04/22/2013, Loreto, BCS, Mexico
After a couple of days of being stuck on the boat, because the anchorage was too rough to get into the dinghy, we rented a car with our friends John & Anita from Hilbre. We went to Loreto, to see the oldest surviving mission in Baja California (founded in 1697), that was the source of all subsequent missions. There were numerous earlier missions that closed because of numerous problems, including recalcitrant natives.
We had an enjoyable ride into the mountains, though we were surprised to find the road washed out in numerous places, presumably from the hurricane that hit the area last summer. After the trip into the mountains to see the mission, we went to the small, but beautiful, town of Loreto for provisions. The photo shows us having lunch with our friends from Hilbre at an outdoor "palapa" restaurant, where Vicki & I had fish tacos - three tacos for$5. Yummm!
To save money we rented a very small car. We loaded the car down with provisions, water, dinghy gas, etc., far beyond what the designers intended. It bounced around like a bumper car on all the bumps and curves in the road.
Guess what time it was when we finally arrived back at Adesso, with a bag of fresh limes? "Margarita Time", of course!
It is a Wonderful Life - On Adesso!
04/21/2013, Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
A cruising family from Seattle, with two teenage girls, came into Puerto Escondido today, on a sailboat called "Puddle Pirate." They selected a mooring buoy and tried to connect to it, but the Norther was already winding up and creating problems. We hoped in the dinghy and went to help. By the time we arrived, the older teenage girl, threw a kayak into the water and hopped in, paddle to the buoy and wrested with the tangle rope. After she done all the hard work, I came with a knife and cut an offending line. After they were secure, we came to introduce ourselves. The younger teen took our dinghy line and confidently secured it. Then when the adults left a hole in the conversation, she introduced herself. So mature! I am continually impressed by the cruising kids we meet. These girls are so competent and confident, doing important tasks that impact their family's safety. Cruising is a great experience for kids, and we often wish that we could have done it when our children were small.
Cruising kids learn that their actions have consequences, not just for them but for the whole family. They are usually standing watch at sea, around age 8-9 with an adult nearby. By the time they are teens, many are standing night watches by themselves. They are home schooled (I mean boat schooled) in about 2-3 hours/day and have no trouble succeeding in college when the time comes.
As predicted on the Sonrisa SSB net, the "Norther" as it is called hit with enthusiasm, bringing winds to 37 knots in the anchorage and a sea of rolling whitecaps. Vicki captured one gust on the wind speed indicator (see photo).Instead of being anchored, as usual, we are tied to a mooring buoy. We have a heavy anchor and we have learned to trust it. Now we are tied to a buoy maintained (or not) by some unknown person, and hoping it is solid. So, we were up several times to check the mooring.
We were sound asleep at 0300 when I awakened with a start. I thought I had heard someone on the radio, on our usual hailing channel, saying "Pan Pan. We are on the Rocks!" A "Pan Pan" call is like a "Mayday" call, but without the imminent threat to life. We jumped out of bed and grabbed the radio. We heard nothing more. We looked outside and could see nothing amiss, so eventually we went back to bed, thinking I had been dreaming.
The next morning we learned that our neighbors, Puddle Pirate, had in fact, been on the rocks. The line attaching them to the mooring buoy had chaffed through and the wind blew them onto the breakwater. Fortunately, for Puddle Pirate, some other cruisers had responded to the call and went to their assistance. Several people were on the deck and on the rocks, fending off, and three outboard dinghy's pulled Puddle Pirate free from the rocks. Of course, the teens, Gabby & Rose, were up on deck handing lines and doing their part. After learning of their close call we felt bad that we had not been more proactive, instead of writing the experience off to a bad dream. When we talked to them later that day, we learned that we didn't hear a repeat of the "Pan Pan" call because the skipper, Lew, had changed from the casual hailing channel to the emergency channel (as he should have) and called numerous times. We usually keep the radio on at night in case of emergency. Perhaps we should monitor both channels.
Even when it is stormy....
It's a Wonderful Life - on Adesso!
04/20/2013, Puerto Escondido, BCS, Mexico
After another night of 18-25 knot winds in the anchorage, and multiple awakenings at night to check the anchor, we decided to leave Bahia Agua Verde (Green Water Bay) and go to Puerto Escondido (Hidden Harbor). We listen to the "Sonrisa" (Spanish for "smile") net every morning, on the Single Sideband Radio. The winds were forecast to change from the south (from which we were sheltered in this anchorage) to the northwest. We were not protected from winds from the northwest, so it was clear that was time to leave. We pulled up anchor and went 24 miles to Puerto Escondido, a harbor that is completely surrounded and is a good place to run from storms.
On the way out of Bahia Agua Verde, we passed closely by "Roca Solitaria" (Solitary Rock). I think it looks like a big breeching whale (see photo). Vicki says it reminds her of something else. You can judge for yourself.
The winds were fluky. First coming from the northwest, then from the southwest, and then they just dropped. So we motored and used the opportunity to run the watermaker and fill our tanks with fresh water. When we arrived we found that Voyager and Sarah were already there, as were our friends John and Anita, on Hilbre.
We quickly learned that Anita had tripped on deck and broken her wrist. The morning after arrival, they signed onto the daily VHF net, in Puerto Escondido, and answered the invitation for "Medical or Priority Traffic." John reported the injury and another cruiser on SV Airops, with a car, offered to drive them to Loreto to the hospital. The stranger took them to the hospital, did some shopping, then returned to pick them up after being treated. Now Anita is feeling pretty useless on a sailboat with one functioning hand and the other in a cast.
