O’Dark Thirty Does Not start at 1:30 a.m.
Monday, November 18, 2013
We pulled into San Luis Obispo at 5:00pm. The trip up from Point Conception was pretty uneventful. We did get a phone call from our friend Linda of SV Aquadisiac. She was on her return road trip from Santa Barbara and wanted to know if we needed anything as she was passing by SLO. It made me feel important to know we have shore crew following us along the coast. Oh, also of interest is our engine has been reluctant to shut down lately when we push the stop button, so we have to open the engine compartment and push on this little thingy to make it stop. I am getting pretty good at that. Perhaps the engine is developing an attitude.
Typically, when we pull in an anchorage at cocktail hour we cocktail. Not this time. We are on a different set of rules. We don’t drink when we are on a passage. I know that may surprise some of you. Safety first. The plan was to eat, shower and sleep until 3:30 a.m. .Bill ate, showered and went straight to sleep. I had a hard time with the idea of going to sleep at 6:30 so I stayed up and spent a little time on the internet while we had it. A short while later I did what I call shelfing myself. Our v-berth (bed up in the front of the boat for those in Winters) is very much like climbing onto a shelf.
Some time around 1:00 a.m. Bill, who had been up for a bit, came up and nudged me to say he was going to start the engine (which now makes a car alarm sound INSIDE the boat when starting due to the oil and water alarm we had put in) and I did not need to get up. He had the sail all set and he did not need my help. ” Rest your pretty little head. I got this”. Hmmm how cool is that? Well, not as cool as I had hoped. It seems our engine was still having a bit of an attitude about being shut off. Now it did not want to pre-heat.
Normally, we turn the key to the on position (which makes the alarm go off until it is at temperature and oil pressure is up) then push the pre-heat button for 10 seconds and then start the engine. During this time the alarm is vibrating the hull and my “Pretty little head”. Well, this morning that was not happening. Bill tried this at least 7 times before he opened the engine, busted out some tools to tighten some wires and tap on the problem child. Finally, the pre-heat was working and the old engine started. I do believe she is a menopausal old chica; The engine, not me although I can relate. Needless to say I am wide awake now but Bill insists that I go back to bed and “Rest my pretty little head”.
Waiting on Weather Again
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
There really is not much going on around here. I can say I feel much more relaxed at the marina here in Santa Barbara than say San Diego. Perhaps it is because I no longer feel like we are living in a glass house with neighbors peering in our windows all the time. The weather here in Santa Barbara has been quite pleasant. The beach is a short walk away which has Sparky bouncing around like a two year old again. A welcome sight for sure.
We missed our weather window to make it around Point Conception by one day. This has us waiting nearly a week here in the marina. Bill tells me it is only about 48 hours to Monterey. Just hearing that small number has me excited to get this last big leg done. I love the cruising life but not on a schedule. Bill was able to get his start date for work changed to a week later. Once we make Monterey we can get up to Half Moon Bay in a day and then a day to Alameda. We have a vehicle lined up to use until we can get a car and also a slip in Alameda. Having these things set really takes a lot off my mind. I am ready to go and it is gorgeous outside. I have a hard time believing it is 40 knots with 15 foot waves just 40 miles from here.
Perhaps I will take advantage of this beautiful day and head out for a long walk along the waterfront.
Now that I have finished my walk I can say it was quite pleasant. I discovered one of the last Sambos restaurants in the country and saw a Hot Rod Limo that I think my grandson would like to go for a spin in. One thing I saw today was really disturbing ; Christmas decorations at the marina!! It is still a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. I love to go overboard with Christmas decorations but there are rules here folks. Do not take away from one of the best holidays ever. Thanksgiving is not about spending money, but time with family or friends who are like family and enjoying some good food. I recall our first Thanksgiving while cruising. It was in a remote anchorage and we had folks from about six boats come to our boat for dinner. Everyone brought what they could to put together the best meal we could and actually one of the best meals Bill and I have ever had. We certainly did not have all the fixings but it was pretty darn good. Some of those who came over to our boat we had never met before we took our dinghy to their boat to invite them over. We are now all family and that is what it is all about.
It’s Not Over Yet!
Thursday, November 07, 2013
We landed in San Diego a few weeks ago and have since been anticipating employment and made a trip up to San Francisco for Bill to interview and visit family. For the first couple of weeks we were just hanging out in limbo not knowing where work would move us to. Along with the “limboing” we had also have been anticipating the arrival of the new manifold for the engine. (see Dude’s View for details)
Being back does take some adjusting. I had forgotten how many rules we have here. We use our dinghy as our car and forgot that we need to carry lifejackets and have current registration. Fortunately, we have not had a run in with the law yet. Another thing is the abundance of food choices. This can be both good and bad. I can say we have been eating more than our share of fresh produce and have yet to get a tub of ice cream but it will happen soon.
Living on the boat in a marina has never been something we like too well. The marina here on HarborIsland is not a bad place to be but having a huge powerboat with people living aboard next to us has me leaving the shades down most of the time. They have full time people working on the boat and each time I look up someone is looking at me. Our boat feels like a 20 footer at the moment with everything stowed down below for our passage mode. In the last week I have been on edge feeling the need for some space. Walking BalboaPark with my friend Beth was a much needed get away. San Diego has some very nice spots and the weather has been wonderful. The laundry room here at the marina has the same view as the over priced fancy restaurant next to the marina. It looks over the bay to CoronadoIsland with sailboats and military boats moving around. This is framed by lush green lawn and palm trees. In the distance are the glass high rise buildings of downtown that glow at sunset.
With all the beauty here it was hard to settle in not knowing if we would stay or move on. The dice have been rolled and they came up with San Francisco as our next destination. Bill’s job is up there so off we will go. It will be nice to be with the kids, our grandson and the two grandsons that will be arriving, one before Christmas and one before Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to spending time with family, friends and getting this boat cleaned and off loading some of the cruising items that take up so much space.
The trip north itself is not something I am looking forward to but I am sure once we get going I will settle in an enjoy the ride. Our engine is almost back together and should be running like a well oiled sewing machine. Well, maybe more like a well oiled diesel. Bill just needs to button up a few things, fill the diesel, grab some groceries and get the laundry done. Hopefully we will have a chance to say goodbye to our friends Beth and Larry. They are over the top when it comes to being there for you.
I am sad that we will no longer be meeting new friends in remote anchorages. We have met so many people. Some of them as far back as 2007. I wish I could explain the tight bond that just happens with cruising friends. They are some of the most caring people around. They are always there to cheer you up when everything on your boat is falling apart. The reason is because they know what it feels like, and they are there to share the large fish you killed and drink your last drop of rum. The reason for this is because they know what it feels like as well.
We have lived a portion of our dream and done so before we were too old, sick, or dead. It has been a choice with no regrets. Watching our video and looking at our photos always make me smile. One of the lessons I have learned from our adventure is to dream big and work hard to make it happen. I am currently working on refining my next big dream and Bill is on the same page with me on the next big dream.
For now we will enjoy the journey from San Diego to San Francisco.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
I am missing the Halloween tradition of having chili for dinner and kids in cute costumes ringing the door bell in hopes of getting what ever candy I have not yet eaten. Mostly, I miss eating the candy.
Big Jumps Ahead
Monday, October 07, 2013
We are enjoying our time here in Turtle Bay even though the sidewalks have been rolled up. Okay the dusty paths and portions of sidewalks have been rolled up. Turtle Bay is one of the dustiest places we have been but still a very cute little town. Finding a place to eat dinner in town last night was a challenge.
We had planned to enjoy one last big Mexican meal here to include lobster. Finding that meal has been tough but Bill spoke with one of the ladies (Delores) at Maria’s Restaurant on the beach here and made arrangements for them to open just for us, for that special meal. We will update you after the meal to let you know how it was. Bill made these arrangements while he was on shore walking Sparky. Later when Delores saw me walking with Bill she came running out to meet me. She was excited about us coming to dinner and talked about how Maria was going to have her brother go get our lobster and make our meal special. We said goodbye and not one minute later Delores came shouting my name and running after us. She had a bracelet she made and wanted to give it me as a gift. It is made of shells and pearls. Truly sweet people in this town. She also let me know she can do laundry and has a machine to wash with. We were actually thinking we needed to find a place to take the laundry so this worked our great for us. Arrangements were made to have it done.
Today we will be busy, taking in our laundry, going to the propane refill station with Antonio, who is opening a restaurant on the beach for the Haha, getting food, oil, changing oil, filling the diesel and enjoying a nice dinner. After dinner we will pull up the dinghy and prepare for our trip up to Isla Cedros and then continue on, if the weather is correct, to San Quintin. From San Quintin we are an over night away from Ensenada. From there it is a day to San Diego. I am getting excited about getting back in the states but I also know it could take much longer to get there should something else break on the boat or the weather change.
We have no real plans once we get back to the “Land of Plenty”. Our timing to land in San Diego happens to be about the time many of the boats arrive for this years Baja Haha. Hopefully, finding a place for some free anchoring will not be a problem. A new adventure will then begin. Finding work, a car and figuring out where we will be living. The adjustment back in into the system should be interesting. I am excited about the new life but don’t have a clue what it will be.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
While I am not a golfer I do love to over use this word. Our venture north has not been what I had expected. It seems there is one thing after another happening that ends up keeping us here in Mexico. A friend of mine told me yesterday, ” there is a reason for things to happen causing the delays. We just don’t know what they are”. I have spent many hours pouting and being frustrated by the delays and have finally learned to embrace them. After trying to figure out what is causing me to be so bothered by the delays I have realized much of it comes from the influence of others pushing us to “GO! GO!GO!
My new attitude has me learning to take time to eat the tacos. (there are not many flowers here in San Carlos) There are some pretty tasty, crispy shrimp tacos here that come served with a generous portion of avocado. The town here is very small and all the people are really friendly, going out of their way to say hello to you. It is a dusty, sandy town but that is what gives it some of its character. I do believe we are the only gringos in town. Most of the money made here is from the fishing industry but there is some tourism in the way of whale watching tours but none of that seems to be happening now.
In an hour or so our mechanic should be returning with our fixed water pump allowing us to get on our way. The seas are the best we have seen for making this next leg of our trip. It will have us out at sea for a few days and this time without the cell service that allows me go online. We have been prepared to leave at a moments notice for the last few days. That is another thing I am learning to deal with. Being ready to “Go!” and then being told, “not really”. As I write this I just received a phone call and the mechanic is here so off the computer I go for yet another Mulligan.
Is this really happening???
Sunday, September 08, 2013
I wake up each morning feeling the need to pinch myself. This has been going on for a week now as we are making our final preparations to do the Baja Bash. The saying is not “What ever goes down must come up.” So why are we doing this? Well, money seems to always be the bottom line. We are not broke and do not need to accept donations to keep our dream alive. It is just the right time to seek employment before we do run out. But I am not here to talk money . Money is like politics and religion for me, not things I choose to talk about.
We have been busy running around town picking up a little this and that on foot. Then our friends Bob and Sherry on Nirvana mentioned going to Todos Santos for a road trip before we leave. After looking into a rental car and realizing how affordable it is we got smart and rented one to do our running around. The plan was to go to Todos Santos on Saturday and run around on Sunday. With tropical storm Lorena hanging around and depositing rain on us, lots of rain! We switched days. This made for one very wet day. The streets of La Paz looked like rivers. Then again we did have a rental car so we were able to make it through some of these to get where we needed to. While shopping we heard this crazy unusual sound. It was coming from the roof. It took a second for us to realize it was rain. Big rain. “Holy smokes! We left all the hatches open on the boat. Computers were going to fry and who knows what else.” Our hearts sunk. Fortunately we had our cell phone which is not normal for us. I called the marina and they said it was not raining there but they would send someone down to lock up the boat for us. After looking at the parking lot and seeing what was a dry lot when we went inside but now had cars with water up to the bottom of their door, I called the marina back and was assured the boat was closed up. We went back to the boat and everything looked fine. We just had a little water on our bed.
Off we went to enjoy a meal with Bob and Sherry. We took them back to the their marina several miles away and returned home to scramble to put our groceries away. It was then that I noticed water on the nav station table. Lots of water and Bill’s computer was sitting in it. At the moment we are not sure if we will get it to come back to life or not. We dried it off and set it in a warm oven for several hours. This morning Bill tried to turn it on and it came to life. Opened a word program and then it shut itself off and will turn on but then turn off. Our fingers are crossed for no lost data on the hard drive.
That is actually a minor thing to worry about unless my computer goes down. We seem to have so much to do and so little time. At the moment I need to walk the dog get a shower and be ready to jump in the car in less than an hour. We will spend the day in Todos Santos. That takes us to Monday which will be the day we check out of the country with the port captain before Bill’s visa expires in six days. The barge needs fuel, dinghy brought up and boat bottom cleaned. I feel some pressure and some stress. Hopefully the fun with our friends will take some of that away. I know that as soon as we untie from the dock all will be well with the world. Our engine has been blessed. Twice!
I gotta run. Yak at ya later.
Fighting the Vortex
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Over the years we have hear people talk about getting caught in the vortex of the Sea of Cortez. We vowed to never let that happen to us because there is too much to see on this planet. Some how we sort of did get caught and are having a difficult time escaping the powers that are pulling us.
Two days ago we were on the beach of our favorite spot on Isla Carmen. We call it OPI 1 aka our own private Idaho. It was the last time we would anchor there so we decided to leave our mark. Many of our friends had requested the GPS waypoints for this prized spot so we left our mark by writing our the letters OPI with stones on the beach above the high tide line. We had finished and started to photograph it when I looked up and saw our dinghy way out to sea. I yelled “Our dinghy!” Bill threw his camera at me and started swimming to catch it. The moon was near full and the currents were moving. We are guessing it was close to 500 yards away. With his determination to get the dinghy and not having another way to get back he caught it. At that point I was concerned he would not be able to pull himself up. I just keep sending thoughts of adrenalin to him. He popped up and then it took what seemed life five minutes before he was able to drop the engine down and another two to start it. I heard him yell at one point which had me concerned. He was so far I could not really see what was going on. Finally he started the engine and came back to the beach to pick up Sparky and me. Bill was ready for dinner and bed when we got back.
The next day we went over to Jucaulito for better cell coverage so Bill could call in for a phone interview for employment. We had one last evening of goodbyes with our friends Diane and Terry on Harmony and the next morning Bill had a great interview. Today was our break away day. The plan was to pull up anchor after the interview and head for Agua Verde. We decided to make a stop first at Candaleros to get some wifi internet time with out worry about how many megabytes we are using. This would allow us to post updates and both be online at the same time. We are able to get the wifi from the resort here while we are still on our boat. On the way here we ran out of fuel in one tank. The plan was to switch tanks before we left but that did not happen. So, we pulled up more sails and Bill went to work changing filters, switching tanks and having me help with bleeding the fuel. Once we got here and online I noticed a voicemail on our Skype phone. It was yet another request for a phone interview this week. That would mean turning around because we are about to enter the no cell zone for the rest of the week. We decided to make a call back which gave us voicemail and scheduled for next week. So, with all this going on and I do believe I did not mention a possible hurricane coming it is hard to get out of the vortex. We are 5 miles from the hurricane hole at this time but it is not expected to appear, if it does, until late next week. So, we will press on to Agua Verde tomorrow. Our scuba diving friends will arrive here tomorrow and want to dive with us again too. This vortex is a powerful thing.
Once we get around the corner here we should be free of it. Our moods are changing and the stress is building. There are so many things to think about and changes ahead. It will be interesting how this whole thing works out. At this point we have no idea where Bill will be working or we will be living. We just know we need to get to San Diego. A challenge we are excited about and fearful of at the same time. I think it is called living.
I wanna do it again and again and again
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I do believe I have found the scuba diving bug. Perhaps it is a bug I caught from Terry and Dawn on Manta. No maybe it is more like an addiction. I am now dreaming about diving. The other night I woke up in the night after dreaming about watching my bubbles rise to the surface from the deeps of the sea. In this dream I was controlling my breath to make different patterns of bubbles and was enjoying the sounds they made. What did Terry put in those air tanks?
Wide awake in the daylight hours I have been flashing back to the last four dives we did with Terry and Dawn and one that Bill and I did on our own. This addiction would not be a problem if we had our own tanks and a dive compressor onboard. Unfortunately we don’t. To try to help fill the rush I get from diving I have been snorkeling each day. We watched a turtle the other day for about 15 minutes. It was very cool but I was wishing I could dive down to his level to watch. Perhaps there is an addiction patch out there for me.
Sometimes it surprises me that I enjoy diving so much because it is not easy for me to get started. I have a bit(Terry on Manta would argue that it is more than just a bit) of an anxiety issue and it usually takes about a quarter of my air to get through it. Once I am over it I am able to relax and enjoy the wonders of the sea. While down there I often wonder if this is what it is like for people who take hallucinogens. To make you think I am even more mentally unstable I will add that a bit of Attention Deficit Disorder seems to kick in down there too. Sort of like when Sparky finds a butterfly and starts wander off to where ever it flutters to.
Unfortunately our diving with tanks here is done until we are able buy some tanks. It is time for us to head down toward La Paz in the next few days but before we go we will be receiving our new underwater video camera to get some nice clips of the fish around here. Terry and Dawn have arranged for it to be flown in on a private plane. I can’t wait to start playing with that.
To allow my ears to dry out for a while we took a little side adventure to go explore some caves along the shore on the south end of Isla Carmen. They are not marked in any of the guide books but we had a map drawn on a napkin by a local friend. Sure enough after we followed the “napkin map” to the “X” the caves were there. Diane and Terry on Harmony came along with us while their boat sat alone waiting for parts for the windless to be brought into Mexico so they can pull up their anchor. It was great to spend a day with them. We took our boat and towed both of our dinghies. Once we set anchor a couple miles from the caves we headed out in the dinghies. We brought along my iPod to play some music in the cave but the acoustics just were not as good as some of the other caves we have been in.
The water clarity was excellent so we dropped our dinghy anchor in the cave and tied our dinks together and went for a swim in the cave. After we returned to Beyond Reason we headed back to Harmony just around the corner from Escondido.
We will leave this area in a few days for La Paz. There is no doubt our moods will change from over stimulated to gloom. Hopefully I am able to manage that as well as I have managed my anxiety.
Sucking in the last bits of fun from the sea
Saturday, July 27, 2013
We have made the somber decision to start heading for La Paz in September to prep for the bash. That leaves us with a limited amount of time here in our happy place. We certainly have no regrets about where we have chose to spend our last couple of months of play. We are in the Loreto area and just love it here.
The snorkeling and scuba diving are fantastic around Isla Carmen. We have been fortunate enough to meet a breathtaking couple on the trimaran Manta. Terry and Dawn are a step above scuba diving enthusiasts. Sometimes when Terry is talking I feel the need to shove a regulator in his mouth so he can breathe. He can get quite excited when he talks diving. Dawn is a lovely lady and a tranquil version of Terry when it comes to talking about their passion.
We have taken radio check-ins on the nets from them for years and it is a well known fact in the Sea of Cortez that they live to dive. We ran into them when we were scouting for unmarked anchorages so we stopped by to say hello. That led to an invite to dive with them. An invite we certainly had no intention of passing up but we did have to wait a month for all our stars to line up. A few days back we ran into them in Puerto Escondido and made plans to meet with them in the days to follow.
