Rio Dulce (Part II)

October 4, 2016: Bradenton, FL; Ken

Amy and friend

Amy and friend

After spending weeks getting Mary T organized, we finally took a week long sail on the waters of the Rio Dulce. First, eastward towards Cayo Quemado. Just as we were entering the waters known as El Golfete, we noticed the engine was overheating. We immediately turned around and sailed back to Shell Bay, opposite of the town of Fronteras. After the motor cooled, we went through the cooling system burping procedure that we’d learned years earlier and ran the motor to test it out. All was good but by this time, it was too late to make it to our original destination. This was not a problem as the anchorage was breezy allowing us desperate sailors a chance to enjoy our first night away from the dock.

The following day was windless so we motored all the way to Cayo Quemado — without mechanical difficulty — where we anchored for a couple of days adventuring further in our dinghy. One day we visited a small eco-lodge on a tributary of the Rio Dulce and later explored the nearby hot spring caves. We also rode a launch to Livingston and gazed longingly at the Caribbean.

After this three day jaunt, we motored back from Cayo Quemado to Fronteras and anchored out again in Shell Bay. The next day we gave our new sail a work out on Lago Izabal, the big lake west of Fronteras. We were giddy with excitement to be actually sailing again. The weather was good and we had that big, beautiful lake all to ourselves. We tried all the reef points on the sail and were very pleased with how the boat performed. We contemplated anchoring out but the sky started look a bit threatening so we opted to anchor near one of our favorite restaunts, Tortugal.

All mechanical systems such as the windlass, motor and various other odds and ends performed as expected. And, as tempted as we were to keep sailing towards the Caribbean, we felt it wise to go back to the dock and begin to de-commission Mary T for another uncertain amount of time. Our time doing this depressing task was made more enjoyable by hanging out with new friends we made who were staying in one of the marina cabins. Anita and Carter are experienced cruisers between boats who had spent months on the Rio years ago and needed a fresh fix. They generously ferried us far and wide in their rental launch giving us the opportunity to see much more of the area than we could by way of our small dinghy and outboard.

We arrived back in Bradenton on August 2 and are back into our landlubber routine. Our brief time in Guatemala now seems like a very short dream. We hope to try again to bring Mary T to the US around March or April of 2017.

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