Settling in Fronteras, Guatemala

Sunday afternoon we took ourselves off to the pool for the afternoon and came back about five.  


Hotel lobby

I was just starting dinner when the heavens opened so we went down below and decided to have a movie night on board.    We were watching the Panic Room and an almighty bang and simultaneous lightning made me scream again!    Then we heard air horns.   Worried about fellow cruisers we stopped the film, popped out heads out, but could not see anything at all in the torrential downpour.   Finally having seen the (dark) film through to the end we had an early night.

Monday morning we were up bright and early and I started on the laundry.   In the meantime there were a procession of workmen on the boat next door – and the canvas guys asked us if we wanted any work done.   Well – actually – we did.   We wanted to create a new window in the bimini so that we could see the sails when underway (and to be covered when not) and there were a few zips and snaps that needed replacing.  We also wanted it re-waterproofed to save us a job later.  So they went off to consider a price.   In the meantime I finished the laundry and then they were back.   The price was good so we agreed it – and they promptly did all the measurements and took the canvas away!    So we put up our tarpaulin again and that will have to do until it all comes back.  The guys working on next door’s brightwork asked us about work too – we explained what we wanted to do this year and they went off to put together a quote.

Canvas off

Lunchtime we went to the NanaJuana restaurant to watch England play in the Euros.   Hmmmm….least said about that the better…..   Later on we returned to Morphie – pretty fed up – and stayed on board for the rest of the day.   Again it was a stormy night but no storms in the immediate vicinity thankfully.


Down comes the rain

Tuesday morning we received the quote for the brightwork.   A bit more than we wanted to pay so we’ll get another quote to compare against.   We headed out in dink to Fronteras leaving Morphie behind in her snug slip next to the powerboat sheds.

Morphie tucked in nicely Heading out to town

Dinking across the river we admired the view of the bridge which is actually huge (with 90 feet at the centre) and carries heavy traffic – with truck airbrakes screaming 24 hours a day as they cross.   Egrets nestle into the mangroves and there are boats tucked in everywhere along both sides of the lake.    Not sure about the name of this one though!

Bridge over the river Boats tucked in everywhere Lots of egrets Not sure about the name

We found the dinghy dock and wandered under the bridge – stumbling across Captain Johns on the way.   He has good brightwork people apparently so we arranged for them to come by later in the afternoon.

Dinghy dock

We wandered into the main town – having to avoid huge trucks as they come hurtling through, mingling with the tuk-tuks, motorcycles, coaches etc etc – and there are no pavements so you constantly end up ducking into the front of shops to stay safe!

Fronteras 1 Fronteras 2 Fronteras 3 Fronteras 4 Fronteras 5 Fronteras 6

The people here are mainly Garafuna and lots of them wear traditional clothing co-existing with a cowboy population wearing big buckles, cowboy hats and polished boots and guns on hips.   The locals tend to ignore us as we walk along with the occasional good morning and smile….   Wanted to take some people shots but thought better of it – will try to find a quiet place to do this from on a future visit.

First stop was the bank – we queued up but were told they couldn’t give us cash over the counter – we had to use the ATM.   The ATM was open to the street so could easily be compromised so we were a bit uncomfortable with that – and, of course, all the tradesmen want to be paid in cash.   So we wandered the street until we found another ATM which had an armed guard outside – hopefully this will be safe.    The maximum you can take out in one day here is Q2k (£200) so we’ll be doing this regularly for a little while!   After getting drinking vouchers we headed to the supermarket which was a big warehouse and didn’t have a huge range of goods – but we really only came for some cans of beer and soda.   Richard fancied some tuna but wasn’t sure about this brand!

Supermarket Not sure this is a good brand

Back to Morphie and we watched a local fisherman cast his nets from his dugout canoe.  The waterway is incredibly busy with water taxis, launchas, jet skis, large power boats, dinghies and kayaks.   Everything is moved by water….even fridges LOL.

Fishermen on the river Been shopping

Later on the guys from Captain John came by.   They were young and seemed to have to make a lot of phone calls to get advice so we were not inspired….particularly when they passed the phone over to us to get some clarifications.   Hmmmm – quote not as expensive as the others – but no evidence of quality work either.   Time to think about it…. 

Later on we headed over to Backpackers Hotel to get some fresh bread and made contact with Casa Guatemala, an orphanage, which we have some clothes to donate to.  When we get a chance we are going to arrange a visit up the river to deliver them.


We then dinked around the corner to Louvies marina, where Island Sol are tied up.

Waters edge Island Sol in Louvies

Saundra has put her back out on top of the stress of realising a significant sum had been withdrawn from their bank account when their debit cards had been compromised.  We enjoyed visiting with them for a little while and promised to help them with scanning / printing documents for their bank to start the investigation on whether they should get the money back or not.    Shocking!    We were suddenly very grateful for the stance taken by our bank who had immediately promised us a refund as we were using a credit card.

Wednesday morning and Charlie came by and we did all the paperwork with him – that printer / scanner was definitely a worthwhile purchase this season.    Later on we went for a walk next door to RAM marina – which is where Morphie is going to be stored when we go home.   The yard is nice and clean and the boats are well spaced – so pretty happy with our choice.  

RAM marina Boatyard at RAM

We then went into the marina shop and realised they had an ATM which is in view of the cashier.  We decided that as there were less likely to be vagabonds hanging around this area we would use this machine for our future withdrawals.  Fingers crossed.    We also visited the chandlery and were pleased to find out that we can order from the West Marine catalogue and, providing we pay 50% up front, they will deal with importation and storage until we return.   Very happy with that news, so Richard continues to work on his spares list.

Later on Charlie came by and we went pool bobbing for a few hours.  Sadly Saundra was still laid up.   Great fun….

Pool bobbing

And we had a sunset – our first one since we arrived in Guatamala.   Woo hoo!

Goodnight Guatemala

Thursday morning and we started to negotiate the prices on the brightwork.    Richard cleaned down below and polished all the woodwork and I started on the stainless steel.   It is hard working in these high temperatures and humidity – currently 43C / 110F.    We had a lazy afternoon recovering and decided to go to the cruisers palapa for sundowners to meet others.   Well….of course….we got ready and we were just climbing into the cockpit when the heavens opened again.    These are not normal rain showers they are torrential tropical downpours – so we abandoned that idea and settled down to another movie night.  This time we decided to watch something lighter and ended up choosing Finding Nemo.   Love that movie.

Friday morning and I made another ATM visit.   Then our preferred brightwork guys came back with a reduced quote.   Bit more negotiation and finally hands shaken on a price – looking forward to this work starting next week.   Next visitor was a fabricator / welder as we want to adapt our helm seat which is fine for cruising but not so great for long ocean passages….  He took measurements and Richard’s drawings away to source the appropriate marine grade stainless steel and fittings that he needs – so now just waiting for the quote.   We’ve also received our full rigging report and have agreed to get our ‘emergency rigging pack’ and the sacrificial UV strips to be re-stitched by Tom the rigger on our way out of the Rio in early December.

Just getting ready to go out to Fronteras again and the canvas guys turn up – job done – and reinstalled the canvas.   Very happy with their work!

Canvas modification

Finally we headed into Fronteras to get some fresh produce – visiting about four stalls to get quality fruit and salad.   Heading back to Morphie and both of us were overheated again… we had a quiet afternoon down below with all the fans blowing…and decided to stay put listening to the rain beating down.

This morning, Saturday, we had a lazy start and I’m blogging while Richard has just gone off to get one of our gas bottles filled up.    We are pleased with our progress on the boat jobs so far….and fingers crossed we’ll have enough time to go exploring inland soon. 

Bye for now.