Saturday, December 19, 2015

El Salvador

We had a great 48 hour run from Chiapas, Mexico to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador.  Bahia del Sol is a bar crossing so it needs to be timed with a high tide.  High tide was at 6:40 am so the plan was to allow ourselves 48 hours to make the run in time for the tide.  We still needed to get our Mexico zarpe before leaving Chiapas, which couldn't be done without customs coming for a visit the day of departure.  Knowing that they most likely would not be at our boat on time, we told them we needed to leave at 5am - so they arrived at 6:30.  After a brief inspection and paperwork, we pulled away from the dock at 7:15.  I was nervous getting back into the swing of things.  It would have been nice to have our first voyage be an easy day run, not a 2 nighter, but everything was great.  We fell into our normal sailing routine like riding a bike.  We were able to sail about 60% of the journey.  The first night, we were hit with 3 squalls.  We were reefed and ready for action.  The wind never exceeded 15 knots, but we had a nice downpour.  For the first time in quite a while, I wanted to have my foul weather gear on.  We were actually cold.  That feeling would soon be replaced by the heat of the searing sun beating down on us.  The second night was uneventful as far as weather was concerned, but the fishing pangas kept us on alert.  These guys were sitting out in the dark of the night and would shine a flashlight at you out of nowhere to make sure we knew they were there.  Unfortunately, they don't show up on radar until you are within 1/2 mile of them. 
Our much anticipated bar crossing into Bahia del Sol was nothing to write home about.  We had seen pictures and heard horror stories of boats coming in over breaking waves.  We rolled over a bit of a swell as we followed the pilot boat in.  Bill on the pilot boat got on the radio and welcomed us to El Salvador.  Jake and I looked at each other and thought, "that's it?"  Apparently, we arrived at a good time of year for the crossing. 
Checking in to the country was pretty easy.  It was $10 per person and $30 for the boat.  We had joined the El Salvador rally earlier in the year with the intention of being here earlier.  The rally was long over, but Bill still had our goodie bag full of t-shirts, caps, and goodies.  That was super nice of him to not forget about us. 
We are anchored out in the estuary near the Bahia del Sol hotel/marina.  We have paid $14 for the week to use their pool, showers, dinghy dock, and wifi.  They also give us $1 beers and a 30% discount on food.  Not bad for $14...
We have been doing some exploring with our friend Erlin on sv Ventured.  Erlin crewed with us on Ohana from Seattle to San Francisco.  He has summered over here for the past 2 seasons and has a lot of local knowledge.  Our favorite part of the country so far has been the pupusas.  Pupusas are a traditional El Salvadorian dish.  They are a thick tortilla made out of rice or corn, then stuffed with beans, cheese, pork, etc.  We found a place nearby that sells them for 60 cents each.  We usually eat 2 apiece - $4.80 for dinner for a family of four...
We are debating whether or not to stay here for Christmas.  I vote yes, Jake wants to keep moving.  I'll let you know who wins...  

Pupusas with pickled cabbage on top

We took a 30 minute dingy ride to La Herradura for provisons

El Salvadorian pilsner for $1

This poor iguana was road kill... then dinner.

Hammerhead shark tails

Local fisherman bringing in their catch of the day - hammerhead shark.

$4 meal

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