When we left off last time
, we were just about to arrive at Abelle's boatyard on the Rio Dulce (and near the town of Fronteras, also known as Rio Dulce), Guatemala. And whaddaya know? Here it is, our ultimate destination straight ahead! We arrived there just a little after noon.
We tied up to the dock since all three of the "big boat" spaces were already in use
We docked right next to some buildings and homes (top of photo above), and locals were bathing and washing dishes in the water very close to our boat.
The shore power connection was a bit primitive, but it gave us the current we needed
Looking back towards the bridge, we got lucky and caught the sight of a sailboat flying its spinnaker
Barry and I decided to take a walk to check out the boatyard and local area. Before we'd even gotten off the dock, we met a friendly couple cruising on s/v Mistral
, the large catamaran on the far left in the photo below, and had a nice chat with them before they took off in their dinghy for a late lunch. They had been stuck at Abelle's waiting for a part for longer than they expected and were more than ready to continue their cruise up to Belize as soon as possible.
We also noted that the well-known buyboat Winnie Estelle
was at the yard having repairs. We had no idea of this boat's illustrious history
until we got home and did some googling, but it is quite fascinating. We later got to meet her owner, Captain Robert(o), who told us that he has sold her and will be delivering her to Key West later in the season. Sounds like she will eventually be taken back home to Annapolis, where she was built in 1920, as these folks were hoping
. What a great story!
(L to R): Mistral, Winnie Estelle, and a Moorings catamaran whose spot we'd be taking the next morning
It was interesting to see how this Guatemalan boatyard compared to Sailcraft in Oriental, NC. When we'd purchased our Catalina 30, Logos, in 2007, we'd taken delivery of her at Sailcraft. In 2009, we had her hauled out there and did our own bottom painting
. Abelle's was a bit different: hillier, muddier, smaller, and the unisex bathroom wasn't nearly as nice as the large bath house with separate facilities for men and women at Sailcraft. But Abelle's did have wi-fi, so Simon and Ruthie were happy as they could play with their gadgets.
Monohulls in the boatyard
This car was dead in the boat yard. I didn't happen to notice if the license plates had changed since 2004 when we walked around the local roads.
Local road in this rural area -- quiet with little traffic
Pig in someone's yard -- yep, I mentioned it was rural!
We discovered a beautiful park on our walk, but since there was an entry fee, we decided to wait and tell the others about it so that we could all go the next day, since we'd have a day of freedom while the work was being done on s/v Hope. We also tried to find some paper plates at a couple of local stores, both to save water and dish-washing labor on the boat, but all they had were huge stacks of styrofoam plates for sale, so we passed.
After our walk, I elected to take a shower in the boatyard restroom to save water on s/v Hope. When I got into the stall, I realized there was only one handle and immediately knew what that meant: no hot water. Fortunately, it was a warm afternoon with temperature around 86F and heat index of 93. Not much breeze once you got off the water, either. So, a cold shower, while a bit brisk for my usual taste, was actually tolerable and very refreshing.
Sign on bathroom: "Only customers please"
After the shower, we hung out on the boat for awhile before leaving for dinner. Bruce, Barry, and I did some bird watching in nearby trees with our binoculars, and a few adult beverages may have been consumed.
Cap't Simon telling Chunky, Ruthie, and me something important, I'm sure. Barry was showering so missed whatever it was.
Clive, Bruce, and Barry all showered and relaxing
Simon suggested we walk over to a nearby hotel and restaurant for dinner. It was a nice walk over and great setting, save for the mosquitoes, who came after us with a vengeance once we sat down.
Where we ate
Nice outdoor setting, but the mozzies found us
The menu was entirely in Spanish. Fortunately we had Clive to help, plus our rudimentary skills, but Barry gave up and ordered chicken soup (sopa de pollo) since he could tell what it was, and he claimed not to be very hungry. I ordered curried chicken.
Example menu page in Spanish and currency in Quetzales
My curried chicken
The parmesan cheese incident.
Barry started eating his chicken soup and proclaimed it delicious. He noticed a small plate next to his soup bowl, and exclaiming "hey, cheese!", proceeded to scrape most of the contents into his soup. At the same moment, Chunky was looking around for the salt he'd ordered for his burger. You can definitely see where this one is going. Apparently, they serve salt on plates in this restaurant since humidity that would cause it to be sticky in a shaker. Chunky was sitting right next to Barry, and when the waiter delivered his salt, Barry mistook it for parmesan. An honest mistake, especially considering the yellow lighting over our table. This incident, while unfortunate, provided a lot of fodder for jokes and laughs for the remainder of our trip, but I am not sure it was worth it for Barry. Fortunately the chicken and veggies in the soup were still edible, but the lovely broth was a no go after the dousing with el sal.
Barry's chicken soup and Chunky's plate close by to the right, which caused the salty confusion.
Since Barry didn't have much to eat, he was able to snap this photo of the rest of us.
(L to R): Emily, Clive, Simon, Bruce, Ruthie, Chunky
After dinner, we were pretty tired and ready to head back to the boat to get some sleep, but Simon (aka party animal) was hankering for a bit of pool and a couple more beers, so we walked over to the local pool hall. It was closed, probably because it was Sunday, but there was a young woman bartender inside. Simon called to her through the windows, and asked her if she would open up if we'd drink a bunch of beers. She called her manager and agreed to open up.
Simon suggested a tournament, and since most of the folks hadn't played since high school, we all figured he was a shoe-in to win. Since we had an odd number of people, and since I have deep-seated grade school anxiety involving any game involving a ball, I sat out of the fun, which meant that I could snap a few photos.
Much to his surprise, Barry came in second only to Simon, due to a few lucky breaks (and a few good shots). I think he was as surprised as I was because he was one of the ones who hadn't played in decades.
Barry had better luck with pool than with soup!
After the tournament, we walked back to the boat to crash. Simon told us that we needed to have our breakfast and be ready to get off the boat at 7 am the next morning, as the Moorings catamaran would be splashing then, and s/v Hope going up onto the hard in her place.
Stay tuned for Guatemala Cruise Day 3: A long day in Rio Dulce