Once, a few years ago I was very familiar with the Rio Dulce and it's forceful rush against the Sea. I was, at that time, living and working in the small town of Livingston on Guatemala's Caribbean Coast. This is the place of the river's end, where waters meet, mixing and merging; pushing each other back and forth as the tides swell and fall. But this time around I was here for the river herself.
Fed with heavy rainwater from the interior, the Rio Dulce flows out from Lago Izabel, which harbors ships and pleasure-craft from Caribbean storms. She continues under the high and beamless bridge at Rio Dulce Town, widening immensely into El Gulfete before returning on her mighty way as a wide flowing river.
Kayaking down from our lodge on the bank, we were met with steep and soaring cliffs on either side as the river cut through a karst landscape. Dense forest covered all that surrounded us; clinging to the cliffs in impossible configurations that only nature could contrive.
Reaching Overboard on the Launcha
Kayaks Strung Like Ducks in a Row
Night On the Dock of our Riverside Lodge
The Sun Sets Over The River
The river was steady and gentle but running in no particular direction; sometimes aiding our progression, sometimes opposing it. The quiet calmness of gentling flowing waters were interrupted only by the subtle work of my paddle - which is now one of my favorite sounds.
After about too hours of paddling we made it out to the waters of the Caribbean. We docked in Livingston, went out for lunch and a cool drink, and walked around that four-block town, before returning in quite a comic fashion. Aboard a "launcha" several kayaks were tied behind us in single file, like ducks in a row. A spectacle that was obviously yet to be seen as evident in the confused looks and amused smiles of other boat captains passing by.
It was a short stay here, but long enough to remind me of the wisdom in the water, the importance of its flows, and the sustenance of its endowing energies.