Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Puntarenas to Golfito

22:00, 11 Jan 2013, Puntarenas Just back from our day tour to a horseback riding and zip-line place high in the mountains near Puntarenas. The deal was that if I went on Fran’s choice of a horseback ride she would do the zip-line, or words to that effect….. Well, she did it. She didn’t sleep much last night fretting about it but after the first of 26 zips she started to enjoy it. There were also 2 rappelling points and a rope bridge to cross. The longest zip was 450 mtrs. What a blast!!! Prior to the zip-line we went on a 2-hour horseback ride into the mountains and up to a col where, on one side, we could see much of the area we have sailed in over the past week and, on the other, the mountains where Monteverde is located. The tops of those mountains were clouded over with ragged cumulus clouds and the Papagayo winds were blowing hard. All in all, a good day!
The owner of the boat next to us is an ex-American who has been here for several years. He is the inventor of a device that purifies water through ionization using an egg sized gizmo that you immerse in a water supply. Check it out at It sure made a difference to the taste of our drinking water. His products are in use around the world and have applications in fish ponds and aquariums too Beverly J and Risk Taker have arrived and will be here for a few days before they follow us down the coast. Tomorrow we re-provision at the local grocery store and market, finish watering up, pay our bill and off we go on another adventure. 21:30, 12 Jan 2013, Anchored between Isla Cedros and Isla Jesusita Another quiet anchorage, if it wasn’t for the stereo on a boat on the other side of the bay. We left Puntarenas about 14:45, just before high tide and followed our “breadcrumbs”, the track that we had created on our chart-plotters on our way in a few days ago. 45 mins later we were clear of the channel and headed into a 15 kts headwind to this anchorage. We arrived at what we thought would be a secluded hide-away to find quite a few other boats there already. Well, it is Saturday, after all, so the locals are weekending out on the water too. We are finding that the I-Pad, I-Nav-X program is a superb chart-plotting aid. The charts are very accurate and the system, with the built-in GPS, is very accurate, particularly useful when transiting a pre-planned route or a previously laid track of “breadcrumbs”. We are also using the Sarana Guide, a downloadable (for a fee) and recently updated manual with lots of detail about the various places that can be visited by cruisers. We also consult an older guide, Charlie’s Charts for Costa Rica, as a secondary aid. Between the two we are able to choose the places we want to visit and know what to expect when we get there. Before we left this morning we went to downtown Puntarenas and did our final shopping at the municipal market and a small grocery store. The market is typical of the indoor markets we have seen all over Central America with fruit and vegetable stands, fish mongers, butchers and with a few eateries interspersed here and there but here the atmosphere is brighter, more spacious and, definitely, cleaner. Fran and I chose one of the food stands for lunch and had an excellent seafood soup and a seafood rice dish. We were quite surprised to see a Chinese flavor to the town. There are a profusion of Chinese restaurants and the influence of Chinese cuisine is evident on menus of most other restaurants we entered. Even the lunch we had was a fried rice style dish. A few nights ago we even found a Chinese run bar that had $1.00 beer, the cheapest we have seen so far in Costa Rica where $2.00 to $3.25 is the norm. 21:00, 15 Jan 2013, Anchored off Manuel Antonio Park, Quepos Another idyllic and quiet anchorage, one of the best we have done to date. We are beat after doing a 2 hour trek through the park this afternoon. It is advertised as one of the best on the coast to observe wildlife and they are not far off the mark. Even though there was quite a crowd on the beaches and paths our guide was able to spot and show us some incredible things. How he spotted most of them is amazing, but then again, he is the guide and is paid to find the critters. Rodrigo was a fountain of knowledge, particularly on insects but we also saw 2 species of monkeys, 2 of sloths, a few hawks, several lizards (that he said taste like chicken), a few tree frogs, a family of raccoons, land crabs but, thankfully the boa constrictors were sleeping somewhere far away from the paths we took.
Anchorage at Manuel Antonio
Tree Frog It has been 2 days since I last updated this section. To summarize: our next stop after Jesuito was Bahia Leona, a very nice bay with a beautiful beach, but it was Sunday and the locals were enjoying their weekend. An interesting fact about schools in Latin America; kids here don’t go back to school until 6 Feb. This is their “summer” holiday period. They have a short break at Easter and another during our summer. About mid-day a big party boat came in with music blaring. It was full of what appeared to be business men having a religious retreat (NOT). By mid-afternoon the party got in full swing when the strippers started doing their thing. Many pairs of binoculars were burnt out that afternoon.
