We had a rolly and uncomfortable trip from the Gulf of Nicoya to Gulfo Dulce.
We started out with a quick trip from Punta Leona, where we were comfortable and happy, to Bahia Herradura. Despite the barrier island and deep bay, Herradura is a rolly anchorage. We were not impressed and left after one night.
Our next stop was Quepos, which we knew was a marginal anchorage at the best of times. With an above average swell running 2m, Quepos was horrible. There used to be room to shelter behind a breakwater, but construction of a new marina has taken all of that room. You're left to anchor wide open to the South and the West. I had to hang on to the boat to avoid being thrown around for the entire five minutes we stayed at anchor.
Luckily, anchorage may be taken just south of Quepos on the North side of Punta Quepos. This is a picturesque anchorage with light swell. If it had access to land I'm confident that no one would ever stop at Quepos proper again. There are two rocks off the north side of the point, and a third east off the mainland. Their positions are listed in Sarana's Guide. We anchored at 9 24.3N by 84 10.15W. Stay north of 9 24.3N until east of 84 10.17W, then head south into the cove before 84 10.13W.
Without access to land and still bothered by the swell, we headed out to overnight to Golfo Dulce. As we left Quepos we encountered 2-3m swell at 8? seconds, which tossed us a bit. We mostly motored south, with a little sailing and some motor sailing. We managed to avoid any squalls until shortly after nightfall. We had five squalls roll over us that night. The wind would pick up to 20 knots, rain would fall, and the lightning got closer. A hour later the wind would ease and we'd motor through another short calm. This wore us out.
Gulfo Dulce has convinced us that we don't understand swell at all. The Gulf is open to the south, which is the direction that the swell comes from, but the swell starts to ease as soon as you come through the deep water, 5 mile wide entrance. By the time you're approaching the anchorages the sea is flat, even though there is no obstacle to the swell that we could detect. Needless to say we are thrilled to be here.