Expat misadventures in kiteboarding schools

At different times, the writer started two kiteboarding schools (one based out of San Juan del Sur but actually on Lake Nicaragua) but closed them both when polluted water was making the customers ill.


In the article, they mention an interesting google maps feature. If you zoom in on water and see fish bones, you can get toxic [sic] reports.

sball edit: The locals provided some much needed fact checking of the original article and its author.

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You gotta be kidding!

That distorted article starts with a photo of a dead fish on a beach - How unusual!
Your comment adds to the confusion:
Submitted by sball - ...writer started two kiteboarding schools, one in San Juan del Sur...
She started the school on Lake Nicaragua down south in the boonies near Costa Rica which is not even close to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific Ocean!

A whopper from the article:
None of the cities or villages in Nicaragua have sewage treatment plants. They pump the sewage directly into the lake, and for a population of nearly 6 million people, this is just downright gross!
Yes the lake IS being heavily polluted by cities like Granada, Rivas etc but NOT 6 Million people.
People eat the fish caught in the lake near Granada which is something I would not do because of the pollution.
However swimming in the San Jorge & Ometepe area and south is very popular and this is the first time I have seen a horror story like this tall tale.
San Juan del Sur gets its drinking water via pipeline from the lake but of course it is treated like any water supply would be.

A good response to that article was this comment:
...Trying to open a kiteschool with no money in a country with no kiters in a spot no one goes to without any accommodations seems like the real problem...
That author has been spamming Linkedin for several years trying to find a $$ sponsor to start another kitesurfing business on the Nica Pacific coast but obviously no takers - Maybe that is her problem.

The Google Earth dead fish Icon looks interesting and worth talking a look at what it means. Maybe reports major oil spills, toxic releases, etc???
If I ever decide to start a kitesurfing school I will look for those problems first.

The world IS becoming completely polluted and that definitely needs to be fixed but this kind of story just gives the deniers a laugh.

I know this young lady.

She is full of the proverbial and a scam artist. Her and her mother profited from an an allegation of a crime that was never proven and the suspect was released. Her and her mother spent a nice chunk of Canadian taxpayers money being paid to stay in Nicaragua until the trial. They eventually remembered to tell the Canadian Government that the case had been dismissed!!

IMPO, she has zero credibility as a victim, plaintiff or journalist.


This is what NL is supposed to do. That is, when a Nicaragua-related topic is posted, those who know add in their knowledge. Or, put another way, calling BS when that is what we have.

See my edit


No - NOT better!

I tried really hard to be kinder and gentler on my reply to your OP but you make it tough.
Juanno just touched on the details about her - She and her "antics" were well known in town - I could go on with a lot more but won't.
You posted a wild phony claim as if it were factual and it is not!
Submitted by sball - ...based out of San Juan del Sur...
She was not based out of San Juan del Sur.
She put out a news release about "new kite surf resort opening soon on the wind farm on Lake Nicaragua" but nothing successful ever materialized since she could not get someone to fund her.

BTW KWP there is at least one kite business at Ometepe: http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g304024-d5979161-Reviews-Sun_Kite_School-Isla_de_Ometepe_Rivas_Department.html

Google picks up this forum withing a day or so and SJDS and Nicaragu do not need any more bad publicity especially when it is false.
Your post was irresponsible!


I posted an article I found, quoting what it said, and you're acting like I committed murder. I think it's great that you and Juanno were familiar with the "school" and posted the other side.

Now is it better?

Some truth in the gray water going into the lake


..."the grey water (water from showers, sinks or gutters) exits from our Granada homes separately from the black water (sewage) which goes to the septic system or sewer pipes. Most homes channel the grey water to the streets or to the arroyos (street canals) which eventually enters Lake Nicaragua which is another issue"....

Granada is a big town and the current hugs that side of the lake (in fact the currents bring silt from the north shore down to San Jorge and it fills the port giving more dredging work to Pastora).

A problem here in SJdS in some barrios and I dare say all over the country.

I could see how coming from a country where you cant even wash your car in the street you could call gray water sewage.

one of the worst

Was Reptilnic.

A outfit preparing hides for export.

The process is using huge wooden drums and wash the cattle hides in to " wet blue " this process uses 8% chromium and as all know it is pure poison i think the government or more likely the town of Granada stepped in and demanded a pond for his waist, never checked out what happen, this was in 2001 and the outfit might not even be in biz anymore.

