Saturday, June 11, 2011

Northern Costa Rica

This blogging stuff is hard work. Here I am sweating away trying to get some pictures into these posts just so I won’t bore our blog reader.
We took the boat over to La Union and anchored just past the Naval base. There’s a restaurant with a blue roof here that has a nice dinghy landing pier. We arranged with the port officials to meet us there to do our exit paperwork. Nice guys, easy process – another $40 worth of paper so we can officially leave El Salvador and legally enter Costa Rica (Golfito, CR, is the destination port identified on the Zarpe).
Sorry for the out of focus shot. This is our boats track during the 3am storm while off the Nicaraguan coast. The red blotch center top is the boats current position. The red trail is the track we took to try to avoid the storm. You can see that as it approached we kept heading further out to try to flank it. Eventually, we gave up and turned hard back toward shore to punch through it. The yellow/red blotch at the bottom of the screen is the Radar image of the trailing edge of the storm cell.
Suicidal squids inking our decks
Our first stop in Costa Rica was Bahia Santa Elena, on the northern coast, part of the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa. It was fairly overcast and pleasantly cool and quiet for the three nights we anchored there. Chris even had to put on a blanket at night to sleep- it probably got down to the low 80’s. The overcast and light rain made it look a bit like the Pacific Northwest Only with green parrots flying overhead, sea turtles grazing near the boat, and jungle-like plants and bugs. Great jungle noises at night, too. We were one of three boats in the bay, one of which were our friends Virginia and Dennis on Libertad who we met up with in Golfo de Fonseca. Bienvenidos a Costa Rica- country of the Pura Vida!
Don’t feel too bad for us, the lower number on the screen is the water temperature
Bird homes along the shores of the bay
Jungle hike plants
Johnny Weissmuller grabbing a vine
Kayak adventure up the estuary
In the estuary
Hermit, the beach critter, cruising- maybe looking for another shell?
‘Mom, I’m hungry’. One of the big sea turtles in the bay sticking his head up for a breath and a peek.
We snorkeled off the inside island at the entrance Bahia Santa Elena. I came across this turtle just grazing on the growth on the side of the rocks. He wasn’t pleased that I showed up and took off like a bolt.
Bahia Santa Elena is a beautiful, but isolated place. Except for the other two cruising boats, we only saw a few small fishing boats come and go. Nothing on shore except a little used access road and the remnants of a wooden hull buried in the rocks.

After three days, we headed off south, around Punta Santa Elena and Key Point, to the Bat Islands (aka Islas Murcielagos). There’s supposed to be a park ranger here who collects something like $20 a head to anchor there (part of the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa). No one has shown up yet, although we can see the rangers boat from where we are anchored.
sanatelenaIMG_8036 We are anchored off this beach in the cut between two islands in the Isla Murcielagos chain, the ranger’s station is on the island across the cut on the other side. Got in some good snorkeling on the north east side of this island and then Chris went in to the beach to compete with the hermit crabs for cool shells.
We were met by the spotted dolphin welcoming committee on the way in
Something that looks like it should be dinner
A 4 foot shark hanging on the reef. After Chris found him she decided to snorkel a lot closer to me. I think that was just a increase the odds thing, as she thinks she can swim faster than me.


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