04/22/2013, Puerto Escondido
We woke up to a huge thud at 3:00AM. Oh wait I am getting ahead of myself, it was a windy day and the forecast said the winds were going to be high at 25-30 knots. We left the little cove where I finally learned to paddle board. Rosie even stood up and got the hang of things on the board. She paddled out to a pod of dolphins, so we got some really cool photos of her and the dolphins swimming all around the paddle board. There I go again getting off track. There are so many things happening it is hard to put it all down for the blog.
Any way we sailed back to Puerto Escondido from Coronados Island. Dan and Kelly from S/V Papillon were on their way from La Paz to meet up with us in Loreto. They had gifts for Puddle Pirate and we never would miss an opportunity to visit with some of our cruising family. When we arrived at Puerto Escondido we grabbed a mooring ball and settled in for the big blow. We tied Puddle Pirate up to the ball the way that the marina recommended so we felt secure for the night. So we thought but things don't always go as expected. I forgot in Mexico there is a saying "it isn't what you expect, it is what you inspect."
About 3 AM Puddle Pirate went crash and with that we were out of bed and up on deck. It was pitch black outside but the lights on the shore were now in our faces. We looked to our right and saw we were up on the sidewalk of the jetty break water. This is not a good place to be. Puddle Pirate was leaned over on its side against the rocks. The side walk was just one step off the boat. Now that is easy access but not the kind you want. Lew went below and put a call out; Pan-Pan Puddle Pirate is on the rocks. Three other fellow boaters answered our call and came to assist. Two people stepped onto our boat from the side walk and helped with the lines. Lew dropped our dingy in the water and with the two other dinghy's they pulled us off the rocks. It wasn't easy; our keel was centered on a big rock so we had to pull the stern then back out in a very tight spot. The dinghy's pulled and pulled with all their might. When we finally made it up right and floating I gave it gas and off we went to the full dock for the night. We still had 2 strangers on the boat that were helping us with the lines. Gabby and Rose were awesome they helped tie all the lines and assisted with navigation in the dark channel.
We arrived at the full dock and thanked our new friends. Within 5 minutes of settling in after everyone had went back to their boats, a fishing boat yells out to us. "You can't park there, there is a fishing derby this morning and we need the dock for the derby." I thought to myself, what an ass he doesn't know we have an emergency and need to possibly haul out at light. How could he not know? After all we were the excitement of the marina. Doesn't he lesson to channel 16? Well Lew let him have a few choice words and told him to take a hike. The fisherman went to complain to the guard and derby official, they told the fisherman to take a hike as well then they canceled the tournament due to high winds. Some fisherman just only thinks of themselves and that allusive fish they never catch.
At first light we checked the haul damage and it looked good to go. We had no water in the bilge so we untied from the dock and went back out to the mooring field. We had a diver come over and dive the boat to check for damage below the water line. He took some really nice photos to show us the damage. Thank god there was no major damage. We had a couple of scratches in the haul to the fiberglass but nothing that couldn't be fixed when we haul out in San Carlos. We were very lucky!
That day Puddle Pirate was the talk of the marina and everybody was driving by to look at the damage. But there was no damage they could see. We do have a stout boat. Dan and Kelly arrived at brought Puddle Pirate an 8 man life raft. This will come in handy for our crossing to the South Pacific. Well I hope that we don't have to use it, but it is nice to have. Dan also gave us his SSB so we can check for weather and use sail mail to keep in touch when out at sea. It was really nice seeing Dan and Kelly again. A big thank you to them for always looking out for us, they rock!
04/11/2013, Puerto Escondido, Loreto
We finally cut the La Paz bungee cord and headed North up into the sea. Thankfully nothing broke in the first 24 hrs so we headed for Mushroom Rock with the auto helm working. We spent one night at Mushroom Rock and then headed up North into the Sea of Cortez. While crossing over to the Isla Espiritu Santo the auto helm started making large turns back to La Paz. It seemed Auto had a mind of its own. It was determined to return to La Paz. We were not having any of that, so we turned Auto helm off and corrected our coarse. Lew said "Auto needs to be reprogrammed or rebooted. I had enough of Auto and wanted to get back to cruising, so we decided to hold off on the fix and headed for our next stop, Ensenada de la Ballena.
The winds were calm so the Bo Bo's were on their way to our boat as soon as we dropped anchor. Bo Bo's are little tinny nats that think your face is a landing zone. They are very annoying! Lew was ready with his fly swatter and so our cock pit looked like the killing fields. I was not going to have Bo Bo's land on me so I went below deck and waited for dusk. That night the Bo Bo's went home and the killing field was cleaned up. The stars were out and shinning so brightly it was just about perfect with the cool spring breeze.
The next day we pulled anchor and headed for Isla San Francisco, it is always a favorite stop. The water in its crescent shaped bay is clear with its torques waters. The water was inviting and starting to warm up. We all jumped in for a swim. After a nice swim we