Looking for a Catamaran Cruising Blog?

If you found this blog via a link from a cruising site ~ we did cruise Mexico on our Ocean 49 cat for a season. See the first text box on the right for links to our preparations, trip down Baja, life in Mexico, cruising and trip back up to SoCal. Unfortunately we are back to the grind in the USA...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Night Hike and Sloth Sanctuary!

And now back to our regularly scheduled crap how we spent my birthday vacation in 20 billion words or less.

After our somewhat unexpected strenuous hike around the Monteverde Reserve, we "had" to stop at the Monteverde Cheese Factory.
"Had" to for their milk shakes and wonderful cheeses.
Sharp cheddars and goudas ~ perfect for hora felizes!

So back to Hotel El Bosque for naps, cold showers (the neglected to tell us they turn the hot water heaters off in the afternoons...) and their Night Hike!
With flashlights in hand, a guide and 4 other hikers off we went into the dusk on yet another trail...
With calves hurting...
More up, down, up, down.
It was great!
We saw agouti, coatimundi, raccoons, grasshoppers and other insects, a tarantula the size of a small volkswagen and the best part:
Hundreds of lightning bugs!
Then a sprint across the road to Cafe Cabure.
We all had great meals ~ mine was chicken satay with an incredible house salad.

As Alan and Susan like to say:
It just keeps getting better and better!
And the next day it did!

Next stop, The Sloth Sanctuary of Monteverde.

No words can describe how wonderful this place was, but I will try anyway!
First of all, we found the Sloth Sanctuary by accident.
Just by driving by on the way to the Monteverde Biological Reserve.
Hmmmm... that place looks interesting!
And it was more than interesting.
It was amazing.
Better than better.
Instead of writing all about it and what we learned, learn for yourself here.


And then we came out to this:
Really, street tires on a rental car in Costa Rica just do not work.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Interrupt the Costa Rica Re-Cap for: "A Question of Sanity Balance" Update...

They say the third time is the charm.
I think it's really the fourth time.

First Time:
The loss of his boat "Gloria Jean" on the Oregon Coast.

Second time:
Uh, sorry no link, just heard through the small world grapevine, Dr. Phil on "A Question of Sanity Balance" was towed into and assisted onto a mooring ball at Catalina.

Third time:
Refer back to prior post...
Assisted by Vessel Assist then towed into San Diego by the US Coast Guard.

Fourth time:
Rescued by the US Coast Guard somewhere off the Coast of Ensenada on his way to The Marquesas...
Torn headsail.
Both dinghies gone.
Amazingly enough the bicycle was still on board!
Dr. Phil and his dirty terrier, Nellie were out there when the rain and windstorm of the year came through.
We experienced 35-40 knot winds in the harbor.
I can only imagine what he experienced out there.
No food.
No water.
No survival gear, other than his ham radio.
San Diego Newspaper with Coast Guard video.
LA Times update.

But the best I found online?
The one that made me laugh outloud?
This post from a cruiser forum:

Let's take a closer look at that.Now let's take a look at a another prior post of mine.

In fact, I will make it really easy for you all.

Here is what I (ME!) typed:
Monday, January 17, 2011
"A Question of Sanity Balance" on her way...
Too bad we didn't put a "Spot" on this old man's boat.
Sure would be interesting to see how far he gets.
Where he ends up.
I believe he put his last boat up on the beach somewhere up North.First of all a giant THANK YOU to our friends ex-dock mates for sticking us with this old, dirty, deaf, grumpy man.
The people who used to own "A Question of Balance" had the boat on the market for years.
When they finally find a buyer, it happens to be this old, dirty, deaf, grumpy man.
No marina wanted him.
Boat is too small for a livaboard.
Boat has an alcohol stove.
So when the friend ex-dock mate threw a childlike fit in our office and parking lot, we buckled and gave the old, dirty, deaf, grumpy man 60 days to get his boat ocean-crossing ready.
60 days because "he's sailing to the Marquesas"...
Which turned into 90 days.
90 days of daily phone calls.
90 days of ordering and receiving packages and mail.
90 days of assisting, repeating, repeating even more loudly, yelling, repeating again, muttering not even under our breaths.
90 days of "good lord how can we get rid of him".
90 days of inappropriate comments, questions and conversations with him.

The conversation on Friday:
How do the sails look?
I don't know I've never put them up.
Why don't you do a little shake down cruise and head down to Channel Islands Harbor ~ it's only 5 or 6 miles down the beach.
Why don't you do a little shake down cruise and head down to Channel Islands Harbor ~ it's only 5 or 6 miles down the beach.
Where's that?
Do you have charts?

Sorry, Dr. Phil, but if you would just put your hearing aids in, I think this 90 days of you driving us crazy could have been avoided.

Showers and laundering your clothes would have been good too.Off to the Marquesas...
Or quite possibly Channel Islands Harbor.
Well, wherever he ends up we wish the marina staff patience.
Patience, the ability to repeat everything said, a lack of sense of smell and another boat scheduled for that slip in a few days.
We wish Dr. Phil clean clothes.
Success in getting somewhere.
We wish his dog would get a bath.
And that he remembers to put in his hearing aids.

