Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bahia del Sol to Chiapas

After crossing the bar coming out of Bahia del Sol we set our course almost due west for Chiapas.  It was about 8 AM when we crossed the bar, so we had a full day of mostly motoring until nightfall.  It was quite pleasant with calm seas and just a light breeze.  All of that came to a halt when at about midnight the rain and lightning started with a vengeance.  The rain was literally hammering down at a rate I would estimate at several inches or more per hour.  There was lightning all around.  The wind came up to about 20 knots or so, but we continued motoring as the wind was the result of the squalls and was up and down and coming from various directions as the system moved over us.  It continued like that until about 6 AM when the rain suddenly came to a stop.

Day 2 was much different.  It was a wonderful day with cooler temperatures and a 10 – 12 knot breeze off the beam.  We sailed most of the day making 5 knots or more.  About mid afternoon we calculated the remaining distance and our current speed and realized that unless we changed it up, we would arrive in Chiapas in the middle of the night.  We had to slow it up.  The solution was to fall off and tack out to sea for several hours and then back toward shore for several hours.  Our forward progress toward Chiapas was reduced to about 2 knots, but we were sailing at about 6 knots and having a great time.  Later that night when the wind died, we simply killed the motor and drifted for an hour or so until we had daylight and enough visibility to enter the harbor.

We made our way into the harbor and secured Talos IV to the docks.  Almost immediately the Navy and the Port Captain arrived to check us in and inspect the boat.  They had a dog with them, but we told them that they couldn’t bring the dog on board because of the furry crew.  They had no issues with that.  We offered coffee and cokes to them and their staff and all was good.  With the inspection and check in process completed we had officially arrived back in Mexico.

The bar crossing leaving Bahia del Sol was a bit more
exciting than when we came in.

Talos IV rode up and over each wave and then
surfed back down on the back side.

Return to El Salvador

First, I realize there is a big gap from our previous post and this post, but not to worry, we will do our best to fill in the blanks without getting too bogged down in the details.

In brief, we did leave Chiapas back in late February and made the 48 hour passage to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador.  We had light winds, but managed to sail about half of the passage.  The most exciting part of the journey was crossing the bar into Estero Jaltpeque.  In the end, the bar crossing was pretty much a non-event.  We participated in the El Salvador Rally, which was a great way to connect with other cruisers and experience El Salvador.

Crossing the bar into Bahia del Sol was not for the faint of heart.
We were greeted at the marina by the staff and other cruisers
and of course a beverage on the house to welcome us
to El Salvador.  We cheated death once again.
We managed to make several inland trips.  One of the trips took us up into the mountains and coffee growing region of El Salvador to the towns of Juayua and Apaneca.  That trip included a thrilling zip line tour (check out the photos).  Another trip brought us across the border into Guatemala, through Guatemala City and into Antiqua and Lake Atitlan.  We were able to stay at a 7 bedroom mansion with several of our cruising friends, which turned out to be a most memorable event.  And, as part of the rally, we went with all of the other cruisers to Suchitoto, just outside San Salvador.  It was an absolutely wonderful trip.

We hung out at the hotel pool just about every afternoon.

We went on several dinghy adventures up and down the
We bought shrimp from the ladies at the fish market
on the dock in La Libertad.
We had a wonderful fresh fish lunch at a
restaurant along the estuary.
We toured El Boqueron, the volcano that sits on the
outskirts of San Salvador.
The guard at El Boqueron.  He looks menacing,
but he was really quite friendly and young.
We passed this guy on our way to Juayua.  He was bringing
firewood down the mountain on a sled that he steered
with his feet.  The wheels were nothing more than
skate wheels bolted on to a 2x4 and a brake that was
a stick that he drug on the ground to stop or slow down.
Janet enjoying a near death experience on the zip line
outside of Apaneca.
We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Joyua with Ken and Julie
from Kia Ora and Peter and Mary from Neko.
We stopped at Fernando Llorts gallery in San Salvador
on our way to Suchitoto.
We enjoyed dinner and beers at an absolutely wonderful
hacienda hotel in Suchitoto.  Notice Janet's newly hand made
indigo scarf.
The ladies went to the women's cooperative, where they
received instruction on traditional indigo dye techniques.
Janet is proudly displaying the scarf she made.
Janet strolling the streets of Antiqua, Guatemala.
Crossing the boarder from El Salvador into Guatemala took us
over this bridge spanning the river that marks the border.
A bit of bridge repair was underway, but in this part of the
world it's not a problem.
In mid-April we decided it was time to put the boat away for the summer and head back to Seattle.  We left the boat on a mooring in the care of Bill and Jean, the organizers of the El Salvador Rally and flew home for the summer.

In mid-October we headed back down to the boat.  It was quite the journey with both cats and four large duffel bags packed with boat stuff and our personal things.  We arrived back in Bahia del Sol to find Talos IV in excellent condition.  Bill and Denny had done an excellent job keeping her safe and sound while we were gone.

Talos IV was right where we left her, on the mooring in front
of Bill and Jeans house on La Isla.
Louie hanging out under our new rain tarps.
Tia claimed the companion way hatch cover.  Both of the
furry crew adapted well to our return to the boat.
We stayed on the mooring ball for the next two weeks getting Talos IV re-commissioned and all the “stuff” stored below decks. Having a rental car for the many trips into San Salvador made the re-commissioning and provisioning much easier than last season. Finally we were ready to depart and made arrangements with Bill and the Bahia pilot to guide us over the bar.

I thought we were going to get really wet. The bar was scary rough but the pilot set us up on the best course for the conditions. Paul was able to hold Talos IV in just the right position until we had a lapse in the sets of waves. Off we went….over the bar and on our way to Chiapas, Mexico!

Bill and Ezequel, the bar pilot took us out over the bar.
The bar crossing going out was a bit more intense than when
we came in, but Talos IV took it all in stride.
Talos IV surfing down the back side of the swell.  We were
on our way to Mexico.