Nicaragua (August 2004)
Update August 24, 2004

In preparation to leave Bahia del Sol, Lou cleaned  off (and I helped a little bit) many barnacles and
other critters off of the anchor chain, the lightning cables and the dinghy bottom.  But, Ace was finally
ready to go and we were more than ready to go. We attempted to leave Bahia del Sol on Friday,
August 6 but it was deemed unsafe-due to high waves breaking over the bar that we would need to
cross to get out to sea.    On Monday, August 9, we left Bahia del Sol through the mouth of the river,
we had good ride, although we did touch bottom once at the trough of a wave.  We sailed through the
day and night and got to Puesta del Sol in Nicaragua on Tuesday afternoon.

Puesta del Sol is a beautiful luxury marina—the dream of a Nicaraguan who moved with his parents at
the age of six to the states.  He lived in Los Altos and knew Mountain View well.  He got into sailing and
came back to Nicaragua with a dream to build a marina.  They also have a beautiful resort hotel in this
same facility.  Surrounding Puesta del Sol are the villages that have been there for many years.  They
are subsistence farmers and fisherman.  Puesta del Sol is trying to employ the locals and it is working
to some extent.  But it is clear that the education system is greatly lacking to give the people the basics
for survival in the modern world.  They are fine in their world.

At the dock, with access to fresh water and stable surfaces, we spent three days madly working on the
boat.  Lou has a list of maintenance items and we had gotten behind on them.  So, we took the list and
started checking them off.  Emily and Martin did school and helped with the chores.  I love making Ace
shine—she takes such good care of us—I want to do the same for her.  And do you want to hear it
again—I’m so thankful for the way that Lou cares for this boat.  I know that it is a huge responsibility for
him.  I try and share it with him, but he does it so well.

Then, we took a nice trip into Nicaragua with the crew of two other cruising boats.  One of the couples
we traveled with are Irish and they love to sing songs.  So, Emily and Martin learned a couple of Irish
drinking songs that they will be performing at the next St. Patrick’s day festivities.  I know Emily and
Martin are getting exposed to many facets of life and experiences—some they might not have
exposure to at home. We do talk about it because we have time with each other to talk about it—about
what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.  And the choices that people make in their lives.

We enjoyed Granada, Nicaragua, a pretty old colonial town.  They were having their annual Hipica- a
parade of horses through town showcasing the Andalucians.  The parade was not the most organized
affair.  And along the route, the riders got free beer (and maybe some rum too).   Some riders lapped
back for another (or two or three…) pass through the beer stand.  There were a few inebriated riders
that needed to be propped up by their fellow riders--- acting as bookends!

All of the Ace crew had a blast on a canopy zip line tour through the forest at Vólcan Mombacho!  We
did the superman and upside-down tour!  I was a lotta nervous on the first two and then I didn’t want it
to end!  

Then we went to Isla Ometepe in Lago Nicaragua.  Lago Nicaragua is a huge lake, almost connecting
the Atlantic and Pacific.  This was the first intended site of the canal.    Tuesday, August 17 was Lou’s
and my 13th wedding anniversary and the entire Ace crew summited Vólcan Maderas without  a whine
or a complaint.  Volcan Maderas is one of two volcanoes that make up the island of Ometepe.  Martin
was a real trailblazer.  And Emily was an amazing show of perseverance.  Emily is a self anointed “non-
hiker”.  I used to be able to get her to hike by encouraging her to dance as we walked.  Guess what—
she doesn’t fall for that anymore.  But she defines hikes as any walk up a hill.  This was a 4500 foot
climb, and a descent through mud and heavy rain, so it was quite an accomplishment.  

It was a nice trip—but I know we were all anxious to get out cruising again.  To be on Ace in water we
can jump into and go snorkeling, fishing and just have a good time.  So, we returned to Ace and did
some more work on her and headed off for Costa Rica.  

We had a little choppy, but not bad, passage from Nicaragua to Costa Rica.  We encountered one
squall during the day and the wind gusted to 35 knots for about ½ hour.  We had the engine off for
only 10 hours of the 31 hour passage, mostly motor sailing into strong headwinds.  Martin did part of a
night watch with me.  Its nice to have company in the night.

Entering this stunning bay (Bahia Santa Elena)  in Costa Rica we had a dolphin escort—which makes
the world seem enchanted.   And it is!  This anchorage is surrounded by a national park and nature
preserve, so it is uninhabited and isolated.  We had the anchorage to ourselves for a couple of hours.  
We are hoping for more.  Another cruising family who we haven’t seen for a few months met up with us
there.  They have a 12 year old girl (ballerina) and a 10 year old boy.   We loved seeing our friends.  
We may stay here for awhile!   

What we are reading:  Lou just finished The Blue of Capricorn by Eugene Burdick.  Mary finished
Massacre at El Mozote and decided to read something light—so she is reading Under the Tuscan
Sun.  And we’re reading all the guide books about this wonderful country!    Martin is reading Pearls of
Lutra—continuation of the Redwall series.  Emily is reading Terri Blackstock “Evidence of Mercy”.  
Boat chores on the dock at Puesta
del Sol.  It's important to have a
clean bottom!
The view from the top of the mast of
Puesta del Sol.  .
Emily being silly with one of her favorite cruisers,
Nile from Chipita.  This was at Doña Conchi in
Granada.  We had a great Spanish dinner here
and Mary enjoyed the sangria.
Mary would get up for a 5:30 a.m. walk with
the General Manager of the hotel.  The treat
was this gorgeous sunrise!
The Ace crew feeling zippy in Mombacho (in
between Granada and Lago Nicaragua).
Our guide told us this was the summit-- and
so we believed him.  There was no other
way to tell on Volcán Maderas shrouded in
clouds.  This is how Lou and Mary
celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary!
Volcán Maderas from afar.  The first summit
for the Ace Crew-- 4,500 feet.

Martin the monkey man zipping through the
jungle!  Watch out for that tree!