Wilderness waterfall and sailing against the wind.

El Estor Travel Blog

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I'm not sure who this sign was meant for. Nobody would have come this far without trying to get here.

Hello all,

Well last night was the first night sleeping in my dinky cabin on Las Sirenas.  I wasn't so bad.  The temperature was reasonable, and there were no mosquitos in the area so I could leave my hatch open all night.  It did end up raining at least twice that I can remember, but a quick wake up to shut the thing and then again when the coast was clear was no big deal.  I am next to the kitchen, so I was awakened a bit earlier then I may have slept by the sounds and smells of breakfast but no big deal.

Breakfast was tasty and fresh, and served with some fresh fruit and coffee. And after that we found out about today's activities.  Finca el Paraiso which is where we anchored last night is home to a hot springs waterfall.

Christine, Joanna and Ben head down the road to the waterfall.
  That's right, one river which is fed by a hot springs, goes down a short (maybe 15 foot) waterfall into another river, which is fed by a cold spring.  A genuine hot spring waterfall in the middle of nowhere.  We are maybe 15 kilometers from the town of El Estor.  El Estor (The Store) was so named by pirates back in the day, because they used to come upriver to go to 'The Store'.

We were dropped off by our dingy onto the beach, and we went to the office to pay the minimal fee for the grounds.  After that we had about a three kilometer walk through farmlands and woods.  During the last stretch we were accompanied by a local guide, who made sure we found the place.

Hey, it's me! And I'm in front of the hot spring waterfall.
  The sight is amazing.  The hot water falls over a small promontory which in covered with hardened calcium and other minerals, and there are many small caves underneath with plenty of sleeping bats.  Coming from the left, down a little rapids and around a huge boulder, was the cold stream.  You could imagine the spot where they intersected, and I made a mental note.

We all dropped our stuff and made way for the water.  The rocks were slippery and dangerous, and I elected to wear my Timberland sandals into the water although everybody else went in shoeless.  The water seemed a normal temperature, and the shallows fell away as you swam towards the hot waterfall.  Nearing the falls, the sulphurous smell hits you as the water begins to warm a bit.

The hot spring waterfall after the rest of the crowds got there.
  There are a few rocks that are near enough to stand on near the falling hot water, and those were where we all ended up.  There was a spot near the largest falling water that gave you a great pressure massage, and another spot where you could touch the calcified rock with just a trickle coming down.

The water itself was very hot, and the intermingling of the streams afforded the chance to 'pick your temperature'.  It was one of those spots that you wonder if there is any other place on earth like it.  And if there isn't, then why doesn't everybody know about this, and why aren't they here.  After lazing around hippopotamus style in the steam of the falls for about 45 minutes, we noticed that there was another group of people coming down the path.

One of the crew jumps into the dingy to come and get us after our waterfall visit.
  A few minutes later a larger group of about 15 came after them.  We hadn't realize the perfect moment we had there because we got to the springs so early.  After posing for some pictures in the water taken by a guide we walked back to the beach.

After we got back to the boat, the crew pointed us towards our next point, El Castillo.  There little bit of wind that there was seemed to be against us, so we were under motor power for the next few hours.  We got our dingy drop-off on the dock, paid the park fee and set off to explore.  I think I was more interested by the castle and it's history then the others, and we were all still blissed out a bit by the mornings waterfall bath, so the visit was pretty short.  Suffice it to stay that the castle is old, built in the early 1600's to protect against pirate raids on Lago de Izabal.

What can I say, I am a big fan of the cannon view picture.
  The Spaniards also used to run a chain across the river at this narrow point, to stop pirates from coming in under the cover of night.  Very cool stuff.

After returning to the boat, there were engine troubles.  The 50 horsepower Honda gave up the ghost, and we were forced to do with the 25 hp Yamaha outboard that was there as a backup.  The trip to our next destination was into a pretty strong wind, and we were crawling like turtles for at least three hours before El Golfete got wide enough to set up the sails.  First came the spinnaker, then the main sail.  We angled at about 30 degrees from the direct wind direction and started tacking back and forth at a high rate of speed.  The lake was pretty rough and we were moving, so we got our first taste of alot of spray from the front of the boat.

Two of my fave pictures in one. The thru the arch shot, and the cannon shot view.
  It was an amazing thing, but it seemed strange that it was not salt water that was washing over us.

We made it to the eastern end of El Golfete, and docked at a small jungle resort called Los Polofitos.  There were a few mosquitos around so we all lathered up in insect repellent.  We had another delicious dinner, and sat around playing cards and talking under a full moon.  There were again clouds and distant lightning, and the weather was even a bit cooler.  Confident in my insect repellent I left the hatch open while sleeping.

Later, Phil

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Im not sure who this sign was mea…
I'm not sure who this sign was me…
Christine, Joanna and Ben head dow…
Christine, Joanna and Ben head do…
Hey, its me!  And Im in front of…
Hey, it's me! And I'm in front o…
The hot spring waterfall after the…
The hot spring waterfall after th…
One of the crew jumps into the din…
One of the crew jumps into the di…
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What can I say, I am a big fan of…
Two of my fave pictures in one.  T…
Two of my fave pictures in one. …
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Joanna, Christine, Elias and Ben …
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We have just passed under the mas…
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A kite boarder zips along the wav…
Me taking the obligitory full sai…
Me taking the obligitory 'full sa…
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Ben enjoys the view as we reach f…
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A view up the mast while both sai…
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Capitan Raul gives us the thumbs …
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El Estor
photo by: gopackjo