Category Archives: Costa Rica

Costa Rica ports on the Pacific Ocean

Love my varnished entryway

Spa Time to Beat the Boatyard Blues

Boatyard blues effect Matt and I as well as our boat.  I think it’s a necessary evil, but it takes its toll.  While we are waiting for repairs to be completed, we decided to beautify Sugar Shack.

Five years ago, we painted our dinghy davits that were showing some wear and tear.  Then 2 years ago, we painted the mast, boom, and bow sprit while we were in St. Maarten.  We have wanted to paint our bimini support poles for some time now, but thought that the best way to do it was to remove our bimini which was just too big of a job for the two of us to tackle on our own.

BIMINI SUPPORTS

The support poles get a lot of rubbing from our jib sheets and the paint has just worn down over the last 18 years.  So, since she is on the hard and the bimini is raised to thread the solar panels wires, we decided to get the job done.  We hired Bristol Marine to do several projects for us.

They masked off all areas, sanded and removed all flaking paint and glue residue, prepared metal with acid wash Alumiprep 33, rolled/brushed Zinchromate Yellow, Primer, applied Epoxy Primer White, sanded, and then painted by brush, 2 coats of Stark White AwlGrip (should have been cloud white, but they are close enough).

Bimini Supports Getting Some Love

Before photos of Bimini Supports

Photos below below show bimini supports with primer (lovely green), the cockpit table is gone (being sanded) and the entryway is being varnished.

Bimini Supports with Primer

Bimini Supports with Primer

We had to have the team redo some pieces because they were not done to our satisfaction.  But to Ben’s credit, they re-sanded and re-painted until we were happy.

Here are some shots where there was paint drip, low paint coverage, yellow primer on the bimini track, and bubbles in the varnish.  Matt even got in on the action to show them how it he wanted it done (and they call me the “perfectionist”)

Few places to fix on the bimini supports

Few places to fix on the bimini supports

And now it is simply smooth and lovely:

Bimini Supports Completed

Bimini Supports Completed

ENTRYWAY

Back in 2013, we had “Vision” varnish our entryway in St. Lucia.  It has had many a feet stomp across wearing it down and it was time to refresh it.  After all it is the first thing you see as you enter our dwelling.

This process requires a lot of masking as the old varnish is stripped way with a heat gun and scraper.  Haner, our worker said that it is a bit more difficult as we have a thin layer of varnish.  He has to be very gentle as not to overheat or burn the natural wood while removing the varnish.  If there was a thick coat, he could make better use of the heat gun.

The photo on the right shows where he removed some varnish and then shows the depleted varnish.

Repairing the Varnish on the Entryway

Repairing the Varnish on the Entryway

Once all of the old varnish was removed, they block sanded it, cleaned, applied yellow primer AwlWood and 10 coats of gloss (while sanding in between coats).

Entryway Completed and looking marvelous.

Entryway Half Way Mark

Entryway Half Way Mark

COCKPIT TABLE

Our cockpit table is protected with a wood stain, but it tends to need updating every other month.  The sun fades the stain and exposes the wood which could cause damage.  We decided to have the team sand the table and apply Semco Oil Natural Color to see if this will last a bit longer.

We really liked the look of the entryway at the half way mark and asked Bristol what the cost would be to do the same treatment to the cockpit table.  Unfortunately, it was way out of our budget at $2500 so we opted to go back to the Semco Oil Natural Color.

This is a photo of the table using StarBrite Stain. It actually is not really bad now, with the exception of the center edge where the flaps leave exposed surface.

Before Photo: Cockpit Table StarBrite Stain

Before Photo: Cockpit Table StarBrite Stain

The cockpit table all sanded and ready for Simco Oil

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All ready to host dinner parties:  Super pretty!

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TEAK ENGINE HATCH COVERS

Both the Port and Starboard Engine Teak is coming up off the cover.  We decided to remove them so we could properly glue them down.  It was so bad that when it rained it leaked a little bit into the engine room – and we can’t have a wet engine room.

