Monday, December 29, 2008

22-28 December 2008

La Paz Navidad 2008

Happy Holidays from Baja California Sud en La Paz! We are still sitting in our slip on Dock #5 and enjoying the weather, exploring La Paz and a few holiday festivities. The Malecon lights on the palm trees and Christmas festivities around town have made it delightful. We found a local concert on the cathedral steps last Monday evening and enjoyed the music school's traditional Christmas celebration, including a Nativity enactment by the teens. We sat on the square and watched as we ate our street burritos.

We have walked and walked and walked, trying to burn off a few calories and stay in shape and enjoy the "ambiance". Many of the stores have special Christmas toy sections, the same as the states. It's fun to watch the kids get excited over all the new toys. One thing we have noticed in Mexico is that in all of the Nativity scenes set-up, before Christmas there is no baby Jesus. And he appears on Christmas morning!

The scene set up at the Govenor's Palace includes elephants and pigs - along with the usual cows and donkeys.

On Christmas Eve, we taxi'd to the other marina for the annual potluck/picnic. Lots of folks there - the boaters and the landlubbers. There was a nice variety of potluck foods, from fresh caught tuna to brownies. I made a rice dish/salad and took some of my cowboy cookies.

Then we walked to Ana and Steve's and ended up staying all evening, playing games and eating Christmas tamales. We walked back along the Malecon after midnight and watched and listened to fireworks and, perhaps, guns - and recieved some Feliz Navidad hugs from some local folks. It was an hour walk but pleasant. The side gates to our marina and hotel were closed and we had to walk a bit further to slip throught the main gate. My feet were tired!!


We have had several very wonderfu; meals this week! On Christmas, we went to Tres Virgins with two other couples from the dock - we were invited by Milagro, Jo and Lance, who were friends of Earl and Maria's. I ordered a "traditional American turkey" dinner. It was more gourmet then traditional and served very elegantly. A very nice setting out on a patio area in what used to be the Governor's mansion - apparently they had just moved there from another location. Nice dinner and nice people.

For our Fifth anniversary on the 27th, we went back to Buffalo BBQ as Bill was needing some more ribs. They cook them on an open mesquite grill and the smells are just wonderful. Also seated on a patio area, we enjoyed the cooler weather and actually wore sweaters and windbreaker! And was glad to have it for the walk back.


Last Friday was a work day for both of us. I did five loads of laundry - no easy task hauling the bundles to the marina laundromat. Bill waxed and polished the boat. he borrowed a soft dinghy and was able to scoot around the boat. The wood is all oiled and looks great - but will give it another coat. Saturday we hitched a ride to town and Bill bought two more boat batteries and replaced them. I never realized just how heavy those things are! Solid lead. So hauling the old ones up the ramp at low tide was an interesting task. And in and out of the boat, steps, ladder, etc...Bill earned his brownie points, as usual. Today, he replaced the fuel cans on the newly painted rails and took a can down to get gas. And, he made the ice run. I made the bed, breakfast, lunch, dishes, cleaned a head and the steps, oiled my dishrack and changed the CD's as Sirius is acting up again. Now, off for a walk before shower, dinner and dark. Maybe we will watch a movie tonight?

I will try again to add a few pics but the blog is being stubborn at accepting them today. Cross your fingers.

All is good! Have New Year's party invitation and then we may head out to an island or two for a few days or so.

~ Nurseshark and Tanker6

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gosh, it looks like our Marina Palmira free shuttle might need a transplant? That's the La Panga restaurant behind the diagnosticians....

Here's Sharktank, our little dinghy, on a side trip off the big boat.
Our Christmas mast in the salon!

Here is a pescadero camp on an island we anchored overnight. The local fishermen often will camp out in groups overnight while out fishing. Sometimes there will be several pangas (their fishing boats) at a camp overnight.

Antes de Navidad en La Paz…

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through La Paz
Not a sailboat was cruising, not even sea hogs.
The stockings were hung by the masts and the rails.
In hopes that San Nicholas would soon bring new sails.

The salty dog in his watch cap with his wench for a crew
Had just finished a nightcap of homemade boat brew.
When out on the dock there arose such a clatter!
They sprang to the deck to hear something go “splatter”.

He threw open the hatch and fell over the gear,
His bare feet a flutter, his head full of beer.
He cursed like a sailor In spanglish and more.
As he climbed over the toe rail to settle a score.

Then what to his blurry eyes should appear?
But a miniature panga! With eight tiny dolphin to steer!
A little old pescadero so lively and quick!
They knew in a moment It must be Saint Nick?

El pescadero halted his dolphins and threw up a line
To the sailors on dock, mouths still agape and in shock!
Though tired and hung-over, the cruisers they knew,
Were witnessing history - even as the wind blew!

Sitting aboard with his tackle, tequila and rellenos
Sat Panga Juan! and his pescados frescos!
Dressed all in yellow from his head to his shoes,
San Juan was apparently spreading the news.

“Senior Santa – he no come!” said Juan as he rose.
“Instead, I bring fish, fair winds and no snow!
My dolphins, they guide you to best places to be,
Where there are beaches and sunshine and the beer…almost free!”

Packages from home with cards and new CD’s, lights for the boats, fruitcake and cheese;
The sailors, now happy and forgiving the noise, gave San Juan many hugs full of joy.
He unloaded his fish and a cooler of beer, bottles of tequila …and the rum brought a cheer!
Returning to his boat and to the dolphins gave a nod, he rose out of site and declared

“Feliz Navidad!”

~ author: Linda

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A few more pics! First is Lucy, the dock mascot, a very large, noisy and obnoxious goose. She begs for food, loves tomatoes and cucumbers. And we were warned NOT to feed her ON the boat or she will be your friend for life.
Here is Ana and Steve, Ginger's friends who live here and have been most gracious in adopting us, giving us insider tips. And is the best guide - she is biligual and knows where the best bargains, food, the ceramic pottery makers and the weaver are. Very sweet folks - thanks, Ana!

