It was right around 10pm, Monday night, October 13th. Pitch black out, no stars. Tawn is in the aft cabin crashed out and I’m still up watching an episode of The Trailer Park Boys on the laptop. We were anchored in a small bay off El Tigre Island in Honduras. There is a small cluster of houses and beach palapas lining the shore about 100 yards away from where the boat is anchored.

As i’m sitting there watching the show, I feel this really odd…. really big vibration. At first, it felt like our engine was running. This was not possible. I then just figured it was another boat motoring past us. But damn, it was a very big boat by the feel of it.

As I was getting up to stick my head outside to make sure everything was OK, and to make sure we were not about to get hit by another boat; the sound and vibration stop.

About half a second later our boat starts,……not sure how to describe this. But our boat started “hopping”. It felt like something large, something very large was trying to pushing our boat straight up out of the water. We were bouncing about 6 inches or so. Up and down repeatedly for 15- 20 seconds.

Living on a boat you get used to the way it moves. Different wind, wave, and currents make the boat move in certain ways. We know what feels right and what does not.

This did not feel right.

I run up the companionway and out in to the cockpit, just as Tawn is waking up and saying “What the fuck is that??”.

Did not have a clue. But I was giving it 30/70 chance that I’d either see a boat bumping up against us or a large angry or possibly horny (I don’t really think it matters which) whale pushing us around.

As soon as I got outside, everything stopped. I had a flashlight, but could not see anything amiss. Nothing. We were just sitting there in the dark anchorage as if nothing had happened.

Tawn came up the companionway behind me and says, “Whoa!, all the lights on the island are off!”.

I turn around and look. She’s right, nothing. Not one light on anywhere.

My first thought was: “Oh shit! Fucking Zombie Apocalypse!”. That was immediately followed by the realization that, suddenly the zombie apocalypse did not seem like it would be as fun as I thought it would. Which surprised me. I’ve always sorta been hoping for one.

As I’m standing there dealing with a bit of an existential crisis, how could I not be stoked for a zombie apocalypse? Tawn got on the radio and called friends of ours on another boat anchored near us. Between the four of us, we figured out that we just experienced an earthquake.

A few minutes later as we were figuring out our “OH SHIT, TSUNAMI!” plan. A big ass thunderstorm rolls through. Crazy ass lightning, torrential down pour, honking wind, the works. We go through our batten down the hatches routine and give a hearty, “Hi ho fuck this time for bed”.

I think Tawn summed it up best as she was climbing back into the bunk: “That was TOO much nature for one night”.

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We stopped here in El Salvador for a few weeks about 6 months ago.

We have done a lot of inland travel while we’ve been here (El Salvador, Guatamala, & Belize). Tawn has posted about a few of the trips in the last couple updates.

On one of our trips was to a little mountain/lake side town called Suchitoto.
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We heard about a cool water fall outside of town. As we were driving around the jungle roads trying to find it, this little dude runs out and waves us down. Jumps in the car with us and guides us to his house on the side of the road.

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That little guy was awesome. And could climb a tree like a freaking Mono. He guided us to the water falls about a half mile from his house.

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Not much water falling, but the rock formations were cool as hell.

We had some mechanical issues that popped up (broken engine mounts). We fixed that and completed and a few other issues/projects while here.

I learned that allowing your surfboard to slam into your face multiple times is not as much fun as it sounds. It is how ever a good way to get six stitches in your lip and a broken nose. Bonus, I also got to experience the local El Salvadorian health care system up close and personal. Try to get that included in your fancy all-inclusive resort vacation.

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We also learned that while there is a seat belt law for drivers in this country, this:
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Is perfect legal!! That is a semi, and we were on a highway.

As much fun as we’ve had here, it is time to get moving. You know it’s time to go when you raise your mainsail and a bunch of bat turds, and an entire bird nest falls out!

We are itching to get going and the plan was to take off today (Oct. 8) at high tide. But after checking the weather last night and this morning, it just did not look good enough to take off. There is a bit of a blow brewing up to the south of us, right were we wanna go. So we wait.

