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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This post is about a whole lot of nothing. Actually, that’s not true. It’s about our hammock.

Prior to us leaving on this trip on of my absolute favorite things to do while at anchor was to string up the hammock on the foredeck, between the forestay and mast. Grab a beer or rum and coke and a book and just chill the fug out.

I would sometimes (almost all the time) sit in my cube at work day dreaming about doing just this while at anchor in Mexico, or some other Central American country.

The sad, sad truth is. We have only strung up the hammock two or three times in the since we left Seattle in May 2013.

Once in Ried Harbor in the San Juan Islands, Once somewhere in Canada (I don’t recall where exactly), and one time in Ensenada, Mexico. That was in October 2013.

Not once since then.

The main reason is that it is so hot that we keep canvas tarps strung across the decks and cockpit to help keep the interior of the boat cooler. Without the shade, the decks get scorching hot and it radiates though the deck and heats it up down below.

That’s it. That is the entirety of this post. Now that I’ve read back through it. It’s not very exciting at all. Luckily the title sets you up for a little bit of a disappointment.

To make up for it, here is a video I just took of our view from where we are currently anchored.

God dammit, that was boring too.

We are currently anchored in an estuary. Bahia de Jaltepeque in El Salvador.

Arcross the penisula on the ocean side there is a pretty shitty surf break, but a couple times a week we will grab the surfboard and head over there with a couple of our friends that are anchored here as well and are surfers too.

Actually, they are surfers. I’m just a person that owns a surfboard at this point. If your friends with me on Facebook, you’ll probably know that I ended up getting six stiches in my lower lip last week in an incredible display of my surfing skills.

A week or two prior to that we all decided we wanted to go surfing somewhere with an actual/good surf break.

So we rented a van and driver. Loaded that up with our boards and headed up the coast about an hour to a little town called El Tunco, which is near La Libertad, El Salvador.

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Our little group is quite the collection of surf/boat bums from around the world.
Tawn & I: USA
Christian & Jay: Chile
Darrin & Jodi: USA
Morgan & Petra: France & Sweden

There is also Gaston and Valentina from Argintina, and Paul from the States, but they did not go on this trip.

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Halfway there some local farmers were protesting the fact that some large corporation left some sort of chemicals laying about and it was leaking in to the ground water and poisoning the farmers and their families. So we had to wait till that ended. I think we made it on the local news though. There were a couple news crews that kept walking by us and just filming us.

“Tonight at 11. Why were these gringos standing around sweating so much…..and how it might effect your family”

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Made it to our hostel and set up camp by noon anyway and had time to go out for some surfing as soon as we got there.

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We unfortunately did not take any pictures of the actual surfing. Sorry about that.

I’ll hit up some of the other crew and see if they can get me some of the pictures they took.