October 19, 2012 – Wanderer Refit Update

Craig and Captain Jack have completed their first day of finalizing the Wanderer repairs. Here are the highlights:

First up was to fix the constellation of screw holes in the transom where the trim tabs have broken off multiple times (Thanks snorkelers!) and water had begun to intrude. Here’s what we were looking at back in September:

The water dripping down the rail tells the tale. We overdrilled these rotted holes until we found good wood and then left these holes under heat lamps for the last month. Confident in their dryness, the boys filled all the holes with fresh fiberglass.

We removed the trim tab piston (see the three hole pattern at the top of the photo) and snatched the pump out too…Captain William doesn’t even use trim tabs! He is able to trim the Wanderer with the motor tilt alone, so this will clean up the transom a bit.

We had a small intrusion spot on the port gunnel, so Jack and Craig cut out and replace a large precautionary section. Jack has gotten a crash course in this kind of work recently on The Discoverer Project.

A fresh layer of glass and it should be ready to go.

Lastly we have installed some of First Mate Alex’s master carpentry into the Wanderer. Here’s the bathroom door:

The fighting chair is an amazing redesign. Behold:

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Here’s the big surprise. Polynesian Teak covering boards for the cockpit:

Once the glue dries and we get the batteries off, this is gonna be a beauty.

Off Season Maintainance 2012

It’s the rainy season in Nosara and we all know what that means….boat maintenance time! The captains and crew have the grounds of Nosara Paradise Rentals all to themselves and are dead-set on reloading the fleet for another record setting season. Let’s take a lot around the grounds:

The Explorer looks good as usual, and it’s required repairs are relatively minor and cosmetic.

The Adventurer is so new that it only requires some screw tightening. That only leaves…

The mighty Wanderer! After 3 years and nearly 600 trips our flagship is quite ready for a complete repaint and refit. This craft has taken everything that the Costa Rican environment could throw at her and is still hanging tough, but if you want a boat the last for 30 years you can’t skimp on the upkeep.

Our typical offseason painting on the boats consists of spot fixes and lots of masking tape. It is our goal to bring this paint job back up to the original level that we shipped to Nosara, so we are disassembling as much as possible. No tape lines on this boat!

Back in 2009 we were satisfied with the condition of the cabin, but now it is time for the chambers to get some TLC. The wood is still good in the cabin, but the paint is beginning to fade. Also we are deleting the hardwood shelves that ran along the sides of the cabin in order to save weight and reduce clutter.

The fuel tanks were another issue of concern. Three years ago we installed the tanks in what we thought was a watertight compartment. We were so confident that we did not paint the tanks so they are vulnerable to even the smallest drop of moisture that could sneak through.


Looks like we dodged a bullet there! This tank is almost exactly as we shipped her and we will not make the same mistake twice. A protective paint job and fresh foam will help us sleep a little easier at night.

Craig, Craig Jr., and Matty showed up on September 5 (one day after the big earthquake) and brought the requisite sanders, sandpaper and paint supplies. Removing the bottom paint is the hardest job we have ever asked of the boat crews, and despite the pain and itchiness they have made excellent progress stripping off 20+ years of old paint.


Despite the backbreaking discomfort of paint grinding, the crew jammed it out and kept their usual high spirits through the difficult times. One small step for man, huh David and Alex?

The prep work continues inside where the boys have dutifully taped off the cabin wood and started double-action sanding the floor, walls and ceilings.



First Mate Alex is an ace carpenter, so he is in charge of sanding and refinishing all of the cabin interior wood, the cabinetry, and the dis-assembly and cleaning of the fighting chair. Take a look at the shine on this wood:

With the fighting chair we have sanded all off the old gelcoat and have decided to let the beautiful wood grains shine thorough. Alex got his hands on a thick chunk of pichote wood and formed this exact replica.

Once everything is stained and put back together this should be a beautiful piece of functional fish-fighting art.

After a few days of sanding the bottom paint off, we realized that the boat’s trailer was obstructing our ability to reach all of the area. Furthermore the impeded access would create too many null spots where we would have to come back and paint later.

The solution is pure Tico engineering…using two bottle jacks and big sturdy tree limbs as lifts, these fellas propped up this 3000+ lbs boat and slid the trailer out from underneath.

Sure enough this change enabled Craig jr. and the crew to finish sanding the bottom of the Wanderer. In hindsight this is the first step we would have taken, and in the future we will do all boat work down here in a saddle similar to this one.

We also employed a little local knowledge in dealing with another persistent adversary: the rain! During the rainy season in Costa Rica you can count on at least one gutter washer per day, usually in the late afternoon.

Our crew rigged up a tarp roof out of four smaller tarps and it is suited to repel most of the direct rainfall. Still with the humidity hovering around 99% we have to deal with condensation forming on surfaces we are trying to prep.

Matty and Carlos spent the better part of two days getting all of this paper and tape to adhere to the hull. Most of the effort was in pre-wiping the surface with acetone and quickly applying the tape before the water could re-establish it’s hold.

Also we ran a little short of paper so we resorted to the local tabloids…not only does this boat now repel paint but is also helps keep us up to date on soccer scores and silver screen starlets.

