Even though it was 5 am and we wouldn’t see our friends of the Blue Goose for a long time, spirits on board were high as we pulled out of San Juan del Sur. In 17 nautical miles we would cross the border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica; the country of our final landing. We still had several weeks before we would reach that last destination near the southern border. Nonetheless, we had our first feelings of success and fulfillment. Besides, we were going to some of the best and most remote surfing in the country and meeting our friends Huck and Bobby out there.
As we crossed the border into Costa Rica the coast appeared different. Since this northern portion is a designated National Park, there is no development. Even if one would want to build here, the steep, jungle terrain, with its complex layout of bays, points and cliffs would hardly allow it. It made for a beautiful view. Patience sailed easily through the calm, yet breezy waters of the various small islands that littered the coast. She wove her way through waters surrounded by dense and rich jungle bustling with life. The sweet aroma of the vegetation rolled off of the land so sweetly we were almost in tears as we passed near the beautiful shoreline.
It wasn’t long until we set anchor in the midst of that beauty, in the bay that hosts Ollie’s point. We hadn’t seen a soul since San Juan del Sur and it turned out that we wouldn’t see one for next two days there. This only made the place more spectacular than it already was. Later on we realized that it was the first time on our entire trip that we didn’t see a sign of human impact at an anchorage.
We paddled our boards to shore, ambitious to touch land and check out the waves at the point. We walked the mile on the beach, enjoying the feeling of walking and marveling at the environment. This region has distinct wet and dry seasons and considering the wet season hadn’t started yet, the rivers were still low and visually, browns mixed in with greens. There were even a few cacti perched on dry patches and nestled in rocks. The color variations, smells and sounds were deeply enjoyable.
Given the remoteness, lack of people and the beautiful setting, it wouldn’t take a great wave to make a special surf spot. Ollie’s is an exception though; the wave is world class. The swell rolls into the bay gently, sneaking past the island barriers. As the waves approach they slowly begin to rise up in height, one behind the other and gently begin to feather lightly as the wind wills it to stand just a little taller. As you take off, keeping your board high on the wave you begin racing the shoulder down the line. Gaining speed, it holds its face open, permitting you to make any delicious surfing choice: A snappy turn, a float on top of the white water, a flying ejection or a small barrel ride. Then it closes, with or without you in it.
We surfed twice a day on the medium tides for three hours each time every day we were there. The first two days, there were no people so we took turns on waves non-stop: Catch a wave paddle back, hoot at your buddy as he whizzes by, hoot at the other buddy as he whizzes by, get back to the lineup, catch one and get hooted at as you whiz by your friends. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little, but nonetheless, it was a surfers dream.
The third day there the first Pangas showed up with anxious surf tourists aboard. One of the motorboats should have our buddies Huck and Bobby on it. We were excited to see them and have company on the Patience, so we approached all the Pangas that showed up that morning. It wasn’t until late afternoon that they finally showed up grinning. It’s a special feeling and a great experience to meet a friend from home in a remote, exotic location.
We surfed Ollie’s point two more times and then Witches Rock for an evening and morning session. Unfortunately the winds weren’t favorable at witches and the surf quality wasn’t great, but it is another gorgeous place in the National Park and we loved anchoring there.
Huck and Bobby were great company. They are both medical doctors from California; Bobby with a private practice near Los Angeles and Huck, a specialist in eye surgery in San Francisco. Both are excellent surfers and have a fun and humble attitude towards life (not so common in other doctors I’ve met). Unfortunately they only stayed for four days, but they were filled with many great waves and even more laughs. In fact, Bobby changed one aspect of Patience forever, revealing a breezeway in our cockpit dodger! While we were suffering in the breezeless cockpit or sweating in the galley, we could have simply unzipped part of the canvas and opened it. I guess it took a fresh eye. We aptly named the refreshing option ‘Bobby’s Breezeway’.
Having a special interest in wilderness first aid, I asked them many questions about procedures. They were happy to share their knowledge. We even got a lesson in suturing stitches. The belly of a freshly caught and gutted Dorado made for a perfect stitching site. And in the evenings, as a group we had good and lengthy talks about the finer berocracies of the medical industry. If anyone ever needs an eye surgeon or a general practitioner in California let us know, we can point you to the best.
Reluctantly, we went our separate ways in Playa de Coco, as Huck and bobby made their way back home. It’s a refreshing treat to have company on board, and it was too bad they couldn’t have stayed longer. but we were looking forward to our next visitor, Carlos, who would arrive a few days later.