Mark and Helen’s last night in Costa Rica coincided with a reunion with two other familiar faces. Remember the two vagabond Brits we picked up in El Salvador? As it turns out, a night of vomming at sea didn’t turn Tim off to an extended stay on a boat, and as per the usual, Emma was up for anything. Our new friends had rerouted their Central American walkabout to reconvene with the good ship, s/v The Red Thread. Our visiting duos collided for a single night in which we tried [quite unsuccessfully] to drum up some nightlife in Quepos. Not long after sunrise on May 15th, we bid adieu to our beloved Mark and Helen, who had cruised with us from Puntarenas to the Tortugas to the Nicoya Peninsula and finally to Quepos. Our decision to return to Seattle meant that our hugs were full of “see you soon”, rather than tears of “when will I see you next?”, which was a comfort for all of us, I think.We spent the day provisioning the boat for a few days on the hook and cleaning. The rains arrived in the late afternoon, cooling the day and cleansing the heavy, humid air. Our neighbors on the dock, the crew of a charter fishing boat named Billfish, generously gave us not one, not two, but THREE small, chubby grouper from their day’s catch. The little buggers’ eyes protruded disturbingly from their heads. I had never seen a grouper before, and their appearance was hardly appetizing. As we learned, grouper often reside in very deep water. Their transition up the water column, as the fishermen reel them from the sea bottom to the surface, is associated with intense pressure change that causes their eyes to “bong out.” Fortunately, eating them was far more pleasant than looking at them. We spent the remainder of the night rolling in laughter on the cabin sole as we played hand after hand of Cards Against Humanity, a game only for those willing to exchange a couple hours of political correctness for heaps and heaps of belly laughs. Wanna play with us? Cards Against Humanity is one of our absolute favorites!Bound for Roca Bajo
Cruising, while glorious in a great many ways, does not always feel like a vacation—but some days it does. When we have visitors, we tend to reallocate boat projects lower on our list and instead prioritize precious time with friends. After a wonderful time with Mark and Helen, we spent three additional days, enjoying more of the same with Tim and Emma.
We tootled out of Marina Pez Vela and set our hook in a bay that appeared unnamed on our charts. We were taken with the bay, so we decided to take it upon ourselves to christen the anchorage Roca Bajo, or low tide rock. The name sounded clever to us, but it was really just a rudimentary description of the nearby rock that is only visible when the tide has ebbed. Admittedly, there may be some error in our translation, but we liked the ring of the words together, so it stuck.
On one evening, we watched a sunset so golden that the sky reflected a sea of liquid metal. Another day we shared beers on the beach and let the ocean cool our sweaty bodies. Days of life’s simple pleasures: eating, drinking, and enjoying each moment as it presented itself. We needed to finalize documents for our extended, off-season moorage at Marina Pez Vela, but that did not have to happen immediately. Those three days, there was nowhere in particular to be and nothing in particular to do, except to appreciate our friends and our immediate surroundings.
Although Roca Bajo would likely be quite rolly in heavy swells, albeit less so than the open roadstead just beyond the marina breakwater, in calm seas it is an absolute treasure! Caution should be exercised in approaching the anchorage due to the presence of several shallow rocks (defer to your charts). We set our hook in less than 20 feet of water and had excellent holding. A short swim away, Roca Bajo, the anchorage’s namesake (a large rock only visible a low tide) can be snorkeled. A paddle or swim away is a small beach that was never crowded during our time there, where capuchin monkeys romp through the trees contemplating mischief. A 10-minute dinghy ride will get you into the marina, with access to Quepos town. Truly, in our book, this region of Costa Rica is not to be missed.
Roca Bajo anchorage waypoint: to be added after we confirm the lat/long on our chartplotters.