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Old 27-05-2012, 14:42   #1
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Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

We are in the caymans and are planing on sailing down to the Rio Dulce in a few days. we are concerned about having to spend 6 months trapped. Is it possible to get out and sail eastwards past Roatan and down to panama ? Has anyone done this ?
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Old 27-05-2012, 18:36   #2
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

Similar plan to yours of getting South soonest, plan on departing Rio for Panama next week, first days of June, interested on viewing others wisdom, input and routing. I am contracting a weather service for guidance.
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Old 27-05-2012, 19:17   #3
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

Is it Hurricane season that you feel would be trapping you? If you're in Cayman now and want to head to Panama. Head for Panama if you don't want to be "trapped". Right now I'd head for Rio and hang for the season but that's me, that's my next stop anyway
If you don't want to feel trapped, I'd bypass Rio Dulce right now and head for Utila/Roatan/Panama.
Generally hurricane season in Cayman/Western Caribbean gets active in August to November, but what do I know...been hear for 6.5 year cruise working.
This year seems to be starting fluky.... Keep an eye on the weather and head south if that's your plan.

Cheers
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Old 27-05-2012, 21:29   #4
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

Not a bad place to be for a few mo's ! If ya have a decent weather service ya can almost always find a good window to head south if ya watch the weather. We have spent a few weeks there and picked a window and went on south to Panama In August, so it can be done if ya really want to ! Just a thought! but we really like the Rio D alot it's simple and a fun place to be for the hurrycane season ! Just our 2 cents
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Old 27-05-2012, 21:41   #5
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

I mean trapped by the weather. thanks for info. pls keep it coming
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Old 28-05-2012, 05:33   #6
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

Remember Roatan is about halfway from rio to Vivirillos. Roatan has good Hurricane holes. Once you reach Vivirillos and turn it is easy. No more upwind up current. We see people do this as late as August every year. If you are in Caymans why not go direct to Panama? Remember to check in to Panama in Portabello or Polvanir to avoid mordida.
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Old 28-05-2012, 06:44   #7
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There's a reason why Cabo Gracias Adios is named as such. From Roatan to GAD, it is an unrelenting bash. Personally, I would head to Isla Dan Andres. Then you are only a two day sail away from Panama.
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Old 28-05-2012, 06:47   #8
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Originally Posted by aeronautic1
There's a reason why Cabo Gracias Adios is named as such. From Roatan to GAD, it is an unrelenting bash. Personally, I would head to Isla Dan Andres. Then you are only a two day sail away from Panama.
San Andres... I hate spell check
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Old 09-06-2012, 21:45   #9
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce!

We would like to see you in the Rio, but realistically if you come down here now ....June .... you will most likely be here through say October 30.
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Old 18-06-2012, 10:31   #10
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

To the OP - curious as to what you decided - please update the thread when you can.
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Old 18-06-2012, 10:33   #11
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeronautic1 View Post
There's a reason why Cabo Gracias Adios is named as such. From Roatan to GAD, it is an unrelenting bash. Personally, I would head to Isla Dan Andres. Then you are only a two day sail away from Panama.
Sorry - what is GAD?
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Old 18-06-2012, 10:42   #12
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Re: getting out of the Rio Dulce !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cameron forsyth View Post
Similar plan to yours of getting South soonest, plan on departing Rio for Panama next week, first days of June, interested on viewing others wisdom, input and routing. I am contracting a weather service for guidance.
So how was your trip from Rio to Panama?
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Old 18-06-2012, 11:02   #13
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane.Joy View Post
To the OP - curious as to what you decided - please update the thread when you can.
chris smiths post from this thread "quote"
Honduras: Sailing Boat Boarded and Robbed by Pirates

A nightmare in Nicaragua
We are four sailing yachts who have been see-sawing the waves together
for the last 2 years and 12000 miles visiting 30+ countries in Europe,
Africa, south and central America and the Caribbean. Most of the time
the authorities were welcoming and courteous, but what happened to us in
Nicaragua is worth a story to be told to warn people thinking of
visiting this country.

