12-10-07 Departed San Diego at & arrived at about . We motored most of the way but just after we gave up with the motor sailing, flaked & bagged the main sail the wind picked up to mid teens around 11ish so we raised the jib & miz & sailed all the way to the harbor entrada. Wow, we’re in Mexico! The storm that dumped a few days of rain on us up in San Diego had done some major damage to Sergio’s docks & several boats took some big damage; then there are all the boats that look like they’ve been pulled out of a dump but still is their floating water front mansion. We cleared into Mex & all is official. We’ll head out Thursday morning. We went to a local bankerO to get Mex $ & just as we were approching a truck load of Mexican army guys drove quickly up & all piled out briskly with loaded machine guns. Robin’s eye were as wide as saucers & stated that ‘these guys have all the guns from my war time video games. About a dozen heavily armed commandinos took up positions on all four corners of the street with a few guarding the entrada & a few guarding the truck. An hour later another platoon showed up; it must have been pay day for the entire troop as they were in there the whole time we were there & still there after we finished a very long & nice dunch (lunch/dinner:-)
We're getting our cruising groove on as we go. There still hasn't been a lot of spare time to totally unwind but we're getting there. We've had a few mechanical issues, the alternator died in Punta Colinet 65 miles south of Ensenada which we had to go back to repair. Robin talked me into paddling around on our surf boards (my windsurfing board) in the fridgid, cold as California waters & Robin amazed us with his instant ability to stand on his board.While in Ensenada the 2cd time we stayed in Cruiser port instead of anchoring & met some great cruisers that helped us find an alternator repair shop; we also learned the ways of the morning vhf radio net; it was worth the return trip.
We then sailed to San Quintin.
12-22-07 The solar panel issue turns out an angle to the sun characteristic, a certain angle up & down will draw a certain current but the same angle to left or right seems to draw considerably less.
We motored our dingy to shore near a twin light tower & met a fisherman, he knew less English than we knew Spanish which we don’t currently know much at all but was able to carry on an interesting conversation. He gave us eight mini conk sea snails & said they are ‘muwi bano’, later we followed his instructions & had a great happy our meal from their bounty. They next day we found a few dozen periwinkles & a couple small claims which again made a great happy meal. On Christmas eve we went looking for clams, we only found one big one & one medium one but again found about 8 more mini conks; Bobbie made a very tasty sea food chowder. Arriving back to our boat a much larger whale than Humphrey was fondling our boat, lingering around the boarding ladder. This whale we call Mr. Bogart. We circled the boat from a distance & then decided to go off for a bit hoping he would leave. After a while we were getting cold & tired so we approached the boat & again Mr. Bogart was there attempting to mate with our boat. We timed our approach to the boarding ladder & we quickly got on the boat then hoisted up our dingy to the side of the boat. Mr. Bogart continued to rub his barnacles & push the boat around for over an hour. He came back in the middle of the night with his unnerving behavior. Our only concern was that he might damage our rudder, our only venerable component, Bobbie couldn’t sleep well but I was so tired I sleep like the dead. Whale breath, it turns out is very stinky, nauseatingly so. They feed by scooping up huge mouthfuls of bottom crap & it smells worse than any stink we’ve ever encountered; a skunk smells nice in comparison. As I write, Mr. Bogart is pushing us around like a toy, he really likes the anchor chain but I’m not too concerned since it’s 3/8” high test all chain & no rope. The ¾” nylon snubber line which we use as a shock absorber is not much use since Mr. Bogart keeps un hooking the chain hook. Did I mention how stinky he is :-O Robin got to open one of his Christmas presents, a very intense video game which we played on his Playstation 3 game. It draws way more power than our lap top computers but our wind & solar panels allowed us to play for over an hour.
12-25-07 We’ve been having a great Christmas so far, I played poker with Robin with his 500 chip poker set, he learned from his very competent friends & won all my chips. We are finally getting into the cruiser groove mode & I found the time to play my guitar for the first time since I quit work over 7 months ago. We will depart for our next destination tomorrow morning which will ether be Geronimo Island about 35 miles south if the conditions are calm enough, then off to Cedros Island 133 miles south if not; this will be considered an off shore passage as the land cuts way in & we’ll be going somewhat out.
