A Step Back in Time..

The famous old cars in Havana

We set off in tandem with Medea for Cuba. The first 24 hours were awful, with short waves, big swell and really uncomfortable – the dreaded mal de mer hit me and for the first time ever I was actually seasick. It’s a horrible feeling but after the first 24 hours I was much better thank goodness. I can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer for days on end. The last 24 hours was brilliant though, we had a wonderful beam reach and had the Code 0 out so we were flying along at between 8-10knots. We were hoping to crack the illusive 200nm in 24 hours but for the third time only did 196nm! One day we will do it….

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The islands of Belize and Isla Mujeres

Punta Gorda – baskets for sale

The journey from Guatemala to Belize was one of the shortest new country sails we had ever done. We left at about 8am and were anchored in Punta Gorda in Belize by midday! Wonderful – now for check in…. should be easy because they speak English but Belize time moves very slow and it took most of the day even though all the offices, harbour master, immigration, customs and quarantine are all in the same building. They did allow us to go into the town to get a sim card and some internet and we took the opportunity to grab some lunch. Punta Gorda is a very sleepy little town, with dusty streets and run down buildings but we liked it… it felt very safe.

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Guatemala – so much to see…

2 brothers and the visiting backpackers inside – 2 worlds living side by side.

We rose early the next day and got the public boat across the lake to visit the small village of San Pedro. There are about 10 villages on the shores of Lake Atitilan and each seems to have a theme. San Pedro tends to be where the backpackers hang out, there’s one that make textiles, one that is an alternative village offering meditation, yoga and retreats, a religious one, and some that are just typical Guatemalan villages that don’t cater at all for tourists. We were time poor so we could only visit a couple and chose two of the most popular.

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Marina life again… on the Rio Dulce Guatemala

The Guatemalan ladies still wear traditional costume

We arrived at the mouth of the mighty Rio Dulce at the port of Livingstone. This was where we had to check in and organise our internet. We were using an agent who sent out one of his guys within about 20 minutes of us dropping anchor. As we had prepared everything and sent through all the paperwork beforehand, all we had to do was sign a few things, give him our passports and wait for an hour or so. We walked around Livingstone for a while, bought some of their local bread and got some internet and then headed back to pick up our passports. Not only was it one of the easiest check-ins we have ever had but we were given a cap and a mug as a welcome gift. Think we are going to like this place!

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Panana – More than a canal

Morning bread being delivered by hand.

We headed back to Linton Bay to get our Panama cruisers permit which we had been told can take up to three weeks to come through. We liked Linton Bay, especially the ramshackle cruisers bar that had an honour system for coffee and produced magnificent burgers and pizzas from a very humble kitchen. After a few days Ian from Blue Infinity turned up and we got a few boats jobs done while waiting for the permit to come through.

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Islands, jungle and a canal…Panama

Colourful, loud music, crowded and slow but…. so much fun to travel by bus in Panama.

It was a 2 day motor sail all the way to Linton Bay in Panama which was frustrating but we arrived in time to call into the marina office, pick up some parcels we had waiting for us and check into the country – all before dinner. We were spending a day or two in the marina while we waiting for Darryl to come in from the San Blas islands.

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Cartagena – hot hot hot..

Unbelievably good murals in Cartagenas back streets.

We arrived in Cartagena not knowing what to expect. Every time we come to a new country there is anticipation, excitement and a bit of nerves about the port entry, legal procedures etc but it’s always different and we are glad when we eventually find the right anchorage and get settled. Colombia need agents to check in so we called Maria (every lady in Colombia is called Maria we discovered!) And she sent a guy out who took our passports away, got them stamped and returned them to us that evening. We were now ready to explore…

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Curacao – a surprise visit

The Willemsted waterfront.

We arrived at Los Roques as planned at about 10am – as we needed eyeball navigation to get through the reef around the anchorage. We had made good time and had about 4-5 hours up our sleeve to make the entry. Problem was it was terrible weather – squally and dark. Too much cloud and visibility so low we didn’t dare attempt the entry. We waited for about 4 hours hoping it would clear up enough for us to see the reef but this front was here to stay and we didn’t fancy hanging around on a moonless night off a large reef. Decision taken- we would go straight to Curacao and miss Los Roques. It was a bit disappointing but as you can only enter Los Roques every other week we had to go to this particular anchorage to wait and it was untenable in those conditions. Safety first etc….

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Back to the Caribbean

We were lucky that Trinidad had opened their borders to yachts just as we were leaving Guyana so we had a wonderful easy sail back to the Caribbean. We entered Chagauramas harbour at 2am, dropped the hook in front of Peake Yacht club and fell into a deep slumber.

The next Morning we met up with Yvanna to check into the country. Yvana runs the Peake Boatyard and we think she has been the best liaison between Yachtie and authority we have encountered. She actually came with us to customs and immigration herself, which was only a short dinghy ride away, and smoothed the way for a completely painless entry. We then docked on the jetty as there are a few jobs we needed to do.

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