[051218; 0145 UTC,

Playa Iguanita, Bahia culebra, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

N 10 degrees 37.5 /W 085 degrees 37.9]


Merry Christmas, everyone.


We know an email is not a particularly warm way to deliver holiday season greetings. However Carina is currently bobbing in an isolated anchorage in northern Costa Rica, so please forgive us the impersonal vehicle chosen to deliver this heartfelt message.


This Christmas will be touched by sadness for us because of the recent and unexpected death of Freddie, Philip's sister Lois' husband. He was a good-humored, kind man who loved his family and he will be missed, especially this Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lois, her sons, Shaun and Kevin, daughter-in-law Betsy and grandson Kyle.


It's actually a little difficult for us to remember that Christmas is approaching. We have our Mr. and Mrs. Claus hats hung on our brass bell (a gift from Philip's family) but otherwise, given our tiny home, we have only Christmas CDs to generate holiday atmosphere. Even at the tourist town of Playa del Coco, where we shop for provisions, there's little fanfare for the holiday, save a fake tree in a frequented beachfront restaurant called Oscar's. It's sad but it seems that time-share salespeople are actually more abundant than Christmas decorations!


It's also very warm here, 90 degrees right now, and there are blustery afternoon winter "papagayo" winds blowing off the beach from the NE. Many of the trees on the hillsides are bare, while others are in brilliant bloom with red, yellow or purple flowers. Monkeys are commonly seen rustling the branches of trees as troupes of howler or white faced monkeys scavenge through the trees, slide down vines and swing by their tails as they migrate through the canopy.


We plan to spend Christmas anchored in Bahia Huevos (egg bay), an undeveloped wild bay close to here with others in our "cruising family". Friends aboard Encanto - John and Judy with daughters Gaby and Sami - are putting together a brunch of waffles, fine Costa Rican coffee and, inevitably, wonderful conversation. We'll don our best flip flops and cleanest shorts and take our little lancha, Bacio, to the gathering of friends who are also separated from loved ones on this special day.


We hope that the magic of Christmas allows everyone to glow in the warmth of love. Please pray for peace on earth and the end to suffering worldwide in the new year, particularly for children.


Philip, Leslie and el gato, Jake

s/v Carina

lying Playa Iguanita, Guanacaste, Costa Rica