Saturday, July 31, 2010


The sound of a motor before dawn was a bit odd; I figured someone was just getting out here early. Followed by anxious shouts; maybe stumbling along the jungle trail, after an all night drinking bout? But paddling out on the point that morning, the salt air was tinged with diesel. And then there was the fuel drum floating in the tideline...

It was Leo who alerted me to the cause. A vessel had grounded out on the point, barely reaching the inside of the bay, where it was scuttled in the shorebreak.

Visions of two years before, when Leo's partner Stu alerted me to a boat grounded out on the very rocks of the same point. A drug runner from Colombia! One of a trio of boats running up the coast, when (as the story goes) a U.S. Coastguard helicopter gave chase, so the three took their chances on different routes. Apparently, the one grounded on the point was just the fuel carrier (damn!). It had jettisoned its fuel drums, which littered the bay, but the triple tandem mounted 200hp Yamaha outboards on the stern gave away its mission. The only remaining cargo consisted of spare engine parts, and cans of tuna "hecho en Colombia".

This year's shipwreck was not so sinister––merely sad. A fishing vessel out of Quepos, just up the coast, had experienced mechanical problems and was running to shelter. Almost made it, too, all but for that gnarly nub of rock out in front. Free dorado for lookers-on, as there was no way these poor fellows were going to get their catch to market.

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