Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014 – San Juan de Sur, Nicaragua – Partly Cloudy - 89F

Distance from Acajutla to San Juan de Sur, Nicaragua: 275 Nautical Miles

Local Information.  San Juan de Sur became an important location during the California Gold Rush when prospectors from the East Coast noticed that they could navigate the San Juan River from the Atlantic to the Pacific (cutting off about 10,000 sea miles).  San Juan de Sur has gone from a busy seaport to a quiet fishing village.  Nicaragua, “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes”, has had a tumultuous political history – the Somoza regime, the Sandinistas, and the Contras.  Today, the country is trying to recover from her sordid background to be a productive member of the Central American community.  Granada, a colonial town (population 105,000) was founded in 1524. Lake Nicaragua is a huge lake containing two active volcanoes on an island. 

20140302_approaching San Juan del Sur (Small)

Approaching San Juan de Sur

We are both on the same tour today - “Colonial Granada and Islet Boat Tour”.  The tour will involve a two hour bus ride to Granada then a 45 minute boat excursion through the 365 islets in the Lake Nicaragua archipelago. 

20140302_off to Granada (Small)

Our guide today is William (an alias) and he speaks English very well. I am settling in for our two hour run to Granada.  Our route will take us on the Toll Road as well as the Pan American Highway (the bumpiest highway you can imagine).

Our first stop was at the shores of Lake Nicaragua to catch a look at the twin volcanoes, Concepcion (1610 m, active) and Maderas (1394 m, dormant or extinct) located on the island of Ometepe.  Lake Nicaragua displays a lot of wave action giving the lake the look of an ocean.  In fact, some early explorers were fooled into thinking that the lake was indeed an ocean.

 20140302_L Nic Concepcion Maderas (Small)

L Nicaragua, Ometepe Island with the Concepcion (L) and Maderas Volcanoes

20140302_me L Nic (Small)

20140302_E L Nic (Small)

Could not get a picture together

There are now wind turbines along the shore of L. Nicaragua (not here the last time we were here). 

20140302_L Nic Wind turbines (Small)

Wind turbines –L. Nicaragua

Arriving in Granada, the bus bypassed the city and headed toward a beach area and pier to the right of the city.  The plan was to break our group in four groups of 10 for each boat.  All the boats left and Ellen and I waited to get on the last boat.  It turns out that there was only one seat left on the last boat – Ellen took it.  I was first told that I would have to wait for boats to return in 45 minutes and then go out.  That was certainly not going to work so our guide waived a boat in and I would up getting up my own boat (along with William) for the islet tour.

20140302_Granada boat pier (Small)

Boat Pier in Granada

On my way in my own boat…

20140302_ Islet Boat (Small)

We followed Ellen’s boat out so we could snap pictures of each other.

20140302_ Islet Boat E (Small) 20140302_ Islet Boat E shooting me (Small) 20140302_ Islet Boat E shooting me 1 (Small)

Two Reverse Selfies

Our boat raced several boats giving me a chance to fill some fellow passengers in their boat.

20140302_ Islet Boat other boat (Small)

20140302_Islet boat tour (Small) 20140302_Islet Boat lilypads (Small) 20140302_ Islet Boat egret (Small)

An Egret

20140302_ Islet Boat 1 (Small) 20140302_ Islet Boat vegetation (Small) 20140302_V Mombacho (Small)

Volcano Mombacho

20140302_ Islet Boat restaurant (Small)

A Boat Accessible Restaurant

20140302_ Islet Boat Hotel in progress (Small)

A Hotel in Progress (ran out of money)

20140302_Islet tour 2 (Small)

A House on the Lake

20140302_L Nic kayakers (Small)

Kayakers on the Lake

From the boat pier, the tour proceeded to the Saint Francis Church and Convent (now a museum).  On display were statues recovered from Zapatera, an island in L. Nicaragua.

20140302_Granada Museum (Small)

2000 year old statue in Convent Museum

The Mombacho Volcano (over 4000 feet high) is visible from the back lawn of the Museum.

20140302_V Mombacho from Museum (Small)

V. Mombacho

From the museum, the bus took us to the Hotel Dario’s – our lunch venue.  The buffet was set up in the courtyard area – bread, salad (I avoided for a lot of reasons), rice, beans, and some kind of fish (served with tartar sauce and pesto sauce).  The food was OK.  I tried one of the two national beers – Tona (the other being Victoria).  Flam was served for dessert – no decaf (of course) so I passed on the coffee.

We had some free time after lunch so Ellen and I walked to the Central Square.  In contrast to the last time we were here, the square was wall-to-wall with people.  The heat and humidity kept us from walking too far so we stayed in the square until it was time to board the busses for the return trip.

20140302_Granada Main Square (Small)

Main Square - Granada

20140302_Granada Cathedral (Small)

Cathedral of Granada

Back in the busses for our two hour ride back to the pier.  Fortunately, for this trip, we would stop at a rest area before San Juan de Sur.  The stop was at a restaurant about 45 minutes from the port – well timed.

We got back to San Juan de Sur around 5:45 PM and then back to the ship by around 6:00 PM.

20140302_San Juan del Sur (Small)

San Juan de Sur

20140302_Quest Sunset (Small) 20140302_ Quest Sunset 1 (Small) 20140302_ Quest Sunset 2 (Small) 

Great Shots of the Quest and the Sunset from tender

Showtime tonight is the final production show:  “Stage Door to Dreams” – songs of Broadway and the West End.  This was probably the best of the production shows – everyone was in excellent voice and the numbers were great.  There was a great mashup of “On My Own” and “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables.  Russ did the signature number from “Chicago” (“I Do it for Love”?) as well as “Luck be a Lady Tonight”. 

20140303_Stage door dreams (Small)

They ended up, as they always do, with “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray with Russ doing the Mrs. Turnblad number.  Very nice show.

20140303_You can't stop the beat (Small) 

You Can’t Stop the Beat

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