Blog Archives

Winter 2016/2017, Jump for Joy!

(January 15, 2017) Meeting old friends and neighbors! For staying in the Caribbean for last two years, we decided to enjoy winter weather this time. We also have things to take care of on land. Leaving the boat in North Carolina, John purchased a used vehicle. We drove it to Fort Lauderdale with our two cats. Nice to be back in Florida, Sunshine State! Despite of the heavy traffic in South Florida, we are enjoying the comforts and conveniences on land for now.

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Sailing from Rio Dulce River in Guatemala to Key West, Florida, USA

An adrenaline pumping sailing trip!

April 26 to May 3, 2016: I found that weather forecasts are about 50% accurate. Maybe it will rain, maybe it will not. Maybe it will be windy from the East, or maybe from somewhere else. Our sailing from Rio Dulce, Guatemala to Key West Florida started by motoring for three days, as the wind was directly in front of us, and we had a very limited area to sail in. This was definitely not what was forecasted. We stopped in different anchorages for first three nights to rest, the wind simply was not what we had expected.

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Shiny Bottom of the Keel, Touching the Bottom When Passing the Rio Dulce River Entrance

April 26, 2016: While waiting for a high tide to get out the Rio Dulce Entrance, a local boat stopped by and asked us if we needed his service to pass the shallow spot. We told him that we will follow our previous GPS track that we saved two months ago when we passed the shallow spot. We didn’t hit the bottom at that time.

Figures can mislead us. John showed me the high tide schedule on his iPad. It was different from the data I previously downloaded from the internet. Based on the data from the iPad,

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My Experiences of Clothes, Food, Water, and Medical Bills in Rio Dulce, Guatemala (February to April 2016)

“All sorts of bodily diseases are produced by half-used minds.” — George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright (1856-1950)

Clothes are real cheap in Rio Dulce. Most of the stores sell second hand clothes that appeared to be brought from the USA. John has been enjoying buying work T-Shirts when there is a bargain. It costs 33 cents for a T-Shirt. Whenever he brought newly purchased T-Shirts, we laughed at the printings on the T-Shirts. I also purchased a nice summer dress with 30 Quetzals (US$4). We don’t know how all of these second hand clothes are brought here but they were like new and real cheap.

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Burglar Bars for the Hatches

While staying in some anchorages at night, we sometimes wished to have a bit more protection on our deck hatches. We have four small hatches and one big hatch on the boat. These hatches are big enough so we can get out of the boat if needed during an emergency; at the same time, any intruder can easily break-in when we are soundly sleeping at night. Looking back, there are some anchorages, both John and I took a turn to watch at night because we didn’t feel safe. For about three years, John has wanted to have the burglar bars made.

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‘Land of Trees’, Boat Projects Accomplished in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

I have read that ‘Guatemala’ means ‘Land of Trees’ in the indigenous language. The country is still very green with lots of forests but most people use wood for cooking meals. Based on the daily wage, there are not enough jobs for the people here, and to compound the problem, families have lots of children leading to even more widespread poverty and overpopulation. Even though I prefer to eat meals cooked in either a wood burning oven or over and open fire, I am glad to see some are replaced with gas ovens or electric ovens as that means the deforestation might have a chance of being stopped.

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Quiet and Family Style, Calypso Marina, Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Calypso Marina in Rio Dulce, if one loves tranquility, it is the marina to stay. (

There are many marinas in Rio Dulce River. Selecting a marina is matter of a personal choice. Marina cost in Rio Dulce is about the same, US$250/month including the water but electricity is an additional charge. Among all the marinas here in Rio Dulce, John decided to stay in the Calypso Marina because it is quietly located in an area with no boat wakes, offers easy walk access to the town, and is cat friendly (We have two cats). The marina manager speaks multiple languages (English,

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Guatemala – Claro SIM Card

*** My Experiences with Claro SIM Card in Guatemala (February to April 2016) ***

In Guatemala, I bought a Claro SIM card because a Claro store is conveniently located by the Municipal Pier in Livingstone. I paid about 15 Quetzals (US$2) for a SIM card. It came with 150 MB data. The store representative inserted the SIM card into my Android Smartphone (Unlocked Sony Xperia) and activated it with only one problem; she had to change the setup in Spanish to understand the configuration. My Sony Xperia Phone has built-in WiFi hotspot and native USB tethering feature.

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The Rio Dulce, a River in the Jungle

Sailing to Rio Dulce was an impromptu decision for us. This is the place where the original Jonny Weissmuller Tarzan movies were filmed. While we were passing through the Rio Dulce river gorge, John was more impressed by it than I was. He never stopped saying that “Wow, it’s awesome!” As the river is over 15 miles long to the main town, it took about four hours from Livingston (the Caribbean Sea) to Fronteras (a village along the river). On the way, we anchored our boat in front of the Hot Springs and jumped into the thermal water, took a cave tour,

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Livingston Town, Entrance of Rio Dulce, Guatemala

It is known there is a shallow spot at the Rio Dulce entrance between the river and the sea. The shallow spot is about 5.5 feet (1.68 meters) at low tide. Most of the sailors wait for high tide to enter this spot so as not to get stuck on the muddy bottom. Our boat needs 6.5 feet depth (2 meter) to float. To make our boat light, we emptied two water tanks and one fuel tank by consuming them prior. This made ‘Bad Bunny’ float with 6.4 feet depth (1.95 meters) instead of 6.5 feet. We did wait for a night outside of the river and planned to cross this spot during high tide (1.5 feet =0.48 meters higher) around 8am next day.

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