Terra Firma and crew finally left El Salvador on the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, that was a Friday and no, you are never suppose to start a voyage on a Friday. Fortunately the old superstition did not hold true and we had a very nice passage to Costa Rica along with Slip Away.
We had planned on leaving El Salvador in early November with our friend Bob, but when we arrived at the boat after spending October in the States, many pieces of electronics were toast and needed to be replaced. As it turned out we got the boat ready to go just in time for Bob to head back to the States. Oh well … some of the sailing on the way to Costa Rica would have been a bit unsettling to a lesser trained stomach.
We have been hopping from anchorage to anchorage throughout Costa Rica and have gotten in a few ‘spirited’ sails. Don’t you love sailor talk? ‘Spirited’ pretty much means that a landlubber would be tossing their cookies.
One of the broken pieces of electronics. This is Chuck the autopilot’s brain. This is Chuck the autopilot’s brain on drugs. Any questions?
After spending the month of October in the States visiting friends and family, we headed back to Terra Firma in El Salvador with friend Bob. The plan was to take about a week to recommission the boat and then sail to Costa Rica. Well … we did not foresee our autopilot, wind indicator and depth sounder to all be pushing up the daisies. It took the better part of November to order, receive and install the replacement parts and our friend never did get to go sailing. Good thing he was able to entertain himself and even paid a visit to Guatemala.
We had a tenant when we arrived at the boat. This bat moved in and didn’t want to leave.
We had the boat in good order and the bar crossing and weather forecast were favorable for a departure of the day after Thanksgiving. Murray and Colette (the owners of the mooring field in El Salvador) threw a big Thanksgiving potluck dinner. There were all of the fixings; turkey, pumpkin pie, cranberries, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes with gravy. Yumm!!!!
Our nerves were on edge as we departed the estero. It had been 8 months since we sailed the boat and we had to cross the bar and sail in the ‘papagayo’ region (the coast of Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica). Friends of ours who left a week before us for Costa Rica had a very difficult passage. They wound up being blown about 200 miles offshore with high winds and large seas. Their steering failed and the boat was holed. The coast guard rescued them and towed them in to port.
Slip Away and Honu leaving the estero in El Salvador.
Dinner! A very tasty dorado (mahi mahi).
The most glamorous job on the boat … cleaning the catch. Ick!
Terra Firma sailing off of the coast of Nicaragua in 15 – 20kts. Beautiful!
After a largely uneventful passage we anchored safely in Bahia Santa Elena, Costa Rica.
Our first stop after leaving El Salvador was Bahia Santa Elena. The bay is part of a large national park and is uninhabitted and undeveloped. 100% natural. Slip Away and we caught up with friends on Loon III there. At high tide it was possible to drive the dinghy through the mangroves and observe many different birds.
A yellow breasted bird with antennae. Reminds me of My Favorite Martian.
Yikes! A gigantic, scary arachnid!!!!
There was a small stream a short hike away with a nice waterfall and great swimming hole. It was a hot day (in December … say, what is your weather like?), and the pool was a refreshing treat. Here are hot hikers cooling off in the refreshing water.
A really huge moth.
Birds on mangrove roots.
There is one thing always true about sailing. As soon as you successfully transit one nasty region, cabo or bar, there is another one ahead of you. We had crossed the bar in El Salvador, passed the mouth of the Gulfo de Fonseca and sailed the coast of Nicaragua to find ourselves safely in Northern Costa Rica. Once there though, the next hurdle becomes Cabo Santa Elena and then the Gulfo de Papagayo. At Cabo Santa Elena we experienced gusty conditions in the 25-30kt range. The seas were calm though, so the sailing was good.
After a successful rounding of Cabo Santa Elena the boats were safely anchored off Key Point in Bahia Murcielagos.
Sunset in Bahia Murcielagos.
The weather forecast was starting to sound like Murcielagos would not be a great place to stay, so we got a quick snorkel in, spent the night and then headed out into the Gulfo de Papagayo at daybreak. Here is Slip Away heeled up under shortened sail and 25-30kts of wind.
Safe and sound in Bahia Huevos.
The Loons on another jungle river trip. We could hear parrots everywhere but only caught glimpses of them. At one point, Iain stood up in his dinghy and yelled at the birds to show themselves … it didn’t work.
We did see some birds. This egret was busy fishing when we floated by.
A blue heron
We celebrated Jan’s birthday in Bahia Huevos. Isn’t that such a cute party hat?