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Welcome to the Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator Online News!
Recently Around the Rio E-mail
The News - Latest News

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Raja's New Home and Garden

May 19, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

There was a lot of activity in Rio Dulce last week! There were birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day meals, and community get-togethers.

The Rio Dulce Chisme also heard from Rodger Hanks, who, after living on the rio for many years, says he is settling into his new life in “Lalaland” (USA) but misses all of us here. We miss him, too, and wish “Raja” all the best. He says he has an RV on a ten-acre piece of property, has chickens and is enjoying his garden. From the looks of it, he should have enough produce to make friends with a lot of neighbors!

Sadly, we also want to report that a local young man died, after the dinghy in which he and his brother were attempting to reach the shore, was hit by lightning, in front of the Catamaran Restaurant. According to the national newspaper, the Prensa Libre, his name was Érick Aroldo Chuc Ical, and he was 17 years old. He fell into the river after the lightning strike, and drowned. His brother,19, was seriously injured, but survived, after being rescued and taken to the hospital by the Rio Dulce Volunteer Firefighters (Bomberos Voluntarios).

An English translation of the Prensa Libre article states that “Rescuers said the wounded man reported that the storm was sudden when they were in the vicinity of the river and that, at the moment they sought refuge, was struck by the lightning that caused the boat to sink in a matter of seconds.”

The Rio Dulce boating community extends condolences to family and friends. This sad incident serves as a reminder to all of us to stay alert and attempt to avoid being on the water during electrical storms. Click "Read More" for more photographs below.

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Friends Celebrating Ellen's Birthday at Kangaroo-Las Mexicanas
 

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Happy Mother's Day! E-mail
The News - Latest News

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BACKPACKERS!! 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day (in the USA and Canada) from the Rio Dulce Chisme-Vindicator! Those of you on the rio might like to head over to Backpacker's for a special Mother's Day meal. See the flyer above for the scrumptious choices!

 
Timeline of Rio Dulce Bridge Activity E-mail
The News - Latest News

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Bumper to Bumper Trucks and Other Vehicles on the Bridge

Editor's Note: I've been on vacation! Back on track, and we've got lots of interesting new articles lined up for you. To start, Daphne Becker presents a timeline of activity surrounding our Rio Dulce Bridge, from construction in 1974 to present day concerns. A long-time resident and owner of Tortugal River Lodge and Marina, Daphne has been a vigilant participant in the community, with special interest in protecting our beloved sweet river, the Rio Dulce. 
 
May 8, 2017
by Daphne Becker

Have you noticed things slowing down on the Rio Dulce Bridge? Not so much noise, not so many trucks? Well, there is quite a story here…and maybe you can take part.

1974.  A bridge over the National Park of the Rio Dulce is constructed. It is engineered to sustain weight loads of up to 30 or maybe 32 tons in any one place.  

1977.  Rio Dulce experiences a strong earthquake. The epicenter is about 25 km. in the ocean, just outside of Puerto Barrios. The shock is felt in Antigua where water jumps out of the swimming pool at the Ramada Inn and the crowd leaves meals on the table as they run outside. The Rio Dulce Bridge is damaged, closed. Ferries begin to operate. 

2003.  From Rio Dulce to Buenos Aires, the land and forest have been cleared to plant locally named Dollar Bill Trees. Wood pulp is now being barged downriver to freighters. A local environmental group is formed. 

Rules for the Rio Dulce National Park and river are created, prohibiting industrial use of the river or park. This stops the barging of wood used for pulp. The nickel plant can no longer barge but it does not matter as that plant has been shut down for years.

Read more...
 
Recent Crime Incident E-mail
The News - Latest News
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April 19, 2017
by Woody and Judy aboard SV Lapis
 
Editor's note: The following letter was received via email this past week. Due to my traveling in the US and little to no access to a computer and internet, I was not aware of it earlier. The Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator offers sincere condolences to Woody and Judy, of SV Lapis, for this horrific ordeal they experienced. They say they are safe, but shaken. We hope the perpetrators will be apprehended and that there will be no similar incidents in the future. Godspeed and best wishes to all travelers on the Rio Dulce.
 

