Adventure & New Experiences on Star Flyer

A special thanks to Sharon Lumley for writing in about her Star Flyer adventure in Costa Rica, and to Walter and Lori Lumley for the fabulous photographs.





Ninety-four passengers boarded the Star Flyer Clipper ship at Port Caldera, Costa Rica to cruise the southern coastline of Costa Rica and a Port of Call to Isla Parida, Panama. After everyone had settled into their cabins it was an all hands on deck call for crew and passengers to set sail. With Captain Yuriy at the bridge, the crew proceeded to raise the sails as the music drifted over the intercom – Vangelis 1492 Conquest of Paradise. Warm Pacific winds billowed her sails as she leaned gracefully. The bow cut sharply thru the dark blue waters, heading south.



Adventure arouses new experiences and develops character. The first day at sea the clipper ship was under sail and the quest began. For the brave at heart there was an opportunity for a challenge by climbing the mast. Like the pirates of olden days the rope ladder went upward to the crow’s nest. Fear of heights would have to be subdued. A youngster of eighty six years went up with the first daring souls, giving others the courage they needed. Passengers could relax in a deck chair with a good book, listen to music, nap or choose to go on excursions to learn the wonders of Costa Rica. Each port of call offered a new escapade. Isla Parida, Panama: A white sandy beach with calm waters for snorkeling, swimming or hiking thru the island rain forest.







Rescue Center and Gardens, Off-Road Canopy Tour, or the National Wildlife Refuge. If those excursions were not of interest then after a dry landing, a short walk into town and talking with the locals surely would. Explanation: A dry landing is when a smaller boat called a tender brings passengers ashore and they disembark at a dock. A wet landing is when there is no dock and they tender as close as they can and you get off in about knee deep water.



Drake Bay: Corcovado National Park or Horseback Riding. Of course if you chose to stay aboard you could cool off in the crystal clear blue water of the ocean and lounge on a blue float (tied to the zodiac of course so that the waves would not sweep you away and leave you stranded at sea).



Quepos: Savegre River Floating, Manuel Antonio National Park, Titi Canopy Tour or Snorkeling Safari.



Isla Tortuga: Music, bar and barbeque provided by the crew for a beach party. Costa Rica is a mecca for nature lovers. There are an abundance of exotic birds, flora of every color, alligators and either spider monkeys to charm you with their sweet smiles or Howler monkeys to entertain you.






FOOD, FUN AND NEW FRIENDS


Eating seems like such a simple pleasure but trying new foods can in itself be an adventure. The Jamaican Chef and his staff spent endless hours in preparation of meals and snacks. Imagine arising early to see the sunrise and the coffee, juices, sweet rolls and croissants are waiting for you. Lunch buffets were seafood, Italian, Caribbean, South American, Oriental and a barbeque prepared on the beach.



Dining was casual-elegant and you were handed a menu with several choices. In the Tropical Bar you could sit on deck, listen to music and choose an exotic cocktail, beer or wine.



Every day there was no shortage of entertainment. The talented Tamas was frequently in concert in the Piano Bar or playing his accordion on deck in the Tropical Bar. Crew and passengers amused us with a fashion show, a talent show and even a couples’ contest to crown “Mr. and Mrs. Star Flyer." By the middle of the week laughter radiated from port to starboard, stern to aft, echoing throughout the ship as different groups of people gravitated to each other either by similarities or differences and new friendships were created that would last a lifetime.



Debarkation at Purto Caldera, Costa Rica, brought an end to a week of adventure, fantastic cuisine, fun and many goodbyes to new friends and acquaintances. As passengers slowly proceeding up the ramp to board the tourist bus with suitcase in tow there was time for one last glance at the grandeur of the Star Flyer. She rolled with each wave as she awaited the time to raise her sails into the wind with another set of exciting passengers on their journey to paradise.






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BJ's Travel's Part 7: BBQ in Tortuga and Farewell

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 113013 (Saturday) Tortuga


We boarded a tender at 10AM for the beach on Tortuga. There were lots of rental chairs set up and a tent with a lot of tables...



