In–and Out–of San Salvador

San Salvador is generally considered to be the island where Columbus first landed in the New World, although there is a never ending dispute about it. It rises with sheer walls out of the deep ocean, the dropoff to water more than a mile deep is within a hundred yards of shore in most places. The wall dives here are among the best in the world, with reef fish and pelagics mixing together. It is the place to come for fisherman who are seriously pursuing large ocean fish, especially Wahoo. Every year there are several 100+ lb monsters caught here.

It is pretty strictly a tourism based economy. Unfortunately, at least right now, the tourists haven’t reappeared. It is off the beaten track for most of the US based sport fishing boats, and without well protected anchorages, cruising boats tend to give it a pass. Right now, other than the commercial diver operators, there are exactly two boats in the marina.

Harmonie feeling a little lonely at the Riding Rock Marina, San Salvador

We came here to refill our provisions for the week long passage coming up, and to clear out the coutry with Customs. Up until recently, clearing out of the Bahamas was optional for pleasure vessels. As a general rule, boat that were going on to countries which expected to see a “zarpe” did so. Boats headed to the USA, which doesn’t really care about outbound clearance documents, typically just skipped the process, and that was fine with the Bahamians, but not anymore.

We have seen too many people posting that they couldn’t find a “convenient” Port of Entry when they wanted to leave, so they just blew off the clearing out process. I’m sure the Bahaminas won’t be hunting them down, but with the new computerized system for keeping track of boats, I’m guessing there might be some uncomfortable questions asked if they return next year.

We walked the half mile or so the the San Salvador International Airport where we presented our paperwork to the customs officer. It looked like we where about the only thing he had to do that day. Fifteen minutes later, with some form filling, and stamping (you HAVE to have your forms stamped!) we were good to go. As far as the Bahama officialdom is concerned we are already gone!

Grocery shopping was unexceptional, a typical “medium island” store.

Our second mast-top repair was completed without drama this afternoon. Karen winched me up to the top of the mainmast, where our replacement MHU (Mast Head Unit) plugged in without an issue. All the bits and pieces were there, and as they should be, including the wire bail that secures the screw lock in place. How and why it could have come apart, will remain one of the mysteries of the universe…

Securing the locking bail on the wind MHU.

We continue to look at a favorable weather forecast that will take us from here to our planned destination of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Right now it looks like 6 days with good winds the whole way.

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