Hello, this is Hanna and Emma. For the past 3 weeks we have been the crew on Paul’s WASA.
Briefly about us:
Hanna Piendl (still 19), graduated from school last year and decided to go on travels before studying. As Paul’s sister it is obvious for her to accompany him on a part of his route.
Emma Eggert (22), studies Transdisciplinary Art in Vienna but is originally also from Ammersee and knows Paul through the Sammersee-Benefiz Festival. She will accompany him and WASA across the Pacific.
All beginnings are difficult:
Unfortunately, our outward journey from Munich was postponed 5 days because Corona interfered. After some changes in planning, we finally set off on February 14!
We were very nervous whether everything would really work out. But finally – after 26 exhausting hours we arrived in Punta Morales, Costa Rica. Paul, Sofien and Lea welcomed us with beer at a bus stop. Wonderful! (After 3 flights and a bus ride into the unknown, being picked up is one of the better things).
As a reward we were invited by the captain to traditional food and a cold beer with salt on the edge of the glass and lemon juice. Really delicious! But since we were still pretty exhausted, we went straight to bed.
However, we could not yet get on the boat because it was inaccessible to us due to the low tide. We were kindly allowed to spend the night with Lea, a friend of Paul.
The next day Sofien guided us around SAILCARGO and showed us the project. Very impressive! Sofien sponsored our highlight – our first fresh coconut, which he opened for us with a machete. After that it was time for us to say goodbye and go on the boat! Not so easy for three people with 40 kg of luggage and a surfboard…
Luckily everything went well and Emma saw the Wasa for the first time! Her new home for the next months.
The next morning we finally set sail as a new crew. Our destination: Caldeira.
The reason for our stop was to sign off at the port office and register for the next part of the coast. However, this was easier said than done, especially because of many policy issues in paperworks for checking boats in and out of Costa Rican ports. By the way, this is one of the reasons why there aren´t that many sailors sailing through Costa Rica. We were therefore the only boat in most of the places. But after everything was done, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and set sail towards Uvita. Our dinner was provided by three young fishermen, they asked us for three beers in exchange for three fish. Good deal!
Afterwards we had our first overnight trip. (Everyone keeps watch for 3 hours from sunset onwards and can then sleep for 6 hours until the next shift starts).
We were a little bit excited, but it was a super calm and bright night without much of excitement. The following day at sea went quite in the spirit of the night, relaxed. For a reading hour, drawing, a game of chess or some crocheting was plenty of time! Unfortunately, we arrived only after sunset. This made anchoring difficult in addition to the many reefs around Uvita. But in the end, we found spot and anchored.
Then in darkness we saw how the sea glowed. To explain, not the whole water, but everywhere where it moved. Only when small waves broke on the boat or a fish swam past.
We couldn’t really believe it so we wanted to provoke it a bit and poured a whole bucket of water overboard. WOW! Holy shit, as I’m sure someone said and that’s exactly what it was! The bucket water left a bright green light where it hit. Just like that. We couldn’t believe it, we’ve never seen anything so beautiful. This effect is caused by luminescent plankton, small crabs invisible for the eyes, which glow when the water moves. Actually like fireflies only under water. We wanted to enjoy this magical moment to the fullest, took all our courage together and went swimming! (Sea and darkness is rather scary, isn’t it?) The white to greenish glowing particles left a tail with every movement and we felt a bit like mermaids. Just wow… : )
The first night in Uvita was unfortunately not really relaxing… The waves shook the boat back and forth, every not nailed down part made a lot of noise. Besides, we really had to be careful not to fall out of bed!
When we got up at sunrise, the view once again took our breath away – palm trees besides the white sandy beach and there were hardly any people around. Very idyllic, a view more beautiful than on a postcard, because it was real! On this day (meanwhile, by the way, it is February 20, 2022) was only for beaching. Relaxing, tanning and sipping coconuts was on the program.
