Another week or so in Puntarenas sitting the weather
On our previous webpage,
written on Sunday, May 25th, we mentioned that we were planning to leave
Puntarenas very soon, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday, May 27 or 28.
In preparation for our departure, in addition to getting fuel on Monday,
we checked the weather forecasts daily, using two sources, "GRIB" files
which we get from Sailmail, and Point Forecasts that we get from
a service called Buoyweather.com.
As of Tuesday morning, neither of these
sources showed any unusual expected activity, so we went into shore on Tuesday
afternoon to checkout, and have a final beer and a few games of pool before departing
on Wednesday morning.
While we were shooting pool, a boat we know, KETCHING UP, with Noel, Ashley
and The Boys pulled into the Yacht Club and took the floating dock afront our boat.
Noel came ashore to check in, and as we said our hellos to him, he told
us the sad story about their dinghy getting stolen the night before at Islas
Cedros/Jesusitas. He said that it had rained heavily thru the night, making a lot
of noise, and although they thought they might have heard something, they never
went outside to check it out. They had brought their dinghy out of the water,
lifting it on a halyard next to the boat, and had removed the motor and brought
it on board and secured it to a motor mount on a railing. When they got up in
the morning, the dinghy and motor were both gone!
It was bad enough that someone had stolen their dinghy, but the fact that someone
boarded KETCHING UP and took the motor from the deck was downright scary.
No one wants to think about the possibility of waking up to someone coming on board
their vessel, possibly armed and with ill intent.
We had been anchored in the same place for 3 days (see our
webpage) just about a week before,
and, in addition to being told about a recent dinghy theft by Hugh from
ARGONAUTA 1, I had noticed a few shady characters eyeballing RHAPSODY as they
slowly rowed by in their canoes. Then, after Noel told us about their theft,
we checked on the web for other reports and found that several other dinghies
and motors have been stolen from Cedros/Jesusitas in the past few months.
So, word to the wise, LOCK YOUR DINGHY UP when visiting Islas Cedros & Jesusitas
in Costa Rica!
Anyway, as Noel was telling us this, we mentioned that we would be leaving
the next morning, and he offhandedly asked if we had seen the weather forecasts
for the high, 11 to 17 foot, seas that were predicted the next day.
In fact, it had been a long time since I had checked the sea state, being
more interested these days in the wind/rain/lightning forecasts, and told him that
I had not. He suggested that we check it out before departing.
As Noel was finishing his check-in, we finished our pool game and then
went into the Yacht Club bar for a beer where we ran into two sailors, Michael and
another gentleman whose name we cannot remember, from a 32' sloop called HARMONY.
They told us they were also planning on leaving the next morning, and when we told
them what Noel had told us about the high seas forecast, they said that it didn't bother
them, they were going to leave anyway. Further conversation also revealed that
they did not have an SSB or any way to communicate long range on their boat.
We urged them to reconsider, then went back to RHAPSODY where, thanks to
my nifty long-range WI-FI antenna, we were able to check the weather again using
the free Internet service provided by the CR Yacht Club.
Sure enough, Buoyweather was forecasting 11 to 17' seas, and where they had
previously been calling for 8-10 knot winds, they had upped the forecast to
12-18 knots. After a hurried discussion, we, being rather prudent
sailors, decided to forestall our departure until the weather cleared up.
The next morning, when we got up around 7:00 am, we noticed that HARMONY had
already left. We tried to raise them on the VHF to warn, but apparently they were
out of range by the time we awoke, and so we were not able to contact them.
Since we were going to stay in Puntarenas for a few more days, and since
it was Bruce and Marianne's 30th anniversary, we all agreed to meet
on GALLIVANT for champagne and Trivial Pursuit at about 4:00 p.m., which we did.
By 5:00, it was raining quite heavily, and when we left at about 7:00 p.m.,
we got drenched going the 10 yards or so between the boats. That evening,
or more properly early in the morning, about 3:00 am, I was awakened by the
heavy rain and wind. I turned on the instruments and saw gusts of 30+ knots;
it was raining so hard you could hardly hear yourself think! I took a quick
look outside on RHAPSODY to make sure things were ok, which they were, and noticed
that Bruce and Marianne were also awake, lashing things down and removing
a rain/sun tarp that had come loose on the foredeck of GALLIVANT.