Dec 08

Escuela El Amatillo

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In this age of E begging, Youtube sailors who use Paypal, Patreon and other money transfer sites to finance their chosen lifestyles it is nice to come across a group of fellow cruisers who choose to give something back. During our working life we dreamt of the time when we could untie the dock lines and travel south, never knowing where we would end up. Mistress and crew, are now going into our 8th year,…. Time Flys.!!!   We always had it in our mind that we would like to volunteer and help a small community. Our opportunity came available, when we met  Steve, on Slow flight who has a school project at El Bongo school. We started building desk tops for a classroom which has some kids sitting on upturned pails. Steve introduced us to Janice and Dave, another cruising couple, on Living Life, who were fast tracking their project, because they were leaving the Rio. For now, we moved our efforts over here, most of the schools in Guatemala need help.

First on the list, was the project of building a fence to protect the children. The desks in the school are old, marked up and broken. Most need new tops while others need replacement seats.The splinters keep the students awake, but make it  hard to concentrate. With three full classrooms, they had only 1 working toilet. We will rebuild the working parts and get them functional again. Working in the marina workshop and the school we have cut out replacement desk tops and put on a number of coats of paint. The teacher desks, now sport a new varnished top also.

The kitchen in the school where the children receive lunch, will received a new metal top for the wood burning stove and  chimney.To. us it seems primitive but to the lady’s of the village this is the way they prepare food every day. Two new picnic tables were built and placed in the food prep area. It is only one of the projects completed, we still have a lot more to do.

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Nov 24

Volunteering at the Local schools

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We joined along with a group of fellow cruiser to travel to a small village just outside the town of Buenos Aires, Guatemala, not far from the marina to help out at a school. We drove along the main highway for approximately 10 miles, crossing through the town then followed a dirt road, lined with Rubber trees, before crossing a stream guarded by vultures. We were glad the driver chose not to use the bridge, which sat off to the side, collapsed in the middle. A loaded farm truck drove across it, with no hesitation.

The school needs many repairs, which our team is going to tackle before the kids start school in January.

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We were surprised by the children, waiting for us to arrive at 7 am.with all the desks outside ready, for us to repair them. The most important project that the school staff and parents would like to see completed is to build a fence around the school. Not only would this keep out farm animals wandering through the property but also keep the children safe. The cost has always been a problem in the past, as the men earn just enough to feed their families.

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With the three classrooms empty, the walls were pressure washed and prepped for painting. A generator had to be brought in, there,s no electricity in the building. The plan is to paint the school the colours in the flag, light blue, dark blue, known as National Blue, and white.


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The teenage boys helped with the high work , getting quite creative in place of a ladder, and also assisted with any heavy lifting. The women of the community showed up to lend a hand, excited that we were there. They seen me scraping desks so they joined in using their nails to pick off old plastic stuck to the tops, working in the shade of a large tree


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There are a few more visits planned with the completion date in early December, but there is still a lot of work to complete. The kindergarten chairs, made out of chip board need to be replaced, desk tops sanded and painted, and even the Teachers desk refurbished. Right now it is held together with packing tape.


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Nov 10

Small, small world

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They say, it’s a small world. Well we were just handed a good example of how small it really is We sat down with 5 cruisers who seemed to have been here in Rio Dulce for awhile, to ask some questions on the layout of the town, and where we could find certain things. In the conversation they asked us where we were from………Mississauga, Ontario,…. actually, Port Credit. One of the guys says, “I used to work in the marina”, that’s where we left from. Then he asked us about our boat there, We told him we had our first boat there named, White Squirrel, he knew it well, a Grampian 23………..he sold it to us. Up until now, we had never met him in person. Coincidence, or what…… 

The guy in the yellow shirt         


We are settling in to our new location here, at Catamaran Island Hotel and Marina, and are really enjoying the place. The hotel section rents cabins on the water, while the marina docks up to 50 boats, all on a small island, only transportation is by water.

The cruising season is just beginning, hurricane season is over, so most boats here are getting ready to leave. We plan on staying awhile and seeing the country. The weather has been the biggest surprise, it has stayed in the 80s during the day, while the nights are cool. We have had our share of rain, but after all it’s a rain forest, the land is very lush.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

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The other day we went for a hike, to get some exercise, along a road known as the Pipeline Road. Good name for it as it has pipeline, from Puerto Barrios, a little town to our south to Mexico. Beside it they have built a road which services the rubber farms that are around this area, dotted with houses that range from simple one room structures to luxurious riverfront properties.

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Rubber tapping is the process by which latex is collected from a rubber tree. The latex is harvested by slicing a groove into the bark of the tree at a depth of a quarter inch with a hooked knife and peeling back the bark. This process does not harm the tree. In fact, a single tree can be tapped for 30-40 years.

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On the way back we stopped by the roadside market to restock vegetables, and walked away with a 3 bag assortment for less than $5.

11 Resize

Oct 30

Arriving in Guatemala

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Today we arrived in Guatemala, after a fairly easy sail from Rotan. We are going to miss our beach and great snorkeling but look forward to exploring the beautiful country.