Then it happened… we made radio contact and we where both heading to the same spot at the same time. A spot they knew well. One they told us would be good to meet for a dive. We tried to meet them in this spot a month earlier but weather turned us back. On our way with good weather we were excited. I was gathering up our dive gear knowing we only had about an hour before we arrived. Then it happened. Engine failure. Well, not really engine failure but a belt failure. I pulled out a sail to keep us off the reef. Before we could get the motor going again a strong current and wind had turned against us. I made a call to Manta to let them know we were going to have to pull in to the near by anchorage of Puerto Ballandra. A few minutes later they called back and said they were changing course for Ballandra too.
This was perfect for us. They were determined to get us in the water with dive tanks strapped on our backs. I have not dove since 2004 when I got certified. I was quite nervous. I feared I would have fear and this would be a problem. We gathered all our gear with the exception of dive tanks because we don’t have any. That is another story. Terry and Dawn not only have extra tanks but a compressor on board as well. Bill and I picked up a couple tanks and took our gear to the beach to get our weights set right and hooked everything up. It turns out I had a bit too much weight. I am not sure if Bill did that to get rid of me or if it was just a simple mistake.
With a severe case of anxiety I plopped myself in the water and everything was working. We went down to the 50 foot ranges and everything seemed to be going well even though my weights were a little heavy and I kept bumping the bottom. I used a lot of air trying to get my BC (Buoyancy compensator or floaty thing for those in Winters) where I wanted. This did get me thinking again and helped me remember some of what I was taught in my scuba class. We found some scallops down there and fed them to the Panamic Green Morays. That was fun to watch from several feet behind Terry. Those things scare me. Another danger I saw down there was the Stone Scorpionfish. They look just like a rock but I was able to pick out one of these poisonous bad boys.
There were several other “fun fish” as I like to call them. Other people call them reef fish. One I had not seen before was the Spotted Sharpnose Puffer. He was so cute and greeted me when I entered the water. Later the largest Cortez Angel I had seen was flapping his fins and saying hello.
It was great to get this dive behind me even though I enjoyed the heck out of it. I did it! I was able to breathe underwater. That concept still blows my mind. We planned to hit our original spot the next day. I was pretty tired and so was Bill. He worked pretty hard changing the fan belt on the engine while I sailed us toward the anchorage earlier. When we returned to the boat after the dive it was covered with bees. All you people up north whining about the lack of bees are just looking in the wrong places. They are all down here and their stings are concentrated. We sprayed them with salt water and swatted a few. There were only a couple left and we thought we would be okay. Then Manta called us and said they got hit by the bees and were leaving. I kid you not. They had their anchor up and were out of the anchorage in less than one minute. We decided to follow.
The next day we were ready to dive the Aquarium. I am sworn to secrecy on this one and can not tell where it is but it was amazing and lived up to it’s name. There were too many fish to even start naming . Some new fish for me where Barberfish and Pacific Creolefish. There were many others too. The clarity was quite good and I was able to actually see a thermal cline. I did not know what it was at the time but Terry told me later. We went down as far as 71 feet this time. Yep, I can still breathe that deep underwater. While down there Dawn did took lots of video of our adventure while Terry showed us cool things and played tricks on us. I do believe I am his favorite sucker for all of his pranks. I did have some trouble with my weight belt on this dive but with Bill’s help I made it through the dive. That belt is now history and I have a new one.
We think we have all the bugs worked out of our gear and look forward to another dive later in August with Terry and Dawn. Boy, I sure wish I could look as graceful as Dawn does under water. They left this morning but not without saying good bye. They buzzed our boat shouting good bye while Bill was on the radio running the net. They wished me a happy birthday and in complete unison they mooned me. I could not stop laughing. Yep, they got me again. Thanks for the great time guys. See ya soon!
Plans are always written in sand at low tide.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
We enjoyed a week in El Burro Cove while waiting for Independence Day and the celebrations that goes with it. While there we met lots of new friends and caught up with some old friends we had not seen for several months. There were some that were missed as well. Many of the “on shore people” we have had great times with in El Burro were not in attendance and had their palapas boarded.
There was one family on the beach that we had not previously met until this year. We have seen them there every time we have made our visits to El Burro. This was not just a family but actually several Mexican families. Mexican families with lots and lots of kids. With those kids came lots and lots of Jet Skis. We embraced them and they embraced us. Several of the other boaters yelled and cussed at the kids to stay away from their boats which were anchored in front of the family palapa. I found it wonderful to see the kids having a great time with their families. At night the kids would make horn noises from shore and Bill would repeat them with his conch shell on the boat. This would go back and forth. At one point someone cussed and yell for us to shut up. That was not the right thing to say to a bunch of kids having fun. We encouraged them to keep going along with their parents. We had several invites to join them on shore.
One night the nine kids swam out to our boat. They were invited aboard but declined not wanting to get the boat wet and salty. As Bill said it would be like asking them to get in your car and they were taught not to go with strangers. After about and hour of questions from them about our life on the boat, we tied a rope to the back of the dinghy and towed them back to shore. The Grandfather was begging us to come join them for tequila. We declined. Tequila is not a beverage that works well for us and we were in need of getting Sparky ashore for his doggy business.
After the celebrations on the 4th, which including me finding out my photo was in a magazine and receiving an award for my radio net controller service, we stayed one extra day. We did this to take out a new friend for a sail. Actually, we met her the last time we were there. She is from Mexico City and had never been sailing before. She had a great time but admitted she did not know what sailing was when we asked her but it sounded fun. Perhaps a Spanish / English dictionary would have helped her. The conditions were perfect and we had fun time.
With all the socializing during the week it was time for some much needed private time. We do like to have our space. We found a spot to anchor away from the herd. It is a spot that is not in the guide book but just as nice and we were not having an issue with the bees like the herd a mile up the road. Sunday rolled around and Bill was doing his Sunday Ham radio net while we were on our way south. We listened to the weather and realized later in the day it was going to get ugly for us and even if we did find a calm anchorage we could be stuck there for a few days waiting for weather. We had a limited amount of water and with the watermaker down Bill suggested I turn the boat while he continued with the net.
We ended up in Santa Rosalia. It was not our plan to come north but here we are. Now that we have been here for a few days and the weather is good for heading south, we will leave today. I was able to get my internet fix here and fill the boat with fuel, water and food. Actually, I found it quite surprising that my need for the internet has declined quite a bit. I did however enjoy getting in touch with my kids and calling my mom for her birthday on Skype. We plan to pull anchor in an hour or so and still don’t really know where we will be going other than south.
Is the heat on??
Monday, July 01, 2013
Why yes, the heat is on. Things have warmed up a bit for us here in Bahia de Conception. The water is a quite warm at nearly 90 degrees. We subject ourselves to this each year in anticipation of some free turkey dogs. Well, actually it is not the dog but the gathering of many of the boats in the sea to join an Independence Day celebration given by Geary who provides us with weather day after day never taking a day off on the Ham radio net.
The celebration starts with a potluck and then is followed by fireworks in the evening. Geary also provides tents and tables and chairs for the nearly 30 boats that show up each year. It is a great chance to meet the many people we talk to on the radio but have not met in person.
After the party we will not be heading north with the herd. Instead we plan to head back to where we like the snorkeling and plan to do some scuba diving. The plan is to play hard the next couple of months before we start making plans to go north on the outside of the Baja. For now we have agreed to not talk about that for the next month and enjoy every moment we have now.
So with so much to do I am signing off and heading out of the lovely town of Mulege and back to the water where the catfish are waiting to nibble on my fat , short toes.
Loving the Baja!
Saturday, June 01, 2013
The trip from the Mazatlan to the Baja was all a girl could ask for. Well, the first two days anyway. The last day got a little hairy. We had 27 knot winds and seas anywhere between six and ten foot waves. Several washed over the boat filling the gunnels. I can say I have not had the experience before and hope to not have to do that again. The boat did prove itself as sea worthy.
It feels so good to be over on the Baja. This truly feels like home. At the moment we are anchored in Los Gatos one of my favorite spots on the Baja. We have been here for a few days and planned to leave tomorrow but then again we may not. There are only a couple of boats here. The beaches are fine white sand, water crystal clear most of the day and the landscape is stunning. In the back drop of the little bit of heaven are the Gigante Mountains. They are colorful and leave a beautiful silhouette while the sun is setting. There are plenty of fish to eat and lobsters seem to have taken over the area.
Sparky has turned back into a puppy with his twice daily swim sessions and running on the beach. The only thing that could make things better would be for the water to warm up a bit.
Fun is on the way!
Monday, May 27, 2013
Ever since I returned to the boat from California there has not been much going on as far as the fun meter goes. We have traveled some long distances and had really good luck with them. There have been some great meals with our friends John and Gilly from Destiny but that is about it. Mostly we have been working on getting to boat in top shape. Hopefully when the day comes for us to head up the outside of the Baja and back to California we will not have any trouble. Then again it is a boat so trouble is to be expected.
The work it takes to get the boat in good shape is not a problem for me but relying on others and their extremely poor personal and work skills makes my skin crawl. I just have no tolerance for that. Perhaps some therapy would help me with that. I will make it clear that it is not the Mexican people I am talking about here. They are American and Canadian. The Mexican people we have met here in Mazatlan have been extremely kind and have gone out of there way to insure our visit is as pleasant as possible.
In spite of the gun fire at 4:30 am, Mazatlan is still our favorite large city in Mexico. We have learned to keep our own opinions and disregard what the Americans who live here have to say. Most of them have tunnel vision. Don’t get me wrong, some have been helpful. While we have been here we visited the Central Market a few times as well as the smaller version of it. We watched some baseball and got a real feel for the life of local Mexicans here. It is not much different than living in Winters, although, with more dust and humidity.
This morning I woke up at O’dark thirty to get my last bits fix of the internet. It will be hard to say goodbye to daily chats with my kids, especially since both will be expecting babies around the holidays. I am really looking forward to that. I am quite thankful to be able to stay in touch with the “kids”. My daughter sent me a recording of her babies heartbeat yesterday. Technology does not get better than that.
We are all packed up and ready for our departure today. The dog has had his fill of veterinarian care here and I had my six month health check up. We are ready to rock. Our goal is to head as close to the Loreto area as possible. Within a week we should be there. That is our all time favorite place to go on this adventure we are on. Originally we wanted to head through the Panama Canal but did not like what we were experiencing and the Loreto area kept calling us back. I am glad we decided to make that u-turn. The Baja feels so close to home.
I will leave you with a photo of a great little bit of craftiness from the Colima area. I found a store dedicated completely to creating your own sandals. I am thinking a California Franchise… Why has this not caught on in the states. Perhaps this could replace Scrap-booking.
You don’t want to make the Queen Bee Mad:
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Mechanic…. What really qualifies one to hold this title. I can assure you good work ethics are not required to call yourself a mechanic. In my book however good work ethics qualify you more than anything you think you know about engines.
Here in Mazatlan there are so many “mechanic politics” going on that I would discourage anyone from thinking this is a place to have work done on your boat. I am feeling like we have made a very poor choice in what we have done here. The exception would be our choice to use and the service we received from Grupo Naval Mar de Cortez. I am just sorry we did not ask them to work on our injectors. I can assure you by Monday afternoon if our current “mechanic” does not have them in and fixed I will have Grupo Naval here to do the job.
We try to be fair people and spread our hard earned pesos among all the businesses. Total Yacht Works has proven to not want to provide service for us due to his childish politic games. That cost us a several day delay. Karma will find him and he will pay for his lies (I have emails to prove those). As a result we moved on to the next business. Marine Services Mazatlan which started out okay. Rick showed up while our boat was on the hard to guide Bill on how he could fix our bow thruster himself. We requested he work on our injectors. He did not show up several times, for several days so we searched around the marina and found him having lunch at a restaurant with a girl when he was supposed to be at our boat. He finally got the injectors out and then we had the delays of things not being delivered and so on. I am not sure how much of that is true but can’t prove it.
He showed up today several hours late. I got up early and out of the boat to be out his way. Had I know he had horrible work ethics I would have slept in and even had breakfast. He did some work and fixed our original problem and created two new problems. Hmmm my Punky can do that and it would not cost us. After a short time he said he had to leave to go do his payroll at his office. He said he would be back and packed up his tools. Bill suggested he leave his tools if he was returning. He declined. I took this as a premeditated intention of not returning. He said he would be back and Bill pushed him for a time. He said 2:00pm. Do I even need to waste my time telling you he never showed up? We called him on the radio, cell phone, text and email, nothing. I can accept his failure to do his job but there is no excuse for common courtesy of letting someone who is sitting around waiting, know you will not be there.
Bill has been trying hard to stay positive about the experience with Rick of Marine Services Mazatlan. I have not. Bill has now come over to my way of thinking. We missed our weather window and will wait for the next one which is Tuesday. At the moment I seriously doubt that we will make that. I have been told by the locals at the rabbit warren here that it is the Mexican way. Nothing happens quickly. These people are not Mexican. The Mexicans we have had work for us were on time, every time and under budget.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
O’dark thirty comes early when you have had friends over and a few (or few too many) adult beverages. There was a plane to catch so there staying in bed was not an option. The plan was to call the water taxi that operates 24 hours a day and have them come pick us up. Unfortunately they were on Mexican time when it came to them answering our radio call. With no other option we unlocked the big heavy chain used to keep our dinghy secure to the boat and head out in the dark waters to shore where our rental car awaited. As we past the Grand Bay Hotel we saw the taxi chatting up a friend. We went over to him and asked if he could follow us back to the boat and bring us in. We did not want to leave the dinghy ashore in case Bill did not return until after dark. (two boat rides) When we got to shore Bill made a comment something like “I think the car is on this street.” This was repeated until I thought we had hit every street in town. Finally he said ” wait here with your bags. I’ll be right back with the car”. Within a few minutes he came flying around the corner in the little Chevy called a Matiz. It is just slightly bigger than a Smart car. After a quick stops for some much needed caffeine we were on our way. It was a pretty drive from Barra de Navidad to the Puerto Vallarta Airport . Some sections were quite bumpy and we feared we would lose the car in some of the pot holes. The drive was nearly three hours.
We arrived early enough to meet up with our friend Bob from the sailboat Nirvana. After a quick breakfast visit we were off to the airport. We had a few items to check off the list there. First was Aduana (customs) to get paper work for the dreaded Garmin. By doing this we won’t get raped with import fees when returning with the replacement. Next on the list was to get a current visa for Bill. Details of that transaction can be found on the Dude section of the website.
The flight to LAX was uneventful. When I arrived I headed to my next gate for the next flight to San Jose after I went through customs. For the record I did get a “Welcome to the US!” from the customs agent. After walking the maze of the airport and showing my ticket to several airline employees I arrived at the gate that said San Jose on Alaska Airlines as my ticket said. I show the ticket to the agent who looked like Peter pan and asked if this was the right gate. I was concerned because theflight number did not match but everything else did. “Yes, you are at the right gate but you have several hours before we board.” I sat right there until it was time to board. I gave my ticket to the same girl and she says “hmmm something is wrong here. There is someone already in your seat.” I repeated her “hmmmm” with sarcasm. She continues to punch things into her computer and then looks the ticket over again. “Oh, you are at the wrong gate. You need to on the other side of the airport and have only a few minutes before you miss your flight. You can make it if you take the short cut to the next secure area.” She gave me directions which got me totally lost. I was running through the airport I cut through several lines. Had an agent mark my ticket to give me priority through the lines. In the process I had a guy in a wheelchair block me and tell me that I could not pass him because that section was only for wheel chairs. ” I said “Really?” in a very watch this manner. I then ducked under a rope, which I am sure he thought was velvet and red just for him but it wasn’t. He was a fairly young guy who was yelling at me as I ran to the front of the line. By now I this was the third time I had gone through the security at the airport and when they scanned my drivers license the red lights were flashing. I explained my situation and was escorted to the place they have you stand in the tube. This was the second time I was selected for this and each time they pulled me aside to check my left shoulder. I was in too big of a hurry to ask about that.
Finally, I arrive at the gate for SkyWest which had been written in small print on my Alaska Airline ticket. I get to the counter with a minute to spare and so out of breathe I can hardly speak. I plot my ticket on the counter and am told. “Sorry this flight is closed.” “What do you mean closed??” It turns out they close it ten minutes before take off. Not only that, this was not the real gate. It is the gate to the bus to the other side of the airport where you get on the little prop plane. At this point I am totally dehydrated and without cash or water. They took my water that I paid $4.00 for at the security area. The sweet guy behind the counter booked me on the next flight without me even asking. It will be 11:00 am but I can be on standby for the 7:00am flight if I like but he did not feel I had a chance of getting on that flight.
I am now roaming the airport wondering where I can sleep and where is an ATM because I only have Pesos. I am hungry, tired and angry which anyone who knows me knows this is not a good combination. I decide to go back to see Peter Pan and give her an ear full of my thoughts. I want to rip her to shreds. First I must call my brother in law who is waiting for me at the airport in San Jose. Then I start off to find Miss I can’t read your ticket even though it is my job. That requires me to go through another security area. I am not in the mood for that. I remember that is a USO at the airport and I have a military ID to allow me in. The USO has internet, television and a place to sleep along with food and water. I start to search it out and then look up to see an Alaska Airline ticket counter. Hmmm someone needs to know that there is a bad apple in the cart. I go to the counter and ask who I can speak to so I can file a complaint about an employee. “Certainly, I will have someone come right away. Stay right here.” I comment back that I had not other options for the next 12 hours. A tall gentleman in a trench coat shows up. He is very concerned and asked what had happened. I let him know about my experience he promptly asked if I was given food vouchers or a room. I said no and let him know it was not my intention to receive any of that but to let him know about the employee who was not doing her job well. I was able to point out Peter Pan to him as she was standing around talking to other employees about 20 feet away. When she saw me and we made eye contact she left the group and walked away. That’s right I was talking to the boss and about her. It felt good. The boss left me for a moment and came back with a voucher for the Hilton and two $12 meal vouchers good at he hotel or any place in the airport. He escorted me to the bus outside the door and I was off. Thank you Alaska Airlines for your great customer service. The boss had explained this employee was a temp and already on her way out and this confirmed that decision.
In my hotel room I felt like I had won the lottery. Two giant beds,”Which do I sleep on?” , a million pillows and a television bigger than my dining room table. Oh, and yes, I did check and there was a Bible in the nightstand drawer. I took my voucher down to the Bristo and ordered a chicken and pesto Panini sandwich to eat in my luxury suite. I must have spent 3 hours in the shower. Almost washed all my tan off.
I was excited to see some American television until I started watching American television. Holy smokes the media is brain washing everyone! After not watching television for a year now I feel quite different about watching it. I do believe it is worse than crack cocaine. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things on but the brain washing that goes with the good is not to my liking and I never saw it that way until I was off the crack. To be more specific I will say the news media and advertising agencies of American have poisoned all of us. Sorry, just a little rant I had to get out. Well, rant or mind clarity.
Within 30 or so minutes of watching the giant television I learned that Los Angeles is still getting 40% of its power from coal but will be coal free by 2025, there were six murders that day, a mass murder in a Florida college was stopped by a roommate. It makes me laugh to think Americans fear coming to Mexico. I should be afraid to return.