We left Cayman on the morning of June the second 2012, bound for Panama.
The weather forecast made us chose a route which brought us close the
costs of Honduras and Nicaragua. We had also investigated the
immigration regulations (including Noonsite) for Nicaragua as a possible
stopover in case of unforeseen situations. As we sailed down the
Nicaraguan cost all 4 yachts had developed some problems which warranted
a pit-stop to limit the possible breakages in the next 350 miles to
Panama. In addition the crew of the mono-hulls would have liked to have
a good night sleep in calm waters. We decided to turn in at El Bluff. As
we approached the entrance we (the only fully fluent Spanish speaking
crew among the four yachts) called the port authorities on our hand held
VHF, as the replacement for our failing fixed VHF was impounded by the
customs in Havana (see separate story). The port captain did not respond
to our multiple calls before we had passed the first red boy in the
entrance channel. We felt this was quit normal as most marinas are using
hand held VHFs and do not hear us behind the hills or other obstacles.
We later learned that they do not have hand-held VHF, but a powerful one
with a huge mast on the top of the hill which can cover at least 18
miles out at sea. So why had he not answered before we were in the
channel? We answered his questions on last port of call and the next,
etc. He told us to proceed until the port. When we arrived in front of
the port we told them about our requirement for depth, draft of the
mono-hulls, and that it was only a technical stopover for 24 hours. Due
to the draft requirement the port captain sent out a barque to guide us
to a mooring, as a larger cargo ship which had been turning around in
front of the entrance was about to come in. He told us that we had to do
a full international entrance clearance as we had not called them on the
VHF 72 hours head (= 500 miles at our speed) and that we had not
declared technical problems before we entered the channel, which they
consider as inland waterways. Hence we had violated the laws of the
country. We were told later that we could also have done a declaration
by internet, but non of the 15+ officials we met were able to tell us
where on the internet you could do such a declaration. The tone of the
voice of the port captain declaring our violation of the laws made use
request further information what a full procedure involved, including
any costs. After his explanation which included 135 USD in fees and a
lot of time waisted, see below for full details, we discussed between us
and considered leaving again straight away, without doing any repairs or
going ashore. When we told him about our preference to leave, were told
that this was not possible as we had violated the laws of the country
and our options were to proceed with full immigration or prison plus
fines! We were now hostages of the Nicaraguan government, with a
declared ransom of 540 USD! As some of the crews would not take the
chance to be shot at if we just turned around a left, we told him that
we felt taken hostage and chose the least of two evils, full
immigration. After they had processed the cargo ship an old barque with
8 people on board approached, and boarded our boat with their dirty
heavy military boots. They sat down and started their procedures without
any small-talk. None of these officials, nor any other in the multiple
offices we later had to visit during the day ever wished us welcome to
their country! This is the very first time since we started sailing.
Here is the list of officials:
Customs, Immigration (called Migration), Maritime transport authority, 2
from the Navy, Ministry of health, Ministry of environment and one
driver of the barque. Each of these precoded filling out their
paperwork, except the 2 navy guys and the driver, and each presented us
with their bill, five in total!
They were as follows: Customs (20 USD for entrance, never paid, 10 USD
for leaving), Immigration (called Migration) (1107 cordobas 48 USD),
Maritime transport authority (1147 cordobas 52 USD), Ministry of health
(435 cordobas =20 USD) , Ministry of environment (435 cordobas = 20
USD). The representative from the Ministry of health said while she was
on the second boat that she had not charges us enough, it should have
been 40 USD, which we had to pay without receipt. Some receipts was in
cordobas and some in USD. The bill from the Customs we only got once we
left the next day. The guided visit of the boat for the Navy guys was so
superficial that had we wanted to hide something, or even somebody, they
would never had found it.
Once they had finished with the three other boats we were told to follow
them over to the marina in El Bluff and then further on to Bluefield, as
we had to visit the offices of Migration and maritime authorities. We
took our dinghy and went over to the marina, but after a long search
someone told us that they had already left for Bluefield without
waiting. Three of us sat off in our dinghy for the 4 mile journey and
midway in the lagoon they were waiting for us. We had been told by the
guy from Migration that we should not leave our dingy unattended and
that we could not expect to find anybody trustworthy to guard it in
Bluefield. Once we arrived there the local fishermen were all willing to
guard the dingy, and we let one of them place it a convenient place for
them. I took a picture of him in the dingy and told him we now have a
proof of who is responsible. I have used this trick several times and
never had problems, touch wood, even with the most dubious looking guy.
We were told by the guy from migration to take a taxi to his office,
which was a ten minutes drive away. We asked the taxi to wait as we
expected it to be a short stop before we returned to the dinghy. As we
entered the offices we found three female officers each in their rocking
chair in the waiting room. Our guy finally arrived on his motorbike and
proceeded slowly to calculate the bill. They took all our passports and
one of the girls left the building with them, we presume it was to make
some photocopies in a shop nearby. They could not accept dollars and
told us to go next door to the petrol station to change, which we did
and got a better rate than at the bank, 23.50 vs 23.06.
