05/11/2011, Lakewood, CO
We have been back here for about 3 weeks now and have been enjoying our time back in Colorado. Yesterday morning I was outside on the deck checking emails, it was 68 F and 16% humidity. This morning it is 35 F, 66% humidity and snowing. I like this stuff.
We have been getting the house ready to go up for sale. You can see the sign in the front yard in the picture, but we are not advertising yet, we want to get the psinting and new flooring and carpet installed before we get a lot of people coming through. If things work out the way we want, we will be homeless in a few more months.
Our nephew, John Patrick "Jack" Carter, was born May 6, 2011. Dan and I went to visit Mom, Dad, and big sister Olivia this morning, and to welcome the new little man into our family. Mom and baby are doing well, and should be home from the hospital tomorrow afternoon. Congrats to Joe and Brooke, and welcome, Baby Jack!
Just wanted to get a quick note out there to let people know the boat has been moved into the storage yard and we have made the 3 day car trip back to Denver. We will get a new post up with more details about the work on the boat and the trip home, but we are a little tired after the last few weeks.
We are glad to be back in the mountains of Colorado but we also really miss the boat already.
04/10/2011, Marina San Carlos
After two quiet nights in the protected anchorage of Puerto Escondido, we were ready to head another forty miles north to Caleta San Juanico. All of the weather stations reported favorable conditions for our early morning departure. Dan awoke at first light, cast off the mooring lines and motored out of the quiet calm of the anchorage. When the morning weather reports came over the radio, we were a bit disappointed to learn that instead of the light southerlies we'd been expecting, we were more likely to have winds from the northeast all the way to San Juanico. Also, the forecast for our crossing to San Carlos had changed, with one station predicting southerlies and the other predicting northerlies. We decided that, instead of turning around and heading back into Escondido, we would head toward San Juanico. We knew that if the conditions grew uncomfortable, we could duck into one of the small anchorages along the way. The winds picked up shortly after our departure, but never reached more than fifteen knots. The swell intensified, causing us to bash into the waves a bit, but not enough to make us change course. We dropped anchor in San Juanico just as the whitecaps were really getting going out in the Sea. We were both happy to be back in one of our favorite anchorages on the Baja, and we took the opportunity to lounge in the cockpit with a cold beer and enjoy the scenery.
According to the weather reports, the wind would either die in the afternoon and remain light and variable throughout the night, or continue to blow from the north into the early morning hours and possibly well into the next day. Our plan was to have dinner in San Juanico, get a few hours of sleep and wake up at midnight to check the conditions. About an hour after dropping the hook, the winds died. Completely. Score one point for weather guy #1. We waited another few hours, keeping an eye on the conditions outside of the anchorage. The seas seemed to by dying down quickly, and, by the looks of things, would be almost flat calm by nightfall. Rather than wait around until midnight to make our move, we decided to haul anchor right after dinner.
Our crossing to San Carlos couldn't have been better. The seas were much calmer when we set out than they had been that afternoon, and continued to lie down as the night progressed. The winds had shifted to the east by the time we set out, and they built to a comfortable fifteen knots well before sunrise. Dan had the genoa out and was making about seven knots by the time I got up for my 5am shift. For most of my three hour shift we were motor-sailing steadily at over seven knots. We pulled into the San Carlos anchorage and dropped the hook around 11am. Our ninety-six mile crossing took just over fourteen hours, and our average speed was 6.6 knots. Thanks to favorable winds and currents, our final crossing had the highest average speed of all of our trips here in Mexico.
Akupara is currently tied up at the docks in Marina San Carlos, and we have been working hard (but not too hard) go get her ready for haul-out and storage. Dan has been working on deck to get everything unbolted from the railings, the sails prepped and stowed and the port screens removed and rinsed free of salt. I have been working on sorting and stowing everything on board, separating what stays on the boat from what goes with us back to the states, and re-oiling all of the interior teak to help protect it during storage. We have also been taking a little time to relax and enjoy being back where our journey started. We made such good time on the trip back from La Cruz that we caught up with our friends from S/V Day Ja Vu, and have been able to spend some time catching up over a meal or two. We haul out in two days, and expect to have everything prepped and ready for long-term storage in about a week.
04/04/2011, Puerto Escondido
We've been on the move almost constantly since our departure from La Cruz last Sunday. In eight days, we travelled a total of 525 miles! Needless to say, the last week has been a blur of GPS waypoints, night watches, coastlines, waves and stars.
