El Salvador (Bahia del Sol) to Costa Rica (Bahia Santa Elena)

18 May

Spending 11 days in El Salvador was a brilliant way to kick back and relax a little, it got to a point though when we thought we were never going to get out of Bahia del Sol, that place is just way to easy to get sucked into spending everyday by the pool…not too easy getting out though it seems! Every time we set a day to leave something popped up (weather mainly), the main thing was getting the sandbar crossing on a good day.

The last day we had there was probably the most fun me and Katie had while in El Salvador. I was in the pool when everyone was going up to the green with Bocce balls (Bowls), they told me to get everyone on Solent rounded up for a game, so I jumped out and ran back to the boat to get the guys, Serena and Lee were up at the office checking us out of the country for the next day, so it was just me and Katie, making our way up to the green it suddenly darkened over and we could feel the first spots of rain, even these two were not silly enough to be out in it! If you look in the barrel you might be able to see to Macaws

The guys had already started playing and were in 2 teams, me and Katie split up to be opponents by going on separate teams, anyway it was a great afternoon away from the boats and boat talk! We got through a few beers…even Katie was sinking them! I dunno it seems whenever you mix alcohol and a large expanse of grass, cartwheels, handstands and other somersaults always come out! Katie was cartwheeling her heart out with the others. Unfortunatley as we lost the light the bugs started coming out so we made a move back to the pool, by that time it was absolutely chucking it down, we were all soaked and a little tipsy so the inevitable happened….we all ended up in the pool fully clothed!

In this photo you can see Katie, Nicole, the two little brothers Micky and JP, their mum Molly and Lee, I think all the others are out of frame but there were quite a few of us in there at one point. Then came the bomb and bellyflop competitions, all acting like big kids it was great!

Do you remember the fruit gathering trip me and Katie went on the other day? Well we got the coconut out to have a go on that, I could of really done with a machete to be fair, so I could of taken the top of in one swift movement, hopefully impressing Katie, but no, we didn’t have anything other then a hacksaw with 32 teeth per centimetre which was do-able, it didn’t really look bushman like though! The water from it was well worth looking like a tit Infront of the locals though! Maybe I should get the hacksaw on that beard of mine, I think it’s past shaving now, though I’m getting quite fond of it!

The day we left the tide for getting over the bar was around midday-ish, Serena and Lee wanted to take Solent over to a boat handy-man called Santos, he has a handfull of moorings opposite the marina, he’s really cheap and does great boat repairs, it turns out he’s a welder by trade so I got chatting to him, he told us that he went to his dads welding workshop in the city when he was only 6 years of age!!! Serena and Lee got him to sort out a dive under the boat to clean the growth off the hull, theres a couple of sacrificial anodes on the prop shaft that need changing and there’s still a little rope still on the prop from our crab pot in Mexico that needs taking off. He gathered two of his ’employees’ to do the cleaning while he done the anodes, he came aboard for a beer after and told us his story, which was well worth listening to. When the other guys were finished cleaning Solent’s bum we gave them a beer each, which was cracked open straight away, they deserved it!

Bahia del Sol from Santos’ mooring


Rogehilo the pilot took the jet ski out to the sandbar to check the situation over there, Bill who jumps on the jet ski with him to relay the instructions in English wasn’t around for a few days, so it was Ben’s job to take us out, Ben is Molly’s husband, Micky and J.P’s dad, they all live on their boat Knee Deep, we were having dinner with them one night, Ben let on to us that he had told Bill that when he ‘grows up’ he wants to go out on the jet ski! We were glad we bumped into Ben and Molly, they are the most coolest people! So anyway we got called on the radio by Ben letting us know that everything is good to go! While having the radio on we heard a boat that was waiting outside the sandbar to come in, they had run out of fuel, Ben and Rogehilo were going to take them a jerry can on the jet ski, balancing inbetween Rogehilo’s legs! This bloke was going on about having a swarm of Bees around the boat, asking if that’s normal and what he should do about it, fair enough, if it’s a regular occurrence then someone might be able to tell him what he could do about his bee problem, but as we were coming upto the sandbar, all of Bens attention is taken up with translating what Rogehilo is saying, then relaying it to us and generally guiding us through, his job is made much, much harder when someone keeps asking him what they should do with their Bee problem. I suppose the boat waiting to come in didn’t quite realise what’s involved with crossing the bar, just like we didn’t when we were waiting out there, not expecting to be surfing the boat over crashing waves. Lee’s bringing Solent up to the bar, we’re all tethered in with life jackets on, waiting for Rogehilo and Bens instructions….The previous day getting two other boats Talaria and Saben out, the jet ski flipped twice, chucking Rogehilo and Ben into the raging surf! We finally got the shout from Ben to throttle full speed ahead, seconds into doing that an alarm started sounding from the engine dials, no one said anything at first, we were all hoping it wasnt happening i think, all wishfull thinking, until Serena plucked up the courage to ask what it was, it was the engine overheating alarm, Lee told me to run down and just check the Volvo, so I went below and everything seemed fine…..although this is not the place we want anything bad to happen, especially to end up with no propulsion, if we turn beam on (side on) to one of these breakers we will certainly be getting wet! Everything went smoothly, Ben does a great job of calming things down! We made it through but didn’t really get any decent photos this time, even if we did, they dont really do it any justice whatsoever, it’s a ‘you have to be there’ thing!