1-1-08 Looking back now: Bobbie made a fabulous Christmas dinner but we were interrupted by Mr. Bogart & before we could finish chewing the last bite we were hauling in our anchor & heading about 4 miles down the way in the dark. We had a very rolley night there as the wind was ether to low to hold us bow into the swell or non existent which caused us to roll a lot side ways to the swells that had been increasing the last couple of days. We took off around the next am. Our plan to stop at ‘Hey-rron-ah-moh’ only if conditions are calm was deceiving, the winds in the last few days prior had been very low & we motored the whole way from San Quintin. GeronimoIsland is only ¾ mile long so the large off shore swells wrapped around both sides & met at our anchorage. At first this was hardly perceivable but grew stronger by evening, by then Robin & I were fully engaged in “Resistance Fall of Man” Playstation 3 game, the wind outside & rolling boat only made for a more intense gaming environment; all was very cool but later sleep was hard to get, we would have been better off by passing Geronimo Island. Looking toward the south side of the island we observed breath takingly large waves crashing over the rocky out cropping; the whole south side was just a maelstrom of violent crashing waves, a sure death to any ship caught there & less than a mile away.
At first light the next morning we made our way out into very large off shore swells that were way out of proportion to the wind, the boat’s rolly/rocking action was very unpleasant. After sailing along in those large swells in low wind we grew tired of the constant whacking of the sails each time the boat rolled back & forth so we turned on the motor. The seas were monstrous, some of the waves caused us to be quite awe-struck, we had to steer over them at about 45deg; going straight on would have big water spraying all over the boat, too side ways to them & the boat would roll nearly on her sides. There came a point when Robin heaved up his first offering to Neptune & our plan to go directly to Turtle Bay was modified for a stop at Cedros Island for an earlier rest stop, a decision which we’d later realized would not give us a very restful sleep with the rolling anchorage that only seems to become rolly after we’ve been asleep for a few winks & not in the mood to haul out & go. Before too long we were able to sail without the motor which is way preferable, the sails help keep the boat from rolling too much but in a down wind sail the boat will rock back & forth anyway. With out a true down wind asymmetrical sail ‘poled out’, we could not sail down wind, at best we could sail not 180deg but 160deg of wind astern,but the lower wind & huge seas caused the sails to depower & flop then bang loudly which forced us to make for a wider angle down wind to give the sails a better chance of staying full. This tactic would make us be traveling in a zig zag course to the left & then to the right of our destination increasing the distance to our mark. Also the huge swells were from a more forward angle to us than the wind was which also made us increase our down wind tacking angles. By night fall we were still continuing this tactic but gradually being able to go closer to the rhube line to our mark, by on my watch we were finally heading straight to our mark with winds 15 to 25 knots the previous day.
Isla Cedros anchorage was trippy in that we had to get about 50 yards away before it was shallow enough to anchor, we set the hook in 60’ of water putting about to ratio of chain, about 360’. With all the wind Robin & I were again able to play a very engaging round of Resistance fall of Man; although the ship was rocking the fate of all man kind was at stack & we had Jto fight on through the game
After yet another near sleepless night we hauled out for Turtle bay at . So far no good sleep at Cedros, Geronimo, San Quintin south & the night before that Mr. Bogart kept us up most of the night as he pushed our boat around; in fact he did so every night increasing his boldness with each night. We had great sailing with perfect broad reach winds & flat seas in the lee of Cedros & put the hook down in TurtleBay in the early afternoon. What a welcome relief to be in the flat calm protection of Turtle bay, the swells there almost nonexistent.
We were finally able to have our trash taken away for a $1 a bag which turns out to be great deal since there is no public place to take ourselves without an adventurous hike true town, so not wanting to become like Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, we paid an 8 year old to take a load & gave a Enreekiee 2$ for 2.5 bags on his boat. He later took our propane tank & filled it which cost $25, normally we’d fill both for $17 but he had to go to the propane guys house on his day off, then to the hardware store for an adaptor….
