Posted by: Sailing Camelot | June 2, 2012

May 24th – Getting to know Golfito

A few quick facts about Golfito:

This small port city is a narrow strip along Golfito Bay, backed against steep green hills covered with pristine rainforest, with the Golfo Dulce lying seaward outside Golfito Bay.

Just to give you an idea…

The town was founded in the 1938 by the United Fruit Company (of Chiquita Banana fame), and within a short time was built into a prosperous trade center.

Golfito was the most important port in southern Costa Rica and the main port on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the days when there was little except huge banana plantations. Diseases which infected the bananas and massive strikes by the workers contributed largely to the United Fruit Company’s decision to leave the area in 1985.

Nowadays the banana plantations have been substituted by African Palm plantations.

African Palms produce pods of oil dates that contain rich oil.  The processed palm oil is used in a variety of products. Every day items such as lipstick, cosmetics, cooking oil, margarines, industrial lubricants, soaps are just a few of the many commercial goods that contain African Palm oil. The pods are harvested when the fruits are bright orange-red.

Palm Oil Kernels

Golfito  is an official Port of Entry, and a very popular stop for vessels transiting either north or south given its proximity to the Panamanian border.

YachtPath, the well known yacht transport company, also regularly stops here to collect vessels.  

We’re lucky enough to see this behemoth of a ship arrive and load up a few boats before leaving for its next stop in Ensenada, Mexico.

 “Ocean Freedom”, the YachtPath ship entering Golfito Bay

Setting anchor in front of the Town

It’s a very quick and efficient, impressive operation, although the cost of moving a vessel this way is prohibitive for most. Despite my opinion, the ship is full to capacity…

Getting ready to load a powerboat

Dangling from the crane

 Life slows down considerably on Camelot. Golfito’s pace is relaxed and laid back. We learn to enjoy the change of season with all its drama. Central America is transiting to winter, which brings with it heavy rainfall. The Rainy Season is emphatically called the Green Season, probably to make it a little less depressing.

This part of Costa Rica gets 4 to 5 meters of rain per year.

Tom relaxing at the neighboring Banana Bay Marina. They make killer hamburgers!

We enjoy hot, humid, mostly sunny days, and tolerate the almost-daily downpours/deluges, the thunderstorms and the much-feared lightning shows. Luckily, it usually starts raining only in the late afternoon or early night. But the soundtrack is most always there… rumble, rumble!

Since our boat is nicely protected from rainfall, we can comfortably sit in the cockpit and just watch Nature’s daily Pissing Contest. It is truly fascinating to see rain fall with such violence. The soundrack is amazing, too: from the “Rumble in the Jungle” (as Tom calls it) to ear-splitting thunder cracks worthy of winning a special effects contest… I have never seen such quantities of rain in my whole life, and I did live in England for five years!  I now understand the “of Biblical Proportions” comparison…

My favorite fishing boat, “Emilio”, anchored in Golfito Bay.

But there’s a nice balance, too. Every few days we get to fill our water tanks with rainwater; then the sun shines again, hitting our solar panels and charging the batteries to full capacity. It feels good to be self-sufficient!

Since we’re going to stay here a while, there will be many opportunities for excursions. I’m just going to investigate all the possibilities and start making lists…

I can’t get over how pretty my “backyard” is!

Nice transition from boat life to “almost” land life!

Life is sweet in Golfo Dulce!

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