We stayed in Marina Costa Baja for the first 10 days, it was quite a fancy place packed full of mega $$ yachts.They had wired internet with supplied modem; we were so busy with the fuel tank, roller furling sail & the huge to do list that I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of that great internet connection.In the month long stay at Marina de La Paz the wifi connection was a bit tough to get inside the boat & even outside on top of the boat my normal windows outlook email could not send email, although receiving email was working :-<
In Costa Baja we naively went for dip in a fancy beach side pool & Jacuzzi after they were closed.The pool that was available to the boaters was nice but not heated & very cold.We had been out cruising for over two months & haven’t had a warm water shower; our best camp solar shower which barley got the water hot on those cloudy windy days blew over board halfway down & the sea water was still quite numbingly cold.We were looking forward to spending time in the clean non sea water pool but it was so cold we should have been in our wet suits; in fact the sea water at Ballanderas was warming than the pool.So after naively enjoying the beach side pool & Jacuzzi the first night, we then strode into the place like we owned it the next, ordered drinks & had a great time talking to the other jacuzziers.It wasn’t until the day after that when we were told by the manager that the pool/bar & Jacuzzi was exclusively for the the condo owners, other wise a $60/day/person fee was required:-OOh well, it was good while it lasted.
Robin met a brother & sister there, Grant & Gracey aged 10 & 7, Gracey turned 8 a few days later & Robin created a nice card with a hand written note & gave her a nice stuffed animal dog.She was elated & brought the stuffed pup around for days.Their boat Wind Dancer, a Catilina 36 coastal cruiser had been pumped up for world cruising; they set out for the Marquises with a number of other boats mid March.
While departing our slip in Costa Baja we had an 18 knot breeze blowing side ways to our boat & slip.With a mega $$ yachton the slip behind us we were afraid of getting too close & didn’t get far enough away from our slip & boats so we had to fend them off with the strong breeze pinning us against them.We manage to put a small scratch on a power boat next to us which will cost us around $500 bucks to have repaired; we’ll have to go back & settle that mess when we get back to La Paz.
We then arrived at Marina de La Paz the wind was blowing about 15 knots with a very strong moving current.We had to get into our slip which required a 180 deg turn in a very short space.Our boat’s prop wash allows us to make good left turns by using the prop’s tendancy to move the boat’s rear to the right in reverse, however the strong current & wind did not allow this to happen.We tossed out dock lines to some helpful folks & was able to get pulled into our slip.When we left that slip after a month we arranged to have the marina’s panga help pull us out so we wouldn’t repeat the unfortunate departure we had in Costa Baja & something we will ask for any other time we can.We will also want to use our own dingy to help move the boat around into other tight slips.
A day or two after getting into our slip we met a bunch of other kid boats & was invited to a beach party at the Mogote peninsula.It was great fun for the adults & the kids got to spend the night in a tent; it was like the ‘lord of the flies’ :-OThe parents had so much fun without the kids that we allowed them to spend another night on the beach.On March 1st Robin had his 9th birthday, we invited a number of other boat kids for a hot dog BBQ & a walk out to the Serpentaria, a reptile museum; the kids had a blast.Robin received a very nice skim board that we ordered from the internet & we dinged the armada to the beach to play.
La Paz had their yearly ‘Carnaval’ for a week & we enjoyed the festivities.There were lots of scary rides, not that the rides were all that terrifying but their construction & maintenance was disconcerting.Bobbie & I bought tickets to ride a Farris wheel but the thing got stuck a few times while loading the people ahead of us & ‘the fix’ was a long series of banging on the machinery until it sort of started working again…we chickened out & got our pesos back :-O
We’ve been in La Paz now for close to 6 weeks now.We’ve gotten a bunch of work done, we’ve ordered a bunch of supplies that will take 2-5 weeks to get here, so we’ll be exploring the near by islands while we wait.
