Monday, January 16. Puntarenas.

Written by Jack van Ommen on January 16th, 2017

My previous blog was on Monday the 9th. When I went back in to Chinandega on the early morning bus on Tuesday to get money on my Bank of America debit card it turned out that against the previous Sunday telephone call, followed up by an e-mail confirmation from the BofA, they had not released the blockage on my account after all. I was really angry. But I did manage to get US Dollars on my credit card at the one bank that has a correspondent relation ship with the BofA. But of course at extra charges. Now I am going ahead on this story to last night when I figured I could pull my Costa Rican cash requirements out of the ATM here. Well, guess what? The bozos at the BofA still or anew put another block on my bank account. I was ready to kill them. Poor David at the call center of the BofA received an earful of it in my Skype phone call to them. But miracles do happen, two hours later I managed to pull Costa Rican colones from the ATM.

My next battle is with another faceless entity of robots, Microsoft. I have spent endless hours already in Nicaragua and now here trying to figure out how to upload my videos from the Go-Pro camera to either of my two Windows 10 laptops. MS decided that they now do not like any of my USB devices. The card reader and even my external hard drive or the USB connection between the two lap tops. Whereas two weeks ago they still did. Either nothing happens or it will tell me that MS does not recognize the USB device, or error 45. I am sick and tired in having to earn another PHD degree in MS software applications, after MS makes another upgrade.  So, for the time being, until I can afford a Mac, I have no way to do anything with some good footage I have of the last 2 weeks.

Moon set on January 12th

Moon set on January 12th

The customs/immigration/port captain delegation showed up late Wednesday morning, to clear me out. I left Puesta del Sol at 13.30. By evening, near the main Nicaraguan port of Corinto, the winds started picking up. Out of the south east. The forecast was for easterlies. I tried to work my way back to the shore where the water is calmer but the angle was too close to the wind and became more and more uncomfortable. Instead of hugging the shore I had no choice but to cut right across the windiest part of the Golfo de Papagayao. It were the frequent gusts that were 5 to 10 knots above the average that tested my endurance. I have been in some nasty stuff but this had to be in the 40 knots plus. Similar to the storm in the Med that cost me my first “Fleetwood”. Waves would frequently slam across the port beam and any time I had to do a sail change or retie the dacron genova, slammed from its tie downs, I got hosed with salt water. At times there were short respites when I got a chance to lay down or get some food. But it was not until I got close to Ballena Bay in the Gulf of Nicoya that the seas calmed down.

forecast for early Thursday the 12th

forecast for early Thursday the 12th

My track from DeLorme

My track from DeLorme

track into the YC at Puntarenas

track into the YC at Puntarenas

Four days is a long time to get just a few short naps. My plan had been to get into Bahia Santa Elena for Thursday night or later into Potrero, but I could not take the storm above the beam with just the storm jib. Easing the sheets and going more with the wind aft of the beam was my only option. For a short period, I thought I might not even be able to make the left turn into the Gulf of Nicoya and be left to become the contemporary Flying Dutchman, if I missed the Panama Canal. I dropped the anchor in Ballena Bay at noon on Saturday and my energy returned to clean up the boat, cook a decent linguine a la vongole dinner with a can of chopped baby clams I found in the food locker. There was a lot of water in the cabin bilges. Usually this happens when I run the engine for a long period. I had cleaned the starboard side on Saturday but on Sunday morning there was another five gallons there. This worried me. Had the heavy pounding loosened the keel bolts? I pumped and blotted both sides and I came to the conclusion that most likely the water is coming in from the following seas through the hand bilge pump through hull, which gets under water in heavy seas and significant heel. I will keep an eye on it and do a test with colored water pouring it down the through hull. This gave me a late start on Sunday morning, which turned out to be a terrific sail to Puntarenas. This used to be the main sea port for Costa Rica. I remember working as a clerk at the agency for the joint service of Holland America Line, Royal Mail Lines and Furness Lines on 6th and Spring Street in Los Angeles in the late fifties. These ships loaded bananas, coffee etc. in Puntarenas on their way from Europe to Vancouver, B.C. But the port has become too shallow for the newer ships and a new container port is now at Caldera, just to the south. I moored off on a float just off the shore in the Yacht Club de Costa Rica. To get there, on the back side of the very narrow long peninsula of Puntarenas, is a challenge. It has to be done at high tide to avoid the shallows. But it was worth it. I really like this spot. I am the only foreign visitor. A panga will pick me up 24 hours with a call on Channel 06 on the VHF. There is water and electricity (electricity I do not need) to the float. The ebb runs ferociously fast. I had to sleep on a slant for the worst of it. The club is a very laid back community, part of a hotel/motel with a nice restaurant/bar, swimming pool and showers and bath rooms. Everyone of the personnel is very kind and courteous. The moorage is very reasonable, about 75 cents/ft per day.

