Nicaragua to Costa Rica…..

Dear F&F,
March 31 – April 1, 2009

Yesterday we mostly munched paperwork with our scanner: receipts, warranties, instruction manuals, statements. We try to scan as much as possible & take important stuff back to our Los Angeles storage unit for filing, tossing the rest. Having WiFi onboard is a rare convenience. Scott had practically \”live chat\” emails with an agent in Costa Rica and the Galapagos. He got a mechanic referral for the bolt problem and confirmed our dates with the marine electrician.

We indulged in a sunset swim. The pool was a good size for soaking & short laps. The water temperature was the same as the air, about 85 degrees so not what you would call refreshing, but always lovely to move the body in water. Our evening entertainment was the movie \”Juno\”. We got a good laugh discovering that is how the singing duo \”Moldy Peaches\” came to be. Played often on Sirius Coffee House station, they sing poorly a silly, yet catchy tune that is annoying yet hilarious at the same time. Sadly, we sailed out of range of the satellite radio in El Salvador.

April 1
The Tres Amigos showed up as requested at 7:00 am: Migracion, Aduana (Customs), Capitania de Puerto. Two of us cruising boats are checking out of the country today, but Scott waved them over to us first. I was eager to get them in & out so I could then have my tea & breakfast in peace. The Immigration Agent & Port Captain were the same two that checked us in 2 days ago, but the Customs agent was a different guy. He was good natured & set his cell phone on the table with Bob Marley tunes playing while they filled out their forms, signed & stamped. Scott manned the copy machine. I scrambled for exact change for each of the fees. Note to self: carry more small bills at all times. The Port Captain got a bonus $15. We never got any Cordobas (Nicaraguan currency), but they happily took dollars.

Our bill at the marina was more than we expected, a steep charge for electricity. Oh well, being able to use the air conditioning was worth it. We saw nothing of Nicaragua except Marina Puesta del Sol. One of the nicer marinas, very tranquil with beautiful grounds. A helpful dock worker tossed me our lines as Scott pulled away from the dock. Upon arrival, we had backed into our double wide slip which makes for an easy exit. The wide channel out of the lagoon is well marked with buoys and is plenty deep all the way out.

I earned April Fool status by not putting on a scopalamine patch last night. When will I ever learn?! I feel so perfectly fine when I do wear it that somehow I forget how awful I will feel without it. I\’ve developed a skin sensitivity to the patch, but a few days of an itchy scabby spot behind the ear is well worth prevention of seasickness. Our course on the ocean put us almost directly into the 3-5 foot swells with a southerly breeze. I had taken a Bonine before leaving the dock, but it wasn\’t enough. I decided to give the Sturgeron a try. (Sandy, you were right, it is a miracle!) I felt nearly perfect in about 30 minutes. Due to my initially deteriorated state, Scott took the first watch, which set us up to be opposite our usual routine all day & night. Fine with me, I only have to do one night shift this way.

The wind increased strength & the direction backed around enough for us to sail from 1:00-6:00 pm. It is such a wonderful feeling to turn off the engines & watch the sails harness nature\’s power. The land breeze overcame the sea breeze after dark so we tucked the sails away & returned to motoring. We look forward to the offshore passage in June, getting into the trade winds, sailing day and night for a couple of weeks. For now, we are still closely watching the port oil pressure, hoping the remnant of the broken bolt will keep its place until we can get it replaced. I cooked Scott a hamburger while I ate assorted leftovers for dinner. Another dose of Sturgeron for insurance before I went down for my 7:00 pm -10:00 pm nap.

A one-third moon is keeping me company. The unmistakable Southern Cross is visible just under the bimini. A string of fishing panga lights inshore keeps me out further, over 7 miles from land. We are not in a rush, since we are timing our arrival with sunrise, so it does not matter if we take a wide course. I see the occasional path of dolphins swimming along side, stirring up a wake of bio-luminescense. I can hear them exhale, but I cannot see the body of the animals in the dark, even with a flashlight.

Our morning destination is Bahia Santa Elena, our first stop in Costa Rica. We are hoping to enjoy a day and night of rest in what the guide book describes as a pristine, well protected anchorage. There are no facilities at this National Park and we will not be officially checked into the country. We hope the Navy is not patrolling or simply ignores us. We\’ve heard many boaters stop here without a problem, and we will certainly fly the country flag. Checking in to Costa Rica is not as easy as the the other Central American countries. We will brave that challenge at our next port (El Coco) in a couple of days.

Signing off at near midnight. Two more hours on my watch, all is well.

Scott & Cindy