A dip in the Pacific

On Saturday morning I was up bright and early for an 8.20 pickup to go sailing and, with a bit of luck, catch sight of dolphins and whales.

When the bus hadn't arrived by 8.30 I called the tour company, Planet Dolphin, and discovered that because of unplanned road works the pick up time was now 9.20.

Ah well. I took the opportunity to explore a little more of the hotel grounds, and waited for the bus.

Slow for monkeys, sloths, dogs, and Darth Vader

After picking up a few people this deposited us about 20 minutes at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, 15 minutes drive up the road.

Our vessel was "Tomcat", a 60-something foot catamaran.

Once all 42 people were onboard we motored out of the marina and towards our lunch time appointment, snorkeling in the Pacific.

Departing the marina

The crew explained the safety features of the boat in English and Spanish, and also covered the very important information that although beer was $1 a can, drinks with spirits were free. As a lifelong non-beer drinker I resolved to take advantage of this opportunity, and quickly had a very good rum punch in my hands.

Standing watch

I've messed around on boats a bit, but this was my first time on board a catamaran, and I was surprised at how stable it was. I spent a lot of time stood on the bow (the pointy bit at the front) feeling the rock and fall of the boat under my feet.

A few of the guests had decided to sunbathe on the netting slung between the two hulls toward the front. This turned out not to be the smartest move, as they discovered when the first wave crashed over them. Cue sudden gasps.

There was a brief moment of excitement when we slowed to go past a very large sea turtle that was slowly swimming out to the deep ocean, and just visible below the water. But no other signs of large marine life.

After about an hours motoring we stopped for 10 minutes and everyone had their first opportunity for a bit of a swim. Just to get our feet wet, so to speak. Once everybody was back on board we continued on for what felt like 20 minutes or so to our final destination, a small not far from a small rock formation breaking through the waves.

Duly adorned with fins, mask, and snorkel the crew suggested we swim close to the rock. It soon became apparent why.

I was snorkeling along enjoying what was, to be honest, not much of a view underwater. Although the water was clear it was very deep, so tailed off to a green haze, with no clear idea how far away anything was.

And then all of a sudden I was surrounded by fish. Sergeant Major fish to be precise, hundreds of them. The rock and the things that grow on it provide food for them, so they cluster around it. I was quite happy to float upright in the water, head under, watching these blue and gold fish dart this way and that, quite oblivious to the people that had invaded their environment.

After about 20 minutes of this it was back to the boat for a simple lunch; fish kabobs and pasta.

And then we set sail back to the marina. Literally this time, the wind having picked up enough that they could at least unfurl the jenny for a bit of sailing.

The hoped for dolphins and whales continued to prove elusive, and there were no sightings on the journey back.

View Planet Dolphin in a larger map

The afternoon followed a familiar pattern. By which I mean it rained, heavily. After a few drinks in El Avion I resolved to wander down the coast road to find somewhere suitable for dinner. Outside the main entrance to the Costa Verde complex I bumped in to four people on a package vacation from California. After helping them take the requisite group photo we fell in together in search of food and drink.

After stopping off at La Cantina, another of the Costa Verde hotel restaurants, we made our way slowly down to the beach. By this point the thunderstorm and rolled out to sea, and the frequent lightning flashes were lighting up the sky, silhouetting the islands that dot the bay against the grey of the night sky.

After that it gets a little hazy, although I have some recollections of a bar in town, and getting a taxi back at some late hour...

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