"Fleetwood" far right

“Fleetwood” far right

 

Now here is another good reason for being a Roman Catholic as a travelling Christian. The cathedral still had a 6 p.m. service. The O.L. of Mount Carmel. This is one of the most attractive, spiritual churches I have worshipped in. A change from the gaudy and the primitive churches in the last months. The cantor had a great voice. You will hear him on the video when I get my Mac..or someone among you can tell me how I fix this MS usb rejection problem. The recessional was my very favorite Spanish/English hymn, because it is so very appropriate in my life style. http://”Pescador de Hombres” or “Lord you have come to the sea shore”

I get goose bumps at:

Señor, me has mirado a las ojos
sonriendo, has dicho mi nombre
en la rena, he dejado mi barca
junto a ti, buscaré otro mar

O Lord, in my eyes you were gazing, Kindly smiling, my name you were saying;  All I treasured, I have left on the sand there; Close to you, I will find other seas.

023

Idali, the secretary here at the YC, took me to church. She told me her worries for her 14 year old son Fabrizio who has a drug addiction. I am so familiar with this affliction and my heart goes out to her and her son. I offered to meet him and just show an interest. I love young people and remember well my struggles at age 14. We went together on the bus to immigration to make my entry clearance. It turned out that immigration, port captain, customs and health all wish to come to the boat here. It is evening by now and none have showed up yet. Quien sabe, mañana? We had lunch together. He spoke very little English and I had a difficult time understanding his Spanish. But we did bond. Wonderful, kind, polite, handsome young man. He runs around with the wrong friends but has a real hard time finding healthier relationships. Costa Rican kids have a tough environment. A group of about eight southerners were eating at the table across from us. I noticed that they joined in a blessing for the food. My curiosity took over again. I cornered pastor Robert Walker of the The Prayer Room church in Conroe, Tx. His very attractive wife Jennifer prayed a beautiful blessing over my friend and all of us laid hands on Fabrizio. One of the Costa Rican members of their group translated for Fabrizio. I was next and Jennifer knew exactly what to pray for, as if she has known me for years. Robert’s parents are working as missionaries near the capital of San Jose. Fabrizio is a believer and he might have been a little startled but I am sure this was the help he and his mother need. Keep him and his friends in your prayers. I plan to stay here a couple of days and possibly take a day trip excursion. I was in C.R. the last 10 days of 1993 on my last honey moon. In San Jose and at a beach resort on the N.W. coast.

This week it is exactly 60 years ago that I started a new life in the United States of America. I do not have the exact date here when I arrived at New York, I believe it was the 12th. Then I got on the train at Penn Central Station and on the Sante Fe in Chicago to Los Angeles. The train stopped in Santa Fe, N.M., I was so excited to see real Indians on the Santa Fe platform. I had fifty minutes to take a quick look around, when I came back the train was gone. I had misunderstood, it were 15 minutes. My bags aboard. The next train a day later. I have slept on a few more waiting room benches in airports and rail road stations since.

Fabrizio

Fabrizio

 

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