Here we are in the southern port of Costa Rica, we met again with a boat we know and the crew sadly informed us that their dinghy had been stolen the night before! Not the best welcome… The bad apples are keeping their reputation well and alive in this part of the country. With that knowledge in mind we decided to anchor closer to the marina and we will definitely be back onboard before dark! Needless to say our deck looks bare, we usually never clear it from any possessions (not that we have much on deck anyway!) and every hatches is now secured and locked. The city used to be well off when the banana industry was flowing out of here to the world, then this stopped abruptly in the 80′s… Because it was a mono industry port, you can see the disaster that ensued.
So here we are in Golfito for a few days and since we haven’t had any internet for a while you will see some updates and multiple posts below today. Today our program is catching-up with the real world for all of us, read: financial world, school and keeping in touch with friends and family doesn’t stop once you leave the dock.
Please join us to smell the flower in the post below.
We could have taken the subway to Vancouver by jumping on the boat transport barge, but this one is going to Miama after New Zealand…
High school cruising style life is hard no air conditionning.
Early morning today we were greeted by Trudy near the beach and went for a tour guided around the property which she and her husband have been meticulously tending for 40 years and where they live peacefully. It all started with a wish to live in a remote part of the world, the early years were dedicated to cultivating and selling their goods in Golfito. Unfortunately some plants became ill and forced them to look at another venue, this is when they noticed that there was great potential in the ornamental plants and from then on became their source of revenue. It is a shame we can only share the photos as the scent and aroma coming from the property are simply beautiful.
Today you can spend a wonderful morning admiring and tasting some of the most amazing species from all over the world. Thank you again for opening your ground to our world. This piece of paradise is only accessible by boat.
Canon ball tree, with beautiful flowers, which are very ephemere as they only live a day.
Pickle tree, a fruit from the same family as the star fruit, sour and delicious.
The last stage of the coconut, once it germinates you get that foamy sweet chore, a delight.
A typical home plant, just slightly bigger!
Ceylan palm, with vibrant reds.
Shampoo Ginger, perfect to hydrate and condition the hair
With an unbelievable refreshing scent.
Now we know where the pineapple grow!
You need to work for that mature coconut, the fish soup at night was a delight.
Letitgo in paradise, and some of the goodies we were gifted. The fruit on the right is of the jack fruit’s family (same as Durian), we love it in ice-cream and now fresh.
Tropical rain is coming and we had our fair share of the 6 meters they get a year.
This Saturday getting out of bed was a little harder than usual indeed our bed time routine was later than usual! Truly this is what happens when you meet another French boat with great people onboard, you start talking and reminiscing about the old country, take notes of the last news and realize that so and so you liked when you were a kid died about 10 years ago… All in all you end up back on your boat at … 1 am. Nonetheless we made it across the bay, in flat water relaxing and doing the usual (water, and laundry). We arrived at Casa Orquidea’s waypoint and dropped the anchor in 60 feet just off the beach, not a place you want to be in heavy winds coming from offshore, in fact we are so close that swimming to the beach is quicker than dropping the dinghy, this gives you an idea of distance!
A walk around the bay, confirmed that the guided tour is still on for 8.30am tomorrow morning. Also that with a stone you can pierce a hole to drink fresh coco water out of the coconut! A good tool to know when it is 30 degrees and you are hot even after a great swim. Once the wind came from the mountain, the aroma turned magic each burst bringing a flow from the blooming tree. We stayed on the side just listening looking and smelling until our head was light with so much oxygen. The remedy was sautéed potatoes with a side of fried chicken and a banana split; this time around we were in bed at 6:30pm for some cross-words and a good sleep. We did pull an all-nighter in the cruising world the previous night after all, we slept like babies until 7.00am the next day shamelessly…
For the past two days we have been running around to get Benjamin setup for his challenge of Grade 10-11 French courses. We finally got the exam in the hand of an invigilator, thank you Maestra Hildago for going out of your way to make it possible.
After that it was a matter of finding the right time for Benjamin to sit in a class and perform his magic. You would think it’s easy, but not so when you are in a land with organization with no large mean. We discovered at the last minute that the printer was malfunctioning but with a memory stick and a bit of running around, we got it in his hand. The proud student emerged 2.5 hours later with a stack of papers and relieved to have finally accomplished this task.