In the morning I made some coffee in my room and took yet another shower. If you have ever lived on a boat for a long period of time you would understand my obsession with long hot showers. I checked out of my room before 8:00 a.m. and took the shuttle to the airport. I knew exactly where to go. I arrived a couple hours before my flight so I had breakfast in the terminal after the bus ride and met a very nice gentleman from Santa Barbara who had just returned from Trinidad to care for his mother. I told him about my upcoming care taking duties and he had some advice for me. “Be sure to carve some time out for yourself. It is very important.” You would not believe how many times I replayed this scene in my head. He was sooo right. I wish I could thank him again for those words.
The flight from LAX to San Jose was pleasant but when I arrived I got quite a giggle. My nephew picked me up in his monster truck. I kid you not I have never seen a truck lifted quite so high, let alone trying to climb in to one. I was quite challenged and his laughing did not help. He was out of the truck ready to push me up when I was finally able to get myself up there. Getting out I about rolled down the driveway as I fell to the ground. Good times.
The purpose of my trip home was to help care for my mother-in-law in her own home after surgery. On my second day of caring for her she had a stroke. Fortunately, she recovered well and fairly quickly. It was a lot of work but rewarding in the end knowing she can continue to live in her home without assistance. I did not have much free time with the many doctor appointments but was able to make a visit to Winters and got to say my friend Lori at Mariani Nut Company and then a visit to see my friend Becky and her family. My last stop that day was to West Sacramento to visit Jeff and Julie who may be coming down to meet us in Loreto.
My daughter Stephanie and I made time for a much needed pedicure date and my final bit of fun was having my son Hans take the train up from San Diego to help ( I use the term help lightly, I only drove 35 minutes) me drive my car down to San Diego where he will keep it for me until wereturn to the states. On the way we stopped so he could get one of those energy drinks. He asked if I wanted one and I had no idea what to ask for. He laughed and asked what I like. I said coffee. A cold coffee drink. He brought me one of those giant Monster drinks. Being super thirsty I drank it down quickly. Then I told him that these things don’t work. All I got out of it was a bit of a headache. His version was that it did work and he wish he had bought me a carton of milk instead. Apparently, they make me talk too much and I could not stop. The trip to San Diego allowed me to spend time with my grandson and daughter in law as well. I flew out at 10 am and was back on the boat before dark.
We put the boat into the marina in Barra and I worked hard for a week solid cleaning and polishing the boat. She is in the best condition she has been in a long time. We left Barra on the 22nd heading to Mazatlan. Right now we are in La Cruz right next to Puerto Vallarta. We picked a great weather window for our trip up. Going around the point known to be rough was quite calm. We will stay here until Monday when the next weather window opens to go to Mazatlan to get new bottom paint. That plan could change if the yard here can come up with a decent price to have it done here.
I am my own enemy
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
As you may recall from the pirate story, I hid things I did not want the pirates to take should we be boarded by them. As it turns out I did a rally good job. No, make that a really, really good job. When the “pirate boat” or fishing panga started closing in on us at less than a quarter mile I sort of went into a panic. First off I hid Bill’s wallet (behind my clothes bins on the shelf in the V-berth) and pulled out the fake wallet and put some money in it. His fake wallet has lots of grocery store club cards and expired Sams Club card and a couple of expired credit card for account that are no longer open. I do not have a fake wallet for myself so I pulled most of the good stuff out of mine and put it with Bill’s wallet. I left Bill’s 1980ish Dell computer out and hid mine up in some clothes in the V-berth. My thought was a big burly pirate was not going to climb up in there to look for a computer in my panties. I put our cell phone between the mattress and the wall.
At the time this was happening we were using our television as a repeater monitor for the sometimes working sometimes not Garmin. Surprisingly it was working but we were only using the radar. I don’t have any jewelry on board that is worth stealing other than my wedding ring and 25th anniversary ring. I spun them upside down so the diamonds would not show. As it turns out it was a pretty good idea to keep them on or I might still be looking for them.
A couple of days after this all happened Bill asked me where the bag of thumb drives went. “What? I have not seen those for months.” He them mentioned the adapter for the SD cards to USB was in there. “Nope, haven’t seen them.” The next day I sort of remembered thinking I needed to hid that adapter because it would be a pain to find a new one down here. “Hey Bill! Come to think of it I did see those things. I hid them.” Here is where things start getting tough for me. I can’t find them! I have taken all my clothes out of my storage, checked the oven but remember thinking know I will forget they were there and melt them. They are not in the towel cabinet with the towels or the cabinet behind the toilet where the toilet paper is stored in bulk. One can never have too much toilet paper as too little is a problem. I looked in the places I store rum through out the boat but it was not there. Don’t think for a moment that I am going to disclose where I hide my rum. I am thinking I should have put a bar of Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate 85% Cocoa in with the thumb drives and then I would have no trouble sniffing it out.
We are currently in Barra de Navidad. For the first time in about a month and a half we are in an anchorage that is not rolling us around in our bed all night. The humidity is lower too. With these pleasant conditions I am hoping to empty every nook and cranny AGAIN so I can find these things.
What a difference 24 little hours make.
Friday, March 08, 2013
Well, we did have a bit of excitement on our way north from Zihuatanejo to Santiago. It was a bit of a reflecting moment when we changed directions from our original plans to head through the Panama Canal. The places we were seeing and hearing about just were not what my Utopia looks likes. Sorry if we let anyone down by not offering them a spot onboard through the canal. We just have to do what we love.
With all this reflecting going on we left the wonderful town of Zihuatanejo and all the cute little tourist shops. Within a few hours we had a fish on the line and I came bouncing up top with a gaff in hand. “Wooo Hooo! A fish!” changed quickly to” f*&%#” when the bee I just saw stung me. What was he doing so far out at sea? We ended up letting the fish go too. Being the spoiled brat that I am I wanted a Dorado not a Cravelle.
Fast forward to the Pirate Story on the home page. If you read the Pirate story the next trouble we had was the engine. It died. I was not too worried; we have sails right? Oh, wait they require wind and we had none. No worries, I have my Punky to come to the rescue.
The trouble turned out to be a clogged fuel filter. About an hour later we were moving again. During our second night at sea we started pulling into Manzanillo Bay and there was sure a lot of traffic. Those ships are huge when they are near by. We had to make a loop back to avoid one. In doing so we hit one of his waves that tossed the coffee pot, full and still containing grounds, onto the floor where all the pans that just seconds before flew out of the oven had landed. The pans made an enough noise to really irritate my already over tired mind.
We dropped the anchor at two in the morning. Note to self. “Never put lotion on your feet before you have to climb around the dinghy on deck, walking on the outside of the life lines. The teak cap rail is quite slippery.
After a days rest and cleaning we are enjoying a great day. Needing to run some errands and make about five stops in Manzanillo we started walking to the bus stop when Jaime Rolan(He is single ladies!) the taxi driver number 482 asked if we needed his service. We asked his price as learned from bad experiences. He said he would give us a good price and he did. He was one of the nicest guys we have met. I wanted to bring him home for cocktails. Then Bill asked if he could drive us from one spot to the next. He did just that. Dropping off Bill in one area while taking me to Sally’s (yes just like those back home) to get a nail implement to replace one that fell overboard. Then he too me back to Bill, a quick stop at the Pemex to fill our can with diesel and here we are at the Tenisol Hotel. Having just eaten a very tasty bacon burger. Bill had a shrimp burger that looked really yummy. The internet is super good and we are the only people here. You may look back at photos previously posted to see how beautiful this place is.
Surfer Girl Fur Shure
Friday, February 22, 2013. Mexcalli Surf School
Ever since I was in high school I’ve dreamt I would be a surfer girl. My best friend Diane and I have spent hours, months even years talking about being a surfer girl. Diane drove a VW bug with a cassette player that repeatedly played The Beach Boys along with some rock and our attention getting punk rock. Some days we would talk about life after high school graduation and that we were going to join a commune and hang out at the beach the rest of our lives. On occasion I even skipped school to head over the hill to Santa Cruz so I could hear the waves, smell the ocean and most importantly work on my tan. This was my happy place.
Back then our favorite sunscreen was baby oil. I remember that precious bottle would always end up with sand stuck to it and the battle to keep it off. On our excursions to the beach we’d packed up our boom box and a towel along with the baby oil. We later learned the prefect looking beach girls were adding iodine to their baby oil for a golden tan. We never did that for fear we would look like the yellow onion on the slides in our biology class. Actually hitting the beach we often made a stop at Togos for a sandwich to chow down later.
The time I spent with Diane sharing this dream has never been forgotten. I often think of her while walking the beaches of Mexico and wish she were right by my side being silly with me and talking about everything and nothing at the same time. This feeling was never stronger than the day I woke up early to actually make that dream a reality. The reality of being able to say ” I surf!”
Lately we have been pretty lazy and not leaving the boat until after 8:00 am. On surf day we were gone much earlier. Bill took Sparky to the beach to get some exercise and do his “doggy business”, Sparky of course did the same. Upon returning I jumped in the dinghy and we were off. The first stop was for some coffee and a quick bite to eat. Next up was a taxi ride to our surf instructors house to bum a ride to his shop in Trocones. I felt like one of the cool kids getting a ride in with guy who would transform me to “Surfer Girl” Okay, so I was actually with the instructors son who barely looked old enough to drive and we were in a mini van but we were listening to Bob Marley and had a surf board on the roof. Our driver was Leonel. He was friendly, nice and very polite. Oh, I should also mention this kid can surf really well.
At the shop we picked up a couple of less than tan guys a bit older than us and after our instructor Beto loaded all our boards we were off to the land of some of the best waves to learn to surf on. The road down the beach took us through coconut palms that hung low and swept all sides of the van. The temperature was perfect. The beach was flat with a few houses and a restaurant that had seating in the shade of the palms right on the beach. Paradise found.
Our lesson started with a demo and practice of laying on the board and hopping up into the “surfer girl position”. You know sort of a strike pose thing. The problem was I am about double the weight I was in high school but my mind is still the same. I was asked to go first. This made me very uncomfortable. I am horribly clumsy and now I have to do something to make me look foolish in front of others and I am the only girl. I did as asked and then asked to do it again a couple more times. This did not give me a good feeling about how the day was going to go. My morning happy day high was crashing. Bill looked pretty darn good doing this exercise. The other two guys Ian and Tom made me feel a little better about my poor performance.
The next step to being surfer girl was to strap our assigned boards to our ankles and paddle out to line up for our turn with Beto. Once again I am chosen to be first. “Me?” Oh no, this is not what I wanted to happen. Beto lined me up and told me when to go. I made it to my knees and rode the wave pretty far. This had me thinking ” Hey that was pretty dang fun and I may just be able to do this.” Bill and the other two did not do as well as I had which gave me more confidence. On my second try I was up on both feet in position and an in control. I am instantly addicted. My thought was ” Holy crap! How the hell did I pull that off”. This of course was followed by a couple of reality checks of not doing so well and then back to I am a “Surfer Girl”. The one wave that made my day was when I was upright, in control and barreling right down on Bill who was paddling back out after he had failed to get up. I am sure he was blinded by the huge smile I had and deafened by the loud laugh. This all ended as I crashed right into his board and went under. It is hard to wipe the smile off my face just thinking about that.
On one of my rides I was tossed under pretty hard and some how came up with a finger that was giving me some pain. (The next day it was so swollen I had to have my wedding ring sawed off) This was not going to keep me from enjoying this perfect day. I had a few more good waves and ended up feeling super tired. I took a last wave and then joined the wives of Ian and Tom. This gave me a great view of Bill riding in upright all the way to the beach. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in my thoughts I did not pick up the camera to get a picture of Bill. We grabbed a beer and watched Beto and Leonel, along with Leonel’s “primo” aka best friend, as they showed us what years of practice can do.
Another dream fulfilled. Diane, I wish you could have been by my side.
Finally, I have adjusted my attitude
Thursday, February 07, 2013
The last month has had me in a bit of a funk. That is what happens when I am pinned in a small area by someone else’s choosing.
Today we pulled up the anchor and are headed south toward Ixtapa. It is great to be on the move again. Back on land I often had the urge to rearrange the furniture in the house. That is not possible on the boat but moving the house (boat) gives me that same pleasure. In the last two months we have had a lot of fun times with friends old and new. These include many dinners and cocktail hours. My all time favorite thing that we have done in the last couple of months is sitting up on the front deck in our beach chairs with the sun shade overhead. Each day about sunset Bill and I assume our positions with cocktail in hand and dog tail under foot. We have had many good conversations and talked about our future plans. I find it amazing that after some thirty plus years we can still come up with dreams that we both want to pursue. I wish everyone had the opportunity to sit and watch the sun set each night.
One of the most important things we discussed is our sailing plans. Originally we were to going to sail around the world. Okay, just kidding. That was never our plan but we thought we would make it to Panama. As it turns out we prefer to be up in the Sea of Cortez. Back to the land of secluded anchorages and lots of fish to catch and spear. The dinghy landings south of Punta Mita often require a surf landing and pushing our overly heavy dinghy up on shore on the wheels. This is never a fun task not to mention when we go into town after such landings we first have to find a place to change out of our swimsuits and rinse all the super fine black sand off our feet so it does not grind holes in our skin from our shoes. Finding a place to do this can be a challenge.
So, we decide to choose this simple life and head back up into the Sea. Before we do that we will be going down to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. We almost skipped these places to head back up to the sea but some friends came over with a bottle of rum to change our mind. Well, it worked. We are currently underway. It is a perfect day. The seas are calm we have a light breeze in the mid 70’s. The water is what some call tuna blue because it is this color that tuna is found in. The line is out but no fish yet. We have seen several pods of dolphin and three large turtles. All this and it is not even noon yet.
The Waiting Game….
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As many of you have read we have been having some issues with our Garmin Chartplotter, GPS, Radar unit. If you enjoy reading all the frustrating details you can do so in the Dude’s section. I am working really hard to bury my head in the sand on this, which is quite challenging. It would be great to move on and see some new things. Currently we are anchored in Las Hadas or has Bill likes to call it Las Has-Been.
There are some pleasures to be enjoyed here but some disadvantages too. The beach can be difficult to land on. We have had a lot of cloud cover in the last few weeks but the air and water are warm.
I don’t mind hanging out for a while if it is of my choosing. Here we sit and wait for UPS to deliver the new SD card that might fix our Garmin issue. The problem is UPS contracted the package out and it is no where to be found. Garmin has ordered another to be sent. So, here I sit with an internet connection trying to come up with something cleaver to write about. Would you find it entertaining that four old Mexican men, sporting bright orange life vests just rode by on a water weenie, bouncing, laughing and screaming like school girls? It made me giggle. Perhaps telling you about the bus ride that was far more scary than any amusement park ride. The driver did not feel it was required to go slow around blind corners on a road atop the steep hillside. It also did not phase him that this bus made more rattle bang noises than any I have ever been on. I was quite excited when he put his brakes to the test as he past a young girl waiting for the bus. It reminded me of the day when I was teaching my kids to drive and instinctively reach fro the brake while in the passenger seat.
While waiting we have figured out the bus system for the Santiago, Manzanillo, Las Hadas area. Most of the boaters are quick to drop some extra cash for a taxi. Within a 10 minute bus ride we can have all the shopping Mexico has to offer. The shopping is so easy I was able to purchase a pair of “Big Girl Sandals” the other day. Okay, let’s say they are something other than flip flops with a nice sole for walking and a little support for these old feet of mine that seem to get several miles tread on them every time we go into town. So , sort of mish mash update but it is a mish mash blah kind of day. Waiting….. When the question is asked again “What can Brown do for you?” My answer will be ” Teach me patients.”
Barra De Navidad.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Well we did not make it to Barra De Navidad by Christmas but we were here for the Start of the new year. Our friends Jim and Susan on Windward Bound have been here for a few years now and were happy to show us around. The town is a bit touristy but it is a bit of a surf town as well. The people here have been very friendly. Watching our dollars slowly disappear without being replaced keeps us out of the marinas.
The marina here is at The Grand Bay Hotel. It is a large fancy place and where our rich friends on Windward Bound have been staying for a couple of months in the marina which gets them access to all the hotel facilities. They were happy to share those facilities with us. We watched the fireworks from the 5th floor bar as the new year began. The hotel is indeed grand with lots of marble, real linens in the bathroom, valet parking and I am sure you get the idea. One of the afternoons here we spent some time sitting by the pool consuming adult beverages and making up stories.
In town we have enjoyed some inexpensive meals and decided to do a bit of a comparison of hamburgers. Several people told us about their favorite places. As far as flavor my favorite is La Officina’s Billy Burger. It comes with blue cheese, caramelized onions and mushrooms. On the side is a Caesar salad. The cost is nearly $8.00 US which is above our normal meal budget but we had to try it. The best value was the burger at Casa de mi Abuela ( house of my grandmother). The owner Miguel cooks his enormous burgers on the BBQ just to the side of the dining patio. The patio spills out into the street a bit which is also the main walking zone for the many locals and tourists. It is common to see surfers walking by with their board on their heads. The people watching here is spectacular but the locals love this place more so for the watching of American football. Miguel loves American football so much once he told us he would not be cooking burgers because he did not want to miss the excitement on the game. During the game his burgers are $3.50 US and beer is less than a dollar a bottle. The burgers are quite large. I am guessing half a pound but I am sure it is less. He drives an hour to get sirloin for his burgers and they come with a side of fries which you can request you desired crispness on. Miguel is really friendly and when you are there everyone does know your name. We learned a lot of names there as well.
Barra does have a good feel to it but like all places when we stay more than a few days we get antsy and need to move along. We have been here for about two weeks in order to take care of our visas that were about to expire. You can read about this in the home section. Tonight we will go to dinner in the next town over with our friends. We are looking forward to our next anchorage. For now I am off to get ready before the water taxi shows up to take us into town.
Change of Cruising Style
Monday, December 31, 2012
We are now in new cruising territory. Seeing places we have never been. The weather is pretty nice even though we have rain today. We had a great stay in La Cruz. We stayed nearly a month but our boat has new rigging and is ready for some sailing. We are currently in Barra De Navidad. We stopped in two places on the way down. One gave us a little bit of an exciting evening see the main page. Thank goodness this was not our boat.
I really like the feel of Barra and am hoping the local we spoke with this morning can help us get our visas squared away. I am also hoping is takes a few day so we can hang here and get to know this town. I can see why some people seem to never leave once arriving.
Change of Latitude, Sunday, December 09, 2012
We have covered a lot of ground in the past nine months. The furthest north we went was 29°N and currently we are sitting at 20°N. We are no longer in The Sea of Cortez. It is kind of a bitter sweet thought for me. While I am enjoying the change of cruising style, I will certainly miss going snorkeling daily and catching most of our meals. I was just getting into spear fishing and loved it. The Sea of Cortez is such a beautiful place. The abundance of colorful fish, crystal clear water and white sand beaches had captured my heart which makes it tough to part ways with it.
