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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Charlotte’s first birthday in Costa Rica

No, Charlotte is not a new baby, but one of our new friends at Las Calas Roja in Coco Beach. Charlotte and Gordon recently retired to Costa Rica from Vancouver, BC.  They sold their home, gave away most of their stuff, moved to the condo full time last September and have been living la vida loca. (You may remember the post about Pulpo 2 ways in which Gordon prepared grilled octopus one night. It was a huge success. Hopefully he will do it again when we get back…hint, hint).

Gord flew back to Toronto for a couple of weeks  to attend a conference and see his family, then as soon as he got back they jumped into painting their condo. They were going to paint before all their goods arrived from Canada but for one reason or another the task was put off. So for the next week and some the painting progressed, starting with the spare bathroom, the ensuite bathroom, the two bedrooms and finally the main living area and while it doesn’t sound like a lot of work  try painting in 35 Celcius temperature. The pair took to the task in true CR fashion,  every once in a while the painting would stop, sometimes for a day, sometimes only for a couple of hours. One day Gord walked out of the apartment with a small cooler filled with ice and cervazas and Charlotte following right after with glasses and towels…..Happy Hour was on, enough work for today. Now isn’t that the best way to work the expression “mañana” ??

One day Charlotte announces that it’s her birthday and her first in CR so we decided it was something to celebrate…anything to go out for a drink, have dinner and not have to cook. So off we went to meet some more new friends and party.

There are a number of restaurants and bars right on the beach where you can go  have at drink at Happy Hour and watch the sunset. The dinners are not very expensive and you can have a really great evening. Donde Claudio y Gloria (http://www.dondeclaudioygloria.com/) was to be the venue for the evening. It has a great selection and the views are breath taking.

Gord was nominated official blog photographer and captured a number of great shots for me.

Isn’t this a beautiful place and what a view.

The food was good with a variety of dishes. Enough to please everyone. Here are a couple of samples.

In case you haven’t heard, Rica and Beans are two of the main staples of Costa Rica and served with just about everything. Charlotte ordered deep fried calamari that came with …guess what.

One of the interesting things about grocery shopping in Costa Rica are the  different cuts of meat. For example, one day we picked up what looked like chicken wings that turned out to be only the inside piece. They didn’t include the tip or the drumstick. Another time we bought chicken breasts which came skinned and deboned but it was the whole breast. This grilled chicken that I had was a whole breast that had been pounded, marinaded and grilled. It was very tasty along with mashed potatoes, steamed vegies and a little sprinking of paprika for that artistic touch.

One of the specialties of the house are shish kebabs which John had. We found that the beef here is a little tougher than we are used to but has a great flavour, but we really do need to experiment a little more…just to be sure.

After dinner the staff brought out a creme caramel for the birthday girl Charlotte. Nice thing about the caramel, you can only put one candle in it. LOL

The staff at the restaurant wishing Charlotte “feliz cumpleaños”

And finally a group shot of the gang. It’s wonderful meeting new friends who enjoy Costa Rica as much as we do. Tonigh there were folks from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta  and California. Hopefully we will see them all again next year.