We had to have the authorization of the super-intendant for this photo, with the promise to not have students in them. Carefree world is behind for a while.
In the photo below you get an idea of the vegetation and feel for the life in a smaller village.
Again Costa Rica really educated its population as there is no garbage on the ground, everything is spotless and organized with garbage cans all around. Beautiful!
During all that time we visited in depth the village and enjoyed a latte with wifi,
True luxury for the tablet which had not been updated since January.
Watch those clouds coming towards us; the sea is making nice ripples!
With a bar of soap in hand, and Letitgo all closed off we were ready…
With not much breeze for us to sail we found ourselves motor sailing all around the Osa Peninsula while “hugging” the coast to reduce the distance to a maximum. Once more, we made it just on time before the last rays of sun and anchor swiftly. This anchorage is the first one where we have to anchor on a ledge, for on our port it is so shallow we could careen yet just a 100 ft to our starboard it is 130ft deep; with that said we found a spot amongst the local mooring buoys just outside Puerto Jimenez.
After a good night rest we went to town to provision for the essentials, and just few minutes after our return, a storm cell made its way through the bay and dumped on us those beautiful nice big watery drops, come to think of it luckily we are in the middle of the dry season! One thing we have been noticing lately is that our sumbrella (fabric protecting us from the sun) is not waterproof anymore, funny how we never noticed this while in Mexico…
A lot nicer with some sun don’t you think? still the storm clouds are never faraway in this land. During the evening, we shared dinner with a French crew and passed our knowledge of Mexico in return for some Panama ones. This is the routine of transient zone where the roads cross and electronic books/movies/charts and all got exchanged in no time.
Paradise got better we are anchored on the final approach.
After a very busy week-end, we had to get back to reality; which means for us the 1st of the month preventive maintenance list, and for Benjamin full day school! We conquer it is not the most fun day to blog about but on the other hand it is real life onboard a cruising boat, it is important to take care of our sweet home… Lately we got two hours of heavy rain at night, a fantastic way to give Letitgo a good rinse and also the opportunity to collect gallons of fresh water free! In other words this means rain catcher, another item added on Valerie’s sewing list.
During the day we decided that it was time for us to continue our exploration of Costa Rica, our departure was set for early morning the next day and we started the engine check at the same time. What do you think was discovered? The raw water pump belt on the port engine was going, as a few weeks ago on the starboard. Down to 20 minutes exchange time, with not too many tool’s requests, something always greatly appreciated, what can I say the experience is starting to pay. Edit: And at 4am the next morning we had to adjust the tension as it was not driving the impeller, even though we had checked for those inquisitive minds wondering! Good thing we always look even if our eyes are still sleepy…
Late afternoon, we made our way to town to thank our hosts, and to bring back Sol’s repaired shoes (it had been a little damaged during the water hike) and a small token of our appreciation. During our multiple conversations we had talked about Tamales and we were welcome with some for us to try along with a fresh cup of delicious Costa Rican coffee. As soon as we said we were leaving the next day, we were invited for dinner. What a welcome we have received simple and yet so warm and refreshing something we seem to have lost in our countries of origin, these will be again beautiful memories for us to cherish. Our adopted family didn’t want to let us go without a presents, even if they already given us so much in sharing this three days.
Angelica, Jose Galvin, Belkis and Kimcho: Thank you so much, you single handedly made our stay in Baja Drake fantastic.
Pura Vida to you, may you live happily in Paradise for many more years to come, we wish you all the very Best.
If you see those two men during your visit in Drake Bay, please say Hello from us.
Two shots that appeared on the camera by magic.
Pura Vida Sol
The next morning we were able to coordinate a clothes drop for Alex (Son of Kimcho driving below) from Benjamin. The tourists found it funny, try to explain those pictures to the families back home…
La Pura Vida is the ever present expression on any Tico’s lip. Today we were treated that way by our hosts; we were invited at their place to share the love of food and their country. We got to understand that Costa Rica is a very advanced country for health care, schooling and politic. One big issue at the moment is the increase of cost of living that is not followed by a rise in salary. ($2 an hour for any unqualified skill) rent for one bedroom $100 but for food and the necessity you already know, it’s not cheap. They have way to get vegetables and fruits direct from the farmer via a system of Coop, whereas we have to go to the shop. Still you can see that they feel happy about their life and you don’t hear about wanting to immigrate to North America at any cost.
