Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016 – Golfito, Costa Rica – Mostly Sunny – 90F

Distance from Fuerte Amador to Golfito, Costa Rica: 370 Nautical Miles

A hot but beautiful day for our first time in Golfito, Costa Rica.

Port Information.  Golfito (“little gulf”) can be found on the Golfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”) on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.  The actual town consists of just one street and is home to about 2000 “Ticos” (Costa Ricans).  Golfito, like other towns along the coast, were basically set up by United Fruit (of Chiquita Banana fame) in the 1930s.  UF provided housing and services to the workers who worked the banana plantations.  Unions put an end to the UF banana business and forced them to work on African Palms (source of the oils that make up “Palmolive”).  In 1990, the government declared Golfito a duty-free zone to encourage tourism and commerce.

When I went out to the deck to get breakfast, it was clear we were not docked.  The Captain came on the PA and said that the pilot never showed up and that a tanker was occupying our docking slot.  In a few minutes, he updated us to indicated that the tanker had left and would be anchored.  He also said that Journey would not be waiting for the pilot and would proceed to the dock.  The ship did dock – perhaps one of our captains brought her alongside.

The dock was arguably the most rickety structure we ever docked at.  It was a relic of the banana shipping days.

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Waiting to Dock

The infamous tanker was at anchor (below).

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Golfito from the Ship

We are both on the same tour today - “Coastal Scenic Drive” – but at different time (AM and PM). 

Ellen returned from her trip and we had a very quick lunch before I went on my tour.  John was our tour guide for this quick hour long excursion (the shortest tour I believe we ever took).  The large bus had a bit of difficulty turning around on the narrow pier but, at around 1:00 PM, we were on our way.


Vendors Near the Pier


Coast Guard Station

United Fruit founded the town in the 1930s.  They provided pre-fab houses for the banana workers.  These houses are still around today.  They are up on columns to prevent flooding (I thought they kept the snakes out).


United Fruit House

The company also built a basic airstrip (below) to provide air transportation to Golfito.  I saw a plane land there earlier.


United Fruit Air Strip

Western Costa Rica is also known for a very unusual man-made object known as the “Costa Rican Sphere”.  These are perfectly round rock balls made of  granite like material known as “granodiorite”.  Hundreds of spheres were found by United Fruit when they set up the town – spheres come in all sizes from four inches to six feet in diameter.  While they are clearly native made, no one is sure how they made them so perfectly round – I am thinking that they had alien technology for this purpose.

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Costa Rican Sphere

The bus then took us to downtown Golfito.  There we saw some gas stations ($3.80 per gallon), beauty shops, restaurants, bars, and a few hotels. 


Downtown Golfito

There were also a couple of very nice public parks – the equipment was geared toward children so there must be families living in the town.  The greater metro area is home to about 30,000 residents.


City Park

From the downtown area, we headed back to the ship.

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It was very hot on the deck so we spent some of the afternoon in the Living Room.

At 5:30 PM, we attended the “Back to Back Cruisers” meeting, where the process of staying for the next cruise was explained.

We had planned to have dinner in the Patio on Deck 9 (a new eating venue being tried out on the renovated Journey).  However, it was too hot so we ordered food and had it brought into the adjacent Windows Café.  Our dinner was a combination of both eateries (Turkish Buffet night) – crusted Snapper, Cesar Salad, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, grilled salmon, and vegetarian lasagna.  Overall, the meal was good.

Tonight we attended the only Production Show of the cruise - “Stage Door to Dreams” featuring Eric and the Singers and Dancers.  They did a good job considering that Becky was new and had to learn a lot of the numbers from scratch.  Becky did have a good voice but there were still some glitches with the mics (Katy’s mic malfunctioned on her first song).

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Stage Door to Dreams

Ellen has an early tour tomorrow so we headed back to the room.

Seas are smooth…

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