Here I am on a walk to the north of our marina. The malecon (boardwalk) is at least 12 feet wide in most places and very well manitained...all along the ocean.

Here was one of the dolphins we sighted at sea, playing with the boat.

And of course, the galley and a few Christmas decor items out. Not much storage!!!

Boat Chores

My one and only attempt to make something for Christmas...a mess!

Happy Holidays to all! It sounds very cold up north where all the relatives and friends are - even some snow due at our home in Sierra Vista! Our house-sitters also have our dog, Red, who has wiggled his way into sleeping with them (thanks Nancy and Steve). They have tucked the tortoise in for a long winter's nap and the Koi are also probably in winter-mode. But we hear (the brother weather report) snow in Vegas, LA and lots in Oregon, too. Will make a pretty Christmas for all. Donna and Bob, due back to Arizona in January, were at 8 below zero, 39 below with the wind chill near Fargo, ND. BBbrrrrr!

As the holiday festivities continue here, there was a small drop in tempurature to make it a balmy 70-80 degrees, with nice breezes and overcast. La paz is still gearing up with shoppers, special toy stores and decorations. I will miss the lighted palm trees down the malecon after the holidays!

Chores: What do we do on the boat all day? Boat stuff! Routine cleaning and upkeep takes more time than it would seem. Doing anything in the galley is more difficult with digging through the refrigerator/freezer, finding where a specific canned good is stowed, lighting the stove or oven and doing dishes after a meal. Even turning on the microwave, toaster or the coffee maker involves making sure the 110 electric is on first. My cabinets are limited and I try to keep the most-used items up front so I don't have to dig so far! It seems to be getting easier - or I am adapting. Making the bed in a corner is also frustrationg but think I have a better sytem now. I am working on reupohlstering a cover for the mattress.

Bill spent the past two days doing final wood sanding and polishing the bright work (the stainless steel parts). We hope to start the teak oiling process today.

Yesterday, I sorted the V Berth forward and found some little bugs in the bags inside the tubs. So even though it is triple-sealed, I still have to watch it. I had to clean out an entire tub and re-pack - also reloacting a few items to the galley for current use. The V Berth, although fitted as a gues cabin, is my storeroom/pantry. Everything from sails, to sewing machine, soup to nuts, linens, art supplies, luggage/bags and paperwork. It's very full! (crammed is a better word - but organized now!)

Today I will attempt to make some of the Cowboy Cookies - a family recipe Marti forwarded. It will be the second time I have used the oven! I wanted to try Marti's great chocolate cake in a cup but the items are buried so will have to dig them out after I do the breakfast dishes! I will probably use the cookies for give-away treats so i won't be tempted to eat too many. Bill doesn't do sweets.

Dinner Date: Friday evening, we met two couples for drinks and dinner. We started at the Bismark Cafe on the Malecon. They have huge margaritas - but we stuck to beer to keep my tummy happier. We listened to a singer who did a few sad love songs and then a mariachi group of eight played - with horns, big guitars and all! From there, we walked to a BBQ ribs place. What a treat! I had the pork baby back and Bill had the beef ribs - all cooked on a grill on the patio where we sat, under the stars. It was heaven - great food and we'll go back. The other couples shared a flan dessert, that was presented beautifully and served with ice cream. The toilet (bano) was interesting: in the ladies (Mujeres) room, there are two toilets side by side. No partitions. Kinda of reminded me of the old military barracks heads....

It's the weekend before Christmas so we are trying for some tickets to a concert. The web for local information is

~ Linda

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A few pics! The first is Tanque de Tiburon anchored in San Juanico Bay; we dinghy'd to shore to explore. The second is at a lovely old hotel in Loreto. And third is us in our slip in La Paz; note our blue mast to the right of the red pirate ship.

Shopping in La Paz

We hope any questions you may have about sailing or La Paz, you will pass on to us. That way,we can search for someone who knows anything about sailing or La Paz....seriously, we are new at this whole thing so it is exciting and we learn more and more everyday. So far, we have figured which end of the boat is forward and made it head south and arrive in one piece. We are now working on the touristy part of exploring La Paz. (P.S. Bill is an excellent sailor, mechanic, wood refinisher and general fix-it guy; Linda is working on the cooking and cleaning part and has mastered the shopping end of the deal.)

Morning Net: Channel 22 at 8 AM is the routine local American cruiser's report, or "net". It is hosted by a variety of volunteers from all the marinas here. Sometimes it is boring but there is always a weather report, rides and crew, swaps and trades (no sales between Americans in Mexico), a few jokes and requests for information or assistance. Parties, pot lucks and meetings are also announced. It really is a good connection and the cruiser community is pretty awesome!

Shopping: While Bill supervised woodwork and sanded, Linda ventured out today to find a post office and meander through town toward the CCC Grocery store. The first taxi driver was a young man who did not know La Paz well. That's ok - with the trusty map, she showed him where she needed to go! Cost: $5. The taxi ride home from CCC - quite a bit further, was about $8. In between, she walked 10,000 steps, all over town! The post cards and letter cost the same to mail via Mexcian postal service - about $1 each. For those sent, let us know when they arrive! In the future, we can buy US stamps and send mail back with cruisers when they return to the states.

The CCC is a large grocery that, as many do here, also includes clothes, shoes and linens. They have a limited selection for Americans, like skim milk and some cheeses. She also found some chocolate chips and saltines to make the Cowboy Cookies, an old family recipe sent from sister Marti. Thanks!

Weather: It was a overcast, cool day and felt perfect for walking and boat work. Shorts are perfect but not hot. The nights are cooler, drops to 60 degrees and just feels great sleeping with the gentle breeze rocking the boat. Our wind generator can be annoying but we certainly know when the wind picks up as it starts "thumping".

