Monday, March 26, 2012

Mas de La Paz

26 Mar 2012....

Once we arrived La Paz, the usual socialization starts and hard to get away! Visited the Tailhunter for food and music, had a great burger at The Shack and put our name on the wall. And Mark Mulligan flew in for a concert at La Costa, too.

We are settled into our slip at Marina Palmira until EOM - then will plan to go out again for a few weeks and explore the local islands - Espiritu Santo and perhaps Isla San Francisco again when the winds are less...

We have eaten at several fun spots, shopped, walked and executed a dock party. Bill is busy painting the deck wood back to pretty and shiny. I painted the forward head so far and it came out "purdy". Have been hanging with Steve and Gig on s/v Charlotte Alane and been able to visit with Lisa from s/v Andiomo - now in La Paz house sitting as well as Ana, who lives here also, Ginger's buddy from Alameda.

We did spend a fun w/e in Los Barilles with friends Lorne and Catherine, that included a St. Paddy's Day celebration at a nearby club. They were house sitting at a villa there as they are having a house built. The pool looked inviting but was 69 degrees! The area north of the town (a delightful town, BTW) has many beautiful homes as well as wandering goats and cattle through the streets. A heard had gotten into the yard. Note the size of Duke, the Graet Dane being "sat"...a big baby!

Bill is standing in front of T de T where the dock party was held. Live music provided by Mike of s/v La Otra on his zither-thing and Scott on s/v Scott Free. And a dock-shot from the bow to the party...Linda is in there somewhere....

So that's about it - life at the marina in La Paz!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

La Paz

Just hanging in La Paz this week, seeing old friends, meeting new friends and sampling some local treats. Got the boat cleaned up, laundry done and provisioning, too. Enjoyed a Mark Mulligan concert this past Tuesday as he came down from San Carlos to do a concert at La Costa - was great to see him again! Also, met new Canadian friends, Lorne and Catherine, from Los Barilles (winters); they drove to La Paz for a few days and we are planning a visit to see them this w/e.

Bill also got the new inverter installed so now we have great electricity aboard! wahoo! Can relax and watch a few movies, perhaps. It's warm so need to exchange a few winter-like clothes in the closet to the stowed summer outfits, too. Have made a few pieces of jewelry for boater friends.

Pics TF!

Friday, March 9, 2012

NOTE: New Blogs #3 and #4 available...

Note there are new pics on Blog #2 and added Blogs #3 and #4. Enjoy!

We did see a pod of dolphins as we

departed Puerto Escondido.
Here's my little garden...I bought a mint plant for Mojitos and growing a few o
ther herbs from seeds....

Capn' Bill setting a GPS Course for us...

Puerto Escondido to La Paz - finally!!!

BLOG #4 – 5-9 MAR 2012

5 MAR 2012 - Puerto Escondido, passing Agua Verde and on to Los Gatos

After a great night’s sleep in a now- glassy bay, we got up by 7 and made preps to depart. There is NO wind, the bay quiet and other boats also preparing to depart – such as JUCE and Shannon. Once in the bay, heading south with a goal of Los Gatos and 39 miles, we found a little ambient wind and put both the main and a jib up – just mostly to look like a sail boat. Passing through Los Candaleros, we had a little more wind to head us south.

We fell off our faithful ball at 0740 and had a nice motor-sail, doing the 39 miles to Los Gatos and anchored several other boats we did not recognize at 1815 – with the sunset directly at us as we anchored. I was a little blinded but we got the hook in the sand. It was a long day, a long ride and a fairly calm anchorage – so we finally got some sleep without WIND! Los Gatos is very pretty, the bay surrounded by red rocks that look a lot like Sedona’s Red Rocks.

6 MAR 2012 - Los Gatos to Isla San Francisco

After a good rest, we pulled the anchor up at about 0745 AM with a destination of a southern island, another long run of about 36 miles. We arrived at 1800 and were able to anchor away from the sun this time – much easier! This is quite a pretty little island and bay area. We had several other boats in the anchorage with us. That said, we did have wind worries and kept a watch on the anchor.

