10 November 2018 | Bahiá Del Sol, El Salvador. Posted from the UK
Photo: The exquisite Bahiá Del Sol
'Yup. Looks like Dengue Fever to me.' said Sam.
I was ill, almost dying in my mind. Sam and Vikki the American nurses from Islenia
and Taliesin Rose
were kindly taking care of me. They were like two angelic angels, they came by to check up on me every couple of hours or so. Marie was back in England but Nellie, our ships cat, was still very much onboard and driving me crazy.
I knew that, in the evening, the whole rigmarole would begin again. I would crawl out of my bunk in the dark to try to find the cat, I knew only too well she would be ashore hunting the dock. When she found a cockroach, she would bring it back and I would have to run around Sänna's
cockpit with the cockroach spray to kill it... you seriously don't want these things onboard your boat. Meanwhile, Nellie would then disappear fast to catch a second one. This could, and did, go on until around three in the morning, it was the same each and every night. In the meantime, I was dying a slow death with my Dengue Fever.
I desperately told Marie on the phone that I'd had enough. Indeed I had, I was at my wits end pulling my hair out. Bill, who manages the moorings and provides all the services for visiting sailboats in Bahiá Del Sol, told me he could help. For fifty bucks he could take the cat away, she could live on the island with the fishermen there, there were already tons of cats living there. Now, this seemed like a good idea to me, it would also mean that we'd not have to get Nellie back to England when I flew home in few weeks time. I was only hanging on because the cat couldn't fly, not until her rabies antibodies had taken hold... and we still had the wrong blood test certificate and paperwork meaning that she might have to go into quarantine. So Bill's offer was an intriguing solution. Marie, of course, was horrified.
Marie called me, she had found a cattery (cat hotel) in the capital San Salvador. They would drive three hours to the boat the next day, take Nellie away with them for three weeks or so, then deliver her directly to the airport when I was well enough to fly. I agreed... I tell you this, I myself was mightily relieved and Nellie narrowly escaped becoming a stray fisherman's cat in El Salvador.
The Bahiá Del Sol is a magical place. It's a rainforest and mangrove wilderness set in a sheltered estuary, to get into the Bahiá Del Sol means crossing the entrance bar guided by a panga pilot boat. It's not easy, the swell and the surf could easily swamp a fair sized sailing yacht if everything is timed wrong, but we'd timed it right and gotten ourselves in quite easily. Once inside there's a good dock where we were now tied, except that it was infested with cockroaches.
There were already a few American and Canadian boats in the Bahiá Del Sol, some have been there a good while. Every so often an occasional French or German boat heading north from the Panama Canal stops by. Buying supplies is not easy though, it is a twenty minute fast dinghy ride upriver... but every time we made the trip to buy milk and eggs we'd be blown away by the spectacular water-ride through the mangroves and jungle forests. And there are plenty of stilted Fishermans' dwellings and thatched-roofed restaurants where we could, and did, buy fresh fish and prawns. We came into El Salvador for a few days only and then stayed a year. We have made yet more good sailing friends, Doug, Sara & little Toby onboard Illusion
, Rob & Debra on Avant
, Patti & Eric on Shearwater
, Sam & Dave on Islenia
and numerous others.
A few days later Bill asked me where Nellie was. No one had seen her around on the docks, he said. By now I was recovering from my Dengue Fever and Bill stopped by to check up on me. I proudly told him our cat was now safely ensconced in a cat hotel up in the capital San Salvador... and for a bargain five dollars a day. He looked puzzled.
'There are no
cat hotels in El Salvador,' Bill said.
Please visit our SV Sänna website for more details of our circumnavigation voyage from the UK. Also at www.facebook.com/SV.Sanna. Like our Facebook page if you'd like to receive more news about our sail adventure. You can contact us here.
Read more about the mishaps and mayhem of Nellie, The Ship's Cat