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 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.