We took the kayak out and scoped the area to see if there was a good place to snorkel, but didn't see anything that looked promising. The ships crew set up a great beach BBQ and Tamas the piano player played the accordion while we ate.






After lunch, we headed back to the ship and found a shady spot for an afternoon nap. After our shower, we took turns packing and then played a couple of games of casino in the piano bar.



We had a cocktail party on the back deck followed by dinner with a few of our new friends. The crew paraded through the dining room with flags and sang 'We are the world'.






We exchanged contact information with some of the passengers and then retired to our cabin.



Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 120113 (Sunday - Disembarkation Day) Puerta Caldera 


We woke up early so we could finish packing and get breakfast before disembarking. We closed our account on the ship and were the first ones on the tender to shore.






We were pleased to see our driver from Odyssey tours holding a sign with our name. We had a large van all to ourselves!

 

Our driver was quite informative about Costa Rica during the drive. We were off of the boat at 8:15AM and at the airport at 9:30AM... 



...We were happy to be home. Little Lucy, our Chihuahua, was beside herself and even Lola, our aloof cat, seemed glad to see us. Now we start the cruise diet. :(



Conclusion?  We would enthusiastically recommend a sailing trip on Star Clippers.
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BJ's Travels Part 6: Exploring Quepos

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Captain's Log, Star Flyer Date 112913 (Friday) Quepos


After breakfast, we watched the ship anchor off the coast of Quepos. We got on the tender which took us to a dock about a 20-minute walk from town (our first dry landing!). There were folks on the dock handing out tourist info. We walked along the water to town.



The town is not really a tourist destination, although there is a busy bus station and lots of people coming and going. We walked along the outskirts of town. A couple of shops were having Black Friday sales. 

 

We found a neat open air church. It was deserted, so I decided it was okay to explore. I went up the steps to the attic and was startled by Jesus, in the corner.






We walked around some more and found Dos Locos to be inviting so we stopped in for a beverage. Across the street was an appliance store where the appliances were selling like hot cakes!



We had seen an unusual spire over the top of the buildings so we decided to check it out. It was La Luz Del Mundo. It did not appear to be open so we didn't get to peek inside.



Along the way, we saw Quepos' fish market, the car wash, the real estate office and lots of dogs. Everyone was very friendly.









On the way back to the dock, we went through a colorful market.



A tender was waiting for us at the dock. We thought we had missed lunch, but as we passed through the dining room there was still a little food out, so I stopped for a bite. Lunch today was Asian. Tony had sworn off of eating until dinner so he headed for the room.



It was looking like rain so we checked out the movie 'Crossing Over' from the purser's office and that occupied us until cocktail hour.






We had dinner with folks from the first night, as well as three single people. Tamas played the accordion during dinner.
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BJ's Travels Part 5, Thanksgiving Day at Drake Bay

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112813 (Thursday - Thanksgiving) Drake Bay


Thursday started with our usual routine. Exercise with Steffi for me, and then breakfast in the dining room. We had not planned an excursion for the day so we found some lounge chairs in the shade and relaxed while all of the excursion-goers boarded tenders for their tours.



For the first time in several days, we were able to get a phone signal so we spent some time answering emails and wishing our friends back home a happy Thanksgiving.






We thought we would take a tender to Drake Bay to look around a bit, but we got caught up in conversation with some other travel agents and missed the first tender. By then, Steffi and Erik had the water sports equipment in the water so we decided to take a kayak out. We were told to stay within 150 yards of the ship so we didn't get to explore much. We circled the ship a few times looking for dolphin without any luck.



After we watched that bit of entertainment, it was lunchtime. In the afternoon, we found another shady spot to relax with our books. We got our usual afternoon rainstorm which delayed the photo excursion of the Star Flyer with all of her sails up by a half hour.

 

We had an impromptu meeting with the captain, the hotel manager and the activities director for a brief information session at 5, then we showered and got ready for the captains dinner.






Tonight, we had dinner with a passenger who had gone on the horseback riding excursion and loved it. She said one man had fallen off of his horse and landed under the horse! He claimed not to be hurt and finished the ride. The captains dinner offered lobster tail and beef tenderloin along with the option of Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing.






Dessert was flaming baked Alaska!

