Captains Corner

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 From Costa Rica!

Happy New Year everyone.  We wish you all good health, peace and love in 2013.  And to all our boating friends, calm waters and safe travels.
We returned to L.A. in mid-December to celebrate the holidays.  There were so many boxes delivered to the house during our absence and I thought they were “presents”.  No, they were full of boat parts that we can’t obtain in Costa Rica.  In fact, when we packed to come back on December 29th to celebrate New Year’s Eve in CR, we had 5 suitcases with well over 250 lbs. of “boat stuff”.  Plus, two carry-ons.  One of the suitcases contained only ONE item.  A huge island float that holds 6 people.  Hopefully we’re not lugging this, for nothing!!

Our friends joined us on December 30th.  We picked them up at Liberia airport and proceeded directly to Playa de Coco to provision.  We shop at the Auto Mercado, which is an American/Canadian type of market.  Everything is very expensive in Costa Rica, especially at this market.  $780 dollars later (without ANY liquor in the basket) we were ready for anything.  Don’t fret, liquor was already in abundance on the boat!!
See what we mean!

 We went to the Four Seasons Hotel for a New Year’s Eve party.  Heaven and earth needed to be moved to get these reservations.  Thankfully a friend with a lot of clout made the arrangements for us.  We were told it would be totally impossible to get in.  That it was exclusive and only for hotel guests. As it turned out, it was a very sedate crowd.  There was a mediocre band and singer. The food was good and the fireworks were spectacular!! But we needed more so we decided every time someone said “HAPPY” we would drink.  Do I need to tell you what the bar bill was?  Here we are!!

Happy New Year 2013

 On the 1st we were totally out of commission and recuperating from the party.  We were able to get our slingbox working and watched bits and pieces of the Rose Parade.

On the 2nd we took the boat to Bahia Huevos, a gorgeous anchorage, for the day.  Lucio blew up our “Island”.  It took a mere 20 minutes with an electric pump!!!  It turned out to be great fun!  We swam and wiled away the day, returning to the Marina to find our friend Gary from the Finisterre sitting on the dock awaiting our landing.  The rest of the Finisterre crew, Tom and Kenny, arrived that evening.
Bahia Huevos.

Our "HAPPY" Island.  We named it.
The guys had a car so we went to Coco back to the small Italian Restaurant we visited on our last trip here.  It is nestled in a small boutique hotel off of a dirt road about one mile off the main street in Coco.  You would think you were in a third world country getting to this place.  Even though we were there before having our friends and the guys with us made it very special.  It was so special we hired a car and went back the next day!!  There really are very few places to get a good meal here!!
Yes this a photo from the last blog!
Everyone was on board The Elysium for a day trip to Playa Hermosa the next day.  We ate, drank, enjoyed our “island”, and returned to the slip to party the rest of the evening on the Finisterre…with an unexpected guest.  The ugliest, biggest damn grasshopper we ever saw.  Tom grabbed it after it jumped into the boat and bounced off of Jewell’s arm.  He scared the crap out of us by holding it in front of our faces.  The women on the boat were screaming.  I’m surprised we didn’t push Tom and his friend into the water…where he belonged!!!!

Tom and Gary.

Kenny and Tom.

We made this, it was so yummy.

The guys are so funny!

You can't read Debs lips right?  HOLY S....!
We spent one day at the beautiful Prieta Beach Club, which is a private club.  Our Marina has some kind of a deal with them which allowed us access for the day.  It was quite nice.  Several pools, a great view of the ocean, and good food and drinks.  
It was so pretty there.
On the way back from the club we encountered an entire family (or two or three) of Howler Monkeys.  Small babies to large males.  They were swinging in the trees.  What a sight.  Something you certainly don’t see walking down the streets of the San Fernando Valley.

The winds here are unbelievable.  We’ve had gusts up to 100 miles per hour.  Nothing can be left unattended on the boat or it flies away!   One day we took a trip on The Elysium to Coco and anchored for the day.  On the way back the winds gusted so hard we had spray from the waves on the fly bridge.  One of the very large pillows from the bow of the boat flew away.  We put Lucio on the skiff to go and retrieve it.  He was bouncing around like a cork in the ocean.  We were laughing uncontrollably as he chased the pillow and finally retrieved it (at least a half mile or more away from where it blew off!)
Just outside the marina.
The pillow Lucio chased.
In the Marina the winds were so strong (at least 100 mph) it was very difficult to walk.  One of our Strata Glass windows (a hard type of marine plastic) tore away from the hull and we now have a nice (not so nice!) hole in the gel coat.  We removed all our windows and stored them in one of our guest bedrooms.
It tore right down to the fiber board under the gel coat.

Look ma - NO Stratta Glass.
The Finisterre left port on the 7th to make their way South.  We were all pretty bummed as they departed at around 7:30 a.m. (their version of “at the break of dawn”).  We saluted their boat with horns from New Year’s Eve and a few miscellaneous body parts.  A great send off, unless they are now blind!!

Our friends departed on the 8th and we are now making our plans to continue south.  We’re leaving here mid-January and returning again sometime in early March. 

Have an adventurous few months.  Live for today, tomorrow may not exist!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back To Costa Rica!

Happy days are here again (are you singing….we are!)  We are back in Costa Rica.  The weather is hot and it’s a bit muggy, but this is paradise.  The rainy season just ended and the entire jungle that surrounds us is varying shades of green.  Very plush.