Date: April 12, 2017 at 7:32:58 AM CST

Subject: The Bad part of the news

So,
Monday night we were anchored in a quiet bay, alone, ready to enter Guatemala Tuesday morning early. The bay was about 14 miles from Livingston and we had been there lots of times in other years. A park area with no houses, monkeys, birds, mountains. About 10pm some bump woke us. Woody got up to check, got to the companionway, saw a guy midway into lifting our outboard off the back deck and into his boat which was tied alongside. Woody's adrenalin kicked in, he yelled and charged the guy. The guy was standing on our boat on the outside of our lifelines. The guy and our outboard ended up in his boat and Woody ended up in the water hanging off the side of his boat. The guy had his hands around Woodys neck to choke him and pushed him underwater. Woody grabbed his wrists and freed himself, realizing the outboard was gone. And at the same time seeing a gun in the guys waistband and the guy reaching for it. He never did pull it out. He untied his boat, had trouble starting the engine but did, circled slowly (looked like he might return), then slowly took off. I came out when Woody charged the guy and found Woody in the water. I yelled at the guy that I wanted my engine back ??? And then checked to make sure Woody wasn't injured. He had scrapes and was in pain. Then it was a matter of getting Woody back onto our boat because the ladder was up and our dinghy, hung off the davits, prevented me from lowering it. And it was dark. So Woody walked me through untieing it and getting the ladder down. He was bleeding a bit so we cleaned him up and put some antiseptic on. We got the engine going and tried to call another boat we knew was about 5 miles away. No response, all radios off. We motored the 5 mile and anchored next to the other boats. We were pretty shaken and there was no sleep that night. Morning coffee at 4am, watched the sun start to come up, and at 5:30 am, with the 5 other boats we upped anchor and headed for Livingston to check in to Guatemala. The officials boarded the boat and we were able to report the incident but there wasn't much to be done, especially since it meant appearing in front of a magistrate, and we are hoping to be leaving Guatemala soon. We did leave a written report with the Port Captain who didn't speak English. Our customs agent had done all the translating. So we are at the dock of friends here in Guatemala and they are pampering us. They made us a nice chicken dinner last night. We'll stay here til Friday and then head to our marina. It's Easter chaos here with lots of crazy people in boats. We're looking forward to our trip to the highlands just before we catch our plane home. Now just still trying to recover from our confrontation and it will take a few days. We'll be ok. A few lessons to be learned though! Judy and Woody

 
Easter Regatta 2017 E-mail
The News - Latest News

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April 4, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher


Last year's Easter Regatta was a blast, and we are doing it again this year! Mini Mike's Juke Joint is sponsoring the 2017 Regatta and Texan Mike guarantees a good time and good food will be had by all. See the flyer, above, for details. Call Mike at 5030-8684, or Sandy, on SV Bonnie, at 5785-8125 for more information.

For inspiration, you may want to see lots of photographs and read all about the fun we had last year. Click here for the Chisme story.

 
Radio Conference on Safety and Security E-mail
The News - Latest News
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March 26, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor, and
Mirza Arias, Secretary, Ocean Cruising Club

This past week on the morning VHF Cruiser’s Net, a theft was reported on a boat located in the Shell Bay area. Apparently, a young Guatemalan worker was invited on a boat (to the cockpit area only), and she later returned when the owner was not present, and stole an iPad and some money. The boater expressed concern that, after the fact, he discovered that several other boaters in the area knew the woman was dishonest yet no one warned him, and he wondered why there was no reporting system among boaters on the Rio Dulce. 

A discussion ensued and The Ocean Cruising Club port official, Kelly, on SV Patience, arranged a radio meeting for a later date to allow for deeper discussion and presentation of ideas for a solution. A significant group of concerned boaters tuned in for that and many relevant topics were discussed.

It is important to note that all those involved in this radio conference stated, categorically, that the problem is not only specific to Guatemala. Similar situations occur worldwide by a few unscrupulous people. The intention in reporting is not to instill fear that Rio Dulce is a particularly insecure harbour. In fact, many consider crime to be much less serious here than in other nearby Caribbean locations. It is in the interest of the entire boating community, however, to work together and attempt to reduce the number and gravity of incidents that do occur on the rio.

