Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/24/2010 - Isla San Marcos

In case you haven't caught on, this place is teaming with life.  Andy was able to shoot some more fantastic pictures.  He went for a dive this morning and stayed gone so long I thought he had taken up underwater basket weaving.  In the meantime, Jake and I were sweating our little petooties off while fighting off a swarm of bees... Me? Jealous?  Of course not.    Enjoy!

7/23/2010 - Humbolt Squid

We're told that humbolt squid are found off of Santa Rosalia and Guaymas in large schools.  We were also told that there aren't that many this year.  Before we left San Diego there were several reports of them washing up on the beach around La Jolla.

Imagine our surprise last night as we're anchored off of Isal San Marcos playing with Jake (well, I was napping) on the front of the boat when we saw tons of small bait fish making waves near the shoreline.  Andy got out the binoculars and started hyperventilating...."squid! squid! squid!"  He's been dying to catch a squid ever since he heard they were here.  He grabs his spear, rushes back to the dinghy and takes off.  It turns out he didn't need his spear much... they were literally beaching themselves!  There were hundreds of them jumping out of the water.  He looked like a mad man running around grabbing them with his hands, spearing them when necessary.  It was the craziest thing I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to get my camera until he was already on his way back.  He had a grin from ear to ear and a dinghy FULL of squid ink.  

He ended up with eight of them.  We shared them with the other boats in the anchorage, put a few in the freezer and set some our for lunch/dinner today.  It was also an impromptu science lesson for Jake... dissection of a humbolt squid.  As After much discussion about where the ink sack was, Jake asked him "Why don't they have bones?"  Andy told him he would have to ask the big man that question, he didn't know.  Jake asked, "Who's the big man?"  "God" said Andy.  "Oh, well, I really want to know that so I'm going to ask him."  Knock yourself out.  Of all life's little questions, this one's got Jake all wrapped up.

This morning Andy saw the squid again a little further out from shore and we all got in the dinghy to take a look.  By the time we got there (put shorts on the kid, lifejacket, hat, etc) they were gone.  But we did get to see a manta ray swimming on the surface.  It just swam around in circles as we followed it in the dinghy.  

It looks like our time back at anchorage is working out for us so far!

Friday, July 23, 2010

7/21/2010 - Heart Plugs 101

Mexico isn’t exactly known for it’s healthy cuisine, but we’ve managed to do pretty good so far.  That is, until last night.  For all of my vegetarian friends and family, you may want to skip this post (and any other overly health conscience reader)…I’m afraid you may lose all respect for us.

Santa Rosalia is famous for their hotdogs.  Not just any hotdog.  Their bacon wrapped, deep fried hot dog.  That’s right.  Bacon wrapped, deep fried.  And they serve it on a delicious mouthwatering roll.  They’ll load it down with anything you like, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, onions, salsa, cheese, pickled onions, peppers, the list goes on and on.  After hearing so much about the hotdogs, we went up with Teri and Scott last night and gave them a shot.  They were absolutely delicious.  Now, I’m not a big hot dog fan mind you.  Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t get one down.  But these are out of this world.  If you’re a fellow cruiser and haven’t been here yet, it’s a little stand diagonally across from the Santa Barbara church (they don’t open until 6 or 7 at night and are not open on Mondays).

On our way home, we had another Mexican moment.  Jake stepped in a patch of concrete where they were filling up a hole in the sidewalk.  It kind of happened in slow motion for me…I saw him walking, I saw the cement, but before I could get it out of my mouth, he had already stepped in it and was looking up at me with a look like “ewww…what was that?”  After the initial shock, we got a big laugh…Hey, It’s Mexico!
Last minute runs for provisions today and tomorrow we leave.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7/20/2010 - Santa Rosalia

We made it to Santa Rosalia a few days ago after having a great stop over in Punta Chivato.  In Chivato, there was a super nice hotel with a restaurant overlooking the water.  The whole beach looked to be gringo rentals and was somewhat scarce since it’s the hottest part of the year here. But we met a very nice couple with their son and his girlfriend.  They had flown in on their airplane to the small airstrip in Chivato from Oceanside, CA and were headed for Cabo San Lucas for the next few days.  They invited us to accompany them to the next restaurant for dinner.  After showering back at the boat and getting ready, we began the hike to the restaurant.  We were a little over halfway (showers negated by this time) and a big suburban pulled up and asked if we were headed for the restaurant.  It turns out he was the owner and offered us a ride….IN THE AIR CONDITIONING.  We had a wonderful meal with our new friends and even got a ride back to the dinghy.  A storm came up the next morning and we high tailed it out of there pretty early.  We’re hoping they made it out ok on their plane.  We kept listening and looking but we were headed north and they south.
Hotel with Restaurant on the point

"Gringo" houses lined the beach.  One of the nicer areas we've pulled into.

