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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Photos from Costa Rica and Arrival in Nicaragua

The winds have been blowing very hard for almost 2 weeks. We had a surprise while in Santa Elena, our friend Ira on PAPAGAYO sailed in to the bay. He is usually hanging out in San Juan but he decided to take a trip to Costa Rica and it was really cool to have a friend to hang out with while we waited for the winds to calm down. After about 10 days there was a slight lull where the winds were below 30 knots. We didn't want to miss our friends xmas party in Nicaragua, so we slammed our way through the waves to San Juan del Sur.

During our time in Bahia Santa Elena we found a few more places to hike and saw more wildlife (parrots, large deer, dead bright blue snake, a 5' long crocodile, and monkeys to name some of them). Here are a few photos, including one from a very naughty monkey:

Parrots cry out "WACK-CAH"

Crocodiles lurk in the mangroves

Playa Blanca was beautiful.

Capuchin Monkey that threw a stick at us.

{GMST}11|15.39|N|85|52.6|W|Back after two years!|San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua{GEND}

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Falling Booby

The leg from Playas del Coco to Bahia Santa Elena is always exciting during this time of the year. The strong offshore winds blow very hard. The prediction for our rounding was expected to be 10-15 knots, so we expected 20-30 knots against us. Not ideal, but it is the lowest prediction we've seen for days.

About 2 hours into the Golfo de Papagayo we had about 5 knots of E wind. I was hoping we picked the right window. As we were motoring along with part of the main sail up there was a sudden CRASH! I looked up to see a booby on the dodger tumble down through the open companionway hatch and into the boat. I shouted to Sherrell down below, "Help! Help! A Booby just fell inside!" Sherrell looked over and saw a black heap of something at the base of the ladder. It quickly righted itself into the shape of a booby bird and just stared at Sherrell as if to say, "now what do I do?". Remembering hearing about how sharp their large beaks are, she quickly threw a towel over the bird and passed it up to me. I took it up to the bow and released it. It seemed perfectly healthy but you can never tell with birds. It flopped around a bit and clumsily hopped over the boat into the water. It seemed ok, and we hope it does fine. Jordan, on the other hand, was a bit disappointed her new playmate left so quickly. She spent the next hour sniffing around the boat trying to find where we hid it.

The winds remained light until we got almost exactly to the halfway point -- you know the point where you don't really want to turn around. The wind quickly built and of course it switched to the NW directly in front of us. We soldiered on.

The wind continued to build to about 20-25. We began hitting large waves that would slow our progress to about 2 knots (less than walking speed) and we started to dip the bow below the waves and take on lots of salt water and spray.

Determined to make headway we kept fighting the waves and wind...for hours. Each turn around a point of land only found the wind to turn directly against us again. Progress was slow, uncomfortable and wet. While certainly not the nightmare conditions we endured 2 years ago, it was still hard earned mileage.

We are now anchored in the magical anchorage of Bahia Santa Elena, where it is calm, where we can sleep and where we were almost exactly 2 years ago to the day.

{GMST}10|55.1|N|85|47.35|W|The magical Anchorage of Santa Elena|Santa Elena{GEND}

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gap Winds Are Not Fun

We've been moving along -- four anchorages in three days. Well, ok, one was a marina where we stopped for fuel and water. But we’ve been trying to move fast to beat the gap winds which as I speak are blowing about 25 knots and making some chop in the bay…so that’s not working out too well. We are just at the start of the season where they start blowing and they have all been 30 knots or less so far.

We went from Potrero to Guacamaya to Marina Papagayo to Playa Mata de Cana where we anchored yesterday. Now today we are in Playa del Coco. We are going to clear out of the country tomorrow and wait for a weather window for going around Cabo Santa Elena. Last time we went around Cabo "Satan" Elena the highest winds I’ve ever experienced and damaged two sails. We have a little more time to wait for better weather than we did last time. It was a nightmare…we don’t want a repeat this time.

Last time we were in Tamarindo I really wanted a sunset photo of the sun going down over Isla Capitan. I don't know why, but I really really wanted the photo. Now that I have it, I know why. It's fantastic! Or as Sherrell put it, "Uhng, just another sunset photo, big deal."

P.S. Jordan seems to be back to her normal self! Phew, dodged that vet bill :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bahia Potrero

The surf went flat the day I was planning to hit the waves in Tamarindo.  That brought me down.  Not wanting to just sit around and moan about it we went sailing about 20 miles up the coast to Bahia Potrero.  There are many nice beaches here and a smattering of expensive cafes and restaurants with good food.  We did a little shopping, rode the bus around some and had some lunch.  I found a good map of the area to expand the guidebook with too.


For some reason the beaches here are really clean.  It makes the whitish yellow colored sand and the blue clear water almost hurt your brain it is so pretty.  We’re waiting here a bit for the Papagayo winds to calm down so we can head around the corner to get some fuel, water and check out of the country.


Jordan is sick.  In case she gets worse we want to be where we know there is a vet.  She horked up a hairball yesterday but hasn’t been able to keep her food down since then, despite her eagerness to keep trying by stealing Jez’s food.  We keep giving her special medicine for it and try to keep her from eating until her stomach is better.  She seems like she’s a little tired but she acts normal otherwise.  We’ll give her a little food tonight and see how she does.


{GMST}10|26.43|N|85|46.86|W|Nice beaches|Bahia Potrero{GEND}