Overnight to Costa Rica
We checked out of Nicaragua Tuesday, February 2 at 9 am looking forward to the 24 hour trip to Costa Rica. We had a forecast for fair winds, the strongest being 25 knots near midnight forecasted to last 3 to 4 hours. With smooth sailing during the day we tried our luck fishing and landed two beautiful tuna. By nightfall (not midnight) the wind had increased with gust up to 30 and by midnight we had gust to 50 knots and they remained in that range for the remainder of the trip.
To keep us alert It was a black night and there were many fishing boats off the coast of Southern Nicaragua, at times we counted 25 and 30 each using two high powered lights, I guess to attract the fish near the boat. On one occasion we had a panga approach to direct us around the nets. Shortly after we lost power and thought we had snagged a net or line. I checked the shaft and it was turning freely, the problem turned out to be a clogged fuel filter, changing it out trying not to spill diesel with the boat rolling made for an interesting time.
At ten the following morning we were in Costa Rican waters and pulled into Bahia Santa Elena, supposedly a well protected bay, to get a break from the wind. This is not a “check in” point for the country so we were really not supposed to have stopped but we were bushed and there was no indication of the wind abating. Once in the bay and anchored we slept the rest of the day and night.
When we woke the next morning the wind was stronger and the forecast was for it to last another 4 to 5 days. We hoped the immigration people would understand. Later in the day we were on our buddy boat Kanilela when we were visited by six fishermen in a panga looking for sugar. Mags filled a bag with sugar and included six coke, to show their appreciation they gave us six beautiful fish 10 to 12 inches long, shook hands, and called us “amigos”. A wonderful welcome to Costa Rica.
Day and night you could hear the winds coming as they blew down the mountain rustling the trees. Once they reached the boat we would to heel to one side, swing around, and heel to the opposite side then it would calm down for a minute and start all over again driving you a little insane. This along with the noise of the wind howling through the rigging didn’t give you much chance to relax, always worried with every gust the anchor rode might break. Kanilela did have two instances where their rode snapped. On one occasion the wind flipped our dinghy that was tied to the stern of the boat. Mary and I could not upright it until another gust caught it and flipped it again. The motor was full of water but started again after drying out the cylinders.
We were picking up some weather information from Gord’s short wave radio but as time dragged on Gord decided to bike to a small village 6 miles away to get the forecast first hand. We waited two days before it was safe to ferry him to shore for his planned 4 hour trip. The village was further then expected and the internet was extremely slow resulting in an eight hour trip, returning just as we were preparing to go look for him. The forecast showed a window for the Monday the 15th. If this didn’t materialize plan B would be to beat against the wind 5 miles to this village and anchor there to have access to some basic food supplies not to mention refreshments.
Monday morning we got the break we had been waiting 13 days for, so instead of beating to the village we set sail for the resort town of Cocos 50 miles to the South. Once there we anchored off and went ashore for food and beer. Finally a meal without canned tuna casserole. We toured this funky busy little town for two days and then went to the upscale Marina Papagayo (with upscale prices) so we could clean the salt off the boat and do other chores.
This place is amazing, it’s a huge well built resort but as you can see the marina is maybe 10% full and I have not seen one person in the hotel condo complex, How it has survived for so many years is a mystery. It is in the middle of nowhere. The cheapest way to get provisions from here is to rent a car for 90 dollars and drive to Cocos. We know some people on other boats here that we met at the bar for happy hour every day. Other then that the bar is empty most of the time. We did get one pleasant surprise when we met our friends Gary and Mary from Vancouver Island at the bar one day. They were on vacation in Costa Rica and decided to go for a drive and ended up at this marina, they are not sure why, but decided to have a beer at this bar. As they were sitting there Gary said this is the kind of place Paul and Mary would hang out. Mary (Gary’s wife) looked up and we were walking toward the table next to them. We were all in awe and had a wondeful visit with great friends!!