An opportunity to make a trip to the beach came up this past weekend. Our visiting daughter made a request to go and our friends were heading over for a night after an airport pickup in Liberia. So, we made the appropriate arrangements to take care of the pets, loaded up the Land Cruiser, and made the trip.
Playa Coco has been a convenient place for us to visit after picking up or dropping off people at the airport. Only 20 minutes from the airport. And, on one of our recent excursions we uncovered a great place to have sushi! While Playa Coco is not one of the prime beaches we found it a pleasant place to stay and there is lots of shopping for the tourists. Can't really say much about restaurants other than the sushi place 'cause that's all we ate. Oh yeah, there's Lenny's Hot Dog stand where you can get the best chili dog around.
Of course, driving the 30-year old BJ-40 Land Cruiser made for some pre-trip trepidation. A main concern was the fact that there is no fuel gauge and a recent episode of running out of fuel in a diesel (not fun) required a jerry can of fuel for backup. As it turned out, we only burned 18 liters of fuel to get to the beach and part way back toward Liberia. Without an odometer we have no idea what sort of mileage that means but if my assumption that the full tank is 40 liters then we could've made the trip on 1 tank.
For this run, we took 2 kayaks, the Great Auk and one of our single Ocean Kayaks. Our friends took their kayak so we figured that all 3 of us could paddle while the others were out on a ponga to fish. Turned out our daughter preferred to stay on the beach so it was just the 2 of us kayaking.
First day out we went northwest around the point to see what we could see and maybe get a glimpse of Playa Ocotal. Our hotel proprietor said the beach was better for swimming over there but it was a 15 minute drive. We did get a look. Appeared to be about the same as Coco, dark sand, boats anchored out in the bay. Nice paddle to get over and back. About an hour.
The next day we headed to the north. This point looked farther away than the one the day before so we weren't sure how far around we'd get. Coming around the end we encountered increasing swells and some surf breaking over submerged rocks. A good sized cave was blowing the surf back out making for a nice thundering noise and big spray.
Well, we rounded the corner to look at the next bay and paddled a bit into it to discover a secluded white sand beach. Saw a family snorkeling in the clear water here and the bottom was totally visible. Pretty cool. Would've liked to have some gear along to do a little of that myself. I expect there was a lot to see below the surface. But, we beached and hung out in the shade for a few minutes and just enjoyed the place. Didn't see any roads leading in although there was some sort of structure back in the trees so there must be a way in that the snorkelers took. Had the beach to ourselves otherwise.
On this run, I remembered that I had this little GPS that my friend loaned me. Turned it on after we had paddled out maybe a half kilometer or so. One thing I've been wanting to do is figure out what speed I can reach in the Great Auk. Not sure these were the best conditions to do that with the current and winds but the max speed recorded was 10.5km/hr. I'll get another reading on the lake to see if that's it or maybe I can do better. Anyways, we logged a little over 6km total for the day with around 58minutes of paddle time.
No problems putting in or taking out as the surf was mostly calm. First time we put in was at low tide making for a bit of a walk out to the water's edge. Second day was closer to high tide.
The Great Auk handled pretty much the same as on the lake. More currents to deal with of course but the ocean is where this boat is made to run and it did great. Had the spray skirt on for part of the first day out, got into some bigger swells and I was cautious. Second time out I didn't feel the need to skirt up and since I get too hot with it on I didn't use it. Never felt like it was necessary on this trip, pretty calm water except around the rocks but we steered clear of them.
And, the obligatory sunset...