We have entered what is known as the Mexican Riviera. It starts here in Banderas Bay which is Home to La Cruz and Puerto Vallarta or as the locals say” Vallarta”. We have been anchored here is La Cruz for nearly two weeks which is not typical of us to stay in port for that long. At the moment we don’t even have a departure date. After some thinking we have decided to have the boat re-rigged. For those of you who are my dirt friends that means new wires to hold up the two sticks that work as flag poles for our sails. Over time these stainless cables get weak and start to stretch. La Cruz is certainly a pleasant place to be sort of stuck for a bit while we have work done. It is one of the few places that I am enjoying more the second time around.
Our guide books indicate there will very few secluded anchorages with nice white sand beaches between here and Acapulco. From what information I have obtained there will be many resort covered beaches. Many allow usage of their facilities for a small fee. We just happen to not be big on the resort life. I prefer a cold $1 Pacifico on a secluded white sand beach in the sea much more than a $7 cocktail with an abundance of tourist around you. When we arrive in Acapulco we will make the decision to continue on through the Panama Canal or return north. Any movement south will be a new adventure for us. I am both excited and a bit nervous about what we will find south of here.
For now I will keep an open mind and open heart and see what comes. Today is another day to enjoy La Cruz.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Looking back on the week we spent in San Juanico, I think I will refer to it as Camp San Juanico for grown ups. Okay, maybe not grown ups because I don’t consider myself a grown up and my kids will confirm this.
San Juanico is a large anchorage with lots of nooks and crannies. There are a couple of islands that consist of large spryer; some have Osprey nests on the tops of them. The water is crystal clear, reflecting many shades of turquoise. The beaches have fine white sand that slopes up to lush green plants brought to us by the large amount of rain on the Baja this year. I think you can get the picture. It is a bit of paradise for us to enjoy this week.
None of the days events had been planned more than 12 hours in advance which is what made it so much fun. There were some of the regulars that we cruise with here. Nirvana, Harmony, Eagle and about six others we had not met prior to this fun week. It started when a rather large super mega yacht that came in. After doing a little internet searching we found out the yacht Pegaso was over 200 ft. and has it’s own submarine that is in the 30 ft. range. Oh, and of course it had a helicopter. A very nice helicopter with tan leather sofa looking seats. Don’t think for a minute I did not get the binoculars out to see if there was a celebrity in there. Not that I would know one if they came up and asked to borrow a cup of sugar, I’m just not that into Hollywood. After they anchored next to us the crew took their tender to shore to set up the beach for their important people; A man and a woman in their mid 40’s. The crew had to wait for Bill and Sparky to leave the beach they wanted. Bill was there so Sparky could do his morning business. Within 10 minutes the crew had set up a pop up canopy with chairs under it, two teak chase lounge chairs complete with rolled towels at the foot and two kayaks.
The couple sat on the beach for several hours under the canopy, never using the lounge chairs or kayaks. I was thinking if someone took the time to set that stuff up it should be used but I could not get myself to go use it. Instead I chatted with friends making up stories about who those people were. My best story is that it was Julia Roberts with Charlie Sheen.
Once the beach cleared we decided to have a bon fire and potluck. We had about 20 people there. Eagle brought their bocce ball set. The food was great and the fire was huge and beverages were cold. There were plenty of grown up beverages consumed along with some very loud laughter. We could not help but think of those people on the mega yacht and how they wished we had invited them.
Next up for me was “Date Night” with cocktails and dinner aboard Nirvana. Sherry had me come over to learn how to make sushi, which she was serving as an appetizer. You can be sure I am searching out the ingredients to make it on Beyond Reason. She had Tom and Jeanie from Eagle and Terry and Diane from Harmony over as well. That made it 8 for “Date Night”. I made homemade noodles for the chicken with cream sauce Sherry was serving. Diane brought risotto with clams and Eagle baked the best brown butter brownies. Diane can verify that because she actually licked the plate at the end of the night. We all dressed up and even put on jewelry. That is something us cruiser don’t do often. I even put on sandals but everyone else was barefoot. I felt a little over dressed.
In the morning most of the group went snorkeling but Diane and I stayed behind taking advantage of Eagle’s offer to use their kayaks. Every time we have stayed in the San Juanico I have said it is the one place I really wished I had a kayak. Thanks to Eagle that dream became a reality. Diane joined me as we paddled around the islands with their beautiful smooth cliffs. We watched the colorful fish and talked about all the fun we were having. This is when the summer camp idea came up. As Diane said. “It is like summer camp without all the mean girls.”
Camp would not be complete without a little music involved. Jeanie from Eagle plays ukulele as does Bill. Bob from Nirvana plays mandolin and Sherry brought her drum with a stick. Diane chimed in with her wooden salad tongs. This was “The band” for our clam bake on the beach. We had the best chocolate clams. They were simply steamed in beer and the drizzled with garlic butter. The clams were gathered the day before right there in San Juanico. The band sounded pretty darn good which brought the young folks over from the other beach. They were in four small whale boats with a leadership program. One of the guys was on the TV show the bachelor number four. Needless to say, I did not recognize him.
On our last day in San Juanico many of the boats had left. Bill and I went snorkeling and saw quite a few fish we had not seen before. The clarity was great and this was the best snorkeling I have had.
It will be tough to top the week at camp but we are heading south looking for new adventures. Bill bought me a new spear gun in Loreto a couple days ago and I am can’t wait to use it for something more than a target. We should be in La Paz in a couple of weeks and then cross over to the mainland and on to places we have never been before.
Spearing Rocks and Bruising Fish
Saturday, September 22, 2012
I think I have the fish killing bug in me now. My guess is it started the day I was stung by the Jellyfish. I was thinking about how I could hunt the fish I was seeing when I was stung. Lately, I have been getting pretty bummed when losing a fish that was on it’s way to my belly. I will start with sharing the story about the two Dorado that did not make it to my belly in the last few days. The first was one caught on my line on our way to Isla Las Animas.
I had a line in the water dragging behind the boat. The lure was one I had put together myself. I even pulled out some of my jewelry making beads to make it fancy. Just knowing I was able to get a fish to take the lure I made was thrilling. I tend to get a little over excited when a fish is on my line and a lot over excited knowing it is a Dorado. The one we hooked that day was a pretty good sized. I had never seen them jump 4 and 5 feet out of the water once hooked. Bill was a bit concerned about my well being with all the chirping coming out of my mouth. Rather than take the boat out of gear he proceeded to come over and take the pole from me. The fish was pulling out a lot of line. I think I yelled out something like “He’s going to spool me!”.
I had once heard some fish addicts use that term, so I thought it was appropriate. Anyway, I still had the reel on the strike mode. Before I could switch it to full it was in Bill’s hands. He promptly switched the reel to the free spooling. If I had wanted to put all my line in the water I would have let the fish do it. As a result I had giant birds nest. Bill tried to recover the fish but by the time I took the boat out of gear the fish jumped quite high and was able to get away with my lure. Perhaps the knot was not tied well enough. After this I went to the front of the boat to sit and pout.
Bill, not wanting me to waste time on pouting brought my pole to me after he gave up on untangling the mess of line. An hour later I had it back in working order.
The next day Bill caught a Dorado on his line. I took the boat out of gear while he reeled it in. Sparky was going wild as he usually does when he knows a fish is about to come on board. He likes to lick them, Crazy dog. I put Sparks down below and came up with the gaff, which I am pretty good at using. As I was about to lean over to gaff him Bill decided he would “play” the fish. He gave him a little more line to let him run a bit so he could bring him back in again. Sorry, but that only works on TV. The fish took advantage of the loose line and freed himself. Again, I was left pouting.
We are now anchored in a spot that I would say is pretty much a paradise. This morning we went out diving. I had not been in the water killing for a while because Bill had been bringing home a lot of fish and we only kill what we can eat within the next day or so. I am getting pretty good at hitting fish but even better at bruising them and spearing rocks. Today I bruised five fish and killed one. The tips on my pole spear are about as sharp as the tips of the safety scissors in a first aid kit.
When I am under water hunting, something happens to me and I am transformed into a completely different person. I often use some pretty salty language in my attempts to bruise those poor little creatures. I get an extra salty mouth when I spear the rocks. My lunch fish tostada has not even been made yet and I am ready to sharpen my hunting stick and go look for more. Perhaps I am starting to understand all the fishermen I have met in my life.
When I am underwater I am truly living in the minute as some might say. Just me, the fish, my spear and a strong desire to fill my belly with fish. With this new addiction I have gained a strong want for a better killing stick. I had mine welded in San Filipe after my first rock spearing. Now I am noticing the part that the tip screws onto is cracked and a little loose. I hate to say it but this girl needs to get into town to buy herself some new fishing gear.
Tonight we plan to take the dinghy out to try for some Dorado. Hopefully the third time will be a charm.
Butterflies, Trench Butt and a Perfect Day
Thursday, September 20, 2012
After our stay in San Filipe at the top of the Sea of Cortez it was time for us to head south. I am sure you have noticed that writing is not really my thing. So, many times in the last few weeks I would come up with great things write about but getting out the computer is not always the best thing to do when we are sailing in rough seas or I happen to be too lazy. Some of my writing ideas have titles like butterflies, trench butt, happiness on a boat is..,and the ever present thought of you know you are anchored too close when….Oh, and then there is the perfect day.
Perhaps I will touch on these ideas just a bit. Recently, Geary our weather reporter on the Ham radio net told us about a huge migration of yellow butterflies. I was only able to hear a little of what he had to say about them but was giggling when he signed off the radio saying he was off to start counting butterflies. Well, just like hearing one of those songs that get stuck in your head, I kept hearing his voice saying “counting butterflies”. Before I could get this out of my head I was indeed counting butterflies. I could not stop. I found myself counting while carrying on a conversation with Bill. In one day I had counted 237 yellow butterflies and four dragon flies. Fortunately, I was able to break this cycle. I will add that since I have quit counting I have seen several monarchs as well.
I will take full credit for the phrase I coined known as “Trench Butt”. This is something that happens when you live in swimsuits and are either in the water or experiencing temps in the upper 90’s with humidity in the upper 70’s. Please also note that along with this goes hair that has been featured in my all time favorite movie Christmas Vacation. If you have seen this you will know I am talking about Ruby Sue.
Happiness on a boat is quite different than happiness while living in a house. I have learned to appreciate thing so much more than before. Also, the things that are important to me have changed quite a bit. I think the top of the list right now would be any day with a humidity level below 50%. I feel as if I am floating in the air when this happens. 90 degrees is nothing when the humidity is low but when it is in the upper 70% range, it can be quite uncomfortable. This is when I spend most of my time working on my trench butt.
Next up on the happiness list would be finding the perfect anchorage. This would include a nice sand beach without stingrays, no-see-ums, or flies. Also, good water clarity to see the fish so we can spear them and eat them. No other boats in the anchorage. ( I do enjoy being with other boats and having them over for cocktails and dinner but only some of the time.) Another important thing to have in the anchorage is good holding ground and protection from the winds and waves that can kick up in the night. After a quiet night waking up to find our boat surrounded by feeding dolphins always makes my coffee taste much better.
There are a number of small things on the happiness list. Finding a bottle of rum I had tucked away in the linens, to keep it from breaking, when I thought I was out of rum. I always smile when I realize we have enough butter to add some to our popcorn when we watch our single nightly episode of a TV show we have on the media player. Having water tanks that are full which allows me to hand wash clothes and hang them out to dry. I think I may kiss my washer and dryer when I return to living on dirt again. Something that is new for me is spearing fish with a pole spear. A good kill just before lunch brings happiness to my tummy when I eat the fish on a nice tostada. It is my new favorite quick meal.
The perfect day…We have had quite a few of these lately. Waking up after a good sleep in a calm anchorage usually starts with some coffee sipping in the cockpit while watching the dolphins feed. You may think this is a fantasy but it is not for me it is my reality and happens often. We usually listen to the radio nets during that time to get the latest hurricane reports and localish weather. Weather could have it’s own long blog entry if I were not lazy about writing. The nets also allow us to listen in on the many friends we have met, check in. It is always nice to hear where they are and what it is like there.
After the nets we check out email and then Bill and I take turns in cooking a nice breakfast. After breakfast we take the dog to shore. Usually a white sand beach. Unfortunately many have sting rays but we are careful and know they are there so they have not been a problem. After this is done we clean up the boat and head out snorkeling and hunting for lunch and dinner. When we return to the boat Bill filets the fish and I pull the remaining bones out that he misses and put the fish in the fridge. Then it is time for a nap. Today we are not napping but writing instead. My priorities are a bit off today. Next up is lunch which is often followed by some time swimming or just floating in the water with a cold beverage. The afternoon is not complete with out taking the dinghy out to explore the area and search out our next dive spot. In the evening we listen to another radio net and then take the dog to shore. Once back on the boat we have our evening cocktail and then make dinner, eat, clean up. After dinner is done we usually gaze at the stars searching for satellites and then watch one episode of a TV show enjoying some popcorn. If we are lucky there is butter on that popcorn. Once that is done it is usually time to hit the sack. That is not only the perfect day for me but also a reality for us more often than not.
Reflecting back on San Felipe:Thursday, August 30, 2012
It is nice to have all my medical appointments finished. The doctor released me from his care and asked me to get a six month follow up MRI. A hand full of pills and I am ready to get out of San Filipe.
The people we met here were incredibly nice, generous and very friendly. The marina staff made numerous phone calls for us and were there to try to address any needs we had, including dog sitting.
While at the doctors office one day we met Kim, who is from the Bay Area in California. She had lived here for a number of years and gave us her insight on the town. She also gave us a ride to the radiologist and then on to the marina. That saved us a lot of walking and another outrageous taxi fee. Another positive was Ruben and his family who owned a restaurant near the radiologist. We had several meals there and tried to have conversations with them in Spanish but they also spoke English which was quite helpful. They also had a very clean restaurant with excellent food. Oh, and it was the only restaurant we had been in that had National Geographic on the television instead of soap operas.
Unfortunately, the people are about the only good thing about this town. It was one of the dirtiest Mexican towns we had been in. Mexicali was far cleaner, which took us by surprise. I will say we were there during the off season for tourists so perhaps they did not put the polish on yet.
San Filipe has a lot of empty lots and every single one is filled with trash. Everything from broken concrete to empty 40’s. The 40’s are not wrapped in a bag like they are in California here they are wrapped in newspaper. I think it is to keep the condensation from dripping on you or in your Dorito bag. They seem to go hand in hand.
Besides the trash there are all the dead birds. The marina had a large number of birds, mostly Pelicans. I don’t think we saw one that looked healthy. Typically we love to watch Pelicans and make up conversations they maybe having. These looked as if they were asking where the nearest crack dealer was. Perhaps some of this illness is due to the large amount of fecal matter in the area. There was a pack of dogs that lived around the marina. They looked very ill also and they left large amounts of poo. The city sewage is dumped into the sea just outside the marina. We were told this by the security guard who watched Sparky for us. He grew up in San Filipe. He said only three of the big hotels have sewage treatment system and the rest goes in the sea. He says that is why you only see tourist in the water and never a local.
It is kind of a shame to report all this negativity but it was how I saw it. Perhaps they can get some volunteers together and start a massive clean up. I am not sure I would ever go back.
Still further “Upper Sea of Cortez, Aug 30, 2012
While San Francisquito was a blast which included a pot luck on the beach the night of my birthday and the first full moon of the month, it was time to move forward. Perhaps I should say northward. There are many boats that hang out in the Bahia de Los Angeles area this time of year because there is what is called a hurricane hole. It offers protection from big waves in the event of a hurricane. The funny thing is that it seem to always be windy there. On our way up we stopped at a couple of beaches along the way for a few days. Quemada was one that had a beautiful white sand beach. We hiked over the hill that forms the lagoon after a couple of days to a private beach that featured several casitas. We sat and talked with the care taker for a while. I think he was happy for the company as he is there alone. He told us a private family owned this large compound.
We pulled into Las Animalas’ east anchorage also where we found a special treasure. A completely in tack turtle shell. Being in possession of one will empty your bank account and land you in the worst Mexican jail available. I had no intention of taking it but really wanted to get a photo of me with it strapped to my back and a machete in my hand. I would have added a band of fabric over my eyes with little slits in it and then would have titled it Granny Ninja Turtle. Unfortunately weather forced us to skip the photo and we moved on.
Next up was a few days in the Bahia de Lo Angeles area. Here we experience our first real Chubasco ( big storm usually at night) of the season. We were not anchored in an ideal spot for this but made the best of it. We had our dinghy as we always do tethered to the side of the boat with the engine up and then a chain and lock securing it. We were lucky we did not forget to chain and lock it this night. The front line came off and the dinghy turned backwards only hanging by the locked chain. We had high winds and lots of rain. The dinghy engine started hitting the side of the boat and put a few nicks in it before Bill was able to jump in and turn it around. Mind you he did this in 40 knot winds and big waves.
The next morning we moved to another anchorage with more protection and whale sharks. They are amazing to watch. I even got in the water with one. It was only about 10 feet from me (Be sure to check out the video in the Beyond Links section). They don’t eat people so I felt semi safe. I felt a little sorry for the sharks the next day when a boatload of tourists who were trying to jump on the backs of the sharks to ride them. The panga drivers would trap them in a circle so the tourist could all try to touch them. I enjoyed simply observing them. They are very rare and getting me to ride one would be much rarer still.
Rumor had it that there was a large group of boats coming up to the area we were in so we decided to move along. Our next stop was Isla Mitlan. The anchorage here is a semi circle lined with seven beaches. Sparky loved it here. A new beach to pee on each day of the week. There were not a lot of fish so we checked the weather and decided to make a big jump up to Isla Angel la Guardia and the anchorage of Refugio.
The trip up was pretty brutal but it was very much worth the effort. Talk about untainted beauty. There were so many colors in the mountains, fields of gold, clear turquoise water and tall cactus. One section in between the islands had me in a daze for quite awhile. That is not really a big stretch (me in a daze) but it was certainly awesome. The wind direction made it so this would have been an uncomfortable spot to anchor so we moved on a bit further around the corner. Bummer. We went back several times to visit. Some of the scenery reminded me of an old western movies set. The only thing missing was John Wayne.
The first night in Refugio we experience our second Chubasco. It was a big one! We had 60 knots of wind. Add some rain and the boat spinning around. I would say it would have qualified as a mini hurricane. It lasted several hours with the winds in the 50’s. We had beach chairs flying around the deck but we never heard them. I am not sure how one of them got out of the bag it was in while tied down but Houdini Chair does live on this boat I guess. The bag disappeared some time during the night but all the chairs are still here. We do prepare for the typical 40 knot Chubascos but this was a bit bigger. There was really not much more that could have been done except to have frozen Margarita mix ready and available. We latched down all the windows and watched the wind meter. Oh yeah I was yelling “Holy crap! Did you see that? 60 Knots!” The boat did handle it well. We lost a few cushions and the chair cover but that’s it. Others in the area had hatches blown off. Oh the dingy filled with lots of water but it faired well. I am glad there were others in the area so we could call them on the radio on our scheduled check in to be sure everyone was doing okay. They also were able to validate my claims of high winds.
