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El Salvador 2007
photos at bottom of page (text that refers to a photo is followed by o)
Mike, two bags and both animals arrived in El Salvador after much arguing and hoop jumping with the airline and the embassy o. Within a few days, there was a high tide and the boat was scheduled to be hauled out. They had to get some local guys to dig out the channel in the mud since it fills in with the incoming and outgoing tides o. Quite the process. Desiderata was out of the water to replace one through-hull and to paint the bottom. While up on the stilts for three days, Hopper's crate acted as a private elevator lift to get him on and off the boat, pretty nice set up o. Mike worked really hard getting everything going. After a boat sits for two years, all kinds of things come up, or go down as the case may be. Some you expect, and some you have no way of knowing. Because of one of the airline snafu's, Fletcher flew down alone two weeks after Mike. He was able to then bring five bags plus his two carry-on's o. He was so happy to be back on the boat, and Mike was so happy to have some family with him. They both set to work trying to get everything ready for when the girls arrived three weeks later. After packing up the house in Tahoe and waiting for last minute parts and paperwork, Nancy and Dana finally flew south with fourteen bags. It was crazy until the end. After we had checked in at the airport two hours early, we still had one more storage run to do before we turned the rental car in! Pretty nuts. It was such a relief to finally be on that plane! We could not have done it without the help of our friends in Tahoe. We were finally reunited! Fletcher had baked a yummy chocolate cake to welcome the girls back to the boat o. It was a great homecoming. The kids quickly became reacquainted with their friends on the island and had fun playing o . Escuela Desiderata officially started on October 1 o. Both kids are doing sixth grade and it seems to be going pretty well. Dana was most concerned with math, but she is having no problem at all in that subject. Fletcher is a bit peeved that Dana is giving him a run for his money! While school is going, Mike is busy working on boat systems. Just when he thinks that he has one thing fixed, another one breaks. Of course we have many extra parts, but not always the ones that we need. Mike has gotten very good at "McGivering" everything and anything that we need. He had to rebuild the exhaust system on the main engine, fix several water leaks from the watermaker, generator and engine, rewire electrical systems, both heads (toilets) needed rebuilds, and on and on... While he worked on things, the rest of us did life as usual, school, cleaning, cooking, stowing all of the stuff that we brought down (Mike wondered if Nancy would ever get everything put away, and if it would all even fit). Almost the whole time that we were in El Salvador it rained. It rained hard, it rained a lot, it rained and rained, did I say that it rained? The boat was growing mold on the walls faster than Nancy could wipe it down. It was hot, hot, hot, wet, wet, wet and very stuffy since we had to keep the hatches closed because of all the rain. Occasionally, it would clear up and we would get out to the beach for a quick walk before the next rain started. It was a very wet year, even the locals were shaking their heads with all of this water coming from the sky! Of course the rain brought the bugs. Nancy and Dana suffered the most, the mosquitoes were bad, but the no-see-ums were worse. They were so itchy and turned into horrible, ugly looking sores that hurt and itched for weeks. One day, the El Salvadoran officials came out to the boat with a news crew. They were doing a piece on how immigration is working, so once again, Desiderata was in the news. We enjoyed El Salvador, and as always, loved the papusas . There was a cute little restaurant about a hundred yards away from us on the shore of the estuary. Some nights we were so tired from working all day that we would send the kids in with our platter to get twenty papusas o to go! Then we would sit home, watch a movie and enjoy our favorite meal. Very nice. Papusas are a thick cornmeal tortilla with beans, cheese, and chicharrons on the inside, then you have a mild cabbage slaw and salsa that you top it off with. Very healthy, yummy and cheap! ($ .35 ea.) All four of us were stuffed for $7, and we even would have some leftover for breakfast. One of our friends from the island, Santos, took us fishing one day and he caught a Crevalle. He had his wife prepare it a traditional way, very spiced, and brought us some to try. One of the things that we did not know before was that if you only have six months left on your passport, some countries will not let you in. We were thinking that we would get our passports renewed in Panama, but soon realized that we could not even leave El Salvador with out getting renewals for at least the kids. The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador is huge, and other than it being completely out of the way from anything else that we might need to do in the city, it was actually quite easy and quick to get the renewal here rather than to have done it in the states. One week later we had new passports! There is a Canadian woman on the island who has started an English school for the small population of island kids. She invited Fletcher and Dana to come to class on Mondays and Thursdays to work on their Spanish. They had fun with the other kids o and I think that it did help their language skills a bit. She also had chicken dinners once a week for the cruisers that would help raise funds for her school. Since Halloween was on one of these dinner nights, we bought a bunch of candy to take out to the island. The kids did not dress up or anything, but instead, they taught the local kids how to say, "trick or treat," and then they passed out candy to the kids as they came up and said the magic words. It was fun, but certainly a different Halloween than we are used to. Before we left we had to get in a river trip to our favorite little restaurant built out over the water for our fish and shrimp lunch. The girls there remembered Dana, but now they were older and actually doing the cooking! It was fun to see them again. On the same day that we were planning to leave, there was a big fishing tournament scheduled. Fancy boats came in from all over Central America to take part. It was fun to see all these huge boats with big, flashy, fishing gear getting ready for the big day. We were happy to hear that it was to be catch and release. The judging was to be based on video footage of the catch. They actually got more points if they did not bring a fish in! We got a lot done in El Salvador, had fun getting reacquainted with old friends, but were very excited to get back out to sea. The first hurdle was to get across the sand bar at the mouth of the estuary. This is always quite nerve wracking in this area, as many boats have trouble here. We watched the bar carefully for days in advance to see where the shifting channel was now. After checking the weather and tides and watching the waves, we were finally ready to head out.
Please click to enlarge!
Arrival at Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. Waiting for a ride out to the boat.
The boat yard-haul out process and Hopper's elevator.
Work in progress.
Fletcher arrives two weeks later with five bags of supplies, and starts right in working on the boat.
The girls arrive three weeks after Fletcher and bring a total of 14 more bags down! Fletcher baked a cake to welcome them home.
Dana and Fletcher get reacquainted with the island kids.
School starts, both kids are doing the same grade this time, 6th!
The El Salvadoran Navy comes for an inspection.
Papusa dinner to go!
Our friend Santos and his son took us fishing.
Spanish school on Isla Cordoncilla.
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