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…]

Deep Thoughts on Good Friday in Costa Rica

Good Friday. You could run naked through the streets of downtown San Jose Costa Rica and nobody would see you.

Still in Costa Rica. Things Could Be Worse.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Another vote for the quality of the folks at Bocas Marina. I originally planned to be home today, and left food and water out for the cats accordingly. So I emailed Chuck at the marina, who assured me that he’d make sure the cats had enough until I get home Saturday. What amazing service!

Oh, Yeah! It’s Easter Week. (I Forgot). That Complicates Things…

San Jose, Costa Rica

Only today did I realize that this was Easter week – a heck of a time to be travelling anywhere in Central America. I left Panama on a Tuesday, thinking I could return Thursday and that would be three days. When I came to my senses, I realized that “72 hours” meant I needed to stay until Friday. That’s when it got more interesting. All of Central America shuts completely down on Good Friday. No buses. No planes. No taxis. No restaurants or movie theaters or nothin’! So I negotiated with the hotel to put me up for another 2 nights (during EASTER WEEK!) and they were wonderful about it. I chose to spend today, Thursday, visiting the Santo Thomas mall in downtown San Jose (MALL!), getting a haircut and some necessary computer components. Most of the downtown museums appeared to be closed in preparation for closing tomorrow. On the upside, the food at the restaurant at the hotel is superb – reasonably priced, beautifully presented and briskly served.

The “Renewing the Panama Visa” Challenge, Complicated by a Senior Moment

Somewhere in Costa Rica

Given that Panama grants 90-day visas to visitors, I had to leave the country for three days this week, to re-enter Panama for another 90 days. Today was an exercise in middle-agedness. Catching the 7:30 a.m. water taxi, I alighted from the 45-minute run at Changuinola only to discover I had left my wallet in Emma Jo’s pilothouse. Having planned to take the 10:00 a.m. international bus to Costa Rica, it became apparent that I would miss that bus. The dispatcher at the water taxi office in Changuinola suggested I call to have my wallet sent on the next boat from Bocas. So I called the marina, explained my dilemma, and was assured that it would be taken care of. [Read more…]