|Many times over the summer I thought that if I didn't escape this steamy, sweaty place I'd go crazy (or crazier) but now that we are about to leave I realize what a wonderful experience it has been to spend these past 5 months living in this little jungle paradise.
Stepping off the bus in Fronteras after the long ride from Guatemala City is like stepping onto a movie set. It's noisy, hot, dusty, sticky, stinky and bursting with colour. Swarms of bees buzz around the ripening fruit along the sides of the road. Pedestrians wind along the far too narrow stretch of roadway between 18 wheelers, cattle trucks and buses. Motorcylces and scooters wind through vehicles and pedestrians alike. Walking through Fronteras takes total focus, the streets are broken and uneven, riddled with obstacles for the tourista not paying attention. Wheeling our 3 rolling suitcases and lugging more bags, laptop, backpack and cameras through this kaleidascope of life feels like adventure travel but no it's just us, heading back to life as we know it here on the boat.
We watched our neighbours Jim and Jeannie on Oasis II cast off from the dock on their way out the Rio a couple of days ago and we won't be far behind. Like most boaters, they had to time their departure to correspond with high tide because of the shallow bar that must be crossed heading from Livingston Bay out into the Bay of Honduras. It can be a major obstacle to boats with deeper drafts and there are always "bar crossing" horror stories going around. Jeannie called me today to ask me to look up the marine weather on the internet for her and reported that they had a very bumpy bar crossing, dragging all the way.
With our 3 1/2' draft it isn't an issue for us so we will wait here and keep an eye on the weather this week. With respect to leaving the Rio, we are the envy of every boat here at the marina, not having to plan our departure at high tide.
The marine forecast calls for winds from the east 20-25 knots for the next couple of days and then east and northeast 10-15 knots so we will wait here patiently. Memories of big, open water and wind are not so faded that I care to poke our nose out there until conditions are perfect. After 5 months what is another few days?
We have enjoyed a couple of days of slightly cooler weather since returning, but for the most part it has been HOT. It rained off and on, heavy at times today so after a long, afternoon nap I called Jeannie back to see how they were faring out in their anchorage at Cabo Tres Puntas after 6 months at the dock. A few miles can make all the difference in weather here, just 20-30 miles to the east and on the "outside" she reported that the weather had been hot, breezy and pleasant and that they were enjoying the clear Caribbean water in a flat calm anchorage.
We will no doubt catch up to them on our way to the Honduras Bay Islands. Many boats from the Rio head that way this time of year so we are looking forward to running into people we know there.
The Captain installed the new mascerator pump that we picked up in Florida and fixed our wash-down pump so we could wash the boat, at least one last time, in fresh water before leaving. We downloaded marine charts and cruising guide excerpts from Jim and Jeannie and have been busy doing the million and one things that need to be done before casting off from shore and living on the hook for who knows how long. We will need to become self sufficient again, stretching fresh water, stocking up on provisions as we head into unknown territory, not knowing when or if we will find certain items.
It's exciting heading out to sea, going exploring once again but it's also a little intimidating. We've adapted to this quirky little place on the Rio Dulce and become quite at home. The Call of the Ocean is always there though, I can almost hear the waves from here.
The map of Central America shows Roatan in the Honduras Bay Islands where we will be heading soon. The map of Honduras, which I will subsitute later, can be chosen from the map menu below the current map and viewed to show more detail of the area. All the maps I have used since we left Lake Simcoe can be revisited from this list.