11/04/2011, Costa Rica
More surfing and getting the boat ready to leave. We are still waiting for the rain to come so far the weather has been good with a few evening showers and lightning.
We are still planning to leave with Lisa Kay so we are standing by as they finish up a few boat projects. More surfing the waves have been good so no one is complaining.
Tommy and I made a quick run to Miami to extend my Costa Rican Visa and took a road trip up to Disney World. Two days in the "Happiest Place on Earth".
AUGUST IN COSTA RICA
We spent time on the boat in Marina Papagayo, after Dawn and the kids got back from Seattle. We did a number of day trips to Tamarindo for surfing, and a few visits to the local hot springs.
The weather was good and we had one two-week trip around Coast Rica, Limon Puerto Viejo, and Manual Antonio.
07/01/2011, Panama City and North
Panama by Land
We jumped a quick flight to Panama from Costa Rica one hour on Copa airlines to Panama City.
Wow what a city reminded all for us of Miami.
We stayed in the city for a few days the girls got their mall fix then we ventured out to explore the country north of the city.
First stop was the Panama Canal and timing was perfect to watch as ships and a few cruisers came through the Miraflores Locks.
A couple hours at the Canal museum a must see for everyone. The kids, Dawn and I all learned a ton about the Canal.
Next stop was the Pacific coast Playa Bonita. Dawn had the lonely planet guidebook out and I drove. We stayed at a new master plan resort that included the Bristol hotel. Beautiful place still under construction of the golf course and the roads.
Quick fact on Panama, tides here run 12-18 feet everyday. So the beaches are either lots of sand or none depending on the tide you hit. In the city when the tide goes out there is a great smell that goes along with the draining of the mangroves and estuary.
We continued west to Pedasi and Ville Camille. A French man built the lodge 15 years ago just west of the small town of Pedasi. 15 minutes north is Venao Beach, which is the home of the 2011 World Surf Games.
We hung around town for a few days checked out the beaches and Dad started to look seriously at land. The terrain around Pedasi is rolling grass hills that all view or abut the Pacific. Pedasi is 4 hours from the big city but has become a tourist destination and surf is awesome on the 6-7 uncrowned breaks.
More on this place latter.
We were back in the car and headed NW for David the third largest city. The whole country is beautiful mostly undeveloped agriculture land.
The biggest difference between Panama and Cost Rica is the quality of the roads. We travelled down the paved highway at 120km.
David was not much to look at or to do but a good stop over on our way to Bocas Del Toro.
We venture over the mountains 4 hours to the Caribbean. The mountains were fabulous with breath taking views and lots for flora and fauna. At the top of the mountain pass was a reservoir and hydroelectric plant. We stopped at the small information station the guard unlocked the building and the banos. Perfect stop halfway clean restrooms and we learned about hydroelectric power generation.
Bocas Del Toro is touted as one of the most beautiful spots in Panama. The sea is emerald green the islands and mangroves 5 other shades of green and the sky is as blue as it gets.
Then there is the town, were the people forgot to pick up their trash and live in an environmental disaster area. The small town of Almirante is the location of the port and the water taxi to Bocas. This was the worst than anything we saw in our travels through the poor areas of Mexico, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Which was tough because the rest of the country is very clean. The Caribbean side is know for this we soon learned.
The Eco/ Agua Lodge "Punta Caracol" was cool. Tommy said it like living on the boat but we don't move. A pier connected each cabin; and we sat on pilings over 5 feet of sea. Each cabin had its own deck and ladder so we snorkeled out the back door. We toured the town of Bocas one day or for two hours, it is small, two hours meant we walked it twice.
Two night and three days then back to the car and the road trip south.
We spent the rest of our time back in Panama City and Dad made one trip back to Pedasi to look at land with and broker.
We got back to the boat, it is nice to be home and we are surfing and playing in the Costa Rican sun.
06/15/2011, Northern Costa Rica
Where are we now?
Costa Rica or to be exact Marina Papagayo, the southern side of the Papagayo Pennisula.
We cruised out of Nicaragua with the high tide on the 16th of May and headed south. Our plan was to cruise 5-6 miles offshore not to dodge several pangas and thunderstorms throughout the night.
We ran the gammet with fishing pangas along the whole route under the full moon. We also had our share of thunderstorms to maneuver around or pound through. The night was long and at time a bit unsettling as we watched the lighting strike the ocean in the distance.
Morning would put us off of San Juan Del Sur a small surf town in southern Nicaragua.
We plan to cruise the anchorage and then stop or keep moving south 4 hours to Costa Rica.