Feeling like we need to beat an incoming, predicted “Norther”, we decided to try for La Paz by Thursday, unless the winds hit harder and earlier. So we were up early the next day to cross the 4 miles and make Espiritu Santo – with options there to stop. Of course, the winds picked up in the middle of the night, having us take turns on anchor watch – yet again. When will I get a full night’s sleep again?

7-8 MAR 2012 Isla San Francisco to Espiritu Santo/Partida

The morning weather was not great, continued winds. We left at 0630 in hopes to leave the winds behind and pas Espiritu Santo and settle into a slip in La Paz. Our goal was thwarted by – you guessed it – too much wind! We left in a 15 knot wind and throughout the day, saw 30 several times…on our nose and bouncy, hobby-horsing seas. Ugh. This is getting not fun.

But a day of crossing the Channel and slogging through wind and waves made us decide to make a stop on the island – so we pulled into Partida about 1430 to rest up, hoping to get into La Paz the next day. Fighting the wind is tiring and Bill does most of the hard parts. When the winds are just all over and opposing waves, we do not use Otto because HE gets tired and cranky! So it’s hand steering all day.

In Partida were 7-8 boats at anchor and it was fairly calm as we set the anchor and rested with a cold beer and a snack. At dusk, a big power boat of local partiers rolled in with many lights (sort of ruined the moonscape we had – with a full moon!). Bill discovered they must have driven over our little yellow anchor ball we toss out. It was gone after they anchored. Oh well. The ball lets us (and other smart boaters) know where our anchor is - usually about 100 feet off from the boat – as the chain/rode goes to hold us in place. And to prevent another boat from dropping their anchor on top our anchor.

Surprise, surprise. Soon after dusk, the wind started again. Not having current weather – just the prediction we were trying to avoid, we think the “Norther” has hit earlier than expected. So…back on anchor watch but we each took some rest time. The winds whipped fiercely all night, gusting and jerking at the anchor. Not a fun thing.

Not wanting to leave in 30+ knots and white caps, we opted to sit tight yet another night in hopes the Norther will blow away. Another boat we recognized in the bay (after the Power Boat left) and called (s/v Poco Loco Dos) had a three-day old weather report and said it looked like it might die off tonight and give us an easier ride south to lap Paz. We have another channel to pass across…the infamous San Lorenzo Channel, about a 4-5 mile run between Espiritu Santos and the La Paz peninsula. The good news – La Paz is just 21 miles away! Who would have thought 21 miles would be so hard?

9 MAR 2012 Partida to La Paz – finally!!!

Hoping for less wind, we woke to semi-quiet. We had actually slept! A slight breeze purred through the anchorage. We gathered the things aboard that spill and put them where they wouldn’t, turned on instruments and warmed up the engine. The big power boat had returned late the prior evening but seemed further away from our anchor. Using the electric windlass, Bill slowly pulled the anchor up and found the anchor ball still attached! I guess it is just getting old and tired and….sank!

Driving around the power boat, we exited the bay and headed for La Paz. The channel had some swells and a little rolling- but the seas were following us so we sort of “surfed” south. With 8-10 knots of wind, we just put the Genoa (jib) up and actually got a few knots of speed from it as the wind was off our port quarter. It was a fairly pleasant run, had a few minutes of sail and no engine. The Lorenzo Channel was even tame today. We were passed by the Baja ferry and two tankers heading into La Paz. And we noted 4-5 sailboats heading north, as well.

We arrived Marina Palmira at 2 PM, found our slip and the arranged marina staff who were to meet us were ….not there, of course. Luckily, a neighbor boater came over and took our dock lines. Bill made a perfect entry into our slip, we tied her up and put the girl to bed. Grabbed our documents and went to the office to “check in”…that is, drop off our legal boat paperwork, copies of passports, etc…and celebrated at La Panga, one of the marina restaurants, with a Negra Modelo and lunch.

Tomorrow is clean the boat day. It’s salty and dusty and gritty from three weeks blows and sprays.

