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Old 24-07-2004, 20:17   #1
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Rio Dulce

We are getting ready to leave San Diego heading to the carib and on. We would like to go up the Rio Dulce but our cutter has an 8' draft. Does anyone know if we would be able to enter the rio. As I understand it the depth at the entrance to the rio is 5.5 ft. but boats with much larger drafts have gone up the Rio befor.
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Old 25-07-2004, 15:37   #2
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Rio Dulce

I emailed steve at brunos marina last week and he finally answered. He said the entarance is ususally arround 7 ft and a boat with an 8 ft draft at high tide can get in. If not the fishing boats at livingston will take the halyard line and heal the boat so you can motor in.
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Old 08-05-2006, 04:37   #3
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“...The mouth of the Rio Dulce has a sand bar which must be crossed before reaching the deep water of the river. Vessels drawing more than 5 feet must take care to enter where the bar is the lowest. Vessels drawing over 5 1/2 feet should cross the bar at high tide. The deepest it ever gets at the deepest point during the highest tide is 7 1/2 feet ...”
Excerpted from:

Rio Dulce, Guatemala (15.8333̊ N, 88.8167̊ W) ~ Cruising Information:
http://www.mayaparadise.com/
Including:
Cruiser Information: http://www.mayaparadise.com/boatinfe.htm
Tide Tables: http://www.mayaparadise.com/tidesidx.htm
GPS Coordinates: http://www.mayaparadise.com/riogpse.htm
Weather (Local & Marine):
http://www.mayaparadise.com/wxe.htm & http://www.mayaparadise.com/weather.htm
And much more ...
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Old 08-05-2006, 06:56   #4
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Steve gave poor advice

Taurus,
Although it should be evident by Gord's post regarding the entry across the bar at Livingston, FWIW I will offer an opinion based on my experience crossing the bar this past winter and spring on two ocassions. My boat draws a shade under 5 feet. My depth sounder is offset for one foot under the keel (i.e., when it reads 2 feet deep, I have 3 feet of water under the keel). On the first ocassion I crossed the bar the depth meter read 0, which meant the water was one foot deep or less under the boat. On the next ocassion it read about a foot. As a perusal of tide tables for Livingston will indicate, the tides there and throughout the area for that matter fluctuate an extremely small amount. Consequently very shallow draft boats usually enter and leave anytime they want but boats drawing over 5 feet try to time their passing at the highest tide. The boats drawing more than that plan their arrival and departure very carefully. And another point, that bar is not just a short bump that you have to go over. It is probably 200 or 300 yards wide. Now regarding having a local fishing boat to heel you over. The only way a deep draft boat can be heeled over enough to do the job is by them attaching a line to a halyard and pulling you sideways for a couple of hundred yards. That may be something that I may hire a professional tower like Tow Boats US to do but would not want to have that service provided by someone not totally experienced in such manuevers. Also, the bar is at least 1/2 mile or more in front of the town. And another point is that it may be possible to hire a fisherman when leaving if you can find one with a boat powerful enough to do the job if you speak Spanish or have crew who does but when coming in to port how are you going to contact a fisherman? Some of the smaller boats have no radios and who do you hail if you see a large boat in the distance? I heard that some boats have been heeled over the bar on ocassions but it seems to be a rare occurence. If I were determined to bring a deep draft boat up the Rio Dulce I would do more research on the subject. There are several other marinas in the area and many very experienced cruisers who have been in and out of Livingston on many ocassions who can offer even better advice than I. I would suggest that you also query other Forums where there may be some old salts lurking around. The SSCA has a forum where you should post. Also there may be some better info in some of the old SSCA bulletins which can be purchased as a CD. Steve Pavlidis, the noted cruising author, frequently posts on that forum. He has extensive experience in that area and I saw him at Mario's early last winter. He could probably offer excellent advice. Anyway these are just a few things to think about.
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Old 08-05-2006, 13:02   #5
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Taurus:

I'm a little more optimistic than Joe or Gord's reference...but not so optimistic about 8'. The bar's deeper area oscillates a bit over time, which can account for some boats finding less water than there really is. And along with tidal influences, rainfall and regional winds can have some effect...so quoting the 'real' maximum depth over the bar is both a bit of art as well as science. Friends of ours on a Nauticat 43 e.g. crossed the bar with 7' draft and, except for being tide savvy and feeling a bump or two, found it a non-event - in both directions.

FWIW I did watch a large power cruiser work all morning, around high tide, trying to find its way over the bar. He carried a bit under 8' as I recall and he used his main tender, radio equipped and with depth sounder, like a sheppard uses his dog. He also used a lot of engine. You don't have his options and, regrettably, I think you'll have to put the Rio on your 'maybe' list.

BTW there aren't a lot of interesting places to cruise in that immediate area. You'll come from the Bay Is. most likely, and you'll find some pleasant, remote anchorages along the Honduran mainland (plus a decent boatyard, if you need one)...but if the Rio isn't possible for you, I suspect you'll immediately divert to Belize.

Jack
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Old 08-05-2006, 18:28   #6
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Rio Dulce other subject
Recommendation as to a yard to haul a 24’beam cat for maintenance, repair and modification. On internet have come across a place that runs under two names “The Shop or El Toque Final”
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Old 09-05-2006, 05:24   #7
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Cameron:

I would include La Ceiba (Honduras) in your research. Good people, safe and not too far away. Don't know what their lift capabilties are but the SSCA Bulletins and also CD has uptodate info on this yard.

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Old 09-05-2006, 16:35   #8
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Just to second Jack's suggestion:

Its a few years ago now, but I spent 2 or 3 months in Guatemala, Honduras and environs...I spent a few days in the region around la Ceiba...it had quite extensive port facilities and cranage.
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