Tuesday, 9 December 2008

November 28th to December 10th, 2008 - BARILLAS MARINA CLUB, EL SALVADOR

Our trip across the T'pec from Mexico to El Salvador was a true adventure. The T'pec weather window was an unusually long 5 days, so we cut across the gulf, rather then hug the shore. We had great winds 10 to 15 kts most of the way. At the end of the third day the wind died down and we went to start the "Iron Jenny". Smoke in the cabin, loud noise and little raw water coming out of the exhaust, not good signs. We shut down and opened the engine compartment. The exhaust elbow had sprung another leak. This time the break was next to the engine, so I was worried about water having flowed back into the engine.

We sailed the last day, through a gale on the nose, tacking for 60 miles, gaining 20 toward our destination. Then the wind went down to 20 knots and shifted so we advanced close hauled to within 4 knts of the enterance way point to Barillas Marina Club. The wind died. It took us 8 hours to go the lst 4 knts.

We radioed the marina and they went into action. They arranged for a tow, via a returning fishing boat FV "Santa Fe". We were picked up at 19:00 hours and towed the 9 knts up the estuary to the fish processing plant, next to the marina. We arrived about 22:30 and were tied up to the dock. We played a game of crib to unwind then hit the bunks. We awoke to find we had been moved along side a fishing boat during the night. The move did not wake us. The next day the marina's panga towed us to our mooring ball.

Our heroes. Heriberto (General Manager) and Emerita. They arranged for our tow and Emerita stayed late to assist with interpretation with the fishing boat captain and arranged for a mechanic. They were very hospitable and we highly recommend Barillas Marina Club.

Sister ship to the FV "Santa Fe" tied up to the fishing dock. The fishing fleet at rest.

The local Spider Monkey colony is just a 20 minute walk from the marina.

Bird of Paradise, Sugar Cane and unknown fruit covered in red bugs.

Bird life in adjacent marsh.

Cold blooded neighbours. Dragon lizard and Alligator. Alligator picture courtesy of Tim on SV "Hooligan", as my camera battery died.

SV "Passat II" on it's mooring and the club dinghy dock.

Party animals at the pool and on SV "Hooligan".

Beast on the boat. On our way accross the T'pec we had a visitor. Of all our visitors, fish, squid, moths and birds this has been the most welcome. This little guy/gal came on board while we were underway and entertained me for over an hour, posing for the camera. I later learned that the same bird (or it's twin) came aboard SV "Hooligan" for a visit when they passed this area 12 hours before.

Mechanic Martin at work on our engine. The faulty part turns out to be a flange that connects the exhaust manifold to the "plumbing" that injects the raw water into the exhaust pipe. The weld failed completely. This is the second (and hopefully last) repair to this assembly in two months.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

November 25th to 27th, 2008 - BAHIAS DE HUATULCO ( CHAHUE MARINA & SANTA CRUZ)

The highlight of our stay at Marina Chahue & Santa Cruz was the visit from our friends Alex and Carol, arriving on the CS "Amsterdam". We were joined for lunch by Dave & Linda off SV "Starshine", Alex and Carol, Judy and Dorothy. CS "Amsterdam" is in the background.

Adventures here included the loss of our laundry. It was sent to the wrong boat. We had cleared emigration, had the engine started and were about to cast off, when the laundry was located. We went to the other boat and had to sort through their clothes to find ours (the owners were away). We got everything but one sheet and our laundry bag.
NOTE: This is our last posting for this Mexican leg of our trip. We enjoyed our year here and plan to return.


In the afternoon we join Tim & Paula on SV "Hooligan" in La India Bay. They had been raving about the bay on the SSB radio and we had to see it for ourselves. They moved on the next morning with promises to meet at Marina Chahue.

La India and the adjoining Bahia Chachacual are a true paradise, protected as a part of a National Park. During the mid-day we shared the anchorage with tour boats from Santa Cruz. The rest of the time we had the bays to ourselves. Deserted beaches and anchorage and some of the best snorkeling we have encountered thus far.

November 16th to 21st, 2008 - PUERTO ANGELS

Our original destination was Bahia Escondido. Both the Rains and Charlie's cruising guides list it as an anchorage. We arrived to find that ALL the very limited available anchorage spots were taken up by Pangas and their mooring balls. After several sweeps of the bay and one attempt to anchor near the beach we gave up and headed for Puerto Angel. We arrived after dark and were not able to find the entrance. We waited for SV "Starshine" to arrive, with their better radar, and were able to follow them in.

SV "Passat II" in Puerto Angel.

View of the Bay from the top of the hill. Note huge commercial dock. Built to attract Cruise ships that have yet to come. SV "Passat II" is on the right, SV "Starshine" is nearest the dock and a Moorings Beneteau, being delivered to La Paz, is the other sail boat. (The Irish Captain and crew are featured below.)

This is a very active fishing port. About 1/2 of the Pnagas moor out on bouys, the other 1/2 run up on the beach at full speed. Taking a walk on the beach can be hazardous to your health. So far there remains room for cruisers to anchor in the deeper water (30 to 50 ft).

Palapa restaurant, with fresh eggs delivered to your table? Cerveza break with Dave and Linda of SV "Starshine".

Captain Shaun and his crew ? & ? ordering a la carte. The Moorings boat they were delivering did not come with a dingy. They picked one up that had been put in a trash bin and were using sticks to paddle, until we lent them our spare paddles.

The water is surprisingly clear for a busy port, with two great snorkeling spots, one on each side of the entrance. The fish life includes one that has a striking resemblance to Dave on "SV Starshine".
NOTE: Regular readers will notice a theme. Friends, cerveza, food, exotic locations, sunsets/sunrises, moon shots and wildlife. This is our life. It is good.