Monday, February 11, 2008

February Update

Hi Folks,

I just got back from Nicaragua. It was another great trip, starting with the surf. You don't expect to see too much south swell action during this time of year. Prime surf season is April to September. But sometimes you can really score, and this time we did. For three days straight, we surfed two of southern Nicaragua's best beach breaks with nobody out and head high plus barrels. At one of them, the left wedge was really working really well, with Gray backdooring the peak repeatedly and just completely disappearing, only to emerge with so much speed that it was hard to turn (especially with the sore ankle he got trying a 180 chop hop the week before). At the other beach break, we rode speed shack rights from north of the NSR house to the rio and beyond. Wow. Don't anyone pinch me. It's still hard to believe. Nobody even on the beach . But you can't expect to get those conditions all the time. By the end of week, it was back to knee/waist high. Sorry, no pictures, so if you don't believe it, that's ok. Gray didn't want me to say anything anyway.

He didn't want me to post any pictures of his beautiful local girlfriend either, but trust me...

Here are some pictures from Yolanda's, where we had post session lunches, and where the ladies tended to Gray's sore ankle. Yolanda, her daughter Ivania, and grandaughters Ingrid and Rosa are all sweet people and a real pleasure to be around. When you come to Yolanda's, there are lots of hugs and kisses.

Even the monkey wants in on the love.

Back home at Selva Del Mar, the dry season has arrived.

There are now only pockets of water in the once full creek.

The trees are starting to lose their leaves, but they are starting to flower.

The howler monkeys have been in the big Genizaro tree in front of the Casita, eating the pods.

This Kingfisher is also a resident of Selva Del Mar

When you stay at Selva Del Mar, you eat very very well. These are Papayas

Here is Gray with a ripe Papaya

Chitomas (bell peppers)


In this picture, Vidal is showing us a fearsome looking but very tasty Macarella that Zach's buddy caught for us. With chicken and beef already in the fridge (nearby Rivas is one of Nicaragua's best beef cattle areas), we had to turn down neighbor Angel's offer of freshly caught lobster. The boys made some great salsa using some of our own veggies.

As always, the platanos are going off.

The homegrown oranges don't look ripe, but they are. They are the best I've ever tasted anywhere. I ate more oranges in a week at Selva Del Mar than I do in three months at home. Every morning, Vidal brought over freshly squeezed juice, sometimes blended with homegrown melon juice. Heavenly. One morning, we ran out of milk for our (of course, Nicaraguan) coffee, so Gray and Vidal went up the road a quarter mile and bought a liter of milk still warm from a neighbor's cow for about $.45. You can eat very healthy and very fresh here at Selva Del Mar.

But you don't have to give up the sweets. Vidal picked this Oyote and Gloria cooked it down with some brown sugar into a delicious preserve that we spread on some of the baked goodies we bought off the bakery truck.

I love fresh coconut milk. When its empty, you split the shell in half and enjoy the meat.

That is Marie in the background. There aren't too many world traveling female surfers from Montreal. She is truly unique. You meet some very interesting, fun loving people in Nicaragua.

Avocado tree.

If it's not already growing at Selva Del Mar, you probably won't have to go far to get what you need.

The veggie truck stops right out front. So does the bakery truck.

And the beer truck.

That's Gloria in the foreground watching Gray exchange his case of empty liters for full ones.

We have baby mango trees in our nursery.
We also have baby Caobo (mahogany), Genizaro, Jocote, and other trees, ready to be planted.

The young trees that have already been planted are doing well.

Here is a young coconut tree.

We planted King Palms along the fenceline next to the road to the beach.

Infrastructure improvements continue at Selva Del Mar. Water lines have been laid for Calle Monte de Oro, so we are ready to go for the house Joe will soon be starting there.

When you go for a walk at Selva Del Mar, you can usually count on Solo, Vidal's dog, to accompany you.

He could come in very handy, given that Vidal spotted a panther at Selva Del Mar one night.

It was way in the back, where the green space is, but still...

This horse lives across the road from us at Zacatan, where biologist Robert Dull has an eco reserve and reforestation project.

I bought a 3 year old gelding for $270. He's a gentle, easy to handle horse. I'm looking forward to riding him down to Amarillo for some surf picnics. Or maybe Manzanillo. Or La Redonda for some diving. Or just to the top of Selva Del Mar to take in a sunset.

Next time, I will shoot a picture of the boys partying before I join in. I wish I hadn't been swaying, because Zacharias has a great smile and I wanted you to see it. Zach is one of our sales agents. He's a boat captain, and a very knowledgeable surf and fishing guide. Zach was just elected President of the Pueblo Gigante CPC a local form of community organization recently introduced by the Sandinista President Daniel Ortega. Some are worried that these organizations are extralegal political tools, but their focus seems to me to be on local issues like trash removal, preparation for events like Semana Santos, etc. It's really more a decentralized informal local government than anything else, despite worries by some that the CPC's can be mobilized for more revoutionary purposes. In Gigante, I just don't see that. And Zach is a great spokesman for the local people. He interacts well with locals, tourists and businesses and speaks English. That's Gray and his buddy Ryan, joining in the festivities with Zacharias. Ryan is an aerospace engineer and a licensed, instrument rated pilot. He also rips! I saw him get some amazing tubes and airs.

No sunset shot is complete without a pig silouetted in the foreground....

But surfing and hanging out in Gigante aren't the only things to do. Guys, here's your chance to show your girl how romatic you are. Spend the night at Norome, on the shore of Laguna de Apoyo (a lake inside a dormant volcano). Maybe rent one of the watercraft and paddle or sail the lake. It really is breathtaking.

Then take her down into nearby colonial Granada (one of the oldest cities in the America's, on the shore of Lake Nicaragua) to visit park central and take in the traditional architecture, people, music and action. Sample the various juices from the park vendors. I like the Tamarindo and the Calalla.

Take a horse drawn carriage from Park Central to the water where you can hire a boatman to take you through the isletas, more than fifty small islands formed when nearby Volcano Mombacho blew its top and deposited it in the lake.

If you are not the romantic type, take in a baseball game at the stadium at Rivas, where the background is the perfect cone volcano Conception, rising majestically out of Lake Nicaragua from Ometepe Island.

But I feel most tranquilo when I am back home at Selva Del Mar, just living the dream. No hurries no worries.

We are offering a promotion for the next 3 lots sold. The deal is 30% down, with the balance paid monthly for two years, interest free. Pretty good deal, verdad?

We hope you can visit Nicaragua soon. Until next time, buenos ensuenos...