To get into the Rio Dulce, our home  for the next little while, you have to cross a bar which lies across the mouth. Having light wind on our trip, we got here at low tide but by the time we entered the river it had started to rise. Many boats get hung up just off Livingston, the first town, but a bit of luck was on our side today.

After dropping off our documents at the Maritime Service Agency, we spent some time walking around  the small town exercising our legs, after sitting most of the time during our 30 hour trip. We were anchored off the town dock, used by fishermen and water taxis, so it was a busy little place.

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Early, I mean , crack of dawn early, we were woken by returning fishermen. They fish all night out in the bay, then return in the morning to be met by small boats. The smaller boats take their catch and race off to get the fish to market.

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After a quick breakfast, we started up the river motoring slowly watching the birds and taking in the lush scenery. Fast lanchas passed us on both sides ferrying their passengers up the river. We saw a lot of families with, maybe 4 people in the canoes setting small traps to catch crabs. Houses are built along the water, so it was leisure sail through their backyards.



Sep 24

Return to Roatan 2019

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We are back in Roatan, after enjoying a fantastic Canadian summer. We didn’t get to see everyone we wanted too, it seemed the time went by so fast, all I can say is next time.

Leaving Toronto, we were delayed, waiting for passengers, which caused us to miss our connection in Houston. The airlines wouldn’t pay for accommodations, the airport hotel was $180.00 US a night. We settled for the Ramada $59.00 US a night with airport shuttle and breakfast, also 2 for 1 happy hour drinks with unlimited snacks. If we had to be held up, this was a great place to spend the time.

We love Roatan, and love the country, but there is some shit going on that can drive someone nuts. When arriving in Roatan and going through immigration the last thing you have to do is x-ray your bags before leaving. Our four bags had been scanned numerous times, both in Canada and the U.S., nothing was flagged. Flying back to Mistress we load up on boat parts and supplies that are nearly impossible to find here. In our luggage was a heat exchanger, similar to a radiator on a car, that set off red flags. We showed the two custom official our receipt,and after some discussion it was determined that we needed to pay a tax of $600 US dollars. they could not understand our receipt was in Canadian funds. They wanted us to leave the bag with our heat exchanger and a lot of other stuff in the office. this could possibly  take months for the customs to sort out. Muriel said “we will go to customs in town  right now  and get this straitened out”. We loaded our remaining bags in a cab, and told the official we would be back, and took all the papers to pay duty. As we were leaving, the male officer asked us to take his number if we had problems, we could call him. That seemed a bit  strange. When we got to town, we found that the customs office is closed on weekends, the Port captain told us the if we came by plane all dealings are at the airport. On our way back to the cab the driver receives a call and gives the phone to Muriel. It was the Custom Agent from the airport, he explains to her that to hire a agent, to broker it in to the country would be at least $600 US.,  and would take  at least one month, but if she gives him 300US he will give us our bag. Muriel replied  “We will go to the marina, and call an agent, and ask all the other boaters if he has done this to them”. called him a bandito and hung up. One minute later he calls the cab driver back and asks to speak to the me. He will do us a favour, and give us our bag for 300 I say,  “No”. We finally settle on $250 US, we would meet in the gas station to give him the money, but get no receipt. Then back to the airport to retrieve our bag. we know we were scammed, but we knew if we left the bag at the airport we would never see it again. Not only were we scammed by him, the cab cost us $60 US for all his back and forth. They are a team. People say we should complain and put an end to this shit of officials bribing tourists or cruisers. The sad fact is we have to deal with these same officials to leave this country with our boat.

After getting all our luggage back to the boat we acclimatized for a couple of days. Before starting any projects we came back to a new motor problem a leaking oil pan. somehow we developed a pinhole in the oil pan and lost all the oil. Luckily we have a catch tray underneath the motor, it was easy to clean it up,using a pump, but still a pain in the butt just the same.

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In the coming weeks we will replace the heat exchanger, but for now we are doing small projects refitting Mistress to get ready for the upcoming season. After inspecting the pan, I cleaned and epoxied the bottom. The job is more difficult because your looking through a dental mirror and working upside down. 65 year old guys don’t make good contortionists. The fresh water pool is only a short walk away, so keeping cool is not a problem, but we have to lock the boat up, so the thieving monkey doesn’t run away with things. 

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May 22


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A beautiful part of our multi-ethnic culture her in Roatan, are the Garifuna,s. Never enslaved and only slightly Christianized, the Garifuna,s retain much of their original African culture and spiritual  practices. They offer an authentic live glimpse into 18th Century African folklore and traditions.

A fascinating element of Roatans’ history relates to the arrival of the Garifuna people. They trace their ancestry back to a slave ship that wrecked on the reefs off the island of St. Vincent [Lesser Antilles] in the early 18th Century. As a result of intermarriage, the Garinagu [this is what the Garifuna,s call themselves in their own language] are a mixture of African, Arawak, and Carib genes. When the British took over Saint Vincent after the Treaty of Paris in 1763 They were opposed by French settlers and their Caribs allies. The Carib eventually surrendered to the British in 1796 The British separated the more African looking Caribs from the more indigenous looking ones. Five thousand Black Caribs were exiled  to Rotan, but only about 2,500 of them survived the voyage. The village of Punta Gorda in Rotan was the first Garifuna village and remains today a proud bastion of the unique cultural heritage and traditions cultivated by the Garifuna people.

