Starting the Trek Home…

May 9, 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Our boat is resting on it’s keels at RAM boat yard where it will be until returned to the water some time in December.  It is always a little sad to leave her alone like this but she has made it through other separations in good form before and we expect nothing less this time.
The hauling went well though there is only about 9 inches of clearance on either side of the area where it is lifted.  The yard where she is sitting is on a strong cement foundation and it stays amazingly clean with no dust blowing around.
Technically we are in the hurricane zone but since we are so far inland and the area is surrounded by mountains, there is rarely any damage here from wind.  Even so, we will watch the weather.  She is safer here than home in Florida.

Nancy and Steve returned and we welcomed then back to their own boat.  They had a wonderful time visiting the town of Antigua and certainly wetted our appetite for our visit there next year.  We hope to stay a few weeks and attend a language school to learn Spanish.  We are hoping to do some prep work this summer to learn some of the basics.  Rob had some Spanish in school so has a deeper understanding already.  He does pretty well in a pinch but we both feel like we would like more ability to communicate.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the U.S. and to celebrate here, Rob and Nancy and I (Steve had other ideas of what to do) went in the dinghy to check out the various other marina’s in the area.  The places are pretty wide spread but easily within sight and accessible by dinghy though when the water gets rough, it can be a wet ride.

We saw some beautiful places put in to the trees along the water.  Some had pools and walking areas in the lush vegetation.  It was rather dead of human activity though.  I think that most have already left their boats so places were pretty quiet.

At Mario’s, one of the ones we have heard so much about, we did get to visit with some people we had met earlier in the season.  One person suggested that we go up a small inlet to a back packers hotel for lunch.  We found the place, not likely unless you were looking and had good directions, and were so glad that we did.  It was a beautiful location and we had a good lunch.

It was interesting seeing the accommodations.  Most are quite reasonable.  Some places had little cottages for as little as $20 per night as up to about $70 with a private bath.  The back packers had a loft like dorm for $5 per night and other places went for $10 and up.  They even had a honeymoon suite!
When we returned, Rob finished his work on the boat.  It has been a big job for him.  There is a lot to take down and consequently, a lot to put back up when we get back to the boat.  Mostly it is something Rob does on his own but I will have my share of helping.  Hotel’s go up considerably, to over $100 a night at the one most realistic for us to use because of closeness so we will be trying to get the boat back in the water and us on it, ASAP.

Today, we had a wonderful last day in this area.  Chris and Kelli and Carlos as our local guide, came in the launcha to take us first to town and then to get on one of the small van buses that are run independently but go back and forth to different cities.  With 7 of us to fit, we needed a van that would have the room.  These vans that might hold maybe 15 passengers in the states and be considered full, held 26 people.  Now, one was a baby on a lap, 3 were small children and the drivers assistant rode on the roof and one person stood with his back bent 90% until someone got off about 1/2 way through the 40 minute ride.  Rob and I have been on crowded buses of this kind before but this was a new record!!!!!  Not great comfort but we all enjoyed having this unique, non American like experience.

The reason for the trip was a visit to an area that has a beautiful water fall that is fed by underground hot springs and flows in to a cool river.  You can get there pretty easily and the water temp goes between quite cool to almost too hot.  The water coming off the falls is too hot to  stay in for very long.  When you are swimming you go through areas of hot and cold and some times both in layers.  It was very pleasant to swim in the water and under the falls.

We had the place to ourselves except for a French couple who had come to see the falls as well.  We enjoyed visiting with them.  We finished just as more people came in and would have made it a lot more crowded.  We did take a bit of a walk through the jungle area to find the source of the hot water.  You can see it bubbling in to a pool coming out of the ground.  The water there is even more hot.

We had to wait for a bus to come by that had room for 7 of us and we were getting a little worried after several passed by.  But our luck held as we got a really great bucket seat tour bus that was almost empty and we enjoyed a very comfortable ride home.  Actually, we were so crowded on the way there, I could not see the scenery so we really enjoyed it on the way back.  We saw a vast planting of Bananas and an area of rubber trees.  I guess that is being planted as fast as ground can be cleared for it as there is a rising demand for rubber, especially from China.

After a late lunch upon return, the 4 of us are finishing up on things  we need to get done.  Rob is doing last minute boat work or arrangements and the rest of us are all on the computer as this may be the last time to connect to internet before we get home.  It may also be the last pictures I am able to send.

Actually, most of the picturesque part of our trip will be over except for tomorrow.

We leave to return to Texan Bay.  Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Guatemala and we are going in the afternoon to watch the school kids do a presentation for their mothers.  We will see the older kids as the little ones are doing theirs in the morning and we won’t make it there by then.

We will have one last visit with Chris and Kelli before taking off Wednesday to check out in Livingston and start our trek home.  Help us pray for good weather and a swift and comfortable trip back home.  As much as we are enjoying each day, our spirits have already started drifting back ahead of our bodies and it will be nice to catch up.

Fair Winds,
Sue and Rob

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