Thursday, May 23, 2013

Putting the boat to bed...

Johnny from "Quest" and Scott at Bruno's
It was a calm sunny day for our easy motor sail out of Belize and into the anchorage at Tres Punta. We were settled in and jumping off the boat for a cooling swim by 3pm. Not long after our new friend Johnny, single handing his sloop "Discovery", anchored near by. He called to invite us over for drinks but as I had just finished making a corn, bacon and chili chowder, we pursued him to join us for dinner instead. We first met him in Placencia, shared the anchorage at Tom Owens, and tomorrow were heading across the bar with him. He is Norwegian and drives boats supporting oil rigs with dynamic positioning software - very interesting. Like a number of other "younger" men
Linda and Mike Odom from "Casa del Mar" at Tortugal

And again on Scott Free with Judy from "Quest"
we've met sailing, he works periods of time without a break and then gets a long period off to compensate.
The next morning we left at 5:30am at dawn and entered the river at the optimum of time of 7am. We had 1.7 feet of positive tide but nevertheless plowed a furrow in the soft mud for about a quarter of a mile, no problem with our 135 hsp but nerve wracking just the same. Just me of course, not Scott, who never worries about practically anything.
It was an easy check in to Guatemala. A launch arrived with six officials headed by the "coordinator" Raul's nephew. He translates and facilitates the process, somewhat complicated in this case by our 12 month extension on our cruising permit, which ends in August. Lots of discussion on what to do, followed by a decision to let it lapse and then handle the situation when we return in January (this was the recommendation of the group).
We and Johnny were motoring up the river by 9:30. He stopped in Texan Bay for a few nights but we decided to go straight up to Tortugal Marina and settle in. What a pleasure to tie up and have dinner at their lovely breezy restaurant that night! This is a beautiful place.
The next nine days went by like a flash. We had lots of work getting the boat ready to leave but the main highlight was spending time with Mike and Linda Odom on "Casa del Mar". We first met them in Georgetown, Bahamas back 7 years ago at the "Going South" meeting of cruisers planning to make the very scary trip leaving the security of the Bahamas and off down to Trinidad.
"When do you plan to go?" was the big question of the meeting (many would never leave, the anchorage has been coined "Chicken Harbor" for a reason). We answered "Sunday". Mitch and Diane were arriving on Saturday to crew for us and we had a good weather report from Chris Parker. There was a ripple of shock among many. We were actually leaving!
Seven boats left that morning and a number of them have become good friends. Someone coined the group name of "Lion's Pride" as "Lioness II" was one of our boat names. Casa del Mar, Linda & Ed on "Dreamtime" and Benno & Marlene on "Diesel Duck" have become fast friends. But we hadn't seen Mike and Linda since Trinidad six years before. It was a wonderful reunion. They are such terrific people. Among our special memories of our times with them are our reunion with them in Portsmouth, Dominica (Dominica to Martinique 6/2006 post) and attending Carnival (Carnival in Grenada 8/2006 post). We had wonderful times in Trinidad and Tobago too (several posts in June and July 2006).
This is one of the most important reasons we love our cruising lifestyle - meeting people like them.

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