Routines and food: Dinner was made easy after unloading groceries, cleaning veggies and sorting and stocking, we did the most logical thing - watched yet another lovely sunset from the cockpit. Following that, we went to the Perico Loco Bar and had our favorite soup: Xochitl (Zoe-Chee). It's different for each restaurant but primarily a broth with chicken or beef, rice or tortillas, cilantro and tomatoes. Tonight's was chicken and rice and some wonderful spices, very good with a cold cerveza! Back to the boat, showered (Bill went to the marina showers), update the log and to bed. ho hum

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

La Paz 2008 - 2009

December 5-11

A note: Some communications are limited when we are out to sea. When traveling by sailboat, we cannot always say when will be in or out of a given location (that may or may not have internet connection) due to weather and tides, etc. Therefore, although we had reservations in La Paz for Dec 1, we arrived the fifth as we had several longer lay-over for winds greater than we want to travel in - or Thanksgiving. For those who have asked, we have lots of radio, position location, etc., “stuff” - from radar to GPS(s) to VHS(s) to SSB (Ham).

On our first morning and after breakfast on the Dinghy Dock restaurant at the hotel, we took a nice stroll around another dock and looked at some real Yates (yachts) and whoa! There is a cool pirate boat near us (Haley’s Comet) - apparently owned by a American movie star (Kansaas City Chiefs fan) who takes underprivileged kids out. He was eating breakfast near us and commented on Bill's Redskins t-shirt. He was on Family Ties and some Die Hard movies, I think - a big black guy. I'll get his name later. did recognize him. A boat near us, Lance and Jo on Milagro, know him; they also knew our boat well from Earl and Maria. Milagro’s little dog, Rocky, (a little terrier) also seemed to know our boat.

Most of the days work was cleaning off the two weeks of salt spray and sand from the decks, washing the ports and general cleaning in and out. Several trips were made to the marina office for some supplies (does cold beer and ice count as supplies?) and questions for the marina office manager, Barbara.

Later in the week, we contacted Ginger’s friends, Ana and Steve who have a winter home here. During the summers, they live on their boat in Alemeda. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at la Fonda, very reasonable and great food.

Friday 12 December

Friday was busy and a delight! Bill got the wood sanders/potential painters started and we caught the free shuttle to town at noon. I attended a Sisters Acquiring Sailing Skills meeting at a local restaurant. I would say 20 ladies showed and another cruising nurse, Julia, (I found out later that she is on a 90 foot yacht near us!) gave a talk on basic first aid. Others pitched in local information from where to get a $35 mammogram, which pharmacies are legitimate and emergencies on board. When Julia asked, I volunteered some CPR updates. Some new information was new to me but also nice to meet new cruisers - and a few I have known from San Carlos.

Then we met three other couples for a drink/lunch and Ana led us to the local weavers. There were interesting rugs, shawls and table runners. We went back to Ana and Steve's cute casa and sat on the patio and chatted, sharing funny boat stories over a cerveza and cacahuates (peanuts). After, we walked back to our marina along the malecon after dark, grabbing a wonderful street restaurant burrito for $3.... loaded. It was a long trek back and took almost an hour. The malecon was busy, lighted normally and with Christmas lights on the palm trees, now. There was much activity as Friday was a Mexican holiday - Our Lady of Guadalupe. Bill purchased a package and wouldn't tell me what it was. Hum. Christmas?

Total, we did over 14000 steps! Glad I brought my pedometer. Highly recommended; kind of fun to see what you can do in a day. I was pooped last night! Showered on board and we sat up top and watched something creeping/swimming about the marina - jumping and flapping and appeared to be either seals or really big flying fish....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I met two or three women for a walk back in to town, meeting Ana to show us the wonderful local ceramic pottery place and I found the American bookstore, several gift and craft shops and a lunch stop for shrimp tacos – and cerveza and ice tea. (I have found the ice tea here us usually sweetened, as it is in the south – so will have to carry my own or skip it for beer….) I was tired by the time we returned! I awoke at 0430 with the headache I went to bed with. I think I was probably a little dehydrated. Well, I did bang my head into a sign as we walked back at night, too. I will carry water in the future, duh.

I usually wake early on the boat – unusual for me! Up with early hot tea in the cockpit, watching the marina come alive is very pleasant. The sun is rising over a hill to our east is pretty. I have some Christmas candles for burning, too and they smell good.

We had a nice dinner back at La Fonda Saturday evening and met Ana and Steve, Carla and Doug – all friends of Earl and Maria’s. Also there, a young family cruising with little kids, also from the Alemeda area – The Griffins on s/v Totem. They are just the cutest family, a boy 9 and two girls 4 and 6. Can you imagine the challenges at sea with little ones? Their stories are interesting. Very well-behaved, smart and sweet children. That was a nice dinner and we shared a cab back to our marina.

Sunday and Monday, December 14, 15, 2008

Not much to report as we puttered with boat stuff and email, downloading pictures and starting the blog site both days. Still have work to do on the picture downloads to my Kodak Gallery site – but can also put a few on the blog. We didn’t walk as much…to the marina office and the Dinghy Dock Bar….Perico Loco. Nice and balmy, a few clouds and breezes - paradise!

Bill stripped and oiled the aft swim ladder; he had to use his dremmel to get the rust off the ladder before he polished it. It looks like new – very pretty! A local dock worker, Javier, and his crew have been helping Bill strip and sand the boat wood, too…and almost done. Instead of paint, we will probably try just a monthly teak oil coating. It looks so pretty just oiled!

Off for a walk to town and to find the post office today. And just explore a little more on my own. Will get the good walking shoes on!

