We are always a little bit apprehensive when we approach Corinto with a ship. The port of Corinto is reached via a narrow channel about 3 miles long which leads towards the estuary of a river along which the docks are located. That shallow water poses a problem when there is swell. If a long rolling ocean swell comes in, the waves heighten when they come onto the shallow part. Waves have amplitude which is half under water and half above water, when looking at the mean height. When we see the down part of the wave it is really a hole that is normally filled with water. On very shallow depths, that hole cannot go down. It still has to as the waves roll on. So the whole wave system has to go up. As a result ocean waves rolling in over shallow coastal areas get higher until they crash on the beach. (This is the simple explanation, if I have to do it 100% correct, it will take me two pages) You have a similar phenomenon at rivers where there is a bar outside. Such as the Colombia River going to Astoria /Portland or the Garonne River leading to Bordeaux.
Thus the long ocean swell rolling towards the Nicaraguan coast in this area can and will build up considerably before it gets there. When a cruise ship comes to the pilot station it has to slow down for the pilot boarding (and for squat) and thus the stabilizers do not work very well any more as they need flow for their lifting effect. Flow caused by speeds over 6 knots. And thus we start rolling. Because of the shallow waters all around we cannot approach under another angle that would make the ship handle the rolling better and thus we roll. Roll considerably. I have been going in by ordering the guests to sit down and stay down until we were safely inside. Going out is often a lesser problem as the waves first hit the bow and thus get less grip on the ship’s hull.
As the weather has been the same for the last few days, hardly any wind, the long oceans swell have been remarkably low. And that benefited us today. No more than 3 to 4 feet of swell rolling in and that does not make the ship move. We need about 9 to 10 feet for that. Everybody happy and before 08.00 hrs. we were safely docked in Corinto.
What are we doing here? Tours to Leon (A similar town as Antigua yesterday), volcanic mud baths, equestrian shows, a Banana Plantation and a Rum distillery to name a few. Tours of all sorts of lengths depending on what elements are included. But you do not have to go on tour, as the town of Corinto is right outside the container terminal. And although it can be very warm in town, it is quite nice to walk around and have a look at the various things. Corinto is one of the poorer areas and most people here live off the port and cruise ship visits do give a nice boost to the local economy.
In the mists of time when I was Captain on the Statendam, we sponsored a school here which was mainly attended by children of the local dockworkers. Poor people. Those happenings are well described in my blogs from those days and also on the company blog https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/tag/corinto/
I am still grateful for the (financial and material) support of a considerable number of my readers who donated generously. Those donations paid for a new roof and sufficient school supplies to last for two years. Holland America “supplied” white and blue paint and thus this is the only school in the world painted in Holland America colors. Other ships do other things and unfortunately it has become quite difficult to do anything here and thus the ships have now other ports where they try and help.
We left from Corinto at 16.00 hrs. partly because we have to race to Costa Rica and partly because at this time it is near high water and thus more water under the keel to sail out smoothly.
Weather for tomorrow: sunny again and even warmer 94oF / 34oC. The wind will pick up, from the east and thus partly over land and that does not help with having a cool day. Depending on the angle of the wind it might also whip up some waves and that is not good for being at the dock as the swell is rolling right under the open pier and that can cause some movement while alongside. So we keeping our fingers crossed. Easterly wind, but better more to the North East than to the South East.