A note on provisioning in Costa Rica

May 29, 2002.

A note on provisioning in Costa Rica. At least in Puntarenas, we have not found plain yogurt. They sell only small container of pricey fruit flavored yogurts. We had just taken a liking to yogurt with fruits or granola for breakfast as it is very refreshing, and so I decided it was time to master the making of yogurt. I had tried before with limited success, but finally managed to get the recipe right and now I make a liter of yogurt every 3 or 4 days for our breakfast. I will not give you the recipe, it is easy enough for you to get to the supermarket and get a large container whenever you want. But is it another cruising skill we have acquired. Finding tender beef is also getting very difficult, so we put our beef in the small food processor of our handheld mixer and make ground beef for hamburgers or stuffed vegetables. Try stuffed chayote someday, it is delicious! Chayote is a bland pear shape firm vegetable that can be used as zucchini except that it requires much longer cooking, more like a potato. It has the perfect size to be stuffed with meat and does not get soggy like zucchini. We keep adapting to local supply. I now make my zucchini bread with mangoes which can be picked off the ground in many places. Clark does not like mangoes, but the cloves in the zucchini bread hide them. I have just started to like mangoes, especially with the tangy contrast of yogurt.

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Provisioning

May 29, 2002.

A note on provisioning in Costa Rica. At least in Puntarenas, we have not found plain yogurt. They sell only small container of pricey fruit flavored yogurts. We had just taken a liking to yogurt with fruits or granola for breakfast as it is very refreshing, and so I decided it was time to master the making of yogurt. I had tried before with limited success, but finally managed to get the recipe right and now I make a liter of yogurt every 3 or 4 days for our breakfast. I will not give you the recipe, it is easy enough for you to get to the supermarket and get a large container whenever you want. But is it another cruising skill we have acquired. Finding tender beef is also getting very difficult, so we put our beef in the small food processor of our handheld mixer and make ground beef for hamburgers or stuffed vegetables. Try stuffed chayote someday, it is delicious! Chayote is a bland pear shape firm vegetable that can be used as zucchini except that it requires much longer cooking, more like a potato. It has the perfect size to be stuffed with meat and does not get soggy like zucchini. We keep adapting to local supply. I now make my zucchini bread with mangoes which can be picked off the ground in many places. Clark does not like mangoes, but the cloves in the zucchini bread hide them. I have just started to like mangoes, especially with the tangy contrast of yogurt.

Cedros

5-28-02 Cedros again

Rain Rain Rain. It has been raining hard for 4 days. We checked a wefax yesterday and though it implied the rain would let up, it also called for 8 foot swells for the next couple of days. We were getting a real rolly ride at the last anchorage and we knew that the next place we wanted to go would be worse, so we made a strategic retreat. We are back at Cedros and are happy about the decision. This anchorage is really protected so we aren’t moving much at all. In a couple of days we will take off from here for Punta Leone. We will wait for the wefax to say the swell has dropped. All of this weather is coming from the usual tropical waves that march through just above the equator and a low that is parked just below Cuba. I hope the low will move out soon. The waves cause enough rain but with both combined this is ridiculous.

The rain lightened up today noticeably. We only got a couple of inches. Only had to bail out the dingy once. We are getting a bit of cabin fever. Birgitta is still a bit sick. I have been doing boat projects. Among other things I took the watermaker apart and cleaned it. It now is back up to 8 gallons per hour of fresh water production. It was down to about 6 since the end of last season. I am pretty happy about that but it was a lot of work getting it out and back in. We found that our HAM radio antenna tuner wasn’t working yesterday. We dug everything out of the starboard lazerette and removed it. The tuner has to be installed as close to the antenna as possible and for us that means all the way back at the stern in the lazarette, an inconvenient place to reach. I gave the relays a sharp rap (technical tap) with a screwdriver and put it back together. It seems to work fine now. I think one of the relays got stuck closed.

Tomorrow I will possibly dive on the boat and clean the bottom really well. We seemed to move quite a bit faster on the way here with the waterline scrubbed. We will also likely do laundry as we have lots of collected rain water. All we need is some sun to dry the cloths before they start mildewing. Based on the wefax and today’s weather I expect tomorrow will be sunnier and the next day the swell will be down.

Isla Tortugas

5-26-02 Isla Tortugas

Air 83F Overcast and RAIN!!!!

It has been raining all night. It cleared for a couple of hours this morning and I bailed out the dingy.

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It was about to sink after only about 12 hours of rain. If I had mounted the big motor, at 75 lbs, it surely would have sunk. Based on the dingy I expect we have gotten more then 5 inches of rain in the night. By about 8 this morning it started to rain again and has been coming down steadily since. I will have to bail out the dingy tonight before bed just to keep it floating by morning. I have filled every bucket and can we have with rain water.

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We already filled our water tanks with drinking water and with what looks like a unlimited supply of shower and laundry water I think I will pickle the water maker. With all this rain we don’t make much electricity from our solar panels. We have the wind generator up but that won’t keep up with watermaking. Up to now we haven’t used the engine to make electricity while at anchor, I hope to never need to. It will be nice not to worry about making water for a while. If we only drink and cook with our tank water – and do dishes now and then – it should last for over a month.

Birgitta is still feeling poorly but her fever has broken. It was too bad that she had to get sick on her birthday. She says she enjoyed herself anyway. Today she is laying in bed drinking tea. Really I think she likes being sick once in a while to feel that she can just lay around and drink tea. It is usually to hot for her to enjoy hot tea and, normally, she doesn’t seem to be able to sleep in. With the rain, and the cool weather it brings, I think she is quite happy with her morning. She is smiling.