Monday, December 15, 2008

NOTE! We have started our own sailing Blog - welcome aboard! Below is the log that some of you have recieved already, with a few differrent pics added. This first one is the entire first trip south from San Carlos to La Paz, so grab a cup of coffee or a large beer and have at it. Feel free to post some comments for us, too.

More pics TF! Linda and Bill

Ship's Sail Log

Tanque de Tiburon

San Carlos to La Paz

Opened 22 November 2008

San Carlos:

Pre-trip prep:
We arrived back to San Carlos and the boat November 13th and proceeded to play for three straight days at Mark Mulligan’s Island Fest. What a fun weekend, thank you, Mark! His newest CD is just out and we enjoyed many of his new songs – along with four other artists down for the weekend fest. Three buffets, ocean views, dancing and sunsets were worth every nickel. Hope all our friends and family can join us next year! The Paradiso Resort (a former Club Med) has done a nice job of hosting and feeding us “Parrot Heads” for several years now.

Unpacking, final shopping for cold food and drinks and stowing has taken the rest of this week. Quite a challenge to find a spot for food, drink, toiletries and – clothes! Shoes! I swear, Bill kept sneaking my shoes back to the car. However, as long as we do not open any cabinets or doors, it appears to be stowed and ready. I can even see a spot of counter space in the galley. I also have one extremely clean cabinet where my entire bottle of concentrated laundry soap decided to leak out.

In final preparation for tomorrow’s departure, I have ground coffee beans, done laundry at Barracuda Bob’s (fun to chat with the other cruisers) while we checked the weather via Buoyweather. We stocked the beer and liquor locker (hard to get good wine and Sailor Jerry’s here), changed the sheets (no easy task when you can only reach 1 ½ sides of the bed) and sorted sundries – many times. We probably have supplies for at least three years. Did we say we returning in March?+

Bill, however, has done the real work in getting the ship sound for our voyage. He seems intent on keeping the water on the outside of the boat – except for the fresh water tanks, of course. Our first task was cleaning the decks and cockpit of a month of dust and raccoon footprints (yes – on the dock down 17 boats!). The systems all seem ready to roll; the engine, water maker, radios and GPS’s, sails, generator, and batteries – important things like that! He also cleaned out our dock box and placed extra items in the car to store for the winter. The new dinghy is hanging aft and has a super system to drop it to the water. Just need to back out of the slip, leave the marina and head south (180o).

The weather has been very pleasant – 75-85 o and breezes. The forecast for the next 48 hours looks like a good window to head out. The plan is to get underway “hit the road” about 0900 Saturday, November 22, and cross the Sea of Cortez to a bay called San Juanico, south of Santa Rosalia. It is 96.1 miles, according to the GPS. If we have some wind and can make about five knots average, we should get there Sunday morning. We’re not sure when the next WIFI stop is, so not sure when we can send emails – but we will most likely send them in groups. When we get into La Paz, in about 6-7 days, we will have WIFI on the boat – yeah!

Saturday - Sunday 22/23 November 2008

(John Kennedy’s Assassination Anniversary – where were you in 1963?)

27o 55’ North
111o 08’ West

Hey! … We did well – left the dock at 0930 pretty much as planned! That is a record for me to be on time; Bill is nearly always early and waiting for me and we were actually ready together and shoved off, with the help of Ron and Beryl, our neighbors on their new/used Hunter, Sea Bourn. There was a bit of wind in the marina and we had an interesting exit with a few dock folks watching our boat drift backwards into the dock alley versus moving forward and out of the marina. Always good to have an audience in case you screw it up, right? I think they call them witnesses.

We didn’t hit anything and cruised right on out of Marina Real and into Bahia Algodones, where we put up both the main and the jib sails like we knew what we were doing and motored/sailed west. The GPS says 96.1 miles across the sea. With a light wind and going about 3-4 knots, we anticipated a 24 hour run across the Sea of Cortez toward San Juanico, our first waypoint and overnight stop. The weather was clear and about 80 degrees – hardly a cloud in the sky.

Shortly after exiting the bay, we shut off the motor. We were getting 3-4 knots as predicted, at least for a while, anyway. The wind dropped to nearly nothing. We watched the wind speed slow for a few hours and about 1400 it dropped to a sad low of less than 2 knots, along with our boat speed. At that rate, I doubt we’d arrive in La Paz for Christmas. So about 5 miles out to sea, we decided to start up the engine and give a boost to the wind power. Oops. Won’t start. Bill spent an hour trying to figure out the problem and we considered returning (a slow sail!) back to the bay and are towed in to get it repaired. We must have the engine for anchoring, docking and maneuvering. One last try, he found that the dedicated start-up battery was dead – and once he connected the main battery bank – voila! – the engine started. We decided to continue and get a new battery when we get to La Paz.

By now, we had lost considerable time and no wind to speed the process so the crossing was a long, slow trip. The water was mostly flat to one-foot seas and occasional wispy breezes. Weather was nice – for sitting on the beach! However, sailing requires wind! Therefore, we had to motor the entire trip over. Hate to do that – it’s noisy and uses fuel. Unlike a speed/power boat, we also cannot move fast even with the motor running. The good news is it uses minimal fuel but the bad news is it is extremely slow. We did typical boat stuff: read, enjoyed the sun and Sirius Radio Margaritaville or the news, took turns through the night on watch (three hours-a-pop) and had non-cook meals that included chicken sandwiches, soup, crackers and protein bars.

During the afternoon, we saw many weekend fishing powerboats and the local Mexican shrimp fleet was out as were a few fishing pangas. A scattering of sailboats was just outside the bay. The night watches are eerie and not much traffic. I saw only 1-2 other boats after dusk. It was calm seas and quiet all night long. The sparkly phosphorescence coming off the boat as we motored through is always a kick to watch. There was no moon until 0430 when a barely-quarter moon came up just before the sun at 0700. No animal sightings whatsoever to report! A few “near-sightings “ were probably just wave action or hallucinations. Oh, well. Who said it was all excitement? We are just out in the middle of nowhere with about 2000 feet of water underneath and no land or other boats in sight.

