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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Islas Jesusita and Cedros, CR

We're currently lying a dozen miles south of Puntarenas, tucked into a calm large bay formed by an elbow shaped channel between the two islands. There are a few homes in view, each on its own small beach and landscaped with palm trees. The homes are basic and a bit run down, but the properties are large, and sea walls, cement walks, and beautiful shade trees hint at former prosperity. One father regularly transports his elementary school aged son to and from the beach on the opposite side of the channel by panga. Yesterday afternoon the boy, still in his school uniform of short-sleeved white shirt and long black slacks, was allowed to man the outboard tiller on the trip home.

John completed the checkout process Monday morning. It was probably the most difficult one yet because it was split between offices in Puntarenas and the nearby commercial port of Caldera. For anyone who is interested, John wrote a detailed description of each step required to checkout of Costa Rica from Puntarenas and posted it to the Southbounders group on Yahoo yesterday.

We enjoyed our stay at the CRYC very much, and got a huge internet fix there. Laundry was still expensive at $1/pound but using the hose on our float I was able to do a small amount of bucket laundry. It was nice to have the opportunity to rinse out salty shoes and hats, but the water pressure was very low so we skipped doing a full boat wash.

Ziggy loved having the extra "real estate" of the float and an unoccupied boat tied up on the opposite side to explore. He became quite adept at catching the small crabs that climbed the mooring lines. We didn't mind him playing with them on deck and then eating them, but we drew the line at him bringing them down below to run around on the cabin sole. He also did the neighbor boat a favor by knocking down an old bird nest which had been tucked under their main sail cover.

Buses to Puntarenas (heading west towards the end of the spit) were inexpensive, frequent, and stopped right outside the CRYC gate. We found decent shopping at the Super Mega and Pali grocery stores, though neither is as nice as the Luperon store in Playas del Coco. John bought a new lightning protection system in the form of jumper cables from a great little auto parts store we found by asking around (who knew "jumper cables" translates to "cawbless de yumper" in Spanish?). There's a very complete pet supply store/vet just down from the Pali, and I bought another 20 lb. bag of Tidy Cat litter because it was almost the same price as in the States. With over 80 lbs. of cat litter now stowed aboard Nakia, I don't think John will let me buy any more - but who wants to run out of cat litter in the middle of nowhere!? I'll feel better about using it all up once we find some in Ecuador.

The only form of street food we saw were takeout empanadas - fried pocket breads with fillings of beans, cheese, potatoes, or meat. We ate too many of the flaky fruit pastries at Musani, PPK (Pan Per Kilo), and another panaderia, and we stocked up on high quality Zaragoza sandwich meats at a nice meat store on the same street. Terry, on Secret o' Life, was in the mood for pizza so we joined him at La Terrazza one night. The Fantasia pizza (bacon, garlic, onion, sweet chilies) was so good that we all returned a few nights later along with Shared Dreams (Frank and Gisela) and Caravan (Gene, Vici, and Fiona). John and Terry had calzones (a small is too small but a large is big enough to have leftovers) which were tasty but needed some marinara sauce on the side. Eight year old Fiona had a huge plate of spaghetti with butter (hold the garlic) and Parmesan cheese. Frank also had a generous plate of spaghetti de carne and I had "lasana de carne" in which I actually detected the nutmeg flavor of a bechamel sauce! It was very cheesy but I was thrilled. La Terrazza was a great find and we would definitely return for more. We also ate at the CRYC where the best deal on the menu is their fish sandwich with fries. Terry says their steaks are excellent but we didn't have time to get to those during this visit.

After topping up our water and fuel tanks we're ready to go, but from the satellite photos it looks like rainy season hasn't ended yet in Ecuador. We've had a little rain (and lightning off in the distance) for the past two nights but we're in no hurry to leave here while the weather is still decent. And although we don't make a practice of buddy boating we may wait for Terry's boat to get out of the yard and back in the water before we start our passage. John estimates it will take us about eight days to get to Ecuador so it wouldn't hurt to have another boat out there in the general vicinity for company.

A big Happy Birthday to one of our loyal readers in Santiago Bay! You know we wish we could be there to help you celebrate!

Linda and John