Angel de La Guadia Island had more to offer us than a big Chubasco. We stayed almost a week. I shot my first fish with a pole spear. It was small but you should have seen the one that got away. Giggle giggle. On about our 5th day in the anchorage Bill came up from fishing killing and as he approached the dinghy he was yelling and screaming like a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert. He did this not once but twice. I know he had either found one of the fish he had been hunting for or had lobster. I grabbed the camera and waited for him to arrive. It was great to see him so happy. He had two of the biggest Grouper fish we had ever seen. Thank goodness we have a meal sealer and a good freezer.
Somewhere around our sixth day we woke and said hey let’s go up to San Filipe. Only one boat has gone up there this year. I had started having some stomach pain and we figured with my past histroy I should go get checked out as they have real doctors in San Filipe. My mom did some research online to be sure this would work out for us .
San Felipe is over 100 miles away and to try to break it up the long trip we stopped in Gonzaga Bay for one night. I will just say it was nothing to write home about but nice to be anchored and get some sleep.
Thinking our next leg would take us as many as 20 hours we decided to leave at noon so we could have five hours of day light on either end. Well, we caught the current and our boat that normally does an average of 5 knots was doing 7 on average. This brought us in at 1:00 a.m. This is a scary thing because we don’t know the area which is known for being shallow and it has 22 foot tides. We were lucky that George and Tuuli from Albion were still here. We had been in radio contact with them so they were able to guide us in. If they had not been here we for sure would have beached the boat. It is amazing the help you get from other here.
The town of San Filipe is okay but I am not sure it is worth the number of miles traveled to get here. The marina is nearly 3 miles from town and the taxis charge between $5 and $7 each way. Between that and the cost of the marina it can be quite expensive to be here. There is not really much to do here though we did enjoy a couple of treats. We have eaten at most of the places the locals recommended, listened to some street bands (They did play Bills favorite tune “Rancho Grande”) and rented ATV’s.
The water in the marina is not clean so you can’t swim. We do let the dog run on the beach on the other side of the break water form the marina. There are a few military boats on the dock, and the military leaves a couple of guys to guard the boats 24/7. They are very polite. One day we laughed at and with the Navy guys when they tried to take off and forgot to untie a line from the dock. They have reciprocated by laughing at and with us when Bill was trying to get a bird off the mast and it crapped all over his bare chest. The marina employees also have brought us some giggles. We walked into the office and found the boss locked in one of the glass offices and they could not find the key. Everyone here has been exceptionally nice.
My tummy issues required us to take a bus up to Mexicali on the 28th. We had Jorge, one of the security guards at the marina, dog sit for us. We told Sparky he was going to Police Dog Day Camp. It was nice to not worry about him being taken care of.
My doctor here in San Filipe requested an MRI for me and Mexicali is the nearest place to get one. We started our day with a taxi ride at 7:00 am and the bus at 7:30. The bus ride was over 4 hours due to 50 plus miles being on a dirt road because Mex-trans or what every they call themselves is rebuilding the highway. It is normally a 2 – 3 hour trip we are told. Once we arrived in Mexicali we ran for a taxi and made it one minute late for my 12 pm appointment. I told the receptionist my name and was rushed off with a young man to a small room. He handed me a paper gown and I was ready to go. I had to ask to use restroom to catch my breathe. In less than five minutes from walking in the door I was strapped to the MRI machine.
I am pretty sure I had had one before and it was not big deal but apparently it was not of the same vintage as the machine in Mexicali. There is a reason they prescribe medication to people before having this done. I should have been on drugs as I was sure I had some claustrophobic issues and this proved it.
I was given ear plugs and told it would be really loud. Well, they slid me in the machine and told me to only breathe when they said to. Okay I can do this. Well, I could not hear them with ear plugs and it kind of freaked me out a little. I was getting hot and sweaty even though the room was freezing. I told them to stop I need out. They pulled me out. We removed the ear plugs. I was now able to hear them so I talked myself into relaxing. You know the whole blue smoke in pink out. Stay calm. I thought about stalking the fish I killed and all the pretty fish I see while snorkeling. I was doing pretty well. Then they stopped asking me to breathe and not breathe.
Thinking they could hear me I asked what was going on. No answer. Panic began to set in. I am in a tube with my arms strapped to my sides and my arms are also touching the side of the tube. My entire body is inside this torture device. My heart begins to race. I have lost he ability to keep calm. I scream with a very deep breath. “HOLA!!!!” Nothing. I wait. .. Nothing. I then yell. “Get me out now!” I wait. Then I begin to think how different my screaming and yelling sound inside this thing. My voice did not seem to carry far. Was it the magnets? I tried to think of a way I could get out on my own. My arms won’t move. I am sure it was only minutes but it felt like hours before the tech opened the door and came in to let me out of the tube.
In the Techs hand was a huge needle and syringe. He untied my arm and injected my hand and asked me to keep my arm up while he put me back in. My head was pounding. I was guessing it was to see my blood flow or something. Actually I really don’t know to this day what it was. It certainly was not something to calm me down. As he walked out to continue I told him he has to keep talking to me or I will freak out. He said ” Stress. I know. Relax” Really?
I made it out with only a headache and a swollen and very sore hand. When Bill came back he said. “You know while you were in there I swear I could hear you screaming”, but he did not think I really was. I really was. Our next stop was to get me an ice cream.
Upper Sea of Cortez, August 9, 2012
We have been quite busy since the last time I wrote an update. We pulled into the marina in Santa Rosalia and prepared to leave our boat for a week while we were up in California. We only had a couple of days to get things cleaned up, stored and pack for our 8 days away for our daughter’s wedding.
We had a few request to act as “mules” bringing things back from the states for other boats. One was to pick up an autopilot, which had been in for repairs for 9 months and belonged to an incredibly nice young Canadian couple on the boat Nyon. Another boat had a shopping list for us at West Marine which included a few much need fans. Being a mule certainly has it’s benefits. Nayon thanked us for our serviced with a bottle of rum. My response was “Perfect!”.
We rented a car to drive up to Nor cal. The reason for traveling this way was because we have Sparky and can not fly or take the bus. The price for the car rental was quite reasonable. We have heard it is actually less than taking a bus.
While up in No Cal we stayed with my mother-in-law, along with our son, his wife and our grandson. It was great to have some family time. I wish we had more time to spend up there but each day away from the boat was costing us, what we call, big money. That is why we drove straight up taking turns driving on the 26 hour trip.
The wedding could not have gone smoother or been more beautiful. Our daughter made every decoration and planned the entire wedding herself. She even baked her own wedding cake.
Once we got back to the boat we were preparing to get out of the marina as quickly as possible. Not only for the expense but also to escape the high humidity and heat. After Bill returned from taking the rental car back in Loreto we went out to eat. Bill had his eye on a specific taco stand but after walking up there it was closed. We selected a cute place with air conditioning. Unfortunately, this was a bad decision for me. With in 30 minutes of returning home I became very sick. I had the symptoms of food poisoning. After four days I broke out the bag of tricks from our doctor back home. I took 2 Cipiro as directed and all was well. I wish I had done it sooner. Trying to help Bill with the installation of the new radar was quite challenging while not feeling well, but we got it done and love the new set up. I am sure he will give plenty of details on his version.
The afternoon before we left we took the last fuel appointment and stayed on the fuel dock until we were ready to leave at midnight. Just before we took off I took Sparky up for a walk to do his “business”. As soon as I got to the top of the stairs at the dock I came face to face with a Mexican military soldier. He looked as startled as I did. Well, okay, I may have been more startled because he had a machine gun with his finger on the trigger and did not look much more than 15 years old. We were both relieved when we realized neither of us was a threat to the other. He was there guarding the fuel tanks. In Mexico all the fuel is owned by the government. I was on federal property but was given permission to be there from the marina which runs the fuel station at the dock.
Shortly after midnight we headed north on our 78 mile trip along with two other boats. Another two left for the same destination six hours later. On the way we saw a pod of 40 plus Pilot Whales. These have a reputation for attacking boats but we faired well. Later we saw a Whale Shark, and a plain old Grey Whale. There were also several hundred dolphins among the three pods we saw. We pulled into our anchorage around cocktail hour because we always try to plan our days this way. We have been to San Francisquito before and it is even more beautiful than I remember it. The fishing here is excellent.
We met up with our Australian friends Chris and Maggie, here. We went to their boat for “tea”. Actually, it was coffee with some yummy banana muffins filled with craisins and walnuts. A couple nights later they came over for dinner. It was great to catch up with them and listen to their adventures. They have sailed around the world.
On my birthday eve, Bill and I decided to do some fish killing and snorkeling. We had fish for dinner from the previous days catch so Bill was being picky about his killing. I followed behind him quite a ways just snorkeling. I saw some beautiful vibrant blue and yellow coral along with several brightly colored fish. I was feeling really comfortable and starting thinking about learning to spear fish on my own. I started following a couple fish that I know are good to eat. They were much bigger than the ones Bill brought home the day before. Hmmm I should learn to hunt these guys….
Then it happened. I was stung by a jellyfish on my right shoulder. That certainly meets the 10 level of pain! I swam back to the dinghy faster than Mark Spitz. (sorry I am old and can’t remember any other swimmer names) I climbed in and took off as quick as I could to get Bill. In my best sailor potty mouth I told him I was stung. He quickly swam to the dinghy and jumped in. He took me back to the boat at full throttle. The pain was very intense. I asked for vinegar, which we keep in a spray bottle, I sprayed it and no relief. Then Bill got out the ammonia and spread that on. It got worse. I then asked for the bottle of rum.
I started drinking a rather large amount. At this point Bill felt inclined to get the camera and then the first aid book. It turns out the vinegar was the right thing along with a credit card to scrape the area. Bill was able to get off a tentacle that was still on me. It was blue indicating a Man of War jellyfish. I have some welts left and still a bit of pain after seven hours. Perhaps I needed more rum. We now have a bottle of vinegar in the dinghy for any future stings.
Friday, July 13, 2012
We have been out at San Marcos Island for about a week. I say about because quite honestly I do have a serious problem keeping track of dates. We have enjoyed some time diving and visiting the company town that is at the gypsum mine.
This is one of the few places we have revisited that seems to remain the same. I was hesitant to go because so far nearly every place we have revisited has not been the same and usually in a bad way. We heard rumor that the mine had been shut down and the store with the “counter o’ beef” was gone. It is a good thing we think for ourselves and rarely listen to others. The company store on the island was not only open they begged me to come in even though I had the dog with me. Everyone we crossed paths with said hello with a big smile. It was refreshing to see all was well there. We did get a giggle out of the fact that this is a dry town and no alcohol is allowed. We saw a few sunken beer cans just outside the anchorage in front of the town. At least they were not rum drinkers. I hate it when they get a bad rap.
I fail to mention earlier that the sea life in this area has changed quite a bit from our last visit a few years ago. On a good note we have seen a lot of coral making a come back. The Morey eels seem to be gone along with the octopus and squid. Last time we visited Santa Rosilia the squid were plentiful and a major source of income. We heard that the squid left after a major hurricane that hit a few years ago. Our opinion is that they fished them out. Today in the harbor there must be a hundred pangas that once fished squid just sitting and wasting away.
Santa Rosalia has reopened the copper mine which is employing many people. It is kind of exciting to see the workers all lined up for the company bus. On an evening walk we notice this and each of the men had a bag with toothpaste, toothbrushes and deodorant that looked like they were issued by the company. Several times a day the bus would come by and pick up these workers and return other who promptly went to the bank making for long lines at the ATM. We heard rumor that the copper mine had shut down because they could not make payroll. Again misinformation. We saw for ourselves that it was up and running.
Be sure to check out the Dude version for a good read about wang dandlers and tokers. I will add my little bit to Bills update: ” Dude, if I am anchored here first and you can hear me blasting the Chipmunks version of Love Shack you are too close. Also, if I can tell you are naked, you are too close.” Please respect the fact that I was here first. I would never anchor close enough to you just so I could see your wang a danlin’.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
I received an email from our daughter in reference to a posting I made on Facebook. Apparently I had our daughters wedding date wrong. It is a week earlier than I thought. This meant the reservation we had with the marina to leave our boat would not work for us. The morning after the party we had to pull up anchor and head north a little quicker than we would have liked. Especially after meeting some great people we wanted to spend some time with. The goal was to head to Santa Rosalia as quickly as possible and get a marina lined up as well as a rental car. It took us three days but we made it to Santa Rosalia and have all our reservations made. We won’t be leaving for about a week. To get to the wedding Bill will have to take a bus 3 hours south to pick up the rental car because Loretto is the nearest place and unfortunately there is no marina there. We have to take a rental car up because we can not fly or take the bus with the dog. We plan to leave early the next morning for the 12 plus hour drive to San Diego. There we will pick up our son and his family and drive another 12 hours to the wedding. I hope we don’t fall asleep during the ceremony. If so I hope we will be forgiven.
I am looking forward to seeing my family but will welcome not having a schedule to meet once we get back to the boat. This morning I will make a quick run into town to pick up some produce and then we will head out to the island of San Marcos for the next week. There is excellent diving there calling our names.
4th of July Party
Sunday, July 08, 2012
After leaving Agua Verde we headed north for the annual party at Geary’s Palapa. Geary is the guy that provides weather for the HAM radio net. Each year on the 4th of July he provides 300 hot dogs, chili, tables, chairs and tents. Us cruisers bring a potluck dish. The long day of eating and drinking is topped off with a fireworks show, also provided by Geary. This event is looked forward to by nearly 30 boats each year. This year there was a record number of people.
The party is located in El Burro cove. Yes, there is a burro that lives there. I giggle each time I hear him. El Burro is known as one of the hottest places in the Sea of Cortez. We stayed the night at the entrance to the Bay of Conception where El Burro is located. While checking into the radio net we were told we were just outside the oven door. This prompted us to stay outside one more day. Not a bad idea considering the anchorage there at Santo Domingo is a beautiful place. We spent a lot of time in the water there.
We arrived in El Burro several days before the party allowing us to pick up some prime anchoring real estate. We chose one side of the anchorage with a bleach bottle tied to a mooring. It turns out it was marking three sunken boats put there to build up a reef. Later two boat anchored right over them. So much for the idea of no one anchoring right next to us. For all I know they are still there with their anchors caught on the wrecks.
There is no place to pick up pesos with in walking distance so we got a ride into town with some people we met that live in a palapa on the beach. I must say I seriously thought I might die on that ride. The driver was about my dad’s age but his driving reaction time was quite a bit slower than my dad’s. While attempting to pass a flatbed semi on the inside of a blind corner on a hill his comment was. “I need to pass this guy. Awww nobody comes around this corner that fast at this time of day.” At that moment the semi who was just pulling onto highway 1 pulled into the lane we in trying to pass in. Mind you this did not prompt the old guy to use his brake and we were going pretty fast. It may have been better for us to have hitch hiked. Mind you I am grateful for the ride. We needed to get into Mulege to the ATM as we only had 60 pesos left. While in Mulege we ate at Las Casitas. It was quite relaxing. The patio is completely shaded with palms. There were some colorful flowers as well and lots of plants in very large pots. We sat next to the water fountain and enjoyed the sound of it with the spa like music they were playing. The food was excellent too.
About four years ago we attended Geary’s party. It is a great place to meet other cruisers. We met several people that we really liked and look forward to sharing an anchorage with them. Of course there was one person I would be all to happy to not see again. That would be the guy that told me to “Put a clamp on that dogs mouth”. Apparently, he did not care to hear Sparky growl when the guy doing the fire ball show lit himself on fire. Mind you Sparky was not barking he simply growled. If the old guy was not sitting right next to me he would not have even heard him. Even with this curmudgeon we had a great time. There was a lady there older than my mom in a bikini walking around with a cookie sheet of Jello shooters. This was her potluck dish. I really should have taken a photo of her but I am sure your imagination is just as good. I could not help but wonder if this would be me in 50 years.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
We chose an anchorage just outside of Agua Verde Proper. This was a place we had not stayed before . It is a pretty large cove with lots of room for the boat to roam about on the anchor at night. At the end of the cove is a nice sand beach about a quarter of a mile long. We have the cove to ourselves and the beach too. Behind the beach is ranch land. It would make for a good movie set with all the sage brush and tall cactus. The water clarity is quite impressive. We can see the sand bottom 22 feet beneath the boat. The water temperature is 79 degrees which makes it perfect for swimming. We took a dinghy ride in to the main anchorage and saw our friends on Tantori. We invited them over to check out private cove.
Right around cocktail hour they arrived. We shared some beverages on our boat and then headed to the beach for a fire and to BBQ some hot dogs. Before leaving Tori and I made some macaroni and cheese. I know this is twice in one week but we are on a bit of a mac and cheese kick. I am not talking boxed mac and cheese. We did not get back to the boat until nearly midnight. Needless to say we had a good time.
In the morning we took the dinghy over to make sure Roger and Tori made it back to their boat okay the night before. They fixed breakfast for us and we shared a few more laughs about the night before. The wind has kicked up a bit today so we are mostly just hanging out on the boat. The boat is sitting pretty still considering the 22 knots of wind we have.
Friday, June 15, 2012
With all the recent stress it was time to start enjoying life a bit. We went to Isla Espirtu Santos. We have been there several times but this time we anchored in a cove we have not yet been to. There is an opening at the end of the cove which allows passage through to the other side in the dinghy. At that opening is a small fishing village. The houses are nicely painted and all have solar panels and some also have TV satellite dishes. Another thing to make you say hmmm. They don’t have running water or indoor plumbing and only have solar power but they do have satellite TV.
Our next destination was a place I have had my eye on for many years. The island San Francisco and the anchorage I had my eye on is known as “The Hook”. It has a beautiful white sand beach and clear turquoise water. We only stayed one night there because it was a bit of a rolly anchorage. While we were walking on the beach there I found a Paper Nautilus shell. They are one of the most prized shells to find on the beach down here. I know a lady who has been looking for one down here for 10 years and still has not found one. I feel pretty lucky.
In search for a calmer spot we moved to the north side of San Francisco. Just north of San Francisco is a small island with a fishing village. We went over by dinghy to check it out and hoped to find some lobsters to buy. The people on the island were very friendly and gave us the nickel tour. While there were no lobsters there were lots of beaded jewelry. I picked up a couple of pieces. Once back at the boat we finished up the repair on the jib. (for unsalted peeps that is the big sail at the front of the boat)
In the morning we moved north a few mile for a temporary anchorage to allow us to explore the mangroves. This was a great experience. The waterways turned out to be much bigger than I expected. I was like a two hour Disney Jungle Ride. It was hard to believe we were in the Sea of Cortez. It looked very much like the Sacramento River. When we returned to the boat we had to move to a calmer anchorage which was across the channel at San Everisto. We had been there before about five years ago. It has changed quite a bit. We chose to move on and anchor on the north side out of the cove. The waters were much calmer and we did not have any neighbors. Bill took the dinghy to shore and then walked over the hill into the village. He was able to buy eggs, tomatoes, onions and Pablano peppers.
Another day another anchorage. That seems to have been the theme for a while now. We decided to change things up a bit and stay in one spot for a few days. We chose Los Gatos for this. I find it interesting that all the names of the anchorages in this area are names of towns where I grew up. While the city of Los Gatos in California has many red brick buildings this Los Gatos has natures version of red brick. The cliffs are like none I have seen before. I could give you a thousand words or just show you a picture which would be better.
