This time of year the papagayos blow constantly. Very seldom we see winds less than 20 knots. We wanted to get going so we decided that we will leave as soon as the winds drop in a 20 to 25 knot range. This will still be a fast and into the wind sail, but much better than dealing with a 30 knot wind range.
On Saturday morning 19 February the winds were more favourable and we left El Astillero for San Juan Del Sur. We kept close to shore to sail in calmer seas. Dinis had a blast, he enjoys more heavy weather sailing than I do. I went inside and left him to do the sailing. We had 2 reefs in the main sail and the staysail up. At one stage the wind dropped a little and Dinis unfurled the genoa to about 3 reefs and then he dropped and tied the staysail down. We were doing a fast passage, doing about 5 to 6 knots over ground. At least the heeling was not as bad this time around.
We could have done a faster passage if the bottom of the boat was clean. It is amazing how fast marine life accumulates. As soon as we get into calmer waters we have to do a cleanup and also change the zincs. The last time we cleaned the bottom was in Hualtulco, Mexico. We found that it needs cleaning about every 10 days. We use an ablative bottom paint and it works basically as the boat moves through the water it removes the paint slowing, thus preventing marine growth.
We drop anchor in San Juan Del Sur around 6 pm local time. San Juan Del Sur is a bigger town that caters more for the tourist. There is a surfing feeling to the town. We went ashore using the water taxi, much easier than doing a dinghy landing in the surf. We explore the town and find out where there is a laundry as I had some laundry to do.
We went to the market the next day after we dropped the laundry off. Very little at the market as far as fresh provisioning. We bought some tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges and a huge papaya. We were told there is a little grocery store about 2 miles up the road. We will visit the grocery store the next day. We had fun getting a bit of fresh produce and getting the laundry done.
On our way back to the boat we stopped at the Port Captain's office for our check-in. Everything went well, except that we were missing our port-to-port Zarpe that the officials in Corinto were suppose to give us. In Nicaragua things are slightly different as far as these Zarpes are concern. Usually when you leave one country for the next, the officials will give you a international Zarpe when you check-out of the country. This international Zarpe is needed at check-in in the next country. Then you can sail within that country and just check-in via VHF from port to port. At the last port before the next country you will be issued with an international Zarpe for the next country. In Nicaragua they suppose to issue you a port-to-port zarpe, which cost $10 each time. So what can we do, we were missing this piece of paper. The Port Captain tried to contact Corinto but was unsuccessful. In the end he let it go, so we will go to the Port Captain's office again this coming Friday to check-out. Hopefully it will be smoother and less stressful this time around. We are planning to set sail on Saturday morning 26 February for Costa Rica.