Last weekend we attended the 222nd anniversary of the landing, at the small village of Punta Gorda. We watched the parade, listened to the music, and even had the chance to meet the president and First Lady, of Honduras, who also attended the event. It was a great day……

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Mar 16

Our Island Pets

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When I was young my mother used to save the ends of the bread, then break it up to feed the birds beside our house. We also had a community bowl which we filled with table scraps for any stray cats that wandered into our yard. The ones that did usually lived out there days around our house. Our pet dog protected them from the stray dogs who also tried to get a free meal. They only got bones. With 2 dogs in the house, plus 4 pet cats, [who also had names] , and numerous stray cats, I came to enjoy feeding animals.


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Around here, there are lots of coconuts, which the Guatusa really like,… only problem, they need someone to crack them open. When they hear the sound of them being chopped with the machete they come running.

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This little bandit comes by our boat and has a sweet tooth for especially Hummingbird nectar. He has been caught in the act sneaking across the dock to get at our feeder, then turning it upside down making a mess and spilling all over. Cute but destructive.

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For me it is a joy to live amongst all these animals.


The main beach is just a taxi ride away, West End, and West Bay, and while, we are here…..why not get the famous drink, Monkey La La. We walked along the beach for about 2 miles, stopping in a few beach front bars to get cold drinks, before reaching Bananarama, a resort with restaurant named the Thirsty Turtle, where we had a fantastic lunch.      Great way to spend the day.

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Mar 08

Iguana Farm Visit

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Just a short dinghy ride from our marina there is unique attraction. A wildlife preserve, known as the Iguana farm. We had passed by it a few times , but up until now, we never dropped in to see what it was all about. Soon after tying up our dinghy we were greeted by the numerous Tarpon, Snook, and Snappers swimming around the docks.


Founded in June of 1980, by Sherman Arch and his family. They have strived throughout the years to educate and inform the public in regards to excessive fishing and poaching. The family practices conservation,preservation, and protection of Roatan’s wildlife. On their property, hundreds of iguanas roam freely, and reproduce on the reserve. In the attempt to safeguard the Green Iguana, as well as the aquatic life, the Arch family works to earn a profit for the purpose of continued conservation of Roatan’s wildlife, as their love for the environment.

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Check out the video at:………


Mar 01

East End Trip

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Spiny Tailed Iguana, are found only on the island of Roatan, in the Bay Islands of Honduras. The species is listed as endangered, with a population of around 4,500.


We went for a drive out to the East end of Roatan, visiting the bays , and stopping for lunch at a waterside restaurant. This is the least tourist side of the island, with some beautiful homes and out of the way resorts.

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A Robinson-Crusoe type living can be enjoyed in this remote area of the island. Spending days on the beach, wind surfing, swimming, or just lounging, it is beautiful.


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This is a unique disco bar, roadside shipwreck that is visited by up to 700 persons on weekends listening to the state of the art sound system. Grand Opening was in 2016 to a fantastic fireworks display. Isery means New,  in the native Garifuna language.

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Feb 20


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Sargassum is abundant in the ocean. Upon close inspection, it is easy to see the many leafy appendages, branches, and round, berry-like structures that make up the plant. These “berries” are actually gas-filled structures, called pneumatocysts, which are filled mostly with oxygen. Pneumatocysts add buoyancy to the plant structure and allow it to float on the surface.

Floating rafts of Sargassum can stretch for miles across the ocean. This floating habitat provides food, refuge, and breeding grounds for an array of critters such as fishes, sea turtles, marine birds, crabs, shrimp, and more. Some animals, like the Sargassum fish (in the frogfish family), live their whole lives only in this habitat. Sargassum serves as a primary nursery area for a variety of commercially important fishes such as mahi mahi, jacks, and amberjacks.

When Sargassum loses its buoyancy, it sinks to the seafloor, providing energy in the form of carbon to fishes and invertebrates in the deep sea. Sargassum may also provide an important addition to the food sources available in the deep sea.

Because of its ecological importance, Sargassum has been designated as Essential Fish Habitat, which affords these areas special protection. However, Sargassum habitat has been poorly studied because it is so difficult to sample. Further research is needed to understand, protect, and best conserve this natural resource.

Taken from the NOAA website, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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Since we have had a southeast wind for the last little while, the island has masses of this floating weed pushed in to most of the bays, plastics of all kind are mixed in. Workers at the resort raked and picked up, and trucked away all the debris in a couple of days, leaving the beaches, pristine once again. 



The main port , French Harbour is open but the small bays are covered with this floating mess. We got stuck and had to paddle up to the dock, where we were greeted by the attendant with his small fury friend. This is usually the easy access to town, which is a short walk.

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Early, this morning we came across this boat stricken on the reef. So sad to see someone lose their home and dreams, and brings to mind the dangers of sailing.

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Soon after leaving the boat, the first of the looters showed up.