Guatemala 2: Flores to Semuc Champey

Arriving sometime in the pm, the team were the first to depart at 7am.  They had some concern that the shuttle ticket they had been sold the day previous would not be honoured.  Making several inquiries, they were able to confirm that it would indeed be honoured and they would be able to continue racing.

The team met with the agent who sold them the ticket to double check that their ride would be arriving.  It was confirm much to the teams relief.  When the bus did finally arrive 15 minutes later (Guateamala time), after paying the outstanding money, that they would told to get on the same bus as Team Ireland (as previously predicted).  The one and only bus to Semuc Champey then departed Flores at 9.30am.

Both teams (from the separate series) then travelled south before they were forced to stop just before Sayaxché.  Heavy rain had flooded the road and their driver was concerned that the van would not be capable of passing the floodwater.  After some negotiation with the driver,  he agreed, but only do it if everyone sat in the back of the van and on the roof to make it back heavy.  Simon volunteered to walk through the shin-high floodwater to confirm depth and the van soon followed.  Passing through some additional shallower floodwater, the van was driven on to a car ferry via a loading ramp made from gravel.  Locals, used to seeing other Guatemalans on top of vans, took the opportunity to photograph the members of Team Irish, Australia, Britain and Sweden.  Soon the van crossed and was back on the highway, speeding south.

Driver checking river on the ferry ramp Waiting for the ferry
No cable tonight Supra drives on the barge
Sayaxché town Dude driving the barge
Restaurante with a water view Crossing the river
View of Sayaxché The barge arrives
Small town church Service station Mary statue
Guatemalans on their mini bus

The remainder of the drive was relatively uneventful with the van passing through the town of Cobán, before driving along a dark bumpy dirt road.  At this point rain commenced and the team transferred to a 4wd for the remaining 5km to their accommodation. This drive was the worst off-road travel the team had experienced to date.  The driver needed to continuously demist the windscreen inside the car with an old wiper blade.  Simon, who was sitting on everyone’s backpacks in the boot, had a particularly uncomfortable ride to the lodge.

Eventually, they arrived at El Zapote, a rustic jungle lodge and the pit stop for this leg of the race.