Benjamin practising his coconut picking skill.
During our conversation yesterday it had been decided that we would all take a walk to the waterfall, since nobody had to go to work. Everyone brought a picnic along and we all shared. As rookies as we are, we wore our good walking shoes though ¾ of the way which meant walking along or in the river. We will just say that our feet are a bit tender tonight… What a magical trip, because one of our host had lived in this forest for 40 years and was happy to share all his knowledge. So after two hours walk, we discovered a beautiful cascade, our picnic was set on a rock and we all shared our food culture with of course some delicious empenadas, rice and pinto beans and a coffee. It was ensued by a few hours of swimming, jumping, climbing the rocks and bringing many fun childhood memories; it was basically just plain fun on the program. Little Sol walked almost all the way and never complained once, a real trooper. On our way back, a few beers and ice creams made for a real pura vida. Thank you again to Angelica, Jose, Belkis and Kimcho, you made our stay in Drake bay most memorable and we feel very grateful for your generous hospitality.
Notice the shoes…
During our tour in the estuary, we had met a young family cooling themselves in the river, while we chatted they gifted us a fish. We discovered that the husband is one of the chef a local resort, and that was the best link to start talking food,and culture with that said we couldn’t resist to invite them all lunch on Letitgo. Needless to say that the highlight of the day was Sol their adorable 3 years old, who took Benjamin by surprise with her energy and intrepidity, she definitely got him to keep up with the questions and thrust of discovering a new world. Truly we had a great time learning on the daily life and sharing a great meal, which is to us the epitome of our voyage.
Few days ago we had spotted on Google map a possible walk or hike and they confirmed that it was a nice tour with great vista.
Hence this morning at 8.30, we were on the beach and with a bit of luck and Valerie asking for direction, we found ourselves in the middle of the jungle. Truthfully after our four months hiking in the deserted land of the Sea of Cortez we do have nightmare of lunar terrain and have had our dose of rock for a while. It is always true glory to be in the middle of the jungle and discovering all the varieties of trees and all the different butterflies.
We have company in the bay, at this time we now have met the three boats that cruise Costa Rica during dry season.
Brioche in the morning, and fresh coffee. Now that’s paradise!
Meet Sol, a true delight full of life she brought with her many smiles!
Des oiseaux du paradis growing everywhere
Costa Rica doesn’t have an army, and really there is no need to… Try to fight a war in those conditions!
Today was a day of regrouping and resourcing onboard Letitgo and we decided to go inside the estuary to be in the heart of the jungle. We used high tide to get in over the bar and were able to drift back with only the noise of our environment. The video gives you an idea of the creatures roaming amongst the trees, although because of the heat everyone was hiding and we didn’t see many animals. We really love this bay, the serenity of the location, the isolation from the rest of the world with a touch of modernism and tourism based on quality. Or is it the brioche fresh from the oven? One wonders…
We can definitely feel that we are getting closer to the equator: Our days start at 6am and by 6pm roughly dark sets in with usually bright pink sun sets, and by 7.30 we get really sleepy eyes! Come to think of it, we used to just get warmed up at 7:30pm. It seems that life has a way to play tricks with you, all our professional lives we lived from 11am to 2am, now we have the 9-5 hours we fought against forever…
The mandatory Costa Rica picture perfect setting.
Cashew nuts if our education serves us right.
Darty of Futureshop delivery by the 17.30 boat, the local and a few tourists come back to town.
What a beautiful place, the legend has that Sir Drake careened his boat for some repair here. Some say, no he only stop at the island 10 miles ashore, never the less this place hasn’t changed much since. The government owns all the land around and has put some drastic restriction on construction and any development of any kind. A dirt road is the only access and often closed from the rain, and with what pored over us last night we can understand….
Apparently they get more than 300 cm of precipitation in a year on the peninsula. So for land tourist, 20 minutes boat ride or plane is the only viable option most of the time. This brings only the most adventurous of them, leaving the village with an air of Indiana Jones and we love it.
We witnessed a football match, the children coming out of school and ticos going around living in their communities; it was a very refreshing site. We will be here for a few days to explore, there are good hiking grounds all around. The animals are not far, we heard them and saw parrots fly around during our afternoon coffee.
The cell tower is the only concession we agree with.
It’s very hard to render the density of the jungle, and the smell they produce.
Even Valerie could have a green thumb here, well… I think!