The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 20: More on Lago Izabal
Monday, 21 February 2000
We didn't think that Finca Paraiso was the show stopper some had said it was, but it was a very nice diversion. We had to pay about 75 cents to enter the property at the farm house near the dock. It was a 50 minute walk on a gravel road back to the base of the mountains. Then another few hundred yards up a walking trail to the falls.
The falls were about 40 feet high and 10 feet wide, and were near scalding hot water. Water fell into a pool about 100 feet long and 75 feet wide which was also fed underneath by cold springs. The mixture was a pleasant 85 degrees. Although there was a slight sulfur smell, the water was otherwise clean and clear. Because of the long walk, the Heides did not come with us, but Joan, Maggie and I soaked for about an hour in the main pool. There were other smaller pools downstream, but without falls.
Our minor disappointment was that there were about 20 people already there. Some Japanese, a few Europeans, and otherwise Central American tourists. They came in on a trailer pulled by tractor from the farm and they got to the farm by small boat from God knows where. Everybody has to be somewhere I guess. Maggie slept well after the long walk.
In the afternoon, Heide and Francesca moved a few miles west to the town of El Estor. It is a neat little community with paved streets and perhaps 3000 people. On Saturdays, and it was Saturday, they have a kind of farmers market on the streets. Joan and I had been fruit hungry for weeks and here it was and priced right. We bought about 40 pounds of goodies including, pineapples, cantaloupe, mangos, bananas, carrots, tomatoes and cabbages for around $5.00.
That evening, we all had dinner at the largest, maybe only, restaurant in town. Understand that in CA a fillet of beef is not really a fillet. It is a boneless piece of beef, but anatomically of unknown origin. Our fillets looked kinda familiar; about the size of a shoe sole, and yes there was a hole-. Well, hell it tasted good anyway and so did the veggies and beer. The Heides topped their meal of with, A BANANA SPLIT, which was a surprise as they only asked for ice cream.
Yesterday morning, it was overcast and cold (60s). Marv and I took his dink a few miles west to try to visit a defunct nickel mining operation. We were met at the dock by a lone guard in camouflage fatigues and a big gun. “No permisso”, he said. We didn't want to see the damn place anyway so we returned to the big boats, fired up and cruised to the western extreme of the lake. By the time we dropped anchor, it was misting rain and too cool to do anything but read and “do nothing, really well”. This place is a very secluded and protected anchorage. There are no houses or boats around for miles, not even a cayuca.
Last night, the howler monkeys were in great voice. It sounded like two troops, one to the west on a finger of land and another to the south. The weather is perfect this morning. Yesterdays cool wetness seems to have cleared the air. Today, by dinghy, we will stalk the howlers and explore the two rivers which converge on our anchorage.
Joan, Ben, Marge, Marv & Maggie