over the coral reef.  They would likely dump the dinghy over if you were car…

It's been a week

This evening about 4:30 pm it will have been a week since clearing into the Cayman Islands.  We are still where we grabbed a mooring that first night and about to have the first wind from the south since being here.  It's supposed to be east right now up to 20 but so far I've not seen even 18 knots?  It's starting to swing slightly south and it's about ESE as I write this.  About 1 pm it is supposed to get a bit lighter with max of 15 knots, then by 4 am tomorrow morning it's supposed to drop to 10 knots.  Eventually it will really die off and a front passes through with a chance of rain then stronger 20 to 25 knot NNE winds which continue swinging more NE until the end of my current Grib files which is 8 am Friday the 20th.  We might be on our way by then depending on whether Walter's friend Sue comes to sail with us and we wait that long?We rigged up a mooring line bridle for the boat with some large diameter spectra type line.  Still with this south wind of …

Farewell to Candace

Last night was our last night with Candace on board.  She met a local guy who lives at the condo development next to the public beach we are moored out from.  His name was Roger and he was a very nice and helpful guy.  He took us in his truck to the big hardware store in George Town sort of like a Home Depot back home.  We got a few things like rust remover, 5 gallon gas jug, water jug and a bunch of insect screen to help keep the bugs out of the boat when we get to Rio Dulce.  Rumor has it there can be bugs there.  We invited him out to the boat as he has his own little fishing boat he keeps anchored just off the condo beach.  He even filled and brought out the new 5 gallons water jug.  We chatted into the night and it was after 10 pm by the time we all,said good bye..  Then we had dinner and went to sleep.  Come morning Candace was packing up her stuff and when done she went on a last swim to the beach.  I guess she saw 5 sea turtles on that last swim.  The particular beach 'Spo…

George Town vs George Town

Yesterday we went to George Town on the public bus.  It's $2 and first we had to make our way past the guanlet of the cruise ship shuttling zone where the usual public bus stop also sits.  We opted to walk a half a block further and flag down a public bus after finding out the public buses have a red or orange circle on the front.  They are just large vans just like the many shuttles and taxis transporting the hundreds and hundreds of cruise ship passengers.  The cruise ship shuttles were $5 each and dominated the scene.  To me George Town, Grand Cayman is another place ruined by the cruise ship industry.  How many jewelry stores does a small town need?  Did I really travel here to take my pick of HardRock, McDonald's, Subway, PizzaHut, Burger King or KFC?   I much preferred George Town in the Bahamas.  It was more like I was on a cruising sailboat visiting a local town.  It's a maximum example of large numbers of cruisers but the town is still much as it was before all th…

First day ashore on Grand Cayman

We had a rolling noisy night from swell from the SW wind yesterday abeam of us once the wind switched to the NW.  Regardless of the lack of restful sleep it was easy to wake up and we had a cruise ship right out from us with passenger boats from George Town shuttling passengers ashore who would then board buses for the 5 miles to George Town.  This was due to the NW wind making it too choppy out front of George Town and the reason we are here as well.  The NW wind is very light now so we shall see if any new cruise ships are here in the morning.  A second ship had joined the first just before we took the dinghy to shore.  It turned out there was a nice public beach access where we could park the dinghy.  Candace got some info from a timeshare type condo development right next to the beach access.  We decided to not go to George Town this first day as a shopping mall thing was much closer to us in a town called Savanah.  We chose to use the wifi at a subway and did a little shopping.  …

Subway wifi in the Caymans Islands

We motored the final just under 40 miles to reach George Town, Cayman Islands about 4:30 pm.. A SSW wind had come up as we neared George Yown and after several VHF conversations with Port Sevurity the told us where to come to clear in.. Even 10 minutes out we exchanged dialog.  As we neared the pier with a tail wind and waves pushing in to a dead end corner with minimal maneuvering room.. The security guys said it's too rough you can't dock here now and it's going to get worse.. Then the Customs lady who I think we had been talking with came and she did the most swift clearing in even waving the after 4 pm extra fee we expected to get us cleared and off the pier.. It's was stressful that initial backing away from the pier and clearing the docked tug boat and pile of rocks to the right.  We were finally turned around and heading out.. One of the port Security guys then radioed us the location coordinates for 3 port authority moorng buoys about 4 miles east on the south …

Passage to the Cayman Islands

The distance was to be about 315 NM.  With the usual easterly trade winds it should take 4 days or so?... The first day was uneventful with lighter wind and speed than ideal.  At least we were making progress even if only 2 knots at times.  As I write here we are beginning the second night of our passage to the Cayman Islands.  We are only a third of the way there.  We motored during our second day about 4 hours for lack of wind but we really don't want to stress our engine despite it's apparent repairs.  For example I'm about to sleep now to rest for my 12 am to 4 am shift.  We are moving slowly with a 5 or 6 knot wind at less than 2 knots with some of that likely from the easterly current here.  It's supposed to be 5 knot max wind all night.   Time to sleep..zzzzz It's the beginning of our 3rd day.  February 6th... I began the midnight to 4 am shift finding out we were basically drifting in a current heading SSW.  The speed was at times 2.2 knots but usually just o…

Whale sighting and more

With my iPad now used as our main navigation for days of non stop sailing, I'd written a couple of blog posts on my iPhone but could not log-in an additional device onto the hotel wifi I bought access for.  Much of it was old news anyway and some content ended up not even being the way things turned I deleted them.Highlights were seeing a whale on one of the days trying to sail to Ile a Vache during very calm to no winds.  It was slender and black or very dark with a very small dorsal fin reminding me of the Mink Whale I saw kayaking the B.C. & SE Alaska inside passage in 2010.  So that's my guess as to what kind it was but I don't know if they get down in the Caribbean or not?  It was less than 100 feet from Asperida the first time it surfaced.  I'm guessing 30 feet in length but it's hard so say as only a portion is ever above the surface. Another thing worth mentioning was our day of deciding to head north.  It was getting to where we felt by the tim…

Where is Asperida ???

UpkI'm beginning to write this the evening of January 21st but will just add to it as days pass until it's uploaded once we reach Ile a Vache. 

I have to wonder what those who have followed Asperida on AIS must be thinking?  It was supposed to be a multiple 3 day/night non stop sail from Great Inagua Island to Ile a' Vache, Haiti to get Candace to her group in Les Cayes.  About 30 miles south of Great Inagua Island after checking out of the Bahama's in Mathew Town, Walter noticed problems with the engine.  It was discovered the engine was overheated and we shut it down.  It has overheated badly and it now uses a lot of oil.  There is a slight leak from the transmission as well but very minor.  Based on a 1999 copywrite cruising guide, it was decided we best head to a fairly close 'Port of Entry on 'the forbidden island' to assess, repair the engine situation.. We would have returned to Mathew Town on Great Inagua Island but it's completely exposed to all…