We’ve removed the leaky fuel tank by removing the 5’x5’ teak & holly floor & the floor bracing, had it repaired, reinstalled & filled with diesel; three weeks later still no leaks.The fresh water day tank which is supplied by our water maker or filled with 20 gallons of bottled water needed to be removed as well.The one good thing about the bad tank issue is that after removing the pure water tank I discovered a hole on the top of the tank, the long bolt that was just above the tank holding the floor down eventually pushed it’s way thru the top of the tank; I grinded the bolt short & repaired the hole.
We’ve ordered a new roller furling unit which rolls the front sail around the forestay.We have a connection to get a used sail to install with this new roller furling unit.Currently we are still using the original 32 year old head sail which we feel we should replace before crossing the big pond (month at sea) this time next year.
The wind generator’s thick wires had been smacking inside of the mizzen mast all along the way, perhaps this action at a 1000 times a day would eventually short them out, certainly drive us crazy with the disturbing sound so I was able to surround the pair with coiled plastic wiring wrap; it seems to have done the trick.
I’ve installed a total of seven fans through out the boat to be ready for the hot summer.There’ one in the motor room, two in Robin’s room, two in the settee area & two in our back bedroom.
I ran a new circuit off of a separate breaker for most of the new LED lights & the new light & fans in Robin’s room then installed the last of the LED lights plus the stove’s 12 volt solenoid now has the new circuit wiring.
The boat’s zincs are all replaced with new & spares are now aboard.I’ve got to keep an eye on this, they seem to expire within a month while putting on the miles.After 6 weeks in marina slips the zincs are in great shape.I now have a big zinc I connect to ship ground which I can toss out in the water while at a slip.After 6 weeks of not sailing & being slip bound the zincs were in great shape.Zincs are required to save your ship’s metal parts which are exposed to the sea water & stray electrical currents that find a path to & or from your boat’s power source thru the ground system.These zincs have typically lasted 3 to 4 months in the Ventura slip but would completely disappear while putting on the 500miles a month while making our down here; the constant sailing must be why they’ve disappeared so fast.??
We got a Mexican cell phone early on our visit to La Paz – it ain’t cheap:-OSo I just got hooked up with Skype the internet phone so when we get back from our trip to the islands in three weeks we’ll try to put out a lot of callsJ
I’ve replaced the freshwater foot pump with our new spare & bought a rebuild kit.
Oiled the trolling fishing pole & bought a rod holder for it to use for trolling off the boat while sailing.Of course while oiling the Penn Senator after unscrewing a knob to oil the inner works, a clock like spring mechinisum went ‘towoing’…Now I must fully take this ‘clock’ apart & fix it:-Owith out a mechanical drawing :-OBut after removing a dozen screws the part was put back into place & the trolling pole is back in action.
We enjoyed riding our bikes through the town here & had a few cool kayak excursions while here.We were able to lock our bikes on the dock & quickly be off to town or to just have a nice ride along the 5 mile long Malicai, a cool bike way/pedestrian walk way with beautiful bronze sculptures along the way, dotted with sidewalk cafes for that quick bite to eat & a cold cervasaJThe Malicai ride was fun, however on those long & dangerous excursions to find special items through the busy town streets were really taking a gamble with one’s life.Even though I’ve been run over by a car as a young kid, I spent many years of my youth dodging traffic on my bikes, but this was a bit too much of a challenge; most cars don’t even slow down for stop signs & most drive their cars like they stole them or they think they’re the next ‘Ricky Bobby’ :-OAnother challenge is that half the streets do not have their names posted & most people give directions so generally that there’s a good chance you’ll never find the place you’re looking for; but it’s still nice to be riding the bikeJ
Bobbie & I found a few gigs to play our music.There was an open jam the first Wednesday we were in Marina de La Paz at Ceow Melanos, then two acoustic jams then we were able to play two concerts on our own which were well received at packed house each night.They want us back when we get back to La PazJ
We’ve got all our toys aboard & now have to finish prepping the boat for our departure out of the Marina de La Paz in three more hours so I’ll fill in the blanks later when I can catch up.
