Dear friends, I call this report from first October to first November, because we needed just one month from Panama City to Golfito in Costa Rica.
In one month we put only like 3 hours foot on land, so this gives us a good impression what is going to wait for us the next year.
In short I give you a impression of our trip : we left 1 October and motored to Taboga, about 2 hours (8 miles), there we waited for good wind to go to the Archipielago de las Perlas, In Taboga I was still sick, cold or flu, in Panama most of the cruisers were sick, giving and taken de sickness to and from the others, all were coffin and complaining about there cold, also when we took the local busses people were coffing al the time, maybe it’s the wet season, we don’t know, anyway, already one month I was sick, sometimes a bit better, but never healed. Now on the sea again, after a few days I was feeling better.
4 October we had wind and sailed to Las Perlas, a island group about 35 miles away, our course was good for the Island Pedro Gonzales, we had to take a constant watch at the water, because there is so much wood drifting, and by wood I mean, big complete trees, also a lot of rubbish, plastic, miles of floating plastic.
Between all the rubbish we catch 3 big tunas and 1 spotted mackerel in less then 2 hours, so for many days we had fish to eat. At Pedro Gonzales we went for the first time snorkelling, there was on old wreck lying close to our anchor place, we noticed that the fish in the pacific is much bigger then on the Atlantic side, also more plentiful.
At Pedro Gonzales is also a small village, we walked around and talked with the people, and bought some fruit and vegetables.
Before we motored to the other side of this island were there is a nice beach, we could collect some coconuts and papaya, and wash ourselves in the small river, not that we needed the fresh water, because it rains every day, and we can collect as much water as we want.
Here we meet also the sailboat Karaka, they are also on there way to golfito, they are with some friends and are seven in total. Like me they are not in a hurry to get there.
On 11 October we think the wind is good to go to do the next leg to Costa Rica, so we leave in the morning.
The wind is not that good, and the next day, but we made about 85 miles, and we were going in the right direction, on this day we saw the whales jumping like half a mile from our boat, a unique experience, the next night is was difficult, tacking between the big boats that come and go to the panama canal, and making almost no progress, in the morning I see that the sun cover of the genoa came lose, so I decide to go to land, anchor and repair the sail, the old sailors saying in mind “a stitch in time saves nine” there is one spot were we can anchor, Punto Guanico, very roily, but I have not much choice. In two days at sea we did 187 miles and made only a 100 good.
In the evening there comes another boat to anchor along side, its La Loupiote, the navigartistes, (see our blog) in Colon we did our paperwork together to cross the Panama canal, we speak short over the radio, and they are on their way to golfito as well, were they have a show, next morning, while I am sewing my sail, the continue their voyage.
It took me a whole day to repair the sail, and next day 15 October we go again, This time I start to understand why the call it punta Mala (bad point), against the wind and current, with squalls of rain, tacking whole night, again between all the big boats and the shore, you want to sell your boat in the next harbour, in the morning the wind dies, and we have to go on engine, to make it to the next island, Isla Cebaco, here is a bay, but the waves enter the bay, so it is very roily, and it rains, it rains for four days without stopping, never seen so much rain in my live.
After four days of rain and waiting, I have the choice, become crazy or use the engine to go to Bahia Honda, about 30 miles further, I choose for the last, so on 20 October we motor out of the bay and set our course to Bahia Honda, When we came out of the bay, the wind picked up and even came out of the good direction, and miracle, the sun let herself see again, It became a nice trip to Bahia Honda, so you forget all the misery behind you, and again 3 big tunas on deck. After 32 miles we dropped anchor, and it started to rain again. After a while Domingo a local man came by with his panga and said he had spinach, parsley, bananas, plantain and chillis. So next day he came and brought us some of it, we traded for some money and gasoline, everybody happy.
On 23 October the weather cleared a bit and we decide to go to Isla Brincanco, sunny weather but no wind at all, 20 miles on engine. Tomorrow is Sunday so we stay one day more, this island is part of the Coiba nature reserve, never thought they would check on a Sunday.
