Loading Map

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bahia del Coco

I hope everyone understood that the blog on Santa Elena wildlife was supposed to be sort of tongue in cheek (poor us, we didn't see any howler monkeys, just all these other phenomenal things...). John came up with the idea to try to make it humorous, but I'm afraid my execution wasn't as good as his premise.
From Bahia Santa Elena we made a three hour sunrise trip to Bahia Murcielagos and anchored at Key Point rather than the islands since we were only going to be there for one night. We had hoped the water would be clear for snorkeling the nearby reef but it was green and murky and John couldn't even see the rocks that he knew were down there somewhere. I spent the day on the boat while he explored with the dinghy. We were somewhat surprised to be paid a late afternoon visit by the park ranger in his panga. He came aboard and explained that the park entry fee is now $15 per person no matter how long the stay (there may be a maximum stay but we didn't ask; this fee is up from the old $6 per person per day fee that we had read about). Needless to say we were a bit peeved not to have known about this ahead of time since we could have easily avoided the stop altogether, and gone directly to Coco. The fee is for the marine park area from Cabo Santa Elena south, including Bahia Murcielagos, the Islas Murcielagos (Bat Islands), and Bahia Potrero Grande. The marine park does not extend north to encompass Bahia Santa Elena.
We made another dawn departure for the five hour trip to Bahia del Coco just south of Bahia de Culebra. We had to skip the latter to get to Coco for laundry, provisions, water, gasoline, etc. but hope to go backwards from here to explore that area. Playas del Coco is a beach town with lots of dive and souvenir shops. Yesterday we checked in with the Port Captain, Immigration, and Customs for no charge (yay!). We also paid about $27 to have our laundry done (13.5 kilos - yikes); made a first pass at the grocery store; had a great $4 per person lunch consisting of cubes of beef in a sauce with sides of rice, black beans, mashed potatoes, and a vinegary red cabbage coleslaw; and followed that with two scoops of gelato. We were starved by the time we got to the food (after taking care of all the other chores) so everything tasted delicious.
While we were in the internet cafe waiting for our laundry to be finished it started raining buckets, and John raced out to the boat to close up all the port holes. This was our first experience with a hard rain in months. Unfortunately the bulk of the rain storm passed through the opposite side of the anchorage from us and we didn't get a very thorough boat wash this time. As John was leaving the cafe I pointed out a monkey that was climbing up a trellis on the side of the building where we were standing. That sure was surprising!
John is getting water and gas ($5/gallon - yikes) today and we hope to take the bus to Liberia tomorrow for fresh fruits and veggies. The produce section in the market here is not very exciting. Oh, and we're having to learn yet another monetary system. We've been exchanging our U.S. dollars for Colones at just under 500 Colones for one dollar. So we multiply by two and drop three decimal points (50,000 Colones = $100); I'm having a terrible time with the big numbers!
It's been very hot - high 80s to low 90s in the afternoons, low 80s overnight - and the humidity has been 50-80% depending on the time of day. So we're drinking water like it's summer in the Sea of Cortez. Oh, and I forgot to write that the water temperature climbed 10 degrees while we were in Santa Elena from low 70s to low 80s, so swimming is nice again!
Linda and John
{GMST}10|33.260|N|85|42.360|W|Bahia del Coco|Bahia del Coco{GEND}