The first leg of our trip was a 165 mile, thirty-two hour motor-sail from La Cruz to Mazatlan. The seas were not quite as calm as we had anticipated, and we spent a slightly uncomfortable night beating into the wind and waves. In anticipation of our night crossing, I made a few meals in advance that could be easily reheated even in rough seas. The first night out of La Cruz we both devoured our bowls of beef stroganoff with great enthusiasm. Even though we were beating to weather, we still managed an average speed of 5.5kts, and arrived in Mazatlan a few hours earlier than we'd planned. It was great to be anchored in the calm of the Old Harbor, and we spent most of the afternoon and evening relaxing.
The next morning, we set out on the next leg of our trip, a 250 mile, forty-seven hour crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz. About forty minutes after motoring out of the Old Harbor, a large humpback whale surprised me by surfacing about seventy feet directly in front of our boat. It was so close we passed through the footprint it left in the water. It surfaced a few more times before diving, and Dan was able to get a picture of the signature humpback tail flukes.
Aside from the whale, the first day and night out of Mazatlan were uneventful, with calm seas and variable winds. On the afternoon of our second day, the winds picked up, and the swell became quite uncomfortable. The wind shifted and the seas continued to build, and we decided that, if we continued beating into the swell the way we had been, we might not have enough fuel to reach our intended destination of San Evaristo. Rather than risk an empty fuel tank, we decided to turn a few degrees south and head for the San Lorenzo Channel, and , through it, La Paz.
Just before sunset, Dan spotted another whale ahead of us and called me up from the galley. I was just in time to see a blue whale surface about one hundred feet off our port side. This was our first blue whale sighting, and it was incredible. Blue whales are the largest creature to have ever existed on Earth, and can reach lengths of just over 100 feet. It's hard to get a good idea of how big an animal is unless it is right beside you, but I'm guessing this particular whale was over seventy feel long.
We arrived in La Paz just after sunrise, and it felt strange to be back on the Baja after four months on the Pacific coast. We anchored across the sandbar from town, and, after two nights of watches and mediocre sleep, took a well-deserved nap. We decided that the weather window for heading north was still good, and we would only spend one day in La Paz. We made the most of it by walking the malecon at sunset, stopping at our favorite ice cream shop for some lime sorbetto, and hitting Taqueria el Chino for the best pork tacos La Paz has to offer.
We left La Paz at sunrise, had a good motor-sail up to San Evaristo, and spent a somewhat rolly night before heading further north for Los Gatos. Los Gatos is one of our favorite anchorages on the Baja, with its white sand dunes, turquoise water and bright red sandstone rock formations. We spent just one night in Los Gatos, and hauled anchor in the morning. While raising the anchor, we were treated to the sight of a pod of dolphins entering the anchorage in pursuit of fish. They jumped, spun and dove in an effort to catch the small baitfish, and we certainly enjoyed the show. As we motored out of the anchorage, several of the dolphins swam over and rode our bow wave. The early morning water was still and clear, and proved to be perfect for dolphin watching.
We are currently hooked up to a mooring ball in Puerto Escondido, and will be heading out tomorrow morning. We will most likely spend one night in San Juanico before making the ninety-eight mile crossing to San Carlos, where our cruising journey first began.
03/26/2011, La Cruz
We've been hanging out in La Cruz for a little over a week waiting for a good weather window to head to north. Being tied up to the docks has given us a chance give the boat a good wash and to get a few small projects done in preparation for our next passage. We've also enjoyed being close to some of our friends and getting a chance to spend time with them. We've had several great dinners with our friends on S/V Cuervo, and look forward to buddy boating with them to Mazatlan.
A few nights ago, Dan and I walked out to the breakwater to watch the "super moon" rise over Banderas Bay. It was a beautiful, calm night, and watching the large, red moon rise over the boats in the anchorage was quite a sight.
We decided to get out of La Cruz for an afternoon, so we hopped on a bus and headed a few miles north to Punta Mita. We weren't disappointed, as Punta Mita's clear blue waters and beachside restaurants offer a fantastic place to enjoy a lazy afternoon. We found a great place to eat called Si Señor, where you can sit with your feet in the sand under the palm trees, all while watching the staff whip up some amazing roasted salsa right at your table. Delicious!
This morning we cast off the dock lines and moved back out into the anchorage. It's good for me to be able to spend at least a day out at anchor before a passage so I can find my sea legs. If all goes well, we will weigh anchor at first light tomorrow morning and make the two day, 180 mile trip to Mazatlan. If the weather window stays open (fingers crossed), we'll spend one night in Mazatlan to refuel before heading across to the Baja peninsula.
We had a great time exploring Pacific Mexico, making new friends and seeing old friends again in new ports. We are looking forward to getting back to the Baja's turquoise waters, calm anchorages and good fishing. The plan right now is to take the boat back to San Carlos and prep her for storage. After that we'll pack up the car and head back to the states. I can't wait to see the Rocky Mountains and the Mile High City again!