Off to New Adventures Aboard “Dragon’s Wing”

Paul and Gayle Sommers

by Gail Sommers

My husband, Paul, is settling into “boat mode,” as we get ready to leave Costa Rica. Obsessively checking weather reports for crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, ordering parts for items that need to be taken care of when Paul returns to Florida to do minor boat repairs, it’s all very different from the routine we’ve gotten into here for the past four months.

We said goodbye to our excellent Spanish teacher, Johann Benavides, and hope that he’ll have space for us when we return next April. We’ve also had dinners, coffee, etc. with friends we’ve made here. Even though we’ll only be gone for four months, we feel as if we’ve only begun to settle in here.

We arranged for house-sitters to stay here at our house in San Ramon while we’re gone. Our feisty, wonderful, old cat, Mischa, and lively dog, Oksana, will remain here in Costa Rica. With the uncertainty of the trip, being in some remote areas in the Bahamas where we may have to land a dinghy through the waves (or not at all), the logistics are such that we believe the pets will be happier if they remain here in the house that is familiar, and with house-sitters who love animals.

I made a last trip to the wonderful local feria, stopping at many of the usual vendors:  the organic stand, where I got beautiful carrots, a sweet pepper, and that wonderful green called “espinaca,” which isn’t really spinach, but is quite good in its own right. Then a stop at Paul’s favorite papaya vendor, to shake hands all around and explain why there will be no papayas today. Finally a stop at the “pork boys,” for a few of their divine chuletas (smoked pork chops) and a little ham.

Paul flies to Florida about a week before I do, getting ready to do battle with all of the small and not-so-small projects to get “Dragon’s Wing” ready to go. New water tanks and tubing, general clean up of mildew and dust, sanding and painting the deck, general tidying of the boat and stowing some of the supplies, so when I get there I can take inventory and make additional purchases. Never having gone to the Bahamas (and having heard that food is extremely expensive there), we hope to lay in a good supply of canned goods

Getting ready to sail aboard “Dragon’s Wing”

and water. And I’m looking forward to all the fresh coconut water I can drink!

In the meantime at home in Costa Rica, I’ll take care of a lot of little things that need to be done before we leave:  dealing with the annual license and insurance for the car, called “marchamo,” as well as arranging for the annual emissions’ inspection, Riteve, paying our bills for utilities, etc. Even stocking up on things like pet food, which is quite expensive in Costa Rica — we don’t want the pets to run out of food and don’t think it should be the responsibility of the house-sitters, so we’ve laid in quite a supply, which we hope will be sufficient.

Even though we’ll be back soon – not soon enough! – it’s bittersweet to leave here. We will miss our beloved pets, our friends here, our house, the feria. And it doesn’t help my mood that this morning dawned sunny, with broken clouds and a lovely breeze, the sort of day you dream about on a cold and rainy day in the Pacific Northwest from where we moved.

But once we get aboard “Dragon’s Wing,” it will be a different sort of existence. I resist it now, but know that it will be interesting –  always interesting! – with amazing new places along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and then the trip to the Bahamas, where the language will be the same, but the culture completely different.

Fair winds to all!”

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