Monday, March 2, 2009

RIO DULCE AND YACHT MARINAS SECTION OF 5 DAY GUATEMALAN TOUR, FEB. 2009

This is the Rio Dulce main drag. You can buy most things here in the grocery line. Stretches a mile along two sides of a two lane highway up into the Peten. Kinda small and the big high curving bridge would be behind me here, over the river. The river is loaded with two dozen or more small private marinas. Probably two hundred yachts are left here, while the owners are away. Belize government has a BAD reputation with the yacht people, so they stay over here in Guatemala instead, were they are welcomed. The charter boats usually go out to the three BAY ISLANDS off Honduras and skip the Belize Barrier Reef islands.
Another photo of the dockyard, were Robert has been hauling the Winnie Estelle for two decades at least.
My wife Silvia coming up the path from the dock at a private lakeside mansion. Robert is somewhere back there talking to a bunch of girls from the mansion, swimming off the beach. He said they were polite today, because of Silvia's presence, but usually they give him ribald jokes. They are sex workers that work nights at the cat house in the port about 10 miles away. Sex workers in Central America are legal workers, have licenses and required weekly medical inspections and zoned into specific areas to work. Unlike the hypocritical USA, or Canada. Sex is considered a daily function.
Winnie Estelle is going up in this dry dock, on old railway tracks soon as space opens up. Silvia Auxillou is standing on the side here.
San Felipe fort on the Rio Dulce
San Felipe the Spanish historical fort with cannons the other side of the river. The Spaniards ran a chain across the narrow neck of the Rio Dulce here to keep raiding pirates out, where it opens into Lago Izabel, a lake about 8 miles wide and 30 miles long. Beautiful spot and undeveloped for tourism so far.
The famous classic boat, the Winnie Estelle in the Rio Dulce marina. Waiting for a few weeks to go up on dry dock, as Robert wants to replace about 11 bottom planks that are originals, that were good some years ago, so he didn't change them back then.
We borrowed a 32 ft trawler yacht in the marina, Robert was watching while the owner was away, to sleep in. This is my wife SILVIA PINZON in the forward cabin bunks. We slept really great and decided to spend two nights instead and I swam in the Rio Dulce off the stern,which made me feel really good. Nice to get that humidity on the skin, as we are dry atmosphere were we live in the foothills of Belize at FALCONVIEW BACKPACKERS ADVENTURE HOSTEL.
We found Robert installing a new step to the cabin on the Winnie Estelle, a 70 ft Cheseapeake workboat nearly a 100 years old. A classic antique, but in brand new condition, having been rebuilt by Robert some years ago.
Boats at BRUNOS marina under the highway bridge by the Rio Dulce. We radioed from here and some babe in a nearby yacht gave us a ride a quarter mile to Robert Smith. Who was in a marina in a lagoon on the Western side, across the river from the Spanish fort San Felipe. We got dropped at this quiet marina in a hurricane hole, had about 15 boats at $150 usa a month for tie up. Most owners were away working in their home countries. Brunos was a lively place though under the bridge.
This is the bus stop on the main highway and the bus stop cafeteria. We had to back track to COBAN by mini-bus, then switch to another mini-bus to El RANCHO, the junction with the Guatemala City highway to Puerto Barrios and catch a regular pullman type bus here for the ride into Rio Dulce. Total hours from Lanquin, via COBAN, to El Rancho junction and down to Puerto Morales and Rio Dulce was about 7 hours of riding.

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