Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/30/2010 - Puerto Escondido

We made it back safe and sound.  The only thing noticeably different with the boat was the large amount of bird poop that had to be cleaned off!  We cleaned up the boat, went to the store, and were on our way to get Jake’s last ice cream here at Puerto Escondido when we saw a boat with two little girls on the bow pulling in.  After much debate between the two of us (Is that s/v One?  No, I think it’s Endurance!  No, that’s not Endurance.  Yes it is, etc.), we finally pulled the dinghy alongside to our friends from Endurance (I was right by the way).  After they got settled in we invited them for dinner where Jake, Trini and Sammy played and watched movies for hours.  So we’ve decided to delay our departure a few days and spend some time exploring the area more.
It turns out to be a great decision.  We’re doing things we didn’t get to do the first time we were here.   First on the list is discovering another swimming pool!  We spent the afternoon/evening up the street at the Tripui Restaurant/Hotel.

Today we’re all renting a car and going into Loreto.  In the morning we’re going to go to the market which is supposed to be a very good open air market with all kinds of vegetables, fruits and other goods.  Monday we’ll check out and go to a nearby cove with Endurance and probably say good bye from there.  This has been so much fun as we haven’t seen these guys since they left San Diego a year ago and the kids are getting a long great!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/24/2010 - San Diego!

After 17 hours of driving, 6 military checkpoints and a near mudslide, we finally made it to our friend’s house around 9:00 Tuesday night.  Since we’ve gotten here, we’ve done nothing but go, go, go.  A far different pace than we’ve grown accustomed to.  This was supposed to be a quick trip but when we got here, we were greeted with a few pleasant surprises.  Our good friends Isaac and Kelly and their two kids have been on a cross country trip, ending in CA before they fly out to Hawaii (their next duty station).  They’re arriving today!  One of my best friends from VA who I’ve missed terribly ever since we moved to CA was going to be in CA for work.  She flew in today!  So our original departure date of yesterday just wasn’t going to work.  We extended our car rental and are planning on heading back Tuesday.

Also while we’re here, we ordered the new Pacific Mexico guide to help us with our indecisiveness on where to go next.  I think we could seriously spend another year here, but we’re going to have to narrow it down to a few key stops.  After we get back to Puerto Escondido, we’ll hang out a few days and then off to Mazatlan (we think). 

I’m feeling very uninspired today but want to take advantage of the internet access we have for uploading pictures…so I’m inflicting a new rule.  If I don’t have anything interesting to say, I won’t say anything at all J
Here are some pictures of our trip to San Diego…  enjoy!

A very common sign seen on our drive up...
...and for very good reasons
I just thought this was pretty...and a sign of the rain to come.
The rain caused a lot of mud on one of the detours we had to take due to road construction.  We almost got stuck!
Jake and his new buddy Kai.  He finally found someone to play Star Wars with!
More cuteness...
Double smackdown on Mr. Til!  Guess who won?

10/16/2010 - Changing our minds...again.

Flying fish we found on the bow

We left San Carlos about 3:00 in the afternoon to start our 120 mile passage to Isla Carmen.  It all started nice, good wind from the west, we had both our main sail and our jib out.  After dinner, the wind turned directly on our nose (Sout/southwest) and we spent the remaining 16 hours bashing.  I felt like a bull rider in a rodeo trying to stay on his bull.  Andy had a good point though… as uncomfortable as it was, it was better than our worst day at work.  Our port engine died again about 2:00 in the morning.  It appears that the combination of bucking against the tides and winds combined with not having a fuel pump (gravity fed) isn’t good for the old port side.  We’re thinking maybe it gets some sort of air bubble in it and dies, because when we transfer fuel back to the day tank again, she cranks up no problem.  We bought a few extra fuel pumps in San Carlos so we intend on testing out our theory soon.

