Moving on South to Costa Rica
Saturday December 31, 2005
We arrived back at the boat after our inland bus Nicaraguan travels late on Wednesday. Thursday, Bill worked more on trying to get the stuck bolt out of the prop shaft coupling and yesterday he finally got the last pieces out. Dick, Kimtah, stopped by and Bill took advantage of his presence to work out the best option for now for keeping the shaft and coupling together. The shaft is quite stuck into the coupling and one set screw is still left but the second screw and hole are no longer useable. It was decided to take advantage of the hole thru the shaft and drop a clevis pin through it. All the pins that we have are too short but one of these will have to do until we can get a better one, probably from the states.
For the last three days I have been working up the web page of our inland travels. It should make it to the web by tomorrow. Bill has been up late each evening surfing the web, downloading things that interest him for later use and downloading the forms and information that he needs to get our taxes done later this year. For two days we hardly left the boat!!! There is WiFi here that Bill can use to get onto the internet while on the boat.
Monday January 2, 2006
New Year's Eve was spent with Dick and Gail from Kimtah. About 4PM we took the walk to the beach side to enjoy the sunset and walk along the pristine shore. We walked back to the marina in the dark with Dick using his “crank it for light” flashlight. It actually worked quite well! After cleaning up, we met again on Kimtah where Gail fixed up some great margaritas that we enjoyed while star gazing on their upper deck. We ate a late, leisurely, dinner at the hotel restaurant and by 10PM were back on Kimtah star watching and trying to stay awake. Just before midnight the fireworks started again and even if we had been asleep the loud booms would have woken us.
Our web is now updated and moved to a different server, Lanikai.7MileSys.com, hosted by Yahoo! Small Business. Bill started on the uploading of it Saturday afternoon and it proved more difficult than he expected because the new server did not like some of the punctuation I had used in file names, things that had worked on the old server. Yesterday, I checked out all the links in our entire web, and by late in the night Bill had repaired the bad ones.
New Years day: we heard music coming form the local’s bar, so late in the afternoon we walked over and drank a few beers to the New Year with the locals. They were having a great time celebrating the New Year with their families on the beach and in the water. Many were in the nice warm estero water and I chose to join them for a short swim. Dick and Gail joined us for a late ice cream at the marina restaurant.
Today Bill ran the engine again in forward and the prop shaft leaked excessively again in forward but only dripped slightly in reverse and not at all when shut off. We ran the engine about an hour in reverse to see if that helped to smooth out the mating surfaces but it still leaked profusely in forward.
Another sail boat, Ceilidh with Rich and Hope aboard, arrived at the marina today after a four day trip from Huatulco, Mexico. They walked out to the beach-side pool with us then joined us for dinner at the restaurant while we said our good-byes to Dick and Gail as they are heading out to San Juan del Sur in the morning.
Tuesday January 3, 2006
It looks like we will be returning to Bahia del Sol, El Salvador, as the prop shaft seal is too leaky in forward to continue on. Bill spent some time today trying to slow the drip with only some success. Bahia is less than 20 hours away so it is a safe place to try to get back to for another haul-out. We shall see!!
Wednesday January 4, 2006
The prop shaft seal is fixed !!! Bill spent more time playing with it, even taking up the floor in the aft head so that he could get to the stern tube attachment. On watching it spin he discovered that the bellows seal was attached too far back on the stern tube so the seal was hitting the forward part of the tube before it could quite seal. By moving the bellows forward on the stern tube our leak went away completely!!! We now plan to head south in the morning.
Saturday January 7, 2006
We are anchored now, just off the “No Name” (but actually named Astilleros) anchorage in Nicaragua. We are resting up after our long, 2 and a half day passage to get here. We dropped the hook at 3AM this morning with plans to move on farther into the anchorage after sun-up. Well, we did not get up early and dallied until the wind was again too strong, so instead of moving in we sit still just outside the little bay.
Thursday morning we left the dock at Puesta del Sol with a strong ebb. Just as we were getting toward the seaward end of the channel, Bill noted that the engine was getting quite warm, the raw water flow seemed a little light. He slowed the engine down and we managed to get out to sea before the over-temp alarm sounded. We hosted the main and jib, shut down the engine and Bill spend almost an hour in the engine room checking the raw water system for a minor clog, finding nothing. When he finished we hoisted the mizzen and sailed on with SE winds, in anticipation of the NE Papagayo winds that were reported to start blowing later in the day. The engine still overheated when we again tried it out, so we continued to sail on. After dark the winds shifted to SE so we had to move offshore to keep wind in the sails. We did have a nice all-night sail in 10-20 mph winds but the next day the winds strengthened and although we picked up speed we had to tack every 1-2 hours to not get too far from shore and only made 4-5 miles on each tack. The autopilot can not steer the boat very close to the wind on a beat as it keeps loosing it and then the jib back winds causing the boat to turn rapidly into the opposite tack. Being able to run the motor at low rpms to increase the prop-wash over the rudder eliminates this somewhat, but of course no motor today!! The last pair of tacks the winds shifted more easterly and we ended up only making 1.5 miles in the three hours. But the wind shift allowed us to sail much closer to the coast and allowed us to reach the anchorage without having to tack again.
