Return from Repairadise
It's been a couple of days since we got back to the Western Caribbean Bay Islands of Honduras from Repairadise, a term we heard some younger cruisers tossing about for the cluster of marinas in the heart of the Rio Dulce catering to the maintenance & fixing of all manner of watercraft (monohull sailboats, catamarans, trawlers, and yachts of all shapes and sizes). They call it Repairadise because, while Guatemala's Rio Dulce is an incredibly beautiful natural paradise, full of nice, kind, knowledgeable folks from all over the world, everyone there is mostly working, either diagnosing, fixing, or troubleshooting their own boat problems, or getting paid to do the same to others folks' floating pleasure crafts.
Outside of happy hour, few people, it seems, aside from the launches filled with orange lifejacket wearing tourists bombing up and down the river, actually seem to be enjoying themselves. There's just too much work to do, because as anyone with a boat knows, the to-do list never shrinks, it just grows, seemingly exponentially in proportion to the completed-projects list. We're happy to have ticked a number of things off our need-to-do list of pragmatic improvements, including finally getting our bottom covered with several gallons of good antifouling paint, having a plate installed to keep our windlass in working order, getting our relatively new standing rigging tuned, having a new exhaust mixing elbow & shaft seal installed on our Yanmar diesel engine, having our rudder repaired, changing a bunch of old thru-hulls, and more.
We were also happy to have some fun while on the sweet river, going up into the unique, enormous Lake Izabel, where we explored the Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, as well as the gorgeous hot spring waterfalls at Finca el Paraiso. Although the trail through the jungle was incredibly slippery with mud, feeling like skating on ice without blades, the hot spring waterfalls were worth the journey. Having warm, sulfur rich water cascading down on you from above, while the engorged current of cold water flows all around your body is the kind of experience that is both hard to describe, and universally appealing. The dogs didn't really know what to make of the hot springs waterfalls, and thankfully there was a nice rocky area where we were able to tie them up without endangering their sensitive paws.
We planned to spend 7-10 days in the Rio Dulce, and ended up being there for almost a month. If we hadn't been so keen on getting back to the Bay Islands of Honduras and getting back to what we do best, sailing, snorkeling, and diving in the gorgeous aquamarine waters of Roatan, Utila, Guanaja, and Cayos Cochinos, we could have stayed much longer. But that's the thing with Repairadise, you could easily stay there forever, fixing literally everything aboard your boat with the smart, kind, easy going folk who call the Rio Dulce home. Next time we go back, maybe we'll even have a bit more nerve to fly the drone through the narrow gorges of the river, to get a better perspective on the surrounding soaring three hundred foot jungle cliffs. Until then, we'll be back here in the Bay Islands, enjoying the other side of island life.