Central Costa Rica (October 2004)
We are anchored next to Punta Leona in the Gulf of Nicoya, about halfway down the Pacific coast.  
Our days have been filled with just hanging out on the boat and it has been wonderful.  Okay - I'll be
truthful.  Some days, Martin (whose school uniform consists of his boxer shorts-which just goes to
show you have to pick your battles) is the biggest pain!  And Emily gets a bit of a teenage attitude
and her cabin is a mess.  And the kids fight.  And Lou and I have our fights. In fact, I was thinking
how Emily and Martin will never be misled.  When I was growing up, I thought my parents never
fought.  But I grew up in a 4 bedroom house on 80 acres.   When you are in a 42 foot boat-there are
no secrets.   So, okay its not paradise.  But, sometimes-and more times than when we were on
land--   it is so magical.  

We are enjoying our buddyboat-Amorita.  All eight of us get along with each other.  It really is very
rare.  They have been so kind in showing us all their special anchorages in Northern Costa Rica.  

We have been extremely fortunate to be introduced by Lou's aunt, Sister Theresa Dietz to one of
her former students from Costa Rca, Audrey McDermott Liscano and her husband, Gustavo, their
daughter, Melissa, their son, Mauricio, Melissa's husband, Victor and Mauricio's girlfriend, Suner.  
Not to forget-- a ferret named Mustafa and a dog named Bacchus!  They are delightful people full of
energy and love and enthusiasm!    They have been so kind in showing us around this rich coast.  

Their whole family has fascinating stories-which I love to hear!  Audrey's father worked for the United
Fruit Company in Golfito.  The executives' children were sponsored by the company to attend
schools outside of Costa Rica-room, board and tuition.  Audrey took a banana boat through the
Panama Canal and arrived in New Orleans where she attended St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa,
Miss.  This is where she met Sister Theresa (Anthony Ann was her name in those days).  Sister
Theresa was the youngest nun and was much loved by the high school students.  Sister Theresa
has continued her friendships with her former students in Costa Rica and other parts of the world.  

So, what do you want to hear about?  

We caught three dorado coming down the coast.  Lou has gotten quite handy at filleting fish.  And
we are discovering more and more recipes.  

Martin, Lou and Emily are enjoying learning how to surf.   Well, Martin is really enjoying it and talks
about it 90% of the time.  Lou and Emily are taking advantage of the opportunities as they arise
(literally), but are finding there is a huge learning curve.  

We anchored at Playa Tamarindo where there is pretty good surf.  Emily will tell the story of our
misadventure in Playa Tamarindo below…

I'm enjoying kayaking.  I think one of our best "fluff" purchases was the inflatable kayak.  It gives us
one more mode of transportation.  Man handling the dinghy on to shore by myself is not my idea of
having fun.  I have found it is pretty easy to take the kayak to shore.  I had one very challenging
beach exit.  I thought I was getting the set right-but I got swamped.  I headed back into shore and a
local guy helped me swim the kayak out over the breakers and got me on my way.  I think one of my
favorite experiences of travel is accepting the kindnesses of strangers.

Still in the company of Amorita, we have been enjoying the Gulf of Nicoya.  Although, because of
rainy season, the water is pretty murky.  We have enjoyed the shores.  

One of our favorite stops has been Playa Curu.  There we took a wonderful horseback ride through
this reserve!  We saw deer, coyote, iguana, scarlet macaws (in flight) and monkeys (the white faced
capuchin and howler).  This was not the "sign a waiver and release" trail ride where you ride nose to
butt through the trails.  No way-we were fording swollen streams, having the horses "wade" through
thigh high mud and then cantering and galloping over a marsh.  We had a ton of fun and everyone
was a little bit sore after the ride.  I think I won the mud award.

After a nice sail across the Gulf of Nicoya, we anchored at Punta Leona where our friends, Gus and
Audrey have a beautiful beach house.  This is a nice resort community where there are 3 pools and
access to some beautiful beaches.  Gus and Audrey have opened their home to us and we are so
grateful for their hospitality.  We hope that we can meet up with them as we head down the coast
and cross the Pacific.  