Today we are resting and the NE winds have finally set it with gusts of over 35mph, we sure could have used these winds yesterday!!
Sunday January 8, 2006
Today with winds increasing we decided to stay put and let out another 90 feet of chain. We had sustained winds over 30 much of the day, above 40 at midday and at times it got up as high as 50 with gusts even slightly higher. We are close enough to shore, even though we are outside the anchorage, that the waves never got too big although we did get some spray into the cockpit with the higher gusts. Bill spent the day on his computer while I started another good book and took advantage of the cooler weather to cook.
Tuesday January 10, 2006
Yesterday, Bill fixed the engine overheat problem!!! He spent much of the day in the engine room taking apart raw water fittings and cleaning out the coolers, but not really finding anything that would cause our overheat problem. Then he remembered replacing some of the hoses in El Salvador, one in particular was on the suction side of the pump. The new hoses were not as stiff as the older ones and he realized that there was the possibility that the hose from the thru-hull valve to the sea strainer might be collapsing. He replaced it with a stiffer hose and now we have great raw water flow and no overheating!!!
There were still good winds today, but down about 10 mph from yesterday. Bill wanted a cool engine to work on so we stayed outside the anchorage for another day. We finally got Lanikai moved into the anchorage this morning and it did not seem to be much calmer there than at our old spot .
Thursday January 12, 2006
After a nice, occasionally rowdy, sail in good winds (15-25) we anchored in San Juan del Sur early this afternoon. The navy showed up about 1PM and checked us into this port, then we went ashore to finish the paperwork. The town has become quite the tourist town so we had no problems finding a restaurant on the beach for a late lunch. It was then off to the market for some lettuce, tomatoes and a cucumber for a dinner salad. We walked back to the port area and the water taxi returned us to Lanikai. It is calm enough here this evening that we took the dinghy off and visited several other boats anchored here.
Monday January 16, 2006
Friday we stayed onboard, resting and cleaning up after our short but somewhat wild sail. Then on Saturday we went into town. A large cruise ship had anchored in the bay and the passengers were boarding busses to visit various nearby cities and sites in Nicaragua. As each shore boat arrived with passengers, a marimba band played while they boarded the busses. We arrived on the water taxi just as a boat was unloading so got treated to the music too. We left our laundry with Eric’s, Chickadee, wife as she runs a laundry service in town here and then Bill checked our eMail at one of the many internet cafes.
Sunday we again went into town with Hope and Rich, Ceilidh. We spent some time visiting with Eric and his wife before going to the internet café, the market, checked out the church and Big Wave Dave’s for lunch.
Today Bill spent the morning on his paper for Unisys but when we returned to the same internet café in the afternoon, they had installed a proxy and he could not send out the mail in the usual manner. It required much cutting and pasting into Yahoo! Web mail to get it sent. He also discovered that FTP no longer worked and just as he was having several large files sent to him. A real bummer for Bill, since over the weekend, he had had wonderful connections at the internet café. We returned to Lanikai and Bill re-installed the thermostat in the engine since it is no longer overheating. Bill ran the engine to check out the thermostat installation and the engine again overheated so the thermostat comes out again in the morning. I picked up some weather fax pictures to try to pick the window for heading to Costa Rica and it looks like waiting until closer to the weekend for moving on would be prudent.
Wednesday January 18, 2006
Yesterday Bill spent the morning again at his computer and when we tried to flag the shore boat down after lunch, we could not raise him so we did not go to shore yesterday. Today we went ashore early and Bill tried out another internet café with much better luck than his discouraging Monday effort. We made some purchases and picked up our laundry then we noticed the folks from Triple Dolphin and Ceilidh coming to shore. We joined them for a leisurely lunch. Bill and I then went to the market for fresh veggies and returned to Lanikai mid- afternoon with full backpacks.
Bill had put a bad thermostat back into the engine, so its now been replaced with the good one. The engine runs at just the right temperature now!
Friday January 20, 2006
We woke up in the night to rain. The boat is pretty much closed up due to the cool winds that continue to blow, so a only quick check and we were back to sleep. We are now looking for a break in the winds so that we can move on south but we need to have a day's warning as checking out of here requires a day trip to the border to get the passports stamped.
Yesterday we took the bus to Rivas with Rich and Hope, and spent a few hours visiting that city. The church off the central plaza was quite interesting with lots of artwork inside. We only spent a few hours looking around as the city was much like many others that we have visited in Latin America but it was good to get out and about again.
