Friday, March 26, 2010

it's still hot here in golfito

Land Sea Services - their houseboat anchored next to us here in Golfito

down the way from us here in Golfito

view of approaching rain around a large rock while anchored in manuel antonio

downpour while motorsailing

what we were motorsailing into after leaving Isla del Cano

anchoring on the large mooring off Isla del Cano

watching the rain and lightening at the north end of Quepos

it was a tight squeeze into the fuel dock at Los Suenos marina

at the fuel dock looking toward Jimmy T's gourmet store

sunset at Bahia Ballena

sunset at Guacamaya

Marina Papagayos - at $2/ft no wonder there are empty slips - can you spot us?

the beach at Playa del Coco

some of the regular vendors at Playa del Coco

goesalthia meiantha tree on Isla del Cano

enormous leaves everywhere

some kinda lizard (I'll look for ID later) on Isla del Cano

leaving the Pt. Captain's office in Golfito we spotted this train

hats for sale in the mercado surrounding the duty free shops

Land Sea Services where we're moored in Golfito

just after the rain yesterday Dockwise Yacht Transport freighter (they transport boats all over the world) was getting ready to leave here in Golfito

view from where we're moored here in Golfito

another view down the way from our mooring

sunset last night after the rain

from the cemetary a view of us at anchor behind the houseboat

from the cemetary

once again it's a race against the clock to share our adventures with you before losing our wifi connection. what follows is a condensed version of what happened after we left marina papagayo march 17.
check-out was easy at playa del coco, though getting to shore was not. with our national zarpe complete, we motorsailed over to guacamaya (whaaa kaa my ya) where we enjoyed swimming around the boat and snorkling at a nearby reef. then it was on to bahia ballena, arriving the next morning exhausted. we spent a good part of the day napping. we watched the clouds amass into billowy backdrops for the hills, wondering how it would impact the weather. next day we crossed the bay to fuel up at los suenos marina, a very swanky spot tightly packed with big power boats. the highlight was the well-stocked gourmet store jimmy t's. 9:30am wasn't too early to enjoy a dos pinos ice cream bar. later we munched on potato salad for me and corn beef for jim. we arrived in quepos in the afternoon motoring around to find just the right spot to anchor. the north end of quepos next to the marina construction wasn't it. punta quepos looked like a lush tropical cove, the perfect spot - until we hit a rock with our keel. no that wasn't a good spot. by now the clouds had turned angry grey over quepos to the north with periodic lightening. we rounded the corner to manuel antonio just as the sun was closing in on the horizon. this anchorage was fringed with parque nacional manuel antonio and close enough to hear the wildlife. with only one other sailboat, it was the perfect anchorage. we huddled under the biminey when the rain came and watched the lightening show off in the distance. despite the closeness of the lightening (mostly cloud to cloud and not bolt to land), we felt safe and secure inside this little bay with hills higher than our mast. the next morning we left before sunrise and headed over to bahia drake (drah-kay) to anchor midafternoon. we finally inflated the dinghy - no easy task in this heat so felt like it took forever. jim checked the keel for damage (a dent removing some bottom paint - we were lucky!). next morning we motored over to Isla del CaƱo where we hiked through the forest among some amazing trees. we left late afternoon to motor sail all night. we were treated to a continuous lightening show moving all around us. sure it was incredibly awesome, but i'd rather not see it from our boat while motoring. we grabbed a mooring at land sea services in golfito and have been enjoying wifi ever since. check-in and out was easy. we even managed to get to the duty free shops. robert, the freezer repairman, came today and apparently our freezer needs a major overhaul. we're hoping to get it taken care of in panama city next week. in the meantime we're gorging ourselves with my precious morningstar veggie products. last evening around dusk we could see rain mist at the far end of the bay. a couple minutes later we heard it pounding on land just down the way from us. then we were treated to cool air and good hard rain lasting maybe 10 minutes. all too soon it moved to the other end of the bay. it seems to do this regularly.
that's it for now. i hope to give more information tomorrow before we leave for puerto amuelles, panama.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

leaving Marina Papagayo March 17

Terri took this picture of us leaving Bahia del Sol

on our tour in Antigua, Jorge our tour guide, s/v Volo Max and Sandy, m/v Traveller Brian and Terri, s/v Chesapeake Jim and Linda

We're getting ready to leave here (Marina Papagayo) which means no internet for a bit. You can check back with us in a week or two to see where we are.

papagayos and so much more

drinks down the beach at "The Club" (Terri was taking the picture)

the wedding in front of our boat

the woman with the pig and other animals - one of her parrots (note the apron)

her husband had to lift this guy up onto his feet, he's 2 days old
mama is in the background a bit worried about me

Isla Meanguera with Traveller in the background

net fishing on the beach with Chesapeake and Traveller in the background

one of the wooden dugout canoes

fisherman's camp on the beach - drying his nets

chart plotter tracking us at anchor in El Astillero

flock of pelicans flying by in El Astillero

Salvadorian Navy coming to visit at Isla Meanguera

during the papagayos knot meter not at 42.6 yet, but still too much wind

everything was coated in salt, including our bodies

yes indeed we took a bath during the papagayos

we were flying at 9kn

Wifi at last. We arrived yesterday morning first thing (are we anxious or what?) so we could get as much wifi, water, showers, pool, laundry, and electricity as we could. 15 days away from these luxuries in a hot and humid environment isn't much fun. now we and the boat are clean and ready to continue south through Costa Rica on into Panama.