On new years eve, Robin & I got inspired by Enreekie’s early morning catch of a huge yellow tail fish. I’m a guitar player, not a fisherman so fishing is very unfamiliar to me; I’m very handy with a Hawaiian sling to spear fish while scuba diving but tying new knots & dealing with tangled fishing lines severely tests my patience. It only takes a split second to have a total mess on one’s hands with ether on the two reels I have aboard. So far I’ve not spent one moment learning this art but yesterday I got out the fishing bible & learned an ‘improved clinch knot’ which turned out to be surprisingly easy, I tied on a medium sized lure & Robin & I headed out to the happy hunting grounds to get lunch. I would have been perfectly happy just to be able to troll around & reel the line in without getting it all tangled up. The wind was blowing which made for a challenging dingy ride but Robin skippered the dingy like a pro. Robin has the ability to get serious as an old salt when he’s at the helm of the dingy & as goofy as an 8 year old back at the boat with his Sponge Bob PJ’s & Homer Simpson slippers; he has exceeded my expectations of a crew mate & he’s almost always way up beat & happy despite the hardships & challenges we often face.
Today is the first day of the new year, last night we didn’t hear a peep from the sleepy little Turtle bay town; perhaps the strong wind blotted out the possible noise of the new years celebrations but we’ve noticed thru our conversations with the locals we’ve met that few if any we’ve met parties hard or even drinks; we’ve met no family man that still even drinks any more. So today we were set to leave first thing but the winds has been blowing 20 to 35 all night & morning. Thru the radio’s we’ve learned that these ‘Santa Anna’ winds will continue all day & into the night, dying down by tomorrow/Wednesday. By Thursday So. Cal is expecting the biggest winter storm since 2005, this will cause huge wind & seas from the south. Winds cycle counter clockwise around the low pressure of a storm which is why a northern storm will have southern winds. Turtle bay is protected from all winds but south winds, our next stop will have to be Mag bay some 240 miles south. Although the winds are now blowing strong off shore from the land we feel the swells will be low & the wind waves should not have enough fetch to become too bothersome; we plan to make a straight shot to Mag Bay within the hour, it’s 11am mountain time (we’ve sailed into a new time zone from west coast time) . We are going to check with a fellow cruising boat that has similar sail plans at . We are ship shape & ready to head out, we will reef down our main sail & start with our stay sail, we’ll put out more sail when the winds lowers.
1-09-08 Turned out we had a great sail out of Turtle bay, the very strong winds with gusts to 32knots in the morning settled into a nice 15 to 18 breeze, perfect for sailing until dark, did a bit of motoring & turned off the motor before sunup. The next day after passing by Punta Asuncion the land cuts way in to the east & we lost sight of the land, the ocean became the most deepest blue we’ve ever seen. Gazing into the depths we felt the rapture of the deep, the sun rays formed halos around our head’s shadows & made brilliant patterns traveling towards the depths.
We had motored less than 10 hours the first 24 hours & made water for about 10 hours, however during some busy moments in the night I left the water maker’s controls in the flush mode, even though the unit was turned off it acted like an open faucet slowly draining our main water tank. When this was discovered I switched to our rear tank for dish water & we had the full 22 gallons of pure day tank water for consumption; the rear tank ran dry very soon after since it was nearly empty. Over the next 24 hours we ran the motor & water maker for another 10 hours which brought our main tank water level back up.
We sailed into Santa Maria bay early in the morning amounts several whales, lots of dolphins & seals frolicking around the place. We had to change course several times to avoid running thru the whale pods. We set our hook in a nice calm spot & stayed put for two days & two nights. The water & air was the warmest we’ve seen yet as we took a few jumps in off the boat. Going ashore in our dingy we discover the largest sand dollars we’ve ever seen, even at gift shops. After two days & nights we made our way to mag bay. We hoisted anchor, raise sail in a strong breeze of closed to 20 knots. As we were making maneuvers to tack out of the bay, a panga came along side & offer a gift a lobster. It turned out to be two nice sized live lobsters which we gave them a pack of cigarettes & a Sailing Adventure CD. We named them pinchy one & pinchy two, although they didn’t have pinchers; we put them in a bucket of sea water & Robin had fun playing with his dinner mates. Soon after sailing past the bay’s point rocks our two trolling lines caught a fish each & just after entering mag bay we caught one more. We had a great lunch with two of the fish, froze the 3rd & had the best lobster dinner we’ve ever had.
