Boat jobs in Rio Dulce

Saturday afternoon we hit the nearest ATM and the machine just whirred.    A bit concerned, especially as the guy in front of us made a withdrawal, we headed to the lobby to get the strongest internet signal to make a skype call.    Finally we got through to the bank and were told that everything was fine with nothing dodgy happening.   So the advice was to use the card elsewhere and see what happens – it could be the chip that was damaged.     That’s a job for another day then….

Later on we spent a few hours bobbing in the pool before returning to Morphie for another rainy night in the cockpit.


Sunday morning and because it was rainy the guys didn’t work – so we had a lazy start before heading into the restaurant to watch the Euro finals which was live at 1pm.   Was a great match and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.   When we got back we chilled for a little while before getting ourselves cleaned up and got picked up by Charlie and Saundra – and we went across the river to Sundogs for a pizza.   Was a great evening and we said sad farewells to Saundra who was flying home in the morning….promising to keep an eye on Charlie in the meantime LOL.

Richard and Charlie Jan and Saundra

Monday morning and the guys arrived early….  Richard was doing boat jobs down below while I got on with the laundry.    We are a bit restricted in terms of how long we can get off the boat because the guys need access to the companionway….so we are trying to use our time productively and are  working on our lists of things to do.   This morning the cormorants are back and they look so funny half submerged between dives….


At lunchtime we headed over to RAM marina – where Morphie is hauling.   We checked out the slip and the boatyard before heading into the office.   We met Karen – who speaks perfect English thankfully – and organised our haul out slot, confirmed that we want Morphie on the concrete not the grass area, and optimistically scheduled our antifouling being done on our return in November.   After lots of research we have finally chosen a new ablative paint which is acceptable to both New Zealand and Australia (and is sold there too for top-ups).   Thankfully the paint (in blue) and primer is sold here so we can reserve our cans now.   We were also very pleased that this marina confirmed that they are happy for us to do our own work whilst in the yard.


We also had a look at the accommodation in the marina – they have small concrete bungalows – for cruisers to share.   The master bedroom is $25 a night so pretty reasonable although it has shared facilities.   Richard wasn’t that impressed (thought it was a bit smelly) but it would do and it would appear that, if we wanted exclusivity, the cost would be $50 a night for the whole unit.    That’s a much better option – we agreed to go away and think about it.

Back to the boat and we were pleased that all the wood had been sealed…..and just in time because the rain came down again during the evening.

Getting sealant on

Tuesday morning and we used a different card to get some cash out – and then went to the hotel to check out their rooms.   They have four types – from the standard up to a suite – and we can get a discount as marina guests.    Well….the suite was lovely….and the standard rooms were anything but.  In fact, gross is the best description.    Hmm…what to do… we really want to spend $120 a night for the mid-range room with no fridge or cooking facilities….    Check out the photo of the suite – shame they are so expensive even with our discount! 

Nanajuana suites

While in the hotel lobby we did some research on line about potential land travel.   Everything is a long way away so we are thinking – if the varnish is finished on time and we are on top of our hauling lists – that we might get the bus to Flores, head into the Tikal National Park, maybe fly to Guatemala City and head to Antigua for a few nights before heading back on the bus to the Rio Dulce.


AntiguaBack to the boat and Charlie came by.   He has swapped out his old cooker for a brand new stainless Force 10 and is donating the old one to a cruiser here who supplements her income by cooking cruiser take-away lunches.   Richard went off to help him and I stayed down below….until Freddie said they were leaving as Morphie had had her first coat of varnish applied.  Woo hoo! 

First coat of varnish First coat of varnish 2

Richard and Charlie finally came back and, having had a couple of beers while they planned their expedition LOL, they regaled me with  hysterical stories of the marina of the damned.  Apparently the boats are falling apart with one of them about to sink and the people are pretty wasted…  

Charlie left and we were sitting in the cockpit when we realised that our tarpaulin was delaminating and strands were hanging off.  I said we’d better take that down in the morning before some of it lands on the varnish – and, of course, at that minute it did.   Damn…so we spent a while sorting that out…and took the tarpaulin down.    It did rain overnight but the varnish was dry enough not to get damaged.

Wednesday morning and we owned up to what had happened the night before.  Freddie wasn’t bothered and was working on the companionway / eyebrow today.  He also managed to get all the canvas strands off the varnish – these guys are pretty laid back and take it all in their stride.    As they needed dink to get around the rail we took ourselves off to town via a local tuktuk.    We were surprised by the heavy armed security at the entrance to the hotel / marina complex as this was the first time we had left via the road.

Our transport In the tuktuk

Tuktuks are an inexpensive way to travel and was a great experience, especially going over the bridge rather than going under it.    The scale of the river is pretty impressive.     

Onto the bridge Rio Dulce 1 Rio Dulce 2 Rio Dulce 3 Rio Dulce 4

Town was very busy and it felt quite different to be driving through it rather than avoiding the traffic on foot.  

Into Fronteras Fronteras 1 Fronteras 2

We nervously put our card in the ATM and we were very relieved that it worked fine – that’ll be the last withdrawal for a while now as we have enough to cover our quotes and beer vouchers.   We headed back to the marina across the bridge again and spotted a helicopter that had just landed – presumably dropping off people to one of the large powerboats that live here….


Back on board and the guys are knocking off for the afternoon as the weather is threatening and they didn’t want to do another coat of varnish.  The companionway boards, in the meantime, have been taken to the workshop to be done there….   Pleased with progress so far.

Later on we headed over to MAR marine for their movie night – and they picked us up in their complimentary launcha.   The food was good, the movie was a bit dark, but we had a good time catching up with Larry, Dave and Mary who we had last seen in Fantasy Island.   It was nice to have an evening out.

Thursday morning and we have three guys on board….  And although a cloudy day there was no threat of rain…so they got on with it.    Richard cleaned out the drawers under the fridge / freezer and got rid of the mould that always forms here due to the condensation from the units.   We have always maintained this to be a design fault….    The actual drawers themselves have got damaged in the constant damp environment so Richard found Arnie to get a quote on getting them remade with solid wood.   

Damaged drawer

I sat on the dock cleaning all the stainless again – not often you get a chance to do both sides – and spotted a couple of cracks that need welding.   Freddie is going to get someone over to see us as we’ve given up on the other guy – and we’ll ask him about the helm seat modification too.  

As we are so keen to take a road trip we’ve started on some of our ‘putting the boat to bed jobs’ and we got down all the straps / ropes / pulleys that hold dink up on the arch and cleaned them up.  We’ll grease them up before we put them away for storage.

Both of us worked hard for about six hours straight in the heat we collapsed down below for the rest of the day.   The guys carried on working and, before they left, everything had had its second coat of varnish.   It is starting to look really good and there is a long way to go – we always thought Winfield in Bequia was the varnishing genius – but think these guys might just have the edge!

Another quiet night on board – but this time with a lovely steak dinner and it was dry.  Not really a sunset but a pretty sky nevertheless.


Friday morning and the guys are back on board rubbing down – we actually have some blue sky this morning – and Richard has just been into town to get some beer supplies.    He also popped into the canvas guy to pick up our bespoke pads for dink but they weren’t ready….so he’ll be going back for them later.    I’m sitting down below – fans at full pelt – blogging.   Hopefully the weather will hold and we’ll get another coat of varnish completed today.

Fingers crossed for a dry evening as we are planning to have sundowners at the “Shack” later.  Bye for now