I’ll try to up date the web site when we get back & up load the many photos.
One of the many projects done in La Paz that went un-reported was the construction of our solar shower.We only have hot water for our built in boat shower when we are plugged into a marina’s shore power which supplies 120 volts to our ship.Our boat runs on 12 volts thru the battery bank which we keep charged up thru two 135 watt solar panels, a wind generator & the 100 amp alternator on the motor.Our normal power requirements are maintained by the sun & wind but if we power up Robin’s Playstation which draws 23 amps plus the 4 amps or so the sound systems grabs to output the deathly roars of invading aliens…then we need a lot of wind power or run the motor.We generally move from one anchorage to another so far every 3 to 6 days & even if we sail to the next anchorage we still use the motor enough while hauling & setting the anchor to fully charge the playstation deprived batteries.
Oh yea, the solar shower…I studied a lot of designs including a bunch given to me by my friend & ‘hub master’ (the guy that fatefully forwards all my friends these updates) Ron.We pondered many efficient designs but I settled on one of simplicity, I constructed a simple ½”plywood box 8”x 16” x 16” with a clear plexi glass top & a garden hose faucet which connects to of course any hose & attached a shower head.I fiberglassed the plywood & installed a 4” access lid to fill the box with water.Well, it’s not yet spring time mid March here in La PazMexico & the solar shower is making damm hot water even with a towel over most of the box; without the towel the water is scaldingJIt will have to be completely covered by summertime.The best tip we got was to use a bug sprayer!For about $20 bucks you’ve got the most efficient use showering water possible.The nearly 2 gallon jug has a pump to give pressurized water thru a copper sprayer with adjustable mist to jet spray.It’s great to cool down with & rinse off the sea water after the many dips in the sea needed to keep cool but to really have a nice shower the solar shower is working out fine.The solar shower became high on the list of ‘must do’s’after our best camp solar shower went over board during some very high winds late at night on a rare night the solar shower was empty & weightless:-OMy crew will put up with a bunch of ‘the tough stuff of cruising’ but having a hot shower is essential for a non mutinous crew JSo it’s good to have that item checked of ‘The List:-O’
We finally escaped the pull of the marinas & have sailed out to the near by ‘Isle Espiritu Santos’ (holy spirit).We had an easy exit out of Marina de La Paz thanks to the marina’s talented mini tug boat service.With an outboard motor mounted mid ship on a panga, they were able to pull our bow around in the full 180 degree turn to exit the marina with out a moments worry of bumping into one of the many expensive boats.We motored out into the channel, raised our sails & enjoyed a relaxing low wind sail to Isle of Espiritu Santos.
These islands were formed by a volcano long before the time share properties were thought of; the lava fields with their high vertical cliffs revealed a marvelous array of rock formations uniquely forming the various layers of volcanic flows.A Labyrinth of volcanic bubble tubes formed some awesome sculpted rock as view from a kayak or dingy, or even swimming along the edge water.
The water so clear when we anchored it was like we were in a swimming pool, one could clearly see our anchor set in 17 feet of water but after a few days the appearance of some clear/fussy things increased in population that the water’s over all clear ness began to get cloudy.While snorkeling we felt a mild stingy sensation on some of our un-wet suited parts:-O
I took a long kayak ride out to a near by islet the 2cd day here while Bobbie was giving Robin his school lessons.It was nice to have a bit of solitude & settle into the groove of this new life style.For years I’ve enjoyed doing things that sort of prepped me for the glorious day I could quite my job & go cruising.It was almost a meditation of visualizing how cool it would be to finally be at one with nature, life & one’s self but surprisingly so far there hasn’t been much time to ‘sit under palm trees & contemplate the universe’, as a dear friend of mine would guess is what I’d be doing.Of course the 4 years of preparing the boat for this world cruising expedition was a mariton of boat work with the last few months spent frantically getting the last minute things done, deciding what must be done before leaving & what could possible done along the way, making as sure as one could to get the safety things done, the charts all acquired & stowed… Then in a whirl wind of events finally leave the dock & sail off to the great un known, taking my family off to sea where none of us has gone before.As we sailed along wondering if we were really prepared for what ever would come our way.In the first two months saw huge seas, big winds, whales having their way with our boat, shooting stars by the score,taking our late night watches with a million stars all around, seeing the phosphoresces of large fish racing under the boat at night, 30+ winds & building seas, tranquil passages so far off shore the ocean was a rapture of clear deep water…Breathless…the journey has been breathless & spending six weeks in the marinas was also breathless with getting the boat ship shape & preparing for the up coming hot summer & knowing we’d better order the next two years of home schooling for Robin & those expensive electronic charts for the other half of the world we’ll be sailing into in less than a year.So it’s time that we catch our breath & get our groove on… & we’re starting to unwind & feel at ease.
