Goodbye to High Climber: Golfito to Playa Flamingo 


Well, I have gotten behind on writing the last week, so will do a quick summary of what we have been up to. Last Monday we motored away from Golfito, turned out of the bay in to the Pacific, and headed North towards Nicoya Bay. It was a 150 mile journey, with absolutely zero wind. Therefore the engine was on the entire time.. this has both negatives and positives. The positive being that we can use the autopilot, which means for the entire 36 hours no one touched the wheel, making our watches easy going. Another positive is that because there was no wind the sea state was fairly calm, so I didn’t get scared or sick. The negatives, which are a bit more powerful than the positives, are that the engine is extremely loud. And also it’s a sailboat, we all wanted to be sailing, not motoring, so the moral is a bit lower than when there is good sailing. The other thing is that when motoring, because the boat is not healed at all, we roll with the large waves of the Pacific- so it’s just a bit uncomfortable, although not enough to make me sick. Anyway! Regardless, it was a beautiful motor and we were close to shore the entire trip, which was mountainous and beautiful. Arriving in Nicoya Bay, we dropped anchor in a small bay within Nicoya called Ballena. Settling right outside a small fishing village around 9pm, we made pasta with red sauce and Kyle and Max had theirs with some freshly caught Tuna. The following day Max went to do some engine work and discovered an issue with the fuel line, which explains some of the other engine problems we had been having. He had lots of work to do, so Kyle and I went and explored the surrounding villages for a couple hours.

 Pulling the dinghy up on a black sand beach covered in large rocks, I tied it to a tree and we turned left, walking towards the fishing village along a dirt road. The village was small, with lots of open air houses and children running around. Everyone was friendly and waved or said ‘Hola’ has we walked around. Coming towards the end of the village we decided to turn around and walk the other direction. After about 20 minutes of following the dirt road to a paved road, we ran into another small village, but this one was much different. The tiny town of Tambor was very tourist orientated with lots of cute shops and restaurants right on the water. We found a little shop that had all sorts of beautiful tapestries and I bought a really colorful one that I am in love with. The woman who sold it to us was very kind and gave us information on the area and some tips on making sure we don’t get “gringo’d” by taxi drivers as she put it haha.

 The following day we made a venture into a town 15 miles away to find a new fuel hose for the engine. It was a nice bus ride up a mountain, providing us with awesome views of the Pacific and Nicoya Bay below. I am amazed at how incredibly green everything is in this country. Even when we spend time in populated towns, the greenery is more prevalent than the development. I feel like wherever I am standing is just the most beautiful 360 degree view. With some groceries and a new fuel hose we headed back to High Climber. The following morning we took off around 11am for mine and Kyle’s last hop on the boat. About 130 miles and 24 hours of being underway and we’d arrive in Playa Flamingo. This time we had wind for about 4 hours of the trip and while the rest of the time was spent motoring, those 4 hours were glorious. A light breeze along with a current pushed us along at a constant 6-7 knots. The sun was setting over the tall mountains protruding from the sea to our right and a few dolphin swam at the bow of the boat. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, but we were feeling fortunate to have finally had some time under sail, the only noise being the boat pushing through the water and the occasional bird. We also saw 2 sets of sea turtles mating on the surface of the water.. pretty funny and interesting that we saw 2 set within 20 minutes!

 Around 5am on Saturday morning while I was on shift I made the turn in towards Playa Flamingo Bay. The sun was just coming up over the mountains and there was a low mist on the lower half of the mountains, causing part of the mountain to disappear before its peak reached out into the sky. Despite the motor, it was quiet morning and I waited to wake Max as long as possible, enjoying the solitude and quiet of the rising sun and towering mountains. As we started to get real close to land I shouted down to Max, waking him to come help me bring us into the anchorage. With Max taking over the wheel I attempted to help with the anchoring, but ended up having to wake up Kyle- it’s just a bit too heavy for me! Being that none of us had slept much the last 24 hours (it’s very different having 3 people instead of 4!) we put up the sun tarp and went back to sleep for a few hours. Around noon we headed to shore to find some wifi, the bus stop, and explore the town of Playa Flamingo.

 The next day Kyle and I spent the entire afternoon packing our gear, cleaning out our cabin, and consolidating what we are bringing with us and what Max is going to ship back to Florida. It was a bitter sweet feeling packing up all our gear, and by late afternoon we had everything ready to go. The following morning Max rowed us to shore around 8am and walked us to the bus station. Saying our goodbyes Kyle and I waved goodbye to High Climber and wished Max luck with his new crew and the next half of his journey to California. I was filled with anticipation and excitement as we boarded the bus to San Jose about what the next 2 weeks of exploring Costa Rica by foot would bring. One of Kyle’s best friends, Ryan, is flying into Costa Rica on the 9th, and we have rented a car for the week before we all fly out on the 17th- so Kyle and I are heading to the Caribbean coast for a few days while we wait for Ryan to arrive. I’m really looking forward to seeing the other coast of the country!

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