Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sharktank Heads Home...

We're sad to say, we're on our way...but
we'll be back another day!
With our friend Paul Fox, we departed La Paz March 15th and traveled north in the Sea of Cortez, stopping at Isla Espiritu Santo, San Evaristo, Agua Verde, Los Gatos, Puerto Escondido/Loreto and from San Juanico, we made the jump to San Carlos, a 24 hour trip.
Below are a few (hundred) pics and below that is the trip sail log, not too tedious. Be sure to read it because there will be a test!!! Here's the big picture once again. La Paz is near the tip of the Baja, on the east side where the semi-circular bay is.

Our frist stop was Ensanada Cardonel on Espiritu.

Lovely rocas, a fishing panga and a happpy Captain.
The catamaran party/family boat was near us, having
a family trip with teenagers. Are we having fun yet?

Paul sights La Roca and the seals!

Our first mainland stop is San Evaristo - a little village with a small town, store and a school. They also have a desalination plant and salt ponds. Of course, there is always fishing!

The local store and some of their live products - goats!

Bill and Paul discuss the weather?

The beach and town of San Evaristo.

Note the HUGE motor on the fishing boat!

The school and four children at recess.

Linda and Bill at the salt pond overlook


Pull that anchor up,
Let's hit the road.

Paul enjoying a nice sail.

Paul driving...

Sunrise or sunset?

A typical, pretty calm bay

Agua Verde and the gorgeous red rocks. Paul snorkeled - find him in the water....

A tour yacht next to us...and the line in the water is Paul....

Bill on the red rocks...
There's Paul!
OK, get dressed, Paul...
A local fisherman,Manuel ,
offered to dive for some lobster for us.
He got 6 medium size ones and we
boiled 'em up...lucious with garlic butter.
All we need is the ice sculpture and
the midnight chocolate buffet and we'll be a first
class cruise ship! (nah)

Aw! Toe navigation!!!

or, Auto...Otto? Navigation...?

Yet another Morgan classic!
Anchored in a bay close to us -
we had passed them 'at sea"
and ran
into them in Los Gatos.

Here we are in and around Puerto
Escondido....the road to town via
rental car and theboverlook - note
the bay and our boat are barely
seen over Linda's left shoulder,
the touch of water beyond the hill.
The bay is about a mile square.
From the boat to the dinghy to the dock to ge the rental car....

Our boat anchored to the "ball"...and....

Bill getting the boat tied to the anchor ball...a real bear....

In Loreto...the cruise ship Ryndam
(Holland America) and their cattle
car 'tender" to shore
for the cruise "shippies"....

The panga bay where the cruise shippies are dropped to heads to Loreto.

The great hotel in Loreta with the pool on the seen thru the glass tiles on the ceiling!

Paul and Bill awaiting the Mexican Show set up for the cruise shippies. Mariachis.

The Loreto golf course and resort - lovely!

A new resort.hotel on the Loreato malecon...nice hotel and bar!

Just a nice hotel courtyard....

The sculted arches over
the roads in Loreto.

Nopolo resort south of town.

Shopping in Loreto....

The Singlar marina in Puerto Escondido (Hidden Port) as we departed early morning:

Dolphins at sea! See the fin?
They are impossible to
capture on film!

Ok, another pretty sunrise or sunset....

Check out the dolphin behind the dinghy!
Finally caught a jump!!!!

Bill pointing to the dolphin...
can just barely see the fin....

Hard work at sea.

Heading into Marina Real,back to home port in San Carlos. The first pic is actually our "home" marina taken from the hill above.

The sunrise just before we arrived.
Can see our famous hills, the Tetakawi's...
translates to, you guessed it, the "teats".
Don't blame me, the local Indians
named the hills....
We arrived, dropped the boat, showered and
went to Guaymas (20 miles south of San Carlos)
to hear Mark Mulligam sing at the
Singlar Marina there.
Paul, Bill and Mark singing.

Ok, one shot of the crew...welcome home!!!

There's a test - read the sail log below! Details about the pics and where here we went....

The Return of the Shark!

Sunday 15 March 2009

We are traveling back north toward San Carlos – and eventually home to Sierra Vista -with friend Paul Fox en tow. Paul arrived to La Paz March 9th and spent a few days enjoying the hotel air conditioning and a real bed before joining us on board. Try as I might, I could not entirely clean out the V-berth for him – so he has a place for his suitcase (he travels light) and bedding but will sleep on one of the sofa. Whoever said Tanque de Tiburon sleeps more than two? Parties 14, sleeps two but the gourmet chef? I am sure Paul can attest to the lavish ice sculptures and five-course meals. At least, some ice, and hot meals?