Nice bit is, there is no real reason to go other than we sorta had some momentum built up. Two of our friends boats left. One yesterday (Morgan and Petra on Jalisco) and another the day before that (Darrin and Jodi on Gratituie). It was our turn today. But one of the rules we have when it comes making calls on the weather windows. If either one of us is not %100 on it, we don’t go.

So as we sat drinking coffee this morning going over the weather sites and GRIBs, we found we were trying to justify going or talking ourselves into it. Instead of just hanging out a few more days.

My spanish is not really that good, but even though the sign appears they don’t want us to enter, I think we are in the right zone.
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Just a quick update…then Belize. We are still in El Salvador, we wanted to go, but Palarran was against it, so she broke on us. We have had some bad vibrations in the shaft and thought it was a bearing, which I brought back on my last trip to the States. CB installed that and turns out the real culprit is a worn out engine mount. So we are waiting for the tortis to make it’s way down from the states with our parts…which should take 3 weeks. In the mean time we put the boat on a mooring and are gonna rent a car and check out parts unseen in El Salvador. On Sept. 9th I am going back to Chicago to visit the ‘rents and CB is heading back to another pretengineer job in KC MO. We will be back around the end of Sept. And hopefully be getting on our way south. Okay, news brief over…back to Belize…it really was unbelizeable :-)

After Livingston we took the roughest panga ride I have ever been on to Punta Gorda, Belize. Seriously, there were like 5 foot seas and the panga driver didn’t slow down a bit…but I did have to give him daps for some serious driving skills…even though I had to ride on a fender to keep my spine from compressing. Any who, Punts Gorda (PG as the locals call it) is your tipico boarder town. Lots of Government offices and places to take you anywhere but PG. It is unbeliezebly hot here and not really a touristy place…but we were ecstatic to be speaking English, although I couldn’t turn off my Spanish while I was there.

We immediately found a bus to Independencia, a dusty town where you caught a cab to a dock where you took a launcha to Placencia…bus, dusty town, cab, panga…seems to be the jist of this country. Placencia was beautiful…our first vision of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea…just beautiful. Did not do much here but hang on the beach and drink fufu drinks.

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First class bus line in Bleize…actually not that bad…there were no chickens!

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The fufuiest drinks of all…

Next we were off to the less desirable Belize City…a place so undesirable the government moved the capital from Belize City to Belmopan (also not a great place, but apparently better than Belize City). I actually didn’t think parts of Belize City were that bad…compared to the south side of Chicago or Watts in Cali:-) The whole purpose of going here was to catch a ferry (see the trend) to Caye Caulker…where we would spend the next 5 days falling in love with Belize. Caye Caulker is a tiny Caye inside the beautiful Belizean reef. Belize is extremely protective of their environment and totally committed to keeping their reefs alive. There are very steep penalties for even bumping a reef with your boat…best to anchor in areas marked as anchorages on the charts. This tiny little speck of an island is awesome. Great food, amazing bars and ton of stuff to do. CB took kite surfing lessons…here is some proof!

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Waiting for the Ferry to Caye Caulker in the high rent district of Belize City

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What the hell am I supposed to do with this???

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Ohhhhh….

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Easy cheesy….CB is saying “see Tawn…this is easier than you made it look”. I am thinking…damn, this looks easy without the 6 foot breaking seas and 30 knots of wind :-)

The next day we went on a dive charter out to another Caye to dive on the reefs. I can’t even describe how beautiful this was. The water was crystal clear as far as you could see. The reefs were full of color and the fish were out of this world. The highlight had to be the gigantic Leopard ray that gracefully and slowly swam around us on the second dive…he was soooo tame! The first dive was 100 feet, the next 70 and the last only 40…you could not tell a difference in light and clarity between them all. Unfortunately I left my GoPro at the boat…dammit! This was a very good day.

