At this point in the movie all you attentive Escapees will be waiting for the well known phrase, “the dead pig has floated by.” However this time it looked a lot like a pelican who, if not dead, was doing a extremely slow Australian crawl while staring blankly up at me. Trapped between Escape Velocity and Catnip it’s eyes seemed to follow me where ever I went. Safe to say it’s not a good omen. It’s time to go.
We’d left the dink in the water overnight, something we rarely do but we had an early date to check out with the port captain and of course there had been the bottomless margaritas the night before on Georgia J with Kim and Sharon, our mooring mates, adhering to our tradition of a last supper before leaving, which lasted long past cruisers midnight, eight pm. Earlier that day we’d painted Escape Velocity on the clubhouse Wall of Infamy at TierraMar and even snuck in a Formula 1 race on Banana Bay’s wide screen.
The good news was we wouldn’t be traveling far that day, just across the bay to Puerto Jimenez. The anchorage is tricky with spots that are very deep and spots that are very shallow right beside each other with an eight foot tide thrown in just for fun. Not a skipper’s dream. We managed, but we decided to go deep after being warned that where we were would shoal too much.
I haven’t mentioned how wonderful having an “anchor down” button is and re-anchoring isn’t the chore it once was. Well, let’s just say it’s changed my life and leave it at that.
So as I was saying, tomorrow’s crew call was for false dawn for a quick getaway because we had to make the 60 miles to Drake Bay before nightfall. The starboard engine got the call for the thirteen-hour passage around the Osa Peninsula which contains Corcovado National Park. We can get more RPM out of this engine but it likes to overheat and its alternator cooked a start battery getting us here from the Galapagos. Our taciturn Hungarian mechanic wasn’t sure if he’d fixed the thing as it was more of a laying-on-of-hands kind of thing than any real repair.
It takes a long time to get out of Golfo Dulce and Marce, not used to bouncing around, immediately started looking a little green. It’s always lumpy getting out of these bays but I think it was the curse of the Dragon Lady (DL) or maybe that pelican. I hate to admit it but the DL won. She got us thrown out of Gofito but not Costa Rica, defying the US Embassy, International treaty, her new boss, logic, or any shred of common decency. We just worked around her with a tremendous amount of help from Scott at Marina Pez Vela, apparently their lawyer, our insurance company and a port captain that doesn’t have his head buried deep up his butt. The DL must go! That said we are not out of the woods yet and we will be revisiting our status monthly with Caldera/Puntarenas Customs. We’ve spent 95% of our time and energy dealing with Golfito Customs and it’s time we got back to the job at hand as evidenced by a panicked email from our rigger in Florida this morning saying he’s waiting for answers to questions that we thought we’d answered weeks ago.
I gotta go so let’s give Jimenez a B with a tricky anchorage, good pizza, dirt roads; and Drake Bay a C. It’s raining, with a wide open and rolly anchorage, but wait, there’s more. Eagle eye Marce spotted a panga approaching shore not far from us, suddenly turn right and disappear without a trace. Not at all obvious but could this be the famous Agujitas River? We decided not to flog the Volvos two days in a row, stay put and explore another jungle river.
With much trepidation we approached the spot where Marce saw that panga disappear and with a hard right around a rock formation a whole new world was revealed. That moment of discovery is what I live for. Dozens of colorful pangas and kayaks lined the banks with Eco lodges and pergolas everywhere. The scene was set for wonder and amazement. We followed four kayakers up the magical river with the outboard raised up to the we-don’t-have-a-spare-propeller setting, under a foot bridge, around rocks and bends with a canopy of trees seemingly hundreds of feet above, until the river was no wider than Catnip.
The current was quite strong while funneling through the rock-faced narrows. I managed to turn Catnip around and turned off the motor to drift all the way back to the lodges where we tied up the dink for a spot of hiking and spotted spider monkeys playing in the treetops always at a discrete distance.
Ok, so we never made it into town but I say give me a jungle river every time. That rates an A plus in my book and even rivals the Indian River in Dominica.
No evidence of a Sir Francis visit, however.