We left the following morning for Quepos and arrived by mid-afternoon. We anchored outside the new marina with lots of other boats. The marina isn’t very well patronized and, at $2.75 per ft per day, it isn’t surprising. We used a panga taxi service to take us ashore for $2 return and celebrated Carole’s birthday at a restaurant downtown and, later, back to August Moon for birthday cake. While we were in town a nice and refreshing downpour came through, the first rain we have seen since San Juan Del Sur. When we left this morning we saw another Canadian boat, Escape, from Calgary, in the anchorage. They are fast-tracking to the Marquesas. Why some cruisers resort to fast passages and miss all of the beautiful places in between is really sad. 21:00, 17 Jan 2013, Anchored at Bahia Drake, CR This bay has been reputed to have been visited by Sir Francis Drake in 1579, during his heyday as a “court appointed” pirate but the historians are not all in agreement. The island just off the coast here, Isla Cano, is reputed to have been another of his haunts, and later, of Captain Morgan. Isla Cano, now a national marine park, has some of the best diving and snorkeling waters in Central America and, in the last year, has become strictly regulated by those who aim at exploiting this reputation. The island is also said to get struck by lightning more than any place in Central America, so we’ll be keeping our distance. This part of the Osa peninsula has an average rainfall of over 220 inches and, true to form, we had a shower when we approached the anchorage. In fact we have had quite a few showers in the past few days as we have sailed down this coast. The evening thunderstorms are well inland but some of the precipitation has been spilling out onto the gulf where we are.
On our arrival here we met another Canadian boat hailing from Calgary, “Snowaway”. They are on their way back to Mexico after a few years in the Caribbean. They were a source of valuable information about places we have yet to visit. Since departing from Quepos we have stopped in Dominicalito, a small bay 20 miles from Quepos. It had been recommended by some cruisers we met in Playa Del Coco but the only saving grace was a good beach surf that Russ and I had to try out on our boogie boards. Later we had dinner on NautiMoments and feasted on fresh yellow fin tuna, Fran turning some of it into sushi rolls. We stayed another day in Drake”s bay and enjoyed a nice lunch at the Drake”s bay resort, a small, 13 room resort set among the natural rain forest vegetation and augmented by a profusion of exotic plants. This is one of the nicest small scale resorts we have all seen. It is ideally located for those who are looking to communicate with nature and within easy reach of the water activities at Isla Cano. 22:00, 20 Jan 2013, At a mooring, Land and Sea Marina, Golfito, CR We arrived here yesterday afternoon after a 10 hour passage from Drake’s Bay. We departed at 05:30 to arrive here in mid-afternoon. We encountered a lot of rain during the morning, some heavy but no significant wind. After rounding the cape on the western side of Golfo Dulce we had a nice following wind and we were finally able to fly our spinnaker for a few hours. We entered Golfito and. Initially, anchored just off Fish hook marina but today we moved to a mooring at the Land and Sea marina while the other 2 boats tied up at the Banana Bay marina. We were pleased to see Sunday, Gil and Lexi’s boat, tied up at Fish Hook and Jeff”s boat, Chasing the Sun, at another buoy close by. He has just been joined by his wife and they will be leaving for Panama in a few days. Sunday was one of the first boats we met when we sailed down from San Diego in 2008. We saw Gil and Lexi several times over the following 2 seasons but they sailed south in 2010. We knew they were on their way back home to the US and knew that we would cross paths at some point. As luck would have it we were able to meet them here where we will be able to have some quality time with them and re-kindle our competition for sexual supremacy with a board game called Jokers and Pegs. So far after last night’s games, we are tied.It will be sad to bid farewell to them again but we are hoping that our paths will cross sooner than later. 18:00, 22 Jan, 2013 Still at the Land and Sea buoy. It has been a couple of busy days getting re-supplied for our next leg and getting our exit Zarpe so we can legally leave the country and enter Panama. The process was quick and easy, only cost us $25 and the personnel at the offices we went to were more than friendly and helpful. The Immigration official was a hoot. He told us all about the rich and famous who have visited his office. He showed us a photo of himself and jack Nicholson. Tomorrow we will depart late and follow the other 2 boats that leave tomorrow morning. We will be entering Panamanian waters and slowly making our way towards Panama City with lots of island stops on the way. We will be out of internet coverage for some time so it may take a few weeks for the next update. 14:30, 23 Jan 2013, Same place Just a few last thoughts before I post. I am up in the clubhouse at Land and Sea. It is a funky room with logos of many of the boats that have used the facilities over the years. Had we been prepared it would have been fun to leave a memento of Gosling’s visit, however, artists we are not. The other 2 boats left this morning and are heading for a bay just south of the entrance of the Gulf. We’ll be leaving this evening and will join them at their next destination. We had the rig tuned this morning by a local rigger, Larry Devine and he advised us on a minor electrical issue that has been bothering us since we left El Salvador. We also went to the local “Duty Free” zone to do some shopping. We have no idea how the local shop owners can compete with this concept. The myriad of stores carry quite a range of products, mostly electronics and appliances but some shops carry liquor at greatly reduced prices. We stocked up on rum and white wine. We are actually running out of the 2 buck chuck we brought aboard last year…..

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