Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Samara, Costa Rica 24-Feb-2016

Samara, Costa Rica

24 – Febrero - 2016

South of the main Papagayo Winds, time to start to slow down again.

We left Bahia Brasilito early for the fifty-one mile sail to Samara. The coast was a mix of rocky headlands with beautiful sandy beaches interspersed. From a couple of miles offshore, to avoid unmarked rocks and islets, we could see huge crashing surf pounding up the beaches and sending mountainous plumes up the rock faces, reminding us that this is a surfer’s paradise not a sailor’s.

From Cape Scott on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, a coastal voyage is defined by the progression of Capes (Cabos) and Points (Puntas) one rounds. They are areas of changeable weather more noted to sailors for the storms they generate than their raw beauty which is often awe inspiring. This leg had Punto Guiones where the Costa Rican coast turns east west as it runs down the Nicoya Peninsula. Fortunately, the weather window held and we rounded the point with dolphins, flying fish and a mother whale with her exuberant baby doing dolphin leaps. This also took us to a line where the Papagayos are less frequent and less severe.
Samara, low tide at the village end of the beach, reef beyond

There are few anchorages on this area of the coast and those that exist are better known for the rolling motion of the ocean swells than their tranquility. With the recent long run of Papagayos from the north east we were hoping the Pacific Ocean southern swell would be lessened and we chose the anchorage based on this probability. Samara is a beautiful crescent shaped bay about two miles along the beach. Our best anchorage location was to tuck into the southeastern end of the bay behind a central reef and an island and reef on the eastern shore. The gap between the island and mainland is open to the south so we were rocked to sleep every night but generally not too heavy. The rest of the bay was open to much more surging conditions. This location meant you have a mile and a half walk to the village.
Kanilela a speck in the distance at south end of the bay

Samar has a lot of small beach hotels that cater to Ticas (Costa Ricans) and expats from Europe and North America, an interesting mix. It is known as a safe beach where the surf has no rip tides so Tica families have long visited Samara. There are some exclusive resorts in the area and some expat gated communities. The bars and restaurants are the gathering places for these people, some who have been down here for twenty years. It was more relaxed than Cocos and we were not worried about pending gale force winds so we slowed down. Beach walks to the village, long lunches visiting with local expats and enjoying the view of waves breaking on the reef. There are two good stores for provisioning, a Pali, and Super Samar with the Super Samar having a much better liquor selection. Water and fuel could be carried in jugs to your boat but we fortunately, did not need any. The surf in and off the beach was generally manageable but it was another beach where dinghy wheels were magic. More kudos to our friend Steve at DaNard Marine in Oxnard, California. He has the best made wheels on the market and will ship them to you, as he did for us to Vancouver. Dinghy wheels are an absolute “don’t leave home without them” item.  Of our several beach landings and exits, only one exit was a bit wet, fortunately the dinghy did not flip and the motor stayed dry! The skipper did get another lesson in patience though, as the surf died down within the hour. When will I learn?
Sunsets, they never get old

Watching the sun set into the Pacific is a great pastime but the allure of Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) and Golfo Nicoya beckoned.

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