Tag Archives: passage

Another beautiful Sunset

Traversing the Pacific to Galapagos

Now…catch up on previous events.  We hope you have enjoyed our live blogs.  This blog is from November 2018.

Matt and I so desperately wanted to leave Costa Rica.  Not because it was a bad place to visit, but because we wanted to get out of the rainy / lightning zone and because we had been there 5.5 months longer than originally planned.  Once we ensured all of our new equipment was in working order, we set our goal for traversing the pacific.

First, we had to clear out of Costa Rica and that entailed a 160-mile sail from Quepos to Golfito.  We considered doing the journey in one trip, overnight, but considering we did not have our “sea legs” just yet, we broke it up into 2.5 days.  After a 2 day stop in Golfito, we did a light provision and began our journey across the pacific.

The plan was to head for the Galapagos and if the wind took us toward Isla Cocos, we would make a “random” stop.  The schedule was estimated at a 6-7 day sail to Galapagos, with an additional 2-3 days added if we stopped at Isla Cocos.  Matt and I took 3 hour shifts (meaning 3 hours on and 3 hours off) the entire way.  We motor sailed most of the trip because the winds were very light.

Matt was able to live blog during the first 3 days so I will not duplicate his efforts.  However, below, I did add some details that were left off the blog and I added updates on the last part of the trip.  Matt could not update the blog after the 3rd day as the SSB failed for some reason.

Overall map of our track:

Crossing: Costa Rica to Galapagos

Crossing: Costa Rica to Galapagos

TOTAL TRIP STATS:

  • 809nm – Miles Traveled
  • 11.0kt – Max Speed
  • 6.kt – Average Speed
  • 6-1kt – Wind Speed

Each 24 hour period breakdown is below along with some additional highlights that missed the “live blogs.”

24 HOURS

  • 147nm – Miles Traveled
  • 9.5kt – Max Speed
  • 6.1kt – Average Speed
  • 6-8kt – Wind Speed
  • 562.27 – Distance to Destination

We had a beautiful brown footed boobie land our boat and traverse the pacific (or at least part of it) with us.  Not sure why they call this a “brown” foot boobie when his feet were clearly yellow, but they do.

Brown Foot Boobie

Brown Foot Boobie

We also had a gorgeous sunset to start the night voyage.

Sunset Traversing the Pacific

Sunset Traversing the Pacific

48 HOURS

  • 296nm – Miles Traveled
  • 9.9kt – Max Speed
  • 6.2kt – Average Speed
  • 6-2kt – Wind Speed
  • 465.95 – Distance to Destination

A couple of hitchhikers made their way onto Sugar Shack.  At first it was entertaining as we watched them prune and play with each other.  But then, we watched them barf and poop all over the boat which was disgusting.  So we did our best to keep them away,

Love these city signs. Quepos with me and Sugar Shack in the background, see arrow

Cinco de Mateo in Quepos

We were up early again this morning as we had another 50+ mile passage to Quepos.  We readied the boat and had the anchor up by 0615.  It was another beautiful day, flat seas, clear skies and no wind.  Matt made an attempt to look like a sail boat by raising the main.  But, frankly, it just bopped side to side as the winds were mostly under 5 knots.

It was a truly an uneventful passage as we both tried to hide from the sun and the heat.  Kind of hard to do on a boat, but we did our best.  Even though we had the fishing poles out, we did not drop a hook as we were going fairly slow and were only in 25-40 meters of water (not very deep).

Quepos (pronounced kay-pohs) used to be a sleepy little village with a high built peer for loading bananas, pineapples and sailfish.  This was once a bustling banana exporting port, but the town was crippled by the demise of the banana plantations in the mid 1950’s.  Evidently, there was a banana disease that overtook the banana plantations in Panama which severely impacted exportation in Costa Rica.

Today, there are thousands of acres of palm oil plantations just beyond the beaches which are controlled by Palma Tica, Inc. (formerly United Fruit Company).  However, palm oil has a dubious future resulting from the concerns regarding cholesterol.  So, the town of Quepos is reliant on tourism which has been booming.   Quepos has over 7,000 inhbitants, a large marina (Marina Pez Vela), hotels, and vacation villas lining the beaches.

We anchored just outside the marina entrance as it was fairly shallow (8 meters) and a wee bit more protected than where the fishing boats were anchored.  When I say a “wee bit” I mean barely at all.  It was a a little rolly during low tide, but during high tide it got darn right uncomfortable.

The marina has a large jetty that is made of large, semi-circle, concrete forms giving it an unusual look from the outside.  Dozens of small fishing vessels anchor in front of the marina but come and go in the opposite direction of where we anchored.  Behind us, there is a long sandy beach backed by green lowlands that rise to a beautiful mountainous terrain beyond.

Quepos in front of MPV Marina.

Quepos in front of MPV Marina.

We had an unobstructed view of another very pretty sunset.