NEXT: The Social Life of La Paz. We have dates already!

Wind Wind Wind!

Wind Blog….


All I could think of during the BIG BLOW in Puerto Escondido was just how I could ever describe the wind attacking us. It was a Déjà vu of last year’s wind there – adding to the anxiety. Howling through the Puerto Escondido “windows” to the north, it seemed to sweep through with gusto. The blustery blow built up quickly. And there is not a damn thing you can do about it, sit tight and wait it out and hope for no damage.

The Baja mountain spine became a virtual dust bowl, hazy and ugly. One of my favorite mountain formations above Puerto Escondido always appears to me like King Kong, climbing over the craggy, steep hills. He looked mean during the blow and I half expected him to come on down to the water’s edge and laugh at us. Or jump up and down and pound his chest.

The water turning out of the north inlets and coves in the bay seemed alive, dropping over the hills surrounding the bay and moving around, chopping the water, creating white caps throughout the 2-mile bay. Boats on balls would churn left, then right and pull hard on their balls. Dinghies were floating, tied aft, or, like ours, pulled up davits and flowing with ship’s movement. No one was out and about, no dinghies running. Just wind.

As we returned to the boat when the winds began, we were crossed by a gaggle of Kayakers, eleven in total, heading for shelter across the bay. They looked non-pulsed as they rowed by, watching us in a motorized- dinghy, becoming very wet as we made our way into the wind and back to the boat. Funny, the wind didn’t seem to bother them at all. But they were headed to get out of the wind, off their little boats and into someplace perhaps quiet – a home, a restaurant….

At night with no wind or noise reprieve, we could hear the gusts howl thru the masts, jangling the halyards that had come loose as well as the waves slapping the side of the boat. We caught site of 40 knots before I quit looking. If I don’t look, maybe it will stop. No such luck. It felt like a hurricane, sitting on a boat. Trying to sleep was impossible as the boat was constantly moving, riding the waves and opposing the air wind. All while pulling on the anchor ball, attached to us by less-than-two- inch line. Sitting in the cockpit, always aware if the line pops what to do. Start the engine, hope it starts, pull away from the ball although more likely dropping off the ball rapidly and into boats near us….all a very frightening thought. I can tell you, all my nails were nubs before the first night was over!

So there’s wind for you. Every sailor wants some wind to make the boat go; but not too much and perhaps in the right direction, too. Seems we usually catch it on our nose and Bill threatened to change the name of Tanque de Tiburon to “Weathervane”. But Mother Nature has a funny, cruel side at times. Even though we watch weather predictions and try to find the perfect sail weather, you just can’t fool Ma Nature. She laughs and says, “Perhaps those sailors need a little bit of humbling today” and throws some not-so-nice weather our way.

Isla Coronado to Puerto Escondido


27 FEB – 4 MAR 2012

27 FEB 2012 Isla Coronado to Puerto Escondido

Bill at the bow as we approached Isla Coronado; the Puerto Escondido Singlar marina (most boats are in the bay on a mooring ball); JUCE' Bruce and Judy taking advantage of an opportunity; The Huichl Indian beaded shark and lunch in Loreto; Aboard JUCE for cocktails....

Hearing the weather forecast for the mid-sea, we headed for Puerto Escondido, the “Hidden Port” and a safe place to wait out some windy weather – a short 20 mile (3-4 hour at 4-5 mph) run. We left the beautiful little island at 0830 and arrived PE at 1430. The run was across the Loreto Bay and for about 2 hours, we had 30 knots of wind on our nose. As soon as we rounded to enter PE, the wind dropped dramatically. We found s/v JUCE, Bruce and Judy, were already hunkered-down in the bay and looked forward to visiting with them. We made to a ball just west of JUCE and Bill caught ball #75 and we made preparations to dinghy to the marina and check in with Marina Singlar…and have a cold beet at Pedro’s Porto Bello restaurant there.

