Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Headed for San Juan del Sur

Sorry I didn't email you yesterday when I could. For awhile we were able to get the internet from Sidewinder but lost it later on. We have no connection this morning so I thought I'd try sailmail for a change before we motor out of here.

We are waiting for the officials to come and give us our "zarpa," an official permission paper to continue our journey to San Juan del Sur. Once we are there, we will again have to check in and eventually check out. Hopefully it won't be too much of a hassle. We had an amazing storm last night which brought us mucho rain, along with major thunder and lightning. I certainly hope we won't encounter another one tonight while on our way, although that is now going to be the norm. Ah! The adventure of it all! I'll keep in touch and let you know when we arrive. Mandy should still be there tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing them [Richard and Virginia] once again. Serg, Katie, and Rick are with us; it is wonderful and comforting to have company when traveling. Love to you, Suz

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Random Photos

I am trying to send some photos which I thought I had already sent. They include a couple of shots of Rujilio taking us out the bar on his jet ski and a few from the Hotel La Joya del Golgo on Isla Meanguera. - S.

Happy 30th to Casey from Nicaragua!

Info about photos:The first couple of pictures are from the hike I took with Lauren, Gata, and Isaac [on Isla Meanguera]. They show the town we were closest to and the interior island. The last pictures are from Puesta del Sol, Nicaragua. The first is of David heading out with Gary for yesterday morning's surf session, next is Serg on Kolea and Sidewinder tucked into the slip at the marina, and the last pictures are of the re-supply venture into town about an hour away and our broken fan belt. The van adventure included Rick, Bob and Norman, Barbara, and Serg. Life is good and it is nice to have time to spend with other interesting people. We are definitely fortunate!

Sunday's e-mail: We are still at the dock and are planning to move today out to a mooring for the last few days here at Puesta del Sol. David went surfing yesterday, but did not catch many waves; it was good for him to be in the surf at least. We are planning to go out in a little while; we need to go with Gary, another cruiser who is on this dock, because he has a 15 hr. powered engine on his dinghy which is needed to power out to the point break here. We have walked up the beach to the surf camp and the beach break also looks good.

This place definitely is fancy and way too expensive [Google "Puesta del Sol, Nicaragua" to check it out], but we, again, are managing to have fun with Serg, Katie, Rick on Evenstar, and some cruisers who are heading back to Mendicino on the boat, Zephyr. The captain, Bob Wilson, is a great guy and I told him about the possibility that Tom and Paula may be moving up there for a while. He and his wife have a wonderful house on the river and he made it sound like a terrific place to settle for a while. Another crew member on that boat is from Telluride (actually, Norwood) and knows Cindy and Mick really well. His nickname is Stretch, and I know I met him in Telluride when we were there sometime in the past. I will email Cindy and let her know. I think I also met Bob, the captain, in Lahaina, Maui in the early 70's when he was David Crosby's manager (Crosby, Stills, Nash). PHEW! Strange life!

I am next going to download my newest pix from yesterday's journey into town for reprovisioning, but I think they might be pretty boring. The van fan belt broke on the way home, and it took us hours to get back. The weather has been a bit gray, and so the pictures of the marina may be a bit dull as well. Casey turned 30 today, and we just sent him an email full of warm wishes; again, where does the time go? Love, Suz

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Suzi, Smiling

Rina, the wonderful, young hostess and owner of this hotel just gave me a bowl of chicken soup and some watermelon, and I don't have the heart to tell her I am a vegetarian, so . . . I'm not today! What a sweetheart she is! Her husband, Richard, is originally from LA, and they are both very spirited. It is another shitty day in paradise, and I am going into the village in a short while to get a haircut. Yippee!! Isaac, Gata, a beautiful girl who works here and has green cat eyes, hence the nickname, Lauren, who is a junior at Oklahoma State University teaching English here, and I took the ponga to the far side of the island, hiked up a very steep rock road to the top of the island, found some thermal steam pockets in the rocks, and walked back down the same road, passing by the little horses and donkeys we had seen tied up at the roadhead carrying very heavy loads of supplies and people back up the road to the village on top. It was very fun, and it felt so wonderful to hike once again. Yeah for exercise!!! We can also dive in the water from the boat and that, too, is a joy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

David's Tale of the Final El Salvador Leg

Here is David's version of the last few days . . . plus a rant against his sailmaker.

