The second option, and the one we chose, was to continue in along the coastline of Cabo Tres Puntas in a southeast direction into a well-protected bay called Bahia La Graciosa. By avoiding the uncharted shoal on your portside that extends off the tip in toward the bay at the entrance, coming in is easy and the entrance is otherwise very straight forward.
These were no small fish since some seemed to be almost as large as the fisherman. And, no, this is not a fish tale. We were totally fascinated and this was our first look at how the Guatemalan natives lived and worked. This area is very remote, with access only by boat. The closest town is
From the jungle we could hear the very distinctive calls of howler monkeys. Many cruisers that had come here before us had told us to listen for them just after sunset and as soon as the sun comes up. This is the time they are most active and vocal.
We waited a couple of more hours, but the storms were holding and the clock was ticking for us. Finally we knew we could not make it to the bar with a good tide so we sat out the rest of the day right where we were. This was not a bad thing since the high tide was a little later and a little higher the next morning.
Other than a few sprinkles in the morning, the storms stayed outside the bay, so we enjoyed this beautiful place surrounded by jungle and flat calm water. We took some time to take the dinghy and get a little closer to the fishing village. The villagers watched us with curiosity and waved enthusiastically when we came by. Later that night they had some kind of celebration and turned on their generator and ran electric lights. They spent several hours playing guitars and singing until about , when the lights went out and all was quiet again in our world.
You really have to experience these kinds of moments to appreciate the feeling that one gets. These are the reasons we worked hard and planned hard to get out here to travel the watery part of our planet on a small boat. But even on this evening we could not imagine that the best was yet to come.
Since our draft is a little less than Nueva Vida, we crossed first and stayed in radio contact to provide them with depth reports. Sea Trek crossed the bar at about with no problems. We were in the Rio Dulce and had met one of our greatest goals for the trip so far.
I can’t describe the excitement we felt at that moment, but just crossing the bar is not all we needed to worry about. The river entrance is very shallow in many places in the
Once over the bar, the deeper water doglegs straight up river for about a quarter-mile and then makes a turn to starboard toward the concrete municipal dock, the area where you must anchor. We found the holding here to be poor for anchoring, so this should not be attempted in bad weather. It’s also a good idea to leave someone on the boat at all times while at
Once contact has been made you need to wait on the boat and all of the appropriate officials will come to you. You will be visited by the Port Captain, Customs, Immigrations and Health. Of the four, only Raul from Customs speaks English. Their visit was short and very pleasant. No search or inspection was done. They sat in our cockpit and chatted a bit, collected our passports, gave us a map of the town showing where all of their offices where and told us exactly what the charge would be at each office. This was amazing since it eliminates the possibility of unexpected or unofficial charges coming up at any time during check-in. They welcomed us to
Once officially cleared in, we were free to enjoy these fantastic cruising grounds. We made a few stops in town to purchase some supplies and returned to the boat. Because of the strong current, poor holding and wakes from the local fishing boats it was decided that we would immediately move up river.
Our first stop was to be a small bay only about 12 miles away and it was still early morning. So, without hesitation, we pulled up the anchor and headed toward one of our greatest adventures to date.