The weather fax today shows that we might have a good window for heading south early next week.
Tuesday January 24, 2006
Sunday we did the check out routine with the Port Captain and made the bus trip to the border to get the exit stamp from Nicaragua in our passports. The woman with the correct stamp was not at the border but back in San Juan, so we filled out the paperwork and paid our fees then with receipts in hand returned to San Juan with the promise the we would get the needed stamp in our passports at the Port Captain’s office. Two hours later, back in the Port Captain's office, we did get our exit stamps! Then the Port Captain filled out our international Zarpe for travel to Costa Rica.
Monday morning before 6:30AM we were underway with winds of 15 to 20 knots. We enjoyed a great sail to Punta Santa Elena where stronger winds were expected but instead all the wind just died. We had no more wind until we were about 10 miles from Playa Del Coco when SW winds filled in. We picked up a knot of speed with the main sail up, but since we were so close to our destination and it was getting late in the afternoon we did not pull up a jib but continued to motor sail into the anchorage where we dropped the hook just before 5PM. A power vessel, Lionheart, had passed us earlier in the day and they were anchored nearby. They had caught a nice yellow fin tuna and invited us and Ceilidh over for sashimi. We enjoyed a nice evening visiting and eating the fresh fish along with a salad that Hope and I provided the veggies for.
Today we did the check-in routine into Costa Rica and got Costa Rican Colones, the local money, from the bank ATM machine. The exchange rate is 500 Colones to the dollar, so a 10,000 Colon note is worth about US $20. A little grocery shopping, light lunch and a few beers were enjoyed while we waited for the aduana (the customs official) to show up in the afternoon. He checked in the boats and we returned to Lanikai where we jumped in the water for a nice swim before it got too late. We are back to clear warm water!
Friday January 27, 2006
Wednesday we took the dinghy back into town to do a little shopping before heading on south. Back on Lanikai we readied for travel and by 11:30 had the anchor up and were under way in a fairly strong tailwind. The tailwind lasted only long enough for us to get the jib set, then the wind did a 180-degree shift on us and lightened some. We hoisted the main and were sailing - although the motor was left on to charge up the batteries. The wind was flukey until we passed Cabo Vela when it settled into a nice easterly, at times quite strong, but with the 2 knot current against us our SOG (speed over ground) was not great. We had a large pod of dolphins that kept visiting Lanikai thru much of the night and they made bright wakes in the phosphorescent water. We sailed for 9 hours before we had to restart the engine to charge batteries. Soon there after the wind died and we motor sailed the rest of the way into the Gulf of Nicoya anchoring in Bahia Ballena about 3:30 Thursday afternoon.
After anchoring we discovered that one tube of our dinghy was leaking air. When we jumped in the water for a swim we found the leak but chose to wait until morning to patch it.
Today was quite windy and rolly in the anchorage. I did some sewing, patching of sail covers and replacing rotten threads on our shade cloths. Late in the afternoon the wind finally cut back enough that we could bring the dinghy up to patch the leaky tube. Our two part glue had gone bad so we had to use one part stuff but hopefully the patch will last for awhile.
Sunday January 29, 2006
Well the dinghy patch lasted only long enough for us to get to shore once. We probably pumped up the dinghy too soon after patching it. So, yesterday afternoon we brought it all the way onboard and re-patched the leak and are leaving it sit for today with the patch clamped between two boards. Hope it works… if not we will just have to carry a pump with us until we can get some of the two-part glue in Panama.
In our one trip to shore in the morning we purchased a bagful of nice vegetables from Honey Heart. She has many local farmers that she purchases her vegetables from and Saturday morning she sorts and bags them at the yacht club restaurant here, selling some and delivering the rest to the local restaurants. We then tried to take the dinghy out and do some snorkeling, but the seas were too rough and the patch was failing.
Wednesday February 1, 2006
Yesterday we finally made it to Montezuma and hiked to the waterfall. We had started out to go on Monday but were told that there was a 10:30 bus that did not exist. Actually the busses pass by Tambor about 15 minutes to 30 minutes after the odd hours. We, along with Rich and Hope, got an early start yesterday and were on the 7:15 bus to Montezuma. The town only exists for tourists and has many restaurants and small hotels along its one street that ends on the beach. We hiked along the beach to the stream that the falls is on then had to climb up onto the road to get to the trail head. The hike was just above one side of the stream with a crossing over the rocks at a lesser falls and then more hiking just above the water on the opposite side. The pool of fresh water at the base of the falls was cool and refreshing and we stayed for over an hour lazing in the cool fresh water before we walked back to the town for an early lunch. We had made it to the falls before the crowds arrived as we met many tourists hiking up the trail as we hiked down. We were on the noon bus back to Playa Tambor and our boats.
There was a good rain last night with much lightening in the hills.