Sunday morning our friends from Karaka sail in to the bay, it’s a beautiful sunny day, and we used the opportunity to do some laundry, karaka drops anchor a side of us, they were 4 days on the sea, making no progress, I think the captain is even more stingy with his diesel then I am, In the afternoon a small motor vessel comes by, they say we have to go to the officina to pay, I say I go next day opposite direction, they make no problems and say it is good, also Karaka says he goes west, all ok, the fees for anchoring are 30us for the boat, and 20 us per person A DAY, so you are warned.
Next day we motor and sail a bit to Isla Secas, remembering I saved 70 bucks it was not so hard to start the engine, the sun is shining and live is good, 17 miles later we drop anchor again, nice beach, and we enjoy a few days here. The water is calm, and I use the opportunity to clime into the mast and change the light bulb from the tri colour navigation light for a led one, this one uses very little battery power.
On the morning of 28 October I feel the wind, so we decide to go to Isla Parida, this is only 19 miles more west, we sail whole day, wind up to 20 knots, and the sea choppy, I knew we would take water on deck, so I taped the front hedge with duck tape, a good decision, because we took a lot off water on deck. We sailed 42 miles to make only 19 good, but it was a good sailing day, although Glenda was sea sick, which not happens so much. Also I catched a big spotted mackerel; this is a very good eating fish. The tunas you catch here, most of them are red meated, we don’t like this meat so much, never caught a red meated tuna in the Atlantic, but here they are plentiful, the yellow tail tuna, that’s also a good eating fish, but the yellow tail I could catch only one to ten other ones.
Next day we take it easy, our next Island is only 17 miles south and 3 miles west, an easy one, I decided we would go around midday, then the wind picks up some more. Around 11h00 hours I see a sail on the horizon, probably Karaka, the skipper told me, when we were burning our trash together, that he would leave also in a few days to golfito, because one crewmember needed to take a flight home soon. Seeing this sail made me eager to lift anchor, so around twelve we left also to Islas Ladrones, (thief islands), Neptune was in a bad mood, wind and current against, we did not make it to the Ladrones, we decide to sail more south, to improve our angle into the Golfo Dulce, and hope that there is less current, we sailed whole night, tacking sometimes, but we could not make it on course to the Golfo, we had given up long time the Ladrones, after 24 hours on sea, we made 21miles good, and we sailed 101 miles, I was desperate, around midday the wind died, and we were far from shore, now on engine we could do 2.6 miles against the current, it would take us more then a day on engine to come closer to land, after 3 hours of engine Neptune changed his mind, by this time the sea was calm, and we got a little breeze from the southwest, just enough to sail on course, and make like 3-4 knots sometimes even 5 knots, and the sun was shining, beautiful sailing, that wind stayed with us for 16 hours, until the entrance of Golfo Dulce, were we arrived in early morning, here we had to motor again because of the rain and wind coming from all directions and mostly on the nose, but at 07h30 hour we dropped anchor and enjoyed our Sunday (with some sun) in the Golfo.
On Monday 1 November we set foot on shore in Puerto Jiminez, a nice village in Golfo Dulce, there are a lot of backpackers here who want to see the nature reserve Cordova, here we have internet, restaurants, supermarket, shops, all the things you (don’t) miss at sea.
Tomorrow Wednesday 3 October, we make the last 10 miles to Golfito, probably on engine, we did not wanted to go straight, because 1 and 2 November, the days of the dead, are special days here in Latino world, and we did not wanted to pay the 80 dollars overtime fee.
How is it to live close together for one month, without having much contact with others, I must say, no problem at all, we have done the test and it worked out well, I am confident for next year when we have to do a lot of sailing. My problem is that my mood changes with my course, on course good mood, can not sail my course, stay away from me, I have to work on that.
We have sailed 615 miles in one month, a motor boat would do it in less then 400, but that’s why we have a sailboat.
This report cost mi a few hours of my time, but time I have, its raining again from yesterday afternoon and did not stop for a day, the locals say me that soon the season changes, and it becomes dryer again, I really hope so.
If you would consider a few words to send to me, I would really appreciate that, then I know I am not writing for myself.
Glenda and Eddy,
Puerto Jiminez, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica.