Loc: Isla Pelada
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 57,3 km
Start: 6:00 End: 17:10
Susanna and John drive me to the harbor. My boat gets a transport on strong shoulders from the port captain’s office back to the launching ramp where I arrived. I have to slide it under a spiked bar, as they cannot open it this morning. I have to pack carefully on the slippery sloped plastic bars of the concrete launching ramp, but all goes well with care. John ties the bow to his car, so that my baby does not launch itself premature stern first. After all is packed and I eat my breakfast, I carefully let the kayak slide downhill, the last section on a matching wash and I climb on, a bit wobbly.
The last escort boat from Nicragua is ready, and I glide out of the bay with my shadow trailing me in well-distance. Rounding the big headland south of San Juan del Sur is impressive while I am paddling close to the cliffs in reflecting seas. All feels safe for me. An audio book entertains me all day, the paddle is easy. I pass a ‘turtle soup’ area, and have to watch not to run over one of the many solid backs. But usually, the large animals dive down in time before I hit them.
I see the Costa Rican coast lurjking in the distance already since the last paddling day, and onder if I will follow my path I marked for myself on my chart. Do I really like to make such a detour, following the coast with endless beautiful beaches? They are just beaches, and I cannot land and camp them all. I am feeling more dramwn to cut across the bays and to make headway, as there will be stronger offshore wind coming the next days. It will still keep the seas down, but I fance to have already the two lumpy spits of Punta Blanca and Cabo Santa Elena behind me. A wise decision, I think.
My Nicaraguan guys leave me about three kilometers offshore, and I am by myself. Costa Rica has no Navy, and the coast guard so far has not shown any interest in escorting me. No problem, I do not need them.
Before my crossing, we pass two small boats with divers, and two overloaded with passengers. Do the come from the huge yacht hiding in one of the last bays of Nicaragua? Or from Costa Rica? No idea. Only one larger fishing boa comes my way, and then Iam all by myself paddling along the beautiful mountains of the National park. But I do not feel like hugging the coast much but am for the Cabo Santa Elena.
Two large dolphins show up, a species with spreckles I never have seen so far. The water is lumpy before both points, but nothing I cannot handle easily today. Cabo Santa Elena has an impressive conical island at the end, and I am tempted to squeeze in between through the maze of boulders were I already see calm-ish water lurking, but better not. If in doubt – stay out.
Having rounded this crucial cape, I aim straight to my beach on Isla Pelada, as I have not much dailigt anymore to spend. The landing on quite a wash goes smoothly, and I camp on loose sand close to old turtle nests. The only visitor I might get at night may be one of the giants intending to lay their eggs close to my tent. As long as they do not rip my tent fly as back in Venezuela at one at night, the are welcome. I have to skip my planned swim due to the strong wash, a pity.
Night falls pitch-dark. Is there anybody on this island? It looks like a troop of partisans is hiding in the brush, stron lights are flashing up here and there for signals between them. It is long ago I saw glow worms, but always impressive, but somehow scary. The sky also flashes soon but much brighter and stronger, ending up in a heavy rain squall. Somehow, I do not dare to have light in my tent, feeling a bit eerie here. But no people are naywhere, and no boats. I am just by myself. At around ten o’clock, the bright moon risies over the mountains, and the scenery is well-lit. Now I can sleep!