Costa Rica to Nicaragua, to Mexico
We picked up Ted (Chief Ted, who is chief engineer on a 600 ft ro-ro) and headed to Marina Papagayo in Costa Rica.
It was a ghost town when we got there, but we headed to our hotel near Liberia and were pleasantly surprised. The Mangroove (yes that is the correct spelling) and the place was new, hip, and nice. The food was EXCELLENT. We wished we would have anchored out in front of the hotel (photo #1).
We headed out early for Marina Pez Vela in Nicaragua.
It was a nice place at one point at time and better than expected, but it was in the middle of nowhere.
We had to walk 1/2 a mile down a dusty road to buy dusty water from the opening in a cage that was a tienda. Very off the beaten path. Shake N Bake stuck out like a sore thumb here (photo #2).
We decided to skip Guatemala and do an overnighter. The ocean was great and the moon lit up the horizon and clouds all night long.
Everything was going great until we picked up to run in the morning and the previously failing oil pressure gauge failed hard. CAT won't let you run an engine without oil pressure, so we had a pretty major mechanical.
We could not get anyone on the phone, so we called Henriques and Natalia or Maria (I had zero sleep, so I forgot) rattled off 4 phone numbers and we called Ransome CAT.
Ransome was far less helpful than Henriques, so time to figure it out ourselves.
Ted took one for the team and went into the scorching hot engine room and jiggled some wires. We fired the mains up and they now work great.
Ted quickly figured out what was wrong and that the parts to fix it (oil pressure sending unit) did not exist nearby.
No problem. Mano, the guy who took care of us at the marina, volunteered to drive us all around town looking for some parts for Ted to go a McGuyver fix of the sending unit.
One hour and 6 stores later and the fix was at hand, with the help from the internet and some local electronics guys. (Photo 3).
We all are beat and have to get up at 5 to get an early start to beat the Teuhantepec winds across the bay.
More photos and text to come soon.
Once again, a big thanks to Henriques for making an awesome boat and being there 7 years down the road to take care of the third owner.
We are in Los Suenos, waiting for doing some repairs and waiting for Ted, the first true professional mariner to join our crew. Apparently two months on a ro-ro was not enough sea time for him, as he is running from Los Suenos to Cabo with us.
Los Suenos is where the rich guys keep their boats.
I mean really, really, really rich guys. The founder of Jimmy Johns has a 90ish custom sportfisher here.
He and his groupies are a fixture in the dockside bar.
There is a lot of oil $$ boats here.
One guy has his mega yacht here, his mothership with 100,000 gallons of fuel, his 70ish custom sportfisher (towed behind the monthership) and a 60' custom sportfisher.
When Westport Yachts was not taking care of his yacht needs to his liking, he bought them. This guy is serious about his boating and has the billions to back it.
Besides the ridiculous boats, there is not much else to do here.
There are tons of bored crew (every yacht has a full time crew) who have been very helpful.
They steered us towards a great HVAC guy who fixed our AC (bad water pump) and is fixing our fish boxes (freon leaks).
We saw the first and last Henriques we will likely see on this trip, a 38' from NJ.
We are itching to get out of here and will be headed to Papagayo Marina on Friday.
Hanging out in Quepos
When we had time off from fishing, we had time to tour the rainforest and and hang out at the beach.
The rainforest featured a giant suspension bridge that most of us, except for Cooney, TJ, and Terry, were too chicken to cross.
We went down below and took a waterfall shower.
A few days later we hit the beach.
The girl in the photo bobbing around in the water is a local "pro" who swam out and offered her services to Clark, who sort of declined.
We pulled the boat to get the bottom done and it turns out is was in pretty bad shape, so I am glad we did it while we had time to kill.
The last few shots are Piazza sleeping during some slow fishing and Cooney video taping one of our releases.
We are headed to Los Suenos to lay by the pool before we start the 1,700 mile leg to Cabo.
We got settled in at our villa in Quepos and the Offshore World Championship started on Monday.
It is a an interesting format where every team draws 4 different boats for the 4 days of fishing and your success is largely based on what boats you draw.
Team Shake N Bake, of course, drew 4 of the bottom 15 (by their first day's performance) boats.
Quepos does not have nearly enough charter boats, so boats come from all over Costa Rica.
Unfortunately, team Shake N Bake drew 3 of 4 boats from other ports, including two who had never fished in Quepos. The first day the out of town charter was out of the fish until the end of the day and the team went 5 for 8 on sailfish.
Day two was a little better. We drew a boat from Los Suenos with a captain from Boston. We ended up going 7 for 12 on sailfish.
The bummer of the whole thing is that there are some boats getting 40-50 shots at fish a day and boating 20-25, so even if we landed every take down, we have zero chance of placing.
Today I am sitting out and the team is fishing on a boat from a surf camp pretty far from Quepos. I hope they get lucky, but I am not holding my breath.
Tomorrow is our local boat, a 53' Spencer. I am fishing and can't wait to fish on a big Carolina boat.
Today us shore bound people are going to head to the beach and fees some monkeys.
Shake N Bake is in the yard right now getting her bottom stripped and having a new barrier coat put on and having new bottom paint put on. It was pretty rough and peeling off, so it will be interesting to see if performance improves.
Clark, my deckhand, loves fish and loves water, so he jumped in and swam with the sailfish after we released them. As soon as the video is uploaded (internet is painfully slow here), I will post some video of Clark and the sails.
More Canal Photos
We are Quepos Costa Rica for the Offshore World Championship tournament and finally have some down time and some faster internet, so I am putting up a few more photos.
The photos show more of the transit, the "mules" (small locomotives) used to move the ships, the new canal under construction, cranes widening the old canal, and random shots of the canal.
The Canal Transit
We arrived at the canal on 4/2 and were lucky enough to get a center tie slot, meaning we had 4 lines and could stay in the middle and did not have to raft up with anyone.
Our pilot, "Astro" was great. He was super friendly and helpful.
When you enter the canal the line handlers on shore throw a light line with a "monkey fist" over your boat and then you attach your lines and they pull your heavy line over and secure it to a bollard.
Erik, Erin, Nils, and Darrel were stationed on each corner while I drove and Jennifer took photos.
As the water rose, the lines were reeled in to keep us centered.
Everything went well and we were through in record time.
The pilot said that we could go through in the night and do it in one day, but we wanted to seek Lake Gatun, so we moored up, drank tequila, and fished.
We are resting up at the Trump Tower in Panama City and I will post a bunch more when I am not beat.
After a sporty run from Bocas Del Toro, we are finally inside the canal's breakwater.
We are laid up at Shelter Bay Marina. We are getting measured for the canal, getting an oil change, and then on our way in a day or two.
There is not a bunch here, but our room overlooks the boat and the canal breakwater.
The photos below are:
Nils, shirtless and much happier after emptying his stomach.
A Shake N Bake t-shirt has become a part of a gringo bar in Bocas.
Bocas airport, where it is Christmas year-round.
Shake N Bake with the canal breakwater in the backwater.
More to come soon.