27 FEB – 5 MAR 2012 - Puerto Escondido!

Awaiting the BIG WIND, we spent a few days prepping the boat, provisions, banking and searching for parts in Loreto. We had cocktails aboard s/v JUCE, dinner at PortoBello’s a few times and caught a ride with a friend of JUVE’, Dale, now a tent guy (as his boat-mate kicked him out, divorcing), into Loreto for lunch and provisions. We also met a new boat, s/v Shannon, a couple from Vancouver Island, Canada – Cathy and Carolyn. Along with JUCE, we had some great visits and chats, boat discussions, life discussions and just a few beers and margaritas. On our final evening and when the winds gone, we made a dinghy ride to shore, giving Shannon a lift, and had a parting dinner at Pedro’s. JUCE is heading home via San Carlos for Bruce to have knee #2 done in Colorado and Shannon will continue south at a slower pace than us – we may meet up again in La Paz.

Then, the winds came – totally messing with our minds and testing our real boat mentality. Throughout the ordeal, I could hear voices throughout the bay. “Please, stop the wind”, “why are we here…?”….”I want to go home!”… it was enough to drive any sane person bonkers…howling, howling, howling non-stop. Note to self, “BLOG on wind”.

The PE marina – but most boats are out on mooring balls. This Huichl Indian beaded shark is a a work of art, still in progress by a waiter in Loreto – which he hopes to sell for $8000!

We went into the marina Friday AM to get the “parts” Omar mailed us. And before the wind kicked in, we did a walk to look at a local Gringo “picnic” beach site at the government API (old marina) site – not impressive. After, we stopped at Pedro’s for a cold beer. About half way thru the beer, we watched the white caps start rolling across the bay. OOPS!! We jumped up, headed to the dinghy and got a very damp/wet dinghy ride back to the boat –in the nick of time.

Bill did an exceptional job attaching our mooring ball to the boat and we sat tight – but ever-worried. As we fell off the ball last year there, during high winds at Loreto Fest, we were pretty paranoid about having a similar incident. We arrived on a Monday and the winds kicked in on Friday, right on schedule. We sat on the boat for 48 hours, watching 30-40+ knots knock us, and everyone else, around our respective anchor balls. PE is not known for well-maintained balls – and we also noted on check in that many balls were missing! Luckily, we escaped escaping this year. But we did stand watch and Bill also reinforced the pennant, adding several anti-chafing leathers. With the wind and boat movement, neither of us ever really got any sleep despite a semi-watch schedule.

However, one boat, s/v Susie, did come off her ball. Unfortunately, the owner had left overnight to take his wife to catch a bus in Loreto. Several of us were advised to “keep an eye on her” and we did, all through the night. At 0530, Bill woke for his “watch” and I went below to catch some shut-eye. I had used Susie’s solar deck lights as a point to ensure we had not popped off our ball, and the lights were there at 0530. At 0630, and as the sun rose, Bill and another boat noted Susie was – GONE! Searching the 2-mile wide bay, we saw no signs of her. We looked for a mast out of the water – nothing. How had we all missed her un-manned and ghostly escape? Shortly thereafter, a radio report, a sighting of her 2 miles across the bay in a cove called Cocktail Cove; she was sited, just sitting there near the mangroves. I think one boat (in Spanish) may have felt her slide past, perhaps a nudge, a call for “help” and reported she was adrift. The Singlar marina sent out a marina panga as soon as they could and towed her out to a new ball and tied her up. What a surprise the owner had on returning that day! She appeared fine – and the fact she did not run into anyone of the 20+ boats at balls is truly amazing. We were right in her path and she silently slipped past us. Whew.

Once the wind stopped, Bill was able to replace the raw water pump and impeller that Omar had sent to us. The delivery system worked well; he sent it via Aero Calafia from Guaymas to Loreto, friend Pedro also has a restaurant at the Loreto airport so he picked it up for us! Omar is such a sweetheart; he even added an extra impeller, some tape, etc. We’ll arrange thru Joan and Tom to get him paid.

So – still heading south, hoping for La Paz this week. Our musician friend, Mark Mulligan( from San Carlos, is having a concert in La Paz March 13th and we are planning to attend! Have old friends awaiting us there.