 

The talent show after dinner was entertaining and got everyone up dancing at the end.
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BJ's Travels: Part 4, Golfito & Osa Wildlife Sanctuary

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112713 (Wednesday) Golfito


Everything on the schedule was moved up a half hour to accommodate the tours. I was just starting the 7:30AM exercise class when we learned that there was extra space on the rescue center tour.



We hurried to our room to change into our zip-off leg pants and grab some bottles of water. It was a nice ride.




 

We rode for about an hour to the rescue center Fundacion Santuario Silvestre de Osa where we were greeted by Karen the curator and Sweetie the spider monkey (and another wet landing).



Karen gave us the ground rules - don't take flash pictures of the nocturnal animals, don't take anything away from the monkeys, don't try to restrain the monkeys and don't step off of the path lest you should step on a deadly poisonous snake. She told us a little about the rescue center and Sweetie. Sweetie went from person to person showing them where she wanted to be scratched.









We saw several animals, including monkeys, badgers, pecaries, sloths, parrots, kinkajous and some others.



After the tour, Karen gave us an opportunity to have Sweetie sit on our lap for a picture.



When it was time to go, we all piled back into the boat and waited for the driver to start the boat which was being temperamental. He finally got it going and we headed for the Orchid Garden. 

 

Greg, our tour guide, was passionate about plants and told us about all of the examples in the garden. 






Afterward, we met the owner and had a bit of fruit under the shelter.



We had no problem getting the boat started this time, but some of the folks had trouble getting back into the boat. While we waited for everyone to get onboard, waves kept washing over the back of the boat. The other boat raced us back to the ship, pausing nearby to watch a dolphin frolic next to their boat.






We made it back to the ship 20 minutes before the lunch buffet closed. Just after lunch, it rained heavily again, so we grabbed our books and went to the piano bar.



The rain drove Tony in for a nap. When it finally subsided, we went back up on deck to watch the sunset with Joy.



We had a glass of wine in the bar and then changed for dinner. Most of the passengers went to the cocktail party for repeat guests. We met a few folks for drinks at the bar. We had dinner with another couple and two of the singles. Tony had the veal and I had the salmon. I thought the crab cake appetizer was the best of the trip!
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BJ's Travels: Part 3, Dolphins, the Mast & Secluded Beaches

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112613 (Tuesday) Isla Parida


The boat rocked pretty steadily for most of the night. We awoke to the sound of the waves splashing our porthole. Because we had set our watches back an hour, it was easier to get up. Well, at least for me. I joined some other ladies on the deck for coffee. We watched some little black dolphins running alongside the boat.



Gymnastics class was pretty crowded today. Tony made an appearance just as the class was finishing.



We had a light quick breakfast because I wanted to climb up to the crows nest. It was a bit scary, but I would do it again.







Afterward we climbed out onto the trampoline and watched the dolphins racing under the prow. 

 

When the dolphins tired of racing, we leaned back and enjoyed the breeze. It was very relaxing!



I took a tour of the ship. We looked at each category of cabin and finished in the owners suite. There wasn't a huge difference in the size of the cabins (except for the owner's suite). The biggest difference between the top cabin categories and the lower ones was the bathroom. The separate jacuzzi/shower combo was nice. 



Some of the cabins have fixed double beds and some can be configured as twin beds.  There are a few cabins that can accommodate 3 people.



The lowest cabin category is inside rooms with bunk beds.






One of the cabin categories has a raised bed with storage underneath. The hotel manager said that this one usually rents to honeymooners.



The tour ended in the spacious owner's suite with plentiful seating and an elaborate bathroom.



After the tour, it was time for lunch. Today we had an Italian buffet. We both tried to stick with mostly salad and some grilled veggies, saving our calories for cocktails and dinner.



We watched the crew set the anchor near Isla Parida and then went to the cabin to change into our swim suits and slather on some sunscreen.






The tender took us to the beach for another wet landing. 



We stopped at the restaurant to ask if there were nature trails. The owner, an American, directed us up a path behind the restaurant that led to a hotel that he owns. 



We saw vultures, crabs and banana trees on our walk. It took us about 25 minutes to reach the small hotel. A couple of pit bulls greeted us with their barking, making us a bit nervous, but thankfully they were tied up.