Here is photo I (ME!) included:
Let's look at that cruiser forum post again, just to make sure:

Anyone other than me see a few correlations here?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monteverde Cloud Forest!

A place on my bucket list!
Different than a rain forest...
A cloud forest!
And we were there...



Strangler figs.
Tree roots.
Leaf cutter ants.
Fallen trees cut into stepping stones.Wet.
Views.The Continental Divide.


3.37 miles of up, down, up, down, up, down.
And around.

This is where we missed seeing a Resplendent Quetzal by 5 minutes...

And across the street, this critter, a kinkajou stealing the hummingbird juice out of the feeders.

Completely entertaining!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Road to Monteverde

We still had that jet-lag red-eye omg we are on vacation tiredness thing going on, but forced ourselves up and down to the breakfast buffet between 6:30 and 7:00 am.
Hey, we can sleep after vacation, right?
Somehow squished all of our bags, humans and gear into the "Gutless Wonder" aka "Hyundai Tuscon with street tires" and headed down highway.
After we found the highway...

Costa Rican Highway: Two lane road, often without a painted line down the middle

Stopped for supplies and yay, Costa Rican grocery stores not only take plastic, but have wonderful, clean and key word "working" toilets!

This is where the iPhones and Galileo app came into being our "new favorite tool".
Our paper maps were so minimal they didn't even list the town where the turnoff to the road to Monteverde was.
The Galileo app that the wonderful, smart, handy Jim had downloaded along with the maps for areas we were going to, actually showed all of the tiny dirt roads, the towns and even us ~ the blue dot!
This kept us for getting lost more times than I would care to admit.

Ok, road to Monteverde!
Potholes.And bicyclists.

Incredible views of the dryer lowlands and the Nicoya Peninsula.The hotel research we did paid off as well.
What we were going for:
Quiet, towards Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, internet, reasonable.
Hotel El Bosque.

Nothing fancy, but breakfast included, hiking trails, nice staff, night hike on property, incredible flowers and critters.Loved the sidewalks...A geez (nap) for Alan.

Susan, Jim and I headed off for a hike in the Children's Eternal Rainforest, where we did the Bajo de Tigre Trail ~ a one mile, self-guided hike.
Where we had a dog for the day...
But dogs aren't allowed.
Had a dog from the Monteverde Cheese Factory decide we looked like suckers.
He followed us to the reserve, where he got tied up with yarn (yes yarn... like that's going to work) by the reserve guy.
Dog chewed through yarn, found us in the reserve, got dragged back up the trail by Jim and then got double tied with yarn.
Luckily followed some other suckers tourists out.

We enjoyed the hike.
Alan enjoyed his geez.
And then we all enjoyed hora feliz on our patio.

Next ~ dinner at Tramonti.
My oven baked pizza was great ~ rest of the dinners, eh just ok.
Fun walk back at night, with one flashlight.
To bed...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Costa Rica #1 - Alajuela to Monteverde! Uh, No, I Take That Back. LAX to Alajuela!

As usual, SoCal had rain the day we left.
It seems everytime we head out or are returning from vacation it's raining.
Floods threatening.
It's okay when we leave, but not so good when we are returning.
So we left about 100 several hours before our flight in attempts to get ahead of the storm of the century possible chance of mudslides on PCH.
All good, except what the hell do we do at LAX for the next 9 hours?
Really, I think it was nine hours.
We are considering this day to be "The Day we Lived at LAX".

Ok, I have officially changed the post title to "LAX to Alajuela".

Finally a chance to go sit in that round restaurant / bar thing my brother told me about years ago!YAY!

Drinks, rain, more rain, watching jets take off East instead of West!!Which if you know LAX, that is rare.

More rain, then drag our bags back across the road to finally check in eons later.
Got lucky and some poor soul from Taca took pity on the drowned, wet, slightly buzzed gringos dragging their bags through puddles and around abandoned luggage carts, through the cow going to the slaughter house lines a half hour before they were officially open.
No more dragging bags.

Up to some other restaurant for dinner and more drinks.
Which we needed like a hole in our heads.

Hurry up and burn up those last of those nine hours.
Watch and listen to a sobbing bride and frantic new husband who missed their honeymoon flight to Tahiti.

Red Eye!

Arrival in Alajuela, Costa Rica at who know's what time feeling like CRAP!

Rental car ~ oh gee, this looks nice (big mistake ~ don't go for looks, go for TIRES in Costa Rica!) and off to Hotel Brilla Sol.
Which we found by complete luck.
Luck and really good navigation on my part.

All good.
And a visit from 4-P.A.C.K. !!
Our friends from G-dock way back and Mexico, who are now living outside of San Jose.Andrea, Casey, Jim, Karl and Patrick.
(Jim is not part of the PACK - that is for Patrick, Andrea, Casey & Karl)...

Way fun to catch up!
Hugs, stories, a dip in the pool and a walk up the street to a Soda for dinner.
Another big mistake.
Note to self: Wear real shoes while walking in Costa Rica.
Sprained my ankle on the way...
And remember, this was going to be a HIKING vacation!
Dinner, hugs goodbye, ice on ankle and wine...

