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Gone surfing... svFreedom
Oh Panama...
11/06/2009, Santa Catalina

Where do we begin... We have loved our time in Panama, it is definitely the jewel of Central America. So many beautiful topical islands to discover, enjoy & appreciate. So many incredible anchorages, some with nearby surf, some with great snorkeling and some so snug & comfortable you just don't want to leave. And the native people we've encountered are so friendly, good natured and kind. To sum it up, Panama is simply awesome.

If there has been a downside, it's that we've ventured thru these waters at the peak of the rainy season. We left Golfito, and hunkered down outside Pavones for 3 days waiting out a 48hr monsoon downpour, and surfing of course between the showers. Island hopping thru Panama, we seen intermittent rainy & sunny days, although we just sat out a 72hr downpour in Bahia Honda. We're now anchored at Santa Catalina island, preparing for an ocean crossing to Equador that we think will take seven days or so. With the current sunny forecast, it looks like we're off tomorrow for the 500 mile blue water crossing.

11/06/2009 | Jim Crane
Happy to hear you both are okay (given the recent reports of tropical storms and hurricanes in Central America). Hope we can catch up if you come back home for the Holidays. May God's hand continue to be on you both during your voyage and adventures. Anxiously awaiting your next post... Jim
11/07/2009 | Sean Naughton
Sounds epic friends. All that good stuff on the Pacific side and to think, just as much on the Carribean side. Safe travels to Ecuador and thanks for the blog, you have no idea how vicariously I am living through you. Cheers!
Adios a Costa Rica
10/16/2009, Golfito

Its been two months, and our time in Costa Rica has flown by. Since Playa del Coco, we've been continuing to enjoy the beauty & wildlife of the national parks, that seem to cover this country. Costa Rica has preserved so much of its natural beauty; it's nice to see trees & wildlife flourishing. There are miles and miles of green coastline, and so many birds, and monkeys in all the hills. Most anchorages, we can listen to the howler monkeys scream out from the jungle, sounding like an abominable snowman roar.

In our passage down Costa Rica, we caught waves in the Tamarindo area. We landed a beautiful 4 ½ foot, 20+ lb. Mahi Mahi just outside of whale bay where we spent a week, and saw whales leap out of the water. We anchored at Manual Antonio and hiked the park, enjoying the antics of the white face monkeys. We spent a few days at Drakes Bay and explored the Cocorvado Park. In Golfito, we've done some important boat repairs, but still found time to hike the Golfito Reserve.

Now, we're leaving for Panama, where we'll be for a few weeks before we cross over to Ecuador. But of course, we'll make a stop at Pavones, a great surfing spot, before we leave Costa Rican waters. Not sure when we'll get to post again, but we'll do our best.

10/16/2009 | mercedes
ooooohhhhhhh que linda la esta foto.... que bonita sale kellita jejejeje son bromas prima favorita!!! te quiero mucho... saludos a Robert
10/19/2009 | Nick
Glad you guys found Costa such a hard place to leave. Are you going to try to shoot the Canal whilst in Panama? I talked to a guide at the locks when I was down there and he said it would be about a $500 passage for a 30-35 footer. That's a tough one to justify, but boy would it be a memory. I think you guys told me you were planning on sticking to the Pacific anyway so you could head over to SE Asia for surf. Keep living the dream and sharing the inspiration with those who aspire!
Ziplining!
09/15/2009, Playa del Coco, Costa Rica

When out and away, living on a sailboat, the casual cruising program does funny things to the so-called schedule. We've now been in Playa del Coco region for 3 weeks, and have yet to move on Southward. Part of the explanation is that family came to visit us for a week to enjoy this beautiful country with us. We hiked the interior rainforests, where the trees were covered with moss & orchids from base to canopy tree top. It actually rained in the rainforest! So, we each used a giant banana leaf as an umbrella. We enjoyed the wild rush of riding ziplines (300-1500ft suspended cables across the jungle canopy) thru the Santa Elena Cloud Forest. We snorkeled off a beautiful beach, saw octopus, colorful urchins and dove for shells. We also found time to relax, enjoy the pool and make smoothies.

The other part of the explanation of why we've been here so long is that we've been getting some sewing repair projects done with the local upholstery guy. And, we've been making friends with the residents here, and it gets comfortable to say, "Ah the next day we'll get going, 1 more project, next day, etc."

Today its Costa Rica's independence day, there's a parade thru town, we're cooking tacos with our friends who run the local soda (eatery). How can we leave today???