We anchored the first two nights at Belcher’s anchorage, the sight of an abandoned whale processing facility; now used as temporary housing for the fisherman that use the place as a base camp when fishing the area & area’s beyond. The village 5 miles into the bay at Man of War cove has less than 200 in habitants, the rest of the fisherman come from San Carlos 9 miles further in & other towns further in land. The whaling stations looks like it must have been abandoned at least 50 years ago but still had reminits of the pier where the whaling ships brought in the whales & the cargo ships would later load up the processed whale product. There were many make shift shanty houses made from scrap materials which seemed to be the seasonal housing of the fishermen & their families. We say evidence of baby rockers, propane stoves, a few satellite TV antennas. Many out houses with over whelming stink. There were a few habitats that looked in recent use with bedding, cloths, tooth brushes; the in habitants were probabley due back soon.
After two days & two nights we were ready to leave this road steed of an anchorage. The tidal current each day would push the boat side ways to the wind waves causing the boat to rock back & forth; usually at night which made for some restless nights. This current was so strong it would push our rudder hard over & made disturbing sounds under our bed, so eagerly we set off towards Man of War cove 5 miles into the bay. Along the way our trolling lines caught two fish & after anchoring I caught a 3rd from our smaller fishing pole; at this point it seems I’m doing more fishing than guitar playing which is a good thing since we ran out of meat three days ago.
The port Capatian came aboard to check dispatcios & had a delightful conversation in broken Spanish/English. We happily excepted an offer of coffee & said he could bring us the 40 gallons of diesel we’d need to fill our tanks. Later that night after ‘movie night’, Bobbie turned off the inverter & noticed that dammed cursed pink in the bilge. One of our new fuel tanks now has a leak! This was absolutely bummer sense we’ve already dealt with this problem twice & had new tanks put in, we should be good for at least another 30 years! The custom aluminum tank we had custom made 3 years ago was the culprit, what a let down, this tank was even thicker than the original that last lasted 30 years. It was hard not to show Robin how bummed we were so Bobbie & went top sides to have a puff on a corn cob pipe & a couple of stiff shots just like many old salts before us must have done, we put on our new ‘nadda problema’ faces & assured Robin there’s nothing to worry about; he’s such a gem, he sensed our let down & our challenges ahead & has been an angel of sun shine & pleasantness. So instead of topping off our tanks, first thing the next morning I pumped out about 55 gallons into our other tank which left about 20 gallons; this stopped the dripping fuel, so the leak must be some where in the to half of the tank. We paid the Port Capitain 20 dollars for his trouble, he used his own money & traveled by his panga 18 miles round trip for us. We will find a welder to repair the tank in La Paz when we get there next month, meanwhile we will just run off the new 120 gallon tank liner on the starboard side.
We went into the little town ashore, hoping to buy a few basic food supplies,as the cruising guide books describe there are small stores ashore; that may be the case during a more busy part of the year but now there is no such markets. We did find a very quaint restaurant & had a real nice lunch, we splurged on a lobster & shrimp lunch, basically the only thing on the menu.
Later we dinged to shore where the port Capitain suggested that we’d find good clamming & we indeed filled our bucket with clams. Bobbie made a wonderful clam chowder for dinner with left overs we had for lunch the next day. The locals seem pleasant & warm hearted, most of the kids are charming but we did have one particular kid about 7 years old give us a grow & stuck his toung out at us as he rode his bike past; there must some sort of animosity towards the rich gringos in an area where most struggle day to day. Most panga fisherman don’t even look our way & hardly return our waves; it could be the break neck speed they travel & must keep their eyes focused while using both hands to hold on, or it could be our novelty to them is not as great as theirs to us plus a bit of have/have not animosity. Our meager incomes back home barely put us the middle class but the poorest yatesta gringo is filthy rich to most in poor places; a concept we’ll surly see a lot of as we make our way through out the world. Tonight we’ll have steamed & or BBQ’d clams & early tomorrow morning we’ll depart for Cabo San Lucas, the over priced gringo/tourist town.
