Nosara, General, Lifestyle

Pioneers and Fishermen of Nosara

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That the Beaches of Nosara survived the delinquencies of Hutchinson is a tribute to the toughness and resourcefulness of the pioneers. Names like Russell and Birenbaum and Jackson and Hartenstein and the Estep’s – on whose property, the site of current day music bar “Shaman,” sat the Club Pacifico’s original cabins, and who are the subject of a great adventure I’ll tell you about later, and Hammond and Mills –Gordon is buried in the Guiones cemetary – and Muller and the Dupla’s –who raised Great Danes, one of whom, with Pam and Don Davis sheepdog, parented the mixed breed still seen all over the area – and Baker –he of Baker Beach and tennis lobs – and Jan Mclain, a jazz singer from Florida who took me fishing by the light of the moon, and Jan Scott who married Gene Talboy and then Richard Buford with whom she made “The Guilded Iguana” the social center of Guiones.

And David and Bev Kitson, who arrived in ’71 and whose furniture arrived at Playa Pelada by raft, and, though David passed much too soon, were and have been a presence here ever since. Actually, Bev should be writing this blog but she’s a bit busy running the best public library in Central America.

These folks came from all over, they differed in culture and politics but somehow they worked together and not only kept the place alive but moved it forward

I forget the names of too many Ticos who worked all over the project, but among them were Rusvel  Nogueira  and Juan Bermudez, who as teenagers worked at the Pacífico hotel, and are now prominent citizens who own, respectively, the  supermercado Super Nosara and a local construction company.

And KiKe and Fofo, chef’s extraordinaire, who worked at the hotel and later at “Villaggio,” the Italian resort near Garza – a place with a sordid history of crime and murder and who knows what else -where Nosara gringos went for an occasional upscale change of pace. KiKe and Fofo later ran the kitchen at “Giardino Tropical” and now the successful “Il Pepperoni” in Pelada. And no mention of Ticos of that period would be complete without Antonio, the woodworker who specialized in wonderfully carved doors, and his grand project for the Pelada fishing commune.

I am uncertain of the origin of the Pelada fishing commune and some of what follows is unclear, but the story is a good and true one.

Around 1980, a “mothership” was commissioned for use off Playa Pelada. Who or which entity was responsible for the endeavor is unclear. I was told it was the Canadian government. 

Juanita Aviles, the long time administradora of Condominio de las Flores, who knew and knows everyone in Nosara, believes La Cooperativa de Pesca (Fisherman Cooperative) did it on their own, with the wood largely donated, or, as Bev Kitson remembers it, Joe Hammond paid for it. In any event, the project was set up behind current day La Casona (“Freddie’s”) and Antonio, a physically powerful and charismatic man, led a crew of part-time workers, mainly fishermen, who completed the vessel in three years.

 It was probably the biggest thing ever made in Nosara -at least until John Fraser’s white office building appeared. It was about 50 feet long and boasted a pilot house and big ice chests and a motor and it was gorgeous and Terry and I were lucky enough to have been around on the day it was transported to Pelada. The ship was mounted on huge wooden axles and wheels and the entire village turned out to watch the giant being pulled and pushed to the beach. What a scene! It was totally wonderful except for our fear that an accident could easily hurt many of the children milling around.

The colossus finally arrived at Pelada, the crowd was enormous and festive and inch by inch the vessel was moved to the sea.  Triumph was at hand and then something went very wrong. I’m not sure how it happened but the ship was dropped hard and the keel was crushed and the fiesta spirit popped like a balloon.


In any event, the “mother ship” was towed to Puntarenas for repair, I heard that  it made but two working trips to Pelada and then, after the engine blew up, hit a reef and sunk. End of story, except that the axle and wheels remained in front of Olga’s for many years before they disintegrated and fisherman still go out to the sea from Pelada.