Its looking to be a solid weekend here with sets double overhead plus paired with some solid offshore winds and low crowds!
Click on any photo to see it full screen!
Greg and co have been overhauling the Miramar “deluxe” lodge and its looking good! The rooms have got new paint, the wall has been removed from around the pool improve the view of the 2 waves on our doorstep, the rancho has new lighting and more! We have a few empty weeks coming up in April and its going to be cranking so look for some flights and hope to see you soon!
About 5 months ago I had the wonderful idea to remove the fence blocking our view of the ocean. During the construction of the house they had the wonderful idea of putting up a 6 foot high fence along the beach side of the property effectively blocking the view. Earlier in the year I had the great idea of getting Surfline to install a live HD webcam on said fence. When my workers showed up to demo the fence they were given strict instructions not to injure the camera: they put a bag over it and a towel and then they ‘surgically’ demolished the fence opening up the view. After which the camera no longer worked.
Issue #1: POWER SUPPLY- apparently you cannot buy a 24volt power supply in Nicaragua, believe me I looked. I had a power supply brought down by a guests and within a few week I was able to plug it in and test the camera. The new power supply burnt out. At this point we really had Surfline’s attention because the camera was down and so they sent two more power supplies. I opened up the camera and found the connections had been pulled out, the power leads crossed burning out the power supply and the other connections had to be repaired. This confirmed that the cables to the camera had been yanked on with great force…probably a chunk of concrete.
Issue#2: COAX CABLE- the coaxial cable that got yanked out had a crimped on connector. You cannot find a crimp on quick connect BNC connector in Nicaragua, believe me I looked. Surfline was nice enough to send another and I hooked the cables up and still no video.
Issue #3: THE CAMERA CARD- with no video we thought the power issue might have burnt out the motherboard for the camera. I happened to be going home to California about this time (October), so I took the camera home with me, had it brought up to L.A. where they sent an intern to swap it out. I brought the new camera home to Nicaragua and installed it…’no video’ ?!?&&&*^*^&^*^
Issue#3: IBW- THE SHITTIEST (NON) INTERNET PROVIDER- It was about at that time…sometime in December that the internet service went down. It was impossible to troubleshoot the camera problem with the internet down. After about a month I got techies out here to trouble shoot the problem and about two weeks after that we got internet service again. It must have been around the new year at this point, but whose counting now?
Issue #4: COAX CABLE (AGAIN)- With no video coming through and the power on we were back to trouble shooting the signal. We tried tracing the 200′ of cable, but it ran through trees and along a barbed wire fence and for $60 it made sense to replace the cable. This was after our guide Matt was attached by ants protecting the mango tree…his first experience with the ants here that are voracious blood thirsty little devils. Finding the coax ,cable was easy enough, but finding quick connect BNC connectors wasn’t. They don’t’ sell them in Nicaragua, believe me I tried. Luckily I did find a box of goodies that Surfline had sent me and in it were the threaded quick connect BNC connectors I needed. I prepped the new cable and connected it and guess what ….”no video”?!$#%%^&^%$ It was at this point, more than sufficiently perplexed that we inspected the connections a little closer. It turns out that when the camera was swapped, Surfline had included a BNC quick connect barrel adapter instead of a coax/rca BNC quick connect. So only one of the two signals was getting through. As you may guess, they don’t sell quick connect BNC coax female to female barrel adaptors in Nicaragua, believe me I tried. Luckily another guest showing up got one to me pretty quickly and we hooked it up.
It was about 18 hours before I got an email from Surfline saying that they saw the video signal on their server. Of course we had the camera unmounted from its position so the image was a sideways view of the plastic Adirondack beach chair it was sitting in. We quickly mounted the camera and voila…we’re back on the line! It only took like 5 months, but at least when you want to torture yourself looking at live images of Punta Miramar and Pipes you can.
Thank you Pam! Apparently the typhoon that wrecked shop in the South Pacific has generated a nice pulse of swell headed straight for us. This is a very rare occurrence to have a west swell. The beauty of it is there is a residual south swell that it’s mixing up with giving us over 40 degrees of cross up angle. Now I’ve seen Salinas Grande with a cross up swell and some of you have probably heard the story. We had two swells meet a couple of years ago, one 2 feet 15 seconds from 190 and the other 2 feet at 15 seconds from 225…that 35 degrees of cross up made Salinas Grande look like a beach break straight from a Wilbur Kookmeyer cartoon. Conditions this weekend look similar and possibly even better. More cross up angle, but one swell is larger than the other, so we’ll see….I expect to see Wilbur out there surfing with us.
That swell a couple of years ago was so good I almost couldn’t believe it. I caught a couple of drainers back to back and after the second I decided to just watch from the beach to see if it was really as good as it seemed. A set came in and within my field of vision were four peaks. Each folded over into a perfect “A” frame breaking hollow left and right…that’s 8 barrels, just within my view, not to mention the hundreds of other breaking up and down the length of Salinas Grande. All 8 of these barrels spit in unison and I didn’t waste any time…I paddled back out and it was still the best day I’ve ever had at Salinas to this day. I’m hoping that changes this weekend.
