Monday, February 27, 2012

Santa Rosalia heading south

BLOG #2 19-24 February 2012
New Pics!

The Baja Ferry departing Santa Rosalia right behind our slip; Linda on Shell Beach/playing with her shells at Chivato; Cruiser's Shrine/tree and beach art? at San Juanico; dinghy'ing to shore; Bill with ours and s/v Gosling's shrine shells, Linda's Hair Dryer, Bertha's restaurant and Weather-Guru Gary's casa at Burro Cove and cocktails with Jinx and Mad dog off m/v High Jinx....

19 FEB 2012 Santa Rosalia to Punta Chivato via Craig’s Channel

The Singlar marina at Santa Rosalia is pretty desolate – 4 empty boats, one for sale and one fill of pelican poop. We got up early to depart the 27 miles to Punta Chivato and not a soul in site – except the Baja Ferry behind us. The weather window looked good for heading south. So Bill shoved us off as we backed out and we exited the marina, out the quay wall opening and headed south. A clear, sunny day at 66 degrees and the water, also 66. Bill hauled up the main sail so we would look like a sailboat.

The fastest route is between the Baja and San Marcos Island, through Craig’s Channel – a 5 mile, 16-18 foot deep channel. Some reefs on either side, so watching the depth and the way points are key to NOT finding the reef intimately! We did well! Arrived Chivato at 1600, dropped a hook easily in about 12’ of water off the beach full of Gringo homes. In the bay with us was s/v Saggitaire, who we met in Santa Rosalia at Singlar as well as s/v Silmare. The anchorage stayed quiet and great sleeping.

This is the shell beach spot! We dropped the dinghy in the water the next morning and made a shelling expedition to shore. What finds! I’ll be making jewelry and painting mermaids for years….

21 FEB 2012 Chivato to Burro Bay, Bahia Concepcion

Having already bussed High Jinx’ supplies to them from Santa Rosalia, we weren’t in a big hurry to get to Burro Cove. Looking at a good passage, we pulled up the anchor at Chivato and crossed to Bahia Concepcion anyway. A 21 mile leg ahead, we headed out about 9 AM. We were able to sail well for about an hour, then lost our wind. We started at sunny and 62 degrees and the water up to 69 degrees.

We arrived into Burro Bay and found m/v High Jinx (Jinx and Mad Dog) nestled under the cliff by Baja Mexico’s Highway 1. This is a main route on the Baja and full of traffic – mostly buses and big transport trucks, some with double trailers. The winding roads near the cliffs make it a fairly dangerous road and we feel safer out in the ocean! We had to re-anchor once as the bay has a shallow end. The beach is full of Gringo “huts” – some pretty elaborate, with palapa rooves and some double storey and/or attached to RV’s and trailers. This is where Gary-the-weather-Guru hangs out, in his beach shack. After his morning weather report, he broadcasts “Amazing Grace” over a speaker into the bay – very nice touch. There is also no cell coverage in the Bay – so we remain out of contact during our stay.

Settling in for the evening, we dropped the dinghy off the davits and went to m/v High Jinx for a drink, then to Bertha’s restaurant ashore for dinner. Bill had a great Pescado de Ajo (fresh garlic fish). We crept back to the boat after dark. Bill lit the engine and the generator to check things out and noticed a BIG leak in the engine room. Long storey short, we had a leak in the raw water pump and a broken impellar. Lucky he knows engine stuff! We stayed an extra night in Burro Cove and Bill borrowed Mad Dog’s car for a run to Santa Rosalia to find a part – which he did. I stayed aboard to watch the ship and caught up with some projects. I also made a run in one day with Jinx for provisioning in Mulege, about 8 miles north of Burro Cove; we had breakfast at a delightful hotel (homey, many backpackers) – Las Casitas, I think, and hit several grocery stores and the “dollar” store, as well as an art show with mostly Gringo paintings, jewelry and shell work.

24 FEB 2012 Burro Cove to Santo Domingo, Bahia Concepcion

After a minor engine tweaking, we headed out of Burro Cove about 9 AM to make the run easily out of Bahia Concepcion. It is a 10 mile run to the entrance where a small beach area makes a good overnight before the next leg of the travels. The engine ran well with no leaks noted. A smooth day, we relaxed and enjoyed the ride….watching the engine temperature carefully. The anchorage is very shallow and we noted we were not able to cut the corner, seeing very shallow areas. We found a good holding in 10 feet of water – and were joined later by two boats for the night. A “navy” shower and hair wash made us both feel a little more human. I use the Ma Nature hair dryer! Then a dinner of panko’d chicken, fresh broccoli and curried couscous. OK, we also ate some greasy, fresh tortilla chips I found in Mulege….but yummy.

25 FEB 2012 Santo Domingo to San Juanico

Up early, before sunrise, we hopped out of bed at 0630, started the engine and pulled out of the bay to round the peninsula end. Coffee and breakfast came later! At the tip, Linda noted the temperature gage rise rapidly; Bill had started to use the water maker, which caused a drop in the priming water in the raw water pump (are you asleep yet?) and the engine to over-heat. So once that was solved, back on the road south. Both the main sail and the jib are up, giving the engine a little help. Winds are light so we may have to do more motoring to get to San Juanico – a 47 mile run.

