Cruising with Soggy Paws
Soggy Paws is a 44' CSY Sailboat. In 2007, we set sail on a 10 year around the world cruise.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Yay! In Golfito!
We got up at 5:30 am to make the 7am bus leaving for Golfito. It was a long bus ride--we finally pulled into Golfito at 2pm. But the bus dropped us off right in front of Land n Sea, so we only had to lug our 6 bags and 250 lbs across the road and down the dock. And Tim was there to meet us and take us out to our boat.

We did a quick shopping trip before the stores closed... having left nothing fresh on the boat when we left.

We are gearing up for a New Years Eve Party complete with fireworks tonight. Hopefully we can last til midnight.

It's great to be back on the boat.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Back in Costa Rica
We had a pretty uneventful day, all things considered. No car breakdowns, no missed airplanes, etc. We did run into what looked like a big backup on I-95, but we were near an exit, so we cut over to the Turnpike and still arrived before our target time.

Checking in at American Airlines in Ft. Lauderdale was a breeze. Very nice. We got there early enough that there was no one in line.

Dave had his toothpaste and yogurt confiscated at the security check. I expected the yogurt (I tried to tell Dave), but the toothpaste??? After Dave whined a little "What am I going to do without toothpaste?", the guy let him keep one of two standard-sized tubes. Each tube was about 60% used. We couldn't figure how that was over the 2-oz limit.

They also wanted to confiscate Dave's mouthwash. He said he'd give up the mouthwash but he wanted the empty bottle (it's a nice travel-sized plastic bottle that he's had for years). So they had to escort him out of the security area so he could dump the mouthwash in the bathroom.

We don't usually carry on our 'shaving kit', but our checked luggage was so full, we put them in our backpacks. Hence Dave's indoctrination into the rules about carry on luggage.

Our plane actually left the gate early and arrived in San Jose about 20 minutes early--so early that the plane at the gate we were supposed to pull into, hadn't left yet. So we had hang out on the tarmac for a few minutes, waiting for a gate.

We breezed thru Immigration and Customs, they x-rayed our 4 huge bags and all our carry on stuff, but hardly looked at it. No questions, no duty.

After a $25 taxi ride, we were at the Fairamon Hotel, where we had made reservations before we left. This is just down the street from the well-known 'Tranquilo Backpackers' hostel. Same price, much quieter atmosphere. And the nice lady who runs the place went and purchased our bus tickets for us. It is a few blocks from the center of San Jose, near the museums, the shopping district, and the bus station.

Tomorrow we catch the 7am bus for Golfito.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008
2008 Presentations
Sherry did a half hour presentation on the San Blas at the East Coast Sailing Association and Melbourne Yacht Club monthly meetings.

Dave did an extensive presentation on Cruising the Western Caribbean at the Seven Seas Cruising Association 2008 Gam.

Both presentations (and some useful cruising links) can now be found on our SSCA 2008 page.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008
Getting Ready to Leave the Boat
We have been working like dogs for the last week getting everything ready to leave the boat for 6 weeks, while we go for a visit in the U.S.

Things like 'pickling' the watermaker, putting all the sacrificial halyards on, putting covers on everything, and making lists and ordering stuff in the States. Plus of course, making travel reservations. For me, it also means making backups of all the computers and transferring myself from my big 17" laptop to the tiny laptop we travel with.

We have also been spending a lot of time working on our presentation for the SSCA Gam. We are on the official agenda for the 'Western Caribbean'. Not content to just do a travelogue, Dave has been driving us both crazy trying to put together a really good presentation about preparation, weather, etc. He is doing most of the work, but I'm his technical adivsor.

We have to catch the bus at 5am tomorrow for a 6 hour ride to San Jose. We could fly from here, but it's about $225 for the two of us, one way. For $25 we can take the bus. We'll still have about 24 hours in San Jose to look around a little.

So we spent all day today packing, unloading the fridge and freezer, and shutting down the boat.

Fortunately the ever-present torrential rain gave us break today. Everyone keeps telling me that October and early November are the worst months, and by late November it gets a lot better. By mid-December when we get back, it should be pretty good.

We are leaving the boat in Tim's at Land n Sea's capable hands, it is on a mooring, and it will be locked up tighter than a drum. So we're not too worried about leaving Soggy Paws. It'll be just another Quantum Leap for us, going back to the U.S.A.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Mileage Update
So Far in 2008: Miles 2,983 Engine Hrs: 510
Since May 25, 2007: Miles 4,224 Engine Hrs: 685

Total Nights: May 25 - Oct 31 499
Nights Spent On Passage: 10
Nights Spent on Anchor: 229
Nights Spent on a Mooring: 10
Nights Spent in a Marina: 277
- 'Traveling Inland': 67
- In the U.S.: 58

These stats were originally started as a progress update sometime early this year. But I finally went back through our logbook and filled out a proper spreadsheet on a month-by-month basis from the beginning of the trip. We'll try to keep it up monthly. You can see the result at http://www.svsoggypaws.com/mileagesummary.htm

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Saturday, November 01, 2008
Golfito, Costa Rica - First Impressions
Current Position: 08-37.280N 83-09.153W

Our first impressions of Golfito are kind of mixed.