The rest of the time we spent hanging out at the dock bar and eating CB’s new favorite dish…stew meat with beans and coconut rice…it was pretty good…the first 3 or 4 times:-) Oh yeah, and we rented a room from this local guys uncle Tio (tio is Spanish for uncle??? I don’t know) But the room was sweet and overlooked the ocean…and it had cable…in English. CB and I had not seen English TV in some time…we watched a lot of cable too:-)

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Dock Bar at the end of Caye Caulker…The island was split in half during a hurricane many years ago. This bar is at the end where it splits and looks across the the now separate island.

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The other side only accessible by boat now…or a strong swimmer as the currents rip through this split.

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If you are going to swim for it…drink one of these Green LIzard drinks…I would tell you what is in it…but it is a secret of the bar tender’s. I can tell you that one is all that is needed!

After that it was back on the Ferry to Belize City to catch another bus to another dusty town in the mountains. San Ingnacio\Santa Elena is just outside of Noj Kaax H’Men Elijio Panti Forest Reserve. Here you can take a tour of the famous caves via float tube or do hikes and caving in the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves. We didn’t know about the ATM tour until we got to one of the many tour office in Santa Elena. The tour guy was telling us about the cave tubing but said if we really wanted an adventure to try the ATM tour which involved hiking, caving and swimming???? Whaaaaaaat! This sounded right up our alley. So the next morning we woke up early as hell and took off on a bus, down a dusty road to the park entrance. Only a handful of companies have permission to do tours of these highly religious caves…but they were all there that day. The guides are all Mayan and really do a good job at spacing out the group to make this an amazing experience. These caves were where the Mayans would go to meet with their underworld and pray to their Gods for health, good crops and prosperity. It was considered a very brave thing to enter these caves and often human sacrifices were made. When this particularly extensive cave system was found not so long ago, archaeologists dated the pottery and skeletons to range from 900 BC to 800 AD. Which was about the time frame of the Mayan reign. This tours was probably the coolest thing either of us has ever done….and that is saying a lot. They no longer allow cameras in the caves due to an unfortunate incident where a tourist dropped a camera on one of the skulls an crushed it…bad mojo for that guy….so I had to use photos off the interwebs…but like I said…the coolest experience I have ever had.

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The cave entrance which is reached by a 45 minute hike through the jungle forging two rivers

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Jump in an swim on into the mouth…

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Most of the water was armpit high…as you go deeper you are actually climbing down into the earth. This water is from an underground river that is full of minerals and good stuff for your skin. When we got out we had lost our tan….damn Mayan Gods…do you know how long it took this Gringo to get that brown???

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Stalagmites and Stalactites throughout the cave system. Many were shimmery shades of purple and green from the minerals in the water…apparently in rainy season the water rises anywhere from 3-10 feet up.

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It took about an hour to get to this area. You had to climb about 20 feet straight up out of the river up onto this plateau where there is a path leading to where the offerings and sacrifices were made. Imagine doing this back when the Mayans were going in here with only a torch or sometimes in the pitch dark…

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Food and other offerings were brought in here in clay pots and left for the Gods.

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There were numerous partial skeletons and bones throughout the area…but this is the most famous. A whole skeleton unearthed by archaeologists. The bones have actually disintegrated and what you are seeing here is the fossil left by the crystallized minerals.

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On the way out we took a different route and did a lot of squeezing through tight crevices…or you could swim under them.

See! That was cool as hell right!!! Now you all probably want to go to the ATM caves…if you ever get the chance…DO IT…no matter what the price. It is an experience you will never forget.

The next stop was back to Guatemala to go to the ruins in Tikal….yep, you guessed it…cab, dusty road, walk across border and about 5 more buses….next post Tikal!!! Here is a little preview.

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We met S/V O’Hana in Port Angeles last year. Then caught up with them in Newport Oregon and had a great drunken time waiting on weather to head further south.

We also visited what is possibly the best Taco Bell in North America with them.

They stopped in Half Moon Bay to work for another year. They are getting ready to head south next month to Mexico and beyond.

Check out thier website at http://www.svohana.com

I do not have any pictures of them. So here is a picture of us leaving Newport Oregon slightly hungover.

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