When we arrived there was one other boat in the cove. A couple we had met on the beach at “The Hook”. They had one beach for themselves and we had the other separated by a large rock formation. In the evening we went to their boat to say hello. They thanked us for giving them space and invited us aboard. Their boat name is Tantori for a very tan Tori. We ended up staying for a couple of hours. Perhaps that was because they had air conditioning. We love meeting new people and listening to their plans and dreams.
We spent a lot of time walking the rocks, looking at the tides pools and a lot of time swimming around the boat. Each day after our swim session we would shower, have a cocktail, cook dinner and watch the sunset. All the work we had recently done has certainly paid off.
A couple more boats joined the cove and we began to feel it was too crowded so we decided to move on. We moved only a few miles north where we enjoyed a day of nothing. Just laying around reading. We took a dinghy ride to see if there were some good anchorages that have not been added to the cruisers guide book. We did find a nice spot but it would only be good in good weather. We also found a little oasis with palms. We were going to land on the beach there but discovered a barbed wire fence and a couple of cows under the trees. This was a surprise considering we are out in the middle of no where.
Today we will move north to Agua Verde. It is a beautiful place but is often very crowded. We are slowly making our way north to El Burro Cove. That is where we met some great people during Easter week. It is also the place of Geary’s palapa. He runs the Sonrisa net which is a HAM radio net. Each year he puts on a 4th of July party. He supplies the hot dogs and the rest is pot luck. At night there are fireworks. The only thing that will be missing is the hand cranked ice cream that we used to make with our kids. This was a tradition I had in my childhood too.
Getting out of town
Friday, June 15, 2012
Getting out of town proved to be a little more challenging than expected. Boy are we lucky. No sarcasm intended. We decided to stay an extra day to meet the Bumfuzzles, (unsalted friend-that is their boat name which is used like a last name in the salted world), I am glad we did too. Meeting them in person was like another shot of caffeine in my coffee. They have a great deal of enthusiasm for life. Some how, Ali is able to get into my thick skull and make me question some of my fears. She does this with her ever present smile and two small children demanding her full attention. I was getting exhausted just watching her. When we parted our separate ways I left with a bit their enthusiasm and hopefully they left with some gratification that they have made a difference in the life of the Beyond Reasons.
We had planned to leave early in the morning. The boat on the other hand had other plans. Perhaps it was buying into the fact that La Paz is known as “The Vortex” and once you arrive you never leave. We were determined this would not happen us. We woke up early ready to hit the exit door. Not a minute after the anchor was up Bill told me to hurry up and drop it again. Hmmm we are in the middle of the channel and that is not a safe thing to do. I followed his request and we anchored just to the outside of the channel. It turns out we had blown a belt which stopped the water from flowing out the engine and messed with the electrical. Okay no problem we have spares and lots of them.
As it turned out all the spares were the wrong size. We had a new bracket made a while back which changed things just enough to require a different belt. Again no problem, the auto store is just up the street. Oh wait, it is Sunday. Not all stores are open on Sunday. That would mean Bill would have to walk a few miles to get the belts. Before he left he put on a belt that was just a tad too big but worked well enough to get us re-anchored. In doing so we realized there was still not enough water coming out. That could only mean one thing. The impeller needed to be replaced and we had the right part for that.
While Bill was gone I was sitting in the cockpit wondering why we have so many problems but kept reminding myself we were in the best possible place for everything to go wrong because we could get parts fairly easily. Okay, my mind is at ease now and suddenly I hear a very loud pop followed by a hissing. One of the propane hoses popped off. I jumped up and turn the propane off and caught my breath after saying a few words.
When Bill returned with arms full of belts of all the right sizes for every possible need I had to add this new problem. Oh, I did forget to mention that we blew a hose for the water to the engine that needed to be replaced as well. All the hoses on the engine were replace except this one. Not only did the hose need replacing but the coupling too. That was another trip into town. In search for the coupling Bill met up with a boat owner who has a large selection of such items for sale or as we say down here trade. Buying and selling is illegal for non citizens without proper papers. He also met up with our friend Alex who drove him in to a place to get the propane fittings. This was the hose and fitting bought from West Marine in the states. The other tank has parts from Mexico and is still in excellent shape. Now both are.
Bill worked nearly 24 hours straight to get all these things fixed. He was tired, sweaty and smelly when we finally left the next morning. The radar was the only thing that was not fixed and was the item that took the most money to try to fix. We have decided a new system is in our future.
Feels like a month
Saturday, June 09, 2012
We have been in La Paz for two weeks but it feels like a month. When we arrived in La Paz we were on a mission to get some major repairs done. Both the radar and transmission work required us to be in a marina. I have mentioned before how much I hate being in marinas. I don’t like living in such close quarters with others. It is like moving from a large ranch to an apartment. Fortunately we had some pretty fantastic neighbors so it was not too horrible.
The first day here we anchored outside the marina until we could find a slip. The marina we preferred was full so we walked to the next one. It was siesta hour so no luck there. It was then that we saw our friend’s boat. Alex and Sue have been in contact with us on Skype and were expecting us and were ready to help us get set up with some good people to fix our issues. Alex seems to be well connected here. With four phone calls he had us set up to be in the marina a few slips down from him, got an appointment with the transmission mechanic, the radar tech, and checked us in with the port captain. If we tried to do this on our own it would have taken several days. Once we moved to the slip they had us over for dinner and drinks. It was great to catch up with them.
Being back to La Paz had me drooling as I walked up to the Bravo Market. This is the place to buy meat and vegetables at very good prices. What had me drooling was the memory of the best bacon I have ever eaten. They slice it to the thickness of your choice and it has the best smoky flavor you can get. I found myself sniffing the bag on the way back to the boat. A new discovery here was Rib-Eye steaks for close to $3.00 U.S. a pound. This prompted us to pick up a new food vacuum sealer and pack the freezer.
As I was walking along sniffing my bacon I noticed a swim suit shop. A new suit was on my list of things to get in La Paz. We went in and discovered Allesandra who designs and sews all the suits in the store. Most were made for those about half my thickness. We asked if she had any that were mas grande and were told no so we left. A minute later she came running down the street to tell us to come back. We did and she ended up making two custom suits for me. I put a lot of miles on my feet walking back and forth to her shop. She gave me her Facebook info and now I know why. She is like a crack dealer. Each day she posts a picture of a new design she has created. You know I had to go back and pick up the Marilyn Monroe inspired design. It felt good to be supporting a business that was not there to cater to gringos. Allesandra is a young beautiful girl fulfilling her dream and I was happy to help her do that and challenge her to sew for a bacon filled belly.
Each morning while in the marina we were greeted by our transmission mechanic. Pulling the transmission out of the boat is not an easy task to say the least. There is no room to work with and it take two people to do the job. I can’t say enough good things about Colin the mechanic. He and Bill got along quite nicely and they bantered like an old married couple. Colin would say exactly what he was thinking and Bill would toss something right back. I just sat back and laughed. It was most entertaining when they did not know I was just outside and could hear everything they were saying. I had know idea how many cuss words one could get in during the span of a minute. He did a great job and was very reasonable with his fee. On occasion he would bring his little girl Blanchita. A small white (at one time, as it is a Mechanic Dog) Poodle. Sparky got along nicely with her. She was a very sweet girl. We really are missing them with today being the first day Colin was not here for coffee in the morning. It is very quiet without him around. We hope to stay in touch and see him again should we pass this way.
It has been pretty hot here but for some reason we seem to always end up walking many miles through town in the heat of the day. We have tried several new eating establishments that we had not tried the last time we were here. Some were better than others. The Chiva de Oro falls in the better category. They cook the goat in the ground right there. It cooks overnight and makes for a very scrumptious meal. This is not a place where gringos hang out which makes it even better. The places we enjoy most are those where they only speak Spanish and are not next to the marina. We feel we are getting a better taste of Mexico this way.
The good side of being tied to the dock was the unlimited use of water and electricity. This allowed us to get the boat back into the condition we want. Fortunately the marina we were in does not frown on major boat work being done while in your slip. We were allowed to pull the dinghy out of the water and leave it on the dock for a few days while I painted the bottom with antifouling paint (for my unsalted friends, that keep barnacles from growing on it). Bill sanded and varnished almost all the teak. We worked with our neighbors on our work schedules as they were all doing work too and we would not want to sand on their paint day. I think I may have gotten rid of the last of the plastic threads from the tarp that was used while the boat was in storage. Easter grass has nothing on that stuff even though they are similar. Quite often while I was inside, making covers for everything we have that stays in the sun but was not yet covered, Bill would tell me to “Sew! Sew like the wind.” A favorite line from Three Amigos. I did just that.
Once we had the transmission fixed we were ready to leave the marina. The radar repair has been a bit stressful and I am not going to talk about that just yet. We plan to head up into the upper Sea of Cortez for the summer where we will enjoy a 4th of July Party, Full Moon Party and many private anchorages. The end of July will have us renting a car driving back to California to attend our daughter’s wedding and visiting family. There are not many places to buy food on our way north so I took an offer from our slip neighbor Sandy to take me to Sam’s Club and Wal Mart in her car (riding is a car is a real treat for us). This allowed me to stock up on some items we enjoy having but are unable to get from the local grocery store. One such item is Schweppes tonic water. After our shopping adventure I treated Sandy and her granddaughter to lunch at a place of their choice. We went to Fish Tacos La Paz. If only I had discovered this place sooner… We had met Sandy and John on Masquerade while we were in Mazatlan about four years ago. We both had our boat on the hard (for those unsalted peeps that is out of the water on stands). It is a small world sometimes.
This afternoon we will meet a couple who inspired me to make this whole cruising thing happen. About six years ago I started reading the blog of Bumfuzzle. A young couple who bought a boat and sailed around the world with very little experience. I would read their blog at work any chance I could. I became addicted to their blog. Bill has always talked about going cruising and we had invested in many things for the boat to set it up for that but it was always someday. I was really not sold on the idea until I started reading Bumfuzzle’s blog. I asked Bill about financing such and adventure and he said no problem we could certainly do it. To his surprise I called his bluff and gave a one year notice at my job and expected him to do the same. A year and a half later we were on our way. We cruised for a year and half and had to return home to earn some cash and now we are back. I have continued to follow the Bumfuzzles. Now a family of four. Today we will actually meet. They are here in La Paz. Some days I say they inspired me and other days I say it is their fault.
Time to get serious
Saturday, May 26, 2012
It is just another issue. This boat seems to be behaving like a teenager. Lots of attitude and never seems to behave at the right time. As I have mentioned before the radar has not been working. We have been using the GPS on it so it is running often. A few weeks back the radar decided it wanted to start working. This allowed us to ease our minds and slow down our dash to La Paz to get it fixed. We decided to head out to Isla Montserrat. It is a beautiful place with yellow cliffs and a white sand beach the shore is filled with some interesting shell. I found some that looked like fake fingernails. I have decided to start a new fashion trend on the Baja.
After a little play time we felt it was time to move on south but the weather was not participating with us so it was back to Candelaros. This time we did go up to the fancy shmancy hotel. Typically these types of places are not very friendly to smelly old boat people but this one appears to be, I think I know why. The hotel does not have many guests and they are using us boat people as fillers. It was a nice place but nothing over the top. We found it strange that they did not have music playing. There was just a strange vacant feel to the whole place.
Our next boat issue showed up in the form of a transmission fluid leak. Now it was time to get serious about heading to La Paz. We listened to all the weather reports and they all said the wind would be in our favor allowing us to use the engine as little as possible. As a precaution we loaded up on transmission fluid just to be sure and had a friend bring us some when he made a run up to Loreto.
On the trip down we spent one night in Los Gatos which I really liked and could have stayed a few days there. While there we were invited over to the boat Beverly S for wine, cheese and crackers. Well it ended up with Gin and tonic, cheese and crackers. It had been a very long time since we had a gin and tonic and it was sure good but not as good as meeting some very nice new friends (Larry and Sue). They have made the switch from sailboat to power boat and it was nice to have peek into “the other side”. I wish we had more time with them but they are heading back up to the states.
Our second night was spent in another old salt mining cove. Again this was shut down many years ago as well. I have to say the glossy photos in the cruisers guide looked much nicer than the place we saw. One interesting thing about this place was hundreds of large coral heads on the beach.
The last stop before La Paz was on the island of Espiritu Santos. It was just as beautiful as I remembered it was the last time we were down here. Bill did an excellent job selecting our anchorage. There are some crazy winds in the area of La Paz that are called coromuels. They typically blow through the night but seem to still be present in the day at times. The spot Bill selected had us completely protected from the winds and the waves they create.
Easing into our groove
Sunday, May 13, 2012
We can now say we have experienced the Loreto Fest, which is not really in Loreto. It takes place is Puerto Escondido. We stayed the three days of the Fest. It is one of those things I am glad I did but would not do again. There were some good points to it but really we could have had as much or more of a good time in an anchorage away from the Gringo Fest. During the Fest we volunteered to work in the food booth for two hours. This earned us comp tickets for food and beverage. Enough to get us each three beers and three hot dogs or six beers. We settled for two hot dogs each and four beers over two days.
The adult puppet show was quite entertaining. I had been looking forward to the show. We met Jim who put on the show while we were in Punta Chivato. He’s a real nice guy. and the only one I have ever met who has pole dancing puppets on his boat. Oh, there was a wardrobe malfunction during the show.
I heard on the radio net that there would be a jewelry making seminar and wanted to attend. Bill dropped me off on shore for a few hours to attend. It turns out they changed the time and I ended up in a fishing seminar. imagine that. At the seminar I learned to make my own lures and a few other tricks. One of the lures is made out of a beer can. I can’t imagine where we will get those, but I will store that information for a later date. The other was from store bought items. I lost the lovely pink lure I made while out trolling by myself waiting for Bill to spear fish. I think the fish that took my lure was a Gar Fish of some sort. I almost had him in the boat when the swivel broke. Note to self, check my equipment before fishing and don’t buy things that say “Made in China”.
After the Gringo Fest we headed out to Bahia Salinas. Another beautiful place. White sand beaches and water so clear we could see the individual chain link marks in the sand 20 feet below. This is also the first place we have seen large schools of Puffer Fish. The remains of an old salt mine and salt ponds made this a great place to explore. They shipped salt world wide. I do not know the opening date but judging by the things we saw I would say maybe the 1940’s. The salt mine closed in 1980.
When we arrived on shore to explore we saw a couple of caretakers and Bill greeted them with two cold beers which I am sure helped in them allowing us to explore with our dog along. There is a clear sign in Spanish and English that says “No Dogs”. Sparky was happy to tag along even though it was quite hot for him. Later in the afternoon a few catamarans showed up and we knew one of them. We went to say hello and were invited to join them on one of the larger boats for a musical jam session. Okay it was really a bunch of white folks with no rhythm. Thanks goodness they had the sing along with Jimmy Buffet on the their iPod.
The next morning we took Sparky for a walk on the beach Bill discovered turtle tracks leading from the water to the dunes. We followed it to a turtle nest and then back into the water. Another first of things I have never seen before.
After the dog walk and the turtle discovery we checked out the salt flats and Bill forced me to into trying to make a “Salt Angel”. I don’t know that it turned out very good, but the salt scrub on my arms was terrific.
Bahia Salinas was a very cool place but does not offer protection from the winds we were expecting so we decided to move to the place we went to on our night out in the winds a few weeks earlier. Before leaving we went and checked out the sunken 120 foot Tuna boat that is partially out of the water. The water was so clear there was no reason to get in we saw most of the boat and lots of fish from the dinghy.
Our next stop was Bahia Cobre which is Copper Bay in English. At first I was not all that excited about going here because it did not have the white sand beaches I love. It turned out to be a beautiful change. The cliffs surrounding the anchorage were shades of green, purple, and yellow. The rocks were very interesting. One of our fun things to do while sitting up on the front porch during our evening cocktail hour is to find figures in the different shaped rocks. The same as you would do with clouds.
The fishing along the cliffs was excellent. I had a chance to practice my trolling skills. It can be a challenge to not hit the rocks while holding my pole and driving the dinghy. I wasn’t having any luck when I saw Bill holding what looked like his fins up above his head. He typically spear fishes while I troll. Fearing something was wrong. I rushed over to him. I even set my pole down and held it with my foot. I never even brought the line in because I was worried about Bill. Just before I got to him I heard my line click out. Hmmm fish on! No time for that. I gave it a tug and put it down and kept going to Bill.
It turns out it was not his fins above his head. It was a monster fish! I won’t go into details on that because I am sure his version will be much more interesting. Oh, and yes I did have a fish who never even got it’s picture taken (except to compare sizes in fillets) because the monster fish took all the attention. Needless to say we ate well that night and will for about a week.
Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommy’s out there. Last night we stayed in an anchorage just around the corner from Cobre. We met Jeff and Dorie from Journey and had them over for a beverage. I do believe Bill was recruited to be a Ham Radio Net controller on Sundays. I believe that will start in June.
We are currently on our way back to Escondido to get fuel for the dinghy. We realized that we really don’t have three weeks worth and the next place it will be available will be in La Paz. We plan to only be in Escondido for 30 minutes before heading to Candleros. Candleros is the home of a huge time share hotel that provides excellent free internet in the anchorage. It was not there three years ago when we were there. I am told with the purchase of a beverage you can use the facilities which include three swimming pools, all surrounded by palm trees. The problem with this is the beers are $5.00 each. That is US dollars. Our friends had dinner there and it was $200 for the two of them. Wine is $10 a glass. We will be happy to skip this expense and use their internet and in the morning we will be heading south.
Once we leave in the morning we will only have Ham Radio email for the next three weeks or so, life could be worse.
Friday, May 04, 2012
We finally made it out of the trailer park, aka mooring field. We left in the early morning after topping off our tanks with water from the marina dock. When we left we had no idea where we were going. The first decision was to pick which lure to put on the line. Once that was done we talked about the best anchorage for the winds that may or may not show up in an anchorage. We were so happy to be out of the trailer park we did not really care where we went. The big decision for us was making a choice to go north. Hmmm how far north? Do we go to Loreto and get some things we need from the stores? Okay truly we have no needs for the first time in a long time. An hour or so into the trip we decided on Isla Coronado. We had passed this island by the last time we were down here. It did not look like much more than a dry island with rocks from the volcano on it when we passed it by. We were so wrong.
White sand beaches and clear warm turquoise water surround the island. There is also lots of marine life. The dolphins put on a show every night as sun sets. They jump completely out of the water which makes me giggle with delight. There is also a whale just outside the anchorage that has been slapping his tail. I have been told they do this to stun the fish so they can eat them.
Bill being the adventurous guy he is decided he needed to climb to the top of the volcano. Using Sparky and his aging old bones as excuse I stayed behind. We spent some time on the beach and watched Bill disappear into the rough terrain. About an hour and a half later I got a call on the radio from Bill saying he made it to the top. I took out the binoculars and sure enough he was there. He was also disappointed that there was no cone or anything else to indicate this was truly a volcano. After hearing about the non -trail up there I am glad I stayed behind. At one point Bill had turned back and gave up but then decided he was going to do it.