Settled in at's getting green!
We finally arrived about 10:00 this morning and the anchorage we chose is no better than our ride there.  It was rolly and there were tons of bugs.  Normally, I’m the type to suck it up but after the ride the previous night, I just couldn’t do it.  After I made lunch, I asked Andy if we could move.  We ended up moving to a beautiful anchorage, seemingly calm….until about midnight.  The westerly wind kicked up and made for a rocky night.

Our hardest decision has been what to do next?  Do we stop in Escondido and pay the fees, do the internet, etc.?  Or do we keep heading south to LaPaz and try to run into our friends on Endurance.  We were almost on our way towards LaPaz when we both decided to sit back and think about it.  We have one problem….Andy still doesn’t have his Visa.  We tried all of the “alternative” ways to get it but haven’t been so lucky.  We should have driven to the States when were in San Carlos but we didn’t.  So now we’ve decided to put the boat on a mooring in Puerto Escondido and make one last trip north.  We don’t really need anything seeing as I just got back from the states and we just spent a fortune at Costco, but we don’t really know the consequences of not having a visa and after hearing a few stories down here, really don’t want to chance it.  It will also give us another chance to see my parents and our friends Eric and Nicole.  So, here we go again…long drive, but it will be the first one we’ve done as a family in a REALLY long time.  It will also be the last one for a REALLY long time.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/15/2010 - Leaving San Carlos

Yesterday, our friends from Ceilydh pulled in and we were able to spend a nice afternoon at the pool getting reacquainted while Maia and Jake swam their little legs off.  In Bahia de Los Angeles there were tons of boats and sometimes it’s hard to spend any one on one time with folks because it’s like a giant social hour all day every day.  It was nice to just sit down and chat between the four of us for a while. Technically there were five of us, but we really enjoyed meeting Robin, someone else we weren’t able to get to know on the Baja side.  We finished the night with fresh sushi at the wine bar and more conversation. 
Now it’s time for us to move on.  There’s a good chance we’ll run into them again.  They have some options before them, but one of them is to head to the Galapagos this spring as well.  Whatever option works out best for them we’re glad to have met them and gotten to spend some time together.

I thought for my last post here in San Carlos I would share some of our favorite things and places to go for any cruiser that may be heading this way in the future as well as things that might be helpful to know.

Ruby’s Wine Bar -    owned by a fellow southerner, Lisa and her business partner from Washington, they’re open every day after 4 pm.  They have various specials throughout the week, our favorite being sushi night on Thursdays.  Lisa’s husband runs a fishing charter out of San Carlos and whatever they catch on Thursdays is what they serve for sushi.  Other nights they have a Tapas style menu.  The only item I would recommend against is the wine flights.  Andy and I both ordered one our first night and it tasted like all of the wines had been opened for quite some time.  You can still enjoy their extensive wine menu by just ordering a bottle of your own to ensure it’s fresh.  In busier times of the year, this may not be an issue.

Hertz Rental Car – You can get their phone number from the marine office and they will bring the car to you at the marina and come back and pick it up when you’re finished.  We rented a car for three days (insurance included) for $160 US .  They arrived when they said they would and had all of the paper work in order.  Very efficient and quick. If you do rent a car, you can drive to Hermisillo (about and hour and a half) and do one stop shopping… Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, Auto Zone, huge Sorianas, etc.

Baracuda Bobs – Located next to the marina office, you can get yummy ice cream here as well as breakfast and a light lunch.  This is also where you buy the tokens for the laundry and they have free wifi for an hour.  Be sure you buy something as it appeared the owner was getting a little frustrated with all of the cruisers using his wifi and either not buying anything or just sitting there for hours getting free refills of coffee, taking up space. Hiram, who I believe owns the place, also does bottom work on boats and has a few moorings for rent in the bay.  He was a very nice gentleman and very helpful to us on a few occasions.

