El Salvador to Mexico

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Fri 13 Apr 2012 17:14
14:41.96N 092:23.53W   El Salvador to Mexico:
After just over a week in El Salvador it was time to start moving again - heading up to Mexico.
We had a great stay in Bahia del Sol and enjoyed being part of the rally. Of course we had a small technical problem ... this time with a pump on the toilet. I won't go into to much detail, but it involved a pretty disgusting clean out of one of the bilges, which I left Mike to do - my stomach was not strong enough!  We were fortunate enough to get a spare part from another cruiser, and Mike got everything cleaned up and working in no time. (He is currently not feeling very well and I hope he did not poison himself)
Before we left El Salvador,  we took a taxi with Bill & Jean (organizers of the "Rally to El Salvador") to the capital city of San Salvador. Not much of a tourist destination, but a city of great hardware stores!  The one huge store we visited has one every single item up on display - you point to what you want, the assistant writes down the detail on a slip and gives it to you. You do this many times and then take all your slips to the cashier to pay. You then head to the collection point where all your bits are waiting. Sounds laborious, but in fact is highly efficient.  We also managed to buy a smaller outboard engine (15Hp Yamaha) for our future smaller dinghy - I wrote about that issue earlier in the blog.  Lastly we did a bit of provisioning, including a trip to the local market to pick up some veggies and some of the pork ribs that Bill recommended. We have seen some interesting things in markets during our travels, but when the lady picked up a huge axe to start chopping up the ribs........ I was glad I had my camera!
Back at the marina we had a final dinner of fresh giant prawn and cocktails in the pool of a local restaurant. 
Early on Wednesday morning we headed out, back over the bar. It was an easy crossing with a very high tide and not too many swells. We then started our 230nm trip to Mexico, passing by Guatemala. With a current against us, and maintaining reasonable fuel consumption, we aimed to get into Puerto Chiapas in the late afternoon the following day.  The trip was uneventful except for two instances when we caught up the long-lines of fishermen on our bulbous bow.  For some strange reason they use floating lines, which even if they have little flags on buoys,  are impossible to see at night.  The first time it happened I could not understand what the noise was as a line of water whipped up next to the boat. First I thought of fish, but then saw the taught green line and it snapped.   The second time, it was about 2am, I was on watch and we were 13nm off shore with no boats in sight.  The next minute a boat with a bright light appeared on our port bow, I got quite a fright, and immediately changed course not understanding what was going on - and then we hooked the line. I was now familiar with the sound of the line hooking, and realised that the fishermen had woken up to the sound of our engine and were now trying to chase us away from their line. Too late, there was nothing I could do, other than accelerate hoping the line was not caught in the prop or on the stabilizers. By now Mike had woken up and put the boat astern to check nothing was caught up, but all seemed good. We have line-cutters on the prop shafts, but I think the bulbous bow just picks up the lines and snaps them.  I am not looking forward to our next leg where we now have to stay very close to the shore ... how many more lines will be hook up?   
In the early afternoon we arrived at the southernmost port in Mexico - Puerto Chiapas (formerly Madero) We were given weigh-points to get into Chiapas - a new marina, which still shows as ALL LAND on our chart plotter! But it was easy to follow and the staff were waiting on the dock to receive us. This brand new, very nice marina is 95% complete, but not officially opened, so we get to stay for free! That includes the dockage, water, power, internet and the assistance of the very friendly staff for our check in.  We were visited by the military and the port captain, with lots of gun and a sniffer dog (with shoes) - but all very easy and friendly. Guillermo the manager then kindly gave us a lift to the airport and helped us complete immigration. The ride was on the back of a small open truck (bakkie), a hair-raising 15km trip at 80km/h  ....once again, Central America feels a lot like Africa!
We plan to stay here for a while and do a little land travel - hopefully up to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque.