A week in Puntarenas and the Costa Rica Yacht Club

We left Los Suenos on Monday morning around 8:00 and headed for Puntarenas. Since the high tide we needed to enter the channel wasn't until 2:30 pm, we took our time making the 25 nm passage, fishing along the way, even turning circles when we thought there was a chance it would help. It was to no avail, however, as nothing was biting on that breeze less hot day.

We had heard that it was necessary to contact the Costa Rica Yacht Club to get a pilot boat to come out and guide you into the channel, but I wanted to see how far we could get on our own, so at about 1:00 pm, we turned into the channel and started making our way towards the yacht club. After about one and a half miles of reasonable depths (10-14'), in front of the commercial dock, near the Coast Guard station, I lost the channel and had to turn around as the depths started falling to 6-7 feet. Our draft is 6' and any less and we would have gone aground! So, at this point we called the CRYC on VHF channel 06 and they sent a pilot boat out to meet us. We followed the pilot boat about 2 miles until he led us to a floating dock at the yacht club, where we tied RHAPSODY up and went into shore to check in.

When we pulled in, they put us right next to our good friends Bruce and Marianne's boat, GALLIVANT. Bruce and Marianne were initially out of town, exploring Monteverde and other nearby places, but they have returned now and are our companions almost daily.

The Costa Rica Yacht Club is quite a nice change of pace compared to Los Suenos, which we had just left. First of all, it's only $20/day for a mooring on a floating dock, much better than the $270/day for a slip at the Los Suenos Marina, or the $40/day just for dinghy landing privileges there! Also, compared to being at anchor in Los Suenos, the channel here is flat and calm, definitely a nice change after two or three tough nights trying to sleep in a rolly anchorage. The $20/day also gives you complete use of the Yacht Club swimming pool and showers, and there is a laundry service right here in the complex, rather than having to tramp miles to shore. There is free Wi-Fi, and one can take a 40 cent bus ride (or a $2.50 taxi ride) to the main downtown area where there are lots of options for shopping, banking, and so on.

About the only negatives to this spot are (a) the channel depth, and the resultant limitation on the times you may come and go, and (b) the bugs. Yes, unfortunately, unlike Los Suenos where there were virtually no bugs, here in the channel of Puntarenas there are apparently lots of no-seeums. No mosquitos that we've noticed, but judging from the several dozen small welts on my body and that constant itchy feeling, the no-seeums (which, of course, you cannot see as they are too small), are fairly active here. Particularly at sunset or when walking through any kind of vegetation I seem to get 6-7 fresh bites a day. Oh well, that's the tropics for you!

However, the calm place to stay has allowed us to do quite a few boat chores. Once again, to give an idea how our time is really being spent, thus far, in the 6 days we have been here, we have:

  • changed the oil in the engine
  • changed the oil in the generator
  • replaced a seal in the water pump on the generator
  • changed the oil in the watermaker
  • done our laundry
  • picked up another DHL package (an ATM card this time)
  • cleaned out some storage areas
  • defrost and clean out the freezer
  • rebuilt and lubricated the comfort fans in all the cabins
  • mounted and wired a new comfort fan at the nav station
  • rewired some lights so that we can turn a single light on the nav station
  • replaced burned out engine panel light bulbs
  • repaired a broken wire to the light in the port compass
  • replaced a bad piece of tubing for the airco cooling water
  • repaired a broken brass fixture for the head's water inlet
  • built 3 web pages, including this one
  • gone grocery shopping once
  • installed Skypeon computer
  • put up our full enclosure for the first time
  • took the propane tanks into town to be filled

In spite of all that we have still had time to have dinner on shore one evening, spend another afternoon at the swimming pool, and have cocktails and a Trivial Pursuit game on GALLIVANT, as well as watch a couple of movies in the evenings. We have even spent part of a day walking around and sightseeing in Puntarenas.

Also of note since we have arrived in Puntarenas is the change in the weather. We have definitely entered rainy season here, as every afternoon at about 4:00 the wind dies, it gets real muggy, and then it starts raining, sometimes quite heavily, perhaps as much as an inch an hour during the worst of it. However, we're nice and dry and cozy in RHAPSODY and so are actually enjoying it a bit.

Finally, please note that I am writing this webpage while we are still here in Puntarenas, on Sunday afternoon, May 25th. Tomorrow we will pick up the filled propane tanks and do a little more provisioning, then on Tuesday we plan to go back to Los Suenos (which is about 35 miles further south) to fill up with fuel and spend one more night there. Then we will try to make a bunch of short legs, avoiding the rain and thunderstorms as much as possible, from there down to Quepos (65 nm), Drakes Bay (70 nm), and eventually Golfito (80 nm), where we will check out of Costa Rica and head for Panama.

Puntarenas and the Costa Rica Yacht Club
Sightseeing Images of Puntarenas