Because of her being tired and the rain we will be staying here tonight as well. I will request a new weather chart when I send this out. Yesterday I got a 24 hour chart that showed the tropical wave that is causing all this should have passed by now. Maybe it stalled over us or the next one moved much faster then predicted. We had hoped to use the break between them to make our crossing. (By the way, it isn’t much of a crossing, only about 15 miles, but we understand that the other side has even more rain then here and we don’t want to motor in this rain unless we have to.) Usually there is an afternoon wind that would move us nicely across the golf but with the rain sailing isn’t all that inviting.

I might get the huka out this afternoon and finish scrubbing the bottom. I scrapped the barnacles off last week but yesterday I used a brush and cleaned down to paint as far down as I could reach from the surface. I also cleaned the bottom of the dingy which was covered with what looked like 20 grit sand paper after only about 2 weeks. With the bottom really clean I am hoping the cleaning will last a bit longer. It might not because our paint is so bad but it is worth a try. We should be faster with the bottom clean, for a while at least, and that is always nice. I am looking forward to getting new bottom paint on the boat. I understand that there is a good place to get some in the canal zone. Until then I will be diving and cleaning a lot. I hope the big growth is over for a while as the water is much clearer here then up in the golf of nicoya proper. Up in the last anchorage I couldn’t even see the hull until I was within about 2 feet of it. Now I can see the whole keel from just under the surface. Better visibility should mean less nutrients in the water. We understand that the water gets clearer in Panama so I hope the growth isn’t as bad down there. We will likely get a lot of growth in the next Golf, Golfo Dulce. So I expect to do a big cleaning after that. Before I scraped the bottom we were down to a motoring speed of about 3.5 knots with the engine pushing us at what would usually have us going 6. The boat Espresso followed us to the Muertos anchorage, where I did my last cleaning, and had trouble keeping behind us. We were pathetic. Just goes to show you, You cannot trust ANY work done on a boat. You have to watch everything. Painting a boat bottom is about the easiest thing in the world to do. I didn’t check up on the guys but it looks like they didn’t bother to mix the paint before applying it. All the copper in the paint settles to the bottom. You have to mix it before applying it or you are applying just paint and no anti-fouling. Our paint looks great but it would be better applied to the side of a house then a boat bottom. Ten minutes of mixing on their part would have saved many hours of hard labor on my part every month until I apply new paint. On top of that bottom paint should last at least a year. Had it been done right I wouldn’t have necessarily needed to go through the expense and hassle of repainting until we were in Florida. The only part of the boat not growing is the center board that they didn’t paint and still has 2 year old paint I applied in Seattle. Thanks Marina San Carlos!

Islas Tortugas

 

May 25, 2002. Islas Tortugas, Costa Rica.

N 9 deg. 46′ 34″
W 84 deg. 53′ 18″

On Friday, the morning started with light rain and we decided to pospone our visit to the Curu park because monkeys don’t move much when it rains. Clark took advantage of the day by replacing the seal in our diesel engine raw water pump which had been leaking more and more.

 

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This morning the sun greeted us bright and early, and we moved Temptress right in front of the Curu beach. The beach has a very slight slope which meant that, this morning at low tide, a very long wedge of sand was exposed and we got quite a workout hauling the dinghy up to the high tide line. We could not wait for high tide as the wind usually picks up in the afternoon making the anchorage in front of the beach unsafe. We were entertained by an army of bright red crabs scurrying around the beach to gather their breakfast. As soon as we approached they ran to their holes and seemed to be just swallowed by the sand in one eye blink.

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Ephemeral patterns in the sand created by an invisible crustacean

The highlight of the visit was tracking down and finally seeing the howler monkeys which we have been hearing almost daily since we arrived in Costa Rica. We had to leave the trails and follow their loud calls (following the example of another group with a guide) and after scrambling up a hill we were rewarded by finding them scampering around in tall trees. We also saw several friendly looking white-faced capuchin monkeys in the same area. During our long walk, we observed many lizards from 2 inches to 2 feet in size, and countless crabs: purple crabs with yellow sides and red claws and hermit crabs walking under their shells. We also caught sight of several tropical birds: woodpeckers, white-throated magpie jays and a sort of red-legged quail. The forest itself was green and lush, mixing mangroves near the river and tropical trees with huge shallow roots forming serpentine ridges around the trunk bases.

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At about 11 AM, after we found the monkeys, it started raining and we returned to the boat and moved back to Islas Tortugas. The rain only kept intensifying and, as I write this at 9PM, it is still pouring buckets outside and seems to only get worse. We have already filled all our spare tubs with rain water for laundry, showers and dishwater.

In the afternoon, Clark scrubbed again part of the bottom of Temptress. He had done a good cleaning with the huka just a week ago but because of bad bottom paint, algae and barnacles grow back very quickly. He had baby crabs crawling in his ears in the process!

Tonight, we celebrated my birthday. Clark made a wonderful meal despite the flooded barbecue and finished the meal with a delicious chocolate cake served with hazelnut sauce. Then he gave me a beautiful silver necklace. I am a lucky girl! Unfortunately, I also suffered from a cold with a bit of fever, so we posponed opening the special bottle of zinfandel we had saved for the celebration.

Tomorrow, we plan to cross the gulf of Nicoya to Punta Leone where we understand that it rains even more. There, we hope to visit a very nice private nature reserve.

Hope all is well with you.