Enter the Rio Dulce

After many days at sea our trip up the Rio Dulce, the Sweet River, started as we passed a working marine railway and what appears to be a defunct hotel. In its heyday this building looked as if it were a pretty going concern, and we are still trying to discover more of its history. Before the entrance to the river shoaled making passage for ships impossible, I’m sure many of the run down buildings we saw were busy enterprises for ship work, fishing, and all the trades that support those industries. This marine railway seems to be about the only one left that has much of anything going on. How the rest of the town of Livingston supports itself is somewhat of a mystery. The few cruising boats that come and go don’t seem to be enough to contribute the kind of money it takes to keep a town alive.

Old Hotel / Boatyard
Old Hotel / Boatyard

Joy took the wheel as we headed up the river asking me to take lots of pictures, so I did. Many more in fact than we can ever post here but we will try to pick out some of the highlights. Kashmir is behind us passing what appears to be the remains of the deep water fuel dock. The river here is actually very deep, 50 to 80 feet, and fuel ships or barges would have no trouble reaching this pipeline. Local boat traffic on the river is quite heavy, and there was almost always another boat or two in view making it hard to take photos of the natural beauty without another vessel in the picture. But, I was persistent, and managed to take quite a few.

A Flood of Emotions as we Enter the Rio
A Flood of Emotions as we Enter the Rio

So here is one of our first views of the Rio in its magnificent splendor, 80 feet of water below our Angel running almost up to the banks that rise hundreds of feet on either side of us. It’s hard to capture the size and wonder of what we saw. I can tell you that as I looked back, several times there were tears in Joy’s eyes as she stared in awe at the quiet beauty around us. This trip was a dream come true for me and now for Joy too as we peacefully wandered upriver trying to take in everything we saw. Our open water trip south was behind us at this point, and as with any of our adventures the end of the voyage is bittersweet and we were reluctant to see the trip end.

A Step Back in Time as we Enter the Rio Dulce
A Step Back in Time as we Enter the Rio Dulce

Here’s one Darnell took from Kashmir showing Ocean Angel making her way up the river. This photo gives you some idea of the majesty of this river and the insignificance of our position here. Long after we are gone, this river will continue to flow towards the sea carrying millions of gallons of water each day from the mountains inland to the beautiful Caribbean sea beyond. This is the daily cycle in which we play such a small part, yet we think of ourselves as critical when in reality we are nothing more than a drop of water to this river. These thoughts humbled us as we continued inland to our final destination.

Ocean Angel Making Way up the Rio Dulce
Ocean Angel Making Way up the Rio Dulce

Kashmir is dwarfed by the sheer limestone cliffs rising almost 300 feet behind her towards the sky, straight up from the depths of the river. When we finally arrived in Fronteras, also known collectively with the town of El Relleno as “Rio Dulce”, we talked with Faith and Darnell and discovered they also had goose bumps on their arms and tears in their eyes as they marveled at the amazing scenes unfolding before them.

Kashmir Rounding a Sharp Bend in the River
Kashmir Rounding a Sharp Bend in the River
These two girls were the only Pirates we Saw
These two girls were the only Pirates we Saw

Enter El Relleno