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.

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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.