Monday, January 25, 2016

Bahia del Sol


The final word – we loved it!
Our view from the cockpit, Isla Cordillo and our volcano in the distance, we'll miss it...
It has been almost six weeks of life on the Estero, the estuary, and we have met many wonderful people and visited incredible inland sites. El Salvador is a must see stop for both cruisers and backpackers. In the case of cruisers it is not always possible to stop here because of adverse weather, but we have been lucky, both bar crossings were benign. Yes, we have crossed out so this is a brief retrospective of our time in El Salvador.

So let’s start at the beginning and the end. Bill, organizer of the El Salvador Rally, rides in the panga with the bar pilot relaying any entry instructions. Each arrival ends with a “Congratulations, you have crossed the bar. Welcome to El Salvador.” And each departure ends with Bill again saying, "You have crossed the bar, come back soon.” During your stay in Bahia del Sol, Bill and Jean are always available with their five years of Bahia information for sourcing boat materials and trades, best shopping opportunities and introductions to locals and other cruisers. Although Mags and I are not usually group joiners, we did join the El Salvador Rally to support Bill and Jean with the work they are doing with the locals, particularly those on Isla Condorcito, where they have built their spacious, airy home.
The new yellow Sumbrella dinghy chaps

To mention only two of the local island people of many, Dani, who delivers potable water to the fleet, and provides endless other services, and Isabela, the fabulous seamstress, who made our dinghy chaps, were the nicest of people.

We had a great time at a “sports day” for the Islanders, both adults and kids on New Year’s Eve Day joined by several cruising boats.
Jean on the left and Bill in red hat at "Sports Day"
Bill and Jean’s work to promote El Salvador and its people is tireless and commendable. Check the web site and facebook site for more El Salvador Rally info. You can see our new dinghy chaps on their site.

Cruisers and kids at Jan's Christmas Dinner

Jan, another cruiser who decided to call Isla Condorcito home fifteen years ago, invited us to her Christmas dinner that she hosts for her English language students. She has built a lovely home on the Island across the estuary and, like Bill and Jean, lives off the grid with only a dinghy for transportation as the island has no roads. The kids obviously love her dearly and she is always a happy, positive lady.

The legendary Alex and Cherry of Rainbow Gypsy at
Lin an Lou's. One of the murals in the background
Another pair of expats, Lin and Lou, live about four miles up the estuary, but on the mainland side, played hosts to the cruising community on Sundays. They have built a beautiful home/B&B with three pools being the immediate center of attention. With the barbeque working overtime and potluck appies and salads completing great Sunday meals, conversations were diverse and stimulating.

The crews of Black Watch, Kanilela, Genesis III and
Chantey V at our BURP. Seven Canadians in Central America
The cruising community, was also interesting with many long term residents on mooring buoys coming and going from the States and Canada for several years. Also, a regular flow of transient sailors, southbound for new adventures and northbound, returning after years away with stories of exotic ports and cruises. Days before our departure we met fellow Bluewater Cruising Association members Daragh and Cathy of s/v Chantey V who are returning to Victoria after a five year cruise that took them all the way to Newfoundland and twice through the Panama Canal. This, of course, occasioned a BURP - yes, a Bluewater Unscheduled Rendezvous Party, with non BCA guests, Paul and Mary from Ft. MacMurray on s/v Genesis III and Pierre from Trois Pistoles, Que. on s/v Black Watch. Good times. 
Mags on Main Street, Isla Condorcito

While we will miss the place and the people, new adventures beckon. We will return on our eventual northbound trek but for now it is, “Hasta la vista.” as Kanilela and Genesis III continue south.

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