July 12, 2016
We left our roadstead anchorage in Nicaragua and set off for Bahia Santa Elena. This is the first day we got to enjoy sailing once again. We had great wind! We made it in about 6 hours. It’s always an odd feeling when you have your boat pointed at land, the chart says there is an opening leading to the hidden bay behind, but it doesn’t look like it. Nope, it looks like you are sailing the ship right into a reef. As we closed the distance we could kinda see the gab, than there is was.. Ah the opening is nice and big and free of obstructions, aka easy. We sailed right in. The hidden bay is protected from all sides with only the one entrance, and we are they only people in site!
“We have reached paradise” Jon and I said to each other as we were soaking in the sun sitting naked on the foredeck with cold drinks in our hands. The bay is calm as can be, with only a slight breeze making it over the mountains that protect us from everything. The water was warm, kind clear and the sun was out! It was hot but wonderful! There are no stores, homes or people anywhere in the bay, as it is a park, lucky for us no rangers came by asking for our papers.
For the next week Jon and I never put clothes on, spend out days swimming naked around the boat and enjoying the fact that we had finally made it to Costa Rica! We had about 200 miles to go till Quepos with just under a month till the wedding, and we were ahead of the bride and groom, funny.
Well pure paradise can only last so long, one afternoon Jon and I were swimming, we looked out and saw a boat at the entrance of the bay. It was a bitter-sweet feeling we both had, knowing our skinny dipping days were over for now…but we were excited to meet new people. Yes we love each other, but you can only go so long before you need interaction with other human beings. Jon and I waited to hail them on the radio till after they had time to settle in.
Our new neighbors were Bryce and Molly on “Abra Cadabra”. They had spent the last 2 days beating into weather from Nicaragua, and they were spent, but they invited us over the following evening for drinks.
The next day Jon and I attempted to make our first hike to a waterfall. We pack up, got all the camera gear ready and set off. When we came across an area filled with buzzing wasps, we slowly and calmly made our way around the buzzing pests and continued with our hike. We were defeated when we came across an area where the creek had filled in to the sides and the wasps had taken over the watering hole. We tried to find away around, but the one thing we did not pack was a machete. There was going to be no bush whacking today, nor did we want to gamble and loose playing limbo with a tree filled with wasps. So we turned back…sadly. We reminded ourselves that there will be MANY more waterfalls to come.
That afternoon we hopped in Falkor and made our way to Abra Cadabra, being chased by the biggest squall line we had seen in over a week. Jon and I were betting on when and if the rain would hit us. He said no that it would go around, and I thought he was full of shit and that were going to get clobbered by rain in the next 30 minutes.
I hate when I have to say it, but Jon was right. The squall looked so mean, and hit us with some good wind, but no rain. I could not believe it!
The next day Jon and I took Falkor out of the bay and around to the reef that guards the ride side of the entrance. AND WE SAW OUR FIRST SEA SNAKE! Or as I like to call them snnea snakes! Well Jon ran it over with the dinghy, I didn’t see it till it was pretty much under the bow. We turned around and luckily the snake was fine. We are not snake killers. We got some cool footage of the snake and than kept on going. After seeing the snake we had to remember while we were snorkeling to look up at he surface every once in a while so we didn’t swim right into one. These black and yellow snakes can deliver quite the bite and we were way to far from any kind of help….
The snorkeling was great! After the snake we saw 4 nurse sharks taking an afternoon nap! Snakes and sharks! I’m in love with this place, however I think Jon wanted to walk on water at this point. He stuck it out though, till the tide started to come it and it was getting tough to swim against. So we headed back, and I stopped again to take a closer look at the peacefully sleeping sharks, they are so pretty!! We headed back to Prism, once again running over another snake, might have even been the same one… He lived though, making sure to keep out-of-the-way of our spinning propeller. 🙂 smart snnea snake.
As much as we would have loved to spend the rest of our lives in this bay, we needed to get down to Playa de Cocos to check into the county. So the next day we set of to make our way around the point ( which is known to be the most windy when the gap winds are blowing). Luckily we are in the off-season and the gab winds are not as regular. In fact we motored… Till we rounded the point and then had a nice Breeze from behind! Oh man I even love writing about down wind sailing. Any ways we got a great push all the way to Cocos.
As soon as we got the hook set among all the morning balls and other boats I looked back and noticed a yellow noodle floating away. NOOOO NOT THE NOODLE !!!! For those of you who do not noodle…. You are missing out. Jon was devising a plan to launch the dingy to retrieve our runaway. I just jumped in and swam after the bugger. Then I got to noodle my way back! Not to mention it was hot and a swim was in order any ways.
Oh let me explain noodling.
To noodle: one needs first off a noodle… What is a noodle you ask? Well it’s is just as it sounds, a float made of foam, hollow in the center and is in the shape of a noodle. Second you need, you. Third you need a cold drink. Now that you have all the pieces, you noodle by simply sitting on your noodle in the water drinking your cold drink. It’s pretty blissful.
The next morning Jon and I set off to officially check into Costa Rica! This is an affair that takes all day by the way. It’s not like Mexico or Honduras where everything is in one place. Nope, first it’s to the port captains office. When we walked in we already knew we loved Costa Rica more than anywhere else we had been. The easy laid back none uniform wearing woman behind the desk smiled and helped us with ease. She then sent us to immigration, which is a few blocks down the road ( only a little hard to find), she then Said we needed to come back to her. Jon and I only walked right past the immigration office, and were sent back the right way by a local to find that the official office is a house. It truly is just a house, with no official markings or anything. Oh well. The immigration officer was a young man in a not so formal uniform, just a black shirt and black pants, he check us in with almost no words. We singed here and there, he stamped our passports and then told us which forms went to which people. Back to the port captain we went. She took one copy of the form he gave us, then gave us a new form for customs, which we had to get on a bus to go see. The bus to Liberia took about 30 min, because the drivers drive like mad men. We told the driver that we needed to stop at the Customs office when we got on. We had read what the office looked like, it was a large white building on the left side of the road after the airport, and after rental car place on the right.
