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Captain Log ID: 988
Title: Sea Sprite In Guatemala
Boat Name(Id): Sea Sprite ( 2454)
Sailor Name(Id): Hans-M. Fruergaard ( 6446)
Geo Region: Rio Dulce
Date of Occurance: 2007-06-29
Latitude: N 15º   39.6'
Longitude: W 89º   0.06'
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Earlier log from "Sea Sprite":  945
Newer log from "Sea Sprite":  993
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Part 2 & 3: Further to our experiences as a live aboard cruising family:

The tour to Belmopan became a 3 days trip, the first day for the travel and some tourist expeditions, which was very short due to the small town with only 7,000 inhabitants. The smallest Capital in the World, but nicely located with great areas of green parks surrounded by Government building and local people’s houses. Next day was the interview at the American Embassy, 3 hours waiting time and 15 minutes interview with me as the speaker for the family. We got the approval for a multiple B1/B2 Visa, valid 5 years for Carmen and the children and 10 years for me. We where told to collect our passports next day at 1530 and Carmen was now very proud over her first US Visa.

Friday June 9 was the busy day with provision and preparing Sea Sprite for next crusade. Shopping in Belize means well assorted supermarkets with a lot of American product on the shells. The import of groceries to the country also means a bit higher price level than in USA. I also had to buy a new battery due to one of the 3 batteries I newly bought in San Andres had a cell failure; nice with a warranty you can’t use outside Colombia!!!

Saturday morning we left Cucumber Beach Marina for some Southbound sailing in the Belize archipelago. During the following week we visited Bluefield Range a mangrove area with 2 Manatees swimming around our anchor position, Tobacco Cay and South Water Cay, both nice beach resorts with plenty of Coco Nuts palm trees and surrounded by spectacular snorkeling reefs. Tobacco Cay is the backpacker resort and the beer is cheap. South Water Cay is for the more sophisticated tourists with two first class hotels and off course more expensive beer prices. The Navigation in this archipelago has to be very precise due to the lack of detailed Marine Charts; but with the combination of the 10 years old Cruising Guide and sharp look out we managed to clear all obstacles without any ground contact. It is now the time for daily Thunderstorms which mainly pass close to the main land, but last night we had some very active Cumulonimbus Clouds around us with heavy rain and thunder overhead our anchorage. The result was that next day I had to dive sorting out our twisted boy line around the rudder and propeller shaft. Tidal water currents and opposite wind direction makes the mess to happen, but this time I didn’t have to use the knife.

From South Water Cay we continued to Placencia a mainland tourist resort famous for the friendly people living there, the nice beaches and a 2 KM long and 1 meter wide pedestrian street passing along and on top of the soft fine coral sand between the nice tourist facilities, along the beach and the houses in the center of the village. We will stay here until Saturday 23 June to become part in the yearly Lobster Festival which will start the day before our departure. The time here in Belize is very fast passing by; we have to leave the country before Tuesday 26 June to avoid applying for an extension of our 30 days visit. Saturday 23 June, tried to clear out from Belize at nearby Big Creak Harbor, but in Belize it seems as there are no Customs & Immigration on duty during week-ends. We managed to get some water supply in Big Creek (no water in Placencia due to lack of pressure) and then continued for New Haven Bay closer to Punta Gorda where we expect to clear out on Monday.

Monday 25 a windy day with gusts up to 30 kts made our short visit in Punta Gorda for clearing out gave us some problems getting up the anchor, but after several tries we finally managed to become free for further sailing toward Rio Dulce in Guatemala (36 NM away). With only reefed Jib the strong wind gave us a cruising speed of 6-7 kts and we arrived 1 hour early at the River Dulce entry point where we had to wait for the high tide to be able to cross the sand bar into the river. The sand bar routing was a new experience for me and we also touched the soft mud 3 times during the passage mainly because of the waves from behind moving Sea Sprite up and down. That was not a major problem since I could still keep enough speed to come through the sand bar.

The first town inside River Dulce is Livingstone where we have to perform the check in procedures. When we arrived at 1630 there was no answers on our radio calls, so we decided to proceed further up the river to be rid of the strong wind and waves around the harbor entry and the next day perform the check in formalities before continue further along the river.

Rio Dulce is a natural beauty with cliffs and dense rain forest vegetation on both sides of the river. I am sure there are a lot of wild animals in this jungle and during the first night stop we also heard a lot of animal sounds close to our anchor position. Carmen’s first question to me was “are there any Anaconda snakes in this river” and I must admit I calmed her down by saying “NO OF COURSE NOT” without really knowing the true. Carmen believe that the Anaconda can swim out to Sea Sprite and then climb up into the boat via the anchor chain. I am in doubt about that possibilities, but who know she might be right in her worries. Other well known wild animals here are the Jaguar, Leopard, the Black Panther and a lot of Howler Monkeys (with a frightening sound like a Gorilla or Orangutan)

Since 27 June have we now docked at Bruno’s Marina in Fronteras or Rio Dulce Town, both names has been common for this place. Our plan is to stay here for the next 4 months due to the hurricane season. Rio Dulce Town is a small village where to all the Indians comes to the marked day 3 times per week for selling there handcrafts or groceries from the street stands. Generally most common needs can be bought here and Bruno’s Marina is located at the food of the towns shoreline. There are no other roads than the main road toward Guatemala City which means all local transportations are by boats along the river.

We intend to make some expeditions inside the country by bus, as well as on the two lakes with Sea Sprite, Lagos Izabal and El Golfete, and will later on return with some notes about these adventures.