March 23-25, 2009
We checked in to our Taca flight to San Salvador 4 hours early which was a good thing because it was a full flight. Scott did not get an exit row, but we did get to keep our aisle & aisle seats across from each other as I had reserved. We had to pay $50 extra x 3 bags ($150) which was no big deal compared to international shipping costs. Especially since we had packed two new propellers! They were VERY STRICT with carry-on luggage, only one allowed. The good news is that they took our second bags as checked luggage at the gate with no additional charge. Every airline & airport is a bit different; you never get to know until you\’re there.
It was an on time take off & landing which was good. Being awake until the 1:45 am take-off & sleeping only 1 hour of the 4 hour 20 minute flight, not so good. It was the easy breeziest customs we ever went through. No red light/ green light like Mexico. You just stroll through with your luggage & a very bored young lady stamped something & waved us through. Terrific!
We found it much more expensive to rent a car for 3 days than take 3 cab trips back & forth to the marina (for marketing), so we went with the cab. No air conditioning, but only 40 minute ride & it was only 9:00 am, so not sweltering yet.
Two hotel/marina guys plus our cab driver helped us schlep all the baggage down the dock & ramp. It was medium low tide, lucky it was not the steepest. Scott confirmed with Alex (our Canadian mechanic) that we were a \”go\” for beaching \”Beach House\” just after that nights\’ high tide at 2:00 am.
Scott went up to the internet area right away to email photos to boat magazine friend Richard Spindler who wants to print an article about our last beaching in Latitude 38. I unpacked the \”pink\” items as best I could. Two suitcases were quite damaged, the largest had to be trashed, not a shock. We are used to the idea that luggage is fairly disposable. Less to stow! Considering that (2) 25 lb propellers were packed, we fared pretty well.
When Scott returned onboard we cranked up the air conditioning & crawled into bed for a nap. We slept from about 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Hunger awoke us. All our fridge & freezers are offline. I opened boxed milk and ate cold cereal. I heated a can of chicken noodle soup for Scott. I helped him unpack the \”blue\” items the best we could. Much is on top of the guest bed, plus the \”garage\” cabin is overflowing.
We napped again from 8:00 pm till midnight. Then the fun began…
Alex & Scott went out to the beaching site to in the dinghy to preset the anchors in the pitch black of night. Carlos & crew came at 1:00 a.m., tied up his panga to \”Beach House\” & towed us to the site. Good thing we didn\’t have to do it in the dark the first time. But having done it once, it was do-able again. Not being able to see well didn\’t help though. Same routine as before to get our boat in the right position with the rudders hanging down off the edge of the muddy bank but keep most of the length of our hulls over the sand bar.
As the tide receded & we were touching down in a good position so we napped again. Alex camped out on the trampoline. The panga men left to return at sunrise. I suppose Scott slept from about 3:00 am until 5:30 am. Blessedly I slept until 6:30 am when I heard tromping overhead. I knew by the sound of his footsteps that Scott was in need of his step & fetch it tool girl.
I threw on my shorts & tank top, swilled down the jasmine tea I had the foresight to brew earlier & went out to join the fray. Alex was already down in the mud. By 6:45 am the first prop was on! When Carlos & Company returned I poured Gatorade all around. I also made oatmeal which only I ate at that point. Scott wolfed a bowl down later.
The starboard side still had its old propeller on, so that was a bit of a struggle to remove, but by 8:30 am Alex had done it. At 9:00 am the 2nd propeller is on – job complete! We celebrated with another round of Gatorade. While waiting for the tide to rise, we catch another nap from 10:00 am – noon. I find I am not quick to wake up after naps. Maybe that is why I don\’t nap much. On the other hand keeping such odd hours for 2 days may have something to do with it…
I made a 3 can lunch: pinto beans, corn & salsa. Not bad at all. We didn\’t starve. Once we were floating enough to be towed off the sandbar, Carlos side-tied his panga to us again & we upped the port the anchors. We had already pulled up the starboard ones when we were high & dry since we didn\’t need them with the rising tide, only to hold our position with the receding tide.
By 2:00 pm Scott & Alex were zooming up & down the estuary testing the new propellers. Speed & control fine. Minor RPM difference between port & starboard but nothing to worry about for now. I followed them in the dinghy. Thumbs up all around.
At 2:30 pm Carlos & crew started washing the boat at the dock. She was covered in ash & grime. Even though it will be dirty again tomorrow we just cannot tolerate leaving it this way. We must fight back the best we can. Scott & Carlos schlepped our (8), 5 gallon jerry jugs to load diesel. The fuel dock here is not easy to take the big boat to, so fueling up is best done by dinghy schlepping. Scott often strains his back from this maneuver. I nagged him to let Carlos do most of the lifting & fed him some preventative Advil. He then installed a charcoal water filter we just brought from LA, so we could load our tanks with water. The last filter looked like we\’d been straining oil – yuck! We buy 5 gallon jugs of drinking water. The dock water quality is so poor it is barely tolerable for showering.
Dinner was pasta mixed with tuna & mushrooom soup. Amazing how you can still eat without any fresh food in the house! But tomorrow is shopping day, yippee! I\’ve reviewed my pantry inventory & made my list. Carlos claims there is a good grocery store about 40 minutes drive (vs over 1 hr to San Salvador & much less traffic apparently). I hope it is decent. I am looking forward to yogurt, fruits & veggies. I certainly pigged out in California so am not feeling deprived (yet) only back here 36 hours.
We are looking ahead at the tide windows to cross the entry/exit sand bar to get out of here. Probably within 2-4 days. Scott & Alex have to rebuild the other transmission & we have to figure out where to stow it. Hopefully it will fit under the guest bed.
We are feeling a bit in overdrive, but very accomplished. Looking forward to all the exciting places ahead. Hopefully we\’ll be able to take some time for R & R (and I do not mean running & racing)!!!
Scott & Cindy