We crossed the Gulf of Tehuanepec with no issues. We had absolutely zero wind for the entire trip so Samadhi was a powerboat for two straight days. We saw lots and lots of turtle and dolphins and we had beautiful sunsets, sunrises and full moons both nights. So, other than listening to the engine and burning diesel the entire time, it was a great crossing. We arrived at the very industrial Port of Quetzal in the late afternoon. The Port Captain was super friendly and very helpful in directing us to the tiny marina that rarely sees visiting yachts. As we hesitantly approached the docks it seemed that all the fisherman that were working on their fishing boats stopped what they were doing and waved us in. We were more than a little unsure as the marina’s depths were uncharted and there was no sign of a sailboat or larger boat with any kind of draft such as Samadhi’s. (Draft is how deep our keel reaches below the water. Samadhi’s draft is 7 ft.) The docks were also not near long enough to fully accommodate Samadhi’s length. We yelled across the water if it was deep enough and if we would fit into their slip and we were met with a phrase we would soon be hearing a lot. “It’s O.K. no problem!” So in we went. It did make docking easier when we had no less than 7 men there to catch our dock lines with another 4 or 5 standing by in reserve if we need to be helped further. We squeezed into the slip and got tied up as best we could on the short dock. Samadhi stuck on of her slip by about 8 feet. But hey, “It’s OK, no problem”. Everyone welcomed us to Guatemala and thanked us for visiting their country. They all let us know that if we needed anything at all that any one of them would be happy to help. It was a welcoming like none other.
Our time in Guatemala is very limited and we had grand plans for a whirlwind tour of the country. I took a taxi an hour and a half to the mountain city of Antigua and rented a minivan. By time I returned to the boat Ashley and the kids had everything ready to be loaded up for our trip. The everything included clothes for a week, swimming and dry bag gear, backpacking equipment, our good camera, Ranger, and the two cats along with everything involved with traveling with pets. Now we had heard horror stories about driving in Guatemala. The road were awful, the traffic constant, banditos robbing people, aggressive driving you name we heard it from many sources. We saw none of this. The roads were in very good shape. We did see some traffic but nothing like Seattle traffic. We saw no sign of threatening people or local residents that looked nervous, in fact we saw an above average amount of law enforcement who were very nice and surprised to see touristas driving in their country. (We talked to them at the few military or police checkpoints that we drove through). The driving could be characterized as aggressive but the long story would explain why it really is not. So the short version is, you get used to it and when you drive that way too, it seems normal and not unsafe. In short we loved the drive across the country. We drove 1700 km thru mountains, under volcanoes, along the Pacific coast, to the northern border with Mexico, to the Caribbean coast and close the southern border with El Salvador. We didn’t see it all, but we did see a large variety of terrain as well as both rural and urban areas of the country. I will go more into detail about each of our stops in the next two posts. We each loved every moment of our time in Guatemala. The food was excellent, the country breathtaking and the people were kind, always willing to help and very appreciative of us visiting. Below is a mix of pictures of our time in Guatemala. There are pictures of our arrival into the industrial port city. There are many pictures of our view from the car as we drove through the towns. And finally there are just a few pictures from the picturesque hotels that we stayed in.