Sure enough we pass the airport and Jon and I are on the look out, to our right we pass the car rental shop, then up a head we see a white building, the driver keeps on driving. So I pop up and walk towards the front, he sees me in the mirror and stops the bus right there. He laughs says sorry and points back towards the building. We got off and walked back the quarter-mile to the building. Once again there are no signs suggesting this is where Customs is. We walked in one door looking like deers looking into head lights. We lucked out, or so we thought, we found an office with ” Aduana” written above the door, but no one in side and the lights were off. Let us remind you, it is a Tuesday or maybe it was a Wednesday… Never the less it was mid-week and mid day… The office should be open. Is it a holiday? No cause we already met with immigration and the PC, are we in the right place? We had to be…. In the next room was a couple who was dealing with paying import tax on items they were bringing in for their company. Lucky for us they were American, the woman they were dealing with was no help to us and could not tell us if we were in the right place or not… I mean she works there, right next to the office that says aduana and yet she didn’t know anything about it. Anyways…. The couple says “well they have aduana at the airport… Maybe you can try there”. They were nice enough to to drive us back the few miles to the airport and even talk to some of the security to get us in the right place. It was all so fast Jon and I didn’t even catch their names, we only know that they run a kite surfing business in northern Costa Rica. So THANK YOU! To the young couple who helped us… Who ever you might be.
Any ways long story short, every other day, the other white building with the small office, was the right place to be. But for some reason, and I could not get a straight answer of why the day we decided to check in, they were not there, but were at the airport. Weird.
Jon and I walked back out to the main highway, and caught oddly enough, the same bus with the same driver back to Cocos. We grabbed a quick bite to eat, then went back to the PC. After a long day of here and there, we had officially check in and our 3 month visa and cruising permit had started.
The next day we headed up to marina papagyo to grab some fuel. We had heard from the couple at the airport that the marina would charge us $10.00 a gallon for diesel. We thought that was crazy and we’re getting ready to do the jerry can shuffle which would have taken most likely 3 days for the amount of fuel we needed, only having 2 cans and the distance from the beach and then the gas station. Yuk we were not looking forward to it. Luckily ( seems like a lot of “luckily-ies” in the blog… Is our luck up?) anyways… Luckily Jon got to talking with a local who runs a charter company on the boat that was moored right next to us. He said the marina was expensive if you wanted to stay there, but if you wanted fuel, it was easy you just needed to make sure you were all checked in and had a zarpe from Cocos. Easy we had all of that, so up we went the six miles into the very beautiful bay, with soooo many different places to anchor!
The marina is pretty much brand new and about 60% empty, the only boats there were the few mega yachts that can afford over $3/ft a night. But the fuel was the cheapest we have seen ever. A total of get this… $.60 a liter, yep you read correctly, that is a period before the 6, not after! As it turns out, we needed over 70 gallons of fuel! We have been motoring a lot! Damn that square chop and counter current that was making it impossible to keep moving forward along this coast with out some push from the engine.
Once we were topped off, we headed back to cocos, and were happy to see Oleada anchored. It had only been maybe 2 weeks since we had seem them, but it felt like forever! Cruising with people you know and even better, people you knew before you even left the states is so much fun! You have to leave so many friends and your family behind when you untie the dock lines and set off to go cruising, lucky for us we got to bring along some of our best friends!
They spent the next day checking in, and oddly enough, also had to go to the airport. Ha
We spent a few more days in Cocos enjoying the sites then set off to see what was next.
Well what came next was 90 miles of iffy anchorages and a coast littered with reefs. If we could make the next anchorage before dark we might have luck getting in the apparently complicated reef strewn entrance and be anchored in an only marginally protected anchorage. But the snorkeling and surf is promised to be worth it. So we set off, with the idea of well if we don’t make it by night fall we will just keep going till we round Cabo blanco and get into the Nicoya Gulf.
Well we didn’t make it by night fall, so we kept going, and it turned out to be one every exciting night. Oleada was a few miles ahead of us, and we would get text updates about each squall they went through. Jess and Josh were getting no sleep as they were getting hammered by each squall. The squalls must have been satisfied with the torment they laid upon Oleada, because we did not have any of the squalls they had. Yes we has a few rain storms go over us, but we had no lighting and no wind. In fact we were wishing for a larger squall to help push us along. But no we were fighting a 2 knot counter current, the worst we have encountered so far. It was a ball buster! We were motoring, should have been making at least 4.4 or 5 knots, yea no. We were lucky if we were making 2. So we took our 3 hour watches, the sound of the crashing waves being drowned out by the engine till morning. Oleada being a fast boat and well she just cuts through the water better than us, pulled way ahead and were anchored at first light. Jon and I still had another 4 hours till we got to the anchorage. As the sun came up so did the wind, and it stayed on our nose the whole way, even as we round the cape and headed into the gulf. I think the wind was laughing at us as it did this, I mean really, the wind just kept clocking, just when we think we are going to have wind on the beam or even from behind, it clocks to our nose again.
We made our way into this beautiful bay that is all green! Seriously, SO MUCH GREEN! Not a soul was to been seen on Oleada as I’m sure they hit the sack as soon as their anchor was down. Jon and I set our hook and enjoyed the morning with coffee and breakfast on the foredeck, and the rest of the day was spent as what we like to call a lazy day.
