s/v Charabia

20 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
19 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
18 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
17 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
16 January 2018 | Playa Mata de Cana
15 January 2018 | Playa Pan de Azurar
14 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
12 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
11 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
10 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica - heading to Papagayo
09 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica - heading to Papagayo
08 January 2018 | Punta Balsa
07 January 2018 | Almost at Isla Ladrones
06 January 2018 | Gulfo de Montijo
05 January 2018 | Bahia Arenas
04 January 2018 | Gulf of Panama
03 January 2018 | Taboga Island
02 January 2018 | Balboa Yatch Club

Escape from Costa Rica

20 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
Helen
Up early. Got the boat ready to depart Papagayo, Costa Rica. The port captain's assistant threatened that we would be arrested if we didn't leave by 21:00 once we were cleared out yesterday. The marina manager told us that was not true. We enjoyed some happy hour drinks at the restaurant/bar at the marina last night. The sunset was fabulous with lots of red. Took a walk along the dock with the mega yachts. Anna was the largest ship at over 200 feet and had underwater lights with a whole bunch of fish swimming around including a number puffer fish. We talked to some of its staff at the bar. Seb was the one that gets to be suspended by three ropes in order to clean the hull and windows. Wow! A fourth mega yacht arrived thru the night. We took a last walk up to the marina lounge so Mark could get weather. It seemed the strongest signal from there. Left the dock around 8 with our fellow catamaran worker helping untie our lines. Mark noted that it seemed cooler today. There was not much of a breeze. I woke up thru the night and had a tough time falling back asleep. We motored out the channel and Mark stored the bumpers and lines in the anchor locker. We stayed off the rocky coast line of the bay. Hoisted the main, but reefed as the weather predictions were for gusts to 30 knots. Then we got out on the ocean and there were small swells and the wind in our face once again. Motor/sailed with one engine. Then as we headed offshore the winds picked up and came around to our beam as predicted. We are now sailing with full jib and reefed main and no motor. Our speeds are over 6 -7 knots with 15-16 knots of wind. Since after lunch, the breeze is cool. I finally put on my jeans as the night temperatures will be even less. The sun is shining brightly. We took pictures earlier of our whale sighting. We did see the blow holes shooting water and what looked like steam into the air from a distance and could make out the body of a whale and some tail fins, but their color blended into the color of the water. Saw several dolphins riding our bow wake. Out winds got up to 27 in gusts. We are now seeing our 3rd huge turtle. We go by them too fast to get a picture. We have 371 miles to the mark with 57 miles after that. The seas are lumpy and it's a rocky road and we are getting some spray on deck, we are 30 miles off shore of Nicaragua. The winds should be less tomorrow. In summary, the marina at Papagayo was the absolute best marina we have ever stayed at!! Thanks to Dan and all the marina crew, for a very special stay!

Bureaucratic Hell Part II

19 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
Helen
Up early and headed to the marine office to pick up our rental car at 8. Headed to Playas de Coco to the Port Captain's office for check out papers. First we had to fill in paperwork. Then we had to pay $20 service fee, but we could only do that by going to a bank. Drove to the bank. I waited in the car. Mark went in and waited in line only to find that he didn't take his passport which was required for some reason. The $20 had a bank service fee of $5. So, Mark gives them $25 cash but that needed a photo id. I finally went in and to see what was taking so long. They had two doors with a red and green light. You could only go thru one at a time and wait for the green light. Then I was told to remove my cap. I guess for the cameras. Mark said he gave the lady all the required documents and the lady took his passport and walked back into their offices. Not sure why it took so long. I had time to shop at the store next door. The next step was driving out to the airport to visit customs. This time we again went to their empty office a block from the airport. So, back to the airport. Mark gave the customs agent his passport and had to fill out more documents. The lady took them back into the airport and after an hour, she came back with a form to give to the port captain, which ends our temporary permit for our boat being in Costa Rica. Then we drove to the Immigration office just as the only officer was locking up the office. He gave Mark three forms to fill out, one for the boat, one for him and one for me. Then he produced one form for the port captain and stamped our passports. Then back to the Port Captain's office in Playa de Coco. We were there just before noon. We waited for one other person. The port captain took all the other forms, had Mark fill out additional forms and then issued the International Zarpe. He also told us we need to be out of the country by 21:00 today. Decided to go to the Lookout Restaurant for lunch as our marina manager highly recommended it. It was quite the drive up hill to get there. We finally found it and drove up to the door only to find that we needed to park down below. Mark had to back down our Toyota Yaris. Then we climbed a very steep hill only to find that they don't open until 4 pm. So, we took some pictures instead and headed back to the restaurant that made such a great pizza. We get there and they are not making pizza today. So, we grabbed some fast food instead. Then Mark promised a trip to the casino. The one we went was two stories with slot machines and tables that only open at night. So, we each played some. My machine was up $5 so I wanted to cash out. There was something sounding like an alarm and eventually a lady came over and filled out a form which I had to sign. Then she went away and came back with my money. Mark gave them $5 so we got to play and break even. Stopped at a different grocery store and picked up a small amount as we really didn't need anything other than fresh fruits and veggies. Got back to the marina and asked about some beaches, but we had already driven past the suggested ones so we decided we had enough. Checked out of the marina as the manager told us that we have until tomorrow to leave. He also supplied us with four free drink tickets. One of the marina employees drove us back to our boat on his elongated golf cart as we had stopped at one of the fruit stands and picked up a watermelon and pineapple as well. Got into our swim suits and enjoyed a cold swim for our last time. Then back to the boat. Had a light dinner, which was yesterday's leftovers plus some extra veggies. Then came to the restaurant/bar and I'm having a Pina Colada and Mark is having a Passion Fruit Mohito. Yum on both!! We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here at Papagayo Marina. Last night we met several of the crew of the mega yacht in the cruiser's lounge. Our wifi wasn't working well so we walked up. Talked to one of the tour boat captains who was New Smyrna, Florida. He took a group of local investors out on the 65 foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran and said they saw a pod of 5 Humpback Whales. So, tomorrow we will be back on the Pacific Ocean on a 3-4 day sail to Mexico! Hope we get to see those whales!

