I promised to write up my progress whenever I could but did not expect the first opportunity to come so soon.
I have had a fantastic day. I could not have asked for better weather: when I set sail at noon a light and favorable breeze was blowing which carried me out to sea at about 4 knots. It brought tears to my eyes to look back and see my friends and Changa standing on the beach so after a while I stopped looking over my shoulder and determined to look forward.
I am not sure how far Alvarado is, maybe 30km, but the boat knew where it was going and I barely steered for the three hours the trip took. The wind increased as I went along, and slowly the sea improved from muddy green to blue in color as I left an area tarnished by the outflowing of some swollen river. I approached the mouth of the estuary at Alvarado, a passage a half mile wide and two long leading inland to the great lagoon, which itself is filled by the convergence of three major rivers. Outside this passage there was a sharp delineation between the tan-brown river water and the blue sea for miles out, edged with a thick band of floating detruis which I had to slow down and push at to pass through. Then the waves grew, and great confused lumps charged about in many directions. I shot towards the mouth of the passage at a full ten knots surfing down the swells, and a pod of perhaps twenty dolphins surrounded me, and they paced the boat, surfacing and jumping all around and escorting me the next two miles into the lagoon.
I am not really very sentimental about this kind of thing but it was just marvellous, and lifted my spirits way up where they have remained. The creatures were huge, beautiful, and clearly interested in the boat. They would jump out of the water a few yards away and whilst in the air look right at me, and it all seemed like a good omen even for someone who does not believe in such things.
Santiago and Jose Vasquez, my landlord in Zapote and a most lovable fellow, were up on the bridge filming my arrival, and after passing under I doubled back and met them on the beach of a shipyard owned by a friend of Santiago. There is a nightwatchman so it was an irresistable place to park up for the night; I was able to leave the boat this evening and walk into Alvarado. But I also came in earlier with Santiago and Jose for a beer, and at one point Jose disappeared and returned with an old man bearing a mini guitar. He sang and played two songs for me, with completely ad-lib lyrics about Cristobal and his adventure and what a great guy he is, and it was amazing! Clearly rap had predecessors. This was just priceless.
So all in all a wonderful first day. Judging by the intensity of the mosquitos hereabouts tonight may be a little less wonderful. It´s that yin and yang thing again, gotta have some pain to pay for the pleasure, that is one of the great truisms of life and there´s no getting away from it.
Now that Santiago and Jose have gone I am on my own and tomorrow I will continue southwards as soon as the wind rises, with no set destination and according to my charts no safe anchorage within range, but plenty of beaches as long as I can get through the surf.