Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Sally!

Given our difficulty finding internet last month we have posted this in advance, so it was written in Honduras and posted from an island on our way out of the bay! We are somewhere off the coast of Nicaragua as you read this and on our way to San Juan del Sur where we hope to find internet again!

Happy Birthday Sally from a couple of feathered friends! We all hope you have a great birthday! 

We have left Honduras and are en route to San Juan del Sur Nicaragua, hoping to do some surfing along the way, should be there in a couple of weeks or so. What a wonderful part of the world we are in -  it’s full of good food, volcanoes and some of the friendliest people in the world. Our one week stay in Honduras turned into a 3+ weeks. We just couldn’t pull ourselves away.

Jodi with Diselma and her daughter Clodia

We are anchored off a cute little island with many very cool old buildings. It’s very colorful and feels like we are in the Caribbean…maybe Cuba?  

As we walk around the Calle de Marina we never know what we will see. Colorful pangas,  shell covered sidewalks or maybe even an old canoe (carved from trees on the island and still used daily).

There is great architecture, festive colors and even an old Casino (now a home) from 1933.

There is a tiny little pharmacy... 

The delicious street food is even colorful like the town! 

Commandante Meza of the Naval Base here came by the boat for a visit and invited us to visit the officer’s club at the base. We took him up on his offer and while we were there he said if we stayed another 3 weeks or so we could use the internet that he is getting installed at the officer’s club! He’s a really great man who speaks excellent English and has a passion for trying to help the locals. 

They are fighting to keep their cute little island a haven and create income through tourism rather than the foreign owned (and run) factory that the government wants to put in here. There was a peaceful protest about it while we were here.  It reminds us of our community back in Hood River - working to keep it local!
Halloween came and went and even though they don’t celebrate it here the way we do in the states, a few spooky (and biodegradable!) ghosts came by our boat. 

We celebrated by going out for supper at the restaurant of our new friend Carlos. We got to meet his wife and one of his sons and had a wonderful evening visiting with them and our friend Denis.

They do celebrate All Saints Day and so the weekend saw many boats from the mainland carrying people back to tend to the gravesites of their ancestors and spend time with family members who are still living on the island. 

Jodi got to take cooking lessons with our friend Julia and her family. She is the local baliada expert. A baliada is one of Jodi’s favorite street foods and is a homemade flour tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese and other yummy ingredients. 

All is not just fun fun fun here in our tropical paradise. Life and its many chores continue on, however we lucked out and found out that there is a public laundry mat complete with a well of mountain spring  water to wash with. It may not seem like much but, when you are normally washing your clothes in a bucket on deck when it rains, you really learn to appreciate the little things even more. 

Darren started working on the mosquito screens for the hatches that he had a brilliant design idea for and a repair for the dinghy transom. He started by getting some wood milled at one of the carpenterias in town. Here he is with another one of our new friends, Carlos the carpenter.

Not to worry though, we always remember to stop and smell the hibiscus flowers!   

Amapala has made itself a special place in our hearts. Yes, the scenery is beautiful and the old colonial style architecture is cute but what really stole our hearts were the people. Everyone was sooo friendly and though many of them did not speak English they were always patient and helpful as we continue to expand our Spanish skills!
It reminded us very much of home in Hood River as it too, is the kind of place where you allow at least an hour to go to the market even if you only need a couple of things because you know you will run into friends and stop and chat. We will miss our little home away from home.

Happy Birthday Sally!
Darren and Jodi

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Belated Birthday Lori and Early Birthday to Seaton!!!

(Note - This post was written in October and changed several times as we chased the ghosts of internet. We never did find internet service at Amapala so we had to wait to post it til now.) 


We are missing you muchas and thinking of you often. We hope you had a great birthday! Wish we could see you to give you birthday hugs!

Having left El Salvador and the land of the heart shaped “LOVE” clam we are headed South East again.

We had to cross the bar to get out of our estuary home of nearly six months. It was way more exciting leaving than coming in, partly because we had a little swell running. We were obviously the first boat of the season over the bar as our GPS showed that the pilot took us on the exact same path as we took going in last May. The only problem with that plan was that the bar had clearly changed over the winter season and was now breaking there. We went for it as directed and were rewarded with about 5 waves that came up over the deck, dodger and even over the bimini! So much for our freshly washed boat! Too bad we didn’t have a GoPro for that one.  Once we cleared the breakers, we cleaned up the mess and checked for damage. Fortunately, other than the whole exterior having a saltwater bath up to about 12’ above the water line and some water making it beneath the closed and locked companionway doors and down below, no real damage was done. Next time we’ll put in the actual hatchboards to keep the water from sneaking below. Just another day of Gratitouille taking care of us.   
Just got this photo from Bill as we were posting! Thanks Bill!

It felt good to be mobile again. The wind was light and even though we were chased (and hit) by many thunderstorms, we had a great 4 day sail to the Bay of Fonseca. 

One of our last nights off El Salvador we stopped and anchored in the open ocean for a day near a town called Espino. 

 The next morning I awoke to a strange sound. I sprung from bed like a crazy man thinking someone was stealing gear off the boat or worse we had drug anchor and were head for shore. As I looked to the bow there was a panga with 2 young fishermen in it stealing our anchor, or so I thought at the time. As it turns out their net had dragged into our boat in the night and tangled around our anchor chain. I think I scared them a bit because they quickly removed the net and sped off! Oops! Luckily they understood my shock and came back later, bringing us some delicious (giant!)shrimp and fish as an apology for the abrupt early morning wakeup. We made amends and said goodbye to our last friends to be made in El Salvador. They are a wonderful people. 

Another days sail and we would be ready to head into Honduran waters. 

It’s time to change the courtesy flags, it is a show of respect to the host country. The yellow flag “Q” states that we have not cleared customs and goes back to the days of quarantining a boat until it was cleared by the ports doctor as having no communicable disease. Thus the ‘Q’ or quarantine flag is flown until we are cleared into the country. 

At one point Jodi saw another sailboat just on the horizon. 

And when we arrived in Honduras, who was there to greet us but our good friends from Palarran.  A new country and old friends, what a great way to start this chapter of our journey. 

Our first week here was great. We landed right at the beginning of Amapala Days. It is the annual festival celebrating the town of Amapala here on the Island of El Tigre, Honduras.  Complete with street food (my favorite!), rides and games for the kids, and the Senora Amapala Pagent celebrating the mothers and grandmothers of the 6 villages around the island. What fun! 

These guys live the dream here, well maybe Brian’s, they live in a beautiful country and get to fish every day. The dugout canoes many of them fish from and use to get around the island are amazing. 

Another country and more wonderful people, everybody here has been great and very proud of how safe and tranquil it is here. We even had the Commander of the local navy base come by the boat to welcome us to the country and invite us to the officer’s club!

If we get another chance to use internet we will try to send more updates. Otherwise, we plan to leave in about a week (give or take) and it will probably take a few weeks to get to our next port. Until then we leave you with the current view of our front and back yard here in Honduras.

Happy Birthday Lori and Seaton!
Darren and Jodi
(Ed. Note – we have left Honduras and are now at an island across the bay that we stopped at on our way out as there was rumor of internet service at the hotel here! We just stopped long enough to post and if weather cooperates we will leave here tonight and be without internet for a few more weeks til we get to San Juan Del Sur!)