The plush greenery around the marina.

The vast open spaces we see on our way into Coco.

Sugar cane fields are all over Costa Rica

We arrived here on Nov. 14th and had guests for three days.  The boating world is rather small.  In anchorages and marinas along the coast line from Mexico to South America we see many of the same boats.  We met up with several of those boaters here in this bay, and a few new friends we met at the Papagayo marina.   It was decided by unanimous decision that we all wanted Thanksgiving dinner… our friends would buy the fixings and Jewell, of course, would do the cooking.  The Elysium would be the host boat.  

Jewell preparing Thanksgiving.

The cave woman emerging from Jewell.
Our friends sailed over to the Marina from Playa de Coco.  They looked like the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, one following the other.  They anchored right outside the Marina and Jewell and I rushed out on the skiff to get the food!  We had a gorgeous 16 lb. turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and loads of desserts made by the various guests.  It really was a feast!  We ate, drank, and talked for several hours.  It was fun.
The food is coming via The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria.

Henry making the turkey transfer from Rapscallion.

The guest of honor!

Guests from Macha and Sundancer have arrived.

Pamela (Riley's mom) from Precious Metal and Henry feasting with Deb.

Let the cork games begin!

Deb had their undivided attention!

The Gang - Carolyn,Tony and Milea from Macha, Heather, Jewell, Pamela, Henry, Deb and Ron.

Pamela brought her Blenheim cavalier, Riley, to Thanksgiving dinner.  He is just so sweet and well behaved.  He and Aggie used to run around the beaches together in Mexico.  We had our “doggie fix”.  Thanks Pamela.

Mr. Riley from Precious Metal.

I want Aggie to spend more time with Riley, he has such good manners.

We really miss Aggie.

There is a small bay very near us and we went there, anchored the skiff, and went swimming.  We were in the water for about an hour when I felt a pinch on my arm.  Then another and another.  I looked like a crazy woman hitting myself.  I looked up and Jewell, who was about 20 yards in front of me, was laughing and asked, is something biting you?  Turns out we were being bitten by little tiny jelly fish larvae.  It wasn’t funny.

Just before the jelly fish began biting.

After the jelly fish began biting.

Pamela and Henry joined us for dinner one night in Playa de Coco and we went to an Italian restaurant we saw advertised on a street sign.  We drove onto a dirt road to what looked like the road to nowhere.  About two blocks in, a few twists and turns, and we arrived at the sweetest little Italian restaurant with fabulous food….really fabulous food.  It was a good night! 

Sweet Italian restaurant in a residential section of Coco on a dirt road.

A few days ago Jewell, Lucio and I went by skiff to Playa de Coco for lunch and some food shopping.  It was a bit rough going across the bay but it was nothing compared to the ride back.  The Papagayo winds started blowing and we were going into 4 to 5 ft. waves in the bay.  The skiff was full of food which was getting soaked by salt water.   Lucio was sitting in the bow and thankfully he was taking the brunt of the water splashing over us.  A larger fishing boat came flying past us and I was able to follow in his wake for the last 15 minutes of the ride.  It was brutal!! 

Rain approaching the marina.
This peninsula is full of surprises. In case you didn’t see any other blog, the Papagayo Marina is on a peninsula with just the Marina and the Four Seasons Hotel.  The property either belongs to the Hotel or the Marina.   The marina manager took us on a long tour.  There are about 20 homes that have been built and two or three condo buildings with 5 to 10 condos in each building, priced in the area of $1,250,000 and up.  There are 20-25 homes, all facing the bay or ocean, which is spectacular, that range in price from $2,500,000 up.  Some are gigantic.  One is about 25,000 sf. The cost of building is, are you ready?, $750 per sf.  

Part of the golf course on the Four Seasons property.

One of the gorgeous anchorages behind the property.

Beautiful views from all angles.

When we departed last April construction on three condo buildings had just begun right above the Marina.  They are about half completed.

Condo complex behind the marina.

The bay has several small communities across the water from the Marina.  Most are condos and the rest single houses.  The residents are Canadian and American.  Some are full time residents, some are snowbirds.  Also, several hotels and a few all inclusive resorts are across the bay.  This is the type of place where, if you have some money and you invested here about 6 to 7 years ago, you would have multiplied your investment 10 x’s or more.  And, it will continue to mature.  It reminds us of Punta de Mita in Puerto Vallarta.

Jewell and I took skiff rides to several anchorages.  We are leaving tomorrow to anchor in one of the more beautiful ones called Bahia Huevos.  The anchorage is surrounded by jungle (with howling monkeys, deer, strange and exotic birds, and strange raccoon like animals called Coati or Pizote). 

Coati (English) Pizote (Spanish) for the raccoon like animal
We haven’t spotted any whales yet, but have seen lots of dolphins, rays and fish of all sizes, shapes and colors.  It’s a fisherman’s paradise.

We attempted diving with our Hookah (remember, it’s a diving Hookah, not a smoking one) and now have an appointment with a dive master to go with us for a day.  We weren’t too successful on our own.

She is ready to hookah!

Our marina has a few super mega yachts docked.  We watched in awe as a helicopter landed on top of the Legacy.   

Legacy with helicopter after we watched it land.

And then of course there are the Super Mega Yachts, and a sunset!

Super Mega Yacht - Pegaso

And another sunset.