Thursday, January 29, 2009

Punta Blanco

I finally made it to Mal Pais. There have been a lot of people telling me that I need to go there, and there was a festival two weeks ago that I missed, but I’m here now. If you look on a map, which you might not do, then you can find Mal Pais on the western facing side of the tip of the Nikoya Penninsula. I started on the eastern side, in Montezuma, then made my way down towards the tip, to a place called Caboya, where I walked out through the water and came to a little island there. The diving is spectacular, it is where I got the big blue jack before, but my mission was to camp out this time. Also, I was feeling sick, with the sort of flu symptoms of headache and fever and sore throat. So I stayed out of the water. Anyways, I got to the island and a big welcome sign was there, for the graveyard. So I would be sleeping among the deceased. How nice. The island is tiny, and the graveyard basically covers the whole thing, so I made camp on the far side, and started reading some of the books I borrowed from Marla and Mark. The next morning I was surprised to see some people walking along the shore right next to me, and I discovered that they were tourists, and they were going to Punta Blanco. The point at the end of the Peninsula. So I managed to get a ride to the park, where I payed my $10 begrudgingly and hiked for two hours in the rainforest to get to the little beach near the point. Then I left the new friends I’d made and headed out for the tip. I was going to swim out to the island out there, but its about a mile or so offshore from the point, so I decided that maybe not. I figured that some people would come by, so I did a good job of hiding my stuff, but three nights there and only one guy came by, he was a tourist, and he was doing the hike around the point. Fish all over the point came nicely close to me, confident that since the Blue Jack had broken my spear, I was done. But Not So! I delved into my engineering background and scoured the shoreline for stuff I could use, and since my spear was broken and therefore shorter, I made the gun shorter so it could fit. I didn’t want to cut the original piece, so I found a stout piece of wood, which is fantasticly wonderful wood, I should add, and carved it to fit. Then I had to carve the stainless rod to fit the gun trigger mechanism and the rubber band, and I was all set. Would it work?
Yes. I got a bunch of fish, pretty easily actually. The power is less, but its still enough at close range to get them all the way through. I also got two lobsters, some nice big ones, which tasted pretty good. And after I got one of the lobsters, I tried out my hand line, and I threw in the line weighted with a stainless steel nut and a little lobster meat and on the second throw I got it caught on the bottom, so I pulled in a little harder and the bottom started swimming away! It was a nice big bass. It looked just like the bass that I used to go after in Lake Whatcom (my home town lake) but big. I also made a lobster trap, and I spent a whole day doing it, out of a half of a barrel I found and some pieces of the black plastic netting-fencing material. I also managed to find some nice bouys and a lot of rope, so everything was found materials. I took it out into 30 ft of water and everything was ready to go, then set it down, weighed it with rocks and went fishing. I got some fish and put the pieces in the trap, and waited out the night. The next day I awoke, looked out and saw the bouy was still there, and went out to check. It was full of sand, tipped over and empty of both bait and lobsters. Oh pity. Sometimes, though the work of crafting is more fun than the end product. Then I walked the 4 hours from the point to Mal Pais, today, and came back to society. I met this guy, Marco, who called me “hunter” and I really like the term, because coming from him its not about going out with big guns and killing deer or wasting lots of gas and noise and stuff to capture animals. Its about going out in the jungle and being crafty and sneaky. Now I’m in a hostel and I’ll stay here a few days, because the surfing is good. I surfed this evening and it was really good for me. I’ll go again tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I’m in Montezuma, where the sun shines brightly, and Marla and Mark (friends of my sister Rachel) live. They have a daughter, (Nikoya) and they have a beautiful view of the gulf and to the south, up on the top of a hill just outside the town. I got here in the evening, after buying a surfboard in Jaco, then taking a bus to Puntarenes, then taking a ferry across the gulf to the peninsula, and then finally taking a bus as the sun set to Montezuma. I stayed a night in town because I couldn’t find their house, because nobody has addresses here, and came up the next morning. The house is beautiful, but a work in progress, and I like it. I love that the bones are exposed a little, and I can see how the house is held up, and I’ve been helping Mark a little bit with some of the work. Marla is tremendously pregnant, but she is quite the trooper. No, trooper is a word that to me implies that she is suffering pleasantly. She is not enduring the pregnancy, she is magnificent. Anyways, she goes out to do trail work, handles Nikoya, who is screaming and squirming and running all over the place, and pleasantly goes about doing housework and finances and stuff at the same time. I’m impressed. Sometimes I see a little of Rachel in her, sometimes a little of Monica (strangely).
