Sunday, January 31, 2016

Puesta Del Sol, Nicaragua

Puesta del Sol Marina, Nicaragua

22- Enero-2016
Good-bye Playa Grande, Isla Tigre
We pulled up the anchor at 2225 hr in Playa Grande, Isla Tigre, Honduras, planning to make the night sail to ensure a daylight, near high tide, crossing of the bar into Puesta del Sol, Nicaragua. The trip took the anticipated 12+ hrs but we only managed to sail about four and a half before the wind died. At the southern point of Golfo Fonseca we briefly encountered gusts in the low 30’s and some confusion in the seas. When we do a short crossing I do not set-up the wind vane, but just use the autopilot. The problem with the autopilot, while sailing, is the potential for gibing if there is a wind change. Because of this challenge we fortunately had the mainsheet in close. I was just going forward to place the block for the preventer when the autopilot threw a new curve at us. With a combined heavier gust and a peaking swell, Kanilela rounded up to the wind and before the autopilot had corrected, it temporarily lost its heading and quit steering. By the time I got back to the cockpit we were already starting to gibe, fortunately on a short mainsheet.  No damage was done but made us appreciate how quickly the situation can arise when being overly dependent on the auto pilot and why, if there is much mainsheet out, a preventer is essential. The sail continued uneventfully until the winds died and we started the motor.
Condos, pool, office and restaurant/bar

There is no pilot service so it is fortunate the Sarana guide gives a good set of way points to use when entering the Estero de Aserradores but as you get to the final way point the buoys are supposed to be visible. After a brief radio call to the marina that confirmed they would be visible shortly we proceeded with more confidence. It appears the outer 2 buoys have been removed and the next set are hard to starboard behind the eastern side of the entrance. Once in, the buoys lead you through a winding passage to a final 90 degree turn into the marina. The estuary is about 600 m wide at the marina but, as you enter at a near high tide, this width is deceptive as most of the estuary is shoal, drying at low tide.

Marina Puesta del Sol is the only Nicaraguan marina on the Pacific coast and as we planned to do some inland travel it, was our only option except leaving the boat at anchor without any real security arrangements in Corinto. The Marina is beautifully done with the material for the dock floats imported from the US. There are 24 very upscale condominiums in two buildings overlooking the marina with a pool, restaurant and bar in front.

Palapa bar at the pool on the open ocean side 
There is another beautiful pool and large pilapa style bar on the ocean side of the peninsula about a 10 minute walk away. The marina also arranges for the Capit├án del Puerto, Imigra├Čon, Aduana and Naval representatives to come to the marina from Corinto, to process all the entry documentation. There is a fee applied to the first two days moorage but I am not yet certain how much it is. The marina/hotel is very quiet with few guests present, but as Nicaragua is the new emerging blue fin marlin destination, the very friendly owner, Robert, anticipates a growth in popularity and has additional housing development in progress.

The small village of Aserradores is within walking distance of the marina but only basic supplies are available at the tiendas. Joe’s Place, about 10 minutes away has good meals and cheap beer and is populated by an international group of backpacker, surfers. Any serious provisioning would require a trip to Chinandega about one hour away. More on that and a trip to Leon in the next post.

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