If it seems like we live a charmed life it's because we do . . . in so many ways it's scary. It was time to leave Bahia del Sol. We finally received our new charger that Dan Wacholder sent down, and we had seen much of what the area had to offer, so we made plans to head out through the bar at 11:00 a.m. Friday. One of the old superstitions of cruisers is that you never leave on a Friday. So at 11:00 we were still fueling up, and since the water truck hadn't come as promised, we started loading 5 gallon jugs of water, pouring them in as fast as we could, as the tide window was rapidly closing.

Around 11:45 we headed out across the bar with Rajulio on his jet ski leading the way. The trip out was uneventful until the very end when a set came through that had one wave I could have turned on my board and caught with a three stroke paddle. Sidewinder burst through the lip, sending water everywhere, but came down heading outside, and the next wave was smaller, so no problem. Rajulio came buzzing by on the jet ski, waving goodbye with that great smile of his, and we headed south. Then the engine died. We were not out of harms way by any means, and I freaked out, running forward and raising the mainsail first and the headsail after that, and Suzi was able to keep us slightly off the wind and make headway out to sea. After much research I couldn't find anything wrong, so I tried firing her up, and she started right off. What was wrong? It's anyone's guess: could've been the fact that I had the pedal to the metal more than I ever had before trying to get out of the surf as fast as I could, and she may have revved past her comfort zone and starved for fuel, or she could have choked for a lack of air since we were sucking more than she ever had to before. It's hard to tell, but I was a happy camper when she did fire up.

So on we went, heading to Punta Mango in the far east of El Salvador, ready for new sights and some much needed surf to play in. As the night started to close in around us, the lightning started to flash on the horizon right in front of us, and sure enough we soon found ourselves in the middle of a squall with 30 knot winds and short choppy seas coming from what seemed at the time to be every direction. We had the foresight before it all came down to shorten sail to the staysail with a reefed main, and I felt we could deal with anything that came our way. But that turned out not to be the case.

With pitch black night around us, all of a sudden the staysail ring that the sheets are tied to parted from the sail with a sharp crack, and the staysail started flapping back and forth with the wind. By the time we got her furled up, the sail was thrashed. BUMMER . . . and that's an understatement, and not the word that came out of my mouth, as you can imagine I'm sure. We rode out the squall by motoring into it and limped into Isla Meanguera, forgetting about Punta Mango due to weather that my radar showed all along the coast. [People with Google Earth: Type "Isla Meanguera, El Salvador" into the "Fly to" box to see this beautiful island.]

So now we are without our staysail, which really reduces our sail selection especially for heavy weather. We still can roll up the headsail on the furler and make do, but not having the staysail around has changed our thinking when it comes to weather on the horizon. Hopefully we can get it repaired somewhere down the line and be back to normal. Just another day in the life and times of Dave & Suzi on the water. It's never dull, but just once I'd like a few days to slide by without anything weird happening. That being said, I do feel proud of the way we dealt with it all, keeping our calm and jumping in and stabilizing the situation. It could've been worse, it all could've been worse, and yet I'm sitting here writing about it, shaking my head and smiling about it. But if you ever have the chance to by UK sails, please call me first: this shouldn't have happened, and I'm pointing my finger at UK. The same thing happened to our headsail just before we left, and UK fixed it, saying there must have been some bad webbing that ties the sheet ring to the sail. Well that bad webbing must've been used for the staysail also because 27 knots of wind isn't that much, and our staysail is only a 99 % one; that's not that big. Bottom line: shouldn't have happened.

But we are now anchored in the prettiest little bay we have yet to stay in with a cute little hotel nestled into the cove that has a great bar and restaurant and owned by some ex-pat. gringos. Very charming and close to a small village that has most of what we need, just not a new staysail! So that's where we are right now and until you hear from us again, it's where we will stay for a while. Talk again soon with tales of great surf and clear water and a trouble free crossing . . . RIGHT! Love, David

High Adventure

The universe is so good to us. We are in a very pristine cove in front of a beautiful little hotel owned by a couple who used to live in South Pasadena. Isaac and Arturo, their two sons, are here helping out, and I have just met Rachel, their little sister. What a great family!

Two days ago we arrived in a different cove around the corner after motoring all the way from Bahia del Sol. We made contact with Serg on the green pilot boat, who had left a few days earlier, and we joined him and Katie, along with Rick on Evenstar. The little bay was very mellow the first afternoon but a bit rolly, and the night brought on a vigorous thunder and lightning storm. Yesterday we took a dinghy ride down to this spot and ordered lunch. The wind came up, and David and I began to worry about our Sidewinder around the corner. We quickly canceled our lunch, and we all motored into the big waves and wind, getting drenched by the warm salt water. (Thank goodness it was warm!)