Mark is really cool, and I can tell that he’s from Boston, though it might be just the East Coast that I see. He’s got a quick wit that is really hard to keep up with or compete with, but I had a good argument that I think was really a discussion, but with Italian-like tones and body language. About the word “belief” and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And politics. I lose the argument about politics, and it becomes a lecture, which I think he doesn’t appreciate as much as the challenge of verbal battle, but I can’t compete there. Heisenberg, however, that’s my territory. He’s schooled in Philosophy, and I’d like to go into that a bit with him, but we’ll see. I got here and spent the day doing nothing, then the second day I went fishing. I found an absolutely wonderful spot to go diving, its over near this little island, about 5 miles west of Montezuma, (or down the coast in the west direction if you’re picky about it) and the water is probably the clearest I’ve been in. Also there were tons of fish. I could see 100 at a time, most of them tasty looking. I shot a big Blue Jack, the biggest fish I think I’ve ever caught, certainly the biggest with a spear. We ate him (or her) for dinner that night, and the leftovers we had tonight. (so that was yesterday) I had spent most of the day under water, so yesterday was a tiring day for me. Tomorrow I’ll go to the west side (Mal Pais) and go surfing. I don’t know how long they will let me stay, but I like Marla and Mark’s place, and I like the area here. I kind of want to try to camp out at the very tip, and then go fishing and surfing together, but I also don’t feel like getting any more things stolen. Oh, and the big fish broke my spear, so I need another one. The gun is fine, but the spear is broken. You can see it in to photo.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Don't go to Jaco! Except for the fact that I just got a big "small" pizza on the table I'm typing on, I don't like the place at all. TOURSIM!
All over the place. Especially after being in the poor stretch of Panama.
I took the bus from Panama to Uvita, then took a bus from Uvita to here, Jaco, pronounced HAW co. The bus ride is all right, but they made a clever trick here. They made the road between Dominical and Quepos really primitive gravel road, and the way around, the way that passes through San Jose (where I don't want to go) is paved and fast. So the direct route up the coast is slow, but if you go to San Jose everything is fast. Go to the main city and then to your destination. Well, I chose the slow route, I guess.
I stopped in Jaco to see about getting a surfboard. They are pretty cheap here. I think I might go for this one that is 280 bucks, its brand new and 5'11" but wide, which I think would suit me well. A no name brand, locally made I think. But then I have to travel with it, and that is tricky. I think I'd need a board bag.
I've changed since I was here last. I remember getting in to Puntarenes, wondering what the country looked like, and where I was on the map, not knowing the map at all, not knowing the names for the places people spouted out, lost. I chose to go south, because it felt easy, like going downhill... So I gave myself purpose by taking the ocean on my right and moving forward. After a while I gained perspective a little bit, I figured out where I was, I knew how I got there, and things started to make sense. Prices were funny at first. How much is a good deal? Then things started to get more reasonable, but now, after going to panama and camping and not using any money for 6 days, I find that it is a funny quantity. Things are too expensive, but at the same time, I don't really care how much things cost. I need something, and I have the money, so thats that.
Now my purpose is to go to Montezuma and find Marla, a friend of my sister, Rachel. I think I'll find her tomorrow, and then I don't know what I'll do, but maybe explore the Nikoya Penninsula.
Its funny how life needs a purpose. I find a purpose, a task to do, and then run happily towards completion, which I think is my whole problem with all sorts of things. Some people can have purpose taht is never achieved, a steady state of direction, but all I can have is like a good book to read that I complete all too soon, or a bite of good food that runs out. The waves don't last, my breath underwater doesn't maintain, and I cycle back into a trough of being lost again.
But the crests of those waves of life are the best in the world.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I went to Panama for a week and a little bit!
