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Sound Effect does the big U
Isla Jesusita

Today we moved once again a few miles to another anchorage at Isla Jesusita Pretty uneventful except dodging a car ferry that travels across the Gulf of Nicoya, but after Puget sound ferry's are nothing new.
We went ashore at the ferry dock only a mile by dinghy but they had no ice cream only soft drinks so we headed back. On the way back we noticed hundreds of floats along the shore so we went to have a look. It appeared to be some sort of a acqua culture. A man paddles a canoe out to see what we wanted and we asked in our best spanish "What is this?" He proceeded to tell me something about oysters, and high tide and floats and so on. What I have found is I have enough spanish to start a conversation but the Ticans (thats what Costa Ricans are called)speak a little too fast. What I do get is Pura Vida which loosely translates as the good or Pure life. They start or end every conversation with Pura Vida!
Tommorrow we move again to Herradura

Isla Muertes

Monday, Sound Effect, raised anchor and motor sailed 8 miles against the prevailing tidal current to a new anchorage at Isla Muertes. We made water on the way and of course charged the batteries. Anchor down about 3pm with the first beautiful star filled sky at night that we have seen in months. Grey overcast is the order of day most days as we are in the rainy season.
We will continue to move every day for the rest of the week hoping to be in Golfito by the end of the week. Golfito is the last port in Costa Rica before leaving for Panama.
Yesterday I tried to swim over to Kokomo after anchoring in Isla Muertes but the jelly fish stings drove me back to our boat. Needless to say no one else went swimming and everyone else was sympathetic but secretly glad I was the first and only one in the water. I soaked in vinegar solution for about 30 minutes and the stings were at least tolerable by that time.

07/19/2011 | Bob Green
Hey, It's the rainy season here in Washington as well! One or two nice days a week. The corn refuses to grow! Life does however go on Sun or no Sun!
07/20/2011 | mike merritt
so they don't use urine to stop the sting, or is that an old wives tale?
07/20/2011 | Ron
Hi, Dan wants to know who peed on you to elivoate tje dpxoms - any volunters. Ha ha. Sounds all is well and we sure miss you guys.
Ron & Dan
Reflections on Half Way

First of all are we half way? Well most of you know, Sound Effect is doing the big "U" , west coast to east coast via the Panama Canal. Are we half way? We have come over 6000 miles of a 10,000mile trip, we are 11 months of what probably will be a 22month trip and we are 350 miles from the Panama canal.
We won't really know where half way is until we finish so give me a break and allow me that we are half way.
Has the trip met our expectations? Yes and in some unexpected ways. First of all most of you know that we have been seriously planning since 2005 and dreaming from about 1985. We have read the guide books and talked to everyone we could about where to go and what to see. We read articles and blogs, attended boat show seminars and have done everything else we could do to prepare. Some of the places we planned to visit and did, met expectations, and some did not, but the most interesting thing is that the most memorable places and people we met were spontaneous events and not planned at all.
For example, In Moro bay California tied up to the yacht club pier we met a man who helped us get a diver, filled our propane tank, and invited us to the yacht club event that night. The next day we met a couple at church who insisted on hosting us for the afternoon to visit the mission at San Luis Obisbo and see the sun shine for the first time in a week.
Another example is the Copper Canyon Mexico trip. We had a rough plan to visit but simply got on the train with no reservations, stopped for a night in El Fuerte a wonderfully preserved colonial town, and got off at the end of the line and found an inexpensive guest house. True we were travelling in the off season at a time when Mexican tourism is down but it proved to be an adventure.
The latest example, are the immersion classes in Antigua. We heard about the opportunity for immersion classes and decided to do three weeks. We applied on line for classes and asked for a host family. We had no recommendations for a school simply chose a web site. Then we set off to San Salvador without reservations, got a bus to Guatemala city, spent the night in a six room hotel in the bus station and continued on to Antigua where we had a wonderful 3 week experience.
We will continue to plan the year ahead deciding where we would like to visit and when but we trust that in the year to come the spontaneous experiences will once again be the most memorable.

While I write this we continue to stay put awaiting weather and doing boat chores, check out the latest position report and google earth we are anchored off a former penal colony on the island and you may be able to see the remains of the buildings we explored yesterday.

