Re-writing travel plans and sailing into new opportunities

Today I said goodbye to some new friends who I went on an unexpected journey with on the open waters from Caye Caulker, Belize through to Rio Dulce, Guatemala (approx 250km) and then onto Antigua.

I met Jane at the hostel in Tulum, Mexico and we decided to travel to Caye Caulker for two nights which turned unto four. By the end,   deciding on how we were going to get to Guatemala proved to be difficult as we really didn’t want to leave but Jane also had a deadline to get to Guatemala. That’s until we met Lance and Albert from Montreal, Canada. Lance was the owner of a 41 foot yacht  acquired in Venezuela a couple of years ago since then has been sailing solo around the Caribbean. We met him at a street food stall on the “main road” that was made up of a picnic bench and a BBQ grill. He had had sailed up from Guatemala to Caye Caulker with a crew he had picked up along the way who we also got to know.

Fast forward a day and we were enjoying a few beers at the Split Bar like most people and we run into Lance again. It turned out that he was  looking to head back down to moor the boat up river from Livingstone, Guatemala which offers protection during the hurricane season. As we chatted further he offered us a ride on the boat the following morning which made our decision easier.

For the following three days, our daily routine would be to have breakfast, marinate meat for dinner, eat lunch that Albert would cook and drink plenty of rum and coke and admire the changing landscapes that mother nature would dish up. There wasn’t much else to do but it did give me plenty of time to become zen like and ponder about the months ahead and what my travel goals and expectations should be during and post trip.

We ran aground twice in shallow waters, swam along amazing reefs, had dolphins visitors to play with. Each afternoon it would become overcast and rain but the last night become quite hairy and we got caught on the edge of a hurricane that battered the western coastline of Mexico. We had no idea as the weather radar wasn’t working on the GPS but still, we managed to get by without  any major damage. The only concern was getting the main sail down in time before the high winds tipped us over sideways. Despite the shit storm that we sailed into, I managed to cook pasta which probably wasn’t the best idea considering the boat was swaying from side to side and I was boiling water and sautéing meat and vege at the same time. Compounding then danger factor was that  the sky was lit up with lightening during this time and we were a sitting lightning rod in the ocean.

Although there were a few hairy moments, at no time did I fear that things were going to turn to shit, even through the GPS unit would turn off every now and then after the storm ensuring that we sailed towards the incorrect port in Livingston. The only time I showed some signs of concern was when we ran aground on shallow sand bars and Lance kept yelling “Now we’re really fucked!”

After the trip we ended up heading up to Antigua where we spent the last few days reclaiming our land legs and also battling food poisoning (more on that in a later post). Now time to split where I’ll move on to San Pedro in Lake Aititlan for over a week where I will use it as a base to visit the towns that surround the lake and also to hike San Pedro Volcano. I’ll also attempt to improve my Spanish as well at one of the Spanish schools there.

So my friends. Have you ever made a last minute decision and jump on an opportunity that wasn’t on your travel or everyday plan that turned out to be the best or worst decision? I’d be keen to hear your stories.

caye caulker

Waiting for Lance to pick us up. Was this a bad omen?

Sailing through caye caulker

All smiles so far

Sailing out of the cayes between the reef structure

sunset in the carribean sea

The sun trying to break through during sunset. One of the many changing scenes we’d view.


cooking on a sailboat

Albert working his culinary magic

swimming at a reef off guatemala

We stopped by at this reef for a swim which turned out to be one of the best ones I’ve swum at during this trip

sailing through a storm

Looks like rain….shit it’s a storm!

cooking in the galley

I cooked during the storm. Boiling water and sautéing meat and vege on a stove that would swing on a pendulum with the boat to stay horizontal

sailing a boat

Even a dummy can sail a boat



A pod of dolphins came to play


moored at livingstone guatemala

La La moored at Livingstone while we get our documentation signed

sailing to rio dolce

Cruising through the windy river from Livingstone to Rio Dulce

cruising to rio dulce

The canyon walls were hundreds of feet high

The final night before we all split


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Re-writing travel plans and sailing into new opportunities — 4 Comments

  1. glad you made it through the storms (and food poisoning) safely! that story about cooking pasta was rather amusing, though.

  2. Pingback: Busy not doing much in Caye Caulker - Jimmy Eats World

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