XPRO – ok…this is not on my things that I love.  Let me explain.  There is a company at the hotel called XPRO that will sell you time on their wifi.  The antennae is on top of the hotel so theoretically you can get it anywhere.  We paid $100 pesos for a week – we thought that to be very reasonable.  However, I was able to pirate a better signal from our antennae on the boat 75% of the time.  Even when we were on shore I had a hard time getting their signal.  If you do try to use it, take your computer with you as they have to get your IP address for their system to recognize you.
Another note on wireless….anyone who has bought the Telcel Banda Ancha on the Baha side, will have to get a new card here on the mainland side.  Even if you have time left, you will not be able to use it here.  We’ve ran into two folks who needed it for work and had lots of time left on their current card and both had to go into the Telcel office here to buy a new card. 

As for getting around on the buses…very easy if you know which bus to take…any of them.  As I wrote in my previous post, you don’t have to wait for a bus that says Guaymas to go to Guaymas.  The San Carlos buses go there too.  5 pesos for going around within town, 12 pesos for the ride from San Carlos to Guaymas (another 12 pesos to get back).

If you’re using the Cruising the Sea of Cortez guidebook (which I can’t say enough good things about) and you go to Guaymas, Los Barcos, the 3 story palapa restaurant they mention is closed.

If you’re looking for good shrimp, there’s a guy, Alejandro who sits in front of the bank on the main road in San Carlos.  His shrimp was delicious and he always threw in some free veggies too.  We kept getting better deals every time we went back to him.  He also brings in homemade tamales once a week (Fridays for us, but you may want to ask him to make sure).  We weren’t able to get up there for these, but we did eat the salsa he gave us and it was delicious.

Finally, the marina charges $2 US a day to use their dinghy dock, but this will also get you use of the bathrooms/showers if needed and a place to dump your trash.  We found the folks in the office to be very helpful and extremely nice.

Time to head out on our 125 mile passage back to the Baja side to Isla Carmen.  We hope to explore the east side of the island this time as we didn’t get to see that part coming up.  We’re also looking forward to a little diving with our friends on Zepplin.
We’ll be out of range for a few weeks…don’t worry about us J.

(apologies for the lack of a hurry before I lose this connection...I'll try to add some later)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/13/2010 - Happy Birthday U.S. Navy- and random food related comments

First and foremost….Congratulations to the U.S. Navy on it’s 235th Birthday!  Thanks to all of the Sailors who do what you do to keep our seas and shores safe.  And a special heartfelt thanks to all the families left at home while they do it.  Hoo Yah!

It’s the little things in life that make you happy on a boat.  After stocking up at Costco, Walmart and the local grocery store, I was really struggling to figure out where to put everything.  Especially the fruit and vegetables.  I read all kinds of sailing books that tell you how to best store these things for optimum life time but I can’t for the life of me figure out where they put them all (particularly in the tiny little boats they claim to have).  For example, you have to separate your onions from your potatoes, but don’t put the citrus too close to your vegetables.  Make sure they have plenty of room to breath.  I didn’t have enough room to accommodate all of these rules in my kitchen in my house, much less on a boat.  But today, we made a giant leap forward.  I begged Andy (throwing in that it was a preparatory act for our trip across the Pacific) and he used some left over netting we had to hang me two new, separate hammocks.  Next I’m going to put some netting over the onions on the counter so I don’t have to pick them up off the floor when we hit a big wave.  Prior to this, I just put things in bowls and spread them all over the counter (which is the fridge/freezer so you can imagine what a pain it is to move everything every time you want to get something to drink).  Or worse yet, they went in a bag in the scuba locker and I totally forgot about them until I started to smell something.

So today, I’m happy J

We also went back under the bed (remember me getting that can of mushrooms?) and rearranged things (mainly Andy’s large supply of clothing – seriously) and made room for all the dry good stuff.  We even have room for this…

...Jake’s 5 lb bag of pancake mix.  We thought about putting a pillowcase over it and putting in his bunk, but lucky for him, I found room under our bed.

It’s not like we’re going to be gone for months, but when you have the opportunity to stock up, you do.  So we did.  I’m considering this my first major practice run for longer passages.