Once all this was settled we were told we had to visit the Maritime
transport authority. Another five minutes in the taxi and we arrived in
a most run down bungalow with an atrium. We were led to the
commissionaire who told us that the cost would be 1147 cordobas, again
for each yacht, but that he could not accept money. He never told us
what the fee was supposed to cover, but one can suspect it was for
maintenance of the maritime signalling system. We had to go down-town
again to a bank and do a deposit on an account. Arriving at the bank, by
taxi, a long queue of people outside did not stop us being accepted into
the same length queue inside. After a while we discovered there were a
teller dedicated to elderly, pregnant etc. This being the case for one
of us we immediately changed queue and got served promptly and
efficiently by a young and smiling lady, the only smile we had all day.
Arriving back at the maritime transport authorities by taxi, nothing had
been prepared and another half an hours wait to exchange our proof of
payment at the bank by a hand written receipt. Our watches was showing
16:30, nine hours after our first successful radio call with the
authorities! We could not do any more today, the checking out was for
tomorrow. As the taxi arrived back near the dinghy he wanted 30 USD,
another one that tried to take us for a ride! I gave him a 10 dollar
bill and left, and wither another two dollars from my wife he was left
on his own. The guy from Migration had told us to pay a maximum of 1.50
USD per trip.
We had hardly been able to start the repair-work we came in to do. So
far we had paid 170 USD each yacht of the 135 USD they told us about,
and we had been told there were another 30 next day for the marina. We
were all furious and decided to refuse to pay any more ransom (fees).
Around 2 PM the following day we had finished our work and was ready to
leave. We went to what we were told was the marina offices. When they
said the fees would be 90 USD per boat (not the 30 declared the previous
day) the 6 or seven officers present was told load and clear in no
uncertain terms in both English (they had one guy who translated for the
others) and Spanish that we were extremely unhappy about our
hostage-taking and general attitude of the officials, as well as the
additional fess, and that we had no intention of paying any more, not
one cordoba! We also told them we did not need their zarpa (clearance),
as we still had the one from Cayman, which was valid until Panama.
Everywhere else this has been taken off us on arrival. The actually
showed some sympathy and indicated that they understood our frustration
and fury, and when we left the office they wished us a good journey. We
felt that we had at least one battle, although the war had already been
lost. As we motored out the channel and were close to the famous red boy
a barque with five men in navy uniform, each with their kalachnikov in
ready-to-shoot position approached and told us to turn around as we had
not paid all the fines (fees) and we would get in trouble later if we
did not have their zarpa. We told them too, load and clear and in no
uncertain terms in both English and Spanish that we were did not need
their zarpa and we had paid more than the port captain has told us as
the maximum amount. When I continue forward they made signs to board us,
which I clearly indicated would not be tolerated. When they insisted
with their attempts to board us I got my machete out (kept in its
sleeve). This seemed to make them understand that I meant what I was
saying and they were not welcome on board. As they turned back another
barque with even more kalachnikovs and men to handle them arrived with
the boss, the Port Captain, who had received, not welcomed, us the
previous day. I gave them the same reception as the previous one and
they backed off. While standing on the side deck with my hands raised I
said ď Shoot, if you want me to turn around, shoot, shoot if you dare!Ē.
I repeated this several times and made signs holding a gun and pointing
at my head, so they had no excuse they had not understood English. He
recognized that he would not be able to force us to turn around, and
said he would send out the coast guard after us if we continued. I
wondered if he really be so stupid as to send a ship that costs several
thousands an hour to collect 50 dollars, and having watched his
behaviour for a few minutes I thought he might be. My wife did not like
the situations and in discussions with the other captains they decided
to accept to pay the additional 200 USD in ransom. I called the barque
over, which had been kept at a distance, and accepted that they held on
to my boat (the machete was still visible on the aft deck table) while
my wife very calmly, but firmly, explained the situation to the Port
Captain, who was now also in navy battle gear and with his kalachnikov.
He asked to see the receipt for what we have paid already and seemed
puzzled and became less aggressive. With his change in attitude and as
the other three captains had agreed to turn around and anchor where we
had been, so did I. A small delegation consisting of my wife, the
Spanish speaker, and another caption was sent ashore with our clearance
from Cayman. Half an hour later they came back for the boat papers, as
they had not noted down the official registration numbers the previous
day. My wife managed to negotiate our relief from hostage-taking against
35 USD instead of 90, which shows clearly that they find a law and fee
structure they want. The 35 USD was 10 for the buoys in the channel and
25 for the port. In total we had paid 820 USD for the four yachts, not
including taxi and bank commissions etc., split between seven (7)
different offices of the same government!
We were free, a real relief, but which we could only really saviour once
we had passed their 24NM limit! The next day, while still 40 miles
outside the Nicaraguan cost we had three times visits of barques similar
to those used by the Navy in El Bluff. Each boat came on its own, 3 men
on-board, turned around us and between us and several times stopped. As
soon as we saw the first one approaching we tightened up the ranks to
only a few hundred meters between us. We did not like this and we shared
the visual and radar watches between the 8 of us.