On our way to Puerto Escondido to wait out a wind and perhaps some repairs!

Linda and Bill

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 First Leg

Tanque de Tiburon at Santa Rosalia's
Singlar Marina.

The boat's ready, we need to hit the road.
Having moved the boat to Marina San Carlos in July, 2011, it was time to flee the safe harbor and head to the big, scary ocean. All our old boat friends are scattered and off cruising already - we're late! S/v Sea Bourn is already in La Cruz. s/v Yemaya is in La Paz as is s/v JUCE. S/v Gosling is half way to El Salvador. We're late! And Old S/v Summer Wind is sold. S/v Freedom of Kirkland is in Z'huat....we really miss the old gang! But we did get a good visit with m/v Venture Forth. So many are either for sale, sitting and waiting...the cruiser community seems to have a 3-4 year cycle and we are seeing transitions in cruiser faces.

15/16 Feb: Following a dinner with Tom and Joan on Valentine's Day at their home in San Carlos, Tom returned to the boat early Feb 15th and shoved us out of the marina, en route to the Baja. We made a short stop in Algodones Bay for an anchoring shake-down. Later in the afternoon and with a good weather window predicted, we actually set sail to the Santa Rosalia.

Tom at the dock and happy Bill at the helm.

After a beautiful 3-hoursail...we lost the wind and turned on the motor. Later in the evening, the wind picked up
and, of course on our nose, and we saw 32 knots through the night. And it was cold! We bundled in our layers. No sea life to see, either. Just
dang wind.

What we anticipate as usually 70+ miles in about 18 hours turned out to be a 24 hour run with 4-6 foot seas and wind on the nose, all night. It was a very long night and Bill did most of the driving, giving the auto-pilot (Otto) a rest with the turbulent seas and wind. But basically not sleep for either of us.

We arrived in a rain drizzle that actually cleaned off the boat somewhat and as we pulled into a slip at Marina Singlar about 1600, there was actually a double rainbow out over the ocean beyond the bay!! So we take that as a good omen for the rest of the trip.

After a hot shower, we walked into town to Terco's for Xochitl soup and a cold
beer. Santa Rosalia is a lovely town and everyone seems so happy, busy and friendly.

We stumbled back to the boat and hit the sack by 2030...and slept to 0600, like zombies.

The next AM, the northern Baja ferry pulled in behind us. Here's Linda at the dock by our boat and the ferry behind.

17/18 Feb: Relaxing, refueling and refreshing ourselves, we stayed in Santa Rosalia and extra day. Today we took the bus to Mulege to deliver boat parts
(that would be propane tanks and Bourbon...) to m/v Hi Jinx (owners from Bisbee). Their boat is down in Burro Bay and Jinx and Mad Dog have a car, met us in Mulege, gave us a driving tour, had carnitas for lunch then they drove us back to our marina - about 38 miles. Nice to finally see Muilege - a cute town!

Tomorrow we head around Punta Chivato.
PS My new mint plant and herbs are sprouting! Gardening aboard! Mint is for Mojitos....

Jan Feb 2012 Sea of Cortez

After a rough 2011, we're finally back
at sea! Feels good to be back on the water. It's been a colder winter in Sierra Vista and we actually had to wear some winter clothes for a month!

Between 2011's sailing season with the numerous boat problems, then a fire in June in Sierra Vista and Linda's new knee #2 in November, the year just went away. Hoping for a very different 2012. But we're up and running and en route south....

The big news is that daughter Cristy (in PHX) announced her engagement to Tony and they are planning an October wedding in Hawaii! Looking forward to helping her plan and attending the BIG event.

Happy Cristy and Tony!

Following Linda's excellent Physical Therapy, taxes and house prep, we made a run to San Carlos, bringing Bob and Donna Pfaff down to surprise Joan and Tom in San Carlos. Had a great week and Bob said "I hate this place" as he ordered another cerveza. Had a fun-filled week with a Mark Mulligan concert included. We hosted happy hour on the boat for grins, too.

Joan, Donna,Bill, Bob and Tom aboard Tanque de Tiburon.

Taking Pfaff's back to the house to house sit for a month, we did our final packing and returned with a loaded car - new head, TV and a water heater tank for Tom and Joan...and more shoes for Linda (just kidding). It took almost two weeks to get systems up and ready. Bill installed a new head, fixed the dinghy engine and consulted Omar to make sure our diesel was working well. We visited Club de Capitanes frequently for draft Chope (Negro Modelo) and Mike's best pizza. Had several great evenings with old and new friends - including Mac & Carole from m/v Venture Forth. A new treat was experiencing real Mexican coffee for dessert at Blackie's. Think: coffee, kahlua, tequila, sugar, ice cream....flaming! Yum.

Mac and Carole after Mexican coffee....

Now, off to Sea....