The Good: It is a wonderful protected anchorage. No rolly stuff here. The hills are very green and when the sun shines it is a beautiful place. It is wonderfully cool at night. U.S. Dollars are accepted as readily as Colones, the local currency.

The Bad: The sun doesn't shine often! And the town is a little squalid. This is an abandoned banana town--Created by United Fruit when the workers got too uppity on the Caribbean coast. When the bottom fell out of the banana market in the 1980's, they left here abruptly. The town now survives off of tourism, a free trade zone, and fishing. The coming of the gringos has provided jobs, but has also caused prices in Costa Rica to rise, so it's no longer an inexpensive Central American country.

As for the rain, it IS rainy season here. But I'm told that there is no 'dry season'. There is a 'less rainy season'. But that's what feeds the rainforests and the eco-tourism that Costa Rica is so famous for. It's just kind of miserable to have overcast and drizzle all the time.

We are on an $8/day mooring at Land n Sea. This is a tiny establishment run by a former cruiser, with a small dock, about 8 moorings, and a help-yourself bar. If you are on one of their moorings you get free wifi ;) and free cold showers :0

During rainy season, most cruisers that are hanging out in this part of the world move to Ecuador, south of the equator, where it's less rainy. And the boats that ARE here are mostly empty right now. So there isn't much 'cruiser social life'. No potlucks, no VHF net.

We leave for San Jose on the 9th, and fly to the U.S. on the 10th. We will hire Tim at Land n Sea to watch over our boat for another $2/day. There is a fairly high crime rate in Golfito, but Tim lives on the houseboat right next door, and he says he has a reputation among the locals as a crazy man with a machete.

Our check-in to Costa Rica in Golfito was a bit of a nightmare. There are 4 stops you have to make (and some backtracking), and none of the 4 places are within walking distance of each other. And none are within walking distance of the marinas. We did: Port Captain, Copy Place, Immigration, Agriculture, Customs, back to the boat for paperwork shuffle, back to Customs, and then a final stop at the Port Captain. We hit a snag at Customs when the lady checked our boat documentation and noticed
that it was going to expire the next day. We explained that the new certificate was with our mail in Florida, and we were going to Florida next week to pick it up. Then she started talking about having to bond the boat and other things we didn't understand (in rapid Spanish). We asked if we could have the new certificate faxed down, and that wasn't good enough. Finally I asked if a color scan of the new certificate, emailed to us and printed out for them, would be sufficient. She relunctantly
agreed. Then it was 3 phone calls to Bryan, Dave's cousin (who couldn't figure out how to scan the document in any format larger than 4x6). But finally Bryan got us what we needed and Dave had to report to Customs at 8am with the update.

There were no fees except the $43 'quarantine' fee at the Agriculture office. They (fortunately) don't come out to the boat or do anything but fill out a few more forms. She wanted to know how many refrigerators we had and how many trash cans. Dave protested the fee, but she was adamant that it was the law. (But Tim at Land n Sea says the boats coming south into Costa Rica don't pay that fee).

So now we are trying to catch up on our internet (correspondence, banking, blog pics, travel research and arrangements), prepping the boat for our absence, and getting ready for America.

But today...we are hoping to find a bar in town where we can watch the Gators stomp Georgia this afternoon. GO GATORS!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008
Arrival in Costa Rica!!!
Anchoring Position: 08-32.683N 83-17.983W

Well, we finally made it to Costa Rica.

We motored around Punta Burica yesterday morning. Again, very light conditions. The swell was monstrous (to us). I can't imagine what it's like when the wind is blowing hard!

It is too far to make it all the way into Golfito from our anchorage at Punta Balsa. We were thinking of stopping at Pavones, where there's supposedly an anchorage that's not too bad. But after our sloppy rolly anchorage off Punta Balsa the previous night, we wanted something calm. So after taking a look at Pavones (famous for surf), we decided to go on to Puerto Jiminez across the Golfo Dulce from Golfito.

We are glad we did. Easy anchoring spot (thanks to waypoints from others) and a nice quiet non-rolly anchorage. We also had a nice hour and a half sail on our way up the Golfo Dulce. The afternoon winds picked up to about 12 knots right on our beam, so we were able to shut down the engine and still make 6 knots.

We will come back and explore Puerto Jiminez, the Osa Peninsula, and Corcovado National Park later. Today we head for Golfito and get checked in to the country.

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