Loading Map

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bahias Potrero, Samara, and Carrillo

As John alluded to in our last post, instead of meeting up with Harmony in Brasilito we anchored overnight with them at Playa Potrero, just half an hour down the beach from "Playa Cristal." We were a little sorry we made the move because Cristal had been a charming anchorage (with only a small hotel and two houses on the sandy beach) and it was rollier at Potrero. But it had taken us two tries to set the anchor at Cristal and we didn't want Harmony to have any trouble so it seemed the prudent thing to do. Robert and Virginia came over for lunch and we had a nice time catching up with them before it was time to get ready for the next big jump along the coast.

We were underway before sunrise on Friday for the 12 hour trip to Bahia Samara. The day was a mix of sailing and motoring with everything from flat calms to reefed sails, and 180 degree wind shifts. There were scores of mobula rays popping out of the waters around Isla Eyre at Punta Salinas, and we saw several black and yellow sea snakes, dolphins, and a few turtles. We had originally intended to go to Carrillo, which is the preferred anchorage, but we wanted to check out Samara along the way. Since we arrived at the latter late in the day, and it seemed fine, we decided to set the anchor for one night there.

Bahia Samara is a spectacular and scary anchorage to enter. It has one of the biggest reefs we've ever seen up close on its NW end, a smaller reef inside the bay to the NE, and an island with off lying rocks to the SE. Huge swells were breaking over the big reef creating a lot of wave chop in the anchorage off the village, so we chose to anchor between the island and the smaller reef where several pangas and small fishing boats were moored. We had a brief visit from Carlos and Enrique on the panga, Roca Bruja, on their way out for a night of fishing. They suggested we might be safer anchoring a bit closer in and away from the "window" between Isla Chora and Punta Indio if the north wind came up. It was rolly enough to use the rocker stopper but it was only very bad for an hour or two at the highest part of the tide. We had plenty of room and the bay was lovely.

The Roca Bruja stopped by Saturday morning to exchange a fish (sierra) for two liters of water and I threw in cold cans of soda and juice for each of the crew. Then we dinghied in through the small surf for a walk on shore, though we didn't go all the way to the village itself. This part of the coast is much greener and there are lots of beautiful new homes. We heard and saw several howler monkeys both in the trees along side the paved road and from the beach. After our walk we put the dinghy up on deck, hoisted the anchor, and headed a couple miles up the road to the next small bay, Bahia Carrillo. We had been warned that the best anchoring spot was full of moorings for small boats, but we were still very disappointed to see that there is next to no room left to anchor in the tiny protected cove in the SW corner of the bay. We started to head over to the opposite side of the bay, carefully skirting the underwater rocks noted on the chart (which were visible only by the glassy slick covering them), but it was quickly apparent that we were better off returning to Samara.

It was an especially hot day again with humidity in the mid-60s, and water back up to the low 80s. We were slamming down cold water as fast as the refrigerator could chill it, and John was especially overheated by all the sail handling. The trip could have been a waste of an afternoon, but the day was saved by a giant manta ray (8' wing span) which came gliding down the side of the boat just under the water's surface. It was absolutely magnificent, and is the only one we've seen since our first winter in Banderas Bay. Those are the kinds of things that really lift your spirits when you're hot and sweaty!

We're currently underway for Bahia Ballena in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Linda and John