Sunday, March 15, 2020

Change of Plans!

Well, lots of news. On Wednesday March 11 we heard that Guatemala was restricting access into the country. And the situation throughout the world seemed to be escalating. Plus if the virus spread to Belize, they wouldn't be able to handle it. There are few and mostly basic medical services there. We thought hard and had a sleepless night over the options.
On Thursday, March 12, we checked the boat and ourselves out of Belize and motored all day down to an anchorage off of Livingston, Guatemala, where we enter the Rio Dulce. We were able to anchor just after sundown with several other boats (always a relief).  On Friday we crossed the bar and entered the country. We were extremely lucky because the twice a month high tides allowed us to cross the shallow bar without too much trouble. We still always have to hire a boat to pull us over on our side to get across, but it didn't take long.
We weren't allowed to leave Scott Free until the officials came out on their own boat (with masks and gloves) to check our papers, passports and take our temperatures. We were allowed in because we had only visited Belize after leaving Guatemala in January. (If Belize gets the virus, they'd shut down entry from there too). Guatemala closed their borders to Europeans last week and have added the ban to US and Canadian citizens at midnight on Monday, March 16.  So after one night anchored on the river at Cayo Quemado, we're back at our marina tied up and safe for now. The next question is when to fly home. Our son Joshua, a doctor,  thinks we're better off here. So we're staying put for now. On March 13 the first person to be diagnosed with Oovid 19 in Guatemala was an 85 year old Guatemalan citizen who had returned from a visit to Northern Italy. He later died.
Our friends Emerald Seas and Cordelia were out at South Water Cay, Belize expecting us to join them. We felt awful deserting them, but we have a deeper draft and more need of a high tide, so we felt we had to take off without them. Happily, they crossed the bar on Monday the 16th and will be with us here at Tortugal Marina in a few days. Yeh! Ten Year's After made it back on Saturday the 14th from Roatan and She Wolf and Capraia canceled their plans to go to Belize. So - lots of company here.
Update: Guatemala closed all their borders and the airport two days after Emerald Seas and Cordelia made it in. Many of our friends were stuck in Belize: Lapis, Firefly and My Jo left their boats at Roberts Grove in Placencia and flew home just before Belize closed it's airport.  Fandango, Chickcharne, My Island Queen, Canel, and Kookie Dance are still in Belize as of April 21. And Wahoo and Lianda are still trapped in Honduras. 
Update Dec 2, 2020 - Everyone but Chickcharne, Lapis, My Jo, Firefly, and My Island Queen made it back to the Rio Dulce. Everyone but My Island Queen left their boats in Belize and flew home. My Island Queen never left the boat and continued cruising all year - they had a scary time avoiding the hurricane that hit Belize around Sapadilla Lagoon. Kathleen and Kevin flew back to Belize on 11/25 and are preparing My Jo and Sea Dragon to bring back to the river. Only Scott and Tamara are still at Tortugal, which has been flooded by the two hurricanes that devastated Guatemala this fall. Don and Rosie plan to fly to Belize in a few days but Woody & Judy think they'll leave Lapis in Belize and pay the temporary import duty.
Scott Free at peace tied up at Tortugal Marina in Guatemala.

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