This morning we upped anchor and moved across the Gulf of Nicoya to La Herradura where we topped up the fuel and water at the marina before dropping the hook in the calm bay.
Friday February 3, 2006
We are on our way to Quepos. Tomorrow is the weekly farmer's market on the dike and we do not want to miss it. We have had rain squalls around the boat as we travel south and occasionally we get a few drops on Lanikai. There is little wind so we are motor sailing. When the puffs do come they help our speed slightly but the main also serves to dampen the roles.
Yesterday we snorkeled on the reef in Bahia Herradura. The water was not too clear along the shore but the rock in the center of the bay provided ok visibility and many tropical fish. We returned to Lanikai, tired after our first snorkel of the season, but had enough energy left to check out her bottom…no barnacles except on the prop which Bill removed, before climbing back on board.
Saturday February 4, 2006
We are now anchored in Bahia Drake after an overnight passage. Quepos was really rolly and about sunset a US flagged pleasure fishing boat anchored between us and our anchor. We decided to up the anchor and move on, missing the farmer's market but finding a much less rolly anchorage in Bahia Drake when we dropped the hook after sunup this morning. While underway, we watched many rain squalls on the radar in the early evening and finally found ourselves in one about 10:30PM and the rains continued until almost 3 in the morning. After about an hour of rain, and it was getting to be heavy, we pulled out the cockpit plastic curtains and snugged ourselves in for the night. We even had another small shower as we dropped the hook in the bay, and today is still very cloudy but at least the rollers are very small and it is calm in the bay.
Tuesday February 7, 2006
Saturday was spent resting and napping. On Sunday we dropped the dinghy overboard to go exploring and the outboard would not start. Bill spent about 3 hours working on it, between rain showers, and finally got it working. He thinks that a small flake of something had gotten into the fuel pump so no fuel was getting to the cylinders. That ate up Sunday - so yesterday we tried again. The seas were too rough to be comfortable in the little dinghy so we opted to go up the river instead. Getting to the little waterfall it was too cool for a swim. We then drifted back down with paddles sneaking up on several birds. We went ashore and walked through the little town - little has changed from three years ago - and ended up at the bar overlooking the bay where we enjoyed several beers while watching the rain squalls come and go.
Today we finally got to go exploring by dinghy. We took the dinghy along the outside of the Osa Peninsula, just down a ways to a protected area inside a reef where we tried snorkeling. The water was not very clear but there were lots of coral heads and some bright tropical fish if you got close enough. We had a good swim anyhow then continued our dinghy exploring, crossing Bahia Drake to the east side and traveling along that coast before returning to Lanikai. In the late afternoon we again went to shore. After enjoying a few beers at the bar, we signed up for an all day trip down the coast to Parque Corcovado for the nest day.
Thursday February 9, 2006
Yesterday was our all day trip to Parque Corcovado. The panga picked us up at Lanikai at 7 AM and returned us there at 3 PM. In between we hiked two of the trails in the park, stopping at the ranger station for lunch in between. Manuel was our guide and pointed out birds and other animals along the way as well as telling us some about the many types of plants growing in the dense jungle. A family of coatis was seen walking up the hillside not far from our trail and we got to see a flock of beautiful red guacamayas in the wild. On the second trail Bill photographed a poison dart frog, so named because the poison on its skin was used by the native Indians (from Colombia northwards) to coat their arrow tips. The frogs develop the poison by eating a particular type of insect. The frog was quite tiny and hiding in a small cave. We also got to see a crocodile eating an anteater thru the lens of the telescope that our guide carried and also into a small humming bird nest with a baby bird in it. The second trail ended at a waterfall where we had a nice refreshing swim at its base.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Yesterday we took a second tour from the tour group here in Bahia Drake. This time we took a bird watching trip into the mangroves and up the Sierpe River to the town of Sierpe. After visiting several off-shore bird islands, we crossed the bocana into the river system at low tide with lots of breakers over the entrance bar but were soon in the calmer waters of the mangroves. Since it was a sunny warm day we saw little wildlife. Many of the birds were the same that we have seen while we were anchored in the mangroves in El Salvador: blue herons, egrets, ibis, pelicans and frigates but we did get to see some tiny bats sleeping on a tree trunk and a rare Lesser Potoo that was hiding in the top of a dead tree. We also saw another coatis scampering among the mangrove roots. Part ways into the mangroves, we launched the three kayaks we were carrying in the panga. Bill and I, along with our guide, followed a mangrove trail with signs naming the various types of plants. When the trail ended at the main branch of the river, we continued our kayaking up the river for about an hour before re-boarding the boat. After enjoying a wonderful fish lunch in the town of Sierpe at a restaurant overlooking the river, we crossed the bar out of the river system at close to high tide so the exit was not near so interesting as the entrance.
Today we rested and got ready to head south to Golfito with plans to get underway about 2AM.
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