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Happy 2012

New Years Eve – Antigua, Guatemala

New Years Eve – one of our favorite moments of the year. Everyone is happy and festive, smiling, open. We immerse ourselves into the local flavor of the night and enjoy the freedom of strolling in the city uninhibited. But it’s definitely inhabited – scores of revelers pour through the streets and converge in the central parque. We eat, dance and celebrate.

Thank You 2011. Hello 2012.

Antigua, Guatemala

We extend our “errands” trip many times, which takes us into late December. So we decide to extend it just a little more and bring in the New Year in the beautiful city of Antigua before heading back to the boat. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to see what’s considered to be a highlight of this country. It’s a great decision.

A Day in Guatemala City

As we prepare to fly out to do some international errands and visit with family and friends, we use the opportunity to get to know Guatemala City a little better. Nothing we read speaks very highly of Guatemala’s capital. But with the right attitude and a little digging, we find good food, some inspiring architecture and other hidden gems.

Ricardo’s Sweater is Finished!!!

After nine months of toil Linda gives birth.

Hanging out at Mango Marina – Rio Dulce, Guatemala

It’s called a marina, but Mango is much, much more. And it’s much less as well. A serene garden peninsula, this place is idyllic. There isn’t a restaurant, but you can order meals. It doesn’t have a bar, but the fridge is full. No hotel, but guests can take a room. Best of all, there’s no entertainment, but it’s a lot of fun. The owner, Luis, and his crew, Lesbia, Julia and Alvaro, offer the perfect balance between service and serenity. It turns out Mango attracts like-minded boaters, which makes our stay feel like a lazy afternoon siesta.

The Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Here we show a bit of what the river looks and feels like in our surroundings. We dinghy around the edges and find many different faces to this conduit of life. The elegant San Felipe castle stands guard at the entry to Lake Izabal, a great body of water that gives its name to this region of Guatemala.

Video Clip – Zipline Duo – Copan, Honduras

This tree-top zipline course in the mountains outside of Copan has about 14 segments. The longest one is one kilometer. After zipping on our own, we decide to ride down together. This is the final segment where we cross over the river.

Linda and Ricardo – The Zipping Duo

Bird Sanctuary and Treetop Zipline – Copan, Honduras

We visit the bird sanctuary up the hill and get our hands-on experience. We also step it up a notch athletically and get our hang-on experience when we descend a mountain on the nearby zipline route.

Coffee Plantation Tour – Finca El Cisne – Copan, Honduras

We journey to a coffee plantation about an hour outside of Copan. It’s an inspiring place. We enjoy wonderful home-grown meals and try many new fruits and vegetables. We explore the landscape on a long horseback ride and then soak our sore butts in a natural hot spring.

Mayan Ruins – Copan, Honduras

A group of us from the marina take a trip to Honduras to see the Copan ruins. Luckily, the predicted rain stays at bay and we enjoy great weather, a grand Mayan city and a beautiful colonial town.

Video Clip – Independence Day Parade – Fronteras, Guatemala

Well, the parade photos in the earlier post give an idea of the extent and breadth of the annual parade. This clip should amplify those sensations, though it’s still odorless.

Video Clip – Independence Day Parade

In and Around Rio Dulce, Guatemala

After a brief search, we find a perfect fit in one of Rio Dulce’s many marinas and settle-in, reveling in the fact that we get to stay put for a while. Well, at least Bailando gets to. The two of us need to go back to Los Angeles to wrap up one last bit of business. But before we do, we work on a few projects, make some new friends and continue to be enchanted with this magical place.

Arriving in Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Our final leg to Guatemala is a two-night ride south along the Yucatan Peninsula coast. We cut through Belize’s reef but don’t stop because we’re antsy to get to Rio Dulce. We get lots of rain, and the second night proves to be a tough one – 35 knot winds batter us. Luckily we’re inside the protection provided by the reef or we would see large seas too. We suffer and fix a significant leak in the rudder post – we owe thanks to the the 3 am crew for taking care of it for us. So, when at dawn of the third day we finally see the cloud-draped mountains of our destination, we’re more than delighted, we fall in love with this Mayan land.

Cozumel, Mexico

After hearing for years how special this place is, we are certain that the hot spots elude us. But, if all the rave is about the pirate ship discotheque that parades tourists along the coastline whilst they enjoy 80′s music at supreme decibels, accompanied by the pirates’ canned jokes and action-packed theater, then we’ve definitely catch the flavor. We decidedly enjoy ourselves while visiting the town, but unfortunately the anchorage isn’t very good – it’s unprotected and quite rolly, it’s an open thoroughfare for large ferries, and how can we forget about the pirate ship – two banal and identical shows EVERY evening! Add a sprinkling of food poisoning, and a touch of bureaucracy during our checking out of Mexico, and we joyfully move on.