We met Bill back at the beach with lunch and beverages. After watching our silly dog walk down the beach get in the water and swim to the other end of the beach, then walk down the beach again and do this over and over, we went for a dinghy ride. We found an Osprey nest and rocks with lots of character or should I say shaped like characters?
Back at the boat I made chicken pot pie with the chicken we had left from barbequing the night before. We watched the sunset and dolphin show. At the same time the International Space Station was passing over. That was cool to see.
Today we head back to Puerto Escondido where we had been for the last three weeks. There is a big three day festival we had planned to attend and do some volunteer work. I am told there will be an “adult” puppet show. That should be interesting but truly I would be just as happy to stay here in paradise.
Oh Happy Day!
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Things are finally starting to come together for us. Our friends on the sailboat Faith had a friend coming down who was willing to be our “mule”. It was pretty brilliant of Bill to order up the special washers for the diesel leak and have them sent to our mule as well as to us by UPS overnight. They were ordered two weeks ago or so. The overnight package has yet to show up but our “mule” aka Patty arrived with the washers and a part for our generator. We decide to wait until morning to work on both the main engine and generator. In less than an hour Bill had the diesel leak fixed and the generator giving us about double the amps we were getting before. Now that these things are fixed we are able to take off for some lovely anchorage that are not overly crowded like this mooring field. A friend described the crowded living condition as trailer park living. You can hear your next door neighbors every word.
Because we have paid up until Wednesday and can not get credit if we leave early and we made some cocktail hour commitments we will stay until then. The plan is to return on Friday for the three day festival here. After that we plan to not return to Puerto Escondido.
Our friend Josh, who is here helping his dad out with the boat he just purchased, had taken us off on a little excursion. This was a nice distraction while waiting for our parts to not show up. Josh has a truck down here and took us to what we were told is a biker bar. We were expecting a run down rough looking place with lots of character. Instead it appeared to be a duplication of an amusement park in San Jose called Frontier Village. The bar is actually not named Frontier Village but Del Borachos. There are a few seats at the bar that are horse saddles. Out back you can find a mechanical bull. The bar tender told us there was a bus arriving soon with 60 school kids. They were coming to see the start line for the upcoming Baja race. School kids coming to a biker bar? Maybe this place should be reclassified. Don’t get me wrong it was a nice place just not what we expected. The bartender was quite helpful in giving us some pointers for our next stop, Mission San Javier. On our way out we said we would be back but were informed they would be closed at 6:00 p.m. . I was later told they close early so people would not drink and drive at night.
The drive up to the mission was quite long. The road was sometimes there and sometimes not. Fortunately Josh has a 4WD truck. We did go off road a bit for the fun of it. It scared the heck out of me. I was sure my life would end by going over a cliff. As you can see it did not, although I woke up with nightmares that same night.
The mission was very interesting. It was built in 1699. The bartender at Del Boracho had told us about an olive tree down a dirt path behind the mission. The olive tree is older than the church. It was quite a gnarly sight. Under the tree sat two locals drinking beers. They offered the three of us up a beer and we sat with them and listened to the local knowledge of San Javier. There is a natural spring here which allows them to farm in the middle of the desert. A well planned out cement irrigation system runs through out the small town and appear to have been there for hundreds of years. The water is not drinkable because the tables are low and it has not rained there for four years now. One of the guys said he owns three of the farms there. They grow pinto beans , corn , squash and potatoes.
It was getting a bit late so we decide to grab some dinner before the trip back down the mountains. We walked in to a place the locals suggested. There sat mama watching her soap opera. The restaurant appeared to be her living room and dining room. It was quite obvious she did not want to miss a single word of her soap opera. She painfully took our order while keeping one eye on her television.
By the time we returned to the boat it was nearly 10:00 p.m.. It was a great way to spend the day waiting for things to not show up.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
We are going on week two or three here in Puerto Escondido. Typically we do not stay in marinas for very long but we are waiting on some parts so we can get things back to where they need to be. It gets frustrating to have to constantly have something not working as we wish. Bill has gone through several phases of frustration. He is currently is in the same phase as Clark Griswald in Christmas Vacation. You know the part where he is silly with happiness even though everything possible is going wrong for him. I am waiting for him to find some reindeer to kick.
Currently we are expecting an overnight package with the correct washers to stop our diesel leak in the injectors. As a back up we have a friend of a friend bringing down some of the same washers. This way even if our package does not arrive we have a back up plan. My fingers and toes are crossed that these will take care of the leak. We are paid up for a week more here and then we hope to head out to some of the many islands in the area. On the weekend of May 4th, 5th and 6th there is a big festival here. We are looking forward to that. I am told they have blindfolded dinghy races. That sounds like fun but we do not want to risk being injured so we will pass on that and be spectators.
With the upcoming festival the mooring field is getting crowded. Not my cup of tea. Perhaps today our overnight package that was ordered over a week ago will show up.
Friday, April 06, 2012
The morning after staying at Santo Domingo we pulled up anchor and headed around the corner and south. On the way we saw something I am sure very few had seen before. A Whale Shark with babies! Unfortunately my photography skills are horrible. I tried to get video but it did not come out too good. I should have tried for still photos. The babies looked like giant catfish with big mouths. I still can not believe we saw this. I only with I had an internet connection so I could research them creatures a bit more.
We had a nice sail down to San Juanico. The only complaint I have about it was that there were 16 other boats there. It was quite crowded. I prefer less crowded anchorages. It was certainly understandable why there were so many boats. This place was beautiful. There are many large rocks that are several stories tall scattered around the bay. The beaches are fine white sand. On shore we found some mangroves and a fresh water lagoon along with lots of hiking trails. This place would be a paradise for kayakers for sure. This is where we spent Easter Sunday. Instead of have Easter dinner with family we substituted by inviting all the boats to join us for a fire on the beach at sunset with cocktails. Not only did we have a great time so did all those who came. We had four dogs running around chasing each other and playing in the water. Sparky’s social skills have come along recently.
We met several interesting people in Juanico. Just a sample of those are a lady with a Portuguese Water Dog who uses a small sail boat to get to shore and her dog swims behind her. She also wrote a history book about Pt. Reyes in California where I have done lots of backpacking. A young man who is able to spend half the year sailing and the other half working as a stage hand for the San Francisco Ballet and Theater. Also, there was the couple who flew to New Zealand to purchase and sail their dream boat back to California. Typically is it really not acceptable to ask anyone out cruising what they did for a living but it is always fascinating when they tell you about themselves. It almost makes me feel like I have lived a sheltered life. If it weren’t for sailing many of the people we meet would never cross paths with me.
After a few days it was time to move further south to a place called Punta Mangles. Here we explored an abandoned hotel shell along with a couple of abandoned homes that were never finished. The beaches were mostly rock which I do not prefer. Just around the corner from the anchorage are some very interesting rocks and sea caves. We took a little dinghy ride out there to check it out. I decided to bring my fishing pole and troll along the way. It must have been my lucky day. I caught two fish! A Grouper and a Trigger fish. I could not wait to get those bad boys on my plate. “Me and food, we go way back.”
As I was preparing dinner the wind kicked up. This was not in the predicted forecast we listened to on the radio. This was followed by some nice big waves to toss us around. The wind was also coming from a different direction and predicted which made this anchorage less than ideal. We decided to pull up the anchor and head back north to San Juanico. The winds picked up to 30 knots and the seas got sloppy and uncomfortable to say the least. By the time we arrived at the entrance to the anchorage it was dark. Remembering the large number of rocks in addition to our radar not working we felt it would be unsafe to enter. That left us only one choice. Head out to sea and stay out all night. What person in their right mind would put themselves in high wind and waves all night. Well that would be us. The other option was to risk ending up on the rocks.
Because we left Mangles in a bit of a hurry trying to get to Juanico before dark and the seas picking up we towed the dinghy with the engine still in the down position. This is not a preferred method but we thought it would only be for a few hours. Typically we put the engine on a hoist attached to the mizzen boom. For my unsalted friends that is the structural part of sail on the back of our boat. It is then attached to the back rail. When the waves are big this is not an option.
As we sailed through the night the dinghy rode up on a wave a few times and hit the anchor mounted on the back of the boat. We feared this would puncture a hole in the dinghy so we ended up pulling the anchor off and putting it down below. Typically we secure things pretty well when we are sailing but it was difficult to prepare for this night of high winds and big seas. We lost a couple of wine glasses which is really not much considering the conditions. We sailed through the night heading for the back side of an island to try to get some protection from the weather. That was a great decision however when we arrived it was still dark so we sailed back and forth outside the anchorage waiting for daylight. Wouldn’t you know it the radar started working. We anchored and slept for a couple of hours after listening to the weather on the radio. There were many people who had tough nights like us. Most however were tucked in their beds and only feeling a little rolling. We laughed at them. Well maybe we were laughing at ourselves.
With the new weather information we decided to head to Puerto Escondido which is also known a hurricane hole and is protected from waves but not wind. The forecast was for 14 to 17 knot winds. We picked up a mooring ball and checked in for a week here. There has been absolutely zero wind since. On shore there are high pressure showers and internet.
Friday, April 06, 2012
We stayed in Concepcion Bay for about a week. It is great to not know what day of the week it is let alone how many days have passed in an anchorage. I can say our last day in El Burro Cove was quite fun. It started with a breakfast of eggs and chorizo and eggs with potatoes. Along with that we had tamales and empanadas with avocado, sour cream and salsa. Our friend Pat cooked for us. We landed our dink on the beach in front of his house and he had breakfast rolling for us. Totally unplanned. I had planned to go ashore to walk the dog and take a paddle board lesson from Mo. After breakfast I did get that lesson and loved it. Seeing the stingrays in the water was encouragement to not fall. Oh I must add that Bill got an excellent hair cut and brow trim from Pat. He is a professional hair dresser and has a room in his palapa complete with a sink and salon chair. I later regretted not taking him up on his offer to cut and color my hair. I just did not want to feel I was taking advantage of him and his skills. He has done Oprah’s hair. Perhaps I will have to fly to Montana to get my hair done now.
After we finished up cutting hair, paddle boarding and eating breakfast we decided to move to the next anchorage. The move gave us an opportunity to give Pat and Mo a sailing lesson. Few things beat seeing their eyes light up and the smiles broaden once we were underway.
We set our anchor and served up some cold adult beverages and then enjoyed some loud music. A short time later we were joined by a couple who have a home on shore. Dave and Bobbie. They were quite interesting and have done a lot of diving in the area and shared their local knowledge to include the fact that there are Great White Sharks in the anchorage we had planned to visit in the a couple days. They have done a lot of underwater photography and Dave has been stung by a string rays three times in one year. Bobbie has an airplane which she uses to take tourist to watch the whales.
Later in the day just a bit before sunset we joined Mo and Pat along with Jerry and Jackie who have palapas on El Burro beach to do some wine tasting at Robert and Laura’s house located on the very top of the hill overlooking our boat. It was a privilege to enjoy some $125 bottles of wine. It turns out that Robert need to drink them up before they spoiled because he does not have proper cooling spot for them and it is getting hot out. Although it was not too hot to have a fire in the fire pit on the patio over looking our boat. This was certainly an action packed day to be remembered.
The next morning we got a ride into Mulege’ with Mo so we could restock with food for the next couple of weeks. Getting a ride in with her saved us from a hitch hiking adventure, or so we thought. There are no taxis or busses. While we were waiting for her we were offered the use of cars by two people we have never met before. This would never happen back home even in the friendly town of Winters. Heck I once tried to borrow a car in Winters when one of ours was in the shop to go to a doctor’s appointment and had no luck.
The next morning we pulled up anchor and headed for a beautiful beach at the entrance to Concepcion Bay. There were flat rocks just under the water at the beach. The water was gin clear and some of the rocks were red. Along the beach were shells about a foot deep. Sparky loved running free for hours along the beach and in the water. As a bonus I was able to get online with my Kindle to check my Facebook and email.
Off the Grid
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
It has taken a lot of money and even more sweat and swear words but we are finally living off the grid. I am thinking we are due for some rest and relaxation.
Our first anchorage was just 15 miles north of San Carlos. It was a good place to make sure things were working as they should. Not everything worked perfectly but if we were to wait for that to happen we would never leave the dock. Let’s just say they worked perfect enough. The anchorage was not what I would call paradise but it was not too bad either. We stayed a couple of days before the seas changed a bit and had us rocking a little more that we prefer.
We left at 4:00 a.m. in the dark. After clearing a near by island we put up the sails and enjoyed twelve hours of 15 to 20 knot winds. We were on our way to the Baja. Along the way we saw dolphins, turtles and a pod of Pilot whales. For my unsalted friends those are the whales known to get angry and ram your boat. Lucky for us they were not interested in our boat.
We arrived in the Punta Chivato anchorage just in time for cocktail hour. We did not start out with this being our destination. There was no destination set for us other than to cross the Sea of Cortez and end up on the Baja. This is were the wind blew us. We had not been there before and discovered a little paradise. The community is mostly all gringos. Gringos with private airplanes and their own dirt runway. The people were incredibly friendly. We asked one of the locals if there was a place to buy vegetables and he handed us the keys to his truck and said we could take it into town 20 miles away. We thanked him for the offer but declined and asked him to join us for a beverage at our table. We were having the two for one margaritas at the local hotel-restaurant-bar.
A short time later our new friend Max had another friend show up in his Ranger. Not a Ford Ranger but one of the John Deer type with a flat bed on the back. This was not quite like the one our rancher friends have back home. This was decked out with dingle ball fringe. Max asked his friend if he would take us for a ride. Soon we discovered Max had more beverages than we did. He had some trouble driving. Mind you the roads are all dirt and there are not other people on the road. At one point he made a quick stop and I fell forward a bit and my hand hit the dashboard which also happened to have a button to make the flatbed dump. The owner had stuff back there and it was all about to be left in the road. Bill jumped out quickly to get photos while I tried to figure out how to make it stop dumping. Max just laughed. We were taken to another hotel on the beach. It seems Max knows everyone and we were given a tour of the master suite. It was quite impressive.
We stayed in the anchorage for a few days. Several people we had met in San Carlos showed up the day before we had decided we were going to move on. The morning we had planned to leave we had four dinghies tied up to us. It was a busy morning. One was there with there dog wanting another beach play session with Sparky, one was looking for a bolt to replace one he had broken, another wanted to check out our email set up for the ham radio and the last guy brought us fresh crab cakes he had just made to thank us for helping his friend with the bolt issue. I must say they were the tastiest I have ever had.
Our next anchorage would be only about 15 miles south in conception Bay. We started to anchor in a little paradise with room for only one boat. It was absolutely beautiful with a private beach on an island. There was one problem. The pesky little bugs known as Bo Bo bugs. They don’t bite but and little flies that are most annoying. We decided to head to El Burro Cove. A place had been before and a spot good for hitch hiking into town for veggies. We try to support the local small businesses where ever we go so we stopped for a margarita at Bertha’s. Before heading back to the boat we took a walk down nice sand beach in front of the many palapas. We talked about how cool it would be to have one. We came across one with a for sale sign. We had never seen one for sale before. While we were looking at it a guy came up to us from next door. We talked about the palapa for a few minute and then he asked what we were doing. His name is Pat and his wife is Mo. Before we knew it we were piled into his friends Ford Ranger on our way to a local hotspot a half a mile down the road. They had a band playing which was actually quite good. We danced and had a good time. The next night we had our new friends over for dinner.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
There were a few projects and legal issues keeping our strings tied to the floating sidewalks. We now have a new refrigeration system. I have to hand it to Bill, he is one handy guy. I guess all those years of watching Tim the Tool man Taylor have paid off. Our new HAM radio is installed and works so well Bill won’t stop smiling. The engine is running better than it has since in entered our lives. There were some problems with the windless not providing quite the power required so Bill and the mechanic Hansel worked that out. Mechanically we are in good shape. Well, as of today but hopefully tomorrow and the next day too.
As far as legal issues go, Bill and I were both illegally in the country because we did not have our visas and had been here past the 7 day limited. They should have reciprocal privileges. I was talking with one of the security guards at the marina who had just arrived in San Carlos after being deported from Las Vegas. He is 30 and had been in the US since he was 14. We discussed getting married so we could both be legal but when I told him I required alimony he was no longer interested. That meant I would have to cross the border into the US then come back into Mexico and get my visa. It is about a six hour bus ride to the border. Bill went first to get his visa. He took pictures and explained exactly where I needed to go. He also took pictures of the bus station in the US where the Greyhound leaves to head up to Mesa, AZ. My plan was to head up to my see my mom, step-dad and brother and his family. My mom had lots of parts at her house waiting to be picked up. Things I could bring back into Mexico on the bus without paying the 40 percent import tax. Two of the items that are important to me are the new bathroom faucet and the pump for the diesel heater. It’s been cold and I really do not like to be cold.
I started my trip at 8 p.m. which is the last bus to Guaymas to catch the “big bus” going north. Once in Guaymas I had to wait three and half hours at the bus station until my overnight luxury bus left. The luxury bus only had 30 seats and they all folded down into beds. There is also free Wi-Fi on all the busses. I arrived in Nogales, Mexico at about 5 a.m. . Then I took the taxi to the border and walked across to the US. No problems and no lines and no smiles from the officials. Then I walked into Mexico where there were smiles and people there to help me get to the migration office and take care of my paperwork. That was incredibly easy. I paid the official who would take my papers and money to the bank. Typically they have you go to the bank but it was not open yet so he allowed me to pay him and he gave me a receipt and my visa. I then walked to the border crossing to go back to the US and catch the bus to my moms. The reason I had to get my visa now and not when I returned to Mexico was the bus does not stop for that. While crossing back I handed my passport with my new visa to the US agent. He was not smiling like the Mexican officials. He asked me to grab my bags and follow him. We went to the x-ray machine and while he was running my bags through the machine he started with the questions. He was far less than friendly and wanted to know why I crossed twice in less than and hour. I tried to explain the whole visa thing but he was not getting it and continued to ask me the same question. I kept my happy attitude I had with the Mexican officials. He Then asked for other forms of ID. I pulled out my wallet with my California Drivers license and asked if he wanted it out of my wallet as I tried to pull it out. Then he told me to go ahead. Perhaps he wanted a good look at my hands to see if I was shaking.
This is where things got a little creepy. I went to the bus station I had seen in the pictures Bill had taken for me. In his picture there were signs and schedules posted on the windows from the inside. When I arrived there were none to be found and the place was closed up and looked vacant. I decided to take one of the shuttle vans right next door. The price was only a few dollars more and I was told I could be taken to the town my mom lives in and would be there in 3 hours. After two and a half hours we stopped for gas. I asked how much longer and was told two and half hours more. This seemed wrong and was my first indication things were not as I hoped. The driver spoke no English. Did I mention I was the only American in the van. There was a young man in the front seat of this van of 15 people. He spoke English and translated for me. He asked the driver why it would take so long. The town my mom lives in is an hour before Phoenix. The driver said he was going to drop everyone off in Phoenix first and then drive back to drop me off which would leave me alone with the driver. A voice in my head said ” Oh, hell no!” I asked to be dropped off immediately but he refused. I had the young man tell him I said this was BS and I want out now! About a half an hour later he dropped me at a Mc Donald’s and I called my mom to come get me. I was sure happy to see my mom and step-dad. I never thought I would feel safer in Mexico than the US. My mom was a bit unhappy with me for taking what she called a “coyote bus”.