By daylight, we were about 50 miles from the Baja side and could see some land outlines. Bill adjusted the headings at one point to take us into Bahia San Juanico, south of Santa Rosalia and Bahia Concepcion. We had breakfast, showered and I washed my hair and did a few boat chores – like cleaning the head, shaking the rugs and dishes. I tried to take a nap after only an hour of sleep the night before but was too excited to fall asleep. So we continued to sun, read, watch the Auto Pilot (Otto) work, chart our location hourly and hang out.

As the day wore on and we were creeping along at 3 knots, we altered our first destination, San Juanico, to Punta Pulpita, about 8 miles north. It is a nice little bay with an inner hook and shelter from the big ocean and the dreaded “northerly’s” – winds screaming from north to south in the winter in the Sea of Cortez. (Guess what? In the summer, they have “southerly’s”!) We found three other sailboats already anchored and moved off to their left and anchored nicely, quietly and on the first drop. (Sometimes it takes several tries to get the anchor to actually catch on something and not drag.) The hills and cliffs around are very desert-y, somewhat barren except for a few varied cactus. There are still some greener areas from a wet summer. Unique cliff formations abound from old volcano action. The beach area appears very rocky. We proceeded to pull out our trusty chairs (thank you, Gerry and Muriel!) to the foredeck, cracked a cold beer and watched a sunset while we read and had crackers and dip until it got too cool to sit out. A nice breeze, it’s quiet and a slight rocking motion along with a lack of sleep should bring on a good night’s sleep tonight!

Monday 24 November 2008

Punta Pulpita anchorage to San Juanico:

26o 30 N
111o 26 W

We slept like babies, a slight rock to the boat putting us to sleep by 9 PM! We awoke early today and watched a beautiful sunrise over the ocean to the east. Morning chores at anchor included Bill topping off the diesel tank and chopping open a fresh pineapple for me. I made pineapple and maraschino cherry with Mexican-made home-brewed tequila marinade. Yum. They will marinate for a few weeks and be ready for Christmas treats! Breakfast was oatmeal with brown sugar and melted butter, hard boiled eggs, orange juice and brewed coffee on the propane stove. We did watch the Mexican Navy maneuvers on the horizon – a fleet of Panga fisherman out for their morning catches.

We decided to travel on to San Juanico, about a 8 mile run. After listening to Don on the Amigo Net (he’s the weather Guru in Oxnard, California), we pulled anchor and headed south, sort of. Once we left the bay, put up the mainsail and jib and secured the engine, the winds from the north picked up to 10-12 knots and wanted to carry us east on a beam reach. Going with the flow, we headed south east until we passed our original course south, then tacked back south and caught the wind on our starboard side as the wind kicked up to 15-20 knots giving us a good speed, about 4-5 knots. At that rate, the 8 miles went by quickly and we arrived at San Juanico just after 1330.

Fair Winds and Following Seas! Our boat handles well but still makes me feel nervous when we get some speed and even a little heel (the boat’s “leaning” from side to side), probably only 10o max today. We have traveled with up to a 25 degree heel once and that scared me – but racer-sailors probably love dropping the lee rails into the water at a 45 degree angle – no thanks!!!. The tacking (zigzagging) process involves occasionally changing the jib and boom lines from side to side from the cockpit. This allows the wind to catch the sails for maximum speed and steerage. Bill was in his element today and loving the great three-hour sail with winds primarily from our stern and the current also pushing us south.

The large bay at San Juanico already had four boats anchored and by dusk, there were nine of us in the area! Interesting, they are all sailboats, one being a catamaran that anchored near us the night before. Courteously spread out to give anchor “swing” room, everyone tucked in for the night. We dropped anchor with 7 feet under the keel whereas we usually like to do 15-20 feet. It is a large, shallow bay and we were actually the farthest boat out. The bay is surrounded by taller hills and mountains, some desert flora and rocky terrain. Several nice houses adorned the hillside but we did not see many people around. The homes appeared to be non-Mexican residences. There is a Panga angler camp with a few tents on the lower beach area and saw an occasional truck on the beach. Bill lowered our dinghy into the water and tomorrow we will explore the area beaches. I hope to find some of the local Obsidian rocks!

Dinner included a homemade and simmered rice dish with canned chili on the side. Dishes and showers done, some reading and off to bed.

To San Juanico Beaches

We got the old dinghy in the water and made a beach run! The little Livingston dinghy is great, small and Bill had built a special davit to hold it aft so we have lots of deck space now. The little motor, however, is cantankerous and has a hard time starting. We found a rocky inlet and hiked the boat up into it a way so we could check out the water. I was looking for the obsidian (Apache Tears) that is supposed to be prevalent here – but found none I could recognize. We rowed around a bend to another beach and met a mom and her 2 year old off their boat. The cute little blonde girl attached herself to Bill (the 2 Year old, not the mom). Then we hopped in, took a harbor tour of other beaches and boats and returned to T de T…uneventful. Except the motor is always exciting…

26 – 27 November 2008

San Juanico to Ballandra on Isla Carmen

26o 04’ North
111o 12’ West

We headed from San Juanico at 8 AM, immediately passed up by two sailboats– Allegro and Merlot. They zoomed out of the bay and took off in a sprint. It was a little cloudy and 78 degrees, nice sailing weather. We chugged on out and raised our sails as soon as we could and shut the engine off for a quiet sail.

