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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Costa Rica

Date: April 3, 2010
Position: 09°39.0449 N 085°13.7240 W
Country: Costa Rica (Pacific side)
Miles sailed year to date: 2084nm


Slowly making our way north. Winds since Panama have been nearly non-existent. At the moment we have 2 knots of wind and calm sea reflecting a slightly rippled variation of the sky. Wishing for wind as it's HOT already at 9AM. Jumping into the 86F water offers little relief from the still humid heat that has us feeling sticky at best and dripping sweat into our eyes at the worst. Inside the boat daytime temperatures reach about 100 degrees which makes it almost impossible to nap, let alone cook or work on projects. Out on deck we are fighting for shade and the very slight breeze the boat is creating as we motor along at 6.7 knots and gently rocking in a slight ocean swell. Fishing has been ok, but the catching has been real slow. Our current working theory is that it's just too damn hot for the fish to bite.

Over the last six hundred or so miles we covered since the Panama Canal we've mostly run the engines non-stop. The engines are purring along almost perfectly, the only exceptions being four broken engine belts. I chock up the breakage to the extreme heat and lack of engine room blowers. Yet another item for the to do list. As a stop gap measure we're running with the engine hatches open to try to keep things cooler in there.

Having Brant onboard as crew sure is a treat. Brant is a professional trained chef and words cannot describe the joy of the superb meals upon which we feast. Not sure how long he'll stay aboard, but the longer the better as it sure is nice having a third hand for night watches. Brant grew up in California, but now lives in Hawaii so his experience with tropical ingredients is very applicable to Central America. Kathy has been taking copious notes on some of the new dishes and has been learning some of the tricks of the trade. Life is good.

Most days we average around 50nm of travel. Today is a short day as we are approaching the Golfo de Papagayo and today a Papagayos is blowing, blocking further progress North. A Papagayos is a 'Gap Wind' basically there is a gap in the mountains near the Costa Rica and Nicaragua border that winds funnel through and accelerate to up to double the speed of surrounding areas. So if there is 20 knots of wind it could be 40 knots in certain areas around the Golfo de Papagayo. The winds are caused by a high pressure system entering the Caribbean and enhancing the NE trade winds which spill though the gap. Luckily, this time of year the Papagayos are not so frequent. It's so calm where we are at this particular moment that it's hard to believe the wind is blowing things sideways just 70 nautical miles to the North.

Tomorrow, April 4 is Kathy's birthday.


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