Lionheart Cruise, Barra-El Salvador

 
 

           


Since leaving Barra de la Navidad on December 13, we have been
travelling steadily south and east, however, we have not been moving
nearly as fast as we had thought we would. We have had some equipment
problems which required a 7 day layover in Zihuatanejo. There are lots
worse places to stay when you have problems, that is for sure. The joys of
Zihuatanejo include a pretty little town that has no marine stores but several
ferreterias (hardware stores) which ultimately provided the Captain with the
necessary parts. By the way, Zihuatanejo is about 6 miles from Ixtapa which
is a huge resort area. In fact it reminded us of LaJolla, only really hot! A
major feature of this town is Rick's Bar where cruisers hang out, meet other
cruisers, and there is a good source of information needed to head into
Central America. We trekked around the city in search of flowers for
Nikolas, parts for Lionheart, food, and even haircuts for both of us, and
enjoyed our stay. We headed south again on December 22. We stayed at
anchor in Acapulco right in the downtown harbor on Dec. 23. It was just a
big noisy harbor with all kinds of boats running back and forth, including a
big party boat. We kept all our lights on all night so we would not get run
over and left first thing on the 24th, spending Christmas Eve at sea and
passing south of 15 degrees N. We arrived in Puerto Angel on Christmas
Day. We were the only cruiser boat in the little harbor. The entire town
seemed to be out on the beach enjoying a very sunny Christmas holiday.
We had been anchored about an hour when the Capitania del Puerto and
three armed Navy guys showed up on the back deck of Lionheart to check
us into the port. Our first boarding, but not our last! Our next hop was a
short one down to Huatulco. This is a very nice area with a nice marina,
beautiful beaches and coves all along the coast, and a very nice town
complete with a mercado for everything from flowers (for Nick), fresh
veggies and some cool shorts for Sue. We met two other cruising boats in
Huatulco waiting for a good weather window to cross the Gulf of
Tehuantepec. The window came quickly and we left on December 29 to
make the 26 hour crossing. The trip was smooth but during the night I
started to get sick, really felt terrible. We stopped in Puerto Madero at the
southern border of Mexico to seek medical help. Help came in the form of
the Mexican Navy clinic where I was diagnosed with salmonella which has
really laid me low. Puerto Madero is a very poor place. We were the only
yacht and the native boaters were not friendly. Richard hired a ride into the
closest town, Tapachula, to get medicine for me and we just sat there in the
bay until Monday when we decided I felt well enough to head on into
Guatamala. We arrived in Puerto Quetzal on Tuesday, Jan. 3, where we
are in a private marina which is primarily devoted to big game fishing.
There are about a dozen fishing boats here, some of which are locally
owned but several big boats from the states or Caribbean. Guatamala is
the catch and release big game fishing mecca of Central America. The
boats go out everyday with a seemingly endless numbers of fisherman.
They catch many sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna and more most days but, of
course, we never see the bill fish because they are released.

As of today, January 8, 2006, I am feeling better at last. So far I would say
we like Guatamala best. It is really pretty looking inland from the marina.
There are two volcanos in the distance, one of them is puffing away
actively. The weather is a little cooler because there has been a big wind
storm. We went to the city of Antigua on Friday. It is a really beautiful city
in the old Spanish Colonial style. I was really too sick to enjoy it this time,
but this is definitely a place where we will spend time when we come back
around. The drive to Antigua is up through hills where on the way there are
sugar cane fields, coffee plantations higher up, and small villages. You see
lots of people out and about, including the women carrying the big baskets
on their heads. One of the surprises for me on this trip has been the fact
that while cruising offshore you almost always smell something burning. In
Mexico it is garbage and in Guatamala it is the cane fields, but the smell
permeates the environment. The people here in Puerto Quetzal have been
most friendly and helpful. A few days ago Richard arranged for a doctor to
come to the boat - he brought his wife who spoke reasonably good
American. They returned after 8 p.m. with medicine and then again the
next morning. The marina owner stopped by yesterday morning and
offered his chauffeur and car to take us to Guatemala City to his doctor if
we felt the need.

January 11, 2006, finds Lionheart and crew on a mooring in Marina Barillas,
El Salvador. It is 10 miles up a river in Bahia de Jiquilisco in southern El
Salvadore. Sitting here in this beautiful setting, we are reminded of time
spent in the Sacramento Delta in California in years past. The facility is
behind a big gate with armed guards. There is a restaurant, gorgeous pool,
internet, phones, and a massage therapist all in a lovely jungle setting. The
way you find the place is by arriving at a pickup point off the coast and
calling the marina. They send a guide out in a ponga to guide you through
the reefs and surf to the river mouth. Then you just motor on up with the
guide until you get to paradise, albeit a hot and humid paradise. All-in-all, a
welcome stop after passing a long night at sea without a working autopilot.
There are 2 cruising sailboats here with crew aboard and 3 that look like the
crews have gone home somewhere. We have decided to stay here until we
can fix the autopilot which means we have to arrange to get parts from the
US. We noticed upon arrival that one of the big sailboats hails from
Pasadena, CA. Since the Captain is home in Pasadena presently, we are
working with his crew to contact him, get the parts from Newport Beach to
him, all so that he can bring the stuff when he returns next week. Given our
experience with language and local customs, we think it will take less time
and money to do it this way than try through regularly utilized delivery
services as currently known in Central America. I am looking forward to
spending this week here. We will probably take a 1 to 3 day trip to see El
Salvador. I think the Cat Unit of the crew can handle that much time alone
on the boat. I for one really need a sightseeing break.

When we leave Barillas late next week, we will continue to travel south and
east as quickly as the God of Cruising allows, because we have plans to
meet our friends, Susan and Will Fesler in Panama City, Panama, by
January 30. That means we will cover approximately 675 miles, cruising
down the coast through the rest of El Salvadore, Honduras (which has a
small west coast in the Gulfo de Fonseca), Nicaraugua, Costa Rica and the
west side of Panama. (Please refer to the Central America Map page listed
on the Home Page to follow our course of travel.)

It is my understanding that one can watch boats transiting the Panama
Canal Mille Flores Lock, in real time on your computer. If we can find out
how this works, we will post the information and the date and approximate
time of our transit on our Home Page. If not, look for pictures in our next trip
update which I would anticipate will come after we get through the canal.


 

Marina Hotel at Barra de la Navidad

Trying to keep up with the guide panga to Barillas

Antigua, Guatemala

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Mexican Drug Dog searching Lionheart

Mexican Naval Meical Staff departing Lionheart

Puerto Angel, Christmas Day

Acapulco, Mexico

Sunset dinner on the beach - Barra

 

 

On the mooring at Barillas Resort, El Salvador

 

Following the guide panga through the reef to Barillas Resort