Nala sleeping

Celebrating La Dia de la Muerta

Friday November 1, 2013

Matt on Hula Girl

This week has brought some nice surprises to us, one of the best ones being that Anna Bianca is back at the marina for a week and a half with her boyfriend Alfredo. Having left their boat Kajaya sitting there for two and a half months, they decided that a break in their schedules would be the perfect time to pop back into the Rio to check on her. We had already planned on being gone by the time their visit rolled around, mostly due to our cruising permit coming to an end, but we were able to work out something with the agent that handles customs/immigration to let us stay a little long for just a small daily penalty (about $0.65). Now not only are we able to be here to visit with Anna Bianca and Alfredo, but we were able to take advantage of them as pack mules, bringing us a full bag of necessary boat parts that we didn’t have room for before or had simply forgotten. Oh, and coffee. I can never have enough specialty coffee. (Pumpkin Spice, come on people it was necessary!)

The nice surprises continued this morning when Alfredo knocked on our hull just after 9 to let us know that they had just been in touch with Nacho and Annica who wanted to take us all on their boat again today and were sending their lancha to have us picked up at 10.  For them it was a national holiday, The Day of the Dead, and they were able to get to the Rio a little earlier than usual.  I went about making myself some of that pumpkin spice coffee to ensure I wouldn’t be groggy for the rest of the day, and we threw together a bag with essentials like swim suits, sun block, and bug repellent. Luki and Elmari decided to stay behind to keep working on boat projects since they’re hoping to leave within the next week and they are much more disciplined than we are. It’s probably also why their boat is superior to ours in just about every way, but that’s neither here nor there. What was important today is that we were going to have some fun!

Right on schedule, their canvas covered lancha pulled into the maria and gathered the four of us as we made our way a mile down the river to where their vacation house sits on the Rio. At the docks to greet us were Nacho and Maria, whom I gave a big wet hug to as she had been playing in the water with their adorable dog Nala, and soon we were joined by Annica and Camila. With smiles on their faces, they told us they had been busy preparing langosta, or lobster. It was looking as if it was going to be a very good day indeed. As the 8 of us, plus their deck hand Randy, piled in the boat, we once again sped off at breakneck speeds of over 20 knots that Matt and I still aren’t used to in our slow paced lives.

Instead of bringing us all the way back out to Livingston to exit into the bay, we hung a left at the end of the wide open expanse of the golfete and traveled a few hundred yards up a little river before the anchor was dropped. We were told that just further up the river was a natural reserve that didn’t allow any kind of power boats to venture up it, but near the mouth of the river was a favorite little spot for the family to spend an afternoon. We were also told that manatees sometimes congragate here in the winter months when the temperatures in the Caribbean Sea begin to plummit. Although we were all hopeful, none of us were expecting to see any on this day. Still ready to get in the water though, we brought out the floating noodles we had used out in the bay and dove with them into the warm green water.

For awhile we were able to float lazily next to the boat, but before long a strong current came ripping down the river that would have one paddling moderately just to keep their place in the water, and really kicking to try and get back to the boat. There were two lucky people at a time that could avoid this by using one of the noodles that was tied with a line back to the boat, sitting in the water with a drink in their hand as they watched the rest of us struggle and work up an appetite while trying not to get washed out to the golfete. Ok, maybe the strength of it is getting a little exaggerated here, but if you did decide to sit on your noodle and do nothing, you would be a goner. Until the crew decided that they had enough lounging and wanted to come pick you up a mile or two down river.

To add to the fun for the day we were joined by friends of Nancho and Annica, along with their daughter and her boyfriend, on their very large and very fast dinghy. Along with some rope and skis that had been stowed on Hula Girl, anyone that wanted to go water skiing was more than welcome to do so. As tempted as I was, it’s been years since I’ve gone myself, there was one slight problem. Only one ski was available and I have no clue how to get up on slolemn. Everyone kept telling me that it’s actually much easier to use one ski than two, but I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s day by taking up a good portion of it for ‘Lessons for Jessica on how to water ski’. Instead, I watched as Maria, Camila, and Alfredo went, each of them passing within a few feet of the boat to send sprays of water our way.

floating down river

Camila and Nala

water skiing in the Rio

 Once everyone was back on board I was more than ready to dive into that langosta that had been prepared for us.  If fresh lobster wasn’t enough, the friends that had come along prepared a big tub of ceviche which, after I was pretty sure I could eat no more, they scooped into little plastic cups that we ate with spoons and sides of saltine crackers.  These people really know how to celebrate their holidays down here.  If I can’t have burgers and hot dogs, I will gladly substitute them for lobster and ceviche.

lunch time on Hula Girl

Matt lounging on Hula Girl

 Some more time was spent in the water after lunch, but with a full stomach I was too tired to fight the current and just turned the rope of the anchor line into a nice little hammock for myself.  Upon finally floating back to the stern I found out it was a good thing I did, because as soon as I was on board, the engines were on and the anchor was being raised.  Time to head back home for the day.

Nala sleeping

Clearly we were all exhausted.


Back at the house we took a little time to unwind with some coffee before watching the sun set at it’s ungodly early hour of 5:30.  Just after 6:00, everyone in our group was having trouble keeping their eyes open and it was a sign that it was time to call it a day.  As soon as we were back on Serendipity after celebrating the Day of the Dead, were were busy sleeping like the dead.

Ana Bianca and Alfredo

I like to tease these two that they’re twins.  Wearing the same white tank and making the same funny face.

Maria and Camila

Sisterly love.



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