Lou and I are going to a lot of trouble to get our absentee ballots here and taken back to the USA so
we can vote for Kerry.  We ask you to be kind and not cancel out our votes.  It may not matter-we
are voting in Florida, so they may find a way to throw out our votes anyway.  (Such a skeptic!)

What we are reading:

Guess what Martin is reading-Surfing magazines.

Lou finished "Short History of Just about Everything" and "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson.  He
enjoyed both books a lot.  One of Bill Bryson's speculations is about DNA and how DNA is just using
the earth and its inhabitants to "take over".  When you are walking through a rain forest in the rainy
season, where everywhere you look there is life- and we can't even see half of it - it makes you
ponder this theory.  Lou also read "Dude, Where's My Country" by Michael Moore.

Mary finished, "Holding the Line" by Barbara Kingsolver.  This book was about the Copper strikes in
Arizona that were mainly staffed by women.  It was an interesting read especially when Emily, Martin
and I are studying Economics in a book called, "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?"  The author
doesn't  take kindly to unions and suggests that unions disrupt the natural economic cycle.  I'm also
reading, "Life is Good" a biography of George Dawson, a descendant of African slaves who was
born in 1898.  It has been very interesting reading about his experiences growing up in Texas and
then traveling around the country catching rides on trains in the 1920s.  He went to Mexico and was
baffled and then really enjoyed that he could drink from any fountain he pleased and go into any
restaurant.  

Emily is reading some of the Bible (we read the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther).  She is also
reading, Sharon Creech Books and At the Back of the North Wind.


Here is Emily’s account of the Tamarindo adventure:

Hi!

Costa Rica is a great place for surfing, so we're all having fun learning. A few weeks ago we were in
a place called Tamarindo with Nathaniel and Kimberly, who's boat, by the way, is called Amorita, and
Tamarindo is a great surfing spot. The day we got there, we did a little bit of shopping and then
dropped my mom off on our boat, because she didn't want to surf. We got our surfboards, piled
them into our little inflatable boat called a dinghy, and went in close to shore, dropped an anchor so
it would still be there when we returned and paddled in. We had a blast! A few hours later as the sun
was going down, my dad decided it was time to start paddling back out to the dinghy. We were
surfing nearby the river mouth, and it was going to high tide, so there was a pretty strong current
sucking you into the river. I gave my brother Martin the surfboard and he gave me the boogie board
and we started paddling out. A few minutes later, I was far ahead of him. I kept paddling, paddling,
paddling, but the waves kept knocking me back! It was very frustrating! Then I looked back and I
couldn't see Martin!! I yelled to Nathaniel that I couldn't see Martin. He stopped paddling and looked
back. Finally we saw him, directly in the middle of the river mouth! "Nathaniel, what'll we do?" I asked
him. "My dad's coming" he replied. I felt suddenly calmer. Of course our parents would get us! How
could I think for a second they wouldn't? Just as the sun sank below the horizon, leaving the sky
pinkish red, I saw Joel and Richelle, Kimberly and Nathaniel's parents, swimming in. They told us to
go to shore and start walking to where there was no current, because it wasn't directly by the river
mouth. Joel took Nathaniel's surfboard and paddled back out to tell my dad what we were doing. We
walked down the beach and stopped where we had landed the dinghies earlier that day. When we
started paddling out then, it was a billion times easier than next to the river mouth! We got home and
had hamburgers and then fell into our beds. As Shakespeare says "All's well that ends well" .    
Bye!   Emily   Galley Wench

P .S. I think it's time for me to get promoted, don't you? All who're with me, please email!
Horseback riding near Playa Curu.
Sailing with (L to R) Victor, Audrey,
Melissa, and Gustavo, our Costa
Rican hosts and friends.  We spent
three weekends with them, and
enjoyed their generosity and
hospitality so much!  Audrey was a
high school student of my Aunt
Theresa in Mississippi!
Emily and friend Kimberly (from
Amorita) bathing in our dinghy after a
very heavy rainshower.  Normally we
take short showers aboard, but this
bathtub full of fresh water was a
luxury.
Lunch with the Liscanos in
Tamarindo.
The crews of Ace and Amorita
heading in for an afternoon of surf in
Tamarindo.  This photo preceded the
adventure described by Emily above.


A white-faced Capuchin monkey at
Playa Curu.