Sunset in Quepos

Sunset in Quepos

Matt wanted to spend his birthday walking around the small town of Quepos.  But first we had to find a way to get to shore. There is a large banana pier that has been converted to a commercial dock so we started there first (see above collage, bottom photo). They were very nice but told us we could not leave our dinghy there. So, we headed to the marina.

First, we passed a guard gate at the channel entrance who took our boat name, called into someone on the radio and told us to go to the to the fuel dock by their marine store.  From there, we were pointed to the office.  On the way to the office another guard stopped us on the street and pointed to the office. Then a third guard let us in to the marina where the office was located.  Tight security don’t you think.

At the office, the ladies could not have been nicer. They told us that the banana pier is under construction and not available for us and that they don’t have a dinghy dock. They normally charge $25 for 30 minutes to pick up and drop off (can you believe that rate?).  But, they allowed us to pay the fee for the day as long as we moved the dinghy close to the office and promised to be out of the marina before they close at 1700.  Sweet.  We had to give them our boat and clearance paperwork, passports and boat insurance.  Keep in mind, this is just to leave our dinghy for a few hours.

We meandered through town, had a late breakfast, caught up on a little wifi, shopped at the fresh fruit and veggie market, walked through the grocery stores, and then celebrated our day with a birthday beer.  Pretty cool little town!

Love these city signs. Quepos with me and Sugar Shack in the background, see arrow

Love these city signs. Quepos with me and Sugar Shack in the background, see arrow

At the fresh fruit and veggie market, there was a man squeezing sugar cane which was pretty darn interesting as I had never seen this done before.

Squeezing the sugar cane

Squeezing the sugar cane

We found a new little eatery called Love Shack…unfortunately, we had already eaten so we did not stop in.

Not Sugar Shack but the Love Shack

Not Sugar Shack but the Love Shack

They have a huge 3-4 meter tide here which exposes pretty dramatic shallow spots.  The top image is Sugar Shack in the bay just beyond the river and small sand bar.  Then middle shot is the view to the right where another small marina lives.  Boats have to hug the shore and follow the river to avoid the sand bar.  Bottom image is the view to the left toward the MPV marina.

Low tide exposing a river between the shore and ocean

Low tide exposing a river between the shore and ocean

Manuel Antonio Park is a biological reserve and is only 10 minutes away from Quepos making this another great tourist attraction.  This is Costa Rica’s smallest park at just over 4,000 acres and was established in 1972.  This is a tropical wet forest that receives over 150 inches of rain each year.  There are over 109 species of mammals and 184 species of birds.  We hope to visit this park on another visit, so stay tuned for more to come.

PASSAGE DETAILS:

  • Total distance: 55.22 nm
  • Total travel time: 9 hours 13 minutes
  • Top speed 7.8 kn
  • Average speed 6.0 kn
Radar showing Sugar Shack in the middle of a storm

Overnight Passage to Golfito, Costa Rica

Before we began our overnight passage to Golfito, Matt wanted to secure our wifi antennae which is located at the top of the mast.  He had noticed it was a bit wobbly the other day and didn’t want to risk losing it at sea.  Fairly easy process…hoist him up our 70’ mast, tighten a bolt, and bring him down.

Matt hoisted up our 70' mast to resecure the wifi antennae

Matt hoisted up our 70′ mast to resecure the wifi antennae

We planned on leaving around 1800, just as the sun was setting, but Sugar Shack had other things in mind.  Matt went to start the Starboard engine and a belt was making a racket.  He spent the better part of an hour aligning, hammering, tweaking, and fixing things before we could get going.  Not a big deal.  This passage should take us between 13-16 hours and we need to arrive in daylight.  So, an hour or two delay didn’t impact us much.

The first 3-4 miles out of Isla Gamez required the most vigilance due to the surrounding reefs and random shallow spots.  It was an art of dodging and weaving, but not too difficult.  Once safely through, we set the course for the first 40-miles of our journey.

The first 90 minutes were uneventful, but around 21:30 we saw and felt a storm coming our way.  We tried to avoid it, changed course and slowed down, but to no avail.  Each time we tried a new tactic, the wind shifted and put us smack in the middle of the storm again.  Rain is not too much of a problem, just annoying.  But the lightening is frightening.  The last thing we want is to be struck by lightening and it was all around us.  We have a 70’ stick that attracts energy and we were terrified that something awful would happen.

Lucky for us, the bolts did not strike us.  The storm delayed us by about 1-1.5 hours, took us several miles off our track and soaked us, but nothing else.  Whew!

Here is one of the shots of our radar showing us smack in the center of the storm.

During my early morning shift, 0100-0400, the moon came out to light our way.  Even with the storm clouds, the moon shown brightly illuminating the sea.

We pulled into Golfito around 0900, about 15 hours after we left.  Perfect timing as it was bright and sunny out, channel was clearly marked, and the bay was not too busy.  We anchored in front of Land and Sea, a very, very small marina and started the massive clean up from the night’s passage.

PASSAGE DETAILS:

  • Total distance: 87.3 nm
  • Total travel time: 15 hours 35 minutes
  • Top speed 7.8 kn
  • Average speed 5.6 kn