Leaving Mexico was emotional for us. This country has been so welcoming, and the people so warm to us everywhere we traveled. It was also our intro to this cruising lifestyle, and a great intro it was..."Cruising Light" as we call it...everything you need is available, perhaps with a bit more effort than in the states, but with a bit of perseverence, it's all doable. Not always the case as we venture further afield.
|Breakwater leaving Puerto Chiapas|
|Panga working his long line off the Guatemala coast.|
|3 foot barracuda had a mouth full of razors!!!|
Fishing was good on this short passage. Report: 2 skipjack tuna, 1 baby dorado, 1 barracuda, 1 20 lb. jack crevalle, and finally, 1 nice dorado. Quite the assortment! All except the last were thrown back, but the dorado that we kept was a tasty treat!
We finally arrived at the pilot meeting place a bit early, and bobbed about with s/v Panache and s/v Belle Star, both also waiting to cross into the estuary. The crossing has a serious reputation, but we were confident in both our jet ski pilot team and in 'Bravo' to hang ten and surf in safely.
|Note the pilot coming out through the surf in the center!|
The waves looked pretty daunting from outside the line of breakers. 'Bravo' was the first boat called, and as the waves built behind us, the pilot would send instructions over the radio......"big push coming.....hit full throttle NOW.....a bit to the right.....looking good.....another push....." and so on, for a couple of minutes, and we were in! Easy peasy!!! As pilot Bill from s/v Mita Kuulu said later, this really was an ideal day to cross the bar. The photos weren't as impressive as those taken of a few other boats earlier in the year in bigger seas, but we were certainly not complaining as we whooped and hollered and settled into the calm water inside the surf line.
|Yeeeee hah.....we're surfing now!!!|
So, what's the deal here, you ask.....the 'Bravo' crew in a resort????? Are our heroes hanging up their adventurer's shoes and settling into a new cushy lifestyle??? Well.....a bit of yes, and a bit of no.....This is the destination of something called the "Cruiser's Rally to El Salvador". Not really a rally in the traditional sense, it is rather a gathering place at this hotel/marina where cruisers are made to feel incredibly welcome, with activities, inland travel opportunities, and exploration of the local villages along the estuary all possible. It's spearheaded by Bill and Jeanne, a couple of cruisers on s/v Mita Kuulu who visited here a few years ago and fell in love with the country, it's people, and opportunities for unspoiled tourism.
Based on our first 2 days here, we get it!!! Here we are at a beautiful resort with 2 pools, for $23/day at a dock (free at anchor). Beers are $1, we get 30% off everything else at the restaurant and bar (already pretty cheap). We took a 4 mile dinghy ride up into the estuary yesterday, to the tiny fishing town of Herradura. Walking up the main street, we were greeted with smiles and waves everywhere. Other than a few other cruisers, no gringos visit here. Tourism is not part of their program, and we enjoyed the authentic ambiance of the town. Picked up a few needed fruits and veggies, and dinghies back to the boat. Spent the afternoon swimming a mile or so away in the estuary, at a palapa built on stilts, out in the middle of the bay. People can just drive their boats out there and tie up to enjoy an afternoon in the shaded hammocks, enjoying the swimming and cold cervezas. Very popular with the locals, it was a great way to spend an afternoon.
|Practice makes perfect.....time to quit while ahead!|
We're now busy with boat projects, and planning some inland travel possibilities in El Salvador. Volcanoes, Mayan villages, and jungles await!!! Stay tuned.....