Food makes or breaks the moral of the boat so it’s important that everyone feels they have a little something special on board.  For example, tonight we’re all partaking in those delicious bacon wrapped hotdogs I showcased while in Santa Rosalia!  We found the hotdogs already wrapped AND the mouthwatering buns they serve them on in the Soriana’s shopping market today.  We bought more shrimp from our buddy Alejondro in front of the bank.  And we bought a giant bag of cheesy poofs for Jake and Andy when they get the munchies.  No losing weight on this boat!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/12/2010 - Living on a boat - Part 3

More of your questions answered...hopefully.

Do you have a TV?  Yes.  We have a 22 inch Sharp flat screen J  But it’s only used for movies when we have a lot of power.  We’ve found that most boats have some sort of tv.  As for dvd players, we just use Jake’s little travel player because it is easy to store and we can charge it up if we’re going to another boat and he needs something to keep him occupied (that won’t get scattered across the boat).  But so far, most of the movies we have bought here in Mexico on in a different “region” and we have to watch those through the computer as opposed to his dvd player.

How do you get your electricity?  From the eels!  Just kidding…we have eight solar panels and six batteries ( I was going to add something here about amps but I fell asleep while Andy was explaining it to me so if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask and we’ll respond directly).  Here in sunny Mexico, electricity is no problem.  We’re almost always at full capacity and if for some reason we have any troubles, we carry a Honda EU2000 generator.  We are also able to charge our batteries with either of our two diesel engines.  While it’s not enough to run a hair dryer, Jake gets to watch plenty of movies.

How do you get your water?  Uh, duh…the ocean.  We carry 160 gallons of fresh water on board in two built in tanks.  We also have a Spectra water maker that makes eight gallons an hour (from the ocean J ).  It pulls about 8 amps (1 gal/amp/hour).  We try to conserve water as much as we can by washing dishes with salt water and just rinsing with fresh water and showering every few days instead of every day, however, this is probably an area where we could improve.  We run the water maker every time we turn the engines on.  We can’t always run the watermaker in the harbor which is something I never really thought about before we left. The pollution and sediment can be bad and clog up the filters pretty quickly, or worse yet, damage the membrane.  So if we’re in a harbor (like now) and need more water, we go out for a few hours and sail around while we make more water.

How do you get your weather?  We can get weather any number of ways.  If we have access to the internet, we go there.  We can use our SSB radio to get weather several times a day on cruiser nets through various people who enjoy following the weather (although sometimes it’s very hard to hear).  We can get a fax on our computer through the SSB.  And finally, there are some local nets on the VHF where the cruisers exchange various types of information, weather being one of them.  Most of the guidebooks provide the various channels to monitor.

What kind of engines to you have?  We have two 37 horsepower Kubota diesel tractor engines with a marine package.  We sound like a fishing trawler every time we crank those babies up (mostly because we’re an aluminum boat and everything is louder).  Not too much to say here…they run, thank goodness.  We use about 1/2 gallon and hour and we have capacity for 180 gallons.

Someone emailed me with a question about visas and check ins to the various countries….  I can only speak of Mexico from experience, but for the others, we’ll just do our research on the internet and ask fellow cruisers before we get there.  But for Mexico, they offer various different kinds of visas.  What we have is the tourist card – good for 6 months, about $22/person.  If you want to stay longer, they have what they call an FM3 – good for a year.  I think it’s about $100/person.  It means you’re temporarily living in Mexico and gets you one step closer to being able to buy property.  The best advice about knowing what you need for the various countries is to just do your research ahead of time.  For instance, we’re looking into getting our permits for the Galapogos in the next few months.  Evidently it can take up to 60 days to get that done…  Unfortunately there’s no one stop shop, but other cruisers can make it much easier for you.  We spent an evening with a gentleman who has already gone all of the places we want to go and he gave us tons of information we couldn’t find in any book. 