This was a day for fauna! We saw one whale at a distance early on and then out of the (deep blue) sea arrived eight tiny reindeer…no wait, it’s dolphin! Hundreds of them! The approached the boat, circled and played with the bow, did flips for us and waggled their fins hello. So very cute. Yes, we have pics! Soon after that, we noticed many fish jumping in large schools, all around us. Bill ran for the fishing pole and lure and set it up (caught nothing, by the way). As we passed one of the islands, we could hear the sea lions bellowing but could not find a one with the binoculars. Later, as we anchored, there were a bazillion vultures hanging out at a Mexican fishing camp. Just hoped there were not dead anglers and they were only awaiting fish leftovers.

As we passed over all this, the sea was glass…not a wisp of wind anywhere. Therefore, we left the main sail up for grins (OK, it looks pretty) and I went forward and sunbathed and read for a while. I made burritos alfresco (yeah, cold ones) for lunch as we motored. We arrived into Bahia Ballandra about 1530 and anchored – for the first time. It’s an odd little shoe-shaped bay with a deep center and sides that climb rapidly to shallow. We came in near low tide but it dropped later and we actually ended up moving several times during our two-night stay. Sitting on deck after dark, we could see the lights of Loreto across the sea. Very pretty.

On arrival, we were greeted by Merlot – Larry and Fran, who recognized the boat from the Earl-and-Maria-Dos Brisas (AKA Tanque de Tiburon) era. Larry and the dog dinghy’d over and said hello. They were also traveling with Allegro and encouraged to stay over in the bay an extra night for Thanksgiving. Which we did. The three boats joined food forces for a terrific Thanksgiving meal. It was a feast of lobster, roast pork, cole slaw, dressing and a sort-of pecan pie. In addition, of course, happy hour before we ate on Merlot – what a delightful, new Hunter – very classy cruising vessel.

Our two nights at Ballandra were more like “where should we move the boat now?” The winds kicked up and we shifted down to 4 feet of water under the keel….scary to be that close to running aground. So we turned the motor on once in awhile and found yet another spot to not sleep.

26 November 2008

Bahia Ballandra to Puerto Escondido

A clear morning erupted with 10-15 knots of breeze and we pulled up- the anchor at 0840. The port certainly is well hidden, as the name implies. It is about 16 road miles south of Loreto. Rounding a large rock that looked like Snoopy on his dog house (they call is Punta Coyote), we could see the area called the Waiting Room with about 19 boats anchored out. Apparently, that anchorage is $2 a night. We watched the channel carefully as we entered into the bay, which houses a Singlar Marina facility – with bathrooms, gas and a restaurant. We had arrived Puerto Escondido mid-afternoon and Larry assisted us in finding an anchor ball near theirs, about mid-bay.

Anchor balls are large buoys anchored out that the boat ties to, versus having to set our own anchor. They are more stable. The difficulty is grabbing the line (pennant) attached and then getting the boat line into that pennant to tie down. Larry in his dinghy was very helpful in handing us the pennant so we could tie on. It only took two passes to catch it! (It was a very long pennant and he could not find the end before we drifted away in the wind.) Not bad for a first.

Once stable, we lowered the dinghy and prepared for a bumpy dinghy ride to the marina to check in. We were actually quite a distance from the Singlar facility! We gathered a few days of trash and cans, some shower gear and headed in. Only event is the dang dinghy motor is giving Bill fits. The anchor balls run about 200 pesos a night and we found the management very friendly. We showered (mine was cold, oh well) and found the restaurant and bar open on the second deck, overlooking the bay. By then, it was close to happy hour and we had arranged to meet the other two boats for a birthday dinner celebration.

Dinner was lovely – we had a combo of lobster and filet, which came with a soup and veggies, done very nicely. Beer runs about 30 pesos (<$3) and the dinner entrĂ©es were around 750 pesos. For birthday dessert, they brought pumpkin pie with a candle. Larry’s birthday is the 30th, same as Cristy’s, so Cristy! We were thinking of you a lot around your birthday – even though the emails aren’t getting through well. Back to the boat via dinghy in choppy water, no light or moon and after a few beers was clearly an E-ticket ride at Disneyland. However, we did fine, did not even get wet. And, we were rocked to sleep, as the bay was a bit windy that night. 29 November 2008


On Venture Forth’s (thanks Mac and Carol – and Sea Bourn for passing the word on!) recommendation, we also secured a rental car for the next day, for a trip to Loreto. The Alamo rental company brought the car about 0900 which Bill picked up as he waited for the diesel dock to open. He went in early with five cans to get gas and diesel fills. I stayed on board, washed my hair and cleaned up the boat a little. After the fuel was stowed, we locked down the ship and headed to shore, having invited the other cruisers to join us for the trip to town. With insurance and fuel added, the car was a more than we anticipated, but the other folks pitched in some and that helped. (Note: the $23 initial car rental estimate turned out to be $33 and the insurance was $38 plus $9 for gas so glad they pitched in! Plus, as we turned it in, the gal wrote 1500 pesos on the credit card slip and Bill caught it – oops! That would have been about $130!)

Loreto! What a delightful town! Only a 16-mile drive in, we were shocked to come over the rise into the town and see a beautiful golf course and a bunch of condos. I am sure it is a very-Gringo community. We wandered around downtown, toured the La Posado hotel which is a gem. It is a very old Hacienda style structure with a wading pool on the roof. The bottom of the pool is glass block and is directly over the courtyard. We ate lunch with the group at Tres Amigos; we had a nice fish filet taco that was batter fried (in who-knows what!) and on a tortilla with some great salsa. We walked to the malecon and watched the waves crashing in; glad we were not on the ocean today! Pretty windy. Back into town for an afternoon beer stop and then we all went to the supermercado for provisions. That loaded, a bank stop and a chicken stop at Pollo Loco, we headed back to the marina.

Once back to the boat after a rocky dinghy ride in the wind, we decided to hunker down on board for the night. We ate the greasy chicken, which came with French fries and tortillas, showered and hit the hay.

