Saturday, 19 June 2010

Costa Rican Pictures

We had a great 10 days touring Costa Rica. We were able to cover a lot of ground. So if a picture is worth a 1000 words, enjoy the novel.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Highfivers go on a road trip. Well Golfito is the wettest place on the planet, so we left. But our boat needs to be there to catch a ride on a freighter to Vancouver. Yes you heard it here first! High Five is going to the great white north. We have bought and paid for a spot on yachtpath transport. (www.yachtpath.com ) If all goes as it is supposed to , our boat will be in Vancouver around the middle of July. Meanwhile we didn’t want to stay in Golfito while we waited for this to happen. We spent 2 days scrubbing the boat with bleach to try to reduce the mould growth , although we were warned if we didn’t like mould not to stay in Golfito. We have rented a car, a Toyota Rav 4, and gone traveling around Costa Rica. On Saturday June 5 we left the boat and headed for San Jose. It was a 5 hour drive that we stretched into 6 hours by stopping in the town of Quepos for dinner. The interesting thing about stopping at Quepos was we ran into a couple from a boat called Will-o-the-Wisp. We have accidentally met this couple in Golfito, Puerto Jimenez, and now Quepos. They are a wonderful couple who have left their boat in Bocas Del Toro on the Caribbean side to travel inland for 6 weeks. Driving in a car is a bit over stimulating after traveling at 6 knots. On the boat we could see things coming for a long time. In a car things have come and gone before we could even process what it was. San Jose is considerably cooler than any place we have been in the last 7 months. It was all of 25 degrees Celsius (brrr). We went to the children’s museum, which is like science world on steroids. It started raining while we were there and it became clear we needed some socks, so we hit the mall. Latin American malls seem to be mostly about women’s high heeled shoes and fancy underwear. We sorted through these and found some socks, shoes for Gary, and umbrellas. Our next 2 nights were spent in Alejuela, a suburb of San Jose where the Volcano Poas is located. We checked into Villas Pacande, a very nice hostel 3km out of town towards the volcano. The next morning we drove 37km, and 2700 meters up a steep mountainous road to the volcano. Luckily for us the clouds were blowing in and out so we were able to see the entire crater including the boiling lake. The main crater measures 1.5 kilometers in diameter and is 300 meters deep, at the bottom there is a pit of water spewing steam and sulphorous gas. It was only 14 degrees we were cold and short of breath, but sufficiently awed by the sites. Tuesday we left the lovely gardens and friendly staff at Villas Picande and headed off to La Fortuna and another volcano. Volca Arenal is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world, and has been actively spewing molten rocks since 1968. We checked into a cabina at Carlos Lodge. It didn’t look like much from the outside but inside it was lovely with tropical hard wood walls and cathedral ceilings. The real beauty was the huge windows looking right at the Volcano. It was shrouded in clouds when we got there but cleared after dark so we were able to see the glow at the top when it shot molten rocks into the sky. We moved around to the other side of the mountain the next day. We splurged for a hotel on this side as it is the side that the molten rocks are flowing down. Linda Loma Vista is a lovely spot with panoramic views of the Volcano, Lago Arenal and the surrounding valley. It has a nice pool, where you can swim or soak in the hot tub looking out at an active volcano. WOW!!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Jimenez Across the Golfo Dulce from Golfito is Jimenez. From the ocean there is a pier, a few bars/restaurants and the approach to the airport. The airport is surprisingly busy……especially at 0600… once ashore, there is a nice little town of perhaps 6 or 7 000 people. The locals are riding bikes, fishing off the pieror kicking a soccer ball around the pitch. The main drag is complete with a: Mexican restaurant, Italian restaurant, 2 Pizza parlours, a large and well stocked super market, and a large variety of local shops……..but we were not here to shop or eat….we were here to SURF. After anchoring, (and spending the night) we headed out in a taxi for the 18km trip to Martina’s Cantina……in Matapalo. This, according to the people we had met in Golfito, was the center of the surfing world. We arrived, after a 1 hour trip along a bumpy gravel road to an empty restaurant….Hola?......Hola?.....anyone home? Someone appeared; we never did get her name, and offered us a very good lunch. After a conversation, we determined that the regular surfer guy was in San Jose, but “Axel” a German ex-pat who has been there for 18 years, was available to help us. (www.bocasombrero.com) She called him on the vhf, and called Gary into the kitchen to talk. High tide, when the surfing was best, was at 4pm he would meet us in 2 hours at Martina’s Cantina. After lunch we took a walk to Playa Pan Dulce. Sweet Bread Beach, along the road we met a few howler monkeys hanging from the trees. At 2pm we piled into the pickup and went to Axel’s place. The beach break was intimidating at first, but after watching it for a while there was a definite channel out in the middle of the beach and 2 breaks, one either side. Axel told us to paddle out the channel (where the waves did not break) and wait for him. He positioned himself and called for 2 people to come and sit on either side. Bradley and Tavish were there in a flash…..wait…….wait…..OK Paddle….HARD…..and off they went (oh to be 14) The waves were waist high or a bit bigger, but mushy and friendly, not really intimidating. Two hours later, we had all gotten many rides, it was time to go. We still had to make it back to the boat, 18km away. A quick rinse, change, and a goodbye later we were out on the gravel road with our thumbs up hoping for a ride. We were picked up in the bed of a small pick-up and piled in the back with 6 local workers from Matapalo. The driver let us off at the edge of town, so he would not get in trouble for giving us a ride. One quick stop at the grocery for cold drinks, and a walk to the local Italian restaurant for dinner. When we said we would go to the Italian restaurant for dinner Tavish stated this may be the best day of his life. Il Giardino had been recommended in our Lonely Planet Guide, the meal was incredible! Gorganzola gnocchi that absolutely melted in your mouth and homemade pizza with crust that was thin and crisp! We were joined by a cruising couple we had met in Golfito, whom we shared a bunch of laughs and great conversation with. This made for a great end to a great day. We pulled our dingy down the beach and collapsed into bed back on High Five. The next day was Sunday. Nobody was moving very quickly in the morning but we were less sore than we anticipated, especially those of us over the age of 14! We headed into town for ice cream, and to check the internet in the afternoon. When we returned to the boat the ocean was glassy smooth so some skurfing took place. Good fun! It was a quiet night spent watching a movie. Monday we returned to Golfito, on the trip back we were joined by three dolphins. They played at our bow and circled the boat for over an hour. This is the longest a group of dolphins has ever stayed with us. They kept turning on their sides and looking at us, it was an amazing experience that touched us all. They didn’t leave until we were almost entering the shipping channel into Golfito harbor. When we went into Land and Sea we learned there was a potluck tonight. Another nice evening spent visiting with fellow cruisers.