s/v Charabia

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
01 January 2018 | Rio Chagres
31 December 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina
30 December 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina
29 December 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina

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.

Rolly Anchorage

14 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
Helen
Enjoyed a movie onboard last night. Mark selected Heaven Can Wait. It was a late night for us. The boat did a lot of rocking thru the night, with the large swells hitting us on the beam. After breakfast we made plans to head in to shore for lunch. Just before we left the winds piped up to 25 knots and of course the swells got bigger too. We waited about an hour or so to see if things would settle down. Then we left. Mark was keeping up to the wave ahead of us. He pulled up the engine and we were attempting to get the boat on the beach when we both fell. I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight for the beach goers, and not one of them thought to come help us. We managed to pull the dinghy way up on shore and lock her to an old tree. Then we searched for a restaurant with tvs showing the Jaguar - Pittsburg game. The restaurant on the beach had a tv that was showing an old episode of the Munsters. It had an outdoor veranda with a great view of our boat. We walked across the street to Lucy's who had multiple tvs and they were all tuned to the game. Had a lovely but expensive lunch along with the second half of the game. We didn't think that the Jaguars could hold the lead but we were wrong. Congratulations, Jaguars! After the game we walked over to the little square and checked out the grocery store. It was a tiny sell everything store where we bought a loaf of bread and an ice cream. Mark checked on the dinghy while I looked in the two souvenir shops. I didn't buy anything as we will have more shopping in Coco. The dinghy survived. We dragged her back into the water and over the first few breaking waves. Mark waited in the water while I got in and started the engine. It took a few pulls, but I was successful. Mark got in and we rode back to Charabia. Took a shower and rinsed off everything that got wet or sandy. Our boat is still rocking. The wind is hitting us from the beach off to our port side. Tomorrow, we will head to shore early. Would love the swells to be smaller. At least we are getting practiced at doing this necessary task. The weather is not as hot today with the strong winds blowing. Not as many people on the beach.

Bliss for Helen

13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
Helen/Mark
Up early as we are still on Eastern Time. Had a lovely relaxing breakfast to start our day. Mark zipped up the sail cover and we tidied up the boat. I washed a couple of our jackets that were salt sprayed. Caught up on emails using Tep wifi. Thanks for all the lovely emails, especially from Lawson Cook who sent us several pictures of our sailboat going thru the Panama Canal. Mark posted one of them. What beautiful memories. Got our snorkel gear on and went in the water. Mark was trying to swim down to the anchor which was in 26 feet of water, but couldn't find it. It has to be buried under the sand bottom. We each spent time scrubbing the hull until the big waves got the best of us. Showered and had lunch, which was leftover pizza from yesterday's lunch. We kept watching the swells go into the beach and wondered what it would take to successfully take ours to shore. We found the right combination and landed perfectly. We pulled the dinghy up on shore and tied it to a tree. A ton of people at the beach today. In most places, they can park their cars just off the tree line. Walked all the way along the beach to where the Westin was located. It was off limits to those not staying there. There were tables set up giving massages and one lady, Sofie, told me $10 for half and hour. I was so ready for a break and that was such a heavenly experience. I think she gave me much longer than half an hour. Was able to connect with her lineage. She gave me a big hug! Mark took a stroll to the end of the beach and got us some water. We walked back to the dingy. The beach walk was wonderful. We were thinking that the crashing waves would hinder getting our dinghy off the beach. But we were able to walk it out past the breaking waves and I got in the dinghy while Mark held us in position. Then I was able to start the motor and Mark climbed in and we were on our way back to the boat. Got wet so we hosed off and are taking a break to create this blog. Will do some more exploring along the rocks in a different direction, tomorrow.

Great Pic

13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
Mark/Helen
Got this picture from Lawson Cook who was on the tour boat we rafted to in the last set of locks of the Panama Canal. Great shot and just wanted to share - Thanks Lawson!

Bureaucratic Hell

12 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
Mark/Helen
Every perfect day starts with being pooped by a wave while trying to beach the dingy. From there things when down hill or not depending on your point of view. The locals were very friendly and helpful in getting our dingy out of the water, carrying it up the beach so we could lock it off to a tree and finding a driver to take us to the port captain to clear in. The driver turned out to be Stuart a surfer dude / entrepreneur who's father was from California and spoke good English and had a 4x4 Hyundai. It was quite and experience riding with Stuart. We saw some really rough terrain that included fording a river that was a good 2+ feet deep. Also stopping at a local convenience store so Stuart could buy a lighter and smoke some weed to chill out. It was only about 10 miles but took a good hour plus to get there. Once we got to the Port Captains' office we found out what we did was illegal despite the cruising guide stating that stopping at various anchorages and taking a taxi to clear in was perfectly acceptable. It was not. So before the port captain would deal with us they sent us to immigration to be processed. There they threatened to lock up our driver for transporting illegal aliens and us too. Stuart again saved the day translating as he did at the port captains office. Immigrations was good enough to forgive our transgression and gave us 30 days in country versus the usual 90 since we had not landed at the appropriate port. Back to the port captains office and there they stated we would need sworn statement taken by a lawyer before they could process us in. Stuart again was a tremendous help and found us a lawyer that would do the statement in 1 hour. We went and had lunch and got an oil change for Stuart's truck and went back to collect the affidavit. Back to the port captain and some more paper work was filled in and they gave us the papers for customs. Off to the airport another 30 minute drive to find the customs office outside the airport, which we did but it was closed. It was now 2 pm and the port captain office closed at 3 pm so there was no way of getting all of this done today. Stuart drove us to the airport and managed to get a customs agent to come outside the arrivals gate and take our paperwork for a temporary import permit for Charabia. This was issued after a 30 minute wait standing outside the passenger exit. So the terms of our temporary permit from the port captain is that we cannot move the boat until we receive the local Zarpe from them which will be Monday morning. So we must remain in Bahia Brasilia until then. Met several really nice folks and Stuart's translating was invaluable. The bureaucracy here is enough to drive anyone crazy. Thank you, Stuart!!
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.
Charabia's Photos - Main
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Added 13 April 2015