So here we are in a quaint little town called Santa Rosalia.  It’s not very big but has all that we need…markets, restaurants, bakery, tortilleria, hardware store, and a pool J.  It’s got quite a bit of history according to our guidebooks.  Copper was discovered here in the 1860’s and within a few years, it was being mined.  Eventually the French took over.  The plant was officially shut down in 1986 but a lot of the buildings and machinery still remain.  That was the quick and dirty version where I left out all of the interesting stuff…it’s worth reading up on or if you’re in the area, visiting.  This is also supposed to be the place for the humbolt squid but word is they're not here this year.  No one really knows why.  Very disappointing to the captain of Savannah.  Andy was dying to pull one of those things onboard.  Talk about calamari!

We’ve basically spent our time here with me going into town each morning to slowly get our stores up and Andy/Jake working on the boat (oil changes, battery troubleshooting, etc.).  We eat lunch and in the afternoon we go to the pool to cool off.  It is extremely HOT with very little wind so we try to move as little as possible.  We were able to meet back up with our friends Scott and Teri on Ulalena and are spending a lot of time with them. 
Friday, our week is up and we’re headed out to Isla San Marcos.  We’re told there’s not much between here and Bahia LA (which is our northern most destination at this point) in terms of towns and markets, but lots to see nature wise.  On the anchor seems to be where we enjoy ourselves the most so we’re looking forward to it.
Iglesia de Santa Barbara, a structure of galvanized steel designed by Gustave Eiffel (as in, the Eiffel tower) in 1884.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about our boat lately and living on a boat so I’m working on a blog entry to answer some of those questions.  If anyone has anything they want me to include, let me know!

Friday, July 16, 2010

7/16/2010 - Stranded (well, almost)

I know everyone is dying to hear of a “we screwed it up” story…well, here it is.
The night started with a fantastic bonfire, my favorite music on the iPod and some typical funny Jake moments.  He picks up a huge stick and says “Look mommy!, it’s a perfect stick for whacking chickens!”
Whacking chickens? What do you even say to that?  “Why do you want to whack chickens sweetie?”
“So we can eat them!  They’re yummy!”
Well, if you know me, you know that I feel the need to correct him so he doesn’t grow up thinking that’s how you kill a chicken.  “No sweetie, we don’t whack chickens with a stick, we wring their necks or cut their heads off.”
“Why mommy?”
“So we don’t bruise the meat.”
“Oh, Ok.”  And off he goes.  Have we been in Mexico too long?

Does it look like a chicken whacker to you?

The end of the night comes…way past bedtime, time to go back to the boat…  Andy goes to load the dinghy and guess what he finds?  Nothing.  No dinghy.
I went back to the boat for something earlier and when I came back I beached the dinghy, but forgot to put the anchor out…oops. Tide comes in...dinghy floats away.
Andy swims to the boat (a long way, and on a moonless night) and gets out the spot light and the kayak.  He finally finds the dinghy at the far corner of a neighboring beach.  As he kayaks over there and begins to feel relief, he notices quite a bit of water coming in around his bum.  Hmmm.. he wonders?  Why is my kayak filling up with water?  Oh yeah, Jake likes to play with the kayak.  He must have left the drain plug undone. Water is pouring in…  hurry, paddle, hurry, paddle…. Just as  he’s about to sink in the kayak, he makes it to the dinghy.  We hear the vroom, vroom of the engine and start cheering from the beach.  Yeah daddy!  All things considered, I think Jake and I are pretty lucky Andy came back to get us.

So here we are, safe and sound on the boat…after learning a few big lessons…
1. Don’t let mommy be in charge of the dinghy.
 2. Don’t let Jake be in charge of the kayak.
Which leads to the only logical conclusion...
The captain should have taught us better…

Earlier in the day we were in San Juanico and saw the cruiser's shrine we've heard so much about.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

7/11/10 - Underwater fun

We've been able to do a lot of diving and snorkeling lately which means the head dude in charge has been taking lots of pictures.  We thought we'd share some here....  We're headed off today to an island called Isla Coronados for more beaches and swimming.  Slowly, slowly we make our way north...

7/8/2010 - Kids!

One of the hardest parts about traveling with a child is finding other children for them to play with.  We’ve found a few kids here and there but all of them have been significantly older than Jake and didn’t have a lot in common.  So imagine how happy he was when he met his new friend Savannah (aka ‘Boo’) who just turned six a few months ago!  We altered our plans a bit to spend a few days so Jake and Boo could play together.  Conveniently, Andy also found someone to spearfish with and I found someone to share much needed girl time with.  In the last few days Jake has gotten to swim at the beach, watch movies, do crafts and even eat pancakes on Boo’s boat.  Andy has gotten to spearfish, dive, and act manly with another manly man.  I have gotten to hang out on the beach, get a ‘spa treatment’ complete with sand exfoliation, exchange recipes and gossip (oh yeah, I got to dive too).  This may not sound like all that big of a deal but in reality, it’s very hard to find another boat that suits all of us at the same time.  Needless to say we had a very nice time the past few days with Savannah, Kimberly, Sarah and Elias.  Unfortunately, we are headed in different directions so today we had to say goodbye.  Elias even got up early to spear us a "goodbye fish."  We sincerely hope we meet up with them again along the way.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7/6/2010 - Surprise visit!