We haven’t caught any edible fish since MagBay.I caught a strange fish that we thought could be of the puffer fish family, which is highly poisonous but a local fisher man said ‘it wasn’t a puffer but don’t eat it, it’s bad for you.’ Robin & failed at catching any fish on our 2cd day at the anchorage but scooped up a dead puffer fish.Puffer fish are always smiling, even when their puffed up & dead…they’re so cute JStill no fish on the 3rd day ether, I’ll have to try my luck with the Hawaiian sling & snorkel if we want meat on the menu:-O
The water visibility in Candelara anchorage was as clear as a swimming pool, each day it became more & more greenish.Their was fuzzy/clearish things floating in the water & becoming more prevalent as the days went by. These must be a sort of jelly fish as a slight stingy sensation is sporadically felt on the bare skin; even when windsurfing while in the water.
On the day I was going to try to poke a few fish with my Hawaiian sling we decided to move to Partita anchorage but each day there the wind was often blowing 20 to 30 knots & the water was getting greener & greener.After a few days there I tried out my windsurfing but the wind was so up & down that I spent most of the time in the water waiting for the strong gusts to come, all while floundering in the green water & feeling the faint but disturbing jelly fish stings on my lower legs.
The day before, after waiting for the promised wind to fill in I got impatient & set out in the kayak,of course moments after setting out the wind came in & blew 15 to 27 the entire 2.5 hours I was out… I got a good work out though & trailed a trolling lure to try to get that fish.We haven’t caught an edible fish since leaving MagBay.I’ve been told by two different cruisers that ‘the lure’ to get is the ‘Mexican Flag’, it is plastic streamers the colors of the Mexican flag… go figure J
While I was out trying to windsurf, Bobbie kayaked to shore & hiked up the hillside.She came across a sort of cave or dugout living place from ancient times.There was one large room about 15’x15’ with two lofts with foot holds dug in the walls to climb up to them.She saw blackened areas where their fire was made.In the times of European ‘discovery’, the Indians in this region lived off of the abundant oyster & clam beds that proliferated in abundance.There is quite the evidence of these vast giant clam, mussel & various types of large shell fish found in the low lying beach areas; these shell fish beds we found in the soil over 10 feet thick which being eroded by seasonal rain run offs.There must be layers of shell fish dating back 500 years or possible much more.
It is always interesting to watch the pelicans fly above the water & dive for fish.The rarely seem to miss their target.Above the turquoise waters, their lighter colored bellies reflect the turquoise waters below.Birds in general, being the descendants of dinosaurs are now seen hunting in the same fashion as their pre-historic ancestors.
The first day we took a dingy ride to the beach where, at high tide one could cross over to the other side of the island.Robin tried out his skim board where there is a lot of thin water to do his thing.We have often been cautioned about sting rays in the shallow waters.One should were stout, high topped reef walkers & shuffle their feet as they walk in hopes that the ‘easily disturbed’ sting rays will just flutter off & away.I’ve met a number of folks that have been hit by the sting rays poisonous barb tails; they say it’s very very painful for the first 2 days & then very painful for the next two weeks:-OVery hot water is the only way to attempt to neutralize the poison but pieces of the barbs are often left in the wound which must be painfully removed :-OThe sea seems to have it’s share of ‘Ying & Yang’, bitter & sweet, pleasure & pain.
