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August 15, 2008

Rio Dulce Crime Spree Continues

Nancy and Daniel Dryden. His life was senselessly cut short by thieves in Guatemala.

The Dryden Family
©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

There is both bad and good news coming out of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala, where last Saturday night Daniel Drydren, 66, of the Anchorage-based Southern Cross 39 Sunday’s Child was killed by four robbers armed with machetes and an ice pick. Dryden and his wife Nancy had been anchored right off Monkey Marina when the assailants swam out to demand money and try to steal the couple’s outboard. Dryden died from ice pick wounds suffered after confronting the thieves. Despite suffering a punctured lung, Nancy survived. Dryden, who had also cruised when he was younger, was apparently a prince of a man. We encourage you to visit to learn more about his life.

Daniel Drydren in his early cruising days.

The Dryden Family
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The bad news, as reported by Roy McNett, editor of the Rio Dulce Chisme-Vindicator online newsmagazine, is that the crime spree in the Rio Dulce area has intensified since Dryden’s murder. Subsequent to the attack on Sunday’s Child, four boats — Mima, Dream Odyssey, Ctoy, and Phalcor — anchored between Livingston, which is at the mouth of the Rio Dulce, and Texan Bay, have also been attacked.

Mark and Sue — no last name given — and their two children reported that their boat Mima was boarded by five men with machetes and a gun. The men demanded U.S. dollars — the same demand made to the Drydens — but the incident ended with nobody being hurt. Nonetheless, the family was badly shaken by the incident.

The sailing vessel Dream Odyssey, owner and type unknown, also reported being boarded. With the husband and wife cruising team unable to do anything but stand by helplessly, many items of value were taken.

The sailing vessel Ctoy, owner’s name and type unknown, was also boarded.

And finally, a Brit named John aboard the sailing vessel Phalcor reported that a group of men tried to rip open a hatch about 2 a.m. to gain access to the inside of his boat. He managed to keep them out, but the men used bolt cutters to cut the chain securing his portable generator on deck. In their haste to leave, the thieves left behind a machete and the label from a new pair of large bolt cutters. Fortunately, none of the people in these four boardings were injured.

The good news McNett had to report is that two brothers from the village of Esmeralda have been arrested in the slaying of Dryden. Carlos Ernesto Lemus Hernandez, 19, and his brother Elfido Concepción Lemus Hernandez, 33, were taken into custody after a search of their home resulted in the discovery of an ice pick, binoculars believed to have been taken from the Drydens’ sailboat, as well as a quantity of marijuana. Seven other houses were apparently also being searched for evidence and suspects.

No source was given, but the two suspects were said to be under the protection of a woman known as Reyna del Sur — Queen of the South — of Morales, who was believed to be involved in various illegal activities in the area, including the stealing of outboard motors and the selling of drugs. The story gets even more bizarre, as Reyna del Sur and her 14-year-old son were reportedly killed a night or two ago at the nearby Backpacker’s Hotel.

Gulliver’s Travels at an End

Sybil Erden did indeed bring Gulliver home to her bird sanctuary in Arizona.

The Oasis Sanctuary
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Just like the fictional 18th century traveler of the same name, Gulliver the parrot has had many adventures in his young life. You’ll recall that the five-year-old blue and gold macaw was abandoned — along with Snickers the cocker spaniel pup — by his owners on Fanning Island after their sailboat wrecked on the island’s reef. Cruisers Robby and Lorraine Coleman first rang the alarm that the pets were slated for execution by the Kiribati governement if they weren’t repatriated. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of animal lovers, the final chapter on this drama is coming to a close.

"Gulliver finally was given his U.S. citizenship and released from quarantine on  August 7," said Sybil Erden, "exactly eight months to the day that he had shipwrecked in the South Pacific." Erden is the Executive Director of The Oasis Sanctuary, the Arizona-based bird sanctuary that spent $15,000 and countless hours of volunteer work to rescue the bird. Erden describes Gulliver as a "spokesparrot" for neglected and abused parrrots everywhere.

After a month cooped up in a tiny cage, Gulliver stretches his wings in an aviary that’s home to other macaws.

© 2008 Sybil Erden The Oasis Sanctuary

Last Saturday, Gulliver was reunited, if only for a day, with his canine buddy Snickers — who was rescued back in April and now happily lives in Las Vegas with Jack Joslin — at a celebration in San Diego. Erden reports that quarantine was tough on the bird as he was in cramped quarters for a month, but now that he’s able to stretch his wings in the large macaw aviary, he’s settling in nicely. "His life will be boring now," Erden laughed. Just as it should be.

Age, Experience and Enthusiasm

Santa Cruz’ Ernie Rideout has added another Santana 22 National Championship to his lengthy sailing resume — 79 years lengthy to be exact. That’s 79 years of sailing mind you, because when Rideout took a comfortable 11-point win in Santa Cruz on July 27, he was actually 90 years old.

While we were in Hawaii meeting arrivials in Kaneohe and Hanalei, Rideout and crew Ray Pingree and Phil Worthen on Maybe were tearing through the 19-boat fleet with a scoreline of two thirds and three bullets. Talking with Rideout, you’d never know just how much success he’s had in that nearly eighty years of sailing because he’s not really the toot-your-own-horn kind of guy, as far as we can tell. Earlier this year he told us about his motivation to keep sailing: "It keeps us young and occasionally we can say, ‘old guys rule.’"

We can’t think of a better reason than that.

Pac Cup Onboard Photos Wanted

We’re looking for your onboard photos from the 2008 Pacific Cup. As much as we love to run the après-race pictures of mai tai racing and people passed out in lounge chairs or falling in the pool, ultimately the story is in the race itself. We’re looking for great green-water-on-the-deck surfing shots, other boats, onboard antics and practical joke shots, or just sailors enjoying — or not enjoying — the ride. If selected, your image will net you a photo credit, limited-run Latitude 38 bumper sticker and a T-shirt in your choice of fruity colors. Email them to Rob Grant by Monday afternoon.

Do-It-Yourself Boatyards in Mexico

Doing boat work on the hard in the desert. Even if you could do it, is it something you’d want to do?

©2008 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Does Latitude have a data base of DIY (do-it-yourself) boatyards in Mexico?" wonders Peter Hartmann of the Blaine, Washington-based 52-ft DeRidder sloop Ahaluna. "If there was such a list, it would be great if there could be ratings by cruisers who have used them."

We do not have such a data base. What we can do, however, is put out a request for folks to report on yards they’ve hauled out at that allowed them to do their own work.

One thing to keep in mind is that it can be warmer than gringos are used to in Mexico, even in the winter. As such, anyone who is thinking about wanting to do a lot of their own work on the hard in a place like Ixtapa might want to visit a sauna, turn the dial to 11, and think about doing boat work in such conditions.

But how about it folks — have you hauled at a DIY yard in Mexico? And if so, were you happy with the cost, facility, and availability of supplies? Email your experience.

The Women’s Synchronized Noodling Team – Kathy Baxter of Batu, Terry Morris of Niki Wiki and Michelle Willis of Coastal Passage II – took home the gold…Cuervo Gold, that is.
A trio of 22-year-olds, Seve Jarvin, Tom Clout and Sam Newton are the reigning world champions in the 18-ft skiffs.
While more information is coming in about Daniel Dryden, the 66-year-old Anchorage cruiser who was killed by four robbers on Guatemala’s Lake Izabal, the details of how he died are becoming less clear.