three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Costa Rica: Playas del Coco

The small town in front of which we anchor is called Playas del Coco. Here are restaurants, shopping facilities, banks and tourist tours. Next to us are two large catamarans moored that organise daily snorkelling tours. Sometimes you see lightly dressed exotic beauties on board, probably going out to sea for a photo shoot. You can also book an introductory diving course.

The Trans Ocean base for Costa Rica is located in Playas del Coco. These bases are (former) sailors or amateur radio operators who live in the respective countries and make their address available and are ready to help trans-ocean sailors with words and deeds. Here in Coco, Gunter Winter does that. He is in his 80s and took over the base function a few years ago. Since then, we’ve been the first to actually stop by.

We had a good reason: our stereo radio, which had been broken in a lightning strike next to us, was to be replaced as a warranty service. For this we needed an address and we had asked Gunter if we could have the parcel sent to him. He agreed. Parcels can be tracked, after all, and we watched as the parcel with the radio gradually approached from the USA. First it arrived in San Juan at customs and then we were told that three attempts had been made to deliver the parcel, but no one had been at the address to receive it. That could not be true. There are no exact addresses in Costa Rica, the houses are described somehow. So there must have been some information missing. After much toing and froing, Mathias managed to get the name of the house (Casa Talamanca) added to the delivery address given to Fed Ex. Now the package reached its destination, but Gunter had to advance almost $400 in customs fees for us.

When we went to pick up the parcel, we also had difficulties finding the house. “Casa Talamanca” was not widely known. We did have the additional description: “next to the house is a radio mast with a Trans-Ocean flag”, but you couldn’t see such a house either. Surely it shouldn’t be that far from the beach? 300 m from the supermarket – we have already walked further. We had walked up and down the street twice when Mathias asked again, but nobody knew the house. In the meantime, I walked a little further out of town around the bend of the road. And lo and behold: the radio mast, the white house and the flag! We had found it after all. Gunter entertained us with many interesting stories from the 1980s, when he arrived here, his name was still “Günther” and the city did not yet exist.

Casa Talamanca hidden away behind an empty plot.

The weather is slowly changing. Around Easter it was still very dry and windy. We kept seeing smoke from fires on land.

At least two of them were bush fires, burning a large part of a mountain slope. Now the Papagayo winds don’t blow as often and the rainy season is upon us. We have already had several thunderstorms. We always switch off all fuses and unplug all appliances from the sockets. One should leave the area by the end of April, because the rain and thunderstorms continue to increase.

Rain Clouds

Shopping facilities in Coco are very good. We were particularly taken with one supermarket, the Auto Mercado, just 2 km down the main road inland. This market can be compared to an Edeka in Germany, except that the vegetable section is somewhat smaller. It is a little more expensive, but has a wide range of products, including many things from Europe. There is pumpernickel bread and Alpen Ceral muesli from England. Every time we go ashore, we fill our backpacks there and make sure that our supplies are replenished.

The internet connection is not only used to report about us. It is also our way of staying a little involved in life at home in Germany. So we had a glimpse behind the scenes at the shooting of our daughter’s music video ( Our daughter has been singing since she was 2 years old. There is the lovely story of when I was pushing her through Sainsbury’s in a shopping trolley and she was singing in a bell-like voice the songs she had just learned in kindergarten. An elderly lady stopped and listened with delight. Then she remarked how “lovely” it was sung. When the lady went on, Maika asked me why people often reacted like that, she just sang the way the songs were. Explain to a two-year-old that not everyone can sing the songs the way they are and that not all singers sound the same. Anyway, Maika never stopped singing. We had a bicycle trailer in Cambridge in which I transported the children everywhere. People who met me must have thought there was a radio installed. Maika entertained me with her singing the whole time. It went on like that. When she was about 6, I had to hold the lyrics of “Thank you for the music” by Abba for her on the way to the bus stop so she could keep practising. Again, passers-by stopped to listen to her. In the meantime she has studied “Contemporary Music Performance” in Cardiff, got her bachelor’s degree and is trying to establish herself as a musician in Hamburg. Then Corona came. We think her achievement in producing her music video is all the more amazing. She had to develop real entrepreneurial skills, right down to organising Covid quick tests. In order to have the Speicherstadt empty, the troupe met there at 6am on Sunday mornings. The first shoot went wrong because there were technical difficulties and everything went out of focus. The second attempt had to be postponed because of an 80% chance of rain. But, all good things come in threes. They were lucky on the third attempt. When they arrived in the Speicherstadt, a large film crew was in the process of fencing everything off for a production. Maika’s troupe took advantage of the opportunity, they could shoot without passers-by disturbing them and were finished before the others had set up.

If you are as excited as we are about what young people are getting up to despite curfew and other prohibitions, then check out the crowdfunding for the next project. There you can contribute so that this troupe can continue to be creative:

Singing and training the voice is a science in itself, here is an experience Mathias had: I actually like singing too, but after a severe cold a few years ago, my voice was damaged and I took singing lessons for a few months. However, as a physicist, I couldn’t cope with the explanations: when you sing, you have to tense your diaphragm so that air enters your lungs – when you exhale! You then feel openings appear in your back… I never got beyond that point… 😉

Wildlife on SAN:

Little guys like this visit us at every anchorage. It’s always a pair, I had already thought they lived on our boat. It’s a type of swallow and they make a noise as if they were at least twice as big.

Morning mist

Next time I’ll tell you how I came to see a seahorse in the wild.

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