Saturday, October 16, 2021

El Salvador

Marina Chiapas, Hautulco, MX to El Salvador, Central America. 250nm, 36hrs underway! In order to leave Mexico you have to arrange an exit with each boat Captian checking out with immigration, port captains, covid tests results and waiting for the military to clear you. Once all that is accomplished we had a great dinner with crews from 7 boats who were all planning to leave during the night or first thing in the morning, all heading to El Salvador. We were ready.
The military showed up at the docks on a rib, just after 11 pm. No pics of that. They boarded our boat complete with guns and dogs, our docs were ready. Once you are questioned and searched you have to leave the marina right away... We had a great, easy cruise with some moon light, lots of stars about and good rests in shifts durning the night. There was some radio chat and we could see our friends on AIS. The sunrise brought whale and dolphin shows during coffee and fresh fruit. We arrived in El Salvador on Saturday, February 6th 2021 on time for surfing in the bar crossing at 9:20 am. We were greeted with the scheduled escort from Bill's pango. We stayed the first night at the marina catching up on sleep, lunch at the hotel and a nice dog walk getting the lay of the land. Oh ya, John caught a black Marlin on the way which we released.
On SuperBowl Sunday, February 7th we moved Pairadice (with Bill's help) from the marina to the mooring ball field in the estuary, dropping the dink to meet everyone for the superbowl party and buffet at the marina. Once on the mooring ball, we soon learned we still had generator problems. The work we had done in Mexico was merely bandaids. We met a cool cat named Kees (pronounced Kase) from Holland who was nearby aboard a sail cat named Madeline. He was hired from his country to replace the electronics on Madeline after her mast was struck by lightening the previous year. He brought his friend over Chris (from a s/v) for a look. We soon realized they were quite the find, full of knowledge! Due to that's night party at the marina, we scheduled trouble shooting for the folling morning when the temps would be cooler. Hope was in sight!
The superbowl party was a hoot! The marina set aside a few docks for all our dingies. In attendance was Bill, Jean and Anita (local US Rally Supporters) , m/v Pairadice, Alamos, Delta Swizzler,s/v Yachtzee, Sur and Arrow.
This was our Panama Posse Pod for the time being. What a great group! The following morning, Kees dingied over and the dudes got started. The solution was so easy, simply a switch! John searched and found one, we had on board along! Once that was done, we celebrated with biscuits and gravy! Kees had never had that american treat! Now in (October 2021, Pairadice in South Carolina, the generator is still working just fine!) Each day during our stay, we would dingy over to the the hotel for wifi and dog walks visiting the local parrots. Sometimes even have a nice lunch or pizza and beers. We would always run into the others and have a visit. Sometimes we drop in at Kees or Bill and Jeans house which was always a treat.
Pictures of Madeline at her moorage during a visit with Kees. We had rented a car for a few days and went into San Salvador for provisions. We gave Kees a lift as transportation is hard to come by. Having made great friends with Kees, we three planned an excursion for Tuesday, February 16th to the Cihuatan Archaeological Ruins in Aguilares, El Salvador, lunched in San Salvador and made an impromptu visit to Volcano Santa Tecla! It was a great day, indeed! Cihuatan is a major pre-Columbian site in Central El Salvador. It was a very large city located the extreme south of the Mesoamerican cultural area and has benn dated to thr Early Postclassic period of Mesoamerican chronology (c. 950-1200 AD)
We utilized the guide that was available for all the history and facts, then roamed about freely. We were able to climb access stairs and actually stood on top of the main Western Ceremonial pyramid. From that vantage point he was able to point out all the different areas on site; Mesoamerican ball courts, raised ceremonial dance floors, etc. It was facinating! For more information about these oldest ruins with links to the Mayan, see wikipedia.
This is the ball court... remember you can click on any picture to enlarge if you want to read the info.
We made our way through the small musuem before heading to lunch.
Kees introduced us to Pupusa's for lunch in town and I found my way to do visit some nearby churches, souvenir shopping and was elated to find this mask!
Next was on to the Parque Nacional El Boqueron, Volcano Santa Tecla (Volcano National Park). Kees was doing great with the GPS and helping John navigate the roads. Once in the park we found the parking, paid our fees and started the hike up. I was thankful for the trails, stairs and handrails to the top.
The later part of the week was spent with chores, visits, pool time w/WIFI, BBQs Mexican Train Sunday at @ Bill and Jeans house on the island... the guys got together on Alamos compairing notes on weather, maintenance and departures. The pics of the guys in the yard was visiting Bill, checking out the visitor dock he was building for the neighbors. A very interesting process.
All that was left was to say our goodbyes to Kees, fuel the boat, make water to fill the tanks, load the dink, and take off for the passage to Costa Rico along the Nicaragua Coast. We left our El Salvador moorage February 27th 2021, day 122. The Papagayo winds off the coast proved to be no joke.