Nature Air flight to Costa Rica
11 May 2008
The satellite shot early this morning showed some pretty bad weather moving in, and we were not looking forward to our flight over the mountains into Costa Rica in a small twin engine airplane. I guess luck was on our side as the weather system seemed to be delayed, and our flight turned out to be quite smooth afterall. We had to make a stop in Pavis, near San Jose before landing in Tamarindo on schedule at 3pm.
Now, out to the local restaurant for some dinner and a good night's sleep in the airconditioning, then it's back to work early in the a.m.
Safely tucked in
07 May 2008 | Bocas Del Toro
We made it!
Thanks to Mother Nature's cooperation and of course, Captain Ron's navigation and weather reading skills, we are now safely tucked in at the Bocas Yacht Club & Marina.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire passage south, and can now officially say that I've crossed the Caribbean Sea.
We only had two minor squalls since leaving the Bahamas; one of which occurred well offshore at night as we were crossing to Jamaica and the last one was just as we were navigating our way into the channel at Providencia. Both created a little excitement for us and gave us some much needed practice on reducing sail "quickly". As previously mentioned, we also saw a few large water spouts, but they didn't come close enough to cause us any harm, thankfully.
Other than our out-board problems, we both really enjoyed our time at Providencia. The Columbian people were extremely warm and friendly, and made us feel welcome. Mr. Bush, the marine agent for the Island, was our first contact. He helped us organize all of the documents we needed to clear with customs and immigration, and also translated for us. Other than the two officials, everyone else on the island spoke English, which we didn't learn until after we went into town to buy some provisions. I automatically started speaking Spanish with the girl at the checkout. Surprisingly, she answered me in perfect English. Then when I asked if there were many people on Providencia that spoke English, the woman in line behind me said that "everyone there spoke English". We were told that English is the first language because the Island was owned by England back in the 1700's. They have only recently started teaching Spanish in the local school.
When we cleared out of Providencia, our initial intention was to sail directly to Panama, but we decided once underway that we'd stop at San Andres for the night to grab one more good sleep. We hoisted the sails for merely and hour before we lost our wind. We had 8-10 knots; barley enough to keep our mizzen reefed which helped reduce some of the rolling action in the swells. After arriving at the east end of the island, just before sunset, we could see a Columbian war ship anchored there. We could hear someone shouting orders over a loud speaker, and whistles blowing, which made us think that there was some type of drill going on. We both had a good sleep knowing that we were well protected by our next door neighbor.
We departed San Andres at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. The sea conditions were calm, and there was no wind. The forecast had called for 14-17 knots in the afternoon, but we didn't see it. We might have had 8-10 knots by noon, so we were only able to motor-sail with our mizzen hoisted and tied off to prevent jibing for our final leg. We didn't want to wait around for more wind as the forecast was calling for severe squalls.
Ron awoke me during his first watch to say that I'd better get up as it seemed like we were being followed by another boat, and to be prepared. My heart instantly started racing, as I envisioned pirates trying to board us 150 miles offshore. It turned out to be a false alarm, as we could see after several minutes that the small freighter was passing our stern slowly, but very close. When it was time for my watch, I instantly noted how dark it was without the moon being present. At times I'd think I was seeing a light in the distance, but it'd turn out to be a star on the black horizon. Just as I was thinking of how much I disliked the total blackness, a school of dolphins appeared. I could see their figures pretty good because of the phosphorous. They put on a little show for me jumping three at a time right beside the boat where I was leaning out of the companionway door. They must have stayed with us for about 45 minutes. It was neat!
We had various types of land birds hitch a ride along this leg, some of which stayed aboard for up to 10 hours. A small sparrow type bird got into the wheelhouse, and Ron accidentally killed the little guy when he was trying to get him out. At one stage, I saw a large Blue Marlin swimming on the ocean surface, only 10 feet from the boat. It's too bad we weren't dragging a fishing line that time! The flying fish provided us with entertainment for the entire trip. Sometimes we'd see up to 20 air-born at one time, as they were fleeing for their little lives scattering from our path.
Now that we are tied up at the dock, our biggest concern now is how to stay cool. The temperature is in the neighborhood of 85 degrees, and the humidity is very high. We will be purchasing a portable 5000 Btu air conditioner that we saw a few months back in Santiago. Until then, we will have to stay close to our fans.
We booked our flights this morning to return to Costa Rica for Sunday, May 11th. Then we'll return to Santiago, Panama on the 18th. We'll have plenty of work to do on the Morillo project, and making plans for our new office which opens on June 1st. It's a delight to know that the boat is only a short distance to travel to now and we'll have many opportunities to take her out and sail around the many islands in the archipelago.
Arrival Bocas del Toro
05 May 2008 | Panama
Arrived ahead of schedule into Bocas Yacht Club and Marina, gaining almost a steady knot with the Caribbean counter current in our favour. Wind was light, and the passage fine other than dogging the numerous freighters and tankers one only seems to encounter on moonless nights. Laurie will be posting info on the trip; we are presently rigging tarps for both the sun, and anticipated rain squalls due in the next day or so.
03 May 2008 | Columbia
We anchored on the west side of San Andres for a little non rolly sleep. Being on a direct route from Providencia to Bocas, it isn't out of the way. Our neighbor at anchor provided the security, although I doubt there would be any problems at this rather nice Columbian Island. We would like to investigate the island, but will need to make that another time as work calls. We'll head out prior to sunrise for the final leg to Panama.
28 April 2008 | Providencia, Columbia
We arrived Providencia, a Columbian Island some 125 miles off the Nicaraguan coast, Sunday evening. The three day passage from Jamaica had little wind, so the lack of sail power had the boat rocking in the swells. Only squall we encountered was directly off the anchorage as we were lowering sail. Our global star didn't pick up service from about 80 miles south of Jamaica; no idea why. Montego Bay had their internet down when we were there, so Laurie will update the blogs for Montego and Negril and post later. We have added pictures to the photo gallery, including a few more from Jamaica.
The greeting, and officials and locals in Providencia have been very nice and helpful. Looks like we will enjoy a few days of rest and re-coup here.