The following day with everyone fully rested we set off to explore the little town. 15 minutes later we were fresh outta ideas. 🙂 so we decided to grab some fruity drinks at a local resort.. Why did we pick the expensive resort to have drinks not the local place.. Couldn’t tell ya. It was a beautiful little hotel though, and as we were sitting there enjoying our cold drinks that were US priced, we all laughed while saying ” why don’t you get married here!” It’s not like the wedding is a week away or anything. 🙂
We ended up staying there for the rest of the night, just talking and drinking, then ended up eating there. Cha ching, Jon and I cried a little as we paid the bill… Thank you everyone who donates money, cause you defiantly helped pay for this night! Oh And while we were sitting there, we saw our first Macaws! I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw them! Macaws! In the wild! I AM SO IN LOVE WITH COSTA RICA!
The next day set out to cross the gulf, there was a huge squall coming down on us, but we went for it any ways. After a close lighting strike Oleada turned back, but we kept going. The lighting didn’t strike again, but the squall gave us amazing wind on the beam and enough to water to test out our “fill the tanks with rain” technique. And oh by did it work!! We let the rain wash away any salt and dirt off the decks for about 10 minutes. Then we plugged the bulwark gunnel, opened the fill cap and in it went. We filled our tanks within 5 minutes! Score!!! I mean it was almost too easy!
The squall passed just as we got across the gulf, it gave us enough wind to cover just over 20nm in under 4 hours! That was the best sailing we have had in CR so far. Yes it was pouring rain, but the sailing was awesome!!!!
We set the hook in Bahia Herradura, we were only stopping here for the night and for good reason, it was rolly! We also needed to be in Quepos in 2 days as Jess and Josh were flying back to Mexico City to do her final dress fitting, and Jon and I were going to watch Uly.
Uly who by the way would love nothing more than to eat Benita. He even got close one night… Jess Josh and Uly were going home for the night, while they were loading into the dinghy we all took our eyes of Uly for one second, and none of us saw Benita come up the companion way. We heard the rapid shaking of uly’s collar and Jon lunged towards them. Uly dropped Benita as soon as Jon grabbed his neck, and he knew he did something wrong and that he was in trouble. Luckily Benita was just a little shaken up by it and no harm was done. The next time Uly came over Benita didn’t even seem interested in him. But it was scary for all us humans.
Any ways to make it easier so everyone could sleep at night, we got slips at the marina for the nights they went to Mexico City. Uly spent his days with us, and Benita tormented him every chance she could, playing the perfect cat role. It was pretty comical. And then we would put him on his boat for the night, that way we didn’t have to worry if the dog was going to kill the cat while we were sleeping.
Jon and I worked hard those 3 days Jess and Josh were gone. We had a lot of work to do to get the boat ready for the family who would be joining us on board for 2 weeks after the wedding. Work work work, yep that’s what it was. We were so ready for the week of “non-boat” life that the wedding was going to offer.
When Jess and Josh returned we headed back out to the anchorage for a few days to keep the marina cost down. The anchorage in front of Playa Biesanz is drop dead gorgeous! Little did we know we would be spending so much time right in this spot. Yes that is where I am writing the blog update right now.
The day that everyone arrives and the day we get to check into the villa as arrived! The 4 of us loaded into the rented SUV fully loaded with dirty laundry, wedding stuff, camera gear and let’s not forget the water toys! There had to have been 6 or 7 boards strapped to the top of the roof!
I can’t even imagine how the bride and groom felt, cause I was giggly like a school girl as we pulled up to the gates at Punta de Vista. I mean this place is what your read about in fancy magazines, not what people like us get to vacation in for a week. The tour alone took over an hour! We were greeted and treated with some of the best tasting mimosa I have ever had.
The wedding week was amazing and I feel so blessed that Jon and I got to be apart of it! Truly a week in my life I will never forget. Plus the wedding was picture perfect, they say rain on your wedding day is good luck, well for Jess and Josh they timed it perfectly. The sun was out all day, and just as we all started lining up to start the ceremony, a slight drizzle started. And by the time Jess started to walk down the aisle, nothing, the rain let up to make for perfect lighting!
Bla bla mushy mushy stuff, in the end the wedding was awesome! And none of us wanted to leave the villa, and mostly none of us wanted to give up the breakfast that the villa made every morning! There are no words for how good the food was!
But it was time to move on and time to get out of the marina while there was money still left in our pockets.
So here it was June 20th and Prism had 6 adults and one cat moving on board! Jon’s mom Debbie, little brother Chris, Chris’s girlfriend Marissa and once again my brother Sean were all on board. Of corse they got to partake in the wedding as well, as Chris helped Jon shoot the wedding.
We all loaded up, got fuel at the fuel dock and headed back out to the anchorage at Playa Biesanz. Trying to keep up the tradition of good food we had been eating for the last week, we over did ourselves with an amazing first night meal on the hook. I think I used just about every pan in the galley to make a meal for 6. Chicken, with pasta and a salad. I know it doesn’t sound crazy or anything, but I do remember it being delicious.
The next day was spent getting everyone accustomed to the boat, and to relax and enjoy the water. Unfortunately the swell was up, the locals were calling it ” the swell of the season” and it was here to keep us company for the next 2 weeks. It made for terrible clarity in the water and for stressful beach landings.
Zip Line Tour Day!!!!