So where are we? We're currently at Marina Papagayo (very expensive new marina with US prices - ouch!) in the Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica, Bahia Culebra, the Gulf of Papagayo. Culebra, by the way, means snake and the locals are trying to change the name to Papagayo to increase more interest in the area. Here's the quick version of where we've been since leaving Bahia del Sol, El Salvador:

March 3 left on the high tide at 5pm and had an easy crossing over the bar. we left with our friends Brian and Terri on their diesel duck Traveller (yes that's a power boat).
March 4 arrived at Isla Meanguera 9am. Salvadoran Navy stopped by to check us out - very friendly. Brian took us ashore in his dinghy (ours is packed up on deck)where we chatted with some locals and while I was photographing a pig his owners invited me to come take pictures of their other animals.
March 5 sails up at 7am, by 10:30am we'd done 25 miles - great sailing in 25kn winds and we flew, 8-9 kn. By noon motoring. night sailing we were dodging mysterious lights and the winds were in the 30s. 2 reefs in the main and rolled up the jib. We were in the middle of papagayos and no place to go.
March 6 dawn and we were both exhausted from a stressful night. Still doing 8-9kn, winds in the high 30s and waves 4-5 ft. we found a place to anchor at Masachapa to try and relax and rest. It was a good spot and in hindsight we wish we'd stayed.
March 7 we went back out thinking the winds had abated. but nooooo. Winds started building and topping 42.6, white water everywhere. Boat was continually awash with high waves. We were in Nicaragua and we took the first good anchorage we could find which was El Astillero (no name). We decided to stay put until the forecast improved. The Nicaraguan Navy stopped by for a visit while we were making breakfast. He came down below and drank some weak barely warm coffee, took a few documents and left. He was very nice and polite. We spent the next 3 days listening to the wind howl outside (in the 30s) and hoping the anchor would hold. Needless to say we got very little sleep but we did get a lot of boat projects done.
March 10 winds had subsided considerably and we left to join Traveller in Santa Elena, Costa Rica. Did a brief stop on the way into Bahia del Sur San Jose to visit s/v Mandan and share morning coffee with Jack. Arrived in Santa Elena and were treated to dinner on Traveller. It's a beautiful soft-sided mangrove-lined bay and we had it all to our selves. parrots flew overhead at dusk and bait balls (bunches of fish) glittered in the water.
March 11 Jim changed the water maker filter and we went to shore for a very brief walk as I was concerned about snakes. That night we discovered we'd anchored in a snake pit. Really. Way too many yellow bellied sea snakes milling around after dark. Yuk. Jim says there were millions of 'em.
March 12 we left at 4am heading to Playa del Coco to officially check into Costa Rica and provision. It was a mad scramble to get to the Pt. Captain, Migracion and Aduana (customs) before everyone closed for the weekend. Very confusing and Pt. Captain closed before we could return as she instructed. To make matters worse, waves were too strong for us to dinghy ashore so had to hire a panga to fetch us back and forth, with about 10 bags of groceries (eggs included). Spent the night in a very rolly and uncomfortable spot and couldn't wait to leave the next morning.
March 13-14 we were outta there by 7am and went around the corner to Playa Panama. What a clean and comfortable anchorage in front of a resort. Jim and I went swimming and cleaned the boat bottom (trying out our hooka). Took a couple walks on the beach and were the backdrop to a beachside wedding.
March 15 took a taxi back to Coco to make sure our check in was fully completed. Pt. Captain office never opened (some kind of medical emergency we later discovered). But we got more food, really yummy great food, at a very upscale market. Winds died and it turned hot and humid. We couldn't wait for next morning to get to the marina.
and that's what we've been up to. For those of you who had birthdays I hope you understand why you didn't hear from us.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

antigua, guatemala

one of the huipils in my most favorite store in Antigua

Sunday at the farmers market

one of the many displays of traditional clothing at my favorite store

one of the little boys at the farmers market

the bus depot behind the farmers market - those buses are gorgeous and very clean

an impromptu traditional dance while his brothers and father played

a family of musicians

arch connecting the 2 parts of the old convent and Volcan de Agua in the background - in the late morning you could see smoke coming out at the top

on his way to the Sunday market at La Merced church

facade of the La Merced church

one of the many watercolor artists selling his work

facade of a colonial church

one of many open markets around town

I was thrilled to get back to Antigua, Guatemala. It was a very short trip, arriving just after dark, and I had half of the next day to wander around.