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

18 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
Helen
Had a busy and productive morning. Mark bypassed the hot water tank since we discovered a leak. Then we made plans for lunch, based on the marina staff recommendation. A driver picked us up. It was not far away but the ride was up and down mountains to get there. The place was definitely out of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous show. The entrance way had water features on both sides, aligned with plants. Then the welcoming area had a dispenser with water and slices of pineapples along with coconut cookies. We walked down the mountain to the restaurant. Absolutely stunning architecture, looking down on an infinity pool below and the ocean out in the distance. The picture was taken from our table. We will catch up with other pictures at some point since they are on our other camera. We had the same driver on the way back. Back at the boat, we spent time washing the salt water off and scrubbed all the marks with a new cleanser we bought at the marine store. Then got into our swimsuits and headed to the pool. We were surprised that there was one other guest at the pool. The water was extremely cold. It didn't take long to cool us off. Grabbed and shower and head back for dinner. This place has multiple wifi connections but it doesn't seem to work well enough at our boat. So, we walked up to the Cruiser's Lounge and found many people already there, playing pool and shuffle board. They seem to be the workers on the huge boat that is parked at the end of the marina. They seemed to be having fun. Sounds like British accents and they told us they will be here for a month. We have pre-arranged a rental car for tomorrow. Our plans are to visit the port captain and not sure if customs or immigration also need to see us for check out. If all goes well, we will be leaving on Saturday, for Mexico. It will take us 3-4 days.

Fuel and Marina Day

17 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
Helen
Watched the latest Die Hard movie last night. Then actually stayed up later. It was nice and flat in the anchorage which we had all to ourselves. Up early. Prepared the boat for leaving. After breakfast, we hauled anchor and motored to the marina. It was only a couple of miles away. Found the fuel dock and our tank and jury jugs were filled. Then we were assigned a slip. Mark did a wonderful job backing us in. There were marina staff to assist. Mark went to check in and I got all the clothes ready for laundry. This is a very new and beautiful marina. The laundry room was spotless and the machines worked efficiently. We made some calls with our wifi connection and WhatsApp, while we waited. Visited the marine store where we found some sail tape. No impellors to be found. We checked out the pool area. No one was in there all day. By the time laundry was done, it was lunch time, so we had lunch in the marina restaurant. The food was pricey but very good. We have leftovers for dinner too. Walked back to the boat and put things away. Mark took a rest while I put out some email updates. It was great to hear from many friends and family. We decided we were too hot and headed to the pool. The water was cold and refreshing and we had it all to ourselves, except for some small birds that came in for a drink. The showers were like brand new. On route to the boat, we walked out the front entrance and found a wooden staircase leading thru the jungle and down to the water. We saw a huge lizard which climbed a big tree at super fast speed. Did not have enough time to take a picture. We saw lots of birds in the area. Walked back to the boat but could not get the wifi connection to add this post. So, we walked up to the cruisers' lounge and the connection was good. There is a big screen tv so we are watching BBC World News. Our room has a pool table plus a shuffle board table. The chairs are set up like a theater. However, the rest of the channels are in Spanish. There is a gym and board room here as well. Very nice place. Not sure how long we will stay. We need to give Charabia a nice bath. Also, Mark will be working on the hot water tank. We will check into renting a car at some point. Mark will check the weather before we make our plans to leave.

