Monday, 19 January 2009

December 11th to 22nd, 2008 - PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA & TRIP TO INTERIOR

We did the in 5 days ( one more day than we projected), encountering 2 near gales, with 6 to 8 ft steep waves making for an uncomfortable and wet passage. We hove to for 8 hours one night to get a rest, resulting in a loss of some hard earned miles. Had a problem with the pump that lifts the fuel from the main tank to the "day tank". It seems to get air in the line in rough weather, particularly on the starboard tack. En-route we passed the sailing cruise ship "Windstar" on the way. A new "beast on the boat". A dragon fly stopped by for a short rest.

We arrived in Puntarenas at 08:00 on the 16th. We called in to report and were advised to stand by on VHF 10. At 16:00 we called to get an update, no answer. Also, no one at the Costa Rica Yacht Club responded to our calls on VHF 16 and 06. Also, our e-mails to CRYC got returned "mail box full". On the 17th, Puerto Bello Marina/Hotel contacted us and recommended that we hire a Shipping Agent. We hired an agent and $150.00 US, plus expenses and 8 hours later we were admitted into the country. We stayed in Puerto Bella Marina, but would not recommend it to friends ($20 US for a mooring ball, run down facilities). Also, Puntarenas is not a place we would return to. It is a dirty, run down port town, poorly set up to receive cruisers.

We rented a car and went to San Jose to meet with son James at the Hotel Aeropuerto.

Our tour of the interior started with a visit to the metal church in Gracia. It was imported from Belgium. A flute player entertains in front of the church.

Next was a tour of a coffee plantation. We were high on chocolate covered coffee beans for the rest of the trip.

In La Fortuna we visited a small Eco reserve. Highlights were the Three Toed Sloth, Blue Legged Poison Dart frog and the butterfly enclosure.

The famous La Fortuna waterfall. The hike is so steep you sign a liability waiver at the enterance. Sandra, still nursing her knee broken in May, did really well! I was happy that I was almost able to keep up with 25 year old son James.

The Baldi Hot Springs are at the foot of the active volcano. There are two competing facilities next to each other. We went to the larger one. At the enterance were BIG signs requiring customers to be quiet "to enhance the spa experience". We were surprised to find a VERY large sound system, blasting disco music, at the first set of pools. Stranger still, the speakers were all oriented to the face the adjacent property. Back at the hotel we learned that there was a BIG feud between the two facilities and the owner of the one we went to is trying to ruin the others business with the noise. Fortunately, for us, the sound diminished to nothing as we moved up to the other pools.

Our hotel had a bird feeder by the dining area that attracted a vast variety of birds. The owner's chihuahua tries to mooch a snack fro Sandra. The cook here was very good and we enjoyed excellent meals during our stay.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


View from the mast in Barillas Marina Club, as I change a navigation light bulb.


The trip to the market town of Usulutan, via the marina van, was primarily on dirt (mud) roads through the surrounding farmland. The primary crop is sugar cane.

The market was crowded and totally disorganized. It was also too dirty for my liking, but Sandra thought it was the best market in our travels so far (go figure). The most interesting site was the dyed chicks. At first I thought they were toys, but they were live. The Esso station was a reminder of home.