Today, 03-19-08we are set to head out for the next anchorage, Ensenada Grande just a few miles north of here on the Isla Partida.Ensenada means creak & granda means big.It’s again blowing 10 to nearly 30 knots so we are just doing biz as usual, Robin’s doing his home schooling with teacher mom & I’m catching up on this ship’s log then I’ll do some odds & ends around the boat.I have to cut a piece of chain down to about 20’ & attach it & the spare anchor line to our spare anchor which we have tied to the aft rail.It’s good to have a second anchor ready to deploy in a moments notice.The 3/8” chain weighs about 3.5lbs/foot so when I tried to put 100’ of chain in the dingy, along with the 200’ of anchor line & the big anchor, it was quite the struggle to row out & set it.Cutting it down to fifty feet was still way too much weight, so 20’ should be a handy amount.I’ve got the chain cut down to 20’, hooked up to the 45lb CQR which is tied to the aft rail with the chain nicely stowed within the aluminum flopper stopper plates & the chain is connected to about 200’ of5/8” three strand rode.
Robin & Bobbie kayaked the first day where Robin discovered a bunch of large crabs.He was so excited about going back with me to hunt a few down.The nature of these crabs are to skitter away quickly & find a crack to hide in; I thought it would be futile but a good way to spend some time with Rob but we managed some good team work & landed three crabs which were excellent eating the next day; they stayed happy & alive in a bucket in the cockpit.
We met a couple that heard about us playing at Ciao Melano’s but missed us, so we had a nice private concert on our boat along with David & his biz friend.Dave is an interesting fellow with lots of cool stories & a good story teller to boot; ’but do ya play any sport with a ball man?”. Dave has invented a peddle-less bicycle that suspends the rider in a seat harness & allows one to run without the harsh pounding, an excellent way of low impact workout.Dave has been addicted to running but had injured his knee; the ‘Glide Cycle’ idea was born.Dave can ‘run’ 30 miles by day & still not be too beat up to dance all night.
We saw a big sea turtle surface by the boat a few times, it was cool; the turtles are on the come back, a good thing too because they love to eat jelly fish.
There was no wind when left Ensenada for San Francisco Isla, so we motored for about 4 hours & anchored at the hook.Robin met a couple of nice little girls his age, they played quietly together, quite the difference when the next day he met to boys his age…you could hear them from way across the bay.Their father is an avid free diver, he has taken special free diving training & can now free dive to over 116’ & can hold his breath for over 2 minuets.I thought the brain dies after 2 minuets but he stated that the world record is about 10 minuets.The gal that taught the class could swim down to 365’ on one breath on her own fin power, not with a sink weight.I’ve been diving, snorkeling & free diving forever but have never even heard of this hard core stuff.There is a whole science of the breath, the co2, oxygen saturation, hemoglobin’s…Basically by breathing in for 1-2 seconds, holding for 1-2 seconds then slowly releasing the breath over 10 seconds; repeat for 5 minuets & you’ll be ready to blow out your birthday candles. These divers use huge fins, about 3 feet long & Alex has a spear gun that is about 5’ long.I could get a few small fish with my Hawaiian sling spear down to a max of about 25’ but Alex was bagging huge fish at about 30 to 40 feet.Where I could barely reach 25’ for a few seconds, Alex would calmly reach 30 to 40 feet & hang out for a minuet & a half.Looks like I’ll need to get my old spear gun fixed up & get a larger one, learn how to breath…then not breath :-O
Alex bought a huge yellow tail from a panga fisherman for $10 & gave us a large bag of fillets.Then we went hunting where he bagged a few very large fish & I nabbed a few smaller ones.The next day he took the kids out fishing & bagged a three foot yellow tail!I went over to their boat for a good filleting lesson; Robin got to get out of some home schooling to learn a bit of filleting as well & then on to playing with his new friends Alex & Chris on Sea Fortuna.Alex soon set off to snorkel a rocky cove around the other side of the small Isla with the family.While I was getting ready to follow a French family pulled up with an extra large fish they just caught with a spare gun, so with no room in their freezer we scored another; I put my newly acquired filleting skills to test, turns out filleting is easier than gutting the fish & a lot less messy.Another deep free diver with a large spare gun & very long flippers; looks like I’ll need to get with the deep water free diving in order to bag the bigger tasty fishJAfter filleting the big fish I dingy’d over to the rocky cove & did some snorkeling just to check out the new area while Robin did a little snorkeling but mainly goofing with his new buds.That late afternoon we let the kids play on our boat while the adults had cocktails on their sport fishing boat Sea Fortuna; we all had a great time.The next day Alex & I did a bit more snorkeling around the other point, not as rewarding big fish wise but the under water rock formations were very cool.Later that night we got a chance to play our music for Alex & Julie while the kids played on their boat.
