Getting out of Dodge

It seemed so important. True, the whales were running, at least the rumors were flying around Golfito and during happy hour, which lasts for two hours at the Banana Bay Bar. Chama, with a faraway look in his eyes said his brother saw a large pod up close just outside of Golfito. That was all it took. The plan, if it could be called a plan, would be to do a quick morning grocery run and get out of Dodge. You could think of it as a vacation from stasis. We’d check out the whales, anchor at some of the hot spots on the bay and find some cleaner water for a swim.

It’s a big bay…a really big bay. We’d never even seen a whale. I know, I know, the cruising dream includes long intimate interludes of spiritual affirmation while the whale swims along platonically staring into the eyes of a watery friend with a similar philosophy.

Golfo Dulce is found only after executing a ninety degree turn, kind of a large L-shape which kills the famous Pacific swell. Once out of Golfito we chose to turn left towards the the mouth of the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Nothing. Not even a bird. It was great to be moving again but this was not going to be as easy as planned, well there was no hard and fast plan but, well you know.

All of you dear Escapees know we on EV are a resolute crew and we just assumed that we’d have to keep heading out into the Pacific…that’s just what one does, and like our good friends on Macushla always say, “keep calm and carry on” but they’re hanging out in Bonaire in the bosom of fellow friendly cruisers and French bread.

Finally the micro weather system at play here in Golfito which habitually includes copious amounts of rain asserted itself and the thunderheads began to stack up with a general darkening of the sky, which could only mean it was time for our daily thunderstorm. Ok, we here on EV know when it’s time to beat a tactical retreat. The wheel was spun and with no sails to worry about we were on a reciprocal course in no time. The rain came in sheets and with such a large open expanse we could see each individual rain cell trailing a veil of falling rain, some off in the distance and some on top of us.


The new goal was a rolly but interesting anchorage near Punta Copaiba which has a private botanical wonderland nearby specializing in orchids. With little to do we settled into passage mode which featured Marce curled up in the watchkeeper’s resting area and me keeping a loose watch.

You develop a sixth sense about these things aboard a boat. Suddenly I was aware that something had changed. I hopped out on the side deck not knowing what I was even looking for and was met with a huge exhalation and smelled a large plume of fishy water right beside EV’s starboard side. In my best stage whisper I confess I said, “MARCE! WHALES!”


I’m disappointed I’d not had the presence of mind to call out “Thar she blows!” I mean how often does one have the opportunity? I mean did I think I’d scare the thing? It’s twice as large as Escape Velocity. Marce does not wake up happily or quickly from a dead sleep but she immediately headed for the camera while I tracked the small pod. They crossed in front of us and slowly headed off into the stormy sea. Pure magic.


Then the skies opened up with a biblical deluge which made finding the anchorage a serious problem, not to mention the actual anchoring with our semi dangerous, not-quite-right windlass. We closed with the shoreline…at least we thought we were near the shore as the chart plotter had us 500 feet on the land. The charts are none too accurate down here and this shoreline featured a reef notated in the margins, so the heavy rain was obscuring the only thing I trust…my eyes. The water shoaled fast, going from hundreds of feet to sixteen in what felt like a heart beat. Marce gave the command to let go the anchor and 150 feet rattled out of the chain locker only arrested by your humble servant and my trusty heavy neoprene gloves. The rain was still pelting down obscuring the shoreline but I always get a good feeling when our anchor bites into the bottom. Engine off.



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