When a lone anchorage unexpectedly becomes home base for a week, the best thing to do is make an adventure out of it…

Sitting on Yahtzee’s cabin top, I watch in utter fascination as prehistoric-looking pelicans catch their dinner behind the boat in what has become a nightly ritual. Farther off on the horizon the sun is slowly sinking, painting the sky in fantastic hues of oranges, reds and pinks. It’s the fifth gorgeous sunset in a row we’ve watched from this anchorage, each one breathtaking in its own way. I took pictures of the previous four, but this one is just for us. Jill joins me, we put our arms around each other and the only thing I’m thinking is, “There’s no place I’d rather be than right here.”

We settled into this secluded anchorage on the southern coast of Nicaragua because it offers the most protection from strong easterly winds and a large south-southwest swell that, while good for surfing, makes many, if not all, nearby spots uncomfortable or even dangerous to be at. There are very few other cruising boats in the country so we have the cove almost entirely to ourselves, sharing it with a day charter boat on a couple occasions and some friendly fishermen  in a panga.

Due to the swell, what we’ve ended up with is the need to sit in this cove for days on end — six to be exact — which wasn’t the original plan. Alas, we roll with it, turning the unexpected into adventure while discovering our surroundings. 

Spontaneity being the name of the game, we set off down a dirt road, hike a path over a hillside and end up at one of the prettiest sandy beaches in the area — perfect for body surfing, boogie boarding, swimming and tide pooling. We find a loop trail on the other side of the cove that takes us to the top of a bluff with breathtaking views out across the Pacific Ocean. And our dinghy, Surfwagon, gets good use scooting us to a nearby bay for surf missions.

Back on Yahtzee, we swim from the boat in the warm water, play board games and, of course, there’s work, school and chores to be done as well. The boys and I scrub the waterline and prop, the cruising equivalent of mowing the yard or shoveling snow. With Jill’s assistance, I go aloft to repair a broken halyard block at the top of the mast. Jill and the boys diligently complete schoolwork, and the down time is perfect for me to finish another issue of 48° North magazine (read it here) and catch up on a couple writing projects. 

Calling it the “One Week Cove” cruising philosophy, we do our best and seem to thrive in these situations when we’re bound by weather and staying put is the optimal solution. Such is life on a cruising sailboat. Whether it is here in Nicaragua, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, we know that instead of trying to push our luck, we’re better off embracing the now, living in the moment and making the most of where we are. To be sure, there are worse places to be. 

One of many gorgeous Nicaraguan sunsets.
Yahtzee swings on a beautiful pane of water.
Sharing the anchorage with a lone fishing panga.
We call it ‘Boogie Board Beach’.
Building boats for a race in a tidepool.
Favorite new board game, boardering on obsession, Catan Junior.
Going up! (First time I’ve worn actual shoes in a long time.)
The work goes on.
View from the top.
‘Surfwagon’ loaded for action.