Sun 13/11-2022 Day 749

Pos: 10.5566,-85.6929
Loc: Playa del Coco
Acc: Bansbach’s beach house
Dist: 45,1 km
Start: 6:25 End: 16:00

I survived my lonely island night without the ‘glowworm partisans’ from all ends or the breaking waves washing too high up the beach. Once more, I feel more comfortable writing in the morning. Launching is no problem with the right timing, there are enough lulls, and the heavy kayak glides effortlessly down the steep beach. On the water, I wash my neoprene socks and sandals before sticking my legs into the cockpit. Balancing is no big deal in the loaded kayak.
I aim for the gap between my Isla Pelada and soon for the gap between Isla Colorada. But the island creates a shallow area I saw on the satellite images and my chart, and I wonder how and if I can pass this line. Occasional surf break shows up over the whole connecting line. The tide goes down, but it is still more high than low. I see good chances to find a gap where it is just not breaking. I am lucky and rush with pumping heart over the still deep enough rocky shallows. As long as I see the sea ground under my kayak, I am not safe yet, but I make it.
It rains a bit in the next hour, but I am wet anyway. A beautiful, intense-colored rainbow develops over the gap I just passed. My gate to heaven? There is a constant fifteen-knots northeast wind today, but the sea is low. I aim for a while to the next headland where I see a beach, in case I need it. But I soon trust my intuition that cutting the Gulf of Papagayo is safe today. I aim straight to Playas del Coco, about thirty kilometers left. It gets me from San Juan del Sur to Costa Rica in two days, where I have to sign into the country tomorrow. Not too bad, but also not too exciting to paddle when not hugging the coast. But this will come later. For now, I enjoy the distant scenery of lush green mountains around me.
No boats anywhere, strange. Only in the far distance do I see two sailboats moving along the coast. They likely come from the fancy Marina del Papagayo hidden in the small Culebra Bay. But soon, more leisure watercraft are zooming across the bay. Here are more rich tourists than in Nicaragua.
I see two stripes of rain hanging over the land where I aim, but I do not give it much thought. I am comfortably paddling across the bay and will soon reach my beach. The rain will stay over the land and will soon be done. But my thoughts are wrong. The two rainy stripes connect to a solid gray cloud cover, and the wind changes from moderate side-following to a solid thirty-knots gale straight into my face. WTF!
I can only hang in there and pump into the wind, lying almost on my foredeck and paddle hard not to lose ground. The sea whips up, but it has, thankfully, with the offshore direction, not too much fetch to become dangerous. My speed is still three to four kilometers per hour. It could be worse. Still, I pray this nasty heavy wind with rain squall will be over soon, as it cannot last forever. I feel it is more wind than rain. I do not even bother to reach for my PFD, as I still feel safe. I have to work hard, but I can do it. No boats are anywhere to see now. I pray my steering system will not quit or whatever problem might occur, preventing me from punching into the wind. I see a yacht anchoring close to a beach where I aim for. I slowly but surely pass a cluster of rocky islands, and the beach comes near. But after an hour, the wind and rain get less, and I have survived this attack of nature. Thank goodness!
Before the wind started, I had already texted my hosts in the Casa Bansbach that I would arrive today and not tomorrow. But my ETA shifted a bit, and I smile when I see the wind and rain warning on my host’s text. Yes, I noticed! But I could only hang in there and keep my ground. I get blessed with another beautiful rainbow over the cliffs when I slowly and now relaxed paddle up to the beach spot in Playa del Cocos, where my hosts wait for me. The German-rooted Bansbach family has a beautiful beach house. We do not have to carry my kayak far but just across a walkway. Thanks very much for welcoming me into your home!