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Golfo Santa Elena and Golfo de Papagayo, Northern Costa Rica

After picking up 'Nana' in Playas del Coco, we spent a few nights anchored off of Playa Panama in Bahia Culebra, before heading back up to Bahia Santa Elena by way of the Murcielagos islands, where we spent the better part of a week before returning to Playas del Coco and Bahia Culebra.  Melissa managed to get a dive in with Roma (video) and Steve from s/v Trinity on the rocks off of Punta Mala (Eric was recovering from an ear infection and so elected to stay out of the water) and took some cool underwater video of some very colorful fish!

It's rainy season here (May-November) so everything is wet, lush, green and growing, but along with the rich rain-forest canopy and all the wildlife that lives there, you also see cactus lining the shores and growing among and alongside the wild teak and mango trees.  The northern part of Costa Rica is known as a "Dry Tropical Forest" and when its not the rainy season here, well, its the dry season and they tell us the area becomes downright arid with more of a dry, desert climate.  You wouldn't know it at the moment though, as it rains inches every afternoon!  At only 9 degrees north of the equator, the sun strikes the ocean here with full force, creating a ton of evaporation and convection.  Super huge (and I mean really, truly, you-don't-see-this-kind-of-thing-in-the-states, 40,000 feet high, big, black and menacing kind of impressive) thunderclouds form during the heat of the day and start to fill the sky in the late afternoon, producing torrential downpours around 4-5pm and huge lightning bolts visible even in the afternoon sunshine.  It rains (inches!) nearly every night and some nights those huge thunder clouds come right over and sit on us in the form of very scary electrical storms.  On several occasions, we've had bolts hitting the water all around us (one-one-thous...crash!) and we now have our nightly lightning preparation routine down to a science.  We've actually become quite respectful and perhaps even a little frightened of lightning down here, which only sounds silly until you realize we are driving around in a vehicle with thousands of dollars of sensitive electronics onboard and a 75 foot tall metal lightning rod called a mast sticking up out of it! 

But all the clouds also provide some relief from the sun and the climate here is actually quite a bit cooler than we experienced farther north.  And the good news is that the clouds seem to dissipate or move on by morning and so the days are generally clear, calm and sunny and very comfortable until the clouds show up again in the afternoon, the lesson being that if you want to do some provisioning, or make a gas run, or walk around a town, you do it early in the day or you get wet!  

As always, click on the images to see a larger view.


Mel goes diving with Roma and Steve from Trinity. Viradores Norte Rock in the background.

Giant Puffer fish.

Spotted Eel.

School of Jacks.

Needle Fish.


I thought shcool was over for the year?

Spotted Lepord Ray.

Kelsey Wake Boarding for the first time.

Dad and RJ in the tow boat.

Almost up!

There we go!

Looking good!

Nana and the kids on the tube in Bahia Santa Elena.

Wayfinder underway off Cabo Santa Elena.

Charter boat off Punta Mala at sunset.

Nana and Kelsey in a freshwater pool after the rains in the Murcielagos islands, Costa Rica.

Kelsey and her Grandmother being pulled on the boogy boards behind the dingy.

Giant Iguana near the ranger station, Murcielagos Islands, Costa Rica.

Another Iguana.

Playing Blackjack with Nana. Dad's the dealer.

Sula and Trinity kids in the kayak, Bahia Panama, Costa Rica.

RJ finds a (very) green grasshopper, Murcielagos islands.

Crews of Sula, Trinity, Ocean Rider and Romanzing the 'Z' on the beach near the ranger station, Bahia Murcielagoes.

Ranger Station, Bahia Murcielagoes.

Sula and Trinity at anchor, Bahia Murcielagos.

Kelsey and Nana swimming off the boat, Mucielagos islands, Costa Rica.

View of Bahia Murcielagos from the hill above the ranger station.

Murcielagos arch on the south side of the islands.

Steve from s/v Trinity and Melissa view small, jewl-like fish vertebre, polished by the surf in the Murcielagos islands.

Nana hanging out on the beach, Murcielagos islands.

Kel and Nana in the galley.

RJ and Kelsey doing the summer reading underway for Play Panama.


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