A Cross Ocean Experience

Seven thousand miles of outstanding cruising since November 2008 means it's time to do a little renovation and more planning for the future. Find out what ...

20 February 2013 | Fishtail, Montana, USA
15 March 2011 | Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County, MD
07 January 2011 | Deep Creek, MD
01 January 2011 | Tacoma, WA
17 December 2010 | Sierra Madre, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, CA
12 December 2010 | Leucadia, Ca
12 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
06 December 2010 | Ramona, CA
20 November 2010 | New Orleans, LA
13 November 2010 | Lexington, KY
09 November 2010 | Louiville, KY
05 November 2010 | Lexington. KY
01 November 2010 | Deltaville, VA
29 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
22 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA
08 October 2010 | Deltaville, VA

Goodbye (for now) Nicaragua

13 July 2009 | Bahia Elena, Costa Rica
Saying goodbye to Nicaragua was not such an easy task. We had steeped ourselves in its revolution history and diligently searched for popular music that might represent the country's soul. What we discovered were the stirring nationalist songs from the revolution, รก la choral marches of Russian revolution era. We spent many hours on Nicaragua's local bus routes and grew quite familiar with El Corinto, its main port. We are still reading the extensive works of its important poets and authors and are also still marveling at the violent weather patterns that we experienced entering the rainy season there. Nicaragua is famous for its torrential down pours, whereas northern Costa Rica is known for its constant soft drizzle interspersed with sun.

Entering Costa Rican waters meant crossing one of the ten windiest places on earth - Bahia Salinas where Mandy let her hair loose once or twice and we dangled from the weather cloths (at one point our starboard portholes were underwater). We learned a Mandy lesson that day, that above 25 knots of wind we have to switch her working jib for her staysail for a more balanced ride. It was a hairy experience but good for our sailing repertoire aboard this little boat.

Having traversed that windy place we are now anchored in Bahia Elena; a large, almost enclosed bay with the flat water of a lake and gusty winds that spill through from the wind tunnel of Salinas. We are surrounded by El Parke National Santa Rosa that in 1991 was established to preserve its rare dry tropical forest and ecosystem. It is complete with liana vines, blossoming trees, chattering green parrots and white faced Capuchin monkeys - my vision of Costa Rica exactly. Twenty five per cent of Costa Rica has been protected, but not all is rain forest or even dry tropical forest. Before their eyes were opened to the need to preserve, Costa Rica denuded much its forest for cattle grazing to satisfy the bottomless pits of Burger King and McDonalds. These massive ranch industries gave birth to a significant cowboy culture in the north of the country, complete with round ups, rodeo, country music and big hats. As we sit in this remote anchorage, some of that deforested land stares sparsely back at us, an experiment in natural re-forestation. It looks as though the dry tropical forest is gradually re-asserting itself upwards towards the peaks of the mountains. In fifty years the thick vegetation and dense canopy should be well on its way back to its original luxuriant beauty.

Costa Rica has done a spectacular job of promoting its tropical forests and ecosystems to the travel industry. The truth is that twice the amount of Nicaragua is given over to spectacular national parks, with chains of volcanoes, more virgin forest land, a spell binding history, low travel costs and minimal tourism; it is a real alternative for the discerning traveler. This month (July) Nicaragua celebrates thirty years since the fall of the brutal Samosa dictatorship; it is a country who now promotes love, friendship and equality. Their struggle to get to where they are has been bloody and full of sacrifice. From what we have seen the people have forged a country to be proud of and one that deserves a second look.
Vessel Name: Mandy
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol Channel Cutter 28 - http://www.capegeorgecutters.com/BCC28/index.html
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA USA
Crew: Richard & Virginia Cross
Having spent 30 years in the racehorse business we felt it was time for a different kind of adventure. Both originally from England we have sailed for fun for over 30 years. We have owned MANDY for five of those and are planning to head south for Mexico etc. in November 2008 - ready or not. [...]

There Goes Mandy!

Who: Richard & Virginia Cross
Port: San Diego, CA USA