Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pura Vida, Costa Rica style

The view from our cockpit in the pristine Bahia Santa Elena anchorage in Costa Rica

The 2 night passage from El Salvador, passing Nicaragua and arriving at Costa Rica was a bit lumpy, averaging 15-25 knots on the nose. During the worst of it, Chris injured a couple of ribs. Nurse Liz's diagnosis: no broken ribs as there was no apparent pneumothorax or internal bleeding.

This strange circle appeared in the clouds above us during the worst of the winds. Meaning? 

We then hit some Papagayo winds as we approached Costa Rica. Cruisers note: staying close to land really does reduce the fetch and make for a much more comfortable ride.

This classic anvil cloud over the Nicaraguan mountains made us wish we were a bit farther away.
There's some serious weather going on over there!

Finally we anchored at Puerto Saley, Costa Rica. The bay is notable as the northern half of it is on Nicaraguan land, and the southern half is Costa Rica.

Fisherman try their luck at Puerto Saley, Costa Rica

  One other brush with health disaster occurred during our first breakfast in the bay at Puerto Saley. I made us buckwheat pancakes and went to fetch the maple syrup. We had run low on syrup so I did what we cruisers do in a pinch -- I had "fleshed it out" with a bit of water and some locally made honey I had bought in the mercado in Huatulco.

  I pulled out the honey from the back of the pantry, opened the top and a whoosh of air came out. I thought this was strange, but the syrup looked and smelled OK so I shrugged and carried it out to the cockpit to serve for breakfast.

  Suddenly I had a nursing flashback. Honey can often be a source of botulism. And the botulism bacteria is gas forming, which means it causes food containers to balloon out.

  I almost served my husband a breakfast of pancakes and botulism!

  In a panic I ran to the rail and dumped it out. Whew. That was close. Trust me: out here in the middle of nowhere is not where you want to catch botulism.

After a botulism-free breakfast, we went ashore to explore teeny-tiny Puerto Saley.

Not a bad spot for a dinghy dock, huh?

The hustle-bustle of Puerto Saley was really exhausting... ;-)

 Costa Ricans have a charming way of greeting one another: "Pura Vida." It means literally "Pure Life."  They greet one another in passing and on the street this way, saying "Pura Vida" instead of "How's it goin'?"    How lovely is that?

  I can see that this "Pura Vida" may take our carefully organized schedule and blow it away like a gentle breeze...

Nice spot for a beachside picnic, yes?

Sunset over the Nicaraguan half of the bay

  Interesting note: we've read that this isolated section of Nicaragua was where American troops trained Nicaraguan rebels in the famous "Iran/Contra" scandal of the 1980's.

Colonel Oliver North was here?

Looking across the bay to Nicaragua from the Costa Rican side

There's a pig by the side of the road! A PIG! By the side of the ROAD!   :-) 

          After a couple of sweet days, we pulled anchor and headed to Bahia de Julquillal
                                                Town, about 8 miles south.

The rural roads of Costa Rica remind Chris and I of our childhood growing up in
 1960's in Costa Mesa before it was built up.

The little village was built alongside an estuary, where we found this sweet little restaurant.
 "Two icy Pepsi Lights, please!"   :-) 

We loved the mascot of this seaside home. I think that naked doll may be "He-Man" --
without his He-Man clothes (or loin cloth, or whatever He-Man wears).

I wish I had more knowledge of geology. There's some amazing stuff going on down here, rock wise.

  It is the end of the dry season here in Costa Rica, which means many of the trees are brown and without leaves, same as in the states. But since rainy season is just starting, by the time we're finished sailing Central America, everything will be green, green, green!

A hillside of brown trees grace the hills of Santa Rosa National Park. But the one green tree promises a lush rainy season. We must only be patient...

Pretty nice beachfront real estate, yes?

I looked for a souvenir "Costa Rica" t-shirt in the shop in town,
but all they had were shirts that said "New York." LOL...

Look at this guy! He eats his big bowl of slop, then he just plops down in the dirt and goes to sleep.
 And he didn't even have the decency to put some clothes on! What a pig!   ;-) 

This gravestone by the estuary must have been washed up by a big storm. No sign of the body...

Several large snowy egrets congregate on the trees by the estuary. Welcome to Costa Rica! :-) 

Another priceless tropical sunset

We rose before dawn to make the short passage to Bahia Santa Elena by moonlight

                   The view from Espiritu at anchor in pristine Bahia Santa Elena.
                    We still hadn't seen another sailboat since we left El Salvador.
                                    P.S: How do you like our sunshade?

We watched in awe as macaws flew across the bay each morning, two by two, until the entire flock had crossed


We also saw howler monkeys up close. There was a family of several of them in the nearby trees.

         This little red white and blue hermit crab is very patriotic! But before you go all Lee Greenwood on me, take a look at the Costa Rican flag:

Gotcha! :-) 

We were surprised to find this row of cacti standing at attention in the middle of the lush rain forest.
Nature. She's a complex place.

Check out this guy we tripped upon during our hike! He's called a crested caracara. 

      There are no people at all here in Bahia Santa Elena. But since it's a National Park, there are truck trails which are perfect for hiking. Cruisers note: If you follow the directions exactly in the Sarana guide, the roads are wonderful for hiking, birdwatching and exploring.

    Since Chris and I were all alone here for 3 days, I'm emberassed to admit that we gave in and joined the club. The club that I never in a million years thought I would join. Yeah. That's right.

    We joined the skinny dipping club. Go ahead. Laugh. Snicker. Go right ahead...(LOL). But it was pretty darn wonderful. That's all I'll say about that! ;-)

We found this little beauty on our hike to the waterfall

A White Tailed Trogon was an exciting find!

   So, OK, needless to say, we are immersing ourselves in the Pura Vida here in Costa Rica. We can't believe our good fortune to be here. On the other hand, we've sacrificed alot and worked damn hard to get here. It's places like this that are our beautiful reward.

       We pulled up anchor at 3AM and sailed the 50 miles south to Playa de Cocos, Costa Rica.

The peaceful Playa de Cocos anchorage

     We checked in to the country here (a rather laborious process). Cruiser's note: arrive at the Port Captains office at 8AM sharp with bus money, a hat, drinking water, walking shoes, and be ready for a very long day.

  But it was all worth it. Cause we're legal now for 90 days to travel the country! Come along with us as we explore...

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the club! Where did you get your sunshade or did you make it?