We weighted anchor and left Bahia Santa Elena at 0700 this morning. I was a little sorry to leave, as It is such a beautiful, isolated, natural spot. But sitting around on the boat all day admiring it was not what we wanted to do.
It was a very scenic sail, west to to round Punta Santa Elena, turning south and threading the boat between the Islas Murcielagos (Bat Islands) and then a straight shot across the Golfo Papagayo to Playa de Cocos. Golfo Papagayo is usually a body of water that is crossed carefully, often waiting for a weather window to avoid the fierce winds that blow in from the Caribbean. Not today. There wasn't enough wind to sail and the sea was calm, with a gentle southwest swell.
We dropped anchor south of the reef that bisects the Playa de Cocos anchorage. Hannah took a swim, we relaxed for a little bit and then decided to head to shore to start the check in process with the Port Captain. We arrived just before their 4 p.m. closing time and were told to make haste to Immigration before they closed. We did so and spent a sweltering half hour getting our passports stamped. This involved about a half dozen forms.
I didn't consider that we had arrived on a Friday afternoon. Both the Port Captain and Customs are closed until Monday. So, Hannah and I have been legally admitted into Costa Rica, but Intermezzo is still officially in transit. Having to spend Monday finishing our check in is not what I had planned, but can be accommodated without a problem.
Playa de Cocos seems like a nice spot. It is mile long beach with a small one-street tourist town. Their are quite a few nice restaurants, some good grocery stores, ice cream, cafes, bakeries. The only negative is that you have to navigate the dinghy through surf onto the beach and there isn't really a good place to leave it once landed while you visit town.
It occurred to me while walking through town that Hannah had come straight from bustling Manhattan to spend her first few days in the middle of nowhere, either on the ocean sailing or at anchor. Quite the contrast in surroundings!
I think we'll head up the couple of miles north into Bahia Culebra tomorrow and spend the weekend exploring the bay. We'll hoof it back here on Monday to finish our check in. Then we'll push off southward again for the Golfo de Nicoya. Hannah's short visit is going by quickly.