Ben and Rogehilo on the jet ski, the only photo that didn’t have any motion blur

We were through, said our thanks and goodbyes to Ben, threw in a few waves to them both and headed on south to Costa Rica, it’s 204nm so its going to be a two nighter…easy right. While we were still in the area we could hear Ben calling another boat in Bahia del Sol, he was telling them that the tide is starting to turn so they were planning on getting the ‘Bee’ boat over the bar as quick as possible, oh and he also said that the jet ski is running on fumes now as well, if they don’t get back within 45 minutes to send a search party out! Sod’s law ain’t it, they were sat on a jerry can of petrol 5 minutes ago!

The first evening we started seeing the tell tale signs of weather developing on the radar, and sure enough it thundered and lightninged all night, to the left, to the right, behind, Infront and over the top of us, Katie doesn’t really like thunder and lightning so I slept on deck with her through her watch, just as we went down it started chucking it down, right through till the morning!

The next day Lee was sleeping a lot, Serena thought maybe it was just the rubbish night before in the rain, but it turns out he had some sort of fever coming on, that’s not really good news out here, it could be anything, most worrying Malaria or Dengue Fever. But we all got on with it and let the skipper rest, I chucked out the fishing lines after not seeing a Booby flying around for a while, honestly within 5 minutes I heard the bungee fling back (it only does that after something goes for the lure) I’ve developed an ear for that now, I looked over the solar panels and to my excitement I saw a Mahi Mahi chasing the lure, I showed Kate and hoped it would go for a take again, we have no meat on the boat now so fresh fish would be a lovely meal! It might even do Lee some good! 10 minutes later we had him.

They have the most amazing colours and it’s a shame to take it for the plate, but we literally have nothing, we actually only put the lines out when we need food now. After thanking the fish for dinner he was filleted and eaten within half hour! You can get fresher then that! It was delicious, we had it barbecued in foil with pepper and lemon peel, over a bed of Quinoa rice! Unbeatable!

It came around to my watch, the second night didn’t seem as bad as the night before, but as always something happens on my watch, I started seeing the formidable weather conjuring up something nasty for us on the radar, great!

That mass you can see on the radar isn’t land, you can tell by looking at the radar overlay on the chart, it’s weather, it builds up out of nothing….and follows you! This one we managed to outrun pretty easy but it was touch and go for a while! On Katie’s watch I was on the cockpit floor asleep, I woke up to hearing Katie on the walkie talkie to Serena, going on about some flashing lights floating up into the sky, she must be really tired, if she’s now starting to see things!

Finally making it into Santa Elena, me and Katie were asleep when the anchor went down but woke up to a lovely little spot! It’s pretty cool waking up in another country, we woke up to complete silence, only the sound of the parrots, maybe even a few Howler Monkeys and fish splashing around the boat….. No jet skis, cruise ships or pangas, bliss!

Lee was still feeling pretty rough so we had a nice lazy day just listening to the wildlife, fishing and reading. We got in touch with Talaria from El Salvador, who arrived a day earlier then us, it turns out they had a rough time of it, 7 hours of waves crashing over the bow…… We were lucky, this time!

I think we’re going to hang around here for a while, at least until the skipper gets back on his feet, we’re more then happy with staying in a place like this though, if we were back home we would be stuck at work, daydreaming of a paradise like this! We are very lucky!


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