25-Mar-2007 -- Sailing along the Pacific coast of Central America from Mexico to the Panama Canal this afternoon we happened to pass 10N 86W [link pic 01gps].
We will arrive at the Panama Canal on 27 March, but I have already received the usual message from my agents there:
TO MASTER UBC SYDNEY
FM CB FENTON
MUY BUENOS DÍAS CAPITÁN PETER
HAVE SUBMITTED BOOKING APPLICATION TO TRANSIT MARCH 27TH BUT SAME
WAS NOT ACCEPTED. AVAILABLE BOOKING SLOTS WERE ASSIGNED TO CUSTOMERS SUCH AS MAERSK, NYK, CSAV, OLDENDORFF AND ADMACO WHICH IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH TIE BREAKER RULES.
BASED ON PRESENT INDICATIONS ANTICIPATE TRANSIT MARCH 29TH.
REVERTING TOMORROW WITH LATEST PROSPECTS.
C. B. Fenton & Co., S. A.
As usual, lots of priority ships are expected, and if I collected all these messages from Panama I could already use them as wallpaper.
Costa Rica (the "Rich Coast") was first visited in 1502 by Columbus on his fourth and last voyage. Settlement began in 1522. For nearly three centuries the region was administered by Spain and part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala. The country was named "Rich Coast" by the first settlers in anticipation of finding gold and other valuable minerals, but this did not transpire and agriculture became the main industry.
In 1821 the country became part of the Central American Federation which seceded to Mexico in 1822/1823, becoming the United Province of Central America. In 1838, long after the Federation had ceased to exist, Costa Rica formerly withdrew and proclaimed its independence. With only two relatively brief lapses, the country has continued as a peaceful democracy from 1899 to the present day.
The army was abolished in 1949. Internal security is maintained only by police forces. The population of Costa Rica is about 3.8 million. The combination of ample sunshine and moisture, coupled with a fertile soil, means that almost any fruit or flower can be cultivated. The forests abound in mahogany, cedar, and rosewood.
This Confluence lies 26 km offshore of a peninsula which forms the Golfo de Nicoya on its east side. What we see from the Confluence is the coastline between Cabo Velas in the North and Punta Guiones in the South. It is backed by the ranges of Cerros de San Blas, which we see looking towards ENE from the Confluence, and Cerros de Havana, in the ESE of the Confluence. The summits of these mountains attain elevations of about 650 to 1,000 metres.
Costa Rica has a large number of National Parks and is really a country worth to visit. Last year I happened to visit Puntarenas and Puerto Caldera, just behind the here described peninsula in the Golfo de Nicoya. The fauna is the usual Central American one, and during my visit I met a beautiful Costa Rican "Iguana Verde" (green leguan). This animal is about 1.5 metres long and travel books warn people not to come too close, as it is using his long tail as a whip when feeling disturbed.