Renewable energy sources — such as the Eolo wind park about 75 miles south of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua — generate about half of the country’s electricity. Officials predict that figure could rise to 80 percent within years.
Nicaragua produces no oil, but is a land of fierce winds, tropical sun and rumbling volcanoes. In other words, it’s a renewable energy paradise — and today the Central American nation is moving quickly to become a green energy powerhouse. Within a few years the vast majority of Nicaragua’s electricity will come from hydroelectric dams, geothermal plants and wind farms.
Nicaragua’s largest wind farm lies on the shores of giant Lake Nicaragua, which stretches halfway across the country.
Javier Pentzke, manager of the Amayo wind farm, says the region is one of the top places in the world for wind energy.
“You have all the opening here from the lake all the way to the Caribbean, so it’s like a tunnel,” he says. “And it’s very steady. It’s not too gusty.”
Pentzke says the wind there is perfect for rotating the three-bladed props on the dozens of wind turbines that rise up from the western shore of the lake.
Just a few years ago, Nicaragua was almost totally dependent on imported fuel oil to generate power. The country also lacked thermal plants to turn that fuel oil into electricity. The result was rolling, 12-hour blackouts that damaged the economy and made daily life a grind.
Silverio Martinez, who runs a general store in the farm town of San Jacinto, says the power outages paralyzed the town’s water pumps. The local mill couldn’t grind corn, so his wife couldn’t make tortillas. Carpenters, he recalls, sat idle because their power tools were useless.
But just a few miles from Martinez’s store lies Telíca, one of the 19 volcanoes in Nicaragua, all of them storing vast sums of underground heat. The country also features roaring rivers and sweltering sun.
In 2005, the government set out to harness all that natural energy.Nicaragua is no longer dependent on oil imports, thanks to the renewable-energy push. Here, Antonio Duarte, general manager, overlooks the geothermal plant in San Jacinto, Nicaragua, in August 2014.
“The decision was made that we had to begin shifting towards renewable energy,” says Gabriel Sánchez, who works for the business promotion agency ProNicaragua. “A set of policies was put in place that would allow renewable energy projects to be developed in Nicaragua.”
In addition to the resulting tax breaks, energy companies like Nicaragua’s current stability after decades of revolution, civil war and economic chaos. One firm, Nevada-based Ram Power, has sunk more than $400 million into the Polaris geothermal plant located next to Telíca volcano.
“We try to locate where a hot rock resource is, which is usually about 5 to 7 kilometers below the earth’s crust,” says Antonio Duarte, the plant’s manager.
This molten rock heats underground water, which then is brought to the surface. The resulting steam is fed into turbines to produce electricity. Besides reducing carbon emissions, Duarte says geothermal power has made Nicaragua less dependent on foreign oil.
“The petroleum bill on an annual basis is a significant amount of our GDP, so by changing the energy matrix we’re generating power from our own resources and not being held ransom on the fluctuations of the market,” Duarte says.
Renewables now generate nearly half of Nicaragua’s electricity, a figure that government officials predict could rise to 80 percent within a few years. That compares to just 13 percent in the United States.
And it may be just the beginning. There is so much untapped energy in Nicaragua that it’s planning to export electricity to its Central American neighbors.
Credit to NPR for the text and photos in this article.
Well that title was easy…
IN THE NEWS: Mathew ‘HoneyDick’ Khouri, a.k.a. Khouri in a hurry has left us. He hasn’t died, yet, but he did leave Nicaragua to head back to work in the outer banks of North Carolina and he probably wishes he was dead because apparently it’s like 48 degrees there today. I’d like to say it’s 84 here, but it’s probably hotter than that. Other than not getting good waves, Khouri is going to be preparing one Low Country Boil after another and serving it to drunken vacationers during the busy months on the banks. I’m sure he’ll be happy to come back in October to surf some small waves and teach surf lessons. In the mean time we’ll miss him and send him as many good surf picks as we can.
ALSO IN THE NEWS: We have two additional members to the family. This always happens with Kayla…I send her on some errands and she comes back with puppies! I was home sick (not homesick…just home-sick) and she shows up and says she’s got a surprise. My stomach wrenched as I thought she might be bringing me some special food treat. Then she walks in with two little precious surprises…and it’s impossible to be mad as I’m instantly in love. I came up with the names Tula and Dalé….then we started calling Tula “Osita”, spanish for little bear and so her name as officially been changed to Osa. So Dalé and Osa were adopted from the fruit vendor on the side of the road in Managua…that’s just where you find puppies here one way or another…on the side of the road. They’re precious…and they definitely made my sick day a little better.
THE WRAPUP: We’ve got waves….they’re pretty big today and we’re aiming for some outer reef Miramar. The winds are heavy so it’s going to be some tricky drops, but it’s a lot better than living on the outer banks. Sorry Khouri. Gotta go…Surf’s Up! Oh yeah….that little surfer in the photo is what Kayla calls the “Robot Surfer”…it’s actually a remoter control surfer that a guest brought. It’s pretty fun though…it can get some wicked air.