Passage to Costa Rica

Trip Start Jan 20, 2006
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5
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Trip End Jan 19, 2007


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Marina Puesta del Sol was our only sailing stop in Nicaragua. From there we headed SE towards Panama, with a few stops en route. The first leg was to sail the boat to the Golfo de Papagayo approximately 160 nautical miles from our port of departure. Given the fairly light winds, we estimated it would take about 40hours - Chantal longest passage to date was a (mere) 60 Nm from Ramsgate to Ostend.

We slipped off the pontoon at 1110, Monday 22/01 with a rather pleasant sunshine, warm temperature and pretty flat sea, exactly what one would expect from the Pacific Coast. We sailed about 15 miles offshore and pretty quickly settled into our watch system: 3 hrs on, 3 hrs off.

The strong and steady breeze from the sea during the afternoon made for a pleasant sail. We only spotted a commercial ship in the distance and a bunch of (nozy) local fishermen came close to the boat but quickly changed heading, probably blinded by my still very white skin. We spotted a few big turtles (big but not quite Galapagos BIG), dolphins (very playful with the boat and showing off) and sharks (only fins but still a bit scary). The sea breeze quickly died in the evening to make way for a steady land breeze in a texbook fashion.

The first night at sea was very exciting. There is an incredible amount of stars due to the very low light pollution levels. It's quite fun to try and recognise them as their position in the sky is obviously somewhat different to what we're used to in Europe. It is also very nice to be able to sail at night in January in Tee-shirt and shorts, compared to the usual 3 layers of thermals and oilies you need in the UK (even in July!)

The second day was pretty similar except that the trade winds were quite strong throughout the day and didn't give way to the sea breeze. The sea was also a bit more formed - Chantal fed the sharks after a bouncy breakfast! A few more friends including a manta Ray came and paid us a visit, maybe they all heard that Chantal was in a generous mood. As we came closer to our destination, the wind funnelled between volcanoes and became quite gutsy in the Golfo de Papagayo. The night entry to the Bahia de Culebra was quite challenging as there are no lights and no reliable charts of the area, just sketches in pilot books with wrong GPS data. And it is quite rocky too! I'll have to thank the reliable radar on board.

We finally dropped the anchor in the bay at 0400 on Wednesday 24/01 after 41 hours on the Pacific Ocean. Success! Our first mini-mission is accomplished and it feels great. Normally after a little sailing adventure like that, it's back to work - not this time and not the time after...and after for a long while. Instead, we'll explore the Peninsula de Nicoya for a couple of days. It is finally sinking, the adventure is real, it is a bit more than a normal holiday. YES!

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Notre premier grand passage en mer sur Walkabout a pris 41h, depuis la marina Puesta del Sol au Nicaragua a Bahia de Colebra au Coast Rica (baie des serpents, renommee Papayago pour etre plus atttirante au tourisme !). C'est dans le Golfe de Papagayo.
Nous sommes partis lundi a 11h, avec une mer calme et une bonne brise de mer et avons rapidement commence le systeme des quarts : 3 h de barre, 3 h de repos.

On a vu des dauphins, des grosses tortues de mer, des ailerons (oeil de raie, requins, dauphins ou juste des mirages...). La navigation de nuit est plutot interessante: on se choisit une etoile parmi les centaines et on la suit!

Depuis la Bahia de Colebra, on est alles a El Coco, toujours dans le Golfe de Papagayo ou nous avons rempli les formalites d'entree au pays (douane, permis de navigation, immigration,. etc.) et avons profite des restaurants, supermercados et autres luxuries de cette petite ville touristique tres agreable.
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