We all woke up before we wanted to but still made our way to the beach with 2 successful landings. The shuttle bus was waiting for at he main road: it was 7:20 am. That was Way earlier than any of us had been waking up for the past week. But the promise of fresh coffee at the beginning of the tour was the driving force, well for me at least. The tour guide Diego let us know that we were the first people to ever get picked up off the beach. I thought that was a fun fact. He was a great guide, on our way to the zip line area he was pointing out all fun facts about the area and any animals he saw even stopping the van at one point so we could all get out and look at a group of monkeys on the side of the road.
Once we got to the hub, the fresh hot coffee did not let us down. We covered our bodies with deet and sunscreen then suited up with the very flattering harnesses and helmets. We were so ready for this, I do have to admit… I was slightly terrified. No I do not have a fear of heights, I like heights, however I do not like being held up by cables. Hence my fear of elevators. Any ways, we had about 15 different guides helping us with our gear, getting us clipped in and out of the zip line and out of all of them we got to know Don Jon. And he was a hoot! Playing pranks with us the whole way. Everything about the adventure was so fun that I didn’t have time to think I was being held up by cables and lines. The view and the adrenaline was enough to keep a huge smile on my face and the whole families too!
They have the longest zip line in Central America! It was almost a mile long! And you get to go 2 at a time! It last almost 2 minutes!!! Jon and I raced, he had the lead, but I over took him and finished strong, and I got it all on GoPro!! We had a group of about 18 or was it 24? I can’t remember but luckily it did not feel like you were waiting around, there was so much to see and look at! Oh and one of the zip lines gets up to 55mph! For big guys like Sean.. 65mph!!!! Sean had a huge smile on his face at the end of the fast line!
The zip lining tour was by far a highlight of the trip! I don’t know if Jon and I would have done it with out our family being here, so I’m glad we got to because it was worth it. And I would tell everyone to do it! It’s a little pricey but seriously I once again can not say ” go do it” enough! Here is the company we used! The pick you up where ever you want, and drop you off. You get coffee ( really good coffee!) and fruit when you get there, water and fruit during the tour and then an amazing lunch at the end! It was so worth it!!! It was $75.00 a person, and you save $5.00 if you book online.
Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
Tel . 2777-6908
877-914-0002 toll free from the US
We were on such a high once we got back to the boat that afternoon, but also exhausted. The next day we were ready to explore Manuel Antonio National Park! We wanted to start early, but we had a lazy morning, drinking our coffee having breakfast talking. Next thing we knew it was almost noon and low tide. Remember how I said the swell was up. Well it was way up this day!
Jon, Sean, Chris and Marissa made the first trip in, as we wanted them at the beach to help catch us and to help mom (Debbie) out of the dinghy quickly. They made it in just barely, a wave picked them up and they were able to surf it in, with only getting some water coming in over the back. Why we were attempting a surf beach landing with the motor I could not tell you… We normally never bring the motor in on a surf break. Anyways. They turned Falkor around and waited for the right set, then Jon came back out to Prism to pick mom and I up. We got in and started our trek in, at one point I told Jon we needed to bail! So we turned out and waited for the set to pass, while we did this we realized we didn’t have the oars with us. We turned back to get them ” just in case”. We got Falkor in place and waited for a few sets, trying to Gauge when would be the best time to go. Jon said ” I think we just have to commit and go for it” I told him ” um that time is not now” he responded ” we will be fine”……
I was to busy watching the huge wave that I knew was going to flip us, come our way, mom was all wide eyes looking forward and Jon was saying ” now if we do flip, remember to get away from the dinghy” while Sean was on the beach waving frantically telling us to retreat!
None of saw Sean, not that it mattered because I was seeing what he was seeing. I just remember telling mom ” yep we are going in, get ready!”
The wave picked us up, swallowed the motor making it cut out, then we turned sideways and in we went. Jon went off the back, I went off the front and when we came up for air mom was missing.
Shit! The amount of panic I felt was enough to give you a heat attack, I knew right away mom was under the dinghy. And well with the dinghy tubes on Falkor, it acted like a huge suction cup, and we could not get it flipped. Well during that 10 seconds of pure panic mom realized that she came up under the dinghy, realized that there was no air pocket and simply dove back under and came up on the other side. Phew!
By this time Sean Chirs and Marissa had swam out to us, Marissa helped mom to the beach, while the boys and I worked between sets to flip Falkor back over and to get Jon back out beyond the breakers. Jon took our now water-logged engine back to prism to rinse it with fresh water and gave it a bath of WD40. He took the spark plug out, took the carb off and gave the intake and the cylinder a good spray of WD40, then pulled till no more water came out of the spark plug hole. He drained water contaminated fuel, took the carb apart and clean the whole thing. He then put it all back together, put new gas in and pulled until started again.
Meanwhile on the beach, we were drinking margaritas to calm our nerves and to kill the time while Jon had words with the outboard and himself for not listening to me when I said not to go. Lesson learned, no one was seriously hurt and we were all laughing and smiling with in 15 min of the whole experience. Once Jon got the motor to start, he got back in the dinghy, sans engine and rode back into the beach, this time watching Sean and I as we directed him in between the sets.
Ok we are going to the park! We got in a cab and he dropped us off at the entrance. We bought our tickets and turned to the gate and then the sky just opened up and let us have it. Seriously the strongest rain we had so far. At this point we were determined, it was 2 pm and the park closes at 4:30. Hell or high water we are going to see the park after all we went through to get there.
The woman at the front gate who took our tickets said ” are you sure you want to go in today? It’s raining pretty hard and if you come back tomorrow you will have more time to explore” I think we all looked at each other, and every one of us in our heads said yes let’s go get a drink and come back tomorrow, but aloud we all said LETS DO IT! It’s only a little bit of rain! The woman looked at us like we were crazy, and as we made our way into the park, there was a mass exit of people leaving.
