Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

To spice things up, this blog includes three sentences that are not only fabrications but outright lies. Find the lies and win a prize: a day sail sometime when you are within reach by dinghy. And now, the blog…

Still in Guatemala and loving it.

So, a couple of days ago, we anchored off the small town of El Estor near the western end of Lake Isabelle. El Estor has a long history, some of which includes substantial violence during Guatemala’s troubled years, including (or so we have heard) a take-over of the local police station by angry citizens as well as nearby development of a nickel mine that offered lots of jobs but did very little to enhance air quality.

[fancy_images width=”260″ height=”170″]
[image caption=”Police station at El Estor, the pink building.”][/image]
[image caption=”The nickel mine at El Estor, the biggest employer.”][/image]

Lisanne and I woke up early the next morning to meet our Mayan guide, who called himself Pedro. He pulled alongside in his launch—a fiberglass launch in the shape of a large dugout canoe that he had built himself. We boarded, joining Pedro and a young German couple, and spent four hours in the delta of the Rio Polochic. This river flows more than 100 miles from the highlands near Coban before draining into Lake Isabelle, from where it flows into the Rio Dulce, and then the Gulf of Honduras and the Caribbean.

On the delta, we watched thousands of birds—three species of egrets, herons, spoonbills, king fishers, jacandas, moorhens, ospreys, etc.—and group after group of howler monkeys, including some with newborns in tow. We also saw fishermen working out of dugouts and small plots of maize planted in the drier parts of the delta. This is basic slash and burn agriculture, done with more or less traditional methods, except that the farmers were using backpack mounted pesticide tanks on the plots. Sad to see.

[image caption=”Typical comedor serving almuerzo (lunch).”][/image]
[image caption=”The lancha with which we visited Rio Polochic.”][/image]
[image caption=”Howler monkey early morning meeting. They are not always this easy to spot.”][/image]
[image caption=”Rio Polochic had many different habitats.”][/image]

At noon, back aboard Rocinante, with the German couple as guests, we sailed east, tacking against the wind for a couple of hours to reach a place called Finca El Paraiso, or something like “the Paradise Ranch.” We anchored about a hundred meters from the ranch. We rowed our guests ashore, where they found a place for their tent, and went back to Rocinante.

Shoreward, north of our anchorage, the landscape was rolling hills and pastures mixed with forest. To the west the sun was setting over the now distant Rio Polohic. To the south was the mirror calm water of Lake Isabelle, stretching a few miles across to a shoreline of more rolling hills. To the east were two dugout canoes with men throwing cast nets in an area marked on our very incomplete charts of this area as “shallow and rocky.”

Lisanne and I sat in the cockpit, reading and having a sundowner of rum and water, and I decided to have a swim. I dove off the side of the boat, swam for a bit underwater, and then surfaced. On the surface, now some distance from Rocinante, I could see her framed against the setting sun.

All I could think is, “Wow, this is great, but I sure miss working for a living.” I swam a bit more and realized that what I really missed about working was the meetings. Well, not only the meetings, but also the endless bureaucracy, both of which brought meaning and purpose to life for so many fruitful years

Comments are closed.