30 November 2008
(Happy Birthday, Cristy #28!)

Marina Singlar Cruiser’s Brunch

The morning radio net announced a potluck at the marina patio. Not feeling very creative, I assembled a few peanut butter and Nutella (chocolate almond butter) sandwiches and cut them into squares and made a batch of Blood Mary’s. Much to my chagrin, the other attendees (many from houses with real kitchens) had made some wonderful egg dishes to share. We enjoyed it all and chatted with a few cruisers. Before the Alamo returned for the car, we made a quick run to the mini-market at the nearby hotel and trailer park for beer and ice. That all done, we checked a few emails and sent a few from the restaurant computer (La Paz marina, Cristy, Donaldson’s at the house, etc.). By the time we farted all morning and part of the afternoon away, we got back to the boat about 3! My chore list was dwindling, but I did get the floors cleaned. We stowed the dinghy back in its davit aft and got the ship ready for a morning cruise, continuing south.

1 December 2008

(Can it really be December?)

Puerto Escondido to Bahia Agua Verde

“The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful!” (JB) Nice out and fairly calm – so unhooked from the very secure anchor ball and headed out of the hidden bay, through the narrow channel at high tide. The ride south was uneventful and quiet. Again, we had to motor as no wind to help. We tried the main and the jib for a bit but ended up taking the jib in and just keeping the main sail up – more for looks than anything it did. We were in following Allegro through the Candaleros, a group of three large rock islands with shallow areas. Got through safely and out into open water then headed south. It was about a 22 mile run between Puerto Escondido and Agua Verde.

Bahia Agua Verde was a cozy little cove with two other boats anchored, Allegro beating us in. There is an apparently abandoned old schooner in the harbor with tattered sails but had a sunshade up. On the beach was a camper and after we arrived, another Chevy truck pulled in and set up their camp – Gringos. I liked the second group’s set-up, which included a separate porta-potty tent! There was also a small house and an obvious fishing camp with pangas beached next to it; few dogs, many birds - nice beach.

We sat on deck watching for Merlot to arrive and soon they did – screaming around the corner and dropping a hook near us. We were between the two boats, so invited them to join us for happy hour in the cockpit. I prepared crackers and cheese, pistachios and brought out the first of the tequila-marinated pineapple and cherries. It was a hit! Whew, killer marinade. Then Bill had everyone sampling Sailor Jerry’s rum. THEY had to drive their dingys back to their boats – we didn’t have to go anywhere! We had a fun evening sharing sailing and people stories. So that was essentially dinner for us! Fruit, cheese, nuts and wheat crackers, hey – that’s healthy! (OK, the rum and tequila was pushing the window). What do they say? “A sailing ship with a drinking problem”? Only occasionally at anchor or port!

Allegro had plans to rise early and head across the sea to Mazatlan; a 48 hour passage. That’s a long haul, especially with very little wind and having to motor. We sold them a can of fuel to help with the motoring. As we are motoring too, we cannot spare a lot. Merlot needs to head back north as they have a grandbaby due at Christmas. So once again, we will be setting off alone in search of La Paz!

2 December 2008

Bahia Agua Verde to Los Gatos

Up and off by 0815, we exited to bay and got back on track south, heading to Los Gatos, about 18 miles away. Once again, no wind! (What are the sails for again?) It was a nice, pleasant clear day with good breezes (from the motoring and fall weather) as we motored. We attached the autopilot again (Otto) and just relaxed for the day. I actually put my mat forward, sunbathed and read. We saw a few goofy seals float by, coasting sideways and waving their big, fat fins and checking us out. Those guys must weigh 300+ pounds.

We arrived about 1500, along with a big motor boat/cruiser filled with a tour group. We watched as they off-loaded kayaks and water ski boats for the tourists. One gal actually swam by us and stopped to chat – she was from Boston and had no idea where the yacht was heading next; she was just down for a week. Within several hours, they loaded everyone back on board and headed out to sea. Arriving about the same time was a group of four small/20 foot sailboats, similar to what we saw on another passage. Each small boat had 4-5 people. They motored in, as well, and headed toward the beach to set up camp. The group appears young and they all look very tired. Guessing an Outward Bound-type group? Each boat appeared to have a “leader,” an older “teacher”. Once on the beach, they split into small groups and the women grouped and sat in the shallows for awhile. Just interesting.

We decided to do earlier dinners and spend the evening relaxing. I marinated some chicken legs and Bill BBQ’d them on our new little grill about 1600. That way, we could also watch the various activities around the bay while we ate in the cockpit. As we were tired, we hit the hay about 2000 – actually dozing in the cockpit with a pleasant breeze for a few hours before we headed below.

3 December 2008

Los Gatos to Isla San Francisco

Actually, we started out heading to San Evaristo initially and decided to change course more south to San Francisco. Instead of 26 miles, we did 38 and used about 5 gallons of diesel fuel. It was a very calm, sunny, warm day – but no wind again. So I was able to catch up the log this AM, sunbathe, finish a book and practice my flute. We motored about 10 hours. The channel between the island and the Baja mainland was very pretty. The mountains and terrain are still amazing. Very steep cliffs, with a variety of pretty strata layers and colors. As Bill said, “a Geologist’s dream”. I cooked en route, actually turning the stove on and made food underway. Whoopee. We arrived to the large bay and joined nine other boats, anchoring easily in 22 feet of water.

San Francisco’s cove is just a great anchorage – but also popular as seen by all the boats at anchor! But we didn’t feel too crowded. We had an early dinner of leftovers as we entered the area about 1600, so we were able to relax for the evening. But we did get hungry later as we sat in the cockpit, enjoying the breeze and the other boats. We opted for microwave-less microwave popcorn. Opened the packet and scraped it into a pot on the stove, added a little olive oil and fired it up. It popped just great, a perfect pan full! Of course, it tasted so good, we did a second one…oh, well. Then we went to bed, early.

