Monday, February 1, 2016

Playa del Cocos to Golfito - and everywhere in between

Yes, it has been a while since I've updated the blog.  So much for my New Year's resolution...

We are currently in Golfito, ready to check out of Costa Rica tomorrow.  So, I will update you on our stops and adventures from Bahia Santa Elena to Golfito and all of the stops in between.

Our first stop from Bahia Santa Elena was Playa del Cocos.  We left on 1/9 at 0900 and arrived at 1630 traveling about 40 nm with no wind.  We needed to round Punta Santa Elena with good conditions so we planned to go when there was not much wind.  At this point we were still in the Papagayo wind area and wanted to avoid any high wind events on the nose.  Luckily, we were able to get spotty cell phone reception in Bahia Santa Elena so Jake could download GRIB files for weather. 

We dropped the hook right around dinner time in Playa del Cocos.  After, eating on the boat for seven days in a deserted anchorage we welcomed the civilization that Cocos had to offer.  We quickly launched the kayaks and headed to shore in search of cheeseburgers.  Eighty dollars later, our tummies where full and the rumors about Costa Rica prices were confirmed.

Playa del Coco

Playa del Cocos is a port of entry for Costa Rica.  We checked in the day after arrival with the port captain and immigration, right in town, and took a bus to the Liberia airport for customs.  Total check in cost FREE.  Yay!

Overall, Playa del Cocos was just ok.  The beach was ok.  The dinghy landing wasn't too bad most of the time as long as you timed it closely.  We pulled the dinghy on to the beach and chained it to a palm tree. They did have showers at the beach that we always welcome.  We filled up our jerry jugs with the water from the showers.  I would not recommend doing this on a Sunday when all of the locals are trying to use the showers... There were plenty of markets off the main road for provisioning, however, prices where very high.  It's not easy provisioning in Costa Rica when you are used to Mexico and El Salvador prices.

We left Playa del Cocos on 1/13 and headed to Brasilito at 0845 and dropped the hook at 1315 after having a great sail for the 15 nm journey.  We anchored at the Playa Flamingo anchor waypoint from the Sarana guide.  We were the only boat in the bay.  There was a pretty cool rock island within kayaking distance that had a picturesque white sand beach at low tide.  We spent a day there snorkeling, exploring the tide pools, and beach combing.  The town had a few options for dining and a market or two with basic provisions.  

Katelyn getting buff on the beach.

Next stop on the agenda was Bahia Ballena.  Well, actually, we set out to for Bahia Carrillo only 50 nm down the coast.  We ended up having such a beautiful sail straight out of Bahia Brasilito that we decided to keep on going overnight the 98 nm to Bahia Ballena.  It was one of those overnight passages that make you just fall in love with sailing all over again.  We had no more than 10 knots of wind, sometimes only 4-5 knots, but we were cruising right along on a close reach the whole way.  Such a peaceful passage.

We left Brasilito at 0630 and arrived in Bahia Ballena at 0800 the next day (1/16).  We anchored off the small fishing village and were immediately treated to monkeys hooting and hollering at each other.  Bahia Ballena is part of the Nicoya Penninsula and we noticed that the landscape was turning from dry to more lush and green.  The beach in the bay was disappointing though.  Not really a beach you would want to swim in.  Although, on the other side of the bay we did spot an anchorage that appeared to be a more picturesque beach from a distance.  The town had a couple of eateries, one with great pizza, and one market and hardware store. 

We also ran in to two more cruising boats in the anchorage.  We met up with s/v Alcyone and Klikittat.  It was nice to have some company.  We had not seen any other cruisers since leaving El Salvador.  

On 1/18 we left Bahia Ballena for a short 30 nm sail to Herradura.  We left Ballena at 0915 and arrived at 1335.  We quickly identified the Los Suenos Marriott and made plans to sneak into their pool for a refreshing dip.  Sometimes you just need a break from salt water.  Going onto their property was just too easy.  We strutted right in from the beach.  The never ending pools were amazing and to top it off the pool bathrooms had showers.  We spent two days lounging around the pool and using their wifi (no password).  Normally, when we do this we would patronize their establishments.  However, we couldn't bring ourselves to spend $20 for a cheeseburger or $7 for a beer.  Sorry Marriott - thanks for the memories!

Moving right along... On 1/20 we motored 34 nm to Quepos.  We left at 0645 and arrived at 1425 in the anchorage off of Punta Quepos, a much quieter more picturesque anchorage versus the anchorage right off the town.  We were super excited to get to Quepos to meet up with friends on s/v Red Thread.  They had stored their boat in Quepos for the summer and were a great resource for getting to know the area.  

We had a great time exploring the area.  Again, the anchorage was beautiful.  We were surrounded by beautiful beaches and reefs for snorkeling.  We spent a day at Manuel Antonio National Park and saw some amazing creatures - capuchin monkeys, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, sloths, red-eyed tree frog, and iguanas.  Everything was very up close and personal, much better than the monkeys in a cage at the zoo.  My only complaint - it was HOT.  There were a million stairs to traverse and our clothes were soaked through in sweat by the time we left the park. 

It's hard to find qualified electricians in Costa Rica.

Cool restaurant on the way to Manuel Antonio Park

Watching the sun set never gets old.

We left Quepos at 0600 on 1/25 to head about 60 nm to Bahia Drake.  We arrived in the dark at 2030 under a semi-full moon.  Luckily, the bay is wide open and shallow a ways out so it was an easy night time arrival.  Bahia Drake was extremely lush with dense tropical foliage.  It is one of the most isolated destinations in Costa Rica, located on the Osa Peninsula.  It was also very humid. It's getting hotter the further south we get... 

Drake's Bay

We left Drake on 1/28 at 0300 and headed 63 nm to Golfito arriving at 1530.  We are currently tied up to a Land & Sea mooring ball for $10/night.  This gives us use of their dinghy dock, wifi, and cruiser's clubhouse.  We have heard a lot of bad things about Golfito, but we kinda like it.  The marina next door, Banana Bay Marina, has happy hour everyday from 5-7 with half price drinks and great prices on food.  There are also many choices for provisions.   

The plan is to check out of Costa Rica tomorrow and head to Panama on Wednesday. We ended up spending an entire month in Costa Rica, much longer than we had anticipated.  We were happy to slow down a bit and explore and enjoy the beaches, water, and wildlife.  Seeing monkeys up close and personal has been amazing, along with the macaws squawking and flying overhead in pairs.  The Ticos and Ticas have also been very friendly along the way.  

My next home.

Golfito waterfront

When we first arrived in Golfito, we anhored next to this yacht - Dorothea III.  They thought we were too close so they asked us to move...

The next day, we found this in our cockpit.  Forgiven.

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