Log #63j Nicaragua

November 14, 2019 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 63, The Logs

Quepos, Costa Rica

March 9, 2019

Hi Folks,

We have been at anchor off Quepos (09° 25.785′ N, 084° 10.254′ W) for the past week, and will probably be here for another week, awaiting delivery of an engine saltwater pump. Our present pump has developed leaks in the internal seals and has sprayed saltwater over the forward part of the engine. Our time is getting short as we have another 110 miles to Golfito near the border with Panama where we will leave Costa Rica to return 490 miles back to El Salvador where we will leave Veleda for the summer.

(It is far more economical in Bahia del Sol of El Salvador at $150.00 U.S. or $187.50 Canadian a month for a mooring, and we like and trust the people there, more than at the marina here where summer storage would be $960.00 a month (or $1200.00 Canadian). This marina is ridiculously expensive! A transient slip for one night would be at the price of $3.00 a foot! That translates into $3.00 X 32 = $96.00 plus 13 % sales tax for $124.80 plus the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar for another $31.20 for a grand total of $156.00 a night! Even for us to bring the dinghy in for a few hours to do some shopping over town would cost $40.00 U.S., or $50.00 Canadian! So we are happy to stay at anchor free of charge for the two weeks waiting and use the public dock for landing the dinghy.

This Log #63j gets us into Nicaragua where we met up with a couple of boats we had met in El Salvador. We spent ten days there before we proceeded on to Costa Rica where we are presently located. A month from now we expect to be back in Ontario.

All the best,

Aubrey

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Log #63j Nicaragua

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Feb. 25, 2019

We arrived at Marina Puesta del Sol in Nicaragua (12° 37.50′ N, 087° 20.52′ W) at 0755 on Jan. 17 , after a 110 mile, 22 hour, heavy passage (see previous Log #63i) from Bahia Del Sol in El Salvador. We did not stop in Guatemala on our way down as the west coast is not very inviting to cruisers, and we spent a summer in the Rio Dulce several years ago. Many of these areas in Central America like the suffix del Sol meaning sunny, not unlike the area of B.C. just north of Vancouver which calls itself the Sunshine Coast. At the marina, we were greeted by Vicki and Rowan and their two girls, from Taliesin Rose, and Eric and Patti from Shearwater, boats we met in El Salvador but who had left several days before us.

The marina was quite comfortable and co-operative in clearing us with officialdom. It charged a bit more, $1.25 a foot for the first two days to arrange the officials to come over to check us in and out, after which the cost was a bit more reasonable at $0.75 a foot. This also included potable water, power, WiFi, and use of the hotel’s amenities such as their two infinity swimming pools, and restaurant. Rowan had an SUV on loan from a friend and was able to take all of us on several excursions.

 Incidentally, an infinity swimming pool is one with one edge at the water level so when it is looked at from inside the pool, the water seems to extend to infinity.

I needed a bottle of rum, and so we wandered into the small dusty town next to the marina to try to find a store that sold alcohol. No luck, but I was advised to go over another dusty dirt street to Joe’s Place. It was a battered, iron grill covered establishment that was a combination restaurant, bar, and surfer’s hostel. Joe is a portly jowl-faced Portuguese from the Azores. He had a several days growth of beard, with an unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt exposing his rather pronounced belly.

 He was a friendly sort who enjoyed listening to some of our travels and recounted several of his, including two circumnavigations in tramp steamers. He didn’t have any rum left but promised he would get some when he went into the nearby city the next day. Sure enough, he had a bottle of seven-year-old Flor de Caňa Aňejo Oro, good Nicaraguan rum. Thanks, Joe. While talking to him I noted the rafters of his “establishment, lined with surfboards stored or bequeathed by his surfing clientele.

We went with Rowan and his family and Eric and Patti from Shearwater to a Walmart in the nearby city of Chinandega for supplies. Nicaragua is a poor country with Honduras and El Salvador on its northern border and Costa Rica to its south. The city was a bustling location, but I noticed not too many cars. I also noted as we passed various industries that the bicycle racks were larger than the parking areas. I hadn’t seen so many bicycle storage shelters since I was in Japan many years ago.

The Walmart was one with a wide selection of groceries, clothing, hardware, and electronics. The two kids wanted to go to a McDonald’s afterwards and so we went. Quite impressive! It was the most modern McDonald’s I have ever been to. It was quite busy but efficiently set up with several computer automated ordering stations where one can select his or her order from an easily scrolled menu, and select to pay by credit card, or go to a cashier to pay by cash or to make or modify one’s selection. It really speeded up the service. I have not seen such in Canada yet.

 Another afternoon we went to one of Rowan’s friends’ place for a pot luck supper. The couple were from Calgary and had this home built just a few years ago as a winter vacation property. The main dining/living room was an open thatch–roofed structure with a pair of two-story balcony/bedroom structures overlooking a swimming pool and out across a surfing beach. We enjoyed a colourful sunset from the patio.

   Bedroom area and thatched roof living and dining area

 Sunset from the patio

While we were in the marina there was a full lunar eclipse which we enjoyed from the main deck of Shearwater. I loaned Eric my tripod for his camera and took a few pictures myself with my small Fuji handheld camera. They didn’t come out too badly and captured the orange penumbra as the moon went into the Earth’s shadow.

We were too tired to wait for full eclipse or the return to full moon but enjoyed the evening with sailing friends.

There wasn’t much else to attract us to Nicaragua. The capital, Managua, is described as “a shambles, … chaotic and broken.” It was destroyed Dec. 23, 1972, by a series of tremors and a 6.2 earthquake killing 11,000 people and destroying 53,000 homes. As the Lonely Planet describes the aftermath, “The blatant siphoning of international relief funds by President Somoza touched off the Sandinista-led revolution, followed by the Contra War, and the city centre including the beautiful old cathedral was never rebuilt.”

All three of our boats left a couple of days later for Costa Rica.