As we walked further into the park the rain kept getting stronger and then the thunder and lighting joined in. We took our time counting the seconds after each flash we saw, Most were still over 10 miles away. Alright so we pressed onward. The first trail we came to was up to a waterfall, only .5 miles. Let’s go we all said! Well as we started our way up and down the nice man-made trail we noticed the lighting was getting much closer. We kept asking if we should turn back, and once again I think we were all thinking YES but we all said “nah, let’s just go a little further, the storm is moving on”. Well as if we asked for it a bolt hit a tree less than 100 yards away from where we were talking! The snapping sound was enough to make everyone cover their ears. Whoa that was close we all said.. Now should we turn back? Well the storm answered for us, the next second we saw the bolt at the same time we heard it, and we could feel the “boom” almost like a compression. !!!!! ALRIGHT WE ARE GOING BACK! Just maybe if we ask nice enough to they will let us use our tickets tomorrow as we were only in the park for maybe 20 minutes so far.
We high tailed it back the way we came, and asked the man at the front gate. He gave us no lee way. So Jon asked to talk to his boss. Lucky for us it was the woman who had just taken our tickets. Jon went into her office with the mentality of ” Never take no for an answer” which works pretty well in Mexico, so he gave it a try here.
At first the woman right off told him no, but then Jon gave the whole story about everything we had gone through to get to the park that day. Then he told her that we were almost hit by lighting and it scared the living bajesus out of us. That was the ticket!! She said ” I normally don’t do this, but okay… Come back tomorrow morning… Earlier is better, I start at 8 and I will let you back into the park” WHOOP!
So now that we are all drenched, slightly broken and bruised and have most likely soiled our pants we set off to find food, shelter from the rain and drinks, lots of drinks. This led us to an amazing place called Costa Linda. If you are ever in the area stop here and have some food! It is also a hostel, where you can rent a room for $12.00 a night! When we took a look around, we all thought why don’t we just stay here for the night, remembering that we had to go back out through the massive breaking seas to get back out to Prism. We ordered drinks, took off our wet clothes and sat at the table in our bathing suites with our clothes hanging on a near by wall. I’m sure we were quite the site for the other customers in the restaurant. At this point we did not care, with the free hot coffee, tea, our $2.00 rum and cokes and $3.00 daiquiris we were all smiles! The food we ordered was so good and the price was perfect, and the owner told us we had to come back for their breakfast the next morning.
When we got back to the beach it was high tide and the surf was more manageable. We got mom in the dinghy first and the rest of us swam it out past the breakers then got in. Marissa and I decided to just swim back to the boat, not realizing it was a littler further than it looks, so Jon came back around and picked us up.
We spent the nights playing games and just talking mostly, getting caught up about all the things we had been missing back at home. It was also about a 20 minute ordeal to get the sleeping arrangements all set up. Mom got the aft cabin, Sean slept on the settee while Chris and Marissa would swap between sleeping out on deck under a big sun and rain cover, or building up the dinette to retrofit a blowup twin mattress and all the cushions to make a bed that really only two 19 year olds would think was comfortable. Having 6 adults on a 33 foot boat, it was tight but it worked out great!
The next morning during high tide we set off for the beach again. This time we all make it in without a hiccup. We called our handy dandy cab driver, who by the way is the best driver ever! I think we saw more animals while in his car than we did in the whole park! He would stop the taxi, reverse and say look a sloth or monkeys.. What ever it was then would let us stare and marvel at the animals while getting pictures and videos as the cars behind us honked. He was full of fun facts about each animal and about the area.
He dropped us off at Costa Linda as we HAD to try the breakfast, and boy was it worth it. For $2500 colones ( about $5 US) you got all the coffee you could drink, juice, pancakes, fruit, eggs, rice, beans and fresh bread. It was huge and delicious! By 9am ( we were only a little late) we got to the park and our girl was at the gate. She saw us, smiled and waved us in with no hassle! This time the park was filled with people and guides, the sun was out and we were ready to explore. We started off where we left the day before, our first walk/hike to a waterfall. SO much more enjoyable this time around. Once we got to the look out point for the falls, we all jumped over the barrier and made our way to play in it, unfortunately we left mom with all our gear at the top, SORRY MOM! 🙂 Jon was the first to get in, let me just say it was not a gentle fall, the water was cascading down hard and fast, but we all could not resist. The next thing you know the 5 of us were all under it. We could not hear what the others were saying, nor could I really open my eyes with out the possibility of loosing a contact. The water was cold but super refreshing! WORTH ITT!
We spent the next few hours walking the trails of the park, looking for any animals. Every time we passed a group who hired a guide we would listen in and look for what they were looking at. One of these groups found a baby Fur De lance, which is a very poisonous type of pit viper. Others started to gather around getting closer than they should have. The guide warned the others that this snake is aggressive and can lunge over 3 feet towards you to deliver its killing bite. Most did not listen to him, so he gave up and moved his group along.
We kept our distance and with our zoom lenses we got a good shot of the little lethal snake. We made it down to one of the beaches where you are warned not to leave your backpacks unattended. Not because someone, but because the monkeys will steal your things. And sure enough to we watched the little white faced monkeys go though some people unguarded things. These little monkeys are a hoot to watch, and are very funny with each other as they horse play on the beach.
At this point we were all getting tired and decided we had seen enough of the park. We were all in need of some food and of corse drinks, so you can only guess where we ended up. Yep Costa Linda! You could just not beat the price nor the quality of the food! We walked around the little shops here and there, then called our taxi guy once again. We got back to the beach timing it with high tide again and made it back out to prism unscathed.