What kind of anchor(s) do you have?  I almost refuse to answer this question as everyone has their opinions out here as to the best (and you can bet we've heard them all).  We carry one of each!  Not really, we have a 60lb CQR with 300 ft of chain and so far (knock on aluminum) we have not dragged/drug (what’s the proper English here?) anchor yet.  We also carry a 45 lb CQR knockoff and 2 Danforth anchors.  The key is not only the anchor, but knowing how to set it J.

What kind of big boy toys do you have on board?  4 scuba tanks, 1 scuba compressor, 2 pole spears, 1 giant speargun (I promise to send you that shipping $ soon, Cary), various scuba equipment and fishing junk.  LOTS and LOTS of cameras and lenses and housings to make them useful to the resident photog.  2 laptop computers (one dedicated to navigation)… I hope no pirates are reading this….

What kind of big girl toys do you have on board?  None, Andy made me sell them all before we left.  I have 8 bikinis and 4 pairs of flip flops…does that count?

What do you use to navigate?  Our sextant and the stars, of course.  What do you use?  Seriously, we have 4 GPS’s on board, in case 3 go down.  We have Faruno Radar to assist at night and in bad weather.  We’ve installed Coastal Navigation software on our laptop and theoretically, we have AIS – which enables you to see the name of the boat about to hit you on your radar.  I say theoretically because we have the software, but no driver to install it….yet.  And like all good sailors, we have more paper charts than you could shake a stick at.  For all you tree huggers, we promise to recycle. 

What kind of dinghy do you have?  We started out with a wooden dinghy that came with the boat, but when we accidentally poked a hole in that one on our first excursion out, we had a need to buy a new one.  We now have a 9ft AVON RIB with a  9.8 horsepower Tohatsu, two stroke engine.  We’re not the most powerful around (we can’t get on a plane with all three of us), but it gets the job done.  Out here a dinghy is like your car…without it, you’re kind of lost so you need something reliable, not necessarily pretty.  In fact, some people go to great lengths to make theirs as ugly as possible to deter theft.

Do you have a liferaft?  Yes….and no.   It hasn’t been serviced since 2005.  Andy says nobody likes a quiter….  Again, theoretically…..catamarans don’t sink, so we have our own really huge liferaft right here.  We also have our dinghy and 2 kayaks (although I don’t really see us out rowing our kayaks in winds that just tipped our 20 ton boat over).  And if all else fails, we have our EPIRB , both the one for the boat and the personal one Andy carries in his pocket ;).

And finally, aren’t you scared of the pirates?  Yes….we are.  Hopefully they’re nothing a little bit of bear spray, a crazy naked man waving a machete and a baseball bat can’t take care of (and careful navigation – we don’t plan on sailing to Yemen any time soon).

So far, I do the hair cutting.

While it's against my better judgement to put this picture out here - Andy wanted to show that we have to store things EVERYWHERE, even under the bed. This is me getting a can of mushrooms.

10/12/2010 - More things we find "different"

“Mommy, we haven’t had much time to chit chat lately…. How are you?”
That has absolutely nothing to do with my post today but I thought it was funny considering we live together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with virtually no break.  It’s nice to know my son still wants to chit chat. J

I thought I might share some more things that we find “different” about Mexico…

The sunrises (not that I see very many) .... beautiful :)

Yesterday we saw a man juggling fire in the middle of an intersection while we tried to find our way to Costco.  I can’t say as I’ve ever seen that before. 

Just finding Costco was different…It’s funny, while in the states, I never went looking for something by just getting in the car and driving.  I always looked up the address, Googled it, went to map quest, whatever.  Well, we don’t do that down here…where would the adventure be in that?  There’s rarely a street sign and they don’t have addresses the way we think of them so it would be a waste of time.  So after an hour or so of driving and a few stops to ask for directions (in Spanish – I might as well have used sign language), we finally found the Costco.

