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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

The chicken boat

Isaac invited us along on the morning panga ride into La Union - the biggest town on the nearby El Salvadorian mainland to pick up some supplies.  The panga was supposed to pick us up at our boat at 5am.  Just about when we had given up on it and were going to go back to sleep, the panga showed at 6am.  It was an hour ride into town.  When we reached La Union, Isaac warned us not to step out of the boat - that we would be picked up in carts because the mud around the boat was so full of sewage (everything from diapers to dirty needles) that it wasn't safe to walk on.  So they have this system whereby guys with carts come and pick you and your stuff up.  Its $1 per cart load.  The guys that do this apparently have immunity to the bacteria in the water because they've lived here all their lives.  They do this (ick!) barefoot.

We first grabbed some breakfast and lattes.  We've not had a good latte in months.  Then it was onto the market to pick out fresh vegtables, then onto the store for the rest of the grocery shopping.  When we got back to the pier, Isaac needed to go get some cement and gasoline.  So he left Dave and I watching over the groceries.  But as the 10am departure time got near, the guys with the carts started asking where Isaac was.  As the hotel's groceries as well as our own were already loaded onto the panga, we didn't want the boat to leave without us.  So Dave and Melissa agreed to split up - Melissa would go with the 10am panga, and Dave would wait for Isaac and the noon panga.  There was an issue with the panga driver who didn't want to make an extra stop at the hotel.  This would have been a drag as the hotel staff would have had to lug the supplies from the main pier on the island to the hotel without any means of transportation other than their feet.  Melissa stood the best chance of successful begging when the macho male Central American "must rescue the little lady" kicked in. 

Fortunately this theory did not have to be put to the test as Isaac arrived back at the panga with the bags of cement before the panga departed at 11am.  At which point it was completely packed with 40 people and supplies.  Dave figured it was probably packed with about 10,000 lbs of people and supplies.  It was a slow trip back to the island.  It was so crowded that Melissa and Isaac sat on the side.  When we got out from behind the islands there was a short crossing open to the ocean where the wind and waves got us pretty wet.  At this point the guys in the front of the boat rolled out big sheets of black plastic to cover all the goods packed into the front of the boat.  Ok, so why wouldn't they have rolled out the plastic BEFORE it started to get wet?  These guys make this crossing every day.  Its windy every day.  But hey, maybe there was this one day last year when they didn't need it, so apparently its not worth the effort until after stuff starts to get wet.  Go figure.  The when it got a bit windier, they rolled out more black plastic and people on the boat crawled under it to stay dry.  Ok, this was another weird moment.  People make this crossing all the time.  And its like 85 to 90 degrees out.  So a few splashes are a problem?  Meanwhile Melissa was enjoying getting soaked from her head to her butt because it cooled her off.

 When we reached the island it was time to disembark.  Chaos ensued when all 40 people try to disembark all at once while cargo is being unloaded too.


Later that afternoon, we realized that Apsaras started to drag anchor.  She reset herself, but Dave realized we probably didn't have enough chain out for the high tide + high winds (Ooops).  So he decided to go reset the anchor.  Isaac asked if he could tag along to see the process.  Whereupon Dave offered that Isaac could get a lesson in raising and lowering the anchor and do it himself while Melissa remained at the hotel.  So here's Isaac getting a lesson from Dave on how the anchor system works before Isaac got to raise and reset it.

On the way back from town in the panga, Melissa and Isaac had put their heads together and realized how much they both love good food.  Isaac was of a mind to whip up some hummus.  Melissa offered up some Mediterranean chicken to go with it along with some Sangria.  Isaac was super happy about learning to make sangria.  So we invaded the kitchen and managed to chase off the hotel cook who was probably happy to have the night off.  We got Napoleon (one of the hotel staff and Isaac's cousin) to join us.



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