We reached Costa Rica with little wind and many engine hours. We had already sent documents to the marina by mail. It was possible to book an assistance service for clearing in, which turned out to be a good idea. Not only are the various stations you have to report to hard to find (inconspicuous buildings scattered all over the place), we also needed a confirmation from a lawyer because of the French leasing of our boat, which we probably wouldn’t have understood on our own, let alone been able to organise. But with the help of the marina everything was no problem and the formalities were done within a day. At the moment a health pass has to be filled out online, before entering Costa Rica. But it must be done not more than 48 hours before entry. Therefore, we planned our penultimate anchorage at a place where there was mobile phone coverage.
I was allowed to park the boat in the Banana Bay Marina in Golfito.
We stayed in the marina for a few days. First, we needed a local sim card for internet access. Unfortunately, we didn’t know beforehand that you could use the Panama cards here by roaming. That would have been cheaper. But we managed to get a local card and had it initialised. At the marina, we refuelled our diesel supply. It turned out to be a small business. To help with the refuelling, the cook was called out from the kitchen. 🙂
One day we ventured out on a little shore excursion. A gravel road led up a mountain that promised an overview of the bay. The metres in altitude were a challenge for us, but it was just nice to have a decent walk again. After a few breaks and lots of water, we arrived at the top, but the view was quite limited.
What we really enjoyed was the opportunity to eat in a restaurant again. So every evening we sat in the open restaurant area of the marina with a view of our boat and ate the delicious dishes there. Usually around that time, a heavy thundercloud came with a decent rain shower. The first time, we didn’t close our windows properly on the boat. Mathias went and closed the hatches, but the rain was so heavy that it was pushed in through the small side windows. The bed in the upper cabin got completely wet. I scooped a whole bucketful of water out of there.
After 5 days in the marina we left again. Since then we have been struggling with the doldrums. There is usually only a brief period of wind in the afternoon around the rain clouds. Often only drifting under sail was possible.
So we drifted around in the Bahia Dulce. A sailing guide advertised a private botanical garden that could be visited. But it turned out that it was closed because the people wanted to move away. The Bahia Dulce has a microclimate; every evening it pours with rain and during the day there is the aforementioned calm.
The microclimate in the bay not only brings rain, but often thunderstorms as well. On our way out of the bay, we were just enjoying some wind in front of the clouds when it died down again and we had to get out of the way of the thunderstorm. Under motor we tried to escape the disaster. But a bolt of lightning caught us. It struck right next to us. Or was it deflected somehow??? In any case, our instruments went out briefly, but then started up again. Only the stereo radio remained silent. We had an audio book playing on the stereo. We therefore do not recommend staying in this bay as a sailing boat.
First drone shots while driving:
We left Dulce Bay and sailed / drifted to Bahia Drake on the other side of the Osa Peninsula, Here we found a good anchorage from where we have been ashore a few times. There is no dinghy dock, so we have to drive the dinghy directly onto the beach. This is quite a common method, our dinghy even has folding rear wheels to make it easier to pull it up the beach. The only problem is getting through the surf in one piece. A feat we still have to practise. The surf waves looked very harmless. So we pulled up the motor and started paddling. But we weren’t fast enough and a wave entered the dinghy from behind. Everything was flooded and we were soaking wet! Luckily, the camera and mobile phone survived in the well-sealed rucksack. On the way back, a wave hit us from the front and we got wet again. The second time we changed tactics. All our things were in waterproof bags and we were in bathing suits. Mathias pulled the engine only halfway up and drove as close as possible to the beach. It worked and everything stayed dry. On the way back, we were still wet, but that was because you sweat so much here on hikes.
The place here consists of hostels, tour operators, restaurants and supermarkets. They are lined up along a gravel road. There is an amazing amount of traffic, consisting of motorbikes and quads.
We did a hike on a road that led over the first mountain range and then down again to a river. The road winds through the rainforest and every now and then you see the entrance to a resort or a private house. Most of the buildings are built on stilts and stand on the mountain slopes in such a way that a sea view is still possible.
The water in the bay is clear and warm. We have been able to swim around the boat a few times and clear the hulls of fouling. We don’t want it to get as bad again as it did in Panamacity.
There is not much evidence of Corona. Masks are worn in the shops and there is a washbasin in front of each shop to wash your hands, but few people wear masks outdoors. Restaurants are open, but you sit outside anyway. The waiters wear masks. That might be a bit too much of a relaxation, but at least it feels better. We met a German who has known the area for 30 years and lived here for 20. He said the local tourism has shrunk to about 20% of it’s normal quantity. For us, it’s nice, there aren’t too many people walking around, restaurant visits are relaxed and keeping your distance is usually no problem. 30 years ago, the place in Drake Bay could only be reached by boat, the Osa Peninsula was not yet accessible by road. Even today, in the rainy season, it is only possible by 4-wheel drive. Back then there were only about 30 people living here, now there are 3000. But they are well distributed and from our point of view it is still quite idyllic here.
When paying in a restaurant, I noticed that the young waitresses add up the prices with a calculator. That may be all right, but even the change had to be calculated by a young woman with a calculator and she had to look at the result while pulling it out of the till. Even the 10% service charge is computed by calculator. I admit that I also don’t do much mental arithmetic any more, but I can still manage the basic arithmetic. However, I once encountered such a calculator addiction in Germany, too, when an employee at Fielmann got up and fetched a calculator after I had already done the simple arithmetic task in my head. In Germany, I think the socially accepted agitation against maths and physics is partly to blame for such phenomena. No one shakes their head when someone says: “I was never good at maths and physics”. Even on the radio, you hear such sayings surprisingly often. In contrast, no one likes to admit that they were not good at German or sports. I cannot judge whether the same applies to Latin America. I can only tell about our son, who went to an accounting school in Ecuador as an exchange student and excelled there because he understood the principle of averaging and could apply it without difficulty. So here the non-calculation may be due to school education. But that makes one look at it all the more anxiously. After all, the world can only be saved if there are enough educated young people. Maybe calculating with a calculator is just a stupid habit, I remember that in my professional life I once decided to use the calculator less when I caught myself dividing a number by one with the calculator. Or maybe it’s the big numbers of the currency here, everything costs tens of thousands. That can’t make a difference, do you think? Here’s a little story from my childhood: I was about 6 years old, we were learning arithmetic with numbers up to 10 in the first grade. An acquaintance asked me: How much is 100 minus 40? Whereupon I explained to him that I couldn’t know that because the numbers were greater than 10. My father grinned and said: “You have one mark and buy something for 40 pfennigs, how much do you get back?” My answer came immediately: “60 pfennigs!”
One is only allowed to enter the nearby Corcovado National Park with a guide. There are tours from here. You are taken to the entrance of the park on the beach in small speedboats. I will tell you about our visit in the next blog article.