My advice to anybody that should be so unfortunate to have technical or
other problems along this cost are:
- Make sure they acknowledge on the VHF that they have understood that
you are only stopping for technical reasons.
- Make sure they accept your request to enter, if not they consider you
as an illegal immigrant.
- Negotiate any fees before entering, but do not bet on it.
Do all this while you are well outside, several miles. They can hear you
and probably have been following you for the last days.
I do not have any advice to people who willingly want to visit this
place, Iím not a psychiatrist.
We were also told that Bluefield is not a port of entry, anyhow you can
only get there if your draft is less than 50 cm.

Ivar & Asuncion on Paloma of Gibraltar
The other three boats were:
Pacific Cool and Carajan of La Rochelle and Hasta Luego of La Valette
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Old 18-06-2012, 13:33   #14
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

Rio Dulce to Bocas Panama
As yet have not reached Panama, in San Andres. From Livingston to just bellow Cay Gorda it was motoring into the waves, wind & current. Departed Livingston Midday Saturday 2nd June sticking close to the Honduran coast line, first 24 hours made good progress averaging 5.8knts. The next 64 hours dropped to an average of 3knts. The best motoring time was between 2200 hours till 12000 and then the wind and waves would increase dropping speed to 2knts or less. Made two stops one night in Trujillo to refuel and 16 hours in Cayo Vivorillo to rest. Total motoring was 88 hours. From just below Cay Gorda to Isla de Providencia was a nice sail of 24 hours Spent four days there and then moved on to San Andres a nice day sail of only 55 miles. Planning on departing San Andres within the next couple of days for Bocas Panama via the Cayos Albuquerque. I planned the trip using fuel consumption of one engine and an average speed of 4knts. Wrong, I should have planned using fuel consumption of two engines at reduced revolutions, no more than 4 knots, The boat took a beating. We have found both Isla Providencia and San Andres vey expensive and would not stop at both if doing the trip again
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Old 18-06-2012, 15:56   #15
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Re: Getting Out of the Rio Dulce !

Quote:
Originally Posted by cameron forsyth View Post
Rio Dulce to Bocas Panama
As yet have not reached Panama, in San Andres. From Livingston to just bellow Cay Gorda it was motoring into the waves, wind & current. Departed Livingston Midday Saturday 2nd June sticking close to the Honduran coast line, first 24 hours made good progress averaging 5.8knts. The next 64 hours dropped to an average of 3knts. The best motoring time was between 2200 hours till 12000 and then the wind and waves would increase dropping speed to 2knts or less. Made two stops one night in Trujillo to refuel and 16 hours in Cayo Vivorillo to rest. Total motoring was 88 hours. From just below Cay Gorda to Isla de Providencia was a nice sail of 24 hours Spent four days there and then moved on to San Andres a nice day sail of only 55 miles. Planning on departing San Andres within the next couple of days for Bocas Panama via the Cayos Albuquerque. I planned the trip using fuel consumption of one engine and an average speed of 4knts. Wrong, I should have planned using fuel consumption of two engines at reduced revolutions, no more than 4 knots, The boat took a beating. We have found both Isla Providencia and San Andres vey expensive and would not stop at both if doing the trip again
thanks for the update, makes going from the cayman islands via jamaica seem easy by comparison!
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