09/17/2009 | Jim Crane
Stoked to see that "Parker Sr." was able to come down for a visit. I bet it was a hard decision for him. Hmmm..... Work or travel to Costa Rica?? Glad you all had the chance to zipline in the rainforest -- looks like a blast. Delayed departures mean more time for surfing!!! Got Pavones??? Take care and God's best to you both.
Good bye Nicaragua, Hello Costa Rica!
08/25/2009, Playa del Coco

Our love / hate relationship with Nicaragua has come to an end. The wind was always strong, in the 20-35 knot range. The wind chop and ground swell and ocean current were always going in different directions, which made sailing difficult. But then, these pesky offshore winds groomed the surf to perfection, and even made the anchorages comfortable everywhere we went. Yet by the end, we learned not only to sail comfortably in these conditions, we grew confident in our sailing skills and our boat. With a fully reefed mainsail and staysail alone (sometimes reefed too), our vessel excelled in these conditions as we learned to handle the reigns. Regarding Nicaragua, we found it to be quite beautiful, green and peaceful (not overrun with tourism, resorts & developments).

We reached Costa Rica and tucked into the first northern bay, called Bahia Santa Elena, located inside a national park. It is shaped like a huge ankle sock with great protection off to the side of the bay and it can hold 100+ boats. But the greatest thing is that there are no roads, no trails, no lookout points, and no tourist groups here. The only real access is by boat, and in a majestic way, it's as if time forgot about this little piece of the world and nature has prevailed. From the edge of the water to the towering hilltops, a thick jungle canopy covers the earth and birds are safe to sing their songs, butterflies float across the green-scape, fish are constantly jumping all around the boat, and the song of the jungle emanates from the bush. We were the only sailboat here, and for 6 days we appreciated every moment in this heavenly creation. The water is crystal clear with an emerald green tint reflected from the jungle. Green macaws host sunrise & sunset concerts. Barracudas leap thru the water, turtles paddle by, and manta rays glide along just below the surface. We spent hours just sitting on deck soaking up the display. Our time in Santa Elena was our reward for coming this far.

And, being a dedicated surfboat, we spent a few nights at Ollies point and made a quick stop at Witch's Rock (2 of Costa Rica's premier surf spots) on our way to Playa del Coco.

08/25/2009 | Jim Crane
Sounds likes sheer PARADISE!!! Living vicariously through your updates. Have a wonderful time.
08/26/2009 | mike naylor
Awesome details of your journey. I'm enjoying the photos and stories. Keep 'em coming! Be safe!
08/26/2009 | mary paris
Hi guys;
Thank you for the wonderful updates. Absolutely enjoy them. We are so very happy for both of you. What wonderful lessons learned from your experiences. Be safe and look forward to the next one.
08/26/2009 | Oscar Aviles
Great update, sounds like you are having the time of your life. It's like reading something out of Nationl Geographic. Well it's been a while since we last talked so a big hugh from me and Clara, we got married in Bogota last month and it was wounderfull. Keep the updates coming and have a great time, I can't waite for the next one.

Cheers,

Oscar and Clara
08/26/2009 | Sunshine
Hi Robert! I love the photos and journal stories... my hubby and I are living vicariously through your tales! Safe travels to you two!
Nicaragua
08/12/2009, San Juan del Sur(f)

We left Bahia, crossed over the always treacherous sandbar, and were in open ocean again, continuing our journey South. We passaged overnight to southern El Salvador and found a great right point with the sunrise. So of course, we stopped, surfed and then made our way into Fonseco Bay, a huge island strewn bay that separates El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua. We spent a week enjoying the secluded anchorages, hiking the hillsides, and picking mangoes & coconuts right off the trees.

After another overnight passage, we entered Nicaragua in Puerto Corinto, an industrial port town. When we set out from here, we learned what the Papagayo winds are all about. Steady 20-35 knot winds on the forward beam that kick up the seas to an uncomfortable level. To top it off, we got blasted by an innocent looking squall that sent us running with 45 knot winds, sharp rain & bigger seas. Fully reefed mainsail & staysail helped us make slow progress. In this period of about 30 hours, we crossed most of Nicaragua and sought shelter in a little bay, El Astillero.

Since Astillero, we've hugged the coast and anchored nightly in incredible little bays, most with great surf due to the constant offshore winds. We are in San Juan del Sur(f), enjoying this surf town, reprovisioning, and resting before we cross the last of the Papagayo section and enter Costa Rica.

08/18/2009 | Jim Crane
Glad to hear you guys are faring well. Thinking of you both often. Hope you get lots of big left barrels in Costa Rica!!
May God continue to protect you and give you great joy in your travels.
08/21/2009 | Virginia Cross
Yeah, those Papagayos can really howl. We had the strongest ones from Elena to Coco's so hang on. Glad to see that all is going well and we look forward to seeing you again before long (we are now in Golfito). Mandy
El Salvador
07/19/2009, heading South

Our 2 weeks in the estuary / river of Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, have passed quickly and we're moving on, heading for Nicaragua & Costa Rica. It is beautiful here and we will miss our afternoon pool time, but it's time to continue south. We're looking forward to the upcoming surf spots, snorkeling the reefs and being back in the ocean environment. Not sure when we'll get to post again, but we will when we can.

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Who: Robert & Kelita
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