Photo shows corner teak coming up and 2nd photo is Matt stepping on it and you can see the water seeping out.

Engine Teak Coming Up on Cover

Engine Teak Coming Up on Cover

Bristol sanded both hatches, so now we need to sand down the other teak steps on each sugar scoop before sealing with Star Brite.

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The boatyard blues are always made better when your home looks good. It’s a slow process, but soon Sugar Shack will shake off her boatyard blues and be back in the water.  Who said that the boatyard blues can’t be productive?

BEFORE AND AFTER SHOTS:

Here are some before and after shots of the interior cabin during work and after the boat has been put back together.

Before and After forward cabin and main salon

Before and After forward cabin and main salon

Main or master cabin

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Master cabin head (bathroom)

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Aft cabin / office:

After cabin office before and after.

After cabin office before and after.

 

Quepos Strand, Daily Walk

So, what do we do on our down time in Quepos, Costa Rica?  We walk a lot, well we walk everywhere as we don’t have a car, it’s good exercise, and we get to know the town better.  More often than not, we cruise up and down the Quepos strand.

There is a beautiful strand along the coast of the town that has over a half dozen statues.  They are beautifully carved and stand proudly overlooking the strand.  Unfortunately, the plaques explaining their names and history are all too worn to see.

Statues along the strand in Quepos

Statues along the strand in Quepos

The Quepos strand often has walkers, joggers, and kids playing along the way.  There is a little skate park, lots of benches under shady trees, and on weekends vendors selling their wares.

Strand along the coast in Quepos.

Strand along the coast in Quepos.

One day on the Quepos strand, we spotted three beautiful scarlet macaws in the tree.  They are so amazingly beautiful.  We often hear them before we see them as they usually squawk as they fly high above us.

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

There are several bars and eateries on the Quepos strand – I think we have visited most of them.  Me tossing back a cold one – passion fruit daiquiri with green sugar rim.  So deserved this after our long Reto Mae Extreme Hike.  Calories in and Calories Out.

Yummm - bet you wish you could have a sip.

Yummm – bet you wish you could have a sip.

I normally don’t drink frothy drinks, but most of the bars have 2 for 1 specials during happy hour and this is one of my favorites.  I think it is just the green sugar that I like the most.

Back to the Quepos Strand…we usually walk back and forth along the strand as it is breezy and full of locals.  It is on our way to the marina and the center of town, so we truly are on it daily.

Blue Marlin Caught FAD Fishing

Yacht Delivery and FAD Fishing

Our friend Patrick, is the Captain of a beautiful 64′ fishing yacht.  He invited us on a short delivery from Quepos to Golfito for a little FAD fishing.  We met him at Manuel Antonio Estates and had the pleasure of hanging out with him while he was doing repairs on his boat.

64' Fishing Boat Delivery

64′ Fishing Boat Delivery

This trip would take Sugar Shack 2 full days to make, whereas Patrick’s boat would only take 3-4 hours.  But why rush when you can swing by the FADs?

FAD FISHING:

FAD stands for Fish Aggregating Device. They are man-made objects used to attract ocean going fish such as marlin, tuna and mahi-mahi (dolphin fish). They usually consist of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks.

HOW FADS WORK:

FADs come in different sizes, and they will be strategically placed in various depths and spots in the ocean. Large predators, including Marlin, will congregate here due to the fact that small bait fish are naturally attracted to these structures. Thus, the larger fish come here to feed.

There is a lot of controversy around FAD fishing just as there is around hunting blinds.  I do not know enough to speak for or against FADs, so I will just tell you that people come from all over the world to do FAD fishing in Costa Rica.  Most charter boats are sport fisherman that do catch and release programs.

THE BOAT AND CREW:

Patrick the Captain; Tony the first mate, and Eliza the second mate joined us on this adventure.  As we are leaving the marina, at just above idle, moving 8 knots we realize his “idle speed” is close to our regular max speed 🙂  Love it.