The cruising community an odd mix of independence and interdependence. It is a very fluid community and we all know that we are vulnerable, so people tend to stick together and help each other out. We all know that the favor will not be directly repaid, but that we will be on the receiving end of another's charity soon enough. It is sad constantly saying goodbye to friends. But the salve is knowing that we will see them in some other anchorage, weeks, months or years from now and the reunion will be delightful.
Speaking of old friends, as we were settling down with a glass of brandy and a square of our dwindling supply of dark chocolate, Jack and Mary, from Oriana came in and dropped anchor after sundown. We haven't seen them since we left Ensenada in November.
It's a Wonderful Life - on Adesso!
04/19/2013, La Paz
Everyone knows that the tomato originated in Italy, right? Wrong! The original tomato came from Mexico, and does not look the tomatoes we see in the store. The large distorted tomato in the photo is a direct descendent of the original tomato. It is not as juicy as modern tomatoes, and has thicker skin, with a more robust flavor. We barbeque thick slices to put on a veggies burger. Mmmm!
The smaller tomatoes in the photo are the original cherry tomato. It has not changed in 230 years. Delightfully sweet and juicy, with a thick skin that gives it a slightly crunchy mouth feel.
Can you guess the number 1 consumed tomato in the world? It is the ubiquitous Roma, developed in the 1950's to be resistant to a blight that frequently decimated crops. It is successfully resistant to blight, and produces uniform, attractive fruit that desplays nicely in the produce department. It is also nearly tasteless.
It's a Wonderful Life - On Adesso!
04/19/2013, La Paz
One of the things we really enjoy about La Paz, is access to wonderful fresh veggies and fruits from local organic farmers. Twice a week, they set up their tables on the sidewalk near the main church. The photo shows Vicki buying from a local farmer, with our friend from SV Matowi (also named Vicki) in the background. The farmers grow heirloom varieties that haven't had the flavor and nutrients bred out of them for commercial or market purposes. We often buy lettuce, complete with roots. When we return to Adesso, Vicki places the plant in a vase of water. The lettuce stays fresh and we pull off leaves as needed.
How do we find organic farms in the middle of a desert? Much of it comes from a town called Todo Santos (All Saints), which is a natural oasis. Approaching by car is very striking, as one goes around a curve in the desert, to be faced with palm trees as far as the eye can see. Baja California produces much of the organic produce available in the western US.
04/16/2013, Bahia Agua Verde, BCS, Mexico
Fishing for School - Not a School of Fish
One our last day there, we went to the beach in the bight where we were anchored. We walked down the beach seeing both shells and fossils of shells. Eventually, we saw a slender man, about 60 years old, approaching carrying a 5 gallon plastic bucket, some hand lines and fresh fish. He showed us a couple of nice 4 pound "Cabrillo" (Sea Bass), one of our favorite fish and asked "Compra?", in the abbreviated Spanish that is used when speaking to Gringos. He asked for 70 pesos (about $5.75) for both. We hadn't brought our money to the beach so we declined his offer. Besides we already had 10 Scads and Grunts in the freezer. He continued his way down the beach.
A short time later we saw him sitting in the shade by the water. I assumed he had stopped to fish. Hoping to catch some fishing tips, we approached. As we grew near, I called out, "Está pescando?" (Are you fishing?)
"No", he replied. "Estoy descansando." ("No, I'm resting.") We exchanged the usual "how are yous?" and "what is your names?". He explained that he used to be a "Pangero", a fisherman fishing from small (about 22-24 feet) "Panga" (skiff) that are ubiquitous in Latin America. We talked about fishing and other matters. He has fished from his panga all his life until someone stole his outboard motor. He explained, "We have a "jovencito" (young man) and our fishing enabled him to go to "secondaria" , or secondary school (5&6th grades). Last July, someone stole the outboard engine to their panga, and he is now unable to work.
The man explained that in Mexico, secondary school is paid by the government, but each student has to buy his/her own books, notebooks, pencils, etc. If a student's family cannot pay, the student is not able to attend school. So, poor students are destined to remain in poverty. To be denied secondary school means that one's entire lifetime will be spent doing menial labor. One cannot rise out of poverty without secondary or tertiary (high school) education.
As an American, it is interesting that the fisherman didn't say "my son" or "my grandson" (nephew, whatever). I do not know what his relationship is to the student. That is not how they think in these small communities. He said "We have a young man...", and this young man had to drop out of secondary school in August because they no longer could buy his supplies. He was obviously troubled by the loss of opportunity by the "jovencito" because of the theft of the outboard motor.
Feeling a bit small, I changed my mind and blamed it on Vicki. "My wife has changed her mind", I said. "If you wish to wait, we will go to the boat and get money to buy your fish." I try to always blame Vicki when I repent from my selfishness.
"If you have any garbage, I will take it and throw it away," he offered. I returned to Adesso, at anchor, and picked up a small bag of garbage and 80 pesos, 10 more than he was asking. I was happy to give him an extra 10 pesos (80 cents) while allowing him to save face by taking some garbage for us.
We are truly blessed to live this life.
The photo shows a calm anchorage at sunset. I think we might sleep well tonight. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight..."
It's a wonderful life - on Adesso!