Many topics were discussed. Initially, there was a question as to the extent of security provided by the marinas, and it was acknowledged that all the major marinas have a 24-hour armed-guard security system in place. A few years ago, funds were collected to support a Naval boat that patrolled the river from the now defunct Mario’s Marina to El Castillo. Problems arose and the security program eventually ended, primarily due to lack of funds. Not all marinas participated, and the few who contributed were, understandably, disinclined to subsidize the entire project. (Continued below - hit "Read more...")

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Massage by Blanca at Tortugal Marina E-mail
Features - Places and Faces

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Massage by Blanca - in the Treetops

March 14, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher
 

Savvy boaters know that Rio Dulce is a great place to shelter from hurricanes and work on their boat. They also know that boatwork can result in backaches, strained muscles and various other pains! Staff at the Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator is often asked by aching cruisers if there is a massage therapist on the rio who might provide relief. We are happy to give a resounding "Yes!" to the inquiries.

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Massage Therapist Blanca
At times, boaters who are also massage therapists arrive on the Rio Dulce and stay for a short period of time, but there is one who has been a permanent resource here for 12 years. Her name is Blanca, and she works out of Tortugal Marina. With 20 years of experience, she is highly skilled in deep-tissue massage, reflexology, neural muscular work and relaxation techniques. 

Blanca gives a one-hour massage, using a combination of these procedures, for a cost of Q225. Call Tortugal one day in advance, or at least 3 hours ahead, to arrange an appointment, as Blanca will need to travel from her home in Morales if she is not at the marina the day you want a massage. Tortugal does not take a 'cut' on the massages. The Massage in the Treetops, or Masaje en Los Árboles, is offered as a service to Tortugal guests and the Rio Dulce community. Tortugal's phone number is 5760-1844 and Blanca's is 5952-1585.

Give her a call, so when the boat is fit to sail, again, you will be, too!

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Waypoints from Livingston to Placencia E-mail
Features - Cruiser Views
March 4, 2017
Editor's Note: As many cruisers are leaving the rio for Belize now, it seems a good time to submit this invaluable information, provided by John and Sheila on SV Triumphant. The data is a couple of years old, and not definitive, so there is a caveat that you should use the information at your own discretion and risk. If anyone knows of changes or has recent updates, please let us know. MANY THANKS, SV TRIUMPHANT!
 

Waypoints from Livingston to Placencia, including the Bar

(1. and 2. are purposely omitted - they were for a another document describing coming INTO the Rio Dulce and are exactly the same as 4. and 3., respectively.)

3.         15 49 299N

88 44 734W (starting point for crossing bar at Livingston)

 

4.         15 50 100N

            88 43 960W (out near the Sea Buoy)

 

5.         15 57 586 N

            88 38 143 W (West of Cabo Tres Puntas – by the 75’ depth)

 

6.         16 11 830N

            88 29 652W (East of East Snake Cay)

 

7.         16 18 517N

            88 27 143W (S E of Monkey River – by the 30’ depth)

 

8.         16 23 110N

            88 25 410W (East of No Name Point)

 

9.         16 28 950N

            88 22 570W (in the middle of the channel buoys leading to Big Creek)

 

10.        16 30 637N

             88 22 024W (outside Yoli’s bar – where we are anchored)

(Continued - Click "Read more..." below)
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Grackle, Grackle, Grackle E-mail
Features - Flora and Fauna of Guatemala

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Hello. I am Rufus.

February 24, 2017
by...Rufus

Hello.  I am Rufus.  I will tell you a little about myself including how I got my name but first we need to get some things straight before we go any further.  I am not a raven or a crow.  Those birds are bigger than me and I sure don’t want to ruffle their feathers.  Nor am I a grooved-bill ani with a funky down-turned beak.   I am certainly not one of those pesky little melodious blackbirds you have probably heard around here.  What’s up with that name anyway?  It just sounds like squawking to me!

I am a grackle.  A Mexican grackle or a great-tailed grackle to be exact and since I am a dominate male my feathers are a beautiful iridescent black with a purple-blue sheen when I ruffle them.  Some know me as a keel or boat-tailed grackle because I fold and hold my tail-feathers vertically and that’s okay with me, particularly if it is sailor folks calling me that, but actually boat-tailed grackles are a different species and our ranges only overlap in coastal Texas and Louisiana.  There are eight other species of us but none of them mess with us great-tails when we allow them to mingle with us. (Click "Read More..." below.)

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