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.
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
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!
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.