Considering the high volume of his biz it must have been bad for the big lake.

Same is for Managua where there was dozens in the early 1990, one of the big polluters was the army and the boot factory located on the left side going north trough town.

Germany is trying to clean up after a visit in 94 based on the " shit runs down hill" theory.

Can't wash your car in the street?

I had to look that one up to see if it was true and apparently it is in some parts of Canada, but it's pretty odd considering the number of cities that still dump black water (yes, we know the difference) into waterways. I'm not saying it's right, just that it's still happening all over the world.

Yes, All The Gray

water in Condega exits through concrete channels alongside the houses, directly into the street. So that would be shower, kitchen waste water including some food waste, and water from clothes washing.

It enters large manhole drains in the low point of the street, and I assume, along with the rain water, enters the river. There is probably some contribution by this water to the zancudo breeding habitat, and by extension, dengue and other mosquito borne illness, but I don't know the extent of it. Yellow fever is making a comeback, Venezuela is one of the countries affected, and Sandinista travelers to Venezuela could bring it back to Nicaragua. This is more serious than dengue, but an effective vaccine is available.

Actual sewage is captured, as far as I can tell, in holes dug in the ground. Some are lined with brick. There are still a lot of outhouses in town, the house next to me uses an outhouse. I've asked around, but have not found anyone in Condega with a septic tank.

I've seen a honey pumper make the rounds so these cesspools eventually fill up and need to be emptied.

OK yes it is not a big deal.

Use of the "blockquote" tags and then a descriptive comment usually makes things like that clearer.
Tales like this are pretty common down here so usually you become desensitized but once in a while it gets to you.

In All Fairness

we go with what we know. . .Disinformation is the coin of the realm here. If I had a dime for everything I thought I knew, I'd move to southern Mexico with my riches and grow coffee there..

I'm still trying to get to the bottom of the medical students returned from Venezuela . .. does anyone know one of these kids? I've got a dog in the fight because I'm trying to prep my pupilo for med school. No standardized testing here, does she have the chops?? Does the intellectual content even matter? The fire in the heart might mean more? Should she join the FSLN? Become Catholic ? (UCATSE is Catholic). I've been helping rebuild the Cristo Negro church in Venecia over the last couple of months (another pathetic example of me forcing myself into Nicaraguan's lives, as Rebecca puts it). , when I met with the director trying to get Jaido in, I could have sworn he was a priest. He looked Jaido in the eye and asked him if here were Catholic during the interview. Susana had already warned Jaido that the question was coming . .

Will we get extra credit for any of this? Maybe hold off on the FSLN until we see how the Ortega dialog with the Bishops turns out? We have a year and a half to figure it all out.

I love this country .. .

I'm in Honduras at the moment, staying at the Hotel Esperanza in Danlí, nice place with AC for $21 including tax. I found some hardware items I needed easily and quickly ...and I still have all day tomorrow to shop. Wish I'd brought my bike. Everything in Honduras is cheaper, from beans to mangoes. There's something oddly relaxing about the country, can't put my finger on it.

I hope someone feeds Nicolas while I'm gone, he might eat one of the cats otherwise.

Dead Zones - Google "Skeletal fish icon"

Dead zones form when excess nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, enter coastal waters and help fertilize blooms of algae. Major nutrient sources include fertilizers and the burning of fossil fuels. When these algae die and sink to the bottom, they provide a rich food source for bacteria, which in the act of decomposition consume dissolved oxygen from surrounding waters...
Does not seem to refer to oil leaks or toxic leaks as that article claimed but those surely would be bad also.

Kite Boarding School

on Omnetepe? Maybe she didn't pick the right spot?

I've been around Lake Nicaragua on boat, and the water quality varies. On the "beaches" when the wind is up, the water is turbid from the fine silt taken up by the wave action. As you get into the isletas, the water is clear. The silt seems to settle pretty fast. I haven't been to Omnetepe, so can't speak to the quality of the beach there.

I would agree, that there are not enough people to create a serious health hazard at this point. Remember too, people don't put the stuff into the sewage lines in Nicaragua that they do in other countries. Even TP is separated. Except for a few floaters at the outlet, the material is going to break up and disperse pretty quickly. Lake Nicaragua is a big lake.

More of a problem might be the future shipping traffic through the canal. The ship channels will require constant dredging because of the nature of the lake bottom, and that will eventually create a very muddy lake, possibly even extending into the isletas.