Wait, something is missing...?

Our traveling partners!
Plane late, shuttle arrived, more hugs, more plans, more wine, more ice on ankle.
To bed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Whole Tsunami Story ~ Fun at Tsea

So first of all, thanks to Nancy in Texas for calling us at 5:30 am on Friday!
And for me for figuring out it was the phone making that racket instead of the alarm clock...
I usually leave my phone in the main salon to charge overnight.
New Rule #1: My phone sleeps with us now!

Ok, so after I figured out what the hell she was talking about, up we were.
Me down the dock to wake our liveaboard tenants.
Jim to start engines and un-spiderweb us from the dock.
A few neighbors followed us out of the harbor ~ Stan actually beat us out of the harbor!
Out to deep water.

1st question to each other: How far out are we supposed to go?
And why is it so bloody lumpy and crappy out here?
Oh, that was the second question.
Our 1st question was being answered when we started having poor cell reception.
Obviously, this was far enough.

We hovered and wallowed.
Watched other boats come out and hover and wallow near us.
Including the National Park Service Boat (who were probably tearing their docks up when the surges started!).
We were getting continual updates via phone calls, vhf transmissions and yes, facebook.
Yep, facebook.

Andy and Anchors Way were posting updates as to surges, times, situations and speculations.
After hours of hovering and wallowing and watching Stan and other boats roll like pigs, we had pretty much had enough.
How long can we stay out here hovering ~ all night?
Hmmm... How much diesel do we have?
New Rule #2: Full fuel tanks.
How much beer do we have?
New Rule #3: Full on back up of all hops products.
What about coffee beans?
Rest of the New Rules:
Back to having cruising provisions on-board.
No wineglasses or shotglasses left on counter ovenight.
Locked cabinets.
Full water tanks.
And all the rest of that crap we have gotten so complacent about.

Time to go in, right?
I mean I was an expert ~ I had watched the Chilean tsunami 13 months before.
It should be dying down now.
Let's go in!

Got many different opinions, some from phones, some from the dreaded facebook and the one that counted, was the Harbor Patrol via vhf.
Ok, we will pick them.
They win!

Amazingly enough the surges, swirling and craziness had not calmed down, but had worsened.

We finally got the "ok" to come in the entrance by the Harborales, however not the "ok" to return to our slip.
The awesome Harbor Patrol had arranged for a guest slip further inside the harbor, where we should be much safer.
Less surge.
Less craziness.
They escorted us in, showed us the dock, grabbed our docklines and even gave us a dock key.
The Harborales rock!

So less surge, right?

Actually yes, but still had that sense of craziness.

Again, me being the expert:
"Hey, the Chilean one was gone by now ~ let's hit The Village for celebratory drinks and dinner!"
All good until 1:00 am.

Not all good.
The surging, rushing, forceful water woke us up and once again we flew out of bed.
The water was rising incredibly fast.
And high.
High enough for us to believe the docks could feasibly float off of the pilings.
We had both engines on, running lights on and two of four docklines off.
Jim had knife in hand for the others while I was wiping the dew off of isenglass.
Wiping and mumbling over and over: "Please stop, please stop, please stop".
The water was now touching the bottoms of the piling caps.
Absolutely frightening.
Then it stopped.
The ebb started.
Huge, unbelievable relief.
Back to bed.
Only for it to happen again at 5:00 am, but with a much lower tide.
And then again at 8:00 am.
And about every two hours after that.
All day long.

The harbor was closed, so we stayed put until Sunday morning.
When I think the harbor was still closed, but we returned to our slip anyway.
Big mistake...
Remember, we are parked at the narrowest part of the harbor entrance.
Neighbors came in, lost control in the surge and went backwards at about 4 knots hitting our boat and another.
More ugh.
The sound was horrifying.
For the second time in the course of the weekend I thought we were going to lose our boat.
Amazingly enough there was very little damage to our boat.

The surges continued throughout Sunday.
Monday brought weird lump coming into the harbor.

Videos, stories, youtube, news, boats smashed, three other friends had boats hit in Ventura, harbors reporting major damage, one injury in Ventura, Sailing Center docks floated free with several boats damaged...

Nothing compared to Japan.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Got Distracted...

Still sorting through pictures.

I did have them pretty much arranged into a 200 mind-numbing slideshow in lieu of a 1000 suicide-causing death sentence...

Then the tsunami tsruck.
Tscrewed things up.
Tso just another one to tide you over.
Until my mind returns to vacation from Japan, the disaster, their situation, our wasted weekend and the new chunk taken out of our transom from when a neighbor's boat hit us on Sunday.

Hiking in the awesome Monteverde Cloud Forest!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Incredible Flowers!

Might take me a little while to get the pics and stories in order.
Another one to tide you over.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Awesome Vacation!

An amazing two weeks!

We are calling this the sloth trip.
Fell in love with these little guys:Last time we were on a frog kick.
This time we found loads of sloth crap khotchkes.

Photos and stories to follow...