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Welcome to the Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator Online News!
Reflections on The Cruiser's Life...and Loss E-mail
The News - Latest News
February 7, 2018
by Guest Reporter, Tortugese

It is one of life's immutable laws that we can only experience the first time once. So, it is that all we visitors to the Rio Dulce vividly retain those initial impressions, regardless of whether the sun shone or the rain-forest shed tears, hard-wired into our respective psyches.

However, many times we return, we cannot completely recreate these first pictures but, in compensation: the more we return, the greater the treasures we unfold.  Doubtless, this is why so many of us (cruisers, primarily, but others too) return year after year like migrating birds.

As every annual flight gifts us with meeting more fellow passagers (some less passaging than others) we are confronted with another of cruising - and life's - laws: for every one we meet and greet, they eventually weigh anchor and bid adieu. For every hello there is an inevitable goodbye.

Such vague musings impressed themselves upon me on my return to the Rio this year to find that the loss of good friends was accountably greater than in years past.  Such losses are, of course, very personal but I believe many, if not most, will be mourning the handful of Rio characters who have left us for good in the past year. What can one do when confronted with such losses - and, yes, grief - on revisiting a venue which is expected, however naively, to offer at least comfort if not pure hedonism? Well, we could, very reasonably, resort to the siren call of "carpe diem."  This, bearing in mind the average age of Rio cruisers, is a perfectly practical response as " live for the day" seems certainly more attainable than " live for the decade!" However, I feel (no, Guatemala encourages me to feel) that there is an alternative, perhaps complementary, response.

Sandi and Patrick's Final Sail as YachtCruz Goes Down E-mail
Births, Deaths, Anniversaries, Graduations, Life Changes - Deaths
Fun-loving Sandi at a New Year's Eve Party in Rio Dulce
February 7, 2018
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher
Editor's Note:  I've taken a short break, as my laptop and Internet service were both down for the last two weeks. I was finding it hard to write the following article anyway, as it is, unfortunately, the report of another loss of friends in the Rio Dulce boating community. I'm in the US for a few weeks, now, with access to the Internet, and, while pushing myself to get this done, a fellow cruiser sent a beautiful letter which deals with this very subject of loss of friends and loved ones on the Rio. It could not have arrived at a better time. So, first, the sad news of Sandi and Patrick on YachtCruz, and the uplifting letter will be published immediately after.

Sandi and Patrick lived life to the fullest, which seems even more poignant and important now that their lives have been cut short. Sandi's daughter, Eva Emelev, alerted friends on Sandi's Facebook page, Go YachtCruz, that the Coast Guard had received distress calls from their vessel on January 10th, however, no boats were spotted at the location of the emission.

After spending a fun-filled year or more on the Rio Dulce, Sandi and Patrick went to Panama, where they managed Shelter Bay Marina, in Colon, for two years. They passed through the Panama Canal and sent Thanksgiving greetings from Marina Vallarta in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. They were headed north along the West Coast of Mexico when, apparently, they encountered difficulties.

RIP Sandi and Patrick of SV YachtCruz - FB Profile Picture

Earthquake on the Rio Dulce E-mail
The News - Latest News
Map of 4.1 Earthquake on the Rio Dulce 17 Jan 2018
January 18, 2018
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

Normally earthquakes that occur near Guatemala are on the Pacific side of the country. Yesterday, however, we had one right here on the Rio Dulce, near the Golfete. No damage has been reported as far as the Rio Dulce Chisme can determine...just a bit more rocking and rolling on the water, and it was also felt on land.

