Sunday, 30 May 2010

Golfito Costa Rica

Golfito is a well protected bay in Southern Costa Rica. We arrived early in the morning after our second attempt at an overnight passage from the out islands of Panama. The first departure from Islas Secas was abandoned. After coming out from the lee of the island, we found the wind to be, as most cruisers will complain, coming from exactly the direction we wanted to go! No Problem, we will motor sail and tack back and forth. To further complicate things a large squall was also on our path. The combination of the large Pacific swells and the wind chop created by the squall made the sea state confusing and uncomfortable.Two and a half hours later, Islas Secas was still close astern, it was 3 in the afternoon and we were reaching the point of no return. If we turned back we still had plenty of time to get back to the anchorage before happy hour, get a good nights sleep and try again manana. If we continued we were committed to sailing all night, with the wind in our face and the squall, which had grown, but moved slightly south of our route. Decisions decisions......Common sense prevailed, and we turned tail and ran back. Turning 2 1/2 hours of pounding, into 45 min of running downwind. A pod of dolphins greeted us a we sailed into the shelter of the island, playing on our bow for 10 or 15 minutes.... always a good sign.

The next morning we again started out, this time a bit earlier, with enough time to stop at Isla Parida, an anchorage 17 miles along before dark. The squall was gone, there was no wind, and although the Pacific swells, are 8-10' high they are 17 to 20 seconds apart, making them comfortable. The glassy sea allowed us to see schools of fish, dolphins, birds and a turtle. It also allowed several fish to see our lures. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the fish none were the tuna, or Dorado that we hoped for. Because of the easy traveling, our arrival to Golfito was going to be in the DARK...never a great idea, so we stopped off at Islas Parida.. The entrance, although a mile wide and 60 ' deep, combined with a falling tide, caused the swells to build in size and shorten in period, making it quite exciting. After some food and rest, just before dark, at the end of the ebb we departed for Golfito

The steep jungle surrounding the bay provides an earthy smell that greets you while still a fair ways offshore. We tied to a mooring ball out in front of "Land and Sea" which is a small clubhouse, with showers, laundry, and Wi Fi.
Checking in to the country was a 2 day affair, seeing Immigration and Quarantine, and returning to see Customs and The Port Capitan the next day, then going back to quarantine , to the bank, and back to quarantine. The bureaucracy, can be frustrating, watching them fill out forms in triplicate with ballpoint pens and carbon paper.
Golfito is a discarded Banana port, and shows the signs of any one industry town that the industry has abandoned. Although clean, there are litter cans all over, the buildings, roads and sidewalks are all in need of repair, even the resorts need a power washer and paint.
Tourism is the only growth industry, Golfito is a stop on the route to the Osa peninsula, and one of the many national parks.
Being such a sheltered bay there is very little wind, this combined with the rainy season makes the air stiflingly hot and humid. Add the daily rain showers and you have a very hot boat to live in.
After 5 days in Golfito we decided to go to Puerto Jimenez.This is a former Gold mining town accross the Golfo Dulce from Golfito. The anchorage is a bit more open than Golfito, but well protected from the Ocean swell. Here we hope to see the national park and some of the animals that Costa Rica is famous for. Maybe even do some surfing.

1 comment:

  1. We'll have to put a gift certificate for Commander Weather in your stocking.

    Not much to report here - the forecast is for wind, all from the wrong direction. Seems if it is from the right direction they set the Wed night courses up sideways...