welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

birthdays in paradise

we think we've figured out the elements to a perfect birthday in the tropics. we're happy to pass on the results of our research to you.....

Allen's birthday was experienced in Surprise format. I packed for him Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, we caught a taxi into La Ceiba to meet another ride that would take us to Jungle River Lodge on the beautiful Cangrejal River in the nearby green mountains. I think he had an idea what was up, but he still didn't know for sure.

From start to finish it was a typically Honduran adventure: we had unforgettable, incredibly beautiful and fun times with very warm, fun-loving, highly disorganized folks. There was a lot of waiting around, and the Land Cruiser broke down twice on the way to the lodge. Getting out and pushing was part of the birthday fun.

Upon arrival at the lodge we found the setting even more beautiful than we had imagined.....set right on the banks of a clear, fast-flowing mountains river flanked by water-sculpted boulders and sheer rocky cliffs covered in viney green jungle....perfect for birthday fun!

Allen found out what we were doing just before we piled into another vehicle of dubious performance to be carted upriver to our put-in spot!

What we didn't realize is that the first couple hours of our trip would be spent scampering over giant river boulders and taking death-defying leaps into the river. The guide described this as "training" for the rafting portion. The funny part was we were commanded to wear helmets while walking down the muddy banks to the river, but then we left the helmets (and everything else) in a pile while we trekked upstream to do things US tour operators wouldn't have allowed in the 70's. Sadly we don't have any pictures since we had to leave our camera in the pile of things that might have protected our bodies, but I'll always carry the image of Danny and Allen being yanked straight up the side of a moss-covered cliff by our scrappy adolescent Honduran guides. We were scaling rock faces and jumping from 10, 20, sometimes 30 feet into very narrow passes of rapids. It was insane and A LOT of fun! I chickened out on the highest of the climbs but enjoyed watching my husband survive it with limbs and cranium intact.....

Compared to the "river training" the rafting itself was fairly mild, and super fun. The water was the ideal temperature for lots of accidentally-on-purpose falls into the river, and the scenery was astounding.

I would definitely recommend this adventure to those of you who are sailing this way anytime soon!

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