North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

15 February 2018 | Quepos, Costa Rica
11 February 2018 | Quepos, Costa Rica
07 February 2018 | Central Costa Rica
06 February 2018 | Central Costa Rica
01 February 2018 | Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
31 January 2018 | Northern Costa Rica
28 January 2018 | Bahia Papagayos, Costa Rica
25 January 2018 | Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
20 January 2018 | Off Guatemala
08 January 2018 | Chiapas, Mexico
08 January 2018 | Chiapas, Mexico
03 January 2018 | Huatulco, Mexico
01 January 2018 | Huatulco, Mexico
31 December 2017 | On the way to Huatulco, Mexico
31 December 2017 | On the way to Huatulco, Mexico
29 December 2017 | Acapulco, Mexico
28 December 2017 | Acapulco, Mexico
26 December 2017 | On the way to Acapulco, Mexico
25 December 2017 | Zihuatanejo, Mexico
19 December 2017 | Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Inland Tours in Costa Rica

15 February 2018 | Quepos, Costa Rica
George Stonecliffe
After renting a car, we headed to the Toucanet Lodge in Costa Rica's central mountains. The first 2-lane highway was in great shape. But as we headed up into the foothills and ridges we were on the most twisted of roads, behind trucks with exhaust issues, everyone eager to pass the next person. But after passing two head-on collision accidents, we decided to slow down and not be too 'alpha'. To boot we were often in the clouds with wind and rain, and slick roads. The Lodge is in Quetzal territory which we just have to see. Lots of hummingbirds at the flowers and the feeders that are outside the Lodge windows. I am including a photo of a black-mandibled toucan that we saw at the National Park near Quepos. By the way, Sue has breached another birthday milestone today. Cheers,Everyone!

Finally at Pez Vela Marina

11 February 2018 | Quepos, Costa Rica
George Stonecliffe
Sometimes you hear about a marina that you look forward to seeing. But when you arrive, various aspects of the marina are not what you expected. For one, the WiFi is weak, making it difficult for communication over the Internet, and with the new program 'What's App Messenger' that helps in messaging, texting, e-mailing with family and friends. Secondly, this marina has the most surge that we have ever experienced in our travels. But the marina has fuel, potable water at the dock, electricity, trash bins, laundry service, a shipyard for repairs (which we do not need), several restaurants, hair salon, a famous National Park nearby, rental cars, and security keeping our boat safe while we are gone on inland tours. The marina's focus is on charter fishing, and transients (cruising boats) seldom drop in. The rate is steep. We'll stay the week we planned for because we will be on our tours four of the seven days. But then we will happily move on.

Offshore Hazards at Punta Guiones

07 February 2018 | Central Costa Rica
George Stonecliffe
The easterly winds were strong, so we were staying close to shore to reduce the fetch or build-up of waves. And we were having a great day of sailing in 20-25 knot winds on the beam, with reefed jib, main and mizzen, sometimes doing 'hull speed' of 8.3 knots. Looking at the Navionics chartplotter, Sue noticed an 'x' a couple miles off Punta Guiones, entitled 'BREAKERS'. When we were close to this spot, we saw a long stretch of calm sea with white horses (rough water) on either side of the calm area. We were between the shallows of the shoreline, and this long calm stretch. But we thought we could skirt the problem on the shoreline side. As we continued on south, we realized this calm stretch was 1-2 miles long, and that it was getting closer to shore. Oh, and there was no current which surprised us, because we had been experiencing current through the day. So we approached the calm area in 200+ feet of depth. But in 10 seconds, we went from 200+ to 19 feet before making a sharp turn retreating into the rougher water inside. It was obvious we needed to do a '180', head north, get outside this calm area and then turn south again much further offshore. A mega yacht was approaching the area, and I raised them on VHF radio, letting them know about the danger. Much obliged they turned out, and we went south about 3.3 miles off the point in a northerly current of 1.5-2.0 knots against us. There was some underwater structure that had built up over time around the point. This structure had not been charted. But it was controlling the current around the point. We were grateful to have dealt with this navigation hazard, and were relieved to be on our way safely south.

Super Bowl Sunday

06 February 2018 | Central Costa Rica
George Stonecliffe
Of course, Sue and I watched the Super Bowl! And yes, the Eagles won! We were still in Marina Papagayo. When we saw their recreation room, we knew that we needed to stay to see the game there. Although there were no other viewers, we pigged out on pizza, soda, and chips with guacamole and pico de mayo. Life is always good when your chosen team wins. We now have left for points south, and are in Bahia Carrillo tonight. Cheers to everyone, and may your team always win!

Sue Zipping Along

01 February 2018 | Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Sue Stonecliffe
Sky Adventures has a great venue of 8 ziplines overlooking Lake Arenal and the volcano (presently hidden in the clouds). Great fun for all ages.

Inland Excursion to Arenal Observatory

31 January 2018 | Northern Costa Rica
George Stonecliffe
While in Costa Rica, we drove a rental car inland to Arenal Observatory. This Lodge overlooks the Arenal Volcano that has been very active from 1968 to 2010, with numerous eruptions of pyroplastic flows and rocky bombs that have landed a kilometer away from the summit crater. The volcano is an extremely steep cone-shaped mountain. The area is called a cloud forest, and at this time of the year has heavy rains several times during the day, and winds that blow up to 30 knots for 30 seconds and are gone for a few minutes. Clouds are passing by at break-neck speed. If we see the sun, it's always a surprise. This area is great for birding, but there are a wide-range of activities including zip-lining, rappelling into canyons, kayaking, white-water rafting, and hiking galore. We are currently staying at some villas called La Mansion in the Lake Arenal area. So far we have identified 94 bird species in Costa Rica. One of our favorites has to be the Collared Aracari!!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
2 Photos
Created 4 July 2017
8 Photos
Created 5 May 2011