As we approached our waypoint for San Juan the radio started to buzz with calls from other boats in the anchorage. The first was an old sailor that Lisa Kay responded to. He told a story of high fees, nothing in town, food over priced, bad anchorage.
The next call was from "Time Warp" out of Seattle returning from a circumnavigation. " The town is awesome, people great, good food and services. 'My buddy and his wife own a spa, you have to go! The officials are great, easy to check in... and the anchorage is a bit windy and you have the swells, we snapped snubbers the first night, and ripped the windless off the bow."
We were totally confused with the exception that the anchorage story was consistent, so we continued south.
Our decision was great, two Dorados on the boat just before the border and the best anchorage of the whole trip " Bahia Santa Elena"
We ran into SOMF and Windfall, folks we met in El Salvador. Diving, snorkeling, beach combing was awesome in this little piece of paradise. Two highlights of our stay was the bonfire and dinner on the beach one night with the Lisa Kay gang. The set up was the best, as the kids and I endured an hour of squal then soaked to the bone we cleaned the beach and gathered the wet wood for the fire. A few gallons of gas and we finally got the fire and the handmade torches lit. Highlight number two was watching Tommy and Ben fight a Caravel Jack for 40 minutes to get it in the dingy. Great fish 15-20 lbs. Tommy hooked it and would not give up the pole. The final 10 minutes of the fight, Ben is working the pole as Tommy cranks on the reel with the last of his strength. Before we released him the boys toured their catch around the anchorage.
After a week we headed out to check out the Bat Islands and the northern end of Papagayo, beautiful coastline rough rocky peaks with the crashing waves.
We arrived at the Bat Islands to hear Sea Wolf's radio chatter of a 3 meter bull shark and giant mantas they were filming 35 meters down.
We elected to snorkel the crystal clear waters along the islands. Tommy and I took out the tanks and dropped down to 20 ft. to watch the snorkelers and keep shark watch. Tommy completed his mask clearing test and full mask removal underwater. We also practiced our buddy breathing.
An hour later everyone was back aboard and no sharks.
Next stop was Ollie's which was a great bay but a rolly anchorage this time of year. I took the dingy in the morning over to the break to check it out. The waves were building with the changing tide. You could see the potential of an awesome break, when the right conditions come together. The break was deserted and the warnings of crocs kept me out of the water, alone and 3/4 of a mile from the boat.
We pulled up the hook again and headed to Los Huevos the anchorage just north of the Four Seasons Papagayo.
We found a great little bay, we anchored in the east anchorage and found a great little wave for the kids between two islands inside the bay, it is shown in the Explore Central America book as the northern anchorage waypoint .
Right after getting set I took Tommy, Whit, and Ben for a good 2-hour session on 3-4 ft. right-handers.
Huevos was great for a couple of days ad then we headed to civilization.
06/13/2011, Hueves to Marina Papagayo
Hi i am back !!! After a restless night at Ollies, i pull up the anchor still in my pj's. 2 hours later... with everyone tired we settle down in Hueves. Of course Dad wants to go look for a good wave, and takes all of us along. Next thing you know we are grabbing the boards. Dad, Tommy, Ben, and ME surf for a good 2 hours. After 4 days of good rest we decide to go stay at Marina Papagayo.
For lunch i had the best pepperoni pizza, at the dive bar. The first place in Central America that has root beer. Talking to the locales about good surf spots that we have been to was fun. The second place were we have been able to skateboard. Then we took 3-4 days in land to Hacienda Pinilla, The best resort ever. The next thing you know we are headed for Panama by land travel. Talk to you later when we are in Panama!!!!! BYE
06/13/2011, Santa Elena Ollies
Hello Costa Rica. Hi everyone we have arrived in CR in a beautiful bay, Santa Elena. It literally looks like a lake. There has been great snorkeling and diving. We got a science lesson on the beach by Mrs. Anderson, a hammerhead shark washed up on the beach. Lisa Kay and ourselves stayed there for about a week. Now we are headed to the Bat island, around 4 hours from Santa Elena.
We pulled in at noon, and anchored behind the islands. After a refreshing 1 hour snorkel, Lisa discovered her second piece of sea glass on the beach. Instead of anchoring there for the night we decided to head for the next stop, about 1-2 more hours away. Later on we were notified never to snorkel there. There are huge amounts of bull sharks there. That's what that big black figure my mom saw was. Hahahahah
2 hours later... we were anchored in one of the rolliest, unprotected anchorage we have ever been in. I have to say the we were spoiled in Santa Elena, with glassy water.
Thats all for now. BYE