The plan was simple: to kayak to the beach once we anchored and let Gidget run around and do her business.
When we anchored at Punto Quepos, however, the nearest beach was crowded with people – not an ideal situation to let Gidget off the leash. But there seemed like another beach on the other side of the anchorage and it was abandoned. Perfect . Off we went. The waves seemed light enough and landing the kayak seemed simple. We took our GoPro camera and were able to snap some pictures of the sceneries surrounding us along the way. As we were approaching the beach, I could hear the rolling sound of a big wave coming behind me. Uh-oh. Why did it have to happen then? Gidget was sitting in front of me and she slowly turned her head around to look behind her. She had an absolute look of terror on her face: her eyes wide, pupils large and her ears folded backwards. She knew what was coming, and she had a plan of her own. As Jerrad was paddling fast to beat the coming wave, Gidget decided to abandon ship. She jumped and tried to swim; and as we got distracted trying to get her back on the kayak, the big wave crashed right onto us with a loud, thunderous noise.
It all happened so fast. I fell off the kayak into the rocky shore. As I was trying to get back up, the force of the wave pushed me forward and something was dragging me at the same time. I was stumbling down on the rocks while realizing that the line on the kayak was tangled around me – around my neck down and cross my abdomen then around my left leg. As the kayak was pushed ashore, it dragged me – sprawled on the rocky bottom- with it. When I finally reached the beach and untangled myself, I was greeted with the sight of Gidget relieving herself, big grin on her face.
“All this just for the damn dog to pee on the beach,” I muttered to myself. I had scrapes on my left elbow while Jerrad was bruised on his right shin from a rock.
We paddled back without any incident, only to realize about half an hour later that neither of us had the GoPro. Shit. Our precious camera must have been swept away when the wave came crashing upon us. Hoping for the tiniest sliver of miracle, Jerrad kayaked back to that beach and looked madly at the bottom – up and down the shore, back and forth – hoping to find the GoPro in between the rocks. It was nowhere to be found and Jerrad came back empty-handed. After no luck of finding GoPro in Costa Rica, we managed to get one in Panama City later on. It was an expense that put a dent on our budget, but we both thought it was worth it due to the camera’s durability and underwater capabilities.
That night, I had a conversation with Gidget – pleading for her to just pee and poop on her potty patch everyday for the sake of everybody involved. She looked at me innocently. Evidently, she still prefers real grass than the fake potty patch grass that she used only when she absolutely and emergently has to.
The rest of the night was quite uneventful, except for the slightly rolly anchorage. The next day we moved a couple of miles down to anchor off of the Manuel Antonio National Park. We left Gidget in the boat and kayaked to the beach entrance of the park. While the kayaking was relatively painless, I jumped out once we reached the shore and was trying my best to outrun the coming wave to the beach. Well I failed. The wave caught up with me. As it was pushing me ashore, I lost my balance and once again, fell into the water face down. Two days in a row, this must be some sort of a record, I thought. We got to the beach and started dragging the kayak to a safe spot around a tree to secure it.
The beach was beautiful – with warm, yellow sand, bordered by lines of dense vegetation- and deserted. “Pura Vida”, they like to say in Costa Rica. A phrase near and dear in Costa Rica’s culture, it literally means “pure life” but culturally means more like “full of life”, “good life” or “this is living!” Those words flashed through my mind as I enjoyed the sight, smell and sound around me that morning. That’s when we saw a woman standing in front of the crashing waves, with her breasts hanging loose. Soon, she also took off her bikini bottom and was butt naked on the beach. I was pretty sure that she was also thinking of those words as she felt the crashing roll of saltwater hitting her skin. She had the beautiful beach almost to herself, the sand was soft, the air fresh, the jungle lush, the view spectacular and well, ¡Pura Vida!
After we finished exploring the park – with only glimpses of sloths and howler monkeys far away on the trees- we went back to the beach to check on our boat. Poor Vento Dea was rocking in all 4 directions, even with bow and stern anchors, making the rolly anchorage at Punto Quepos pale in comparison. It must have felt like a washing machine inside the boat. It was an unpleasant sight made even more disturbing with the fact that Gidget is inside that violently-rocking boat. We hurried and kayaked back, weighed anchor to the calmer open sea to our next destination anchorage, Bahía Drake .
From Drake, we continued on to Golfito, our last port in Costa Rica. In Golfito bay, we anchored for free in front of Tierra y Mar (Land & Sea) Services and kayaked to shore to use their amenities. Of all the expensive facilities for cruisers in this country, it was refreshing to have Tierra y Mar; a quite, low-key spot where you feel more like a guest in someone’s home than just another customer.
See more pictures of Costa Rica here.