As much as we all loved this little anchorage it was time to get moving, Sean only had 2 more days with us, and we had to find a good spot to drop him off. We decided on the next anchorage south called Dominical. Apparently it has good surf and the town is just to cute to be passed.
Well we all kinda forgot that the swell was now at its height, which made for all these ” calm weather” anchorages a little less than comfortable. After taking a good look at the beach landing, we decided there was no way we could make it in without flipping. So when it was the sad time to say good-bye to Sean, he put all his belongings in our biggest dry bag, Jon rowed him out just to the surf line, then Sean had to paddle his way in on his board. Good thing the man was born to surf cause it did not even phase him. He did however warn us that beach was not really a beach, it was rock. Eww. We were all very sad to see Sean go, Prism is just not the same with out him… I’m sure he will be back to join us again at some point.
Because we could not get to shore at Dominical, and the swell was turning up the water we decided to keep heading south to Drakes Bay. That was a good Idea by us! We had about a week left with the family and we still had no idea where we were going to drop them off so they could make their way back to San Jose. We thought maybe Gulfito, but after a deep dive into the logistics we realized that Quepos or even further north would be the east and cheapest way for them to get back home.
We stayed in Drakes Bay for 3 days. The first day was spent doing some boat projects, our windless kept jamming up, the cable in the pedestal for our steering had jumped free and we blew out the tack on our main sail. Fun right! 🙂 Jon and Chris got the pedestal fixed in like 10 minutes, Jon fixed the jamming windless, while mom and I sewed like mad women the tack back onto the mainsail. I say madwoman because getting the needle through the 15 layers of Dacron and webbing we had to use a nail and a hammer to make a clear path for the needle to pass though. Thank goodness Marissa was down below baking goodies that were mouth-watering and SOOO good to replenish our energy spent on the projects.
June 29, 2016
We set off to explore drakes bay and to find out how to get a permit to visit Isla Cano. Isla Cano is about 6 miles out from Drakes bay and is known to be the “little cocos” with water and animals that is just like Cocos island, only it’s not 300 miles out into the pacific. The little town of Drakes Bay is just adorable. The beach landing was easy, and we only have to make 1 trip, all 5 of us fit just fine in Falkor when the tubes are on and the engine is working great! We were greeted on the beach by a horse, then by a bunch of Macaws! So Cool!
We walked into each dive shop or tour guide place asking where we could get the permits needed to take our own boat out to the island. No one could give us an answer. They did however fill us in on what they offered, and that for $75.00 a person we could go snorkeling. Yea no.
Finally I got a straight answer, kinda. A local man told us, I don’t know where you can find this said permit, but you can hire an independent guide, which will most likely screw you over. Or you can just go out there, no one is going to fine you or throw you in jail. The locals out there will try to tell you to leave, but they have no authority. And the ranger on the island apparently is lazy and doesn’t really want to get in his boat to come tell you to leave…. So it was up to us if we wanted to go try it out.
We found a place to grab some lunch, with perfect timing too, as we sat down the sky opened up and it down poured during our whole lunch. As soon as we finished, it stopped. We grabbed some ice cream and a little food at the market and made our way back to the boat stopping to buy some little trinkets here and there.
The next morning we set off to check out Isla Cano, on our way there though a huge squall swallowed the island and made it disappear. From where we were we could only see the blackness of heavy rain and the lighting. Fun fact: Isla Cano is known to be the most hit spot for lighting in all of Costa Rica. Jon and I looked at each other, and said are we really sailing our giant lighting rod aka our boat into a lighting storm at the island that is hit with more strikes than anywhere else in the whole country…. Are we STUPID!? We told our family sorry and turned north. We were heading back towards Quepos, as they only had 6 more days aboard.
We almost out ran the squall but as we neared Uvita it caught up to us and I was left at the helm in the pouring rain as the rest of the family stayed dry. Chirs came out to keep me company for a little then tapped Jon in. The rain let up just in time for us to see the entrance thought the reefs to our anchorage. The guide book warns us that this anchorage can look scary during big swell and at low tide. We were experiencing both those things. The large swell would hit the exposed reef and make it look like white death as we made our way in. It almost seemed like we were in a movie, it made me want to yell ” YOU CALL THIS A STORM!” But I thought better of it, as I did not want the conditions to get any worse.
Well we made it to the spot they say is an anchorage, which is tucked in behind the reef and near the point. It was low tided and bumpy, and to put they cherry on top, the guide says that during high tide it can get rough in there as the swell can pass over the reef. So it was only going to get worse. We should have gotten off the boat and checked out the beach during the low tide, there were areas that looked “land-able” with the dinghy. But it was still slightly raining and well it was gloomy out. The beach was not very inviting, all we wanted to do was drink hot chocolate, play games or watch a movie. And that’s what we did.
Oh I forgot to mention, that after we visited the pack in Manuel, I got sick. I was useless! While the family was in swimsuits trying to stay cool, I was bundled up with flannel jackets and a beanie. Lucky for me the fever only last a few hours before it broke, and I was only out of it for 3 days. It never turned into a full blow flu, but I did have a cough for over a week.
The next morning July 1st we were all a little short. The tide came up in the middle of the night, and the guide book was not kidding, that this spot can get a bit bouncy at high tide. None of us got a lot of sleep, well I did but only because I took a bunch of cold medicine. The day looked promising, and we really want to explore this area. The beach looked beautiful! But the surf landing did not look “easy” we were a few hours away from high tide once again and the rocking and rolling was enough to drive anyone mad. We tried to tough it out till low tide so we could go to shore. We realized that if we waited till low tide, then we would also be stuck there for another night, and none of us wanted to do that. As we were waiting for the tide to quite rising the conditions just kept getting worse, so we all said let’s get the hell out of here.
