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Seabourn Legend – Costa Rica and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

We arrived Wednesday morning December 5th around 7:00 am in San Jose and after a suspenseful wait, our four bags rolled off the conveyor belt. Our transfer to the ship was prearranged, and an agent from Seabourn found us at baggage claim and gave us a sticker to put on identifying us as a transferee. We got on to the small bus and headed out for the Marriot on the coast where we would await transfer to the ship itself. After driving for around 45 minutes the guide announced there had been a misunderstanding and that we were to be transferred to the Marriot in San Jose, right back where we had originated. So, back to San Jose we drove.

Once at the Marriot we were told that our transfer would pick us up at 12:30 pm, and that there was a café and restaurant on the property we could avail ourselves of. We had around 3 hours to kill after a long day preparing and packing for the trip followed by a (for me sleepless) red-eye flight to Costa Rica. We ate a good buffet breakfast and found a sofa to snooze on until transfer time.

At noon or so we and our luggage were loaded on our private mini-bus with our name tag on the windshield equipped with both a driver and an English-speaking guide. We learned a bit about Costa Rica on our 2 hour drive to Puerto Caldera, where our yacht the Seabourn Legend awaited us.

The drive was beautiful, from the central valley up over its volacanic rim and down to the Pacific ocean to the west. The Costa Ricans (‘Ticos’) are very industrious, and everywhere were plots of crops, or orchards, or coffee plantations, or plant nurseries. Lots of very steep fields with cattle grazing. The country is steep and deeply forested.

We arrived at the port and boarded our yacht. Finally! We were both so tired we were running on fumes, but felt compelled to go on deck for the bon voyage party and to watch us depart the pier and harbor and set off to the north for San Jose del Mar in Nicaragua, where we are at anchor as I write this

Last night we were phoned and asked if we would dine with the classical guitarist in the restaurant, and we accepted the 7:45 date. We were assigned seating at a table for 12 so that Mel and I were not seated next to one another. This is nice for the single people on the cruise of whom there were a couple and a nice way to mix and meet some folks. At the table near Mel was a woman who has done 18 cruises, some on Seabourn, and had an interesting tale to tell of the Pride running aground at Crete, and making a miraculous recovery in Turkey (courtesy some Turkish divers, I gather) and completed the voyage. We do not need that sort of excitement!

We got to be around 10:00, deeply tired and I awoke at 7:00. Room service press-pot of coffee looking out our balcony window at the Ryndam (HAL) anchored nearby. We are receiving wireless signal in our suite so that will be very comfortable for writing posts and doing my grading while aboard.

Today Mel and I ate breakfast around 10:30 on the veranda café, and after breakfast we came back to our suite and readied ourselves for going ashore in San Juan del Sur. The bay we are anchored in is beautiful with cliffs and beaches ringing it. The town itself is a nice little town, a bit third-world (I think) for the Seabourn crowd. Interesting to have seen as many world traveler types as we did along with the pizza places and Hospedajes they stay in in town. Lots of surfers here too, and gringos driving nice four-wheel drive trucks around town – expats I think. I have heard that this is a center for folks looking for cheap ocean-front real estate and a place to live where to dollar goes far. A couple of real estate development offices with signs all in English and rental signs.

The church was restored in 2001 and completed (I think, based on my reading of signs in Spanish) in 2004. We spoke with a man who was sweeping up the altar area and he said that the posts and walls are original, and had been stripped of paint during the reconstruction. He also said the ‘ceiling’ was new – the wood forming what Mel and I would call the roof was indeed new looking. The pillars are of some incredible hardwood the man called ‘black wood’ (‘moreno negro’). Some of them looked pretty sketchy. But overall a very nice restoration.

Interior of restored church - San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua
Interior of restored church – San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua

Here are some shots from around town and of the bay and beach in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua:

Painted Building - San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua
Painted Building – San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua

Rocking Chairs on Porch - San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua
Rocking Chairs on Porch – San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua

Municipal Building - San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua
Municipal Building – San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua

Beach and Bay  - San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua
Beach and Bay – San Jose del Sur, Nicaragua

Tonight we have a formal night, I will wear my tux and Mel a gown. We have been invited to dine at the captain Tom Thomassen’s table – we feel quite honored. I think as repeaters aboard for four weeks and having accepted last dinner with the guitarist las night we earned some points and got the invite – it will be fun.

Now I just have to remember how to tie a bow tie….

-Steve

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