Date: Tuesday, December 15th, 1998
We are all checked in and moored off the Banana Bay Marina ...A mooring is $7 a day with use of all the marina's facilities. We were able to take on diesel and water yesterday. They have a small restaurant, beautifully clean showers and a laundry and slips for about 15 boats. At present most of the boats are sports fishers.
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 1998 11:29 AM
Nick, Kirsty, Gus and I arrived in Puerto Jimenez, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica on Friday and decided to hang out here until Monday when we can officially check in to Costa Rica at Golfito across the bay. In the meantime we are enjoying being able to get off the boat and walk around as well as watching amazing macaws that fly about the town.
We have had a rainy, wet, occasionally boring and often exciting trip. After leaving Balboa we made our way to the Perlas Islands. Gus came down with some bug so we stayed at Espiritu Santos until we were sure that he was well enough for us to continue. We left Isla San Jose for Punta Mala at midnight one night. Punta Mala was choppy but fortunately did not live up to its name. Shortly after rounding the point the swell, wind and rain picked up making our planned stop at Ensenda Benao untenable so we continued on another 10 miles to Punta Guanico where in the rain and dark we found a very good anchorage out of the swell. It was the first time this trip that we blessed the radar but I am sure not the last.
Two days later at Isla Gobernadora we had a cold-cobble experience. Deep water continues very close to shore. We anchored quite near to the village of Manzanillo. On Isla Gobernadora the beach is the only way between settlements which are strung out along the beach...in fact it difficult to tell where villages begin and end. It was about 7 pm and raining heavily, Kirsty, Gus and Nick were down below and I was in the cockpit when I heard the anchor chain grinding and looked out to see if we were dragging, although there was very little wind or wave action. Everything seemed fine. A few minutes later I heard the chain again. Nick went forward to check the anchor and suddenly yelled "Gus, get up here?" Coming out of the cockpit I saw Nick holding a flashlight on a man standing at the bow. We later decided that he was a boy of about 15 years old but a big, well built 15.
In the half hour (hours it seemed to me) that he was on the boat he never uttered a word. He seemed either simple or on some drug. We tried to talk to him but the only time he showed any reaction was when we asked him if his parents knew where he was and when we explained that was in our house... After trying in various ways to persuade him to go back in the water and swim to shore Nick and Gus began to prod him with the kind of fibreglass rods that are used on the backs of bicycles. That and the use of an air horn persuaded him to jump overboard, where he stayed treading water. So in the interest of improving our night anchoring skills we moved to Isla Cebaco where we found a better and less socially busy anchorage. Hopefully this was our last unannounced visitation for this trip.
We arrived at Isla Parida near David to find Gail and Dominik on Haley- Elizabeth! It was great fun to see them after two years...they are married and doing some chartering here in the Golfo Dulce. We had had trouble with one of the engine mounts a few days earlier and Nick then discovered that in the haste of leaving PMBC he had left all his taps and dies...Happily Dominik had what we needed and he and Nick managed to get the engine securely fastened down. That allowed us to spend a day diving with G&D before heading for Costa RIca. We found a good anchorage about 5 km north of Punta Burica; the bottom suddenly shelves from 300 feet to 30ft in the space of a few yards. It was a tranquil anchorage free of swell. We left there early the next morning and after fighting our way round Punta BUrica finally made it to Puerto Jimenez just as the sun was setting.
Russ, Craig...One of the things we talked to G&D about was possible club locations...Dominik things that people in Pedregal would be interested in a boat yard. The major advantage being that David is 10 minutes away, has good machine shops and supplies, as well as skilled workers and you can get anything you need there or from Panama City within a day and a half. Just a thought.
We were impressed with the Islas Secas (although it rained so hard that they should be called Islas Lluviosas). Isla Parrida is also lovely with many anchorages and excellent snorkelling. It is being or has been declared a national marine park...I hope Panama doesn't start sticking a fee on visiting vessels.
Here in Costa Rica they have fees to visit their marine parks but you do not have to buy a cruising permit. Our plans are to check in then leave for Puntarenas, or more specifically the Gulf of Nicoya where we will meet Fiona and Mark for Christmas. We are hoping that the rain will stop before Christmas! The bridges between Puerto Jimenez and Golfito have been washed out by the rains and the only ways in and out are by boat or plane. People here are cheery and friendly and if the rain would only stop we would be happy indeed.
Lee and John...Have a great time in Fijii!
We will be checking our e-mail in Puntarenas...we hope. We hope you all have a great Christmas.
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