There’s a sign I’ve never seen before at the pool here.  “Must wear bathing suit to swim in pool”.  They’re not worried about skinny dipping here.  Just the opposite.  It’s not uncommon at all for people to just jump in with all of their clothes on.  I keep kicking myself for not taking my camera as I’ve seen no less than four people in two days get in with all of their clothes on.  Andy says that would be tacky but I’m not being judgmental, just trying to share my experiences with others!

The folks that are letting us use their mooring should be getting here soon so we’re aiming to leave on Friday.  We’ll be out of internet range for a few weeks after that.  Hopefully we can catch up with everyone when we get to Escondido.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/7/2010 - Guaymas

Jake and Andy in the Plaza de los Tres Presidentes.

Yesterday we decided to check out a town south of here called Guaymas.  It’s about 15 miles away so the only reasonable way to get there is by bus.  We always like to try out the local transportation, it seems to be the best way to immerse ourselves. 

It turned out to be one of those days.  We set out with a plan but it was really more like a goal lacking some very important details. Like, what are we going to do when we get there?  Normally this is my area of expertise but I must have been asleep at the planning wheel yesterday.  I didn’t bring a map, didn’t have any restaurants scouted out, no touristy places in mind…nothing.  We were just “going to Guaymas.”  And that we did.   After hours and miles of walking, we finally made it to the local Walmart where we stocked up on a few groceries and took the final bus back to San Carlos.

It was a nice town.  Not so little…about 150,000 people live there.  We had heard it was pretty industrial, but it didn’t really fit my idea of industrial.  At least not the American version.  I expected a huge port with big tanker trucks backed up to the dock, etc.  But only saw 4 boats at the marina.  We’d also heard it was dirty, but again, that’s all relative.  Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, even if my legs were a bit sore this morning from all the walking (totally self  induced – we saw that bus pass by 20 times).  Jake was quite the trooper through it all and was treated to some chicken tenders and his second orange soda pop ever at Burger King.

We had a very calm evening eating the catch of the day wrapped up in some sushi rolls at the local wine bar here in San Carlos.  It even turned out to be a chilly night, which we haven’t felt in over four months.  It looks like the seasons are changing.  Another week or so and we’ll keep moving south.  As we look at our charts we're seriously considering crossing back over to the Isla Carmen/Escondido/Loreto area and heading south on the baja side.  It's over 400 miles to the next major port here on the mainland side.  Not that we mind doing an overnighter or two but we had a good time in that area before and thought it might just be a better trip down.  Not to mention we have our friends on Endurance who just made it back to LaPaz (heading north) from Central America and we would love to run into them before leaving Mexico.  The cool thing about cruising is that you can change your mind at any time :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10/4/2010 - Slummin' it in San Carlos

As promised, we cleaned the boat and did laundry today.  Andy braved the mile and a half walk to the grocery store while Jake and I scoped out the area waiting for our sheets to dry.  We've decided to have a contest... how many resorts/hotels can we crash in one year?  We found hotel #2.  It has a huge pool with a nice bar and no one around to care whether or not we partake.  For once being the gringo has it's benefits.  We look like the tourists we're trying to be.  Jake had a blast diving down looking for his animals and trying to stop the fountains with his face (weird, I know - but it was funny to watch.).  They even had a small playground.  Andy and I kept looking at the view wondering how much it was supposed to be costing us to enjoy this.

Tomorrow we'll do more laundry and if Jake gets his way, we'll play tourist again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10/4/2010 - Moored in San Carlos