1-13-08 Our 165 mile passage from Man of War Cove was a smooth ride. We motored out for a few hours in calm seas then set all sails in a consistent but low 7.5 knot breeze with our two trolling lines out hoping to catch a fresh lunch; a couple hours later, near the shallow opening of Mag bay’s southern opening we snagged a huge fish on the hand line but unfortunately escaped while Robin was pulling him in. Moments later our other trolling pole took hold of the largest to date fish, a plump yellow tail & within a few minuets of reeling him in, he was gutted & in the oven for a quick warm up & a great tasting meal.
Around that night we spotted a huge cruise ship with another trailing a few miles behind. It was kind of hard to determine it’s course without turning on the radar so we hailed them on the VHF radio, they responded & kindly asked us if could change our course slightly as we were indeed on an intercept course. We then switched to another radio channel & had a fun conversation with the ship’s radio man. Their ship, which was so big it appeared to be standing still when viewed at certain angles was actually traveling at 21 knots while we were sailing along at 4 knots.
Around 1am-ish we had to turn on the motor & then I went below for my attempt at sleep but with our Perkins diesel churning away restful sleep is hard to accomplish with the ‘Harley of the Sea’ out doing the loudest of those classic motor cycles. A few hours later I was back on my watch & we set full sails again in steady breeze. I was reading a book about the most successful submarine in WWII, each time they mentioned their radar I hopped up & checked mine, as I read about the phosphorescence trail the sub created in their wake I could look out at our glowing trails of light sensitive sea life in our wake. An hour before sunrise the sky begins to lighten up & in this light I saw numerous 3 to 4’ fish leaping out of the water. Soon after the spouts of whales were making their way & several large sharks were patrolling near our boat, not a good time to fall in.
Cabo is more of a gringo play ground than we could have imagined, about an hour out we were met by wave after wave of sport fishing boats heading out to decimate the fishing areas that currently make Cabo the marlin fishing capitol of the world. Each wave had at least a dozen spot fisher boats, there must have been about 100 boats in all, it all seemed so silly to us. Nearing Cabo was the most astonishing display of condos & resort time shares ever imagined, there doesn't seem like such tourist build up is present in all of California; such a great contrast to dirty Ensenada & the tiny quaint villages along the way down the Baja coast. Rounding the prominate point towards Cabo we couldn’t believe our eyes, at least a dozen parasailing craft with their customers dangling above the water from Parachutes chutes being pulled from speed boats, tourist speed boats traveling at break neck speed, zillions of jet skiers churning up the normally calm waters, glass bottom boat panga ripping along, speed boat pulling giant inflatable water toys with large pink skinned tourests holding on for dear life. We anchored near a huge mega yacht with a fancy helicopter & the Princess-pool cruise ship which was not anchored but in constant engine maneuvers to stay in place. We attempted to enjoy the view but with the jet skiers churning up the waters around us causing waves that sounded as though the jet boats themselves were hitting our boat, we gave up & decided to flee to shore. Now we’ve brought the dingy out & installed it’s motor in some pretty rough waters with huge swells running but this was more like being in a flushing toilet bowl, a series of ‘rude waves’ cause such an un-natural motion I end up smashing my forehead into the ship mounted dingy motor opening up a nasty gash which was later to become fauter for some strange looks from the shore folk.
The next day we joined the tourist rage of parasailing, we found a modern jet boat that can take up two riders at a time so Robin got to go once with me & once with mom, it really made his day. We had only planned on staying two days & two nights at the over priced marina but there was no slips available at the $120 a day rate so we’ve been anchoring & spending that money ashore on restaurants & the parasailing; we plan to head out in two more days.
We went to town for some supplies & met all the info people with “all the information you need”, & ”… WeJ“’we’ve got great deals, but for You took the tequila shop guys offer of over $100 bucks worth of booze, a free lunch & a $100 dinner ticket to listen to a 90 minuet time share presentation. We had our best meal ever at Ola Ola’s on the waterfront, expensive but the best steak I’ve ever had, Robin’s best cheese burger & Bobbie loved her fish dinner. The next night we drove our dingy a short distance to the beach & had dinner on the beach with our $100 dinner ticket, Robin got to roast marshmallows on an open fire; a great time was had. The last night in Cabo we found ‘the place where the locals eat’ & had steak & lobster dinner for $15 each including an appetizer.