That didn’t last long, though, because the next day we had some work to do again in the morning. Emma repaired with Paul the pump to pump out the bilge and Hanna scrubbed the deck. After that we got ready to surf. The waves were a dream! Little current and perfect weather… Paul was even in the water until it got dark and came out with a big smile on the lips. To top it off, back on board we had a pina colada made from coconuts from the beach.
The next day we would like to quote: „Really boring sailing day, no wind, hot as hell. Just not nice“ – emma :,)
When we arrived 2 days later around noon in Golfito, it went to our first mooring maneuver. Afterwards we strengthened ourselves in the Banana Bay Marina. Here we sat in the shady cool with WIFI and everyone did their own stuff. On this day we also met Achim. Achim is a helpful sailor of a catamaran, which was already sold. When he is not sailing, he is a safari guide in Namibia. Cool guy!
On February 24, 2022, we are all totally awake after checking the news. How horrible! We are sad and shocked by the current events in Ukraine.
We never thought it would be more dangerous so close to our homes than on the journey here. We stand with Ukraine and all victims. The only thing we could really do, was donating because we were on the other side of the world… But this way anyone can help over any distance!
For the following day, we agreed on a to-do day to make progress. While we were shopping groceries for the next week, Paul was doing a half bureaucracy marathon. First, he went to customs, then to the immigration, to the harbor office and finally to the post office. He even straightened the wind vane, what a day!
In the morning at 10:00 we left Golfito, after filling the water tanks. Our (long) journey to Panama began.
6 days we were on the way, isolated from the world. Only the Pacific, the Wasa and us. The first two days were again a bit low concerning the wind… The engine was running for support. We made a small stopover overnight between two islands „Isla Jicarita“ and „Isla Jicaron“. Once again, we arrived in the dark and once again our night was sleepless due to the waves. Nevertheless, we quickly made ourselves some cereal the next morning and then went snorkeling and exploring the islands. The diversity in the water was insane! Rays, jellyfish, neon green fish with purple snouts, starfish, huge groups of fish or big black fish. A Moorish idol fish (we know the name now thanks to Emma, she knows a lot about „Finding Nemo“ – it’s the character Khan). Furthermore, we discovered sea urchins, huge shells, crabs and endless other species in the most impossible colors and shapes. The island was too good. If we had not taken pictures, this place could well have been a dream.
After our excursion we set off again and sailed on. Since we wanted to arrive in Panama at some point! At first the sailing went really well, the wind was great, we made progress, but we had a though leaning. At the height of Punta Malas (the last more difficult part of our route) it became quite uncomfortable the following day in the evening. A storm came up and stirred up the sea. The waves were partly up to 2 meters high. Accordingly, the night was very chilling – not… The next morning we were all really exhausted. And a bit annoyed. Because the whole effort was in vain! We didn’t make any progress! The current was so strong that we were just moving along the same line as we crossed.
Fortunately, the tide was now working against the current for the next 6 hours, so we slowly made progress. The wind and waves were not milder the next night, just a bit. But maybe it only felt that way because we were already used to turbulence from the day before. We were partly afraid, but the thought that Paul and especially the Wasa had been through much worse -the thought of 40 years of sailing around the world and 6-meter-high waves, helped immensely.
Around 18:00 on March 2, 2022 we finally arrived. We sailed a total of 439 nautical miles from Punta Morales to Panama, where we anchored at Marina Playita. While entering, we were surprised and could not believe what we saw there:
So many freighters and cargo ships – and HUGE! They are all waiting here to be able to pass the Panama Canal. Directly in front of its entrance is our anchorage. At the end we even spotted a whale swimming between the big freighters towards the open sea. Hopefully he arrived there well, as we did in the harbor.
Emma found it particularly amazing how many such large ships and containers passed through the channel every day. We found out that the largest container ship today can load over 23,000 containers and the passage fees for such a giant are about 500,000 €. As a highlight we saw during our anchorage time here a submarine with police boat guard passing the channel.
In any case, it is very exciting here!
All the best from us,
Hanna and Emma