There was prep work still underway in the cabin and cockpit when Craig Jr laid down the first coat of gelcoat on the bottom. In their fervor to scrap the old bottom paint off, the crew accidentally went too deep in spots and exposed the top layer of fiberglass.

Here is the final prepped surface before painting; notice that the rough spots have all be filled with fiberglass resin and sanded down flush. Hopefully these patches will blend seamlessly once sprayed.

We thinned the gelcoat by almost 50% in order to spray it (most painters apply gelcoat via brush) and Craig drew the unenviable task of applying this nasty stuff. The mix of acetone thinner and resin catalyzer was a potent brew that required full facemask respirators to work around.

Due to rain it took a whole day to apply the bottom coat and another long night of spraying to finish the transom and all of the deck pieces.

We were blown away by the great results from this chemistry experiment. Check out the smooth coverage of our two gallons of sprayed gelcoat:

It was around this time that disaster struck: our Dupont Imron paint had been seized by the Costa Rican port authorities. Apparently our shipping agent forgot to declare the paint products and our precious supplies disappeared into the underworld.

We first learned of this issue on September 6 and after two weeks of fruitless phone calls, the boat was nearly prepped and the whole project would come to a screeching halt without paint.

The boat crews stayed on task like true soldiers and finished up the surrounding work while the gringos set about figuring out how to paint this boat.

FishingNosara is famous for taking a bad situation and turning it into a legendary result, and the repaint of the Wanderer had become a bad situation. Finally the solution hit Craig Sutton like a bolt of lightning to the forehead: “Let’s gelcoat the whole dadgum thing.”

After all, every Tico panga boat you see gets an annual coat of gelcoat slathered on via brush and you can buy the stuff at any hardware store. The DuPont paint is world-class, and as such it is hard to find in such a remote location.

If we could combine the Tico’s time-proven approach of gelcoating with the gringo spray technique and attention to detail, then we might have a real one-of-kind result that will look great and last a long time.

Craig called on the experts: he asked Charlie Keen of the Discoverer Project and our good buddy Chappy if gelcoat would adhere well to fiberglass. Their replies were identical: “Well that is what it’s made for, Craig.”

Convinced, we dispatched Cumi to the Sur paint store in Nicoya and he retuned with 8 gallons of white gelcoat, 2 gallons of black bottom paint, 16 cans of acetone thinner, 10 more rolls of masking tape, and a few ounces of blue pigment.

On September 16, Craig Jr. and Matty set about turning this nightmare into a dreamboat. They hustled through the last few repairs on the boat, most significantly patching the old rubrail bolts and touching up last September’s front pulpit repair.

By 5pm all the fiberglass had cured and Carlos finished the final acetone wipedown. Normally the rains blow through at this time of night but it was an eerily clear evening; also Matty and Craig Sr. were scheduled to fly back to Florida to next morning.

The die was cast: all-night paint session!

Craig Jr. started with the hardest part which was the front cabin. This entire area was masked off tighter than the lid on a Pringles can, and literally every second of spray exposed Craig’s skin to low-grade chemical burns. Oxygen was scarce and only a small household fan was available to provide circulation.

This is what hell on Earth looks like:

After that horrible experience, the remainder of the interior was a breeze.

The floor was a little tricky, but the momentum was building and there was no stopping us now. Craig Sr. came through with dinner around midnight and the boys continued hammering away with only a few Flor de Cana breaks.

By 4am Craig Jr. was working down the sides…the home stretch!

They finished the job at 5:30am just in time for Matty to load up and head off to the airport. With his last gasp of energy, Craig Jr. issued the following orders to the crew: Don’t touch the paint, and take the sanding operation to the other side of the property.

After 12 well-deserved hours of sleep (and cure time for the white top), Craig Jr. kept the ball rolling by spraying the bottom paint:

Then came back on Saturday to apply the final coat of blue-tinted gelcoat.

After two weeks of worrying and stressing (not to mention almost working the crew to death), the Wanderer shines like a new dime.

Captain William is pumped with the finish, and Craig Jr. looks relieved to be on the way back home. The boys will finish up with the cleaning and will begin pre-assembling the components over the next four weeks.

Craig Sr. and Captain Jack will be back in late-October for the final tightening and water testing. After this process the FishingNosara flagship will be lighter, cleaner and shinier than ever.

Casa Neptune Repair

One of Nosara Paradise Rental’s most endearing features is our Nature Preserve. Countless clients have enjoyed the tranquility of monkeys sunning in the trees overhead while pizotes meander through the grounds.

It’s not always that nice…in this installment of When Nature Attacks we look at what happens when the roof of our beloved Casa Neptune encounters the crown of a massive Guanacaste Tree:

As a Floridan who has put more than one roof on a house, I thought that this repair would take weeks if not months.

Imagine my surprise to receive this picture from Javier just six days later:

We’ve been telling y’all that Javier is a building legend for years now, but this project really takes the cake. I don’t know how they did it and I don’t want to know.

Fantastic work by Javier, Grevan, and the rest of Nosara Paradise Rentals team on this repair.

When nature attacks, we fix it!