The Guatemala government agency that monitors seismologic events says it was a 4.1 magnitude, Latitude:15.7259, Longitude: 88.8375, Time of Origin: 2018-01-17 19:42:42, Depth: 10

Death of John Garrett (Pony-tail John) E-mail
Births, Deaths, Anniversaries, Graduations, Life Changes - Deaths
RIP Pony-tail John
January 14, 2018
Written by John's brother and forwarded by Wallace White

John Edward Garrett, III. Born 11/03/1939 died 1/04/2018 of  multiple systematic failure. He Leaves a brother, William Douglas Garrett of Houston, Texas, son, Richard Jay Garrett of Sacramento, California, son, John Edward Garrett, IV, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, daughter, Leann Garrett of Denham Springs, Louisiana, and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

John was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a pilot and, a Sea Captain. He had many, many friends, and a full life. He was a free spirit and an adventurous soul. May he rest in peace. The family would like to thank his best friend, Wallace White, who was always there to help him and care for him, up until the very end.

New Lights on the Bridge and Christmas Around the Rio E-mail
The News - Latest News
New Permanent Lighting on the Rio Dulce Bridge
January 5, 2018
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

Christmas was celebrated with much fanfare all around the Rio Dulce this year. Once again, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause rode their sleigh downriver to spread a little Christmas magic to hundreds of children at Casa Guatemala Children's Home. Heather Graham, Executive Director, organized the mindboggling logistics for the festivities, and expressed gratitude to the Rio Dulce cruising community for their support, both monetarily and in donations of presents.

Although the Rio Dulce bridge looked festive, the bright colorful lights were not placed there for the holidays, but are actually a delightful permanent fixture, alternating colors every few minutes. Returning boaters were pleased and surprised by the nightly light show.

Click "Read more..." below the second photo for more images of Christmas on the Rio. The Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator wishes a happy, healthy 2018 to all!

Santa's Sleigh is Delivered to Backpackers
Mr. and Mrs. Clause Ready to Entertain 100s of Children at Casa Guatemala

Big End of Year Sale at Ram Marina!! E-mail
The News - Latest News
December 30, 2017
by Karen, Ram Marina

To celebrate the end of 2017 and welcome to a 2018 full of blessings, we'll have the super discount of the year! Tomorrow, 31st of December 2017, we will offer a 25% discount at the Marine Store. Only one day!!! Get ready, and enjoy the super discounts.

Casa Guatemala Christmas Giving and Activities E-mail
The News - Latest News
Casa Guatemala's Prize-winning Float in the Christmas Parade!
The Season of Giving and Gratitude!
December 14, 2017
By Heather Graham, Director, Casa Guatemala Children’s Home

Well here we are, only weeks away from Christmas! There is a hustle and a bustle everywhere we turn! Here at Casa Guatemala, the children are busy making decorations and practicing their carols for the big Christmas party at the end of our Vacation Program. We just participated in the first ever Rio Dulce Christmas Parade and we stole the show, winning best float! Of course, having connections to the big man in Red helped! We are so grateful for our Santa and Mrs. Claus who, if you didn't know live in Rio Dulce when they are not in the North Pole!

This year we have 115 children in our vacation classes and it has been a really positive experience for them all. We even have quite a few new children who have joined us now so that come January when school starts they will be better adapted and know a little bit of Spanish. It helps to have the new pre-kinder kids start early since they usually have only ever spoken Q'eqchi before coming to Casa Guatemala!

Our Christmas Concert is scheduled for Wednesday, December 20th and we will have a special lunch for the kids, songs and plays performed by each grade, and of course, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus with presents for all! It has been such a joy to include this extra celebration in the last 2 years since most of the children will be going back to their far away villages and won't get to share the night of the 24th with us. It means a lot to see the sparkle in their eyes when Santa arrives! Sharing joy and teaching gratitude is a wonderful way for us to end the year!

