Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The trip to Nicaragua was both scenic and eventful. The distant coast was littered with active volcanoes that could be seen smoking in the distance, and the beaches were lined with palm trees and interesting rock formations.

Smoking volcano

Cave near a surf break

And everyone rushed to the stern of the boat when we caught a new species on our fishing line. Every fish we’ve reeled in so far has been caught on one lure. A sparkly green faux squid has brought us Big Eye Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Sailfish, as well as a Barracuda and countless Jacks. On our way to Nicaragua it caught us a bird! Like all the rest of El Tiburon’s victims, an unsuspecting sea bird was duped by our squid decoy, went in for a meal and came out with a mouth full of metal.

This poor bird had the hook caught right in the center of his upper mandible. As we reeled him in he got a gullet full of water and we thought for sure he’d be drowned, but the creature was alive and flapping when we got him on board. He was remarkably calm while the guys extracted the hook from his beak, and seemed to comprehend that we meant to help him. The bird was a little stunned, but appeared to make it through the operation with a high probability for a full recovery.

He sat in the water for awhile, then flew away.

We’d chosen marina Puesta del Sol as our entry point in Nicaragua. It lay in a secluded lagoon near Chinandega and housed only a handful of boats, two of which belonged to the marina’s owner. The marina had an infinity pool and a waterfront palapa cafĂ© with luscious batidos (blended fruit drinks). But the best part was that there were two unoccupied surf breaks right at the mouth of the lagoon. It was probably the nicest place we’d stayed in so far, particularly because we had it practically all to ourselves.

The marina.

Palapa cafe.

The pool with El Tiburon in the background.

As lovely as Puesta del Sol was, one particularly unpleasant event happened there.

On our last night in Puesta del Sol, Kitty disappeared for about fifteen minutes. I ran all over the marina calling for her, clapping, and whistling, wondering why she would have ran off and where she could possibly have gone. No one was around, it was pitch black out, and the only light was from my headlamp. All of a sudden I heard something running towards me on the dock, badump badump badump badump, but my headlamp caught only its retinas as it barreled towards me. After a few seconds I realized it was my dog but she was covered in dirt and smelled like burnt fecal matter. What happened to her was a complete mystery, but it was obvious that she needed a bath. Andrew and John helped me give her a late night dock shower but the pungent odor refused to dissipate.

The security guard came by and told us she’d had a run in with a “zorro mion,” which means “spraying fox.” She didn’t smell like a skunk but she definitely smelled like she’d been sprayed by something. Kitty slept in the cockpit that night and was given another bath in the morning, but this time with vinegar and Dawn dish soap. She smelled terrible for at least a week afterwards.

We checked out of Nicaragua from the same marina and headed south across the Gulf of Fonseca (keeping an eye out for Honduran pirates) towards Costa Rica. Our destination was the remote Parque National Santa Rosa where the famous surf break Ollie's Point is accessible only by boat (or maybe by seaplane too, but not by car).

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