Thursday, December 27, 2012
Nicaragua and Costa Rica and the Papagayos
07:00, Monday, 17 Dec, 2012 Anchored in Bahia Santa Elena, Costa Rica It is absolutely calm and windless for the first time since we arrived last Friday. The Papagayo winds that buffeted us on the crossing and here at the anchorage had begun to decrease yesterday and suddenly shut down last evening. What we are left with is a beautiful mirror surface broken here and there by surfacing fish and the occasional seabird diving for a meal. Had we been up at sunrise we would have heard the parrots in the trees ashore but we’ll have to wait for sunset to enjoy that again. Fran was up at 02:00 and was amazed at the reflection of the starry sky on the water and the pop of phosphorescent particles, a truly magical scene. Our departure from San Juan Del Sur wasn’t without drama. Our newfound faith in Central American bureaucracy was dashed during our out-routine when both the Port Captain and the immigration official (different individuals from our entry processing) demanded another payment, but, what can you do? Luckily we had enough US cash to cover the extra $75. Funny, that only the cruisers get charged these extra fees. If you drive or fly into the country this never happens. We (with Nauti Moments) motored out of the bay hoping for the predicted decrease in the papagayos but, alas, it continued to blow 25-35 kts all the way across. The 4-hour washing machine-like ride was quickly forgotten when we entered this pristine bay. Our welcoming committee was a large school of rays feeding on the surface as we entered. We anchored in the lee of the northern shore in 25 ft. with a good mud bottom. With the papagayos still gusting up to 30 kts we needed a good holding and this is the best. This peninsula is part of an extensive national park system and is maintained as such. Normally we would be charged for being here but there are no attendants on this side so we get it gratis. Over the past few days we have been limited in our exploration of the bay by the high winds but today should be a much better day to see some of the more distant beaches. Yesterday we hiked up to a waterfall that was described in the cruising guide. It was a short hike mainly along a stream bed but the small waterfall and swimming hole made it all worthwhile. Later on Fran and I went snorkeling in a bay close to the boat but the sand and mud bottom was uninteresting. Earlier we had seen rays and barracuda hunting in the same area. The guidebook claims that there are hundreds of wild and exotic animal and bird species in the park but we only saw a few large cat tracks on our hike to the falls, a few hawks and some green parrots. The parrots only fly overhead at sunset, probably so that the hawks can’t see them clearly enough. They always fly in pairs but there are a few loners who squawk constantly as if to say “wait for me, wait for me”…. Fran wasn’t impressed to see a 3 ft. sea snake beside the boat one morning.