Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Sunday Mar 18, 2007
What a fantastic trip down the coast of Guatemala! We had over 2 knots of positive current and many hours of great sailing at 7 knots! I was thinking it would take us probably 3 days to arrive in El Salvador, but we did it in less than 48 hours! The harbor we were thinking of entering called Bahia del Sol has a famous entrance that is only passable at high tide and small surf. We we arrived we found two boats who had been waiting for 5 days for the swell to calm down enough to get inside. One of those boats was Sonrisa with our friend Ryan on board. He'd been stuck out there waiting and waiting.
And so we did what we swore we would never do: enter Bahia del Sol. The last couple of years we heard some scary stories from about 5 other boats about getting broached or knocked down in the entrance, several sustained damage. We watched the surf roll in and pound the shore and we figured there was no way we could get in. Ryan said the surf was a lot smaller and we would probably get in with the help of Murray (the local gringo business owner) piloting us in a panga.
So we prepped the boat and waited for high tide while watching the waves thunder. We got a call on the radio to prepare to enter and for all boats to up anchor. Two boats were coming out, but the four of us on the outside were coming in first. A catamaran, who was anxious to get in, was the first to head in towards the pilot (Murray and our friend Chad from the "Panga to Panama" fame). Not following or hearing the pilot's instructions they quickly ended up inside the breaking surf. Three waves pounded their boat sending spray about 15-20 feet in the air -- above their spreaders. Their pontoon came way up out of wave and I thought they were going to loose the boat. However the set of waves stopped and they were able to turn back out and then managed to get into the entrance and follow the pilot in.
After that, we thought ok, we can make it. Just stay in the channel. So we headed into what looked like an area of all breaking waves but turned into a narrow channel. We rolled heavily in some of the swells but they weren't breaking. Chad's calm voice on the radio was great as he talked us along. With waves breaking on both sides (but not near us) we managed to enter safely. Sherrell actually said is was fun "let's do it again."
Amazingly we are in El Salvador and happily anchored in Bahia del Sol's lagoon. It's beautiful, calm and well worth surfing the boat through the bar. We can even use the pool for free at the nearby hotel. Our next adventure involves an inland trip to Guatemala with our zoo!
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