One more night on Catalyst

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To check out photos from our current voyage, please click on the “Catalyst Photo Archive” to the right. 

May 6, 2001.  Wondered why Craig was not getting the log published though I sent it on the 4th.  Luckily he is busy with is real estate job right now so thought that might be the reason.  Just checked, and it never was sent.  So please read noting that the info is already a little old.

May 4, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

We are working hard to get the boat organized and moved on board Chat-Eau.  I am trying to get all the kitchen things taken care of before we really clean everything up inside tomorrow.  I will empty the refrigerator and freezer and get them cleaned out.  We will be moving on to Chat-Eau tomorrow and any of the messy baking things I wanted to do before we moved, I wanted done on our boat.  I made a couple ham and cheese sandwich loaves, some cinnamon rolls and brownies and put them in the freezer to eat on the cruise home.  I still have some things to take care of yet this afternoon but I just sent home all the remainder frozen meat, cheeses and nuts plus my condiments that got opened, etc. with Chris and Kelli as there is not enough room in Chat-Eau’s refrigerator for all my things and what they still have on board.

We have actually provided many goodies between my pantry and Nancy’s that went home with C&K.  While you can get all you need here,  getting some interesting gourmet or American style food items is not always easy.  We are happy to share what we will easily be able to replace when we return home.

This brings me to the topic of arriving here in Rio Dulce.  This town was called Fronteras until recently.  The original name comes from it being a “frontier” town and the feeling was that it has built up enough to have a more sophisticated or pretty name.  So now the town has the same name as the river.

After leaving Texan Bay, one finds the rest of the trip up the river different than the first part.  While the first part of the river is more narrow and bordered by high land with lush vegetation, the area after Texan Bay opens up in to a large lake referred to as the Gulfo.  You can easily see all sides but the land is more flat connected to the water and you see the mountains in the distance.  Because the Gulfo is so large there are wind and wave issues.  Because of tidal currents and local wind directions, it is usually more rough to get from the city to Texan Bay in the afternoon, though that is the best time to go to the city!

We had an uneventful passage but when we got to the marina, no one answered the radio.  I guess they had someone quit recently and the other person was on vacation.  A boater friend we  made in Belize heard us trying to get a hold of the marina on the radio and suggested we anchor out and go in to find someone.

We did that and I stayed with the boat while Rob went in.  We got our location and it was about that time that Chat-Eau came in and so Rob stayed to help with lines though they had plenty of guys there.  Then we pulled anchor and got in to the slip.

Catalyst & Chat-Eau *August 29 2011

We are on a wall that is not usually used for longer term people.  In fact we together are a little too much boat for the space.  Right now Chat-Eau is just past the wall and the lower part of the back steps is in the haul out area.  Our bow sticks out in front of where a large power boat is stored.

Tomorrow, I know they have some boats to haul so we may both have to move forward a little.  On Friday, we get hauled so Chat-Eau will have this area to itself.

Not only are we tight for space but there was hook up for only one electric and no water.  While we were waiting, they added another electric plug and the next day dug a trench and added water.  Right now the water is only water pumped directly from the river, not drinkable water but we are fine with the water we make so are OK with that.  The river water is fine for washing things on the boat.

C&K came by the next day and took all but Steve who wanted to get things done on Chat-Eau, in their launcha in to the town.  There are really few roads.  Most things are connected by boat.  There is a large bridge that connects two banks and that is near to where we are.  The main shopping area is on the other side of the river from our marina.

We left the launcha at a small marina there that allows a space for that purpose.  This is a place you can feel pretty secure leaving your boat safely.

It is not a long walk to town from there.  They showed us some places along the way that carry some American style products, especially special meat though they are the pricey meats, even in the states.  It is a place to get some things when we get back though they showed me another place today that would be more reasonable.  Of course it is all in what ever is available when you shop.  Nothing is for certain in a lot of these places!

The main street of town is not wide but has all the large truck traffic, cars and motor bikes.  The buildings are right close to the street and people set up vending areas in front of the shops as well.  With no side walks to speak of, one has to be very certain that you are careful doing your shopping as the cars and trucks stop for nothing!

We passed by many shops selling a variety of things.  We bought eggs  in a 30 egg flat as it is less expensive than buying a dozen each for Nancy and myself separately.  You buy 30 or you pay for each egg individually.  You can just buy one egg!  You don’t get them in cartons here so have to bring your own container if you don’t take the whole flat.  While there were produce vendors a plenty, Kelli directed me to one she found had the best prices and now that I have been there will Kelli, I will get the non Gringo price.  Even if we paid 4 times the price, it would still be less than we usually pay.  The selection is amazing and looks so lush.  The trouble with most of the fruit is that things are already ripe which means you buy for just today and maybe tomorrow but it won’t keep forever.  I was like a kid in a candy store!  I bought two heavy bags full and paid about $5 for it all.  I got a lot today again as we went back in to town with C&K.  I bought two large heads of leaf lettuce, a larger Coyote squash, 11 Roma tomatoes, two onions a red and green pepper and 4 large fresh beets.  All for about $3.  I would have paid double that just for the beets back home!  If only a person could stock up on this stuff.  As it is, I think my enthusiasm causes me to buy more than what I can eat before it goes bad!

I still have enough non perishable items here to last me for probably 12 more months but will have to get fresh stuff when we return next year.  I won’t fill the freezer here completely as Honduras also has things and Panama and Colombia will probably provide more in line of what we are used to at a good price.

Nancy let me raid some of her pantry as it is easier to have items on the boat and she can replace then once she gets  back.  We have plenty so that we won’t starve on the way back!

There is much more exploring to do around here.  Depending on how much time Rob needs to work on things once the boat is hauled, maybe we will do some by dinghy or if C&K have the time, we might go in their bigger boat.  I would like to visit some of the different marina’s around here that I have heard so much about but they are further apart than I realized and about the only connection is by boat.

I won’t need to bring food next year in our packing but if we have space, will certainly bring things down that C&K have difficulty finding or things for their village.

From the outside, it seems like they lack so much but I don’t think the people living there would feel the same.  Yes, life is hard sometimes, but they have family, friends, and community to help them through.  When everyone is in the same boat, it is not so evident that you are without.  Kelli said she would share a book with me.  It is written about what makes people happy and where are the happiest places on earth.  One of them is Guatemala.  The U.S. didn’t rate so high.  Goes to show that affluence is not the determiner of happiness.  There are many things we can share with the people in the countries we meet but more than that, there is much they can share with us.  Through the time C&K have already put in to doing that, we become the quick beneficiaries.  We look forward to learning more over our next seasons of cruising.

We’ll send pictures of dear Catalyst on the hard.

Enjoy the log.  Be Happy!

With a smile for you all,
Sue and Rob
One more night on Catalyst

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