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Voyages of S/V NautiMoments
A Sailing Trip to the Caribbean and Other Destinations unknown.
Boat surfing 101; Crossing the bar at Bahia del Sol El Salvador March 15
Ken
03/23/2012, Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

Our trip from Chiapas to Bahia del Sol in El Salvador was great. We were able to sail quite a bit and the night passage was under star filled skies. The moon rose about 11:00pm with what looked like a red light of a vessel and morphed into a beautiful red sky resembling a sunset then into a brilliant full moon.
Our next challenge was to cross the bar into our destination, Bahia del Sol. In the early morning hours us and five other boats gathered at a meeting point just outside the bar waiting for slack flood tide. When we look towards shore all we see is 8-12' rollers which then develop into breaking waves. It looks quite daunting ashore but it is what we have to do or carry on to Costa Rica. We all are reading the literature about crossing the bar: keep the boat perpendicular to the surf, use FULL power once you start crossing the bar and don't hold back unless instructed, have a crew member looking backwards at the wave telling you to steer port or starboard to ensure you are perpendicular to the wave, don't worry about the jet ski ahead of you as he will get out of your way as you charge down the wave, etc. We all prepped our boats by ensuring everything is secure on deck, all windows and hatches are closed including the companionway, engine will maintain FULL power for 5 minutes without overheating, etc. We then tethered ourselves to the boat so if we broached or a wave hit us we would not be swept overboard. This is all precautionary but we believe in being prepared for the worst and hoping for the best.
Everyone is escorted across the bar one at a time by two people on a jet ski. We all line up to wait our turn; we are to be the fourth boat to cross. The first boats are Warren Peace, Gosling and Kwan yin 1. Everyone keeps it perpendicular to the waves and surf down 3 - 4 large waves. Only Kwan yin 1 had a wave break into the cockpit but other than a wet crew, no harm was done. We see the jet ski jump over the surf to guide us in; it's our turn. We advance to the edge of the surf and hold. Then our guides say full power and we surge forward going as fast as we can. About an eight foot wave picked us up and we bulleted down at about 12 knots. Then the next one came then the third and the same thing, but the wave height was way less for us than the other boats had experienced. The next thing our guides said was "welcome to El Salvador, they really opened the gates for you", follow the boat ahead into the estuary. We ended up having the easy ride that day but no-one had any issues. Later at the bar we all said how easy and thrilling it was.
We are now moored in the estuary along with 30-40 other cruisers. It is beautiful and calm and you hear the surf breaking just the other side of the peninsula.

Agua Azul Waterfalls and back to Chiapas
03/22/2012

On our way back through we went to see Agua Azul which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen. You feel you are in the middle with waterfalls all around you. Each way you looked was a different falls.

San Cristobol was a vibrant Mexican town with lots of walking streets, music, good food and drink. Unfortunately due to the latter I did not get many pictures. We stayed there overnight at a great little place. Our road trip home was much better as we took the toll roads which were many more miles but due to the quality took us less time.
We cleaned, refuelled and prepped the boat ready for our next leg to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. So long Mexico and hello Central America.

Mayan Ruins at Palenque
03/22/2012

The ruins were great with basically a whole Mayan city partially excavated. It is amazing what the jungle will absorb.

Road trip to SanCristobol and Palenque
03/22/2012

After that we rented a car and drove through San Cristobol and onto Palenque. Driving in Mexico is an adventure as the road we took was windy and steep over a mountain pass. We drove straight through to Palenque arriving at 10:00pm. Through some miracle, or straight BS luck, we found Margarita and Eds Hotel which is just outside the park where the Palenque ruins are located. This was a beautiful little place right in the jungle. At night we could hear Howler Monkeys and many birds and animals. The locals and visitors reminded us of a hippy community with young backpackers from all over the world. We ate a place right beside the Hotel called Don Muchos; a quick walk through the jungle. With great food and drinks, live music for dancing, fire dancing show and crafts for sale right in the middle of the jungle, this was a highlight.

Coffee Plantation and Mayan ruins in Tapachula
03/22/2012

Chiapas has a new marina but because they had not turned on the power yet it was free. The price being right so we stayed there for 10 days. It is bloody hot but we will survive. The manager Enrique was fabulous. He drove us all over the place to check in and out, fuel runs, etc. From there we took a day tour to a Coffee plantation high up in the hills then to some Mayan ruins in Tapachula nearby. Wow, this is quite a process!

Crossing the Tehuantepec to Chiapas
Ken
03/22/2012, Chiapas

Well we finally are updating the blog; sorry for the delay, this cruising lifestyle is so busy with happy hours, cruising, boat chores, etc.
We had a great trip across the Tehuantepec. This is a large bay on the Pacific side at the bottom of Mexico. It is notorious for strong winds and large seas. You have to wait for a weather window to cross. On 3:00pm on Feb. 29 we left Hualtuco, then traveled along the coast to the 16deg N latitude, where we followed that across, then followed the coast down to Chiapas arriving on Mar.2.
At least we got to sail some of the trip with a 8-12knot wind on the beam. Here is our friends Jean-Guy and Fran on Gosling under full sail.

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover ........(Mark Twain)........ Life is too short to not live your dreams.