I’ll try to catch up on things without writing too much. It has been awhile and a few stops since my last post.
After spending New Years (that is how long ago its been since I posted) in Quepos, I turned back north to go check out a dinghy for sale on Craigslist in Puntarenas. After motoring up the estuary side of the peninsula that forms Puntarenas through some puckering depths (or lack thereof) the real fun began. Docking to a float about 20′ long anchored at both ends in a 4 knot current coming from the stern. To make it extra fun they gave me a starboard tie, but my prop walk is to port. So trying to stop with the 4 knot current current pushing me past the dock moved my stern away from the float. And there was only one guy on the float to catch lines, and it was Emilie’s first time on a boat being docked. So as the saying goes, the third times a charm. I would say that was the most difficult docking I’ve ever done
Another float like the one we tied to.
Many of these barges went by the float Ventured was secured to, and I’m not sure how maneuverable they are.
.Once secured and checked in the main job was looking at the dinghy and outboard. To cut the story short, I now have a dinghy. It leaks more then I was led to believe but pumping air into it is free. And I purchased it for less then half the asking price. And I have an outboard, that promptly had an issue with the pull starter retracting and doesn’t like to start when its cold. I mean really doesn’t like to start. And I had to stay about 5 days instead of my planned two. But… they beat swimming to shore, especially in light of frequent crocodile sightings in several of the anchorages we’ve been in.
We did use some of the time waiting for an outboard to be found to explore the town. One of days involved walking from the marina to the the tip of the peninsula in search of propane, after a bus ride to another town failed to result in filling the tank. I can actually fit both tanks in my backpack which allows me to sneak them on the buses. However if I ever suddenly stop posting maybe that turned out not to be a great idea. Either that or crocodiles. Our walk took as to a place called Tropigas, or at least a place where we found a sign for Tropigas. Apparently the business is no longer there, and the next day gong by on the bus I noticed the sign had been removed. We heard rumors of another place, and the first effort failed to find it. But while stopping in a place to get an application for a job back in Seattle scanned I happened to mention our search to one of the guys at the print shop, who turned out to be friend of the guy running the propane place. Armed with new directions we resumed our walk and did find the place. In typical third world fashion there was some broken communication, I handed my tank to someone through a gate in a fence, then sat out front for about 20 minutes and was handed a full tank and a bill for way less then I was fearing I would pay, in this case about $6 for my 8 lb tank.
There was a Tropigas sign there, gone the next day when we went by.
Down and out in Puntarenas.
And then a woman with a dog in a pink skirt walked by and handed Emilie the dog.
Other time in Puntarenas was spent reporting the lost dinghy to the Guarda Costa, who directed to fill out a report with (phonetically) Oya-hoat-uh which as near as I could figure is the criminal investigation unit of the police here. They even came out to the boat a day later to ask a couple more questions. But so far, not word on my dinghy being found. It does have my Washington state vessel ID number on it so I wonder if some day I’ll get word of it being found washed up on some faraway beach. But I’m not holding my breath. We also got a few provisions, and a multiple fruit smoothies made with fresh fruits like Papaya and Guayabana. Overall I would call Puntarenas the armpit of of Costa Rica, but we enjoyed it. It wasn’t a tourist trap like most of the places I’ve seen here, and the people we interacted with were friendly and helpful. I think we paid Gringo prices at one Tienda, but that isn’t the first time that has happened to me.
Once I finally secured a dingy and motor it was time to go, and that time was 5:30 am to catch the tide to have deep enough water to get back out of the estuary. The outbound trip didn’t involve any brushes with the bottom either, and once out we headed to Punta Leonas.
We weren’t the only ones getting underway early in Puntarenas.
Sights leaving Puntarenas estuary.
More pelicans and boats.
Emilie wants a fixer up sailboat, I’ll bet she could get this one cheap.
Typical view of the down and out side of Puntarenas.
For once, I sunrise not a sunset.
After being in an estuary with crocodiles, we were pretty happy to be in a pretty anchorage with a sandy beach, and a rocky point to hike around which we did twice. Since I had purchased the outboard late in the day before our departure I hadn’t bought gas yet so we just swam back and forth to the beach. We relaxed there there for a few days enjoying not being on a float and being able to swim. The one downside is all that time in the water gave me an ear infection, diagnosed on the internet as Swimmers ear. And the downside of the ear infection was not being anywhere near a town. Some home remedies like garlic in the ear weren’t solving the problem so it was time to move on.
The point we hiked around a couple times.
We hit the beach at the right moment to find a blow hole.
More fun with the blowhole.
I don’t think birds count as day shapes for actively engaged in fishing.
Emilie driving a sailboat for the first time.