After going into town the other day, we were able to finally buy a phone card and call home.  Imagine my surprise when dad told me they were booking a car to drive to see us over the long weekend!
They made it here safe and sound after a 15 hour drive.  They stayed in a beautiful hotel on the Malecon in Loreto.  I believe it was called La Mision.  After spending a long day walking and shopping, Jake and Andy took a dip in the huge pool at the hotel.  Jake can now officially “swim” (i.e. without flippers, mask, lifejacket, wetsuit)! 

We had a real Mexican moment after they finished swimming.  I was supposed to buy Andy some shorts because I forgot his bathing suit and his shorts were wet from swimming.  That way, we could go straight to dinner from his hotel.  On my venture out, I stopped in a bookstore (I know they don’t sell shorts but I wanted to look anyway).  The lady asked me if I needed anything and I asked her where I could find a place that sells men’s shorts, today (it was close to closing time).  I explained the situation and she asked me what size he was and if he was particular.  She went to her husband and explained everything and he returned with a nice pair of blue shorts!  He got them out of his closet and just gave them to me!  So thank you to Janine an Alberto at Baja Books for their generosity.
Yesterday the weather was beautiful (not to hot, a good bit of wind) and we took mom and dad to Candeleros Chico.  Andy went spearfishing and caught us lunch.  We had a wonderful day.  We hated to say goodbye last night but they had a long drive home today. 

The wind has died and it’s back to being hot hot hot.  We’re heading out of Puerto Escondido today and over to an island close by called Honeymoon cove at Isla Danzante where we hope to catch up with our friends on Manta and possibly do some diving.  We’ve enjoyed our stay here but my favorite part is the guy on the boat next to us playing the saxaphone every night.  We don’t know who he is but we get to sit on the front while listening to music echo over the water.  Very nice.

I’m guessing it will be another week or so before we hit a hotspot for the internet.  Thanks to all of you following and hanging with us and our intermittent updates.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

6/30/2010 - Puerto Escondido… civilization again. Sort of.

We left our little paradise yesterday and came to Puerto Escondido.  Some new friends of ours on a trimaran, Manta (also former Navy), guided us to a mooring ball in what they call the Eclipse area here.  There are tons of boats here and the most popular way of staying is on a mooring ball.  We could have been a little more graceful about our entry but now we’re here and we’re within spitting distance of the dinghy dock.  That’s kind of nice considering we’ve had to drive forever at all the other anchorages.
This place is known as a hurricane hole and the next big stop off on the way north.  You can catch a ride or take a cab to a town called Loreto and stock up on food and drink.  Dawn and Terri on Manta have offered us a ride when they go tomorrow so we can get some much needed groceries.  I’ve heard there is a market every Saturday morning so we may catch a cab back on Saturday and check that out.
They have laundry facilities here so today I’m going to hang out there to wash everything we’ve been piling up.  One theory in cruising is that you bring as little clothes as possible because you really don’t need much.  Evidently, our theory is that you bring as much as you can fit on the boat and wear it all because you never feel like doing laundry!  Not much different than our theory on land, I guess.
We’ll be here for the next week so hopefully we’ll have time to catch up with all of our friends and family.  We don’t get internet on the boat, we have to go up to the clubhouse, so please be patient!

6/27/2010 - Is it Saturday or Sunday? Do we care?

