Sailing on the Pacific Ocean

It has been almost a month since my last post but things have been really busy around here. Vera, Vic, Larry, Linda and a whole host of friends arrived at the beginning of April and they were definitely in party mode. They are a great bunch of folks who love great food,   libations and camaraderie and just generally having a great time. From walking on the beach,  up the killer mountain to hanging out at the pool, there are events happening all the time. Well that’s my excuse …..

Our time is slowly coming to an end here in Costa Rica so we figured it was time to try out one of the sunset cruises that our neighbour Gord has been talking about.  We had a small group of eight  here at the condo which is the perfect number for a 40 foot sailboat.

Around noon we all walk  to the beach down “Pig Alley”  called that because of this enormous pig that lives  a leisurely life eating, drinking and hanging about until that dreadful day when he provides food for a number of his neighbours,  bacon, sausages, pork chops, pork roasts. With the many roosters and hens hanging around Coco a great American breakfast  is a fan favorite.

On the beach we pick up a “taxi”  that takes us out to the sailboat. There are no marinas here and all the large boats anchor in the bay and you need to be ferried out to catch your ride. It’s an interesting experience trying to get into a dinghy during high tide when the waves are rocking and then jumping onto the swim platform of the sailboat. Needless to say many are banged, jostled and all are drenched by the time you are on board. This was not the actual ferry we took as we were hurried aboard to catch the tide and didn’t get a chance to get a photograph.

Ferry out to the boat

The Polar is owned by Gord’s friend Ferit who originally hails from Romania, escaped to Canada where he worked for a number of years before he came to Costa Rica. There are a number of larger boats that will take up to 40 people with all you can eat and drink but they are definitely party boats.  This boat is smaller but it is intimate and perfect for a small group. Denis is the young crew mate who runs around raising the anchor, raising the sail, getting drinks etc, a lot like I did when John and I had our cruiser. Once everyone is aboard and settled we head north towards Monkey Head Island.

Sailing out of Coco

The wind in Coco varies daily , one day it howls, changes direction constantly,  provides relief from the heat but tosses things around and a few days later there is nothing…..not even a gasp. Today we are lucky and the winds are just right to raise the main sail.

Sails up

Sailing on the open ocean is a great adventure and the fact that we can raise the sails is a bonus. Sailing toward Heuvos Beach we pass a number of tortugas , manta ray, dolphins….just like in the brochures. A couple of beers along the way make the trip even faster.

Beer and wind

Huevos Beach is a lovely little beach where we drop anchor and some of us go for a swim or a snorkel or just have another drink. John jumped into his new fins and took off to look at the rocks while I jumped into the ocean to cool off and swim to the beach so neither of us had a camera. So picture in your mind the island from the original movie Swept Away, directed by Lina Wertmuller with Giancarlo Giannini where they are marooned on a remote island, fall in love and……well go out and rent the movie, the original not the Madonna,  Guy Ritchie version. This island is so beautiful, peaceful and remote.

snorkeling

Denis comes to pick us up in the dinghy and it’s time for lunch. Ferit  and Denis put on a great spread of smoked tuna with chips, Waldorf pasta with nuts and apples (do you remember the Faulty Towers comedy show about Waldorf Salad) and sandwiches. And for desert wonderful fruit kebabs (Watermelon, cantelope, mango, pineapple chunks) and the house specialty green mango slices with Linzano sauce.

Sailing food

After lunch it’s time to sail back and after raising the anchor Denis climbs up the mast to get to the jib. We are going to have a unique sailing adventure as not many of the boats put up the jib, too much work and rarely the perfect wind.

Denis on the mast

Ferit and Denis have the ideal job doing what they love sailing the Pacific Ocean and they have become good friends. We head back to Coco under full sail and high speed to watch the sunset

Captain and crew

The sail back is delightful, the winds are perfect, Wayne gets to steer while the rest of us enjoy. I think Paul (aka Leonardo di Caprio) has only sailed twice in his life but I think he will be back.

Paul and the jib

Even Captain John gets into the spirit.

Having fun

The sunset is one of the best treats here in Coco and while we have seen it from the beach and the condo this is the first time we have seen it from the ocean.  It has been a great day and we are tired from the heat of the sun, swimming and carrying on but the cruise home is so tranquil.

wonderful sunset

But the sun vanishes so quickly that if you blink you might miss it so don’t blink and you will see something amazing.

setting sun

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Another great fish dinner

Paul and Steve went fishing with Danny, Rafa and his crew yesterday. I hear the ocean was a tad rough, the boat was a-rocking and it was somewhat uncomfortable but they did catch fish…. a number of mahi mahi and even a striped marlin went for their bait before getting away. But when they catch fish it means another great dinner at Coco Palms restaurant where they will cook up the fish and everyone has a great time.

It was a large group this time, there were ten people from our condo alone, including a couple from North Carolina who are here on holidays and staying right above Danny and his wife Vicky. We all look forward to these dinners as a way to hear great fish stories and get together for a good time.

The apppetizer is always ceviche which is fish that is marinated or cooked in lime juice. I have provided a recipe for this in past blogs. This is a really refreshing dish but it can be a bit squimish for some folks, the same way that sushi can turn some people off. John and I first had this with our Peruvian friends when we worked at AM International but that was many moons ago.  Included in the dish with plenty of limes are red peppers, red onions ad culantro

Fresh fish cooked with lime

After the first course they bring out the rice and beans, side dishes, which I always look forward to and then they bring the main course….the fish cooked a number of different ways. Tonight they had grilled, beer batter, panko and pinapple. Wow what more could you ask for.

Even people who don’t like fish (who are they?) like this dinner.

On the television and all around town folks are getting ready for Christmas. At Coco there are a number of Xmas “things” to get the the holiday started.

I always though John was bigger than Santa.

Great new friends

One of the things John and I love most about traveling is meeting new people and Costa Rica is wonderful for that. We have met some amazing folks here in Playas del Coco. The Ticos that we meet in town are happy and helpful and always with a smile;  Alfonso, the cashier at the Auto Mercado, who helps us find the items we need,  Misael, the taxi driver who takes us home and helps with the grocery bags, Nareer the pool boy who loves to chat, Rafa who speaks very little English but always eager to help. Rafael, David and Freddie, the guys on the fishing boat who work their butts off to ensure we have a good time. These are just a few of our new friends.  Even with the little Spanish that we speak we are able to communicate and get along here.

We are also very lucky to have some amazing neighbours. A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to dinner and had a marvelous time.  Vera, Vic and the inscrutable Domenic were hosting. They have had a condo here since it was first built in 2005. Vera’s friend Tommy, from San Diego was in San Jose and flew into Coco for a couple of days. The dinner was great, starting with a tomato bruchetta. It was nice, light and refreshing with slices of tomato, salami, red onion, feta cheese and drizzled with a balsamic dressing. This will definitely be on our menu sometime soon.

Dinner was fettucine with clams and camaróns (shrimp) in a white wine sauce served with caesar salad and garlic bread. I think Vera mentioned she smuggled in the clams from San Diego and bought the shrimp locally. It’s interesting to hear folks here talk about smuggling goods into Costa Rica.  Everyone seems to do it without any qualms. It reminds me of John’s mum who used to smuggle all sorts from Sault Michigan thinking nobody would stop a little old lady.

We managed to get a shot of everyone at the table but neglected to get pics of the food. Sorry about that. Too much vina and not enough concentration.

Vera and Vic are wonderful hosts and very gracious folk.