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Old 27-09-2017, 06:35   #1
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Entering the Rio Dulce

We are currently located in Linton bay , Panama and are looking at going up to the Rio Dulce in the spring of 2018 . We have a large wing keel and 6.5 foot draft . Have been reading about about boats with similar drafts and a fin keel bouncing through the entrance by increasing speed but that isn't possible to do with a wing keel . Any body have any experience of entering the Rio Dulce with a similar keel configuration and draft ?
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Old 27-09-2017, 06:51   #2
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

Funny you should ask I was just watching a YT vid of some folks heading up the Rio Dulce:



They draw close to 7' loaded and went aground at the entrance. They got towed off, and there is a brief conversation where the tow guy points out where they should have gone. Probably a good idea to seek local knowledge when you get there.

FYI these guys videos are beautifully filmed and edited. Among my favorite sailing videos, although it seems that they have disbanded and are no longer posting.
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Old 27-09-2017, 07:20   #3
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

We have been in and out a number of times. 6'6" is not a problem if you stay on course and watch the tide.
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Old 27-09-2017, 07:45   #4
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Funny you should ask I was just watching a YT vid of some folks heading up the Rio Dulce:



They draw close to 7' loaded and went aground at the entrance. They got towed off, and there is a brief conversation where the tow guy points out where they should have gone. Probably a good idea to seek local knowledge when you get there.

FYI these guys videos are beautifully filmed and edited. Among my favorite sailing videos, although it seems that they have disbanded and are no longer posting.
Awesome video ,looks like a great cruising area , good to see that they entered with 7 feet . Thank you so much for your input .
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Old 27-09-2017, 07:47   #5
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

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We have been in and out a number of times. 6'6" is not a problem if you stay on course and watch the tide.
Good to hear ,is there a guide that one could hire ?? Thank you
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Old 27-09-2017, 08:31   #6
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

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Good to hear ,is there a guide that one could hire ?? Thank you
Oh sure, they will even pull you off the bar for something like $40 US.
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Old 27-09-2017, 10:10   #7
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pirate Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

I went in Rio Dulce with a Catalina 42 some years back the panga guy came and I gave him my Main halyard he went abeam of me about 15 feet heeled me over and we went in passed the shoals like we knew what we were doing.
Should be no problem. You can do the same yourself if you have a dingy and a few big rail meat folks with you for ballast LOL
Ernie on the Mary Jane
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Old 28-09-2017, 20:19   #8
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

My 2c:

"
Rio Dulce Bar Crossing

I have lived on the Rio for many years and I have run my boat and many boats from the charter fleet in Belize across the bar. I've discussed crossing the bar with many cruisers who are worried about crossing the bar and way over think it. Its an easy bar crossing crossing if you draw under 6'. Don't sweat it. Six feet or over will require a little more planning.

Regardless of what you may hear or read elsewhere, the controlling depth over the bar is about 6'. Any vessel which runs aground drawing less than 6' was off course. Follow the route described in Freya Rauscher's guide and you will be spot on. I've had cruisers drawing as little as 4.5' tell me they ran aground...they were way off course.

The mistake many boaters make is that they tend to want to favor the Livingston side (roughly N side) of the mouth of the Rio. This of course is exactly where you don't want to be since there are shoals on that side. Where Freya's chart incorrectly states "Rip Current" is the most pronounced area of shoals ...not actually a rip current but rather seas breaking on the shoals. Stay down near the middle of the mouth (heading of 225T from the sea buoy position) and hold that course at least until abeam of the municipal dock in Livingston. You can then carry 6' minimum all the way from mid channel to the municipal dock.

Note that the sea buoy itself is sometimes re-positioned and sometimes missing all together (not sure where it goes?), but the way-point given in Freya's guide for its position is good for this route.

I used to run a couple of monohulls from the charter fleet in Belize, which drew just under 6', over the bar on a regular basis and never touched bottom regardless of tide height.

If you draw 6' or more then you will need to do a bit more planning. Up to about 7' you can probably get over on a high tide. More than 7' is probably going to require careening your boat. Some of the local fishermen provide this service. Ask Raul for a current recommendation.

Once over the bar, you have plenty of depth (controlling depth about 12') all the way to Lago Izabal.
"
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Old 28-09-2017, 20:39   #9
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

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Originally Posted by magique View Post
Awesome video ,looks like a great cruising area , good to see that they entered with 7 feet . Thank you so much for your input .
Very well done video...shouldnt have watched...now Im homesick. [emoji53]
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:27   #10
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

All good information from belizesailor as always

Some additional information
A 69 foot ketch drawing 7 Ĺ feet entered last year under itís own power without external assistance (it did have 140HP) and ploughed their way through the mud which is soft.

Here are my notes for entering the Rio Dulce

Put your yellow flag up before entering the river, this will let the Port Captain know you are a new arrival and may motivate them to appear quicker to start the check in

Waypoints
Sea Buoy moves regularity and is not always there, along with a lot of other folks, we ignore it and use these waypoints

1. 15 50 100N 88 43 960W (out near the Sea Buoy)

2. 15 49 299N 88 44 734W (starting point for crossing bar at Livingston coming down river)

September 2017, the buoy was about 100 yards to the Northwest of the above track

Coming in from the sea this means you are aiming for about the centre of the canyon entrance. Expect some strange, changing, cross currents as you enter as the depth changes and the current from the river and tides clash, not a major issue but needs to be catered for to stay on the lay line

Do not turn in towards the town too soon, wait until you are level with the Texaco dock as per Freya guide; (Note, the Texaco dock does not have a sign anymore, Look for the concrete dock with fuel pumps in front of/to the right of the Henry Berrisford Hotel)

Anchor off or near the fuel dock. The further East you go towards the sea, the shallower it gets

Rio Dulce agent
Hail Raul as "Servamar" on VHF 16 or 68 ((You may not get Raul if you hail Raul as there are many of them in Livingston) or ring him on your phone see
http://riodulcechisme.com/index.php?...=539&Itemid=35)

He is open from 0800 to 16:00 Mon - Sat. and he will arrange for a skiff to come out with all the people on board that you need to see to check in.

They may ask it you have any pets on board (Spanish for pets is mascotas) and if you are using Raul as the agent, tell them if you are so they know what to do next.

2017 September
Total check in costs for 2 persons using Raul Q1,300 or approx US$186, Raul charges US$20 for his services

Rio Dulce tides
All times are local see Tide/Current Predictor

and
http://www.tide-forecast.com/locatio...a/tides/latest
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:36   #11
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

....and Raul is a great guy who makes clearance a breeze.

If you've cleared with him before then he may have most of the info needed to complete your clearance documents. When I used to move charter boats back and forth a lot, I would call Raul in advance and he would have most docs ready for clearance when I arrived. This way Ive cleared out with him in about 30 minutes total...pop ashore, pay, sign, he runs passports up for stamps...done!
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:37   #12
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Re: Entering the Rio Dulce

Magique, I plan to be at Linton Bay Marina next week. You still in Linton?
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