We seemed to have lost a day.  As we were listening to the weather report on our SSB radio this morning, they told everyone to have a happy Sunday.  Andy and I both looked at each other….”Is it Sunday?”  I could have sworn it was Saturday.
We have had a fabulous two days.  Yesterday we anchored ourselves at Yellowstone Beach.  Too far away from Yellowstone Park, Andy did the next best thing and parked us at the beach.  It was a beautiful beach with huge cliffs made of yellow limestone.  We snorkeled and walked the beach to find a large seal skeleton washed ashore.  Sad but very educational when you’re trying to teach a four year old.
This morning we woke up and hopped in the dinghy for Andy to dive and Jake and I to snorkel.  It’s become customary for Jake to “scuba dive” with Andy when he comes up, breathing on his spare regulator.  By lunch time, we pulled anchor and headed to a little beach called Caleta Candeleros Chica.  This place is awesome.  Only two boats can fit in here, provided we both put out stern anchors.  We beat another boat in here by about five minutes.  Andy throttled up to ensure we got our spot.  They searched around and decided it was too much trouble, I’m guessing.  Anyway, this spot is gorgeous.   We had a local panga drive up on the beach with about 6 or 8 people enjoying their Sunday afternoon.  One of them was more than curious about our boat and we got to practice our Spanish again.  Andy thought they wanted to swim under our hulls so he said “Sure!”  Before we knew it one of them had climbed onto the boat and ran to the bow.  After asking him to “hable despacio, por favor” (speak slowly, please), we understood that he had never dove off of anything this high.  He made a less than graceful dive right onto his face…ouch!  But he came up laughing and appeared to have enjoyed himself. 
We end the night with a big pot of speghetti and a beautiful sunset.   We are experiencing some really hot wind right now.  I’m handling the humidity in the day time as I’m used to that, but this wind is like being in the middle of a giant oven. We wanted hot…be careful what you wish for!
I’m missing my family pretty big now.  I hope we can share this soon.

6/24/2010 - Cuanto Queso?

So one might ask…how’s your Spanish coming along?  Well, a panga pulled up today trying to sell us some lobster and Andy asked him “Cuanto queso?,”  meaning, “How much cheese?”  So, we have some work to do. What he meant to ask was Cuanto cuesta?  As in “how much money?” (I’m still laughing…..out loud)
Later, we had finally found the tienda (very small store) and we thought we were doing great.  We were getting all the vegetables we wanted, the bread, fruits, etc.  and the guy started talking to us about the “basura.”.  He was talking so fast and we were trying hard to keep up.  We thought he was talking to us about diving (buseo).  There are lots of divers out here and we’ve met a few trying to sell us fish….  It wasn‘t until about 8 hours later we were sitting on the boat and I started laughing.  Andy said “what?”  I said, “he was telling us where we could dump/burn our trash!!”  We both got a big kick out of that.  So the consensus is, we need a little more emersion before we can claim that we “speak Spanish.”

 We were lucky to have a sign pointing our way to the store...

Because this was it....might have missed it.

Getting our groceries.  Quite different from Harris Teeter or Trader Joe's wouldn't you say?

Our new friends from Puttytat...trying to pass us with their spinniker out (they succeeded).

6/22/10 - To Bee or not to Bee?

We’ve been out of LaPaz for a week now and it feels like a month!  We’ve had campfires, gone diving on a local wreck, snorkeled with the sea lions again, and met new friends.  We’ve visited an island with less than 20 people, inhabited for five generations.  We’ve gone through the mangroves and gone grocery shopping at a super mini mart in the middle of a dirt road (emphasis on the “mini”).  Now we’re sitting in the middle of a cove with gorgeous red rocks resting after a morning hike and snorkel.  What do all these things and places have in common?  Bees!  
We were prepared for the gnats, bo bos, no seums, mosquitos, whatever kind of bug you can think of.  We missed the memo on bees.  When we pulled into the mangroves we were all alone as no one wanted to venture into the bugs with us.  When we showed up at the next stop later that day (San Everisto), everyone was sure we got ran off by the no seums.  Nope.  It was the bees.  Evidently they’re very thirsty and they come out to boats looking for fresh water.  But even after drying off the boat and making sure all things wet are dry, here we sit at Los Gatos covered in bees.  I’ve removed all coke cans, beer cans and food wrappers.  They’re still here.  What’s strange is that they aren’t on the land, they come out to the boats.  At night they go away and they return shortly after breakfast.  Maybe it’s the pancakes they’re after?
(Added note:  It’s the 30th of June and Jake and I are sitting in the cabin nursing our stings…Jake was stung by a wasp on his neck at the API office and I stepped on a bee in our room…ouch)
I’m being kind of lazy about the writing and just putting a bunch of pictures out here.  These were all taken over the last week in various different places.  We spent more time at Isla Espirtu Santo, then Isla San Francisco, Isla Coyote, Bahia Amortajada,  San Evaristo, Puertos los Gatos.  All of these places are within 20-30 miles of each other so it makes for nice little day hops.  The sailing isn’t all that great…not much wind, but we’re trying.  We finally figured out how to put up our awning that’s been under our bed for six months and now we have shade.   Wow, we should have done that earlier.  Enjoy the pictures.  Wish you were here.

Not the most flattering pictures yet, but at least he's still taking them!  These were taken on the Fang Ming wreck off of Espiritu Santos.   

Jake and Scott found some sea slugs in the tide pools at Isla San Francisco.

Exploring Isla Coyote.  The locals sell jewelry as part of their only source of income.

Self portrait in the mangroves.

Jake showing his muscles at Los Gatos on the giant red rocks.  Really beautiful place.

Jake's first time snorkeling without a life jacket or wet suit.

Our friends on Ulalena underway.