November 2009

volleyball in guatemala

We started cruising again in November but since the hurricane season was not quite over, we stayed in the Rio Dulce and sailed about 25 miles up the river to Lake Izabal .  We anchored with about 12 other boats, off Denny’s Beach, a small resort with restaurant, beach, hiking trails, horseback riding, volleyball, and kayaks.  The plan was to spend a few days enjoying the facilities and one of Denny’s famous full moon parties.  Unfortunately, we had constant squalls and lots of rain and didn’t have an opportunity to enjoy many activities.  John was able to play some volleyball between rain showers.  It was wonderful to be back at anchor again and to check out everything on the boat before we left the river.

Volleyball at Denny's Beach

San Felipe Fort


Before we left the Rio Dulce, we took a long hike to Castillo San Felipe which guarded the entrance into Lake Izabal .  In the 1600’s, pirates used the Rio Dulce to gain entrance to inland Guatemala .  The Castillo was built in 1651 to discourage the pirates.  The Castillo was reconstructed in 1955 true to its original structure and is a National Park and a favorite tourist attraction with Guatemalan and foreign travelers.   There are nice swimming and picnic areas which are busy with local families on most week-ends.


Castillo San Felipe

After Hurricane Ida passed, we finalized our official clearance papers from Guatemala and waited for high tide at the entrance to the Rio Dulce.  We entered the Caribbean Sea again on November 12, almost five months after entering the river.  As we look back, the Rio Dulce is a good place to keep your boat during hurricane season.  The fresh water of the Rio Dulce is less harsh than salt water on a boat, and the Rio Dulce is a wonderful place to use a base for traveling throughout Guatemala (see July 2009 and October 2009 Cruising logs).

Seal caysOn Friday the 13th, (guess we aren’t superstitious) we officially entered the beautiful clear waters of Belize , just north of Guatemala .  We couldn’t wait to go for a salt water swim at our first anchorage.  Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world (second to Australia ) which is scattered with small cays (islands).  The area has wonderful opportunities for snorkeling and diving and spear fishing in waters not protected by a national park or preserve.   Belize is a place where we plan to spend lots of time away from civilization and out on the barrier reefs and cays.  We have already enjoyed some wonderful snorkeling and fresh fish (chub, flounder and snapper) and conch from our successful fishing efforts.


Seal Cay, Belize

Reef off Seal Cay

Seal Cay reefWe spent several days around Thanksgiving anchored at Placencia, a small town in Southern Belize .  The area is becoming very popular with people from the U.S. and other countries looking to build a second home.  A real estate developer originally from Colorado invited all the cruising boats in the harbor to join his Thanksgiving pot luck dinner.   About 30 people representing cruisers and land lubbers from Belize , U.S. , Canada , Belgium , and Germany attended.  We had all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes as well as fresh shrimp and conch.  It was a great time and a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving if we could not spend it with our family.

As we welcome December we are scoping out good spots to visit with our daughter Ashley and son-in-law Mike who will be visiting for a few days in early December. 

Thanksgiving Day Sunset

Thanksgiving Day sunset