And of course, to do this, we need your help to bring that joy! Locally we have started our Christmas Toy Drive, with drop-off boxes in the local marinas. Our friends here in Rio Dulce are welcome to help us to gather presents as well as treats like apples and grapes for our big events! Our biggest need for presents is for both boys and girls in the age range of 9-12 years old. This is stuff like books, board games, hats, hair gel and baseball caps for the boys and jewelry, nail polish and hair accessories for the girls. Soccer balls are always a big hit and Barbies are still fun! Other ideas are playing cards, fishing hooks and line, play sets (food, kitchen, doctor), arts and crafts, and cars of all sizes! We already have a good number of toys for babies and a few things for 3 to 5 year olds but our biggest need is for girls 6-12 and boys 9-12. Little girls like dolls, skipping ropes, play kitchen toys and books. Some great spots to check out are the “Mundo de 3” stores in Fronteras. There is a new 2 story shop right beside the Banco Industrial! They have lots of things at very reasonable prices! Anyone wanting to donate funds instead, we will use them to purchase the meals for the kids and all the fruits and treats we need to make it special! If you can't be here with us and would like to help, you can make a donation online!

To donate in US dollars, click here.

To donate in Canadian dollars, click here. 

MORE opportunities and an engaging story by a Casa Guatemala volunteer - click "Read more..." below the next photo.

Happy Casa Guatemala Children with Santa 2016

Guy Smith, SV Hipsway, Succumbs to Injuries E-mail
Births, Deaths, Anniversaries, Graduations, Life Changes - Deaths
Guy Smith, SV Hipsway
December 6, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher
Photograph Sources Credited on Image

Guy Often Volunteered to Cook for Special Events
The Rio Dulce community has lost another wild and crazy, beloved character. We are sad to report that Guy Smith, of SV Hipsway, has succumbed to injuries suffered in a boating accident while in Belize. 

The accident occurred around 9:45 p.m. Friday, November 17th, off the west coast of the island of Caye Caulker. Guy and his 19-year old son were in their dinghy (reportedly no lights) when a larger vessel, belonging to Koko King Restaurant, collided with them. Guy was knocked unconscious and suffered a cut on his elbow, broken ribs and brain hemorrhaging.

His son was treated for lesser injuries and released to his mother soon after the accident. She transported him to Mexico where he received further treatment.

Guy was taken to a clinic on Caye Caulker, then transported to a hospital in Belize City. He remained there for several days before he was able to be medevaced by air ambulance to Canada. After extensive tests, it was determined that the brain damage was too extensive to undergo surgery and Guy was taken off life support. He passed peacefully on Sunday, December 3rd.

Guy was an integral part of life in Rio Dulce and his accident and death came as quite a shock. Updates on his condition were posted regularly on Facebook and his many friends have been posting photographs and memories, as well.

“Wild and crazy” is a recurring description and there are frequent mentions of his great big smile. We didn’t believe half the big tales Guy told, but it sure was fun hearing him tell them. Underneath that fun-loving exterior, though, was a truly kind person, devoted to his son, and a good friend.

Ram Marina Fundraiser for Cayo Quemado Education E-mail
The News - Latest News
December 2, 1017
by Kathi Wright, Volunteer Coordinator and
Kelli Doll, Founder of the Community Tuition Grant Program

On Saturday, December 9th, RAM Marina will be holding their annual celebrations of the 2nd anniversary of Rio Dulce’s only yacht painting booth and the 4th anniversary of the West Marine Pro products store. The day of the event everything in the marine products store will be 15% off and you will also receive 50% off selected clothing and shoes! So come on out and celebrate with the Rio Dulce community and enjoy the food, beverages, music and savings – all compliments of RAM Marina. UPDATE! See Ram's ad for a special deal below! Click "Read more..."

And once again, RAM Marina has generously offered this opportunity to the rural students of nearby village Cayo Quemado to take part in their celebration and raise funds for their Community Tuition Grant Program.  Since 2011, this Program has provided financial assistance to disadvantaged families, allowing their children to attend middle school, high school and New for the 2018 school year -- financial assistance to attend college.  Keep in mind, ALL proceeds from the silent auction and raffle go towards these students' education.

We hope you join us in what will surely be a great day and meet the students of Cayo Quemado who will be working the event and truly appreciate your support!!!

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