4 December 2008

San Francisco to Caleta Partido on Espiritu Santo

I was up at 0400 because my back hurt, so sat in the salon and read with a few Tylenol #3 on board, waiting for the sun (and Bill) to get up. At 0630, he was up, we got the coffee pot going and I decided to fix a big breakfast. I made scrambled eggs with some frozen bacon bits, stir-frying toast bits prior. Orange juice on ice topped it all off. It is nice to sit in the cockpit and enjoy a meal, not feeling rushed. We use the binoculars a lot to spy on the other cruisers. Who is up to take the dog to shore, have coffee, clean something and fiddle with the boat parts?

We decided to depart about 0800, raising the anchor and motoring out of the pretty bay with its great beach expanse. We are looking forward to returning, to get to that shore to explore more. It was an uneventful motor sail with clouds appearing to threaten rain – which never happened. Nevertheless, it made for a pleasant day on the ocean. Only excitement was a big freighter that passed us going west to east – perhaps La Paz to the mainland, maybe Mazatlan.

We passed the channel south of the San Francisco Island and approached the split island of Espiritu Santo, Partido being the north-most island. There is a small split connected by a spit of sand and shoal that separates the land masses and makes a great anchorage for cruisers, called Caleta Partido. There are actually several coves around the islands, so finding the correct spot we wanted and never been to was a small challenge. Bill used the waypoint outside the entrance and we cruised to that, watching the shore and passing other coves, made our left and entered the cove about 1500. There were about 10 boats already anchored, so we maneuvered into a spot between several and dropped the hook. There was a lot of wind, it had picked up to 15 knot gusts, and we were in the center of the “split”, feeling all the breeze. We didn’t seem to be drifting but Bill felt uncomfortable so close to other boats, so we pulled up the anchor and moved in closer to shore after dinner.

For dinner, we grilled hamburgers sans buns, along with asparagus and a tomato and avocado salad. Cristy was worried about scurvy – I don’t think so! Again, we enjoyed the cockpit dinner al fresco and watched the other boats. One old schooner next to us, Vltava, an old wooden ship, looks like it needs much repairs and the crew was out checking something around the waterline. They appear young and very tan. Later in the evening, they radioed an invitation for cruisers to join them for a movie they were projecting on deck! We declined since we didn’t want to drop our dinghy in the water. Another interesting observation was several boats with small children. A rubber dinghy with mom, dad and a 3-4 year old little blonde-headed kid motored to another boat and picked up a younger little girl, whisking her off to another boat. Perhaps a cruiser version of a “play date”? A babysitter? Can’t imagine cruising with little ones, diapers, no naps, bored and very little space. Ahh, but they are young.

I sorted out the frig and used leftovers to make salsa of peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, carrots and added some green salsa I had made before. I will add fresh avocados and cilatro once in La Paz and have a great Pico de Gallo. To bed early after dishes. My back is killing me – so really be glad to get to shore and move about more. I had to take a valium to try to relax the spasms and get some sleep. Lots of up and down the ladder but no place to walk.

5 December 2008

finally! Caleta Partido to La Paz - -yeah!

We awoke at 0700 and slipped out of the harbor by 0800, having coffee made and a protein shake for breakfast. Calm as we left and hoping for some wind as we make the final passage to our destination. Passed a few more coves and peaked in – many would be great weekend anchorages from La Paz.

A few hours out, I spied a whale heading north. Still at a distance and through the glasses but exciting to see them out there. The sky is clear, a few clouds and warm out. The water was 77 degrees as we left Partido. Once in the passage between Espiritu Santo and La Paz, Bill radioed Marina Palmira and let them know we were finally on our way in. As I cleaned up below, answered emails and called Cristy and changed the sheets, I could feel Bill playing with sails and the speed increase. Looks like we finally have a little wind to help blow us into La Paz. He just hollered down the hole that we are doing 6 knots – whereas most of the trip has been 3-4 knots. Still have the motor on, however. I can feel a slight heel to the boat and the computer is at an angle. Think I’ll quit, save and go up to enjoy the ride in! wheeee!

6 - 11 December 2009

La Paz

We blew into the harbor channel and found our Marina Palmira. It was a little tricky, as you must follow the channel markers due to a shallow shoal area. Heading down the alley way to our assigned slip, Bill actually had the boat in reverse to slow us down. So where was all this wind for most of the trip? We are on dock #5 and passed several boats we recognized…Om Shanti, who wrote the cruise guide we used to get here (a young couple) and Tioga III, old Jack the lawyer from San Carlos and Santa Barbara. When we found our slip, we had to make a hard left twice to get into the slip but the marina office had arranged for dockhands to assist us in – we docked beautifully. Almost like we knew what we were doing. Once in, we hiked up to the marina office and did our check-in with passports, boat papers, visas and all that. Nice, friendly and helpful people.

We are impressed with the marina – nice maintenance of the docks and grounds, carts to carry things, trash pick-up on the dock, a chandlery and mini-market (tienda), great restrooms and laundry facility, two restaurants and two bars, a hotel, a diesel dock and fuel delivery to the boat, a free shuttle to town….Bill is calling it “Nirvana”.

P.S. We have had a week here to settle, acclimate and walk a lot. As we explore La Paz and discover fun things, we will continue to email shorter notes. So far, we have met friends of friends, others who know our boat from Earl and Maria and Ginger and Tom from the ship’s Alemeda days, explored the streets, grocery stores and hardware and battery stores, found sushi and Mexican food. We’ll sit a bit as we get a new sail cover made and take care of the woodwork on deck. And we want to enjoy La Paz for the holiday season.

Merry Christmas to All and to all a Great Sail!

great blog