I think the 30 minutes It took to get the stern hook up and then the aggressive chop and rolling we dealt with while trying to get the main hook up, put us all to the end of our rope. It was a very stressful and uncomfortable situation and we were glad to be out of it. We did not have enough to time to make it all the way back up to Quepos, so we stopped once again in Dominical. The swell was getting smaller, so we thought just maybe we could get to shore here.
We slept better that night, still not a calm anchorage or anything, but at least it was all on the nose. The next morning Jon, Chris, Marissa and I got into the dink with our gear in dry bags, and we set off to find a possible landing area. The swell was still making its way up and over the reef, which made it hard to time the swells to get in close enough to see if we could even land. About about 15 minutes of attempting and failing we gave up. Defeated and upset that we would be able to go explore, we once again brought up the hook and made our way back up to Quepos.
Now we had 3 days left, and we pondered trying to push north to see more. But we figured why kill ourselves to get north enough for a bus back to San Jose. We would kill almost 2 days just sailing. So we decided to take it easy and stay in Quepos.
For the whole trip we were all kind of holding our breaths, we knew that Marissa was in for the surprise of her life. But yet we did not know when it was going to happen…..And sure enough the second night back in Quepos, Chris rowed Marissa out to the reef to watch and sunset. Jon and I were armed and ready with cameras and long lenses! The moment we were all waiting for had come! We watched from afar with the sun setting as Chris proposed to Marissa! Jess and Josh were also on board and got to witness the romantic event unfold. They even had some Champagne they brought over so we could all celebrate. Chris had been carting that ring around for the whole trip! We kept wondering when he was going to do it. We knew we were going to get a heads up, as he wanted us to get photos of the whole thing, and we al did a great job keeping it hush hush…. So the night of he rowed out and then further out… We wanted to yell at him COME CLOSER OUR LENSES CAN ONLY SEE SO FAR! But that would have given it away. We did the best we could, and got the shot! When the 2 young love birds got back to the boat, Marissa was crying, Chris had a shit eating grin on his face, mom was crying, the rest of us were cheering so we popped the bubbly!! CONGRATULATIONS CHRIS AND MARISSA!
The next day we decided to check out the town yet once again, so we all piled into Falkor and made the 1.5nm dinghy ride to the public pier.
Or so we thought it was a public pier… Turns out to use the pier you have to pay an entrance fee to the port not only for the dinghy, but for each person as well! AND they wanted all our ships papers. Well we did not bring any of that with us, so they sent us away to try our luck at the marina.
The marina was…. How to say nicely…… Difficult. First off they told us to go to the fuel dock, then they said no you need to go to this dock, then no you have to go to the other dock, we were getting jerked around and didn’t like it. I mean come one people we are talking about an 8 foot little plastic dinghy for Christ sakes! Not a 100ft mega yacht. We just wanted to come to shore to check out the town of Quepos and to spend money on little trinkets to take home.
Well the marina wanted $50.00+ tax US to use the “dinghy dock” for the day. SERIOUSLY!!! I told them no way and walked out. Jon did not take that for an answer, he went back into the office and struck a deal. He told them ” Look, we have already spent a lot of money at your marina, we buy fuel from you, and we plan on buying more fuel from you, all we ask is can we use the dock for a few hours so our family can explore the little town before we they have to leave tomorrow” The woman looked at Jon and said no. But he did not give up. He pushed even further and the woman said “ok $25.00 for the day and we will give you 3 hours at the fuel dock tomorrow to drop off the family and go to the vet and to get fuel, and we will get a new zarpe ready for you”
So that I what we did. The next morning we raised the hook at 6 am and headed to the fuel dock. It was so sad to watch our family get into the cab that would take them back to San Jose, and they would be back home in their own beds in about 18 hours. They had a long day ahead of them. We cried as we hugged and said good bye , then Jon and I set off to take Benita to the vet.
Benita is now 4 months old, and we have noticed that she is breathing hard and rapidly. She is also now old enough to get her shots and we will soon have her spade. We were lucky enough to find a very nice vet who spoke good English. She told us that she was not too worried about the rapid breathing, and that most likely when Uly grabbed ahold of her, she developed a small tear in her trachea, which should heal on its own in time. The vet told us that Benita in all other ways seems very healthy and she is a lucky cat. She got her first vaccination for leukemia, and the vet said we should wait another month to have her spade. She also let us know that the vet in Herradura had a better facility for the surgery, and if her breathing gets worse, they have an x-Ray machine and can do the simple surgery to fix the tear if need be.
Jon and I were very proud of Bentia she was so brave at the vet, and we are glad that the whole thing, along with 50 lbs of cat litter, a preventive heart worm medicine, and a harness was still only $60.00
So we made our way back to the fuel dock, topped off with 20 gallons and headed back out to the anchorage in front of Playa Biesanz.
Now here we have been for the last week, doing pretty much nothing besides enjoying ourselves. Oh and editing a new video and also the wedding photos for Jess and Josh.
Jon and I tried to leave yesterday morning to head up north to check out Nicoya Gulf… But 10 minutes in we heard a weird noise, noticed we were not spitting any water, and killed the engine. We bobbed out there, I tried to sail with the less than 2 knots of wind while Jon tinkered with the engine.
His first find was that the new impeller that was put in less than 30 hours ago had faltered. The brass sleeve on the inside of the impeller that slides into the key way on the raw water pump.. Umm let loose.. It’s hard to expansion, but basically the sleeve let go of the rubber part, so it was spinning but not turning the rubber part to push water through. Okay… So he went and got one of the brand new ones we bought before we left. And wouldn’t you know… The parts we ordered from Yanmar, that say our engine model on the front, DO NOT FIT. Let’s just say there were no nice words coming from Jons mouth. I did my best to keep us into the swell to lessen the amount of rolling while Jon Mcgivered the non fitting impeller to fit.
