Our longest Passage
6:00 AM we were being inspected by the Mexican Navy and calling the Port Captain to let him know we were clearing the port and the country. We had a valid signed and stamped Zarpe and ready to leave to Costa Rica.
We decided not to stop in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras or Nicaragua. A stop here would have meant time delays, fees and paperwork we were not in the mood for. It was straight to Costa Rica, just short of 500 Miles. I laid the route out on the chart and we started out.
The seas were calm and Coda chugged along. The navigation computer indicated 70 hours to your destination. I took a picture after we passed our first waypoint. We had just 2.1 days left to go. (see center right number next to TTG -- time to go)
We have our watches scheduled pretty well by now. I take until midnight, Matt to 4:00 AM and Barb to 8:00 AM. Barb and Matt go to bed by 8:00 PM or so and I put on the book on tape and Coda drones on. Driving Coda is not difficult. It is on autopilot. One sees nothing out the window at all at night. One needs to watch the course to ensure we are moving the right direction, watch the Radar for other things in the water and watch the AIS to ensure no other boats are around us.
Late one night on this passage I noted a great deal of bioluminescence. It was a very dark and clear night and had cooled to around 80 degrees. The doors were open to get the cool breeze and I noticed a flash on the starboard side of the boat. It is not at all unusual to have dolphin playing in our bow wake but this night they glowed. It was a stunning sight to see streaks of light broadside and off the bow of the boat. That is a sight that all three of us saw on this passage at different times and we will never forget it. The light was so bright it looked like green cyalume tubes (glow sticks) were tied all around the dolphins. There were a dozen or so around the bow of the boat.
The days wore on. Due to the most direct route, we were 60 miles offshore and around 150 miles to Costa Rica and the seas picked up. The wind was not bad, between 10 and 15 knots but the seas were very choppy with short period waves that were steep. I was very anxious because we were very far offshore and I was concerned that the seas were picking up for a storm. We struggled with this for a good 6-8 hours but then things calmed down a bit. I was super relieved that this was not the start of some really bad weather.
Later I learned that this is due to ocean currents. This is just something I am now researching. We took longer than expected in this crossing due to the ocean currents being against us. I need to understand this and take it into account as we are cruising in the Caribbean.
After three days at sea, we pulled into Marina Papagayo in Costa Rica with our quarantine flag flying proudly. We had scheduled an agent which took care of the paperwork for us and we settled into slip B-53 where we will be generally staying for the next 5 months.
Since Matt arrived in Puerta Vallarta, we covered just short of 1500 NM. Coda performed perfectly and we were tired, but amazed that we made it. It is now time to relax a bit and rest from the travel.
El Encanto, MX to Marina Papagayo, Nacascolo, CR
Time: 71 h 20 m ( 05:19 to 04:40 ) Distance: 478.65 nm
Fuel: 211.07 Gallons Fuel Rate: 2.96 GPH Fuel Economy: 2.27 NM/G
Avg Speed: 6.73 kn Max Speed: 8.44 kn
Engine Runtime Start: 3635.55 Hours Runtime End: 3706.90 Hours Fuel: 211.07 Gallons Fuel Rate: 2.96 GPH Fuel Rate Max: 4.60 GPH Avg RPM: 1264.28 Max RPM: 1385.50 Avg Oil Pressure: 52.41 Low Oil Pressure: 31.33 Avg Temperature: 191.21 Max Temperature: 193.21