In any of these towns, you can hardly swing a cat by the tail without hitting someone who’s selling a sailing tour. And my advice is: Go for it. It’s hard to go wrong. I’ve never had a bad time on a boat in this country.
Guiselle and I were out for a recent morning ride on the Sea Bird, a 45-foot C&L Marine Explorer built in 1979 in Taiwan that offers sailing tours in Playas del Coco. We had gotten up early (for us) and gone to the beach to meet the proprietor of this business, Heather Lane, which I thought would be a good name for a lady detective, or a Beatles parody.
Once aboard the boat, we struck up a conversation with the captain, Sebastián, an old salt with a scraggly gray beard and remarkable piercings in his ears. He said he was from Nicaragua and was the black sheep of his family because he spent all his time at sea.
“That’s where I sleep,” he said, pointing to a nearby boat called the Sacred Dance. “This is where I work,” he said, lying almost horizontal in the cabin of the Sea Bird. “And that’s the bicycle I use to get to work,” he said, pointing to a surfboard.
As we set out to sea, I was expecting to hear expressions like “Hoist the jib!” or “Trim the sails!” But the most common expression I heard was “What would you like to drink?”
Most people opted at first for water — landlubbers — but for the second round many were ready for a beer. Guiselle, and quite a few others, were tempted by the mango mimosa. Because everything goes better with champagne.
Cruising toward our snorkeling spot, we saw a sea turtle, a whale and some dolphins. When the occasion called for it, we rushed to the bowsprit or the poop deck or whatever you call it to snap pictures. Then we returned to whatever seats we had found that allocated precious amounts of shade.
Guiselle spent quite a bit of time standing with her back to the sun, nursing her mimosa. “I’m working on those tan lines you like,” she said. Excelente.
I once went on a boat cruise in St. Maarten, and our captain anchored on a beautiful island, pointed to another boat in the distance and said in his island accent, “All the people on that boat are naked.”
Nobody on our boat got naked. Well, I didn’t keep a constant watch on the poop deck.