Problems in Paradise

16 January 2018 | Playa Mata de Cana
Helen
Enjoyed another old movie last night called Seventh Sign. Had a lovely calm anchorage for sleeping last night. The breeze was cool and the hatches were closed. After breakfast, got in our swim suits and loaded our snorkels in the dinghy. Went to the beach closest to where the charter catamaran was last night. Pulled the dinghy high enough on the beach to not be affected by the rise in tide. Then got in the water. Mark's walking sandals dug into his foot yesterday and today it was the same place for the flippers. So, we didn't last long on the snorkeling. The visibility was poor and I didn't even see one fish. The winds piped up especially when we tried to get the dinghy back in the water to get the engine started. It all worked out and we were almost back at the boat when Mark turned off the dinghy motor. Apparently, there was no water was coming out from the engine. That means that the impeller needs to be changed yet again. Mark paddled the rest of the way to the boat. We took the motor off and stored it on the railing. Then hoisted the dinghy into the davits. Once that was done, we hoisted the main sail. then Mark hauled anchor and we departed around 11 a.m.. As we got clear of the surrounding hills/mountains, the wind really picked up. We had wind up to 30 knots and big ocean waves with white caps. We used both motors with the main, as the wind was right on the nose yet again. Along the way Mark turned on the water maker as our tank was less than half full. He also noticed we have a leak in the starboard bilge. He was able to pump it out while I helmed. He thinks it is caused from the hot water tank since it was fresh water in the bilge. We made it to Playa Mata de Cana just as a larger Fountaine Pajot charter catamaran pulled into the same bay. They didn't anchor. One guy took the dinghy to the beach and picked up a few people. Then they departed the bay. There are many chaise loungers on the beach at the far end. There is another resort up high and on the other side is a golf course. The good thing coming in here was that the wind slowed to under 10 knots. There are no white caps as we are protected by the mountain in front of us. Lots of houses are built into the mountains with spectacular views. We saw one sting ray jump clear out of the water two times. There are lots of birds fishing in the waters. Saw several fishing boats close to shore. We are in sight of Papagayo marina, which is where we will head to tomorrow. The cabin temperature is sill 84 degrees.

Finally Legal in Costa Rica

15 January 2018 | Playa Pan de Azurar
Helen/Mark
Last night we enjoyed watching the movie, The Sixth Sense. The Smokey air kept our hatch closed. At one point I woke up and was cold. We were up early and ready to start our long day. The swells were rocking us, all night. We took the dinghy to shore with a successful landing despite the 4 foot swells crashing into the shore! We were able to drag it close to a big tree. Two older locals felt sorry for us and helped. We secured the dinghy to the tree before looking for Stuart, our driver. He showed up with several paddle boards on top of his vehicle. We delayed our start to deliver them to the beach. His 4-wheel drive vehicle did well on the beach and rugged hills. It took almost an hour to get to the port captains' office in Playa de Coco. I checked out one of the tourist shops and then joined him. We were granted our Domestic Zarpe, so we are free to travel thru Costa Rica. Before we leave Costa Rica, we need to return to the lovely port captains' yet again, so they can issue us an International Zarpe, which we will need to check into Mexico. On the drive back we stopped at a very nice Auto Mercado, grocery store. Then drove home the short cut way, which involved crossing the deep river again and more rugged roads as we headed back to Brasilito. Thank you, once again, to Stuart. We had a wonderful time on our land adventures with you! Thanks also to another local friend, who helped us get the dinghy thru the swells as we returned to the boat. But not before at least three swells splashed the dinghy. We rinsed the salt water from our bags of groceries as well as our clothes and showered before hauling anchor. We hit 25 knot winds, in the face, as we left. We were motoring with both engines and only making 3 knots. Change of plan. We decided to anchor in the fourth bay over from us, called, Pan de Azula. It took us four tries to find a spot where the anchor would hold. It was a rocky bottom. We are anchored in 21 feet of water with around 6 foot tidal range. We were both exhausted. There were several touring catamarans, one which stopped on the rocks at the other end of our bay. Since we left the dinghy in the water, we decided to take the dinghy for a ride around the bay. As we passed by the catamaran, we had a lovely conversation with some nice Canadians. They offered us an SG&T. How nice was that? There are some beautiful looking resorts on the beach and up the hill. The one at the top has a huge infinity pool. They lit giant torches around the pool at sunset. We will plan to do some snorkeling around the rocky areas and especially where the tourists were located. Mark suggested that we only move a short way tomorrow and wait another day to get to the marina at Papagayo. Our sunset was spectacular this evening, right at the entrance to this bay and behind a couple of huge rocks. Ate dinner outside in the cockpit. Our Tep is working better. We can make phone/video calls, but only if the recipient has WhatsApp or Skype. Catching up on emails and calls. Temperatures are still in the 80's. After sunset, I thought it was cooler than normal. Maybe it's because we're protected by so many mountains on shore.
Vessel Name: Charabia
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine Pajot / Athena
Hailing Port: Jacksonville, FL
Crew: Mark &Helen
About:
We are both computer folks that were live aboard cruisers back in the 90s. We settled in Jacksonville Florida after escaping the great white north and cruising the Bahamas, T&C, DR and points south down to Trinidad. [...]
Extra: Charabia is a French slang word for nonsense or gibberish. It derives from Arabic "sharab" which means alcohol.When you drink (too much) alcohol, you start talking Charabia. The original owners named her and Mark liked the name so it stuck.
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Added 13 April 2015