Friday, January 11, 2013

Golfo Nicoya - Puntarenas

22:00 5 Jan 2013, Day 2, Bahia Balena We are in the north anchorage of this bay after a bouncy night last night. We awoke in the same location but an hour later we noticed that we were dragging anchor in the fresh breeze that had come up. When the anchor was brought up the cable was wrapped around the base of the flukes. We repositioned and spent most of the day ashore checking out the small village buying some fresh supplies and having lunch. Fran has to have her weekly quota of fish so we opted for a Central American staple that has become one of our favourites, baked fish. This time it was barracuda and it was really good.
We also went to the fishermen's dock near the old and, now defunct, yacht club. The fish they brought in were astounding. We ended up buying shrimp and Dorado. Check out the photo of just part of the dorado haul:
When we got back to our boats in mid-afternoon we all moved to the more sheltered anchorage in the northern part of the bay. By this time we had been joined by Beverly J and Risk Taker. As I was pulling up the anchor to leave I felt a sudden jerk just as the anchor was supposed to break out of the mud bottom. When it came up, only the shaft was there and gone were the flukes. We didn’t bother to look for the missing parts as they would have been deep in the mud and, most likely, not repairable anyway. Now we have a 25 lb Danforth rather than a 35 lb so we’ll have to be more careful in our anchorages and we’ll be shopping for an anchor along the way. This side of the bay is owned by someone called Heart. Apparently he was the inventor and owned the company that made the Heart Interface. I actually have one as part of my electrical system. It would have been neat to meet the guy but he is a recluse. 21:00 7 Jan, 2013 Anchored in Bahia Curu You can’t ask for much quieter than this. There are no resorts, no shore music and the only sound is the surf slapping the shore at the end of the bay. Earlier we heard the howler monkeys screeching like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, a truly eerie sound. We left Bahia Balena early yesterday and arrived at Islas Tortugas before the onslaught of the tourist boats but by the time we were ready to snorkel the reef the hordes were among us. The cove is the ideal setting for a movie set with its beautiful sandy beach backed up with coconut palms. The tourist dollar has brought the souvenir shop, rental umbrellas and several canoe/kayak/jet-ski rentals that litter the beach. The people that arrive here by boat are mainly tourists from resorts, brought here by panga or catamaran to snorkel in the protected waters of the bay. If it weren’t for some colorful fish there wouldn’t be much attraction. Here, as it is everywhere we have been along this coast, the reef is dead; a brown mass of broken nubs.
On a mission....
A spotted ray in the shallows.
By 4PM the tourist boats were all gone and we had the bay to ourselves. We spent a quiet night and headed here, to Bahia Curu, first thing this morning. He bay is a nature preserve, a gift from a family that owned and farmed it years ago. It is said to have many species of birds and animals but we only saw a few when we went exploring this morning. Fran was overjoyed when she found out that they offered a trail ride tour, something she has wanted to do since we left El Salvador.
Apart from a few deer, some cows and a colony of monkeys the ride was rather dull; no seven banded armadillos or white nosed koatis as listed in the brochure. When we arrived back from the ride it was feeding time at the administration building. At noon every day the staff put out some fruit and today some iguanas and a group of capucine monkeys were in residence. The monkeys put on quite a show for us and a group of French-Canadian tourists from a nearby resort.
18:00, 8 Jan 2012, Anchored off Naranjo, CR The smells of dinner are wafting out of the galley. Fran is making paella for the group dins tonight. This follows on the bake your own bread and cinnamon buns that Doreen prepared for all 3 boats at noon. What a treat that was. It has been a long time since we have had fresh baked bread onboard but, Trish, if you read this you’ll probably remember that. Trish (Ka-Em-Te) was our baker extraordinaire when we sailed down the coast of Mexico on our first trip in Gosling.
Today was a leisurely sail down the coast looking at some of the anchorages and sights recommended by the Sarana Guide. When we left this morning the water was crystal clear but here there is evidence of pollution. There is lots of junk floating in the water and there is a scum on the surface. The clarity has reduced to about 2-3 ft and the colour is a dirty green. We have stopped making water to conserve our pre-filters. There won’t be any snorkeling until we get further out into the Gulf. We are poised to enter Puntarenas tomorrow. This anchorage is about 7 miles from the entrance to the basin where there are 2 marinas. Our destination will be the Costa Rica Yacht Club. We plan to be there only a few days to do some inland travel before we forge ahead towards Golfito and Panama beyond. There will be some significant changes to what I saw in 1984 when I stopped here in Oriole. We received an e-mail from Jeff, the solo sailor we had met in Samara. He has arrived in Golfito. We were worried about his progress and had put out a few advisories on the SSB net for people to look out for him. 21:00, 9 Jan 2013, Alongside a floating dock, Costa Rica Yacht Club, Puntarenas, CR We are tied up to a novel concept in docks. It is basically a floating, moored raft with accommodation for 2 boats and serviced by a water taxi service, supposedly 24 hrs/day. It even has a water supply from a hose leading from ashore. We are in relatively shallow water and, in the next 2 days, the spring tides will leave us with our keel in the mud at low tide. Not a big problem for us but for the other 2 boats with their fin keels and spade rudders it could be dicey. We entered Puntarenas just at high tide and slowly made our way up the channel guided by a boat from the marina and the waypoints provided by the Sarana Guide. With an 8 ft tide there were spots where we only had a few feet clearance. Once you are in here you are at the mercy of the tide. Getting information beforehand about our berths was impossible so we had to wait until the last minute to see the arrangement. It is not ideal but the price is right, they have services we will need and it is only for a few days while we re-provision and do our inland trip to the Monte Verde Park. Although somewhat disorganized the staff is very friendly and helpful. Security is paramount with 24/7 guards, a good feature. Leu and Cleas (Whiteshell) are here and their help was invaluable particularly with the medical issue Russ had on arrival. Last night he found a tick imbedded in his back. Doreen was able to remove it but was completely grossed out when it began moving after wards. It was promptly dunked in an alcohol bath and preserved. Both were worried about the possibility that it carried Lymes disease so Russ was immediately sent in for a medical consult on arrival. He was given some strong antibiotics and a reassurance that Lymes disease is unlikely, but only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    Best to you there and enjoy this New Year. We are still in Mazatlan but wish to get out of here in a week or so. Love the blog. Keep it up

    Anne and Dick