Sunday, January 4, 2009


We left Bahia Santa Elena this morning and sailed west to Punta Santa Elena, made an almost 180 degree U-turn south around that cape and sailed close to the southern side of it and north of the Bat Island chain. After weaving between a couple of islands we pulled in to Bahia Potrero Grande. This is a very remote part of one of Costa Ricas National Parks. You surfers may not even recognize that this bay, home of consistently strong off shore winds, egg-laying sea turtles and mangroves is otherwise known as "Ollie's". You non-surfers will be surprised to hear that after 3 days of seeing NO one in Bahia Santa Elena, as we pulled into this bay, approaching the Ollie's surf break, Brian pulled out the binoculars, "I see 3, no 4... 5....7...8 surf charter boats" At a full capacity of 5 surfers each, we estimated up to 40 surfers would be on the water. Two more charter boats zipped in to the bay while we anchored.

It didn't matter. Brian has been so frustrated that this sailboat, with potential to access remote surf spots, has been the very thing keeping him from surfing. Whether it's boat repairs, the fact that anchoring in safe places often keeps us from access to surf breaks, or just the slow travel of sailing keeping us from getting to the right place at the right time...Brian has realized that the ideal of being a "surfer/sailor" is not as beautiful as it sounds. So, the closer we got to Ollie's, the more ready Brian was to hop off of Nomad onto his board and start paddling. He even had his surf trunks and rash guard on before we anchored. His Eric Rausch custom fish was unpacked and waxed before the anchor was set. Finally a good surf/sailboat location. And there's even a really great swell at 17 seconds pushing through. Despite the fact that the wave looks like Santa Cruz's Cowell's Beach on a sunny afternoon, we know that every one of these people has an itchy Costa Rican boat captain eager to leave this afternoon before dark to head them the 20 odd miles back to the hotels and bars of Playa de Coco. Not us. Brian will have the waves to himself soon enough and then first thing in the morning before the charter boats return to disgorge more eager surfers.

I also like this place. There's a neat looking beach waiting for me to explore. I'm close to Brian and can watch him wait in the surf line up (if I was really that bored and had nothing else to do). I know that if an emergency happened he'd be able to paddle over to me in plenty of time. AND there's no rocking an rolling. The steady off shore wind keeps the boat lined up nicely with the waves.

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