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Day 488 - Rio Dulce, Guatemala (N 15° 39.0 W 89° 00.1)
17:13 hrs - September 30th, 2008
Nothing to declare

Somehow, dragging six bags and two chart tubes, with a combined weight of over 200lbs, miraculously didn't raise any suspicion as we approached the customs desk in the Guatemalan international airport. Concerned about the potential duty we'd have to pay on all of our new gear, Catherine and I tried our best to act as nonchalantly and innocently as possible, as though the mountain of bags simply contained our usual travel essentials. We made it through the airport without delay and after another six hour bus ride, found ourselves back onboard our beloved Dream Time.

We've been back for four days and have only just finished unpacking and stowing all our new gear and supplies. We found Dream Time to be in great shape - bug, mold and dirt free! Tortugal Marina does an outstanding job of maintaining boats while owners are away; running dehumidifiers, air conditioners and engines. Scrubbing, cleaning and polishing are also complementary services included in the very reasonable monthly docking fee of $228. (The equivalent of three nights in a New York marina - without the services.)

We love being back on the boat, surrounded by the jungle and all of its noise, life and surprises. Yesterday, after a 55 foot vertical climb to the very top of Dream Time's mast to install our new B&G anemometer and wind vane, imagine my disbelief when I was greeted by a googly-eyed 6" albino gecko. "What are you doing way up here?" I asked. Hanging upside down watching the installation with interest, he didn't seem at all bothered by my company and with the aid of his little suction feet, scampered around confidently when I gently nudged him with my finger to get out of the way.

Yes, it's good to be back, but Catherine and I are looking forward to our next leg. In early November we'll let the Rio Dulce current carry us back downstream and out into the Caribbean Sea. We'll be sailing over to the island of Roatan, then around Honduras and down to the Colombian island of Providencia, over to Cartagena, the San Blas islands and finally, the Panama Canal - the Pacific Ocean awaits...

Dream Time: Installed new dodger grab rails, B&G anemometer, wind vane, furler block, propane security straps. Dropped both propane tanks off for refill.



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Day 483 - Rio Dulce, Guatemala (N 15° 39.0 W 89° 00.1)
17:25 hrs - September 25th, 2008
Return to Guatemala!

We flew safely back across the Atlantic to Guatemala City last night after a few extremely happy and productive weeks of family, friends, haircuts, dentist and doctor visits and boat supply shopping in the UK.  We racked up over 1,700 miles in our trusty rental car and ate more fish and chips and chocolate biscuits than we probably should have, and stocked up on enough family news, hugs and kisses to take us through the next long leg of our watery journey. Even though it was only a few weeks, we allowed the limits and realities of day to day life in Guatemala and the boat fade from our consciousness and let ourselves slip luxuriously into the pleasures and delights of everyday life in England that we used to take so much for granted, and what a glorious treat it all was.

Now we are back in Guatemala City, it's back to business. We have a 6 hour bus ride to get back to the Rio Dulce and the boat and as its getting close to the end of hurricane season (Nov. 30th) we have lots of organizing and planning to do to get the boat and us ready to leave Guatemala for our next port of call Honduras!! 



   

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Day 475 - Rio Dulce, Guatemala (N 15° 39.0 W 89° 00.1)
15:32 hrs - September 17th, 2008
Time for tea

We've got Yellow Fever!   Well, to be exact, we've got Yellow Fever, Rabies, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Polio and Typhoid (thankfully in very small, doctor administered doses). We've also got nautical charts for the south Pacific - covering over 6,000 nautical miles from Panama to Australia, electronic charts for the same area, cruising guide books for the Galapagos, Marquesas, Tonga and Fiji, a lifetag system that promises to wake unsuspecting crew of a MOB situation (man overboard) with a shrieking 50 decibel alarm, new sailing hardware, binoculars, a fire blanket, a new B&G anemometer and side-mounted dodger handles!

I apologize for the late blog but we've been in England for the last two weeks and a little busy - running around seeing family, friends, dentists, a doctor, buying boat supplies and visiting the annual Southampton Boat Show, that coincidently just happens to be on. We've already covered almost a thousand miles in our little Ford Fiesta hire car (a third of the distance we've sailed in the last 14 months) but we've accomplished a great deal. We've only got one more week left in the UK before we fly back home to Dream Time so we're focused on accomplishing the last of our tasks before leaving, whilst trying our best to sample as many helpings of fish and chips, roast beef dinners, pork pies, and English breakfasts as we can before returning to our Central American diet of fajita de pollo and guacamole.

We've had a fabulous time in England with family and close friends, in part because we know that, once we transit the Panama Canal and begin our long journey across the south Pacific, it may be a few years until we'll return. So I gotta run, it 15:30 and time for a cup of tea and a biscuit. We'll report back to you in about a week when we've returned to the jungles of Guatemala.

 

SPECIAL THANKS to our sponsors SeaSchool for supplying Dream Time with navigational charts for our upcoming Pacific crossing, covering our route from Panama to New Zealand, and to John Busso at Axispoint for fabricating two additional WiFi cables - thank you!



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Day 461 - Rio Dulce, Guatemala (N 15° 39.0 W 89° 00.1)
20:47 hrs - September 3rd, 2008
Travels to Guatemala City

Well we have been all over Guatemala City now and taken in the best of it and some of the not so best of it.  After a bumpy 5 hour bus ride from our sleepy river town of Fronteras, Guatamala city is a pretty overwhelming and hectic place.  It is full of US influences, and has the feel of a smart metropolitan city one minute, but then a distinctly wild west feeling the next.  We had beautiful weather and walked and taxied around to get a sense of it all.  We visited everything from the very impressive and intensely guarded government buildings to a bar “El Portal” where according to legend Ernesto "Che" Guevara “blew the suds off a few”…. we even got to an Austrian restaurant (for a chocolate fondue, my idea naturally) which was great up until the power went out, as it frequently does here, in one of the regular afternoon lightning storms, but we continued by candlelight which just made the chocolate more romantic!

We still have lots left to see before we head to the airport for our flight back to the UK where among other things we will be making a visit to the Southampton Boat Show to pick up electronic charts for the south Pacific!!