Sunday, October 30, 2016

Golfito to Bahia Culebra

The passage to Golfito from Boca Chica on Friday was a dog. (No offense intended to my canine friends.) I knew the first half would suck as we had to clear Punta Burica which meant sailing directly into the southwest-west winds and seas. It was a horrible bash that required both engines running to keep speed above 4 knots. I was looking forward to the second half after we rounded the point and turned northwest. I shouldn't have been surprised when the wind turned with us so that we continued to head right into it, but I was. The log is filled with expletive comments. At least the swells were coming from the port stern quarter, much more comfortable than bashing into them.

I had a quite a scare around 4 a.m. as we approached Golfo Dulce. There were quite a few fishing boats at the entrance to the gulf and I was trying to sort out their lights with their radar targets. As I raised the binoculars to look at a light a few miles ahead, to my horror appeared the shadowy shape of a large speedboat dead ahead, not 300 feet in front of us! It was completely dark, no navigation lights on at all. Before I could take evasive action it sped across our bow, turned to go alongside us in the opposite direction and then stopped when it was a few hundred feet astern. I can't imagine people would be fishing in a boat like that with no lights on, so I can only suspect that the boat was either involved moving drugs or was law enforcement lurking around trying to catch somebody who was. Either way, I really didn't appreciate them not showing lights, but glad they saw mine and got out of my way. Whew!

Our stop in Golfito was uneventful. We topped up the fuel tanks in the morning, bought a few groceries, did some internet "business" and had an okay dinner at a local restaurant in the early evening. It rained like crazy for the couple of hours we were shopping and eating; the dinghy was filled with a few inches of water when we got into it to return to the boat.

We left Golfito this morning to slog our way along the coast of Costa Rica to Bahia Culebra. It will take us about 48 hours to get there and the bashing upwind into the seas, again, is already getting old after less than six hours in route. The wind should die down towards evening and we can shift course into a slightly better direction after we clear an island 30 miles ahead of us, so I'm hoping it gets a bit more comfortable during the night. We have three passages like this one to get to Chiapas. I will be grateful as we complete each one. This is far from being a pleasure cruise!