December 16, 2011

Finally, many readers sent comments on Captain David’s beautiful rod rack he built for our vintage Safari cart last month.

First Mate Alex (who is an amazing carpenter in his own right) wasn’t about to let his good friend get the best of him, so he set out on his own woodworking mission.

The result is this beautiful rod holder to mount to the Wanderer‘s fighting chair.

Two things to notice here:

1.) I was just at the St. Pete and Ft. Lauderdale Boat shows and I did not see this level of woodworking craftsmanship, even with all the big-money boat builders in attendance.

Between the wood grain and the stain this piece has a finish that looks a mile deep.

2.) Ya gotta love a guy who does this on his day off! For a man who puts in 12-hour workdays on the water to sacrifice his own time shows Alex’s dedication to his boat and the FishingNosara team.

November 1, 2011

The Explorer is back in the water and she is primed for another season of rocking and rolling on the Costa Rican blue water. This year she has a new trick up her sleeve: a beautiful new bow rail which converts the prow of the Super Panga into a full-fledged casting platform.

As if the Explorer wasn’t scary enough for the reef dwellers, now Captain David has a new arrow in the quiver. Keep an eye right here on the FishingNosara blog as the season gets fired up this week.

October 10, 2011

FishingNosara and Nosara Paradise Rentals have kept the foot on the gas despite the off-season rainy conditions and the subsequent effect they have on conditions in Nosara. Check out this shot from our buddy Coconut Harry of the gas station in Nosara:

Manuel contributed this shot from earlier in the week:

Still, work continues around the Nosara Paradise Rentals campus as we prepare to make 2012 a banner year. Casa Neptune was the final house to get a fresh coat of paint and it came out perfect as always.

Meanwhile Captain David and Cumy have given the trusty Land Cruiser a thorough bumper-to-bumper inspection and she is all set for another great year ferrying our clients to and from the airports, not to mention hauling the boats in and out of the water!

Captain William and First Mate Alex have the Wanderer almost all the way tightened up and ready for another season of great fishing; Alex applied his carpentry skills to this new tabletop in the cabin which will serve as a great place to prepare tackle at the start of the day and prepare sushi at the end of the day!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and FishingNosara is proud to introduce our new Pink Safari Cart! A portion of the proceeds from the rental of this beautiful buggy will benefit breast cancer research…not just in October but forever! Special thanks to Craig Sutton Jr. of All Jakd Up Motorsports in Jacksonville for the custom paint job.

Finally, Craig and Matty are beating a path all over the Southeastern US promoting FishingNosara. We have begun offering a stellar vacation package at select Coastal Conservation Association Florida events and have had super time meeting all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts at the banquets.

Also Craig has been making the rounds at the New Smyrna Billfish Invitational and the El Pescado Tournament spreading the Pura Vida spirit. We are looking forward to the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show later this month as well. If you’re in the area c’mon and see us!

September 27, 2011

After a great day of fishing with Kurt Stecken, Captain David noticed the clear weather was sticking around and decided to squeeze in a quick family trip this morning. Joined by Nosara Paradise Rentals GM Javier Hernandez, Captain David and Betsy had a very fruitful 3 hour morning trip.

Nice roosterfish! Estimated to weigh 25lbs, this rooster was released. Later in the morning these locals put some dinner on the table in the form of three nice Yellowfin Tunas and a Yellowtail snapper.

It’s always great with our staff gets some time on the water. When one considers the effort to launched and recover both boats in a single morning it is clear that Javier and Captain David deserved some fun fishing. Awesome work!

September 26, 2011

With boat repair going faster than anticipated and a two-day break in the rains approaching, the Captains and crew of FishingNosara dared to ask the question “What off-season?”

Both the Explorer and Wanderer were in action today with client Kurt Stecken separating his group between the two boats. Launching and recovering two big boats at a time on the beach is no easy feat, but Cumi and Javier are pros and got the vessels floating with minimal troubles. Even better is both groups of clients reported excellent catches.

On the Explorer the action was consistent and fruitful to the tune of nine Yella fellas and a pair of 20lbs. Amberjacks. They also had a curious Sailfish knocking around behind the teasers but he wasn’t hungry.

Check out the water behind this client and his Amberjack…the Wanderer had some big action going on as well!

Sure enough the big blue beauty was busy packing the fishbox. They started a little slow with a small Jack and a quartet of Bonitas, then the lines started popping off with some big fish.

The Wanderer scorecard for the day shows six nice Yellowfin Tuna and a massive 60lbs.+ Amberjack. Clearly, they caught enough fish for the party tonight. Big fish, full bellies and happy clients…it’s what FishingNosara is all about!

September 22, 2011

The Ostinal Turtle Migration is in full effect! From August to December these ancient creatures arrive to nearby Playa Ostinal to lay their eggs; after 14 days the hatchlings make a mad dash for the sea. Due to human interference, there are only 6 places left on Earth where this phenomenon can be witnessed.

If you are planning on visiting the Nosara area in the next few months you do not want to miss this event. FishingNosara offers guided Safari Tours to Ostinal for both the arrividad and regresso, so make sure you plan a day for the turtles.