Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Safe arrival in Belize & up the Rio Dulce

Just wanted to let you know that we arrived yesterday at 5:30 AM in Placencia, Belize after a continuous motor/sail of 47 hours from Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The first 24 hours had some challenges. Scott suffered from seasickness for the first time in a long time. And of all things it set off a 18 hour bout of hiccups!  (I was worried. Did you know you can die of hiccups? That happens to one of the characters in Annie Proulx's "Postcards") We had big following seas and wind from mostly directly behind us. This is hard on the auto pilot and causes the boat to rock from side to side. We were using the genoa (in hindsite we should have used the main with a preventor) and a sudden gust from the other rear direction and the jib sheets wrapped around it and caught up on something on the deck. So we couldn't furl the jib. It was flapping around like mad. It was pitch black with no moon. Both of us had our life jackets on and Scott clipped on to the jack lines and went forward to straighten out the foredeck. With wildly flailing jib sheets and jib it wasn't easy but he managed to clear them enough for me to furl in the jib on the winch. What a relief. We had been watching a thunder storm ahead and worried about our jib tearing in a squall. Luckily I was feeling quite good and was able to stay up most of the night and let Scott get some sleep. He felt much better the next morning and I caught up a bit with naps during the day. 
The weather improved rapidly during the second day and by evening the seas and wind had subsided and it was a much easier night. Our only challenge was entering the ship channel in Belize - very confusing lights at the entrance. It's a strange feeling speeding along in the total darkness relying on your charts. But then we were behind the reef and it was a piece of cake down to Placencia. 
Last night we celebrated with friends out for dinner - 11 of us. And we sure enjoyed our quiet night of sleep - together at the same time! Tomorrow we sail down to an anchorage across the bay from the Rio Dulce and then into the river in the early morning on a high tide. We'll check into Guatemala and back to our Marina up river.
UPDATE: It's Noon on 4/30 and we're tied up at Tortugal Marina in Guatemala. It was a hot calm day motoring down to Tres Puntas, our anchorage across from the mouth of the Rio and hot again the next morning when we attempted to cross the bar. But yet again, despite a published tide of 2 feet, we needed help. Tipped over and powering ahead we made it through the shallow areas and anchored off Livingston. After checking into the country and a nice lunch with buddy boats Cordelia and Wahoo, we motored up to Texan Bay. That night Dave and his guest John entertained us at Mike's restaurant. And this morning on another scorching day Scott Free had her last day underway. She's tucked in now for the season and Scott & I are below with blessed air conditioning cooling down our body temperatures. It's 98 degrees and the humidity is very high.
Plans are to get the boat ready this week, take the bus to Antigua on Sunday May 7 and fly to Washington DC on 5/9. We'll be back in Vermont in another week or so.
UPDATE AGAIN - We're back in Maryland and Washington DC after a nice stay in Antigua at Chez Daniel and then excellent flights on Avianca through El Salvador to Dulles Airport. Unusually we enjoyed the trip as we did it with new friends Patrick and Sean from S/V Islander. We met Patrick in Isla Mujeres while he was on his own. Sean joined him as crew and they sailed down to the Rio a few days behind us. Unfortunately they had miserable weather and so were pretty happy to have Islander settled down at Tortugal and return home to Ireland. It was great fun company!
We said sad good-byes to our very good friends Uli & Thomas
from Toriba. They took off for the 3 day trip up to Key West
the day before we took off for Belize.
Eleven friends join up for a celebration dinner upon our
arrival in Belize.

Heather, Patrick, Sean and Scott. We traveled back from Guatemala with them 

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