It took about an hour, but he made it work after a few tries. We thought it would be smart to turn back and really do a deep dive in the engine to check everything out rather than keep motoring the 7 hours up north. And good thing we did, upon further investigation, we blew a hole in our exhaust lift muffler. Jon looked at me and said ” well we can cut it out, fix it and re install it, cut it out, buy new and install that, or do nothing, and every time we use the engine we will be slightly sinking and we can fix it when and if we get a new engine.”
Uh? None of those options sound easy or cheap. So we have decided to go with option one. We will cut it out ( it is a fiberglass box that has been tabbed into a bulk head), fix the hole and then re-tab it back to the bulk head. That is tomorrow’s Job, Jon will cut it out ( the dirty and hard part) and I will most likely repair the hole or crack or what ever… Or he might do it all as I edit photos for the wedding and this blog….. 🙂
Well there you have it! As of right now we have a little less than 2 months to be in CR and we really want to explore more than just this anchorage for the rest of our time. So getting this project done is #1 on the to do list.
The only down side of having such a cute cat on board, is that she is a huge distraction! All we want to do is play with her and look at her cute face as she explores the boat and practices her balance on anything she can get up onto.
July 27, 2016
Ha what do you know, another 2 weeks has gone by and we are still in Quepos. Jon did take apart the whole exhaust system and cut out the cracked faulty muffler. Once he had it out, we could see that there were multiple areas that had cracked open. With a couple of sunny afternoons we (I mean Jon) had grounded out and relaid new glass on the cracks, making our muffler good as new. He reinstalled it, this time making it so it can be removed with out the use of a multi-tool. He put the whole thing back together, and while he was down there, he figured why not attempt to do the most annoying job ever…… The engine alignment.
Jon has said this many times, that he would rather rebuild 100 heads rather than work on the alignment of our engine. This is a job that he calls on me to help with. With the 2 of us working together, I am crammed in the small space above the flexible coupler and he is adjusting the mounts according to my measurements with the feeler gauge. Unfortunately for Jon, I am not very confident with my feeler gauge abilities, which then makes it so he has to double-check what I am seeing. The boat yoga that goes on for this project is something a comic movie could be made up of. After about 3 stressful hours of me guessing and Jon correcting, we finally get it close enough, as in .006 difference and there was only a little bit of blood shed, but there was a lot of profanity. This led to a night of cocktails and the decision to buy a new thing, which I really don’t know much about or remember the name, but it is a type of coupler that is so flexible that it makes engine alignment a thing of the past. I’ll let him describe it:
The Sigma Drive is a CV joint (CONTINUOUS VELOCITY JOINT). These joints are the same as in car axles, so the wheel can move freely with the suspension and power can still be delivered from the engine. The reason why all boats don’t have this type of technology is because up to this point in order to have a CV joint installed between the gear box and prop shaft, you were required to have a thrust bearing bulk head also installed taking up about 16″ of space. These units not only took up a lot of space, but cost a lot of money both of which we do not have on Prism. Luckily just recently someone broke the code and designed a CV joint that is strong enough to not require a thrust bearing bulkhead for small engines. So with the CV joint in place, this allows our engine to have up to a 6 degree misalignment variance, which to people who do not know how much that is…. It’s a lot. Having this unit in place does not remove the need for engine alignment, but instead makes the precision of alignment less critical. By having perfect alignment because of the sigma drive there will be less noise/ vibration, less ware on the shaft, gear box seals, engine mounts and cutlass bearing. And best of all getting our alignment with in .006 of an inch is a thing of the past. Now you might be thinking, “Jon, how much does this mystical CV joint thing cost?” ….here is the beautiful thing… Only $500.00. Then you say
“Jon, that’s a whole months budget for you” But when you break down the cost of all the components that even the slightest misalignment causes harm to:
-Cutlass bearing $100.00
-Engine Mounts $100.00 X 4
-Gear box rear seal $500.00+ ( if it is even available, which ours is not)
-Shaft $500.00 to $1500.00
When added up, the Sigma Drive should pay for itself within the first season of cruising, not to mention it is a huge stress reliever. The sigma rive is made of solid bronze with SS ball bearings, has double the service life of any other CV joint on the market and is the only one that requires no additional space. ( Takes the place of the current shaft coupling)
** We are in no way affiliated with SIgma Drive, but if you are interested and want to order or want more information go to http://www.kingpropulsion.com/
Alright enough to with the boring bla bla gear talk… We will be in Quepos for about another week I think, we need to have Benita spade then we are heading south. We have giving up on heading north again, as we have to be out of CR by August 28th. I am still working one the photos for this blog, Jon is working on editing the next video, and then we just need to find a place with good enough internet to sit for a few hours and upload all our stuff.
Oh and this little anchorage of ours, was full to the brim for the last week, we have made new friends on SV Scooby II, Jon and Diana who came through the canal, but are going to go back through as they like the other side more 🙂 And our cruising posy from Mexico has caught up to us! It’s been great to see every one again, Chris and Shawna have been spoiling us with their hospitality, iced drinks and of corse their very cold, very frozen chocolate ice cream.
Still in Quepos, Benita needs surgery, we have an appointment tomorrow. Hope everything goes well. Fingers crossed it will all be okay.
Boat update, after all that Jon ordered the WRONG sigmadrive. HA
Lucky we did just buy a brand spanking new Beta 35 that will be waiting for us in Panama, which the new sigmadrive WILL fit.