We’re anchored in an estuary that the yachties refer to as “Bahia”. The El Salvadorians call the area Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). Usually by 8:30 in the morning it’s over 80 degrees inside the boat, but generally a breeze will blow during the day and cool it off a bit. The tropical sun is relentless and staying out of it is absolutely necessary. The evenings are cooler, but the lightning storms are occasionally a little too close to the boat for comfort. The storms can be spectacular to watch, but the results of a strike to the boat would be disastrous and take out all of our new electronics. We’re insured for it, but the hassle of buying, shipping and replacing nearly new instruments would be painful.
Our transit of the Tehuantepec from Mexico to El Salvador couldn’t have been any better. I was wrong about feast or famine; we had wind during the day to sail with, except the second day when we were way out in the middle. At night it was motor boat time, but that was ok because it was so much better than it could have been. We even got to fly our spinnaker the third day while we were trying to catch the boat ahead of us (which we never did). As usual, after worrying about the transit for the last year, it was actually a nice sail.
El Salvador is a marvelous place to be. The Salvadorians are incredibly friendly people and couldn’t be more welcoming. While cruising Mexico we never got off the beaten path and out of the tourist areas, and found no opportunity to meet the locals. In Bahia we’ve had local visitors out to the boat twice already and been given a tour of the area with a family from San Salvador on thier boat. It’s so refreshing to be in an area where the people are happy to meet new visitors and not just burned out by massive groups of people offloading from a cruise ship for 3 hours of shopping.
The day after we arrived we took the “chicken bus” into the town of Zacatecaluca, which was quite an adventure. A ride on the El Salvadorian buses is a trip not to be missed. The notion that the bus is full never exists, no matter how tightly you’re packed in. It was nearly two hours each way with a transfer in the middle, and our timing was poor as our return trip was during the after work and after school period.
One of the benefits of being in a poor country is inexpensive food. Meals out average in the $4.00 range, which is very convenient when it’s so hot you just don’t want to heat the boat up any more by lighting the stove to cook. The Salvadorians don’t eat spicy food like the Mexicans and it’s often a bit bland. The local specialty item is called a pupusa, which is a fried corn tortilla filled with beans, cheese and/or meat. At $.35 each for a pupusa and $1.00 local beers, dinner out at a local pupuseria is pretty simple and cheap.
We’re planning our first inland trip since we started cruising two years ago. We’re going into Antigua, Guatemala for some immersion Spanish. Not being able to converse in the native language of the locals is frustrating, but the further we get from the tourist areas the more practice we get. Hopefully a few weeks of intensive study will boost us beyond the basics and give us some much needed confidence and ability. We’ll also travel a bit in Guatemala and explore some of the Mayan ruins and tourist areas.
Today on Yohelah Rob is puttering with some boat projects while I’m home in Seattle taking care of my sister for another week…….