My visit with my family was fantastic. I love being with them. A couple days later I was back on the bus and heading south with all my treasures hoping the officials in Mexico would not make me pay the import tax on all the treasures. When we crossed the border the bus stopped and was inspected. We never had to get out of our seat. There were only two of us who spoke English on this bus. All the announcements were only in Spanish and I did not understand all of what they were saying. A man came on who looked semi official. Everyone pulled out their wallets and handed him money. I asked him what it was for and he said tips. We were tipping the customs agent. I am not sure but it may have been in exchange for not searching our bags. I think they had the dogs check them but never opened the bags. I was happy to hand over some money for that. The rest of the trip was uneventful. I caught a taxi back to the marina from the bus station and was in bed at 11 p.m. nearly 12 hours after I got on the bus in Phoenix.
In the morning we picked up a few things. I took the city bus to the local grocery store and filled my backpack with items Bill was not able to get the day before. I had 3 bags of flour, 2 bottles of rum, 1 two liter bottle of coke, six bottles of wine, two bananas, three apples, three pears, a box of cheerios, and two loaves of bread. My pack was heavy which reminded me of one of my first backpacking trips in high school when my friend and I brought canned food.
We are now in the anchorage where we had a very peaceful night. I am not sure what it is but the stress seems to disappear when you are anchored out. I do however miss having an internet connect. It is my “crack”.
An nearly perfect day:
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Sunday March 11th was a nearly perfect day. One that really made it all come together and gave us the feeling that all our work is was finally starting to pay off. The last few weeks have been filled with constant disorganization. Each morning starts with every single cushion and every single floor board being removed so work can be done on various systems. On Saturday while looking for one tool Bill swears he owns, we emptied every cabinet drawer and repacked the entire boat. Talk about a mess. Well, no, we never did find it. We did however gain more space and removed some items we do not need. At last the boat felt like home when we were done.
Waking up Sunday to a clean organized boat was a wonderful feeling. I did some laundry after having coffee and Bill worked on the water-maker and windless. For my unsalted friends a windless is the motor that moves the anchor chain in and out. Both are working. We were concerned a little about the water-maker because it could be quite pricy to repair. It is such an amazing piece of equipment. It magically turns the sea water into the best drinking water you can get.
Once we finished those chores, it was time to take a dinghy ride. We filled our cooler with beverages and sandwiches. The air was warm and fairly calm. The water was still a tad on the cool side. Our first stop was a small island just off the town waterfront. It is covered with pelicans and some cactus. The beaches are a combination of crushed and whole sea shells and sand. This was our lunch spot. We watched some baby pelicans get their wings wet and try to fly. They did not do so well but provided lots of entertainment for us. A short time later the dolphins showed up to entertain us further. I sat there wiggling my toes the sand enjoying a cold beverage while taking in the warm sun. Some would consider this an expensive spa treatment. It was very peaceful. The only sounds were from the pelicans and the water lapping the beach.
Our next dinghy stop was the estuary. It was a bit tricky getting through the shallows but Bill did a great job and soon enough we were back in the mangroves. This was a bird watchers paradise. The water was crystal clear and there were thousands of silvery fish racing around. If I owned a kayak I would certainly want to take it there.
After we left the estuary the wind picked up just a bit and brought with it some chop. We splashed our way back to the boat and fired up the BBQ and tossed on a chicken. We are looking forward to many more days like this.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012, 8:59 PM
There has been a lot going on for us in the past week. Our sweet little Sparky dog has been very sick. He seemed to be getting better but he would have bouts of loose stools with blood. I took him to the vet and she said he has an infection in his stomach. She gave him a shot for inflammation and an antibiotic. Also some pills to help calm his tummy. I have to take him back for three days for shots. Then she will have him on some other pills. He seems to be feeling better after two days. The total bill for everything was only $40.
Today after returning from the vet there were three guys at our boat. One was our mechanics brother. He said his friend wanted to buy the truck and has the cash. This took us by surprise so Bill told them to come back in an hour. They returned about an hour later which gave us time to talk about parting with the truck. You know what they say… “Money talks…” It looks like I will be taking Sparky to the vet in a taxi tomorrow. My visions of us filling the truck with large quantities of groceries and fabric from Guaymas are just a fading dream now. We will be taking the bus and backpacks. It looks like we are truly cruisers at this point.
At the marina we got to see something unusual today. The Mexican Navy came in. We were told there were about 30 boats but only one when we heard about it. Also, we were told there were military troops and police all around the hotel at the marina. We ignored most of this and continued to work on installing the new fridge and having our engine injectors removed, cleaned and replaced. Shortly after hearing about all this we saw two guys in uniform come down our dock. One was taking pictures and the other had a gun looking thing pointed toward us as he walked down the dock in our direction. Being the silly girl I am I raised my hands. He was not amused and ignored me. They were well armed too. It turns out his gun like item looked like it had a portable radio antenna sticking out. This is what he was pointing. Bill asked the camera guy what they were doing. He said “Drugas”. They were looking for drugs. Bill had to ask what kind. Bill named off a few things and the officer nodded. Then I remember seeing a tv show about this odd device he had. It sniffs out drugs and is very expensive.
He walked back toward the gate and stopped and backed up a few times at a boat about three slips down. We know the care taker and were told the owner is a US doctor. They never boarded the boat just stopped and looked several times then they left. Of course now I want to Google the device. Cool stuff.
The generator and main engine are now running better than they have since the day we bought the boat. Bill has many of the wood pieces done to provide an opening where the new fridge compressor will be placed. Next he will put in the cold plates. Then we will check out the water maker and buy me a bus ticket to go north to Arizona to my Mom’s to pick up all the bits and pieces we have ordered along with my visa (not Visa card, trust me I have that and am dangerous, this is out Mexican Visa). I can not wait to get the new bathroom faucet. It is gorgeous and we will no longer have to deal with the old dripping faucet. It has dripped for years and parts are no longer available to fix it.
Once that is done Bill will take the bus north to get his visa. We should be out of here before the 20th. At that point we will be “sailing”.
A week on pins: Feb 26, 2012
Into the water she goes!
We launched the boat nearly a week ago. It was a great to see the boat bob in the water after being released from the trailer and her robotic arms. Okay, maybe they were hydraulic. My grandson would call them robotic I am sure. Immediately after, we dunked down inside the boat to lift the many floor boards to check for water or any sign we may be sinking. It all looked good. Then it was time to fire up the engine. I am thinking we need to come up with a name for her at this point. I will work on that. She fired right up and put out a big pouf of smoke and some nasty looking water shot out of the back end of her. This is what we were hoping for although it did look like a scene right our of Captain Ron. We both laughed.
Bill checked the transmission and we had both forward and backward movement. Our lines were released and off we went to our new end tie on “S” dock. It turned out the marina did not have the power adapter we needed as they said they did. Bill thought maybe we should buy one so he went to Star Marine and discovered the price was not even near the US price of about $150. It was $250. We moved to another slip with the correct power for us.
We are now on “A” dock which in sort of interesting in that when we were in California we were on “A” dock. Next to us there was a boat named “The Office”. Next to us here is a boat with the same name. There are even people here that remind us of some of those we knew in California. We have met many new friends here too. When we are not on standby with our mechanic we can be found buzzing about in our dinghy or sampling yet another taco stand. There has also been quite a bit of cleaning and organizing going on.
Sparky was a bit out of sorts for the first week. Bill has been taking him for daily morning trips to the beach near where we were anchored before we put the boat up three years ago. This has done wonders for him. He is slowly returning to his over energized self. He is getting old and it is hard to see this happening. His eye sight is not what it once was nor is his hearing. One thing I can say is that he is one happy dog! He loves his daily swim sessions and long runs on the beach.
We can almost taste it:
Monday, Feb 20, 2012, 3:36 AM
What a difference a day to two makes. On Sunday or Splash Eve, the temps went up to the mid 70’s. A perfect day to launch the dinghy. Before doing so we picked up our gypsy camp in the work yard and went to the local grocery store to pick up some things for our dinghy outing. Sometimes a girl just needs to have a hot dog cooked over some coals. When buying charcoal down here it comes in actual wood chunks. Just the smell of the charcoal burning can make you think something good is about to be consumed.
After launching the dinghy we parked the truck and dinghy trailer by the marina office where we were able to get our gate key for our new place on the dock. Then we took our dink buzzing around the anchorage and then out the little bay here to a place called Martini Cove. That is the real name of it. There we set up our tri-pod swinging grill and cooked up some dogs. Is Sparky a cannibal if we fed him one? With our tummies full we explored the many tide pools. We saw lots of sea urchins, anemones and three different types of starfish.
While we were enjoying this beautiful beach that we had for ourselves with no wind and warm sunshine, anchored near by were about three local fishing boats. Big fishing boats. Each had their own party going on with loud music and young pretty girls drinking, dancing and singing on the top decks. The music instantly put you in a party mood and we enjoyed watching them all have a great time.
After we left Martini cove, I just love saying that; Martini Cove. We took a ride along the waterfront of the whole town of San Carlos. It is much prettier from the water vs. the street. The water started getting less than flat calm so it was time to head back to the dock. When we arrived a local was there to greet us. He was a fellow who had talked to us earlier in the day about buying our truck. He was trying to haggle us to sell it for half the price we want. Sorry no deal. We went our separate ways.
We left the dinghy in the water at the dock so it will be ready to move to our dock in the morning after we launch the mama ship. Walking back to the truck Bill and I were both thinking what are we going to do with this trailer. We have had it for over 20 years. It was converted to a dinghy trailer by us with some old and some new parts. Then Bill thought maybe the guy who wants the truck would like the trailer too. He went back to the guy, his name is, Ramon Raul Cervantez. He runs a local boat tow service. Ramon was very interested. He looked at it and asked Bill how much. He said $100. The guy pulled out his wallet and handed us a one hundred dollar US bill. We took our license plate. He unhooked it and we both walked away laughing at our good deal. What are the odds of that happening. BTW- you can buy this same trailer new at Harbor Freight for $200.
We now have only three hours until we launch. The day we have been waiting to see for the last three years. It is near impossible to sleep. It will be a moment of anxiety when we turn the key. Will then engine run or not. Perhaps our new friend Ramon and his Sharkys Tow service boat will need to be on stand by. I am hoping we get to keep that $100 bill.
Elbow grease; Feb 17, 2012
Finally we are starting to see some progress from all our efforts to get the boat back in shape. There was an issue with getting the engine to turn over, which made Bill absolutely insane. Trying to get someone to show up to work on the boat is near impossible. We did get one guy to come out and do so work and he brought another guy to do the stuff he could not do. Ultimately it has all been done and for a reasonable price. We know the engine will turn over but that is all until we get in the water at 7:00 a.m. on Monday. We have an end tie lined up so it will be easy to land the beast should she decide she needs a little more TLC. While all the engine electrical gremlins were present we were not able to use the two back rooms for storage and the boat was a huge mess. Now we are beginning to feel like we can tolerate things.
I did some brass polishing which is very therapeutic. Not that I need therapy. Well, some may think I do. Another feel good thing I did was join the beach clean up crew. It is amazing how much trash 20 people can collect. The bonus was they gave out cards for free margaritas at the cantina and had a raffle for addition drinks. Certainly that was a must do along with lunch.
We went to look at the spot at the end of the dock where we will move to on Monday. It is less than a two minute walk from to the Cantina, laundry and the coffee/internet hang out where everyone seems to meet each morning.
The bottom of the boat is now a lovely shade of blue. It is different from any other blue paint I have seen on the bottom of a boat. Bill and I did the work ourselves but it was still a bit pricey. For my unsalted friends-bottom paint has 40% or more copper in it to keep the critters from growing on it. The critters slow the boat down and cause problems with the many holes in the boat that allow water in and out. In for the engine and out for sink drains. That sounds scary. I hope we don’t sink.
The last few days have been a bit chilly. We are currently having a bit of a light rain. I personally am waiting for the nice warm weather. It would not be so bad if the fuel pump for the heater was working. We ordered a new one but may not see it for a few weeks.
I have been procrastinating on putting my clothes and shoes all in their proper place. I think this is for fear that they may not all fit where they need to go. Not something I want to deal with right now. After all I am a recovering hoarder and have an issue with parting with things.
Laddersauras, Feb 9, 2012
We arrived at the boat around 3:30pm. I had arranged to have the boat moved to the work yard a few days before so we could stay and work on it. The day we arrived was a holiday so the office was closed for the dry storage. We checked in at the marina and then went to see our orphaned boat. She looked like something right out of Captain Ron but at least we were no longer homeless. The first few hours after we arrived were spent cutting off tarps and the remains of tarps as well as cleaning out the master bed of all the stored items we had in there.
The next couple of days were spent washing everything inside. By the second day we were able to get rid most of the odd odors that were hovering around the boat, except those left by Bill as he puttered around (literally). By the end of our 3rd day, Bill had installed a new engine starter, rebuilt the toilet, filled the tanks with water, got the lights and pumps all working, re-installed the propane for the stove and bbq, hanked all the sails on (for our friends in Winters that is putting the sails back on the sticks) and set the lifelines in place. So far things are not as bad we they could have been after having the boat in storage for three years.
Bill went into the office on Wednesday to arrange to have the boat put in the water to get a slip but we got some not so great news. Our boat has too much draft to launch over the next 11 days so we will have to wait till Feb. 20th. That means we will be living in our tree house for almost 2 weeks and you can be sure that if you need to do something or to get to a job that needs to be done, it is on the other end of the 14 foot ladder. Stair Master better watch out, when I am done I will be selling 14 foot ladders with a tag line of the “Thighminizer or the LadderSaurus (aka Ladder-sore-ass)
Southbound and down, Feb 06, 2012
Once we left Winters we became one of many homeless people. Fortunately for us we had some of our salted friends come to our rescue. Doug and Linda from Aquadisiac let us stay at what they call the Mud Hut, which actually is a nice house on the Napa River. They even had internet. That kept me from going through immediate withdraws. We stayed there a couple of nights while Bill finished up his last days of work.
Our last night was spent at Bill’s mom’s house, where we enjoyed a nice meal and visited with her, our daughter and her fiancé. We were up and on the road well before sunrise. Our next stop was near San Diego to drop off Bill’s near famous Jetta (520,000 original miles) to our son. We stayed the night at Skinner Lake near his house and shared many smiles with our grandson and his parents. I will miss that little man.
The next stop was near Phoenix to visit my brother and his family along with my mom and step-dad. I wish we could have had more time there but we needed to keep rolling. We were on the road pretty early in the morning.
Breakfast was at a cute place called “The Twist & Shout”. A 50’s themed diner with great service, good Biscuits and Gravy and a whole lot of character. Oh and the price was less than two breakfast meals at McDonald’s.
Once we got to the border we decided to fill up the tank and give our “rig” a once over. In doing so we noticed one of the trailer tires looked like it was about to go any minute. Bill asked the Federales, who where questioning him about where we were going, where to get a tire. Sure enough, just around the corner was a tire shop. We got the new tire and paid our $40 and were on our way in about 15 minutes to cross into Mexico.
At the boarder crossing we were praying for the green light. Well, that did not exactly work. We got a red light going in. Which means they want you to pull over so they can inspect your vehicle to see what you are bringing into the country. This could have cost us some money in duty and we would have had all our wine taken. Fortunately they just asked us if we had any fruit and something else in Spanish. Bill said no only clothes. They then asked if we were going to Guaymas? How did he know that? Did the Federale’s from gas station tell him. Anyway we were waved through.
The funny thing is they never asked for a passport, ID, dog shot records. How will they know when we need to get a tourist visa? We have officially fell off the earth.
Good bye California, Feb 05, 2012
Well, we made it out of the house and we are officially homeless slumlords. I seriously under estimated how much work it would be to get the house ready and all our things shoved into the 20′ sea container. I made three trips to the dump and about 20 to the thrift store. The final stroke was the all day, down to the wire painting and cleaning which completely wore me out. I ended up with a sinus infection and extreme exhaustion from stress. The doctor ordered me to rest. That was not going to happen.
I had quite the adventure trying to purchase a camper shell for the truck. I used Craigslist which had me looking at a shell in the worst part of Sacramento. The guy I was meeting was late, leaving me waiting in the hood at night. They must be environmentally responsible there because everyone was riding a bicycle.
Once the guy showed up he asked me to come in his house to get to the backyard where the shell was, Red Flag. Once inside I notice a very weird smell (Dead bodies?), Red Flag. He had a Christmas tree up and we where nearing the end of January; Hmmm strange or just a real believer in Santa Claus and one with a lot of patience at that. When I noticed a goat in the backyard through the window, I thought it was stuffed until it moved. It wasn’t until we went out back that I noticed there were really three goats. These goat also had horns (Satanic, Yule tide, killer with a glass half full mentality?).
I declined to purchase the shell because he fail to tell me it was missing the back hatch. He seemed a little upset by that, so perhaps I should have told him I left my money in the truck or at home. Anyway, I tried to leave quickly but one of the goats kept ramming my belly with his horns. I thought to myself “I have about a quarter million dollars in surgeries to my abdomen and now I am going to get killed by a goat horn piercing. This is not good.” I made it out of there alive.
My next Craig’s list experience went much better and I had a wonderful experience.
Ultimately it was a tough and hard sell to get Bill to except the new camper shell but ultimately I was able to get everything I wanted to bring in the truck. Nice packing Bill. I hope I can find room on the boat for everything now.
Spring Cleaning: January 2012
Preparing to leave is a very emotional thing for me. I am feeling so many things right now. Stress, happiness, sadness, anxiety and excitement. We have lived in the same house in our quaint little town of Winters, Ca for nearly 25 years. Both of our kids were raised here and now have moved on to live their own dreams. With that many years in one place comes a whole lot of “stuff” that has been acquired. Bill and I have decided that I am a recovering hoarder. I have taken 3 truck loads of goods to my favorite non-profit thrift store. There is still more to be taken. The local landfill is a bit taller now as well.
This Sunday we will move all our furniture into the 20′ sea container we purchased and put in the local storage yard. Originally Bill told me it would be 40′ and we would not need to purge. I am not sure how it happened but he pulled a fast one on me. Not that it is a bad thing. It is just different from my vision. We currently have all the pictures off the walls, curtains and décor items packed and stored. The house echoes.
We have renters moving in on the 1st of the month. This will be our first adventure in slum lording. Even after hearing so many horrible things I can’t help but keep a positive attitude and hope we are the exception and the family moving in will be as good as I predict.
While packing I came across some walnut brandy I made about six years ago. I must say it was a bonus to find that. It is some pretty good stuff now that it has aged.
It is now late Sunday night and all the furniture is out of the house and in the sea container. It was a tough day for me emotional. I did not like packing away 25 years of my life. I know it is just stuff but it is also my home and the place I raised my kids. I suppose you could say it is like closing down the base camp for my kids and my grandson. Santa won’t show up to surprise him here next year. This makes me sad.
I don’t want to sound too depressed but I am trying to keep it real and honest. In a week I am sure I will be so busy getting some painting done and lots of cleaning, I will be all too eager to leave. For tonight I have an old ugly pink chair to sit on and night table to put my computer on. Both will be donated later.