Adios Costa Rica Buenos Dias El Salvador Hola Mexico
May 7-19, 2022
14..41.44 N 092.26.3W
In May we began travel planning. The "H" season or "lightning season" will arrive quickly. We decided to lay up in Puerto Madero, Mexico. Marina Chiapas is about 500 NM from Northern Costa Rica. Since we had flexibility, we decided to break the trip into 2 legs of 250 NM each. We gathered weather information from multiple sites. We figured the logistics for crossing the El Salvador bar, the thunderstorm potential, potential anchorages and black flag fishing pangas into our passage plans.
At sunrise we left Costa Rica in calm weather with a bit of trepidation about the black flags and unexpected storms. The wind did not appear. Our passage to El Salvador was magical.
We saw five--count them--pods of dolphins. They raced toward us, jumped and played, for hours along the Nicaraguan coast. I snapped lots of photos of splashing water during our personal dolphin show. The moonlight reflected steep, dark mountains along the coast with little sign of villages or ports. We anchored in a sheltered bay in the Golfo de Fonseca one night and at a roadstead off the El Salvador bar one night. Song of the Sea, a 50 ft. ketch buried its nose. Tore and Maud struggled with a set of pretty large breakers when departing for Mexico. It's our turn. We followed the pilot's directions carefully. Dancing on the Edge rode over one wave. Bienvenido a El Salvador!
We departed El Salvador in a calm weather window with a bit of trepidation about the black flags and unexpected storms at midafternoon. The wind did not appear. The passage to Mexico was just not fun.
A boobie perched on our bow as we motor sailed along the Guatemalan coast. Village lights disappeared as clouds covered the full moon. Flashes of lightning surrounded us. Big streaks accompanied by thunder arced to the water. Since the radar indicated slow moving storms, we altered course. There was no rain. Dan had about 2 hours of this on his watch. I spent 3 hours on my watch as lightning intensified and decreased. As the sun set in a very cloudy sky, we hoped that this night would be quiet. Black line fishing pangas began to flash bright white lights at us. The pangas attach long lines with hundreds of hooks to a black flag float (a black plastic trash bag on PVC pipe). It may or may not be lighted. If the prop gets caught in the lines, someone has to go into the water to cut it free. We didn't really want to test the theory that our weed strap would prevent entanglement. We approached Puerto Madero in a thick fog. With reduced visibility, Dan drove over a black line float--whew! Hola Mexico!
Marina Chiapas is at the end of a channel. It is very protected. There is a yard and a large lift. There is a pool and a restaurant. Shopping is about 20 minutes away by collectivo or taxi. There is a lot to see Mexico. The Guatemalan border is nearby. We are feeling settled.