Planetary Exloration on Senta II

Vessel Name: Senta II
Vessel Make/Model: Ericson 39B
Crew: Nancy & Sven
Extra: This blog will temporarily pick up from where the blog left off after our Retina Mac suffered a memory failure. Don't ask where the "p" in exploration went but do tell me how to put it back in, if you know :-)
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05 February 2015 | Playa del Coco and Marina Papagayo, Costa Rica
Recent Blog Posts
12 April 2015

Still windy and we are staying, plus thanks to Dan

It has been a hectic few weeks. We had the issue with the exoneration paperwork and the National Car Reantal overcharge and then need for a survey for new insurance.

05 April 2015

Varnish and condo time !

The cabin sole has been beginning to show some real wear and the companionway door was looking like it should have used a lot more sun screen, so it was time to get ready to varnish.

02 April 2015

Mess -> hotel stay

Now that we know we are going to stay here in Papagayo Marina for the summer we went to work on some chores.

01 April 2015

We got the exoneration paperwork !

Yes, it is April Fools' Day, but we don't think it is a joke.

31 March 2015

No bad faith contract needed ?

We finally got our misappropriated Marina Papagayo National Car Rental refund. That only took almost a month and a lot of reminders and an angry complaint letter. Talk about substandard service !

26 March 2015

Cultural whiplash

This is another surprising turn of events. We're almost getting whiplash !

Pleasant times in San Juan del Sur

22 January 2015
Our stay here in San Juan del Sur has been pretty pleasant.  While we didn't dare leave Senta at anchor and go ashore the first day the winds have abated a bit so we've gone ashore the last two days.  With an additional 50' of chain out Senta is probably as secure as she could be.

We also love the water-taxi service,  no dinghy needed !  Che (named after the hero) is the name that the taxi driver goes by whether it is Che Sr.,  Che his son,  or Che the grandsons.  Che Sr.  looks like a bronze Aztec God and his son and grandsons take after him but with a lighter complexion.

We managed to buy 9 liters of stove alcohol in two local pharmacies.  Since it is medical quality alcohol the price is almost as expensive as it would be at Worst Marine: $20/gallon.  In Mexico the price was between $5 and $8/gallon for industrial alcohol.  We intend to really stock up before entering the Caribbean since stove alcohol is supposed to be almost impossible to find there.

Our iPad weather app is pretty amazing:  Weather4D Pro.  It suffers from the GIGO principle and can't predict the weather any better than the GRIB data it is fed,  but once it has that data it does a spectacular job telling you what the predict is.

Since the app can retrieve data from either the net or via Iridium satellite connections it also contains an Iridium ephemerides routine that tells you when the next good/best satellite pass will take place.  This prediction is great for the data transmissions but it has also been a tremendous help with voice calls.  Since the Iridium satellites are in polar orbit they get further apart as you get closer to the equator and that has been a real problem.  When we've been trying to call family up north they have not been able to hear us most of the time and that's been incredibly frustrating.  With the predict at hand we've been able to make voice calls that actually work !

Our current "plan" is to head down to either Bahia de Salinas or Bahia Santa Elena tomorrow morning.  We will motor all the way to test the engine and see if we finally conquered the air-leak.  It would probably be a great sail but the engine is more important right now.  After Bahia Santa Elena we have to round Cabo Santa Elena which is supposed to be very windy and we want to have the engine available there for the upwind leg,  until we can tuck into Bahia Portrero around the corner.  By the way,  Ollie's point is in that bay.  It is named after the US criminal Oliver North who used that point to drop off the illegal arms shipments during the Iran Contra scandal,  in return for setting up the cartel cocaine trade into the US.

The winds pick back up Saturday and Sunday so we may be stuck one one of the bays for quite a while.  At times the winds will last for a few weeks on end and that will probably give us cabin fever,  so we'll go swimming with the crocodiles in Santa Elena if that's where we are stuck.

Nicaragua is supposed to be the poorest CA country but San Juan del Sur is actually very nice and the buildings along the shore/cliffs are pretty spectacular.  Who knows where the money comes from but there is an abundance in sight.  There are also lots of gringos,  tons.  Gringos includes any european ancestry in this case not just Norte Americanos.  Quite a few of the gringos are past their expiration date,  not in age but by end of fortune,  seemingly living for the next sun-soaked cerveza in a shoreside restaurant or lean-to.  It is pretty easy to see how they could get trapped here and never having a way to escape to a more difficult lifestyle.  Actually,  settling in one of the tiniest mountainside mansions does have a certain appeal.

Oh,  the city water was turned back on so we got our 28 pounds of laundry back,  clean and folded for $9US,  with a smile to boot.

The two late lunches we've had in town have been delicious.  Fresh fish with veggies and a Nicaraguan oddity:  They serve french fries and rice as the side dish,  starch and more starch.  We clean our plates as that is our main meal for the day,  other than the bread we get at Pan de Vida.  The bakery is a family affair with at least three generations at work.  Their oven is a wood-fired brick igloo with no visible thermometer or temperature control other than the banking of  the burning logs.  They make you wonder why I have so much trouble making bread :-)

The weather station just flashed a high wind warning as the barometer went from about 1010mb to almost 1014 in six hours.  I hope it isn't going to be another howler.
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