Las SierenasThe morning of January 17, 2008 I woke up from a long two hour nap, about all I could get since I was so excited to go on the sailing trip down the river and up to Belize. It is something I have never done before and when I think about setting up the plans and the reservation for it I kind of wondered in the back of my mind if I was going to be taken for my money. The price, the itinerary, the testiomonials of the food and the fun times all seemed too good to be ture. But I went ahead and gave my credit card number months ago and waited. The meeting place was a small restaurant and hostel called Rio Bravo, just across from where I was staying, a quick trip across the river in a taxi boat which were all over. My check out time from Hacienda Tijax was 11am so I headed over shortly after that, at some lunch, had a few beers and then went into “town” to get a towel and bathing suit which I had forgot at home. I purchased both for less than $8 and went back to the restaurant to wait for the 1:30pm boarding time. I watched as other people gathered and looked around and tried to figure out who was going to be on the trip. I later found out that everyone I wanted to be part of the group was in fact part of it, minus the loud German group at a table close to me. Our first eveing was an amazing meal of chicken and rice and cabbage and we spent most of our time getting to know eachother and making a nice dent in the suply of beer on board. We all went to bed fairly early to see what the first full day would bring. The first morning I woke up to the sound of our cook getting ready to make another amazing meal. I got up to check out what was around us at about 6am. It was just starting to get light out and there was a dense fog that covered the jungle and the water around the boat. The water was so calm it looked as if the boat was sitting on glass. The Captain, Raul, started the engin and off we went down the Rio Dulce towards the ocean. The slow quite trip was amazing as it was only the crew, Heather and myself who were awake, none of us making a sound as we watched the high canyon walls with dense green vegitation of every green hue possible slowly pass by us. The fog slowly started to burn off and we could smell the fires of locasl burning on the shore and there was an occational boat passing by us, we each waved.We came to a bend in the river which showed the clear sky ahead and the fog had burned off, it was a sight I will never forget. I stood at the bow of the boat and was overcome by emotion, I wiped the dampness from my eyes and watched everything unfold in front of me, amazed at where I was at that moment. My dad would have loved it and I wished he was there to see it with me. The days following consisted of sun, sun and more sun with only one night of rain and one morning of rain. We stayed inside our bunks and some of us sat in the tiny saloon, hardly the right word for the space that it was but it worked for us and provided a nice place to chat, drink coffee and read while wondering if the day would be a complete wash out. A few of us started to get restless and I decieded it was way after 9am and time for a beer. Slowly many of the others in the group decided it was time. We got up on deck in the downpour and began to dance to the regaton provided by our cook. We drank our beers and danced our sun dance. As the rain came down harder we danced harder and shouted and cheered more. It was a great time, fun was had by all. The snorkling was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was so awsome to watch the color of the water change from the deep cloudy green in the river to the dark blue of the deep ocean to the clear light tuorquoise of the shallow warm waters near the islands and the reefs. As we looked out to sea we could see the waves break in the distance, breaking over the reefs in the distance, the reefs we would soon be swiming over and through. The water was more clear than anything I had ever seen beofre. (selecting the 80 of the 700 plus picutes to put up was very difficult, I will upload all and caption them once I am home)The feeling of the sun as I lay on the deck of the boat reading and watching the increadible views go by was like nothing I had ever experienced on shore before. For many hours I considered asking the crew if there was space on the next trip as I didnt want it to end. But alas, it would not have been the same without the great group we had on the boat. It was a perfect mix, no one could have hand picked our group better, not in a million years. I made some great friends on the boat in the short week we spent together and was even able to travel with a couple after we left the boat up to the small island town of Flores where we stayed for two nights while relaxing, again, and visiting the ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest Mayan cities ever. More on that another time. I am in Copan, Honduras now and will update as I can.
posted Tuesday January 2008