Our first stop will be at Los Frailes, featuring the one of the pacific ocean’s rear living coral reefs.
1-15-08 We departed the Cabo zoo about Motoring the first hour then had a great sail nearly the rest of the way & made water all along the way. When we were about 45 minuets out of Los Frailes the wind dropped to low to sail in before dark so we ran under power however after about 15 minuets later the motor just died. We thought perhaps we had gotten a line wrapped around our prop, a common problem but there was not lines aft & the prop shaft was turning while we sailed slowly. I bled the fuel lines up to the fuel distributor with no luck, then replaced the motor’s fuel filter & bled the lines again with no luck; we assumed the worst, perhaps a motor replacement in La Paz. In very light winds we sailed our way towards Los Frailes against a head wind & current, we set our anchor at ; it was an achievement to do so in such light winds in a 48,000 lb boat. After a couple of days we got some info thru our ham radio that we should try to bleed the lines further up stream. I read the 32 year old motor manual on this & bled the lines up to the high pressure fuel injectors, at this stage the throttle is set to full while the engine is cranked over. Well low & behold there was bubbles at first then when the fuel streamed out without bubbles the good ol’ Perkins fired right up; there was much celebration that day on 1-19-08.
The first morning after arriving in Los Frailes, we weren’t going to let something like a $30,000 motor replacement & two months of installing work possible ahead of us keep us from enjoying this anchorage near the Sea of Cortez’s only living coral reef & we enjoyed a fascinating snorkeling swim 100 yards from our boat on shore. The water was a bit rough so Robin didn’t like trying the snorkel but was like a fish with his mask & flippers. Later at happy our Robin used the binoculars to read the boat name of Amadeus of Ventura so we hailed them over the VHF, turns out we knew each other from Ventura before they headed south in 2005; we invited them over for a nice dinner. The next day we dingy’ed way over near the living coral reef, landing on a beach with a series of palatal sun shades & enjoyed great snorkeling, then we dingy’ed into a daring rocky cove with just enough sand to land the dink. There we experienced the clearest water’s we’ve even been in, abounding with lots of tropical fish. Robin was having the time of his life & soon he was ready to use the snorkel…he’s hooked. The next day we took a daring hike up the Los Frailes mountain 755 feet nearly straight up, Robin was brave enough to make it up all the way despite a bit of grumbling towards the top; it was a bit un nerving near the top :-O but he cheered up all the way down, hopping rock to rock like a monkey. The next day (yesterday) we got the motor running & celebrated the whole day. We were going to leave today but wanted to snorkel again at the coral reef, yesterday the winds were blowing 20 to 30+ knots so we stayed in the boat. The strong northerly winds that had been blowing for the past few days are due to subside today & tomorrow, we will be heading out at first light tomorrow on 1-21-08 for Murertos Cove, ‘cove of the dead’, but developers are changing the name to Bahia de los Suefios, ‘Bay of the Dreams’. Originally named for the large weighted ‘dead heads’ used to moor boats way in the past. Just around the corner of Murertos is La Ventanna, where our old windsurfing shop buddies have a windsurfing/kite sailing shack they call a resort; we hope to make our way there & learn to kite sail. We’d like to bring the boat real near there & spend a couple of weeks but the cruising guide books describe a very windy & wavy area… we’ll take a van ride over & check it out.
Well, here we are in Murertos Cove & I’ve got a lucky wifi connection thru a very small private resort; it’s very rustic & remote. The motor failed again on the way but this time we knew what to do. Some how air was getting into our fuel line, I could see bubbles appearing in the clear glass of the Racor pre filter unit. Turns out the fuel line pressure gauge I installed must not have had the perfect fit, I changed the pre-filter & replaced the pressure gauge with the Racor’s original Tee handle & did not see any more bubbles & motored the whole 47 miles with no further problemas.