Trying to Escape from Bahia Santa Elena

Bahia Santa Elena, Costa Rica

Two weeks later, and we’re still in Costa Rica. We’re in just about the northernmost protected anchorage, just an hour and a half run to Nicaraguan waters, nailed down by the winds.

Our Lonely Little Dinghy (Center) at the Fishing Pier in Ballena Bay

From Islas Tortugas two weeks ago, we did a short run to Bahia Ballena for a couple of nights. There isn’t much there, just a small village with a wicked (for us) surf landing, and a community pier where the fishing boats tie up. The tide range is a pretty wide 9 feet (from our Florida and Caribbean experience of inches), and tying up the dinghy required setting a stern anchor to prevent being sucked under the concrete pier during the incoming tide. [Read more…]

Islas Tortugas

Islas Tortugas, Costa Rica

A Contemplative Moment at Isla Tortuga

Grabbed a mooring buoy off the park, and enjoyed a lovely overnight. Other than the fact that the generator started acting weird just around dinner time, it couldn’t have been better. This Westerbeast is a pain in the butt. It started surging, and when we added load to it, it just gave up and died. We were able to cobble together a dinner, and suppressed many curses to try to keep lighthearted about it. As luck would have it, when darkness fell, we were surrounded by thousands of fish, just hovering in the ring of light cast by the anchor light. We could see phosphorescence in the outflow from the generator, and as the fish moved, when their fins broke the surface, it looked like hundreds of smoke rings blooming on the water around us. [Read more…]

Preparing to Leave Puntarenas

Costa Rica Yacht Club
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Emma Jo at Costa Rica Yacht Club

The first week of March, Ole flew up to Orlando for a management meeting, leaving me alone at the dock beside the haulout yard at the Costa Rica Yacht Club in Puntarenas. I sat under the watchful eye of the guard tower, taking the shuttle ashore every day or so to check email and sip a quiet coke. Although the Bixlers left the boat in good shape, there were things that needed doing to prepare Emma Jo for the next long haul, putting things away, slapping on a coat or two of varnish, and visiting the SuperMega down the road for provisions. [Read more…]

The Reason We Have No Pictures from January On…

As we prepared to fly home on February 20, we found ourselves with a total of three suitcases, two briefcases, a chart tube, a back-pack, and a tote bag in addition to my purse. All told, we figured we brought a couple boat-units worth of stuff along, everything from varnish to gaskets to spark plugs and oil filters. Each bag weighed in at 52 lbs., and the tote bag and backpack probably weighed in at 25 lbs. each. We managed to check the three suitcases and carry the backpack, chart tube, briefcases and tote bag successfully aboard the airplane and then to the Hotel Santo Tomas in San Jose for our forced overnight. We aimed at taking the bus into Puntarenas on Sunday, the 21st. [Read more…]

Finishing Up on Independence with Friends and Bikes

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Early February found us getting excited to get back to the boat, and Dale and Linda still having the time of their lives cruising the southwest coast of Panama, toward their ultimate rendezvous point with us here in Puntarenas.

We had more company on the ship, with old friends of Ole’s from over 20 years ago joining the cruise on February 6 – Roar and Trish Molvik. We were able to entertain them at Chops, the specialty steakhouse where you can’t get away from the table in less than 2-1/2 hours, and enjoyed the do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar on one of the sea days.

[Read more…]

RIP, Dear Mary Margaret von Schtripenfurs

Aboard Independence of the Seas

Maggie, Miss Mary Margaret von Schtreipenfurs

January passed aboard Independence rather uneventfully, with Ole doing his routine, and me reading everything in sight, when not going ashore in Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee.

Speaking of Labadee, we were headed there, scheduled to call in just three days after the massive earthquake. Sentiment aboard the ship was mixed, with some folks eager to do what they could to help, and others uncomfortable with the thought of playing at the beach on an island with devastation just a hundred miles away. [Read more…]