The next day I took a great hike up to the cliffs & took a bunch of spectacular pictures.I climbed up to a majestic rocky pinnacle that I saw the day before from snorkeling the rocky cove below.I manage to climb above that big pinnacle.A bit further I could see our next anchorage on San Jose, Behia Amortajada, which we sailed off to when I got back down the cliffs.On one 3-28-08 Sea Fortuna buddy boated over with us & let Robin ride along.
Once anchored we took our two dingys around the outside point & entered a lagoon thru a very shallow cut which we had to pull up the motor & row.I had the three kids & the three adults were in their 11’ Boston Whaler.Inside the lagoon we found the canal that cuts through to the other side of the island.On the way out thru the other side the water got thin but by putting the wheels down I was able to power thru.That late afternoon we stranded the kids on our boat & had drinks on their boat; we’ll all miss having kid boats around.That night we were formally introduced to the infamous ‘no-see-ums’, a tiny gnat like insect that secretes an acidy ooze that burns & annoys; every one got to experience that new adventure:-OLooks like we’ll be covering all the ports & hatches with bug screens very soon after departing La Paz for our voyages up the ‘Sea’.
After only two nights in San Jose, Behia Amortajada we fled the ‘no-see-ums’ & sailed back to Espiritu Santos to a new anchorage ‘Playa le Bonanza’.We hiked to a cliff peak & checked out the view.The land there is pretty harsh.There are shells from a time when the sea’s where higher; a strange desert place.
The next morning before we had gotten out of bed I heard a dingy motor up to our boat.We had been the only boat in this desolate anchorage so what are the odds that our friends from Ventura had come in & paid us a visit.Jeff & Ann had given us many valuable tips on cruising Mexico from their previous cruise there a few years back.They were set to wave us off on our cruise but while we were delayed waiting for a new fuel tank, Jeff got PO’d at his job & told his boss to shove it & they sailed south just two weeks before us.We look forward to seeing them in La Paz, we’ve got a bunch of catching up to do.After I took another cool hike over looking the anchorage we set sail back to La Paz.
4-2-08We’re back in La Paz, this time we’re anchoring out in the La Paz channel; it’s nice being out away from a marina.Robin’s 4th & 5th grade came in from Calvert home school & my e charts have arrived thru complex & iffy Mexican mail barrier.The roller furling unit has been delayed three additional weeks but no fault from down here in ‘mon-yona-ville’.We’ll stay for a few days & spend a few more days out at near by anchorages.We should be set to sail north up the ‘Sea’ to spend the summer & hide from the hurricanes at Behia de Los Angeles.There are numerous anchorages & the best hurricane hole in the ‘Sea’.
4-7-08We’ve pulled into Costa Baja to settle some biz, fill up the fuel & water tanks, clean the salt off the last month’s fun & let Robin swim in a chlorinated pool & I can make the web site updates with their lighting fast internet connections hereJ
We’ll head out to a few new anchorages ‘monyona’ & monyona’….