Well, we finally see something green!  It looks like Georgette did this town some good.  We pulled into San Carlos this morning and were very pleased with the harbor.  This place is nicer than any we’ve seen in quite a while.
After Jake finished his Star Wars movie (yes, our lives are dictated by Star Wars) we loaded up in the dinghy and went ashore.  While in town we were able to visit a bank (the first one in 3 months), buy a small pie for Jake from some lady on the side of the road, and buy 3 kilos of shrimp all in the same parking lot.  The shrimp were a great buy.  We haven’t seen fresh shrimp of any size since San Diego.  Alejandro threw in some potatoes, tomatoes, avacados, garlic and jalapenos for free!  He made sure we knew that he would be selling tamales on Friday as well.  According to him, not as many people visit San Carlos as in the past and business is down.  We were thrilled with our shrimp and happy to help out his business in the meantime.
We chose hamburgers for lunch.  That might sound weird considering we’re in Mexico but they have the best ground beef we’ve ever eaten.  They grind up the good stuff and boy can you tell a difference.  After lunch we stopped by the grocery store for some sodas and small stuff.  Andy found Diet Dr. Pepper.  Shrimp. Diet Dr. Pepper.  Green Trees.  There is really no reason to leave here anytime soon.  If we find a Target tomorrow, we’re buying land.
We end our night with a nice Chibasco.  I haven’t written about these yet, but they’re storms we occasionally encounter up here in the northern sea.  They usually occur at night when a thunderstorm develops on the mainland and crosses the Sea of Cortez bringing brief but strong winds (up to 35-60 knots) and sometimes rain.  We’ve heard of this thing they call rain, but on the Baja side, we never saw it.  We smelled it once, but never saw it.  Imagine our delight this evening when Andy yelled for me to shut the hatches, “we’re getting rain!”  So here we sit, waiting out the winds in our happy boat (after it’s bath, however brief it was) pirating the closest internet signal in order to keep in touch the best we can.
Tomorrow we’ll figure out the local bus system and the laundry mat and try to clean up the inside of the boat.  

10/2/2010 - Oh yeah... we are a sailboat.

There are three kinds of sailors here in the Sea of Cortez.  Those that motor everywhere they go regardless of the weather, those that sail everywhere they go (usually at the mercy of their diesel capacity), meaning, they wait on the weather no matter the time, and finally, those that try to sail as much as they can but motor when necessary to meet their needs (we like to sail, but we like to get where we’re going) 

We fall into the last category.  What that means is that due to the “flat calm” conditions in the Sea of Cortez during the summer, we have spent a lot of it motoring, not sailing.  But that all changed yesterday. 

We left Isla Tiburon motoring as usual, hoping for wind.  I spent almost an hour listening to the various weather nets on the SSB trying to find any kind of weather that may be in our favor. About 1:00 yesterday afternoon, we finally got wind.  We sailed for the remainder of the afternoon into a little cove called Las Cocinas.  After a rolly night, we woke up this morning and sailed THE ENTIRE DAY to Las Algodones…about 4-6 miles out from San Carlos.  To sail all day is pretty cool for us.  We have been trying to do this since we got up here in the Sea…so needless to say we had a great day (well, no motors running means no power which means no movies for Jake, so the coolness of it is all relative.). A nice lazy sail at 4-6 knots….

About 2:30 today we pulled into a little cove covered with hotels and a promising bar called Soggy Pesos (for whatever reason, I can’t help but call it Soggy Paws?).  We have arrived on the mainland. There are trees.  There are tourists.  There are palapas, and fancy hotels.  As we beached our dinghy and found our seat at the crowded restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised as our waiter not only introduced himself but asked our names as well.  We have arrived. J

 Tomorrow we will head the 6 miles south to San Carlos.  Our new friends from Bahia LA have offered the use of their mooring until they arrive around the 15th so we will take advantage of that before checking out the marina and other amenities.  We are looking forward to giving the boat a good wash down (it’s filthy) and I for one am excited about eating at the local McDonalds (It’s a rumor but I’m thinking positively) and shopping at the large grocery stores here.  We’ve heard the criticisms of eating at the local McDonalds….”that’s not Mexican!”  But we hold to the philosophy I read on someone else’s blog describing the clientele in the South Pacific.  “If all the locals are eating there…its local food.”

We should have Internet for at least a week or two so I’ll try to keep the posts coming.  Any comments or questions are always welcome.  For our immediate families…the first thing I’m shopping for is a phone cardanswer all calls from funky numbers J.