When we arrived, we were happy to see Sidewinder just where we had left her, but Rick's boat was close to being on the beach. David and Rick jumped on Evenstar and turned on the engine, struggled to raise the anchor and saved her! YAHOO! We all moved, and here we are, safe and sound again. Isaac wants to do a hike, and I need to go get tennis shoes; this island is sooo cool. I will send pictures soon. We may be able to go horseback riding tomorrow; wouldn't that we great! Love to all.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice!

I just concluded a most perfect birthday with a phone call from Suzi and David singing a "Happy Birthday" duet from a friend's boat near the Isla Meanguera at the entrance to the Golfo Fonseca. We couldn't talk for long, but they promised to send photos and the story of their trip from Bahia del Sol (there was mention of weathering their first storm) as soon as they were able. Stay tuned! - Kris

Friday, June 19, 2009

Outta there at last!

We are once more crossing the bar finally at 11:00 this morning, leaving this beautiful marina after more than a month. We have many things yet to do, so this is a short reflection. I always have mixed feelings when I am about to leave a place where I have been safe and secure, pampered with fabulous food fixed by Mart'in, the gourmet El Salvadorian hotel cook, and nurtured by some great people, cruisers and residents here. I am sad to leave the warmth of the new friendships, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be of service to some of the kids on the island, although I did not do much, and I will miss exploring and shopping with those who have offered their transportation and local knowledge. We have had nothing but wonderful experiences, helping to make the time troubleshooting and fixing mechanical stuff easier. We leave with a new battery system, generator, and battery charger (thanks to Daniel) and are hoping for a more stable way to keep up with the warm water and need for refrigeration to keep food fresh. We have a new antenna which has given us back communication on our VHF! YIPPEE!

We are heading for Punta Mango and Tamarindo, which is the western edge of the Gulf of Fonseca, and depending on the weather and waves, we will stay for a few days before heading off to Nicaragua. We will keep in touch. We love you all! The pictures include: A trip David took to El Salvador with some other cruiser friends, my trip to La Libertad and Sunsal, a famous surf spot with Tamar and Paul from the boat Xanadu, and Collete and Murray, who were gracious enough to take us on our outting last Sunday.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pictures from Suzi

Suzi sent these photos of the beautiful new cockpit cover that she sewed and of her working on the inside of the boat. She and David are having difficulties getting their boat parts from the Salvadorean customs people; they hope to accomplish that today. -Kris

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Still Waiting for Boat Parts

Still here at Bahia del Sol, another busy Saturday by the pool. My awning is awesome and I will take a picture to show it to all. Yesterday I tried to make jerry (sp) jug covers and failed, even though Tamar has given me one to copy. It seems to take me so long to get what it is I am doing when sewing without a pattern. Oh well.

Even though the mosquitoes are beginning to feast each evening now, the warm nights are so beautiful. Each night before crawling into our bunk, which is always quite toasty, we have been lounging in the cockpit, enjoying the warm breezes, starry heavens, almost full moon, and thunder and lightning shows off in the distance. Last night I woke up there, with the wind and lightning moving quickly down the estuary, just in time to close the hatches and ports. I wandered forward up to the mast and the giant raindrops drenched my body. It was so fun; the lightning and thunder made me feel so alive, and the cool rain washed the sweat away.

The warmth takes some getting used to; luckily we do have the pool and outdoor showers whenever we want to dinghy in. The last few mornings David and I have been motoring in and doing our exercises and yoga postures by the pool. We have been enjoying Tamar and Paul; he is a retired screen-writer and film-production professor from Sacramento State, and she, too, has been very involved in that field. Tamar has been so generous with her sewing machine. Lots of people are here today to partake in an early dinner while watching the soccer finals they are so into.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

STILL in Bahia del Sol

For those of you who get edgy when you don't hear from Suzi and David for a few days: they are still in Bahia del Sol, waiting for a charger and antenna to arrive at the nearby hotel (courtesy of Daniel Wacholder). David bought a new battery and another antenna in San Salvador on election day. Once they have ascertained that all the new acquisitions are functioning properly, they will cross the bar again and head south . . . possibly this weekend or early next week. -Kris