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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Islas Tortugas, Costa Rica

We were underway before dawn on Sunday for the all day trip to the Gulf of Nicoya. We sailed for an hour until the sun came up and the off shore breeze died away. We had a favorable current and as we approached Cabo Blanco the wind freshened and we were sailing with a reefed main. It's really feast or famine with the wind along this coast. Two more giant manta rays made spectacular appearances, one rolling over on its back alongside the boat, and another doing a back flip out of the water. John landed a small dorado at Noon and we sailed the rest of the afternoon in the SSE breeze.

We decided to bypass Bahia Ballena which is open to the SSE. There was heavy wind chop blowing straight into the anchorage, and we didn't feel like spending another rolly night. It was only another 10 miles to the Islas Tortugas where we set the hook at 5 PM and jumped in for a much needed sunset swim.

According to our guide book the island is private property so we didn't go ashore the next morning. There is a large beach concession with canvas chaise lounges, umbrellas, volleyball, kayak and paddle boat rentals, a banana boat, and a Welcome sign mentioning "Eco Tours." Promptly at 9 AM the first tour panga disgorged happy tourists, followed by a stream of various craft including a charter sail boat and a huge power catamaran that looked like a sailing catamaran topped off with a sport fisher bridge deck. The latter was actually very cool (M/V Manta Raya). Fortunately we left Nakia at 9 AM to snorkel a few spots around the island, and we were back in the dinghy after our last snorkel just before three pangas pulled up to the same spot. It was so nice to be in clear, warm waters again (wait, how often have we had that combination?!), and we enjoyed seeing all the friendly fish (who were obviously used to being fed since they followed us like puppies).

This was a lovely spot, perfect for the weather conditions we had, and we hope to return to it again on our way out of the Gulf.

Linda and John