SAN

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

Costa Rica: Manuel-Antonio-National-Park and Quepos

After the Thula left for the Panama Canal, we suddenly became the smallest cruising boat in the bay: a three-master and a superyacht arrived. You can usually find information about these large private yachts on the internet. The pictured Pi, for example, has room for 12 guests and 18 crew. It can store 125,000 litres of diesel. I wouldn’t like to see the bill at the petrol station 😉

We once more walked along the footpath on the coast and no longer found the ant-highway. The troop now used a crossing over the path where we had only seen a single soldier pioneer ant on the previous walk, diligently towing a leaf that was far too big for it.

Last impressions of the bay:

How the local boats sail to shore (4 times the speed).

Confident that Costa Rica has more to offer, we finally left Drake Bay.

Shortly before we left, two more German sailboats came into the bay, but they had not yet cleared into Costa Rica and followed us down the coast later in the day. All three of us met up again in Uvita Bay. We had been able to make good use of the thermal winds due to our early departure and covered the whole distance under sail, while the others had to motor the last bit. The next day we continued to Bahia Manuel Antonio. The trip was very pleasant with 10 knots of thermal wind and hardly any waves.

Manuel Antonio Bay is quite touristy. Jet skiers and small motorboats cavort, trailing paragliders across the bay. The beach is well populated with umbrellas and sunbeds. We wanted to go to the Manuel Antonio National Park, where you should be able to see a lot of animals. The drive to the beach did not look easy. We first tried an empty stretch of beach on the direct way from the boat. There, the landing did not work out elegantly. The surf frequency was faster than expected and when I got out, the next wave was already coming, crashing over the boat and me. So, first scooping up some water and then dry off? Not quite – a ranger approached us and explained that this part of the beach belonged to the national park, that we were not allowed to be there without a ticket and that we should leave the dinghy on the public beach anyway. So we just scooped up some water and went back out into the surf, rounded a rock and made another attempt at the other part of the beach. Here the surf looked even worse, but we found a spot where we dared to try it. Once ashore, we again got nice helpers for pulling the dinghy onto the beach and into the shade.

The promenade street was full of shops and restaurants, and there was also a small supermarket. The good news: they had the ice cream we had appreciated so much in Drake Bay. So a stop on the way back was in order. The entrance to the national park was a bit up the road, we decided to walk through the park without a tour guide ($20 extra each). The paths all led either along wooden platforms or stone slabs. We now had to look for animals on our own, but that was not difficult.

The monkeys in particular were not disturbed by the visitors. While Christian commented on the last blog that one could think that Captain Jack Sparrow was not far away, here we actually saw Jack, the undead monkey, taking a sip from the bottle. 😉

Mathias with his 120% vision even spotted a sloth. However, it was so high up in the tree that it only looked like a brown branch blobb.

After all that scenery, we were ready for some days of sailing. But first we had to stop off in Quepos. A parcel was waiting for us there. A lot of research and tips from other sailors had turned up a way to have parcels sent to Miami first and then have them brought to Costa Rica by a special company that takes care of customs. The surf in Quepos is something for surfers but not dinghy drivers. But there is the marina Pez Vela. We drove in there with the dinghy and were immediately welcomed by friendly staff. At the registration we had to show all of our ship’s papers. For the dinghy? No, for the SAN. But she is not in the harbour! Anyway, the dinghy is there and counts as part of the boat. So I went back to the boat and Mathias went to pick up the parcel. Equipped with all the papers, I then registered our dinghy. It turned out that we didn’t have the new letter from the insurance company, which expires at the end of February each year. Fortunately, the employee believed me that the insurance would continue. We found the whole procedure a bit excessive, but only realised the next day that the marina employee had been very accommodating. The next day, the mooring fee for the dinghy was collected: $ 39!

Quepos itself is not a particularly pretty town. The enormously high pavements and huge rainwater drains are striking. You can well imagine the masses of water that must come down here in the rainy season. We went to the market and stocked up on fresh fruit and vegetables. After our experiences on the cocoa farm, we also ventured to try a yucca root.

Not only on land but also on the water do we encounter animals more often now. Sometimes dolphins accompany the boat, sometimes we see fish of all sizes jumping out of the water. We also saw some rays jumping. One of them did a real somersault mortale.

On the way to Quepos we saw three whales in a bay. We turned off and watched them for a while. The only thing we haven’t done yet is find a good spot for snorkelling. You have to make sure that it is a place without crocodiles.

The trip along the coast with thermal winds was fun. The winds are sometimes 12-15 knots strong in the afternoon and you sail along quickly with a hull out of the water – almost too much cranking for me 😉 Thermal wind means that the wind comes from land at night and in the morning and from the sea at noon. At some point in the morning, there is a time of reversal, where you bob along and drift for a while until the wind picks up again and you can hope that it doesn’t die down again quickly. We were lucky with good thermal winds these days.

A small disadvantage: the coast here is a surfing area, which means waves, and sheltered anchorages are not easy to find. On the other hand, the bays are all equipped with mobile phone towers and we can take care of many things that still need to be done at home, and can uploading blogs and videos.

Sometimes I wonder what it was like when sailing the world’s oceans was still a disconnect from home and communication was via messages in bottles. Ship’s logs and logbooks were also written back then, but the exchange of information was much slower. That can be a curse and a blessing. In my exchange year in the USA (1978/79), long-distance calls with telephones hanging on cords still cost a fortune, mobile phones, personal computers and the internet did not yet exist. If I wrote home with a problem, I had already solved it on my own when the reply letter arrived 14 days later. When we took in a Chinese exchange student a few years ago, she spent so much time on the internet with her Chinese friends that she was unable to integrate into the host country. She didn’t last more than a few weeks with us. Very briefly, when we limited her internet time to one minute. Sometimes I look forward to telling stories to the children of my grandchildren’s generation. But will they believe me when I tell them about phones with dials, black and white TV, test cards on TV in the afternoon, handwritten letters, when they are dropped off by their self-driving cars or one-person drones? I rather expect them to come and say: „Grandma, can you spin a yarn?“

In the present, our adventure continues north and next time I’ll tell you about the Papagayo winds.

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