In front of the hotel was a beautiful secluded beach. It was worth the walk.



We hurried back to the restaurant to have a beer before boarding the tender back to the ship.

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Shades of Gray in Costa Rica

Enjoy this black & white snapshot of life at sea courtesy of Star Clippers Facebook fan Susan Pilcher. These shots were taken during Susan's weeklong journey on Star Flyer through Costa Rica. It's nice to see the beautiful photos of our hard-working crew looking out to the horizon and up to the sails. We're grateful for all they do.


















Thanks, Susan!



Follow Star Clippers on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see beautiful photos of our Tall Ships daily.
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BJ's Travels: Part 2, Snorkeling at Isla Iguana

BJ and her husband work in the travel industry and are based out of Georgia. The couple recently sailed on Star Flyer, exploring Panama and Costa Rica. BJ shared her experience on her blog BJ's Travels, and we'll be publishing excerpts from the journey here. Enjoy!





Passenger's Log, Star Flyer Date 112513 (Monday) Isla Iguana


We wondered, "Is it really only day 3?"



As usual, I awoke early. I found the 24 hour coffee station and enjoyed a cup on the front deck while watching more sails being hosted.



After the talk, we went to the sports deck to check out snorkels and fins. 



While we were standing in line, we noticed several water spouts in the distance. The captain announced that, due to the 'tornados' the crew would take down the sails and start the engines...






We anchored around noon and had lunch before going ashore. Lunch was a buffet of mostly seafood items. There was a carving station with baked salmon. 



We changed into our swimsuits, slathered up with sunscreen, grabbed our snorkel equipment and took a tender to Isla Iguana for our first "wet landing". That means the tender pulled up "near" shore and dropped a ladder into a few feet of water. Who cares? We're going snorkeling anyway!

 

The beach was deserted except for our little group!












We snorkeled until our fingers shriveled up. We saw lots of big parrot fish, a pregnant puffer fish, some clown fish and some tiny purple fish.



After snorkeling, Tony took the next tender back to the boat so he could have his turn in the shower. I did some exploring on the island and found a path that led to a smaller, even more isolated beach on the other side of the island. 



I also followed the path by the sunning iguanas up to the round visitors center with posters about the area.

 

Back on the boat, I found Tony at the bar, let him know I made it back, and then went to shower.



We went to the top deck to watch the sails being raised and the anchor being lifted. There was always some Russian sounding music as we set sail. Tony said it sounded like the soundtrack from Hunt for Red October.

  




We visited with our new friends on the deck and then went downstairs for cocktail hour where we met more new friends.



Next we went to the back of the boat and sat on the stern. We felt a few drops of rain and started inside. We heard the captain say, 'lots of rain coming' and sure enough, we barely made it under cover before the bottom dropped out.



By then it was 7 and time to meet friends for cocktails.



We had dinner with two other couples. By now, Tony had discovered that the wine list had an extra page he hadn't seen the night before with the house wines - much more reasonably priced, and totally drinkable, especially the Chardonnay and the Cabernet.



After dinner, I went to the fashion show and Tony went to the cabin to model his PJs. The fashion show featured some of the young crew members who were quite entertaining.



There would be a time change when we got to Costa Rica so we set our watches back one hour before going to bed.
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Star Clippers Words of Wisdom Wednesday




Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, and the only one to serve four terms.
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Star Clipper's Rythmic Sailaway

Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, Star Clipper bid farewell to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This was the final call of the ship's 2013 Mediterranean season, and musicians from the island played Batucada to see the guests and crew off as they began their two week journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.






Batucada is a fast-paced rhythmic performance based in Samba, and the band is called a bateria, which translates to "drum kit" in Spanish and Portuguese. The energy of the bateria was a fantastic and memorable sendoff. We shall see our Mediterranean friends again in the spring. In the meantime the fleet is headed to warmer waters.



The next stop for Star Clipper is Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. As sister ship, Star Flyer spends the majority of the winter season sailing around Costa Rica, Royal Clipper and Star Clipper will explore the Virgin Islands, Antigua, Tortola and Dominica.
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