10/1/2010 - Exploring

Everytime we go to an island or a new anchorage there’s always something to explore.  Some of our favorite things to find are, not surprisingly, sea shells and unique rocks.  Some of the beaches here have the most beautiful rocks of all different colors with different patterns and sizes.  Jake and I have a hard time leaving the rocks behind.  Andy has rationed the number of rocks we can bring on board although I’ve never heard of a boat sinking because it had too many beach finds.

Our friends on Eyoni taught us to appreciate some of the more unique things we find on shore.  The first time I went on their boat I saw tiny little bird skulls, perfectly shaped, scattered about on display.  They also have all kinds of whale bones and dolphin bones.  At first I thought it was a little…weird, but to each their own, right? But the next time I was on the beach…I wanted a bone too!  So now we have some dolphin bones and today we found a jaw bone from a small shark with all the teeth in it!  It actually shows the different rows of teeth also serving as a cool homeschooling moment for Jake.  He’s read over and over again about how sharks lose their teeth and new ones move in, but this was a first hand look at how it actually happens.

One thing I would have never picked up before but has since become one of our prized possesions is a tiny little iguana claw.  It’s a little creepy but really cool.  Our friend Teri on Ulalena thought it was a little weird but before I knew it, she was bringing her own iguana claw on board to show us (she didn’t keep it…just wanted to show it off).  Another prized possession is a giant turtle shell.  It’s probably illegal in a hundred different ways in the states (and probably here in Mexico) but I assure you we didn’t leave any naked turtles anywhere.

I haven’t figured out what we’re going to do with all of these things yet.  I made a necklace out of one seashell.  Jake made a necklace for one of his friends as well.  We made a “doorbell” for his room after he painted four of the seashells he picked up.  I have little boxes full of shells waiting for a project.  Sometimes we use them in our math games for Jake to count.  And I’ve even caught him using them as rockets and missles to blow up other seashells (despite all of the rockets and spaceships he has in his room).

One seashell that we’ve picked up has a pink inside and looks kind of like a miniature conch shell.  I’m sure someone more interested in the details would look up it’s proper name, but for us, it’s just a pretty shell.  Up until now, it was rare that you find one in tact.  Today, we found the mother load of these shells.  It seems, according to the evidence at the latest fishing camp we explored, that these must house mighty tasty animals as there are literally thousands of shells in piles on the beach.
You never know what you’re going to find, but we always find ourselves looking for that “treasure.”   It looks like we’re heading into different terrain now over here closer to the mainland.  Maybe our idea of treasures will change.  I can’t wait to find out.

9/30/2010 - Crossing Over

We left Bahia de Los Angeles on Monday, making our way across the sea.  About 200 yards out from our destination, our starboard engine croaked.  After some tinkering, Andy determined our fuel pump was burned out.  We decided to head back to BLA since we were still within a day’s trip.  Better to get the parts when you can rather than hope for the best later on.  The next morning we went into town and luckily found the part.  Andy replaced it and we pulled anchor to try again.
Scott on Ulalena saying bye...for the second time.

About an hour out, the port engine died.  This has happened before so Andy thought he knew what the deal was.  Our starboard engine has a booster pump for the fuel, but our port engine is gravity fed.  Sometimes if the day tank gets low, not enough fuel gets to the engine.  Andy transfers fuel and it usually cranks right up.  This was no exception…she cranked right up.

We spent two nights at Isla Partida and now we’re heading across to Isla Tiburon.  It’s the largest island in the Sea of Cortez (and all of Mexico).  Guess what happened on the way?  The port engine died again.  Andy changed the fuel filter and so far, we’re back in business (not much wood for me to knock on in this aluminum boat).

It’s a nice day even if there’s not much wind.  It’s all par for the course.  There’s always something to fix or do on the boat no matter where you are.  When we get to San Carlos though, you can bet fuel pumps are the first thing on our list to buy.

One of the many small fisherman shrines we find as we explore the islands.