To the Gulf of Nicoya

Thursday , we left for a trip farther down the Costan Rican coast to the Gulf Of Nicoya. We had been watching the weather and there was a NW wind blowing Thursday and Friday with a Gale forecast for the weekend. Wait until Monday or go now??. The downside of waiting is that there was zero wind forecast for after the gale. The downside of going now is what if the gale is early? We elected to go Thursday, which should give us ample travel time for making it to a safe harbor.
We left El Salvador to travel 230 miles and it took us 4 days! We had 150 miles to travel to the Gulf Of Nicoya how long would it take. We got the calculator out..... 4kts or 5kts average, how long would it take can we travel at the right speed to arrive during daylight hours? In the end we made it in 27 hours and Kokomo in slightly less time. This was probably our fastest passage yet. (We were actually averaging 6.94kts until we had to motor the last 20+ miles against the tide at 4kts)

We left at noon, motor sailed out of Culebra until the wind came up and began sailing downwind under full sail. A few hours later we reefed the main as the wind rose. Then we furled the jib partially, then reefed the main further, then furled the jib more as the wind continued to build. In the end we had a triple reefed main and no headsail at all. 25kts gusting 30+ kts, we were sailing in the mid 7's and surfing up to 10kts!. Of course did I mention the wind was from behind so the dodger and bimini offer no protection, and oh by the way it was raining! Did I say raining? Actually deluging, and did I mention the lightening? Oh and the waves were short and steep and confused.

Welcome to rainy season in Costa Rica. We are tucked into a neat little bay that was a former prison colony, we will most likely stay the weekend and take off again. Little chance for internet so this is posted via SSB by my faithful editor.

07/13/2011, Nocoscolo

Well today we moved 5 miles to fuel up and anchor is a new bay. At the top of Culebra is the Papagayo marina. Kokomo and Sound Effect left in a light rain and arrived at the Marina to fuel up as a huge black cloud dropped bucket loads of rain. The fuel dock attendent donned his slicker and came down and fueled us up . We topped off our tanks... 25 gals approx (they sell in liters) for $142! Glad we don't have a trawler with a 3000gal tank.
I towed the dink and during the rain it filled while we were fueling just to give you an idea of the rain. Now we are anchored in a sweet little bay about a mile from the Marina. (My 5 mile wi fi is giving us the signal for this posting).
Becky asked about the cost to stay in this first class brand new marina... $2 per foot per night $75 for us $85 for Kokomo. We like anchoring out so no problema. This was the first fuel dock I have been to since La Cruz in Puerta Vallarta Mexico in February. We have been using jerry jugs to lug fuel to the boat but this was better than an expensive taxi ride.

We are going to stay here in Culebra (there are more than a dozen anchorages) where we are well protected until there is a favorable weather window.

Repairs on Deck
07/11/2011, Santa Elena

Periodically I have featured Connies sewing projects. Awnings for the boat, jerry jug covers, sun shades etc. Today (actually last Friday) we (connie, I just move the material) repaired the genoa. This sail had ripped along the leach during our crossing prompting us to haul it down and cut off the flogging bits while at sea. Today we repaired the sail, but as you can see this is a large sail so we decided to move the sewing machine to the deck and leave it partially attached to the head sail. We ran out of the proper material so we substituted sunbrella to serve as the UV protection while furled.
Just another example of how we just sit around on "vacation"
Sail is up and worked well for the crossing but like your worn out kids clothes you can only keep mending for just so long before you need a new suit of clothes.

07/12/2011 | Rob Crone
Got to love that Sailrite sewing machine, I have oiled ours several times but was wondering how it holds up on a boat at sea?
07/14/2011 | Deb McAdams
Great job with the sail repair and all the other projects. Has there been a use for those little straps of bias tape or whatever that I sent down via Ron H? They were some ties for limb restraints we had to ďrepurposeĒ for holding monitor parts in place on our babies for awhile. If they worked for anything, I can probably come up with some more later. So first you party, then back to work on the boat. Iíll be heading back to Florida in a couple weeks or so since my dad is having open heart surgery, so Iíll wave a little to the east at you.
07/16/2011 | Deb McAdams
Iíll be east, I meant Iíll wave to the west. My computer didnít know what it was talking about.

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Who: Jim & Connie Merritt
Port: Tacoma WA
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