Loc: Playa Zapotillal
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 30,8 km
Start: 6:00 End: 13:20
It was raining strongly yesterday afternoon, and for today, it will be similar. At least I think so. I have another host waiting for me in Nosara, ninety-five kilometers down the coast, which would be two long paddling days, or three shorter ones. I feel like doing the shorter ones, especially with the expected strong rain, and enjoy a bit of Costa Rican beach life. I start into a dead calm morning sea, and like to take it slow, sucking up the coastal view. I slowly glide through dozens of moored boats in the bay, some of them getting ready for a fishing or sightseeing trip. A big noisy fish swarm is already waiting to be caught, but the fleet of sleeping Manta Rays does not feel disturbed by me.
I already feel like a swim, and stop on a nearby beach. But I soon notice that the effort of dragging by myself my heavy kayak out of the surge of the shallow beach is too much for a short dip. I need to get used to jump off the kayak on calm seas for a swim, it is much easier. The water at the headlands feels much colder than in the bays.
I rail some green mountains, and stick my nose in a handful of smaller caves. But none of them is safe or deep enough to glide in. The headland in between Isla Brumel has the best rock holes, plus a large arch. One cave seems to be open fro the top, as it is bright light inside. I would like to see it from the clifftop. Nice place! A few other boats including a tourist catamaran think the same.
After this interesting headland, I see a dark rainy wall sitting over the open sea, and hope it does not hit me already that soon. I am just about to cross a wider bay, but I can turn in to many beaches anytime soon when things become as uncomfortable as on the last hour of my arrival at Playa del Coco. The wind soon breezes up, again straight in my face, but is not stronger than twenty knots. I do not mind to work a bit harder, like to finish the crossing of this bay, and turn around the next headland to find Playa Zapotillal. I would have then a third of my distance to Nosara, thirty kilometers, just perfect.
Six noise jetskis, likely a guided coastal trip, prove that the Costa Rica coast is a popular touristic place. Already the city of Playa del Coco felt yesterday more wealthy and visited by many more European and US-Tourists than the already popular San Juan del Sur. But I assume the price level is accordingly different.
‘My’ beach is populated by a handful of tourists, all white-skinned. They do what tourists on beaches do, walk up and down, swim, sit on towels, and climb on the side reefs. I like to do the same for a while. But first I need to set camp, tighten a screw on my footrest, tighten a piece of deck line, and put my back rest screws in different positions that they do not chafe my still wide hips too much. Time to lose a few kilos.
Eight pretty blue birds with long feathery tails tell me noisily the tree I am camping uder is theirs. No worries, there is space for all of us. I bribe them with an old apple, and they happily fill their bellies. A few deep turtle holes show breeding activities in my neighborhood, but I am not hoping for a nightly turtle visit. My swim in the ocean is refreshing chilly, no idea why also in this bay the water is ‘only’ about twenty-two degrees, maybe four less than usual. But it does not look much worth to pull out my snorkel set close to the reefs, and I postpone it for another beach stop. My panned reef climb does also not look too tempting, as I still remember my bad slipping and chafing before my trip start. The wound is just about healed.
The afternoon becomes long, I should paddle longer like on my first five days. An afternoon on a hot beach is not that exciting for me anyore, being by myself. And I am not keen on smalltalk to any of the tourists. And the wind and rain tendency was much less than expected. A few noisy grumbles in the sky, but nothing really happens today. Oh well, it was a try to do something different.