Just outside the marina, Patrick showed us the benefits of a SeaKeeper.  A SeaKeeper is installed to minimize the movement of the boat.  Works particularly effective on monohulls and fishing boats as it keeps them from rocking side to side.  SeaKeeper video.  I am a huge fan – best 1/4 of a million dollars you could spend!

The crew rigged the boat and prepared the bait the day before.  I have never been on a sport fishing yacht and it was super cool and very fancy.  A really great experience for Matt and I.

Boat Rigged for Fishin

Boat Rigged for Fishin

Of course, this boat is beyond stocked.  They put out the outriggers with huge teasers and readied the poles with bait.  Below, you will see two black poles standing by for a nibble.  The bait is in the cylinders below the poles.  They wait to see the teaser move, then pull in the teaser as they toss out the bait on the poles.  An expert maneuver of bait and switch.  Its all about timing between the captain, first mate, and fisherman.

Outrigger and Fishing Gear

Outrigger and Fishing Gear

Once the throttle went down, we saw a max speed of 40.2 knots which burned 100 gallons per hour, per engine (2 engines).  The “cruising” speed was 32 knots at 1900 rpm and 70 gph.  And it all felt effortless.  A completely thrilling experience.

Dolphin Sighting

Dolphin Sighting

MAHI MAHI:

As we were headed out to the FADs, we passed by a huge fallen tree floating in the water.  Matt and I would normally tack to avoid such a collision, but Patrick actually headed toward it. Imagine my confusion.

Yellow Footed Boobies on a Floating Tree

Yellow Footed Boobies on a Floating Tree

Of course, he has a lot more horse power and could maneuver the boat a lot easier than our sailboat.  There were some yellow footed boobies hanging around the tree, taking a break from flying over the Pacific Ocean.  As we neared the trees, the crew tossed out a couple of lines and within a few minutes, we heard our first zing!  A beautiful Mahi-Mahi took the bait and jumped in one of the 4 freezers on deck.

Mahi Mahi Dinner

Mahi Mahi Dinner

BLUE MARLIN CATCH & RELEASE:

Hammer down, we made it 100 miles offshore to one of the FADs in just a few hours.  Matt was first in the “chair” and reeled in a beautiful blue Marlin.  We caught one on Sugar Shack – the same day we caught a sail fish.  But that experience was a lot more difficult than this one as we could not slow down our sail boat to reel in the fish like we did on Patrick’s boat.

Eliza reeled in the 2nd one which jumped on the line within 15 minutes of releasing the first one.  I was nervous about reeling in one as my arms are super weak.  Frankly, after “the cancer” I never went back to working out and the arms just never recovered.  But, Patrick was relentless and convinced me to hop in the chair.

After great instructions and a lot of help from the Captain, I was able to reel in my first blue marlin!  Word was he weighed about 350-400lbs.  Pretty freakin awesome!  Could not have happened without Patrick’s excellent boating skills, he continually reversed to help me reel in this beast.

Blue Marlin Catch and Release

Blue Marlin Catch and Releas

After catching the Mahi and 3 Blue Marlin, we decided to head to Golfito.  We released all of the marlin by the way.  Hammer down, a few hours later, we arrive at Fish Hook where Patrick effortlessly backs in this 64′ beauty into a slip – 1st try, no shouting, no problems, no worries.  Impressive!  That’s why he’s a paid captain of a multi-million dollar sport fishing yacht – as he says “its what I do.”

We enjoyed lots of fish for dinner, met a new friend Sheddy from Chuffed and celebrated our successful day.

The next day was a little “rough” for everyone, but Tony, Matt and I managed to hop in a taxi to Rio Claro to catch a 4-hour bus back to Quepos.

The Celebration and Bus Ride Home

The Celebration and Bus Ride Home

AMAZING DAY:

Patrick worked closely with the boat owners to design and create this beautiful boat.  It is truly a master piece.  Not only is it beautiful, but it makes incredible use of every nook and cranny.  Extremely efficient, useful, and elegant.  It was a special treat to be among such luxury.

We are truly blessed to have met such wonderful people!  It was a once in a lifetime experience and we will always be grateful to Patrick for this adventure!