Saturday, January 31, 2009

Costa Rica - Turtles – Iguanas – Armadillos and ULI’s

If you hate holiday snaps and ‘What I did on holiday’ stories best click on one of the links on the right any one of which will take you to Cyber SUP heaven – if like me you suffer from summer sunshine deficiency – grim economic news overload or you just like spending an indecent amount of your non surfing free time checking out what other people are doing and saying in Cyber SUP land - read on.

‘Drove the 4 hours to Heathrow and stayed at a local hotel overnight as we had an earlyish flight next morning. Caught the plane and had a decent flight courtesy of American airlines. Got into Miami mid afternoon, what a zoo that place is, total superheated bedlam. Made our way to the Sleep inn via free bus and settled down for the night fuelled with a Chinese meal from The Ping house.

Next morning we re-entered the hell that is Miami airport . Queues for checking in bags were at least a mile long. Allow yourself at least three hours here!

Take-Off was an hour and a bit late but at least the flight was short 2hours 50mins. We landed and cleared the terminal at Liberia by three pm just enough time to pick up the hire car and get to Nosara before dark . Fortunately we lucked out with the car and ended up with a Rav4 from Budget rental instead of the smaller Terios that I'd booked. Plenty of room, nice to drive and had a bit of poke. The two and a half hour drive was pretty uneventful,the roads were clear and fairly well marked. I'd forgotten the shock of leaving tarmac though as the last 40k or so was like driving through someone's' allotment.

Dusty, potholed, and fun verging on the scary. One tip - on the unpaved stuff 40mph is a lot smother than 20mph - until you hit a pothole (Costa Rican Definition of a pothole is something that you could bury a adult cow in)!! Also watch out for the random speed humps that guard the towns. These are first gear jobbys unless you want to loose your sump.

We made it to our hotel The Casa Romantica

just before dusk - unpacked got stuck into a beer or two from the honesty bar and sat down to a tomato, pesto, balsamic and mozzarella salad very nice and a fish fillety thing drenched in stuff with rice – nice very very nice.

I woke early and made my way the 200mts to the beach.

Surf was shoulder high on the sets and clean although the wind was fairly strong offshore. It took me a little while to settle down, i thought the Uli would be a doddle after the Naish but it wasn't easy. I pearled a few then caught a few then got into my slot as i dialled in. I nailed some nice cruisy rights and lefts before racing a section and getting a peach of an under the lip cover-up.

Wave of the day for me.

I chatted with a couple of guys whom seemed pretty freaked that the Uli was inflatable, one even swapped boards with me for a while. He had a fair bash at it but couldn't fully get to grips with the board, his Al Merrick was quite nice. We swapped back and i decided that i ought to get back. Charms was up and ready for breakfast ~ fruit and coffee nice

We spent the rest of the day walking the beach, all 6k of Playa Guiones, chilling by the pool and just dialling into Costa Rican time. evening Meal was at Dee's a basic, fast food Vietnamese place, followed by a couple of beers back at the hotel. Still on a UK body clock ~ going to crash right now. . . 12-01-2009

In the water for 6am totally glassy about 2' maybe a bit bigger on the sets. Fantastic, dialled in instantly and cruised my way through a memorable session. Got out at 7'30 for brekkie. It does not get much better than this. Some guy on the beach asked about the Uli ~ said that he had heard that someone had an inflatable on the break but had to check it out for himself. He introduced himself as Jeff and said that he had some decent pics of me surfing. That would be a first! He said to check them out at the Guilded Iguana later.

After breakfast we went for a drive to Playa Pelada, on into Nosara town and then on to Playa Ostional. Interesting drive, - three river crossings

all on what's in effect the road to Camborne.

14-01-2009 Up early before dawn small but fun wave and then back for a decent breakfast. Read for a bit in the hammocks and then decided to break the routine and get on the road to Mal Pais to check out the wild life parks.
What a trip! On the map we had about 60 km to drive even allowing for the roads here I thought 3-4 hours would shake it - yeah right. We were making good time down to Playa Samara, unpaved and potholed but no problem. Samara was bustling and quite pretty, set in a bay with a couple of islands outside. We nosed about for a while and then checked with the local police where we could get fuel. Fortunately there was a gas station just outside town. We topped up and armed with a new map we turned off the main road onto the coastal trail heading south.
The dirt roads always seem to be heading into someone's back garden before heading off on some twist or turn into dense forest. The edges of the track often appeared to be built up banks of soil on the verge of collapse. Bridges came out of the wooded gloom suddenly, always single vehicle, often with no curb or rail. Other traffic was scarce. We wound our way round the coast before turning inland and climbing up into the hills all 1st and 2nd gear stuff with the 4wd lock light permanantly 'on'!

Descending we caught tantalising glimpses of pristine looking beaches framed by luxurious forested hillside.

At one point we passed a guy on horse back towing a young lad on a bike up the snaking climb. It was miles further on before we found a small village. A normal day for them yet a bloody epic adventure for us.

We had now been driving for over 5 1/2 hours. As the roads levelled Real Estate signs became more apparent - civilisation at last. Wrong.. The next turn dropped us into the biggest river crossing yet, one that seemed to lead us around in a circle just to be faced with the same crossing having first driven up the bed of the same river. Madness. We retraced our path took a right 'that should have been wrong' and found a sign for 'Montezuma 21k' fantastic. We met a British couple in a Honda 4wd at the next junction. The track led into another crossing bonnet deep in places the exit was greasy steep and boulder strewn. The British guy had just got stuck in the river attempting it. Having hardly seen anyone on the road we were joined by a Spanish couple who were also en route to Mal Pais. With a bit of attitude the two 4 wd soft roaders made it through - just. Carlos got stuck spinning wheels on the bank. Eventually with a bit of manual labour we got him through and continued on only to be confronted with a similar crossing a few k down the track. We had now been driving 6 hours in 32’c heat – the aircon barely holding it’s own. After the river we climbed again before descending to the beach and heading on through Santa Theresa and finally on into Mal Pais. We checked into a beach side complex that was a bit run down – we didn’t care - had a beer and a cocktail at the bar before going into town for a sushi.’

Part two to follow if you can take it


ef said...

great report. yeah, i want more. bring it on!

(btw/ was all set to order a you know what when thoughts over the overall weight but mostly the strenuous pumping kind of took the winds out of my sail. i'm a skinny dude and not exactly athletic; too much pumping and too much weight could do me in.)

ef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
csx355 said...

Thanks Erik more to follow -

As far as pumping the boards up, I can't imagine anyone having any trouble - because I'm a fat boy I probably need a bit more pressure in the board - if I was lighter (I wish) I could get away with less. It takes 3-5 minutes tops to pump it up - sometimes like 'Clinton' I'll walk away from it part way through and go back for a secand bash. Failing that it wouldn't take much to modify an electric inflator to do it one than plugs into a car cigarette lighter. That plus a wheeled duffel bag should make life easier. Or there is the Lopez which will be loads lighter but I would guess still need the same psi.

NC Paddle Surfer said...

Great story. Keep them coming. Loved it.

ef said...

wheeled duffle bag -- makes great sense to me!

yeah, there is lopez, but, along with the other sad-sack stuff, i've got a medically-related balance problem, so probably the extra stability and weight of the steamroller makes more sense for me than the lopez.
thanks again.
creeping toward a decision, i remain, linter

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