Friday, June 9, 2006


The Osa Peninsula is nearly devoid of humans. Frogs and jungle still rule this badlands of Costa Rica, that, and this unremitting rain.

After a couple nights in Drake Bay we motored the 12 miles to Isla Cano since the wind was right on our nose. Very clear water but the surge was too much to consider diving. We departed just before sunset with strong winds at our back. This was to be my first night passage in over 2 months. It all comes back, just like riding a bike. I wrote up the watch shifts (Claudia took a seasickness pill and slept for 15 hours) and posted them on the bulkhead. 2 hours on, 2 hours off. The wind built through the night, at 20 knots we began to reef. Every 7th wave or so a big one would role in and I'd smile at my preventers, keeping us safe from the accidental jibe. It poured rain on and off and I changed from wet to dry (dry is a relative term now) every 2 hours as I went from bunk to helm.

It's interesting, to me, the conditions that I live under. An alien with a light on their forehead pulling me from sleep with a tug on my foot and the words, "You're up", don't seem as strange as they did 6 months ago. We exchange info quickly so that we can get back to our bunks; "I've got one boat right there, the depth is getting more shallow which confirms our position on the chart, the wind seems to be trending down a bit after hitting 25. I reefed the headsail a bit more while you were asleep so you might want to let it out if the wind continues to drop. There's some soup on the stove if you’re interested. See ya in 2 hours".

- In the middle of that last sentence I had to stop and batten down all the hatches. The wind kicked up and the solar panels went from 9.5 to 1.5 when a squall blanketed me at anchor. It's blowing sideways so I can't even keep the vertical hatches open. This is when I become a total shut in. No ventilation, and muggy as hell. At least the bugs go home. But what about the monkeys? I've seen them sitting in the rain, defeated. I empathize. -

We dropped the hook in Golfito at 07:51 on the 7th. Flattest anchorage I've had since the penal colony back in the Golf of Nicoya. God I love flat anchorages. We spent the day reconnoitering the town. Charming, with loads of personality. I'm going to like it here. The next day after taking a paddle, Colin and Claudia left to explore the country. He’ll return in 10 days to help me with the projects we need to complete before the next leg into Panama.

The immediate lurch I found myself in was that there was air in the fuel line of the generator after we changed the fuel filters. I have no manual for this diesel and needed time and another head to help me trace and then figure out how to bleed the air. Ok - I'm resourceful. I went to the internet place. No joy. I went to the most expensive yacht club with a hunch and a bit of knowledge from past yacht clubs.

There sat my targets. I may not be a diesel mechanic but I can be pretty charming when I have to be, and everyone loves the moxy of a man alone, on a sailboat asking for help. Yep - a couple of Brits, one Scottish and the other from Brighton (Yea Suzi!) who knew everything about anything nautical took up my cause, launched the dinghy from the 2 million dollar yacht they were delivering. They buzzed me over to Barraveigh and had those lines bled and the generator purring in no time.

Later that night I bought the drinks. Fortunately I paced myself and had a very productive day today. Changed the oil in the generator, cleaned up the spilled diesel from yesterday, wrote up notes on how to do it on my own the next time, and watched a good movie entitled Cinderella Man. I feel a little like the comeback kid myself right now. It gets hard sometimes. Sometimes I'm lonely, homesick and overwhelmed with all the projects. Sometimes I want to quit. Then I win a little victory, or notice the way the clouds sit on the hillside jungle after a rain, or think about a fighter like James Braddock, and I know I can do this. I will do this.

1 comment:

Sweva said...

Wow...what a psychological workout.

I'm reading through your posts from the beginning. I'll try to catch up this weekend.

Whitey, your writing is awesome. You put the audience in the middle of your experiences and trials. Perfect better write a book!


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