Our first stop was Domincalito where we took a day to rest. With no outboard and me not wanting to go in the water we did little more then rest, and accept a couple oranges a passing panga tossed us. Then it was off to Bahia Drake which my guide book assured me was easy to enter after dark. Which was good because of course we arrived after dark. After dropping the sails I turned on the radar to help spot boats anchored in the anchorage and was greeted by the sight of a 2 mile wide squall right behind the boat. Suddenly I was trying to find a spot to anchor in pouring rain, and pouring in the tropics has a whole different meaning then it does in Seattle. I was soaked before I even had a chance to think about foulies. And then there was the wind, probably 30 knots or so which even in the tropics will cool you down when you are soaked. The radar wasn’t a whole lot of help in spotting boats when all I could see was squall. I managed to see a bit with it by dialing the rain filter all the way on but that made me leery it might not pick up a small boat. Finally after a couple laps through the anchorage to determine an open spot we got the anchor down, let out about 150′ of rode in 20′ of water and started drying off. I managed to put a couple of inches in the water tank by putting a towel behind the thru deck water fill. Some hot soup sounded like just the ticket, which is when we discovered the stove wasn’t going. Well that long walk to fill the tank in Puntarenas suddenly seemed quite worthwhile. Except… after swapping tanks the stove was still having issues. We managed to coax enough flame out of it to warm a pot of soup but that was it. The next morning, nothing. I traced the issue to a solenoid that is held open via 12 volt power while cooking. This way if there is a leak in the system the gas won’t fill the boat. But when the solenoid won’t open when power is applied, well lets just say the meals get a bit more creative. But still tasty. Flash ahead to the next stop, Golfito where I was able to find a fitting for just under $2 that allowed me to bypass the solenoid. Now I just have to remember to turn the tank off and on when I’m cooking.
Bahia Drake from a scenic overlook (okay, a bar).
I can’t resist puppies.
Another one for the bird nerds to identify.
I can just reach the coconuts!
Or taking pictures of flowers.
So Golfito is the current location. I found western medicine which is clearing up the ear infection. I went to a pharmacy first in hopes of avoiding a doctors visit, and the pharmacist came out with the tool for looking in your ear (I’m writing this offline and can’t google the proper name) and took a peek in my ear and sold me ear drops and two pills, one for now and one for 4 days later. $20 bucks and I’m on the mend. I’ve spent a lot of the time here at Land and Sea where they have a cruisers lounge with good internet and showers. I’ve had several job interviews via the phone and Skype, hoping to put my recently acquired captains license to use for profit. The downside is most of the jobs start up a little earlier then I had expected so I may have to start back to El Salvador sooner then later. We’ve discussed taking a trip into Panama to check out a couple stops but we’ll have to see if it times out or not. And mix in the need to be somewhere to watch the SuperBowl which the first few stops in Panama don’t seem to provide. If the Seahawks weren’t in it I wouldn’t care but its hard not to watch your team play in the SuperBowl.
Just a tad tender.
You can pick fruit in the jungle, or just visit a shop full of fruits and veggies.
Quaint street in Golfito.
Golfito isn’t a bad little town, not as down and out, or as big as Puntarenas, but not a tourist trap either. We took a long walk out to a duty free zone a couple days ago, and yesterday Gaston and Val from Tumbleweed invited us hiking so we made a quick decision to join them. They are a young couple from Argentina also sailing south that we met in Quepos and have shared a couple other anchorages with. We had a good jungle hike up a stream to a waterfall. An attempt to climb the rocks beside the waterfall came to an abrupt end when I nearly put my hand on a snake curled up in a crevice in the rocks. Costa Rica is the Australia of Central America. Emilie and I both took pretty good jellyfish shots at Punta Leonas (and no, we didn’t pee on each other), there are the crocodiles, Emilie was stung by a scorpion inland and there are venomous snakes on land and in the sea. We also had a swarm of flying ants visit the boat, and they had nasty bites. After the hike to the waterfall we resumed walking on the road and climbed to scenic overlook of the bay before descending back to sea level and returning to boats to pretty much pass out after a dinner happily cooked over a working stove.
An insect that didn’t try to bite or sting me.
A waterfall worth hiking to.
Leaf, big leaf!
Fern tip growing out of a patch of ferns.
Natures water bottle.
Pointing out something that wasn’t a monkey since we didn’t see any.
Flora and fauna.
Plant or jellyfish?
Leaf cutter ants.
After all the work to reach these, they aren’t bananas or plantains, but we are still going to try to cook them when they ripen.
Panorama from the high point of our hike.
There are few more job search bits to finish up, then the decision whether to try to zip to Panama and back or turn back north and save Panama for next season. I’ll let you now what I decide!
Sunset at Golfito