Our planned two day fuel stopover in Costa Rica didn’t quite take a month, but almost. After our colds were gone we moved south to the Gulf of Nicoya and visited a few anchorages there, including a ten day stay at the Costa Rica Yacht Club in Puntarenas. It’s simply amazing how the days can roll into weeks without noticing.
Costa Rica looks really pretty from the outside, and the folks are certainly nice enough, but the problem with theft is just a constant annoyance. The police have publicly taken the attitude of “watch your stuff”, which means anything is fair game and I was in a constant state of paranoia about having things stolen. Rightfully so, I believe, after hearing reports of a boat having their dinghy and motor stolen from off the boat at night. We locked everything everywhere we went but I still worried about the hassle and expense of replacing our dink.
Now we’re in a river estuary in Ecuador where we’re told it’s very safe and nobody’s going to bother us. As long as we stay here. Once we’re out of this area the thievery becomes a big problem, particularly on the buses. Our friends on Sailor’s Run were asked last week how their recent trip was, and Debby’s response was “Great, we only got robbed once!”.
That being said, we’re still very excited about seeing some of South America. I came rather unprepared since we had planned not to come down here when the Ecuadorian President was making things difficult for yachts last year. But now I’m hearing about trips that others are making and doing some research and looking forward to some exploration. There are several “cat boats” here in the bay, so we’ll have our turns watching other cats and know that Maya will be well cared for while we’re away.
We’re also working on a huge “to-do” list. With five months here we hope to get a bunch of chores done. The weather is perfect for boat jobs – usually overcast but warm and not raining. When the sun is out it’s pretty hot, but that’s only happened once in the week we’ve been here. Our friends from California complain about the overcast, but we’re feeling right at home. And the price of help can’t be beat – we have reports from another boat who had someone helping them who did a great job for $10 / day. We’re hoping he starts working with us early next week after we get finished with customs and immigration and start our jobs.
I’ll skip a repeat whine about the passage south and leave the reports in the passage blog. We’re just about done cleaning the salt water off the boat, sails and from inside where we discovered some new leaks. Good news is that there are several boats here who travel between Ecuador and Panama annually, spending 6 months in each respective dry season, and we’re told the passage back to Panama between seasons will be very easy.
Right now I count 39 boats here in the anchorage, but many of those are without crew as people travel inland and home from here. Ecuador is very strict about only allowing us here for 6 months so everyone has to watch the calendar closely or risk having to head back north before the rainy season is over. We’ll be fine, though, as we only plan to stay until November(ish). And we’re definitely enjoying the prices here in Bahia de Caraquez. Meals are in the $3.00 range, and the food is really good. There are a couple of small grocery stores and a big public mercado where fresh veggies and meats are available. And when we refuel from our bash south we’ll pay $1.50 a gallon for diesel.
Upriver from our anchorage is a private park called Saiananda where boats are also at anchor. Apparently the owners have built a beautiful park with animals and gardens. Unfortunately there’s a big controversy here between where we’re at and Siananda. The owner here did the work to become an official port of entry with the government and believes that if boats are coming in here and using his services to check in they should have to remian here and patronize his other services (bar/restaurant, dinghy dock, laundry and water delivery, etc). Rumor has it that the Port Captain agrees and won’t let boats move once they’re anchored here. But as Joey on Friends once said it’s all a “moo” point anyway, because they’re beginning to drive pilings for a bridge across the river here which will block boats from going upriver to Siananda anyway.
Today on Yohelah we’re putting the final touches on the project list and getting ready to do some boat chores, and we’re sad that we’re missing Jeffrey and Nicole’s wedding today……