Captain K started the voyage in Managua battling customs. What an adventure, had to get a permit to bring a radar into the country, the equivalent of their FCC. Alongside, had to submit a special request to Customs Director since the boat was in Nicaragua for 4 months. Bureaucratic run-around but all ended reasonably well. Then the crew rendezvous-ed in beautiful Granada. Marc, Sophie and Tim joined up for the packed van ride to Playa Gigante.
We went to Playa Gigante to see Bob, captain’s dad, who had been boat-sitting for several months!! Total trooper and kept the boat safe, maintained. Then we took an overland trip to Isla Ometepe — it’s a beautiful biosphere reserve, what geological phenomenon, twin volcanos in the middle of the lake, like Maui but more comically extreme.
Playa Gigante, where the boat was moored during our off-season. Not very high tech, but very cool! A bunch of reasons why we came here: our friend Jack used to live here, there’s good waves nearby for the boat-sitters, Nicaragua is much cheaper than Costa Rica. Downside was the wind, always howling offshore, but at least it was comfortable in the boat.
Playa Gigante preparations involved A LOT of cleaning — the wind had blown dust into every corner! We sailed south to San Juan del Sur. Ripped headsail with the 30knot headwinds, Nicaragua 1 x 0 Aldebaran ! Lovely stops along the way though ; although also had to SCUBA dive at 9pm to free anchor chain stuck under a rock… kept the captain on edge.
The astounding Santa Rosa National Park, northern Costa Rica was our next stop.
The promised land lived up to expectations, as did the good swell in the water!! The Murcielago Islands are gorgeous, as are the bays in the Santa Rosa National Park, only reachable by boat. This is where we spent 3 months last season (Aug-Oct) and I could spend another 3 months easily. We anchored at night close to the beach, Sabrina was worried but captain shrugged off– “this is our backyard!”. To his chagrin the wind shifted and Aldebaran ended up in 3 feet of water, with the rudder stuck in the sand. This was our first Grounding ever! Capt K got out his popeye muscles and pushed the boat off the sand… yep that’s how it went down… the full story later.
After arriving in Playa Cocos, the crew rented cars and drove to another national park: Rincon la Vieja for some mountain time and to celebrate Capt K’s 35th bday. This park is connected to the marine reserve and Santa Rosa National Park that we had visited by boat, as a huge “wildlife corridor” in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region of dry tropical rainforest. More on this later as well!
Four crew took off this morning… now Matt & Diana are joining us for Leg #2…. onwards to Quepos.