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The Sundog Cafe Jazz Night E-mail
The News - Latest News

Fun Times At Sundog's Jazz Night

June 30, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

The Sundog Café was packed last week for the final performance of a jazz trio, Cathy on percussion and Titou on piano, and their friend, Damien, on trumpet. If you were one who enjoyed their music and sad to see them go - no worries! Their boats are still on the rio, SV Lila and SV Sea Lion, respectively, and they will return in September.

Cathy and Titou have been married for 35 years and traveling on their boat for 8 years. They first met Damien and played together in Grenada and Trinidad. Something may have been lost in the French-English translation (not to mention effects of Sundog's special mango daiquiris on the notetaker/reporter), but Cathy had a funny story...something about when they were in Roatan, Titou transported his piano on a "tricycle," which is still on their boat! We'll have to get a more sober story in September! 

Cathy, Titou and Damien Provided the Music


An Unexpected Encounter E-mail
Features - Flora and Fauna of Guatemala
June 19, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

ImageWhile sitting at my table with the front door open, one day my little Schnauzer, Susy, went tearing out the door with greater gusto than usual. From the corner of my eye, I spotted the blur of an animal running in front of her.

Dark in color, too big to be a cat, tail too long to be one of our frequent visitors, the cotuza (sometimes called agouti)…I grabbed my camera and headed after them to investigate. What a surprise to see an otter stopping to hiss and growl at Susy, then continue in a half-hearted waddle down the street!

ImageIt turned into the yard of a neighbor’s unoccupied house, and seemingly knowing exactly where it wanted to go…went straight for the slime-filled old swimming pool. With a splash, s/he dove under the blanket of swampy algae but quickly resurfaced to concentrate on Susy’s whereabouts. With more fierce growls, quite a show ensued, as the otter swiftly and smoothly navigated around the perimeter of the pool, “chasing” Susy as she ran along the edge. (Click "Read more..." below for more story & photos.)

6.9 Earthquake Hits Guatemala E-mail
The News - Latest News


Location of Today's Earthquake - Map credit to earthquaketrack.com

June 14, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

The U.S. Geological Survey reported there was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Guatemala at 1:29 a.m. (local time), this morning. The epicenter was 5 km NNE of San Pedro, in Departamento San Marcos, near the border of Mexico. A magnitude 5.0 tremor was also detected about 30 minutes later. We expect to hear more news later in the day. 

The Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator extends best wishes for the security and well-being of those affected. We also want to assure our readers that even though this was a sizable earthquake, all is well on the Rio Dulce.

CBS News gives a good report here and PlanetX News has a video with additional information here


Map credits: The map was developed by National Geographic and Esri and reflects the distinctive National Geographic cartographic style in a multi-scale reference map of the world. The map was authored using data from a variety of leading data providers, including DeLorme, HERE, UNEP-WCMC, NASA, ESA, USGS, and others.

Bruno's - New Mgmt and Memorial Day Celebration E-mail
The News - Latest News
The Happy New Managers of Bruno's - Peggy and Lannie, of MV LunaSea Too
May 29, 2017
by Jody Aston, Editor and Publisher

Big changes are happening at Bruno’s Hotel and Marina! The main one is that Peggy and Lannie Overall, of MV LunaSea Too, are the new managers. They have made many friends over the ten years or so on the Rio Dulce, and are known for their big smiles and sense of camaraderie and fun. Lannie is especially well-known as THE one to beat in any chili cookoff! He claims his Texas heritage as the source and inspiration for his culinary skills.

He put those skills to use, again, on Monday, when Bruno’s hosted a big (USA) Memorial Day celebration with chili dogs, hot dogs, Frito-chili-pie and a sweet, delicious key-lime pie to top it off. In spite of there being few cruisers on the rio now, they had a big turnout and a good time was had by all! The Sweet River Band provided excellent entertainment. Check out the photographs of the fiesta and more information on Peggy and Lannie below (click “Read more…”).

Celebrating Memorial Day at Bruno's
Recently Around the Rio E-mail
The News - Latest News

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.

Friends Celebrating Ellen's Birthday at Kangaroo-Las Mexicanas

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

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

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.

Recent Crime Incident E-mail
The News - Latest News
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

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


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.

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