Now I'm back in Costa Rica, trying to get on a bus to go north to the Nikoya Penninsula for a while and then I'll head on over to the Atlantic side. Panama isn't that different from Costa Rica, but things are a bit different. They use the dollar, and so you see Washington, Lincoln, and the others all over the place, which is kind of familiar and nice, and the roads are much nicer than in Costa Rica, but they don't take as much pride in the beauty of the countryside as the Ticos (Costa Ricans) do. I went up to Boquete, up in the mountians, and I ended up seeing the president of Panama there, starting off this festival of flowers. He's the second national president I've ever seen, the other being the president of China who came to Boeing in Everett a while ago.
I went down to Punta Burrica, a point that is down where Panama and Costa Rica connect on the Pacific side, and there is this little island out there that I walked across the shallow water when the tide was way down to get to. Its way out in the middle of nowhere, and its beautiful, and I camped, fished and dove. But the unthinkable happened, and of course in the most remote places, where nobody goes, I am stupid and leave my stuff on the beach and it gets stolen. So I lost my hat (pictured above), my sandals, and my ipod and knife. the hat is the real blow. I liked that hat.
I got disenpowered a bit, so I headed back to locked doors, to Limones, which is about halfway down the penninsula, (a long ways by foot) and I was looking for Ron, the guy in the boat, who worked at this fishing resort place, and I had met up with him on the way out, so I wanted to hang out again. Anyways, I'm walking along the road and this Panamanian young man comes up and asks me if I'm looking for Ron, and that he's gone, so I should come stay the night with his family. So they treat me to dinner and a place to stay and breakfast and luxury. His name is Kevin. I'll be going back to find him sometime I think.
The area is so nice, but it is better out on the water, I think, so I am really leaning towards figuring out how to bring my boat down here for next winter, and taking people sailing, going surfing off the boat.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Pictures from Pavones

Got a better connection now...

Since I posted last, I traveled down further south to Panama, and I'm in Boquete right now, a little town in the mountians. Its supposed to be really cheap to live down here, but I think I don't like it as much as Costa Rica. The roads are much nicer, but the countryside is not so nice. There is a lot of deforestation, and I don't feel as safe as I did in Costa Rica. I need to go to the ocean here too.
Crossing the border into Panama wasn't that bad, but its very inefficient. They make you go here and there and there and finally you can go across. Except, that really its just a legal thing, you could walk across as easy as you please, there is no gate or anything, just some passport things you need to do in booths around the border area.
The people here are very proud of their country, just like the people from Costa Rica. I went to a pizza place and talked to this guy who told me that I should spend the rest of my time here because it is so much better than Costa Rica, where everyone is a snob and the prices are so high. Also, that the pollution is terrible in Costa Rica, wheras here it is very clean.
I don't know if I believe him, but I can understand that its good to be proud of your country. I am not so proud of mine, I think. I've seen tons of people around, from all different lands, and a few Canadians, one of which has a big flag on her backpack proclaiming her to be canadian.
The Germans are proud to be german, as are the Swiss and Austrians and dutch and all.
But we Americans, we have fiddled a bit with this land down here, most of the time quietly, but I think in Panama, it was more open. We've influenced, we've meddled, and to pay for that, it seems... The internet is not allowing me to upload pictures. Sorry. I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I came to Pavones on December 26th, and I love it here. For some reason, I can't seem to leave. There is surf here, it happens to be the longest left break in central america, and the 3rd largest in the world, from what I hear.
There are rivers that flow down to the ocean which are wonderful to walk down, the beach is great, and I just spent a few nights and days wandering down an uninhabited coast (similar to the Lost Coast of California) looking around and camping on the beach. Beautiful. I speared a nice fish, and I'm having a great time diving when the water clears up a little bit.
I'll try to post pictures, but this connection is bad. We'll see if it happens.
I'll post more pictures later.
Anyways, From here, I don't know where I'll go, but I think i'll stay a day more and then go somewhere. Or maybe stay longer. Its so nice.
And you all people should come down and visit. I could get a house here for pretty cheaply, and if you come down we could all have some surfing together. Or just playing in the ocean.