Departing La Paz on Sunday the 15th, we stopped into Espiritu Santos again and anchored overnight in Ensanada del Cardonel on the northern isle of Partida. Just on queue, we passed a gaggle of dolphin before we entered the bay – must have been 500 of them heading south! It was awesome. The anchorage was calm and with just three other boats. Fine dining included hot dogs for dinner.

Monday- Tuesday 16 – 17 March 2009
Travel: 29 miles

A long day – 0800 to 1800! – We sailed and motored to San Evaristo on the mainland of Baja. Through the San Jose channel, we picked up 15-20 knots so had some decent sailing and actually turned the motor OFF for a few hours and acted like a SAIL boat!! The winds were from the north to northeast, typical for this time of year. Sky is clear, sunny. Once we anchored and settle in, we BBQ’d some beef kabobs, asparagus.

San Evaristo is a quaint little bay with an actual town on the beach– albeit 22 (dirt road) miles from the main Highway, Mexico 1. We awoke to roosters crowing. They have a store and a school. We dinghy’d in, toured the area, dropped off a few donations and walked past the school (the four kids were at recess, playing basketball) and viewed the salt ponds. They also have a water making station on the beach. The store had a pick-up truck of cute goats out front. One of their staples is goat milk and cheese. The notable business in San Evaristo is fishing. The serious fishing boats have huge power engines on the back of the pangas.

Wednesday 18 March 2009
Travel: 24 miles

Happy #28th Adoption Day,
Miss Cristy! Miss you!!

Up very early, we hit the road by 0630 and traveled only until 1230. It was nice to watch the sun rise as we headed from the bay. The trip was uneventful, no surprises and no wind. The goal was Los Gatos, a very nice, wide double bay. Once in, we lowered the dinghy off the davit and headed to shore so Paul could try snorkeling in his new wet suit. The rocks look a lot like Sedona, red rocks and sandstone – plus the tide pools and beach. Later in the afternoon, the large tour vessel, m/v Safari Quest, appeared with an array of kayaks and tenders, sending the guests off in many directions to explore the area.
Thursday 19 March 2009
Travel 19 miles

Another motoring day, we traveled into Agua Verde. Lovely little bay with turquoise waters at the edge, a small village and a fishing camp on the opposite end. We watched a group of 5-6 kayaks enter from the north, landing at the village beach and head toward the tienda (grocery store, of sorts). The m/v Ursa Major, a tugboat type vessel, also pulled in behind us, with several kaaks and guests. We found out later, also on board were Shawn and Heather, authors of our Sea of Cortez Cruise Guide –our “bible”. In all, there were 6 boats in the bay for the night. Four of the other vessels came by (via dinghy or Kayak) our boat to introduce themselves and chat. S/v Wanderlust is another Morgan, like us, and we had passed them at sea and chatted previously. Yet another boat, the last in for the evening, was an old rust bucket in poor repair, pretty trashed with torn sails and seriously rusted sides; the sailors appeared to be an older, gray-haired hippie-style couple. When they anchored, we nicknamed them the "Baja Boat Bums”. However, you never know who or what or why unless you chat! Some stories are interesting. Next time, we will visit them and chat!

Friday 20 March 2009
Travel 22 miles

Weather reports are predicting a big blow/norther/storm for late Sunday through Tuesday. So we decided to get into Puerto Escondido, a known “hurricane hole” or storm reprieve, to sit it out. There is a Singlar marina but no slips – only anchor balls in the bay –
which are difficult to attach!

We started the day from a dead calm, quiet bay, motoring for a few hours. Heading north once again, we approached the Candles channel heading into Puerto Escondido and the wind hit like a banshee! Whee! Whoosh! Jib up, no down, too much wind…more main sail than we needed but too windy to reef…. so Bill turned toward shore to get into to lee of the land so we could drop the main sail and have a little better control of the wind, speed and heel. I admit – I am a sail wimp and do not like to heel over 10-15 degrees as it makes me nervous. I think Paul enjoyed the ride! I bit my nails and prayed – but we saw 35 knots. As we passed through the three ‘candles” (rocks) and turned north into the channel to Puerto Escondido, it was really blowing hard. Bill turned the motor to idle and we almost “surfed” into the port area. It felt good to enter the port and find an anchor ball and get connected.
The downside is the 1/2 mile dinghy ride to the marina area.

Grabbing an anchor ball in PE is quite a challenge, as they do not have floats to help attach the lines. Anchor balls are large round balls attached to a chain to a weight. One must drive up to the ball, reach over the bow of the boat with the fish hook and grab as small hook as the boat is slowing or maybe still drifting. While I drive, Bill reaches for the ball – and Paul was ready to assist. Of course the driver is a bit challenged, unable to really see what is forward and six or so feet below the bow while driving! Once you have the ball, you then must find the line underneath with a loop to attach your lines. Well, we had a temporary attachment on the ball itself, dropped the dinghy in so Bill could float around and correctly attach the bow lines. It only took 3-4 ball searches and attempts to get it done! The PE system has a few problem balls, too. Once in, we collected our port entry paperwork and went to shore to check in. And shower. And arrange a car rental so we could explore Loreto again.

Saturday – Monday 21-23 March 2009

Wheels! We got wheels for the weekend! Yeah! The distance from the bay to Loreto is 18 miles. The taxi is $60 now so we hear. So we rented a car, runs about $35 a day plus insurance. We have insurance through our Mexican insurance for the Blazer and have an additional sub-policy that covers any car we drive in Mexico for liability. So off and running, we helped Paul find one of his geocaches near the marina, up a hill and through the rocks and brambles. I held down the car and the guys hiked, coming back full of scratches and cuts.
Then on to town for more sight-seeing and lunch.

The Holland America cruise ship Ryndam is in port! Whoa, a big ship. So, there were plenty of cruise “shippies” wandering the streets and malecon (aimlessly) or sitting on the beaches. The cattle car tenders were constantly running folks to and from the mother ship. Funny, one can differentiate the shippies and the smaller boat cruisers, like us. Both are wrinkled but for us, it is mostly the clothes and the shippies, well, we won’t go there. I will just say gray hair seemed to be the hair color “del dia”. She set off about 4 PM, heading south and the streets became quiet once again. The prices went down, too.

The weekend weather was very pleasant but the prediction was still for a big wind, so we sat tight. The wind did blow Monday, gusting off and on. Bill gathered the fuel cans and made a run to the dock for fills. We made a trip in for showers and ran into a few friends at the marina dock area – to include Shawn and Heather, the Cruise Guide authors – who are assisting Ursa Major with their guests this week. They had seen us a few bays earlier. But fun to chat about the sea and their book, revisions, and a possible upcoming second edition.

Tuesday - Wednesday 24-27 March, 2009
Travel 39 miles

Due to wind, we spent one more night in Puerto Escondido but headed out early the 25th toward San Juanico. Thirty-nine miles to go to San Juanico! A LONG day at sea, with some wind but we had to motor and used “Otto” (auto pilot) the whole way, passing beautiful scenery up the Baja coast. Bill did most of the driving and navigating, as usual. We departed at 0645 and arrived at dusk, 1945 – a 12-hour cruise. We dropped anchor as the sun set and settled for a quick dinner. Still hoping to travel to Santa Rosalia, we wait for the weather report in the morning.

The last 96 miles!

Wednesday morning and Don’s (the weather Guru from California!) early weather report portrayed a big, big blow due in Friday and Saturday. What to do? Can’t make the run to Santa Rosalia and Punta Chivato is also a long run with potential bad weather en route – and no place to tuck in and wait it out. Therefore – we opted for “let’s just do the crossing NOW while we have the good weather window” mode. We set out about 0930 for the 96-mile (24 hour) run to San Carlos. Great weather, cool but sunny and a few ocean swells; a pleasant day was had by all.

The wind picked up to 10-15 knots and we had the main sail and the jib up; we were finally able to turn the motor OFF and have some peace and quiet. Paul said, “This is the way it is supposed to be!”. He sat on the mat on the foredeck, read, and was on “dolphin watch” patrol. Early in the day, we did have a large school of dolphins play by the boat as we passed. It’s pretty hard to catch a pic of them – much too fast for me! Just awesome to watch them jump in unison – three, four five together – like they are practicing for a Sea World show!!

The wind was from the southeast and the swells pushed us forward, north, so that it felt as if we were surfing north. It was an easy-meals travel day and we projected a night watch schedule so that each would have a 2-hour watch. There was no moon and dark as we headed into the night watches. Not a boat in sight until the shrimper boats passed us n the morning, just as we passed by Guaymas. The night was uneventful, cool with slight wind and we reefed the main sail and had the jib out fully, making a pretty picture as we sailed and motored on to San Carlos through the night.

Marina Real opened at 0800 and Isabel directed us to a temporary slip for a night. It turned out that our old-home slip on Dock 12 was available, so we headed into our old spot on Saturday. Found our car, which was stored at a friend’s (thanks, Tom and Joan) and it started right up! The big wind did arrive, just a few hours after we pulled into the marina and it “blew like stink for many hours. We are very glad we came on over and didn’t try to mess with mother nature. Now for cleaning and prepping for what to take back home and to use up a few food supplies from the freezer. Of course, to sort through clean and dirty clothes and pack some for home. But we did take a few minutes and caught Mark Mulligan at a (windy) concert Friday evening at the Singlar Marina in Guaymas and also had a nice dinner at Pancho Villa’s, near the Guaymas marina/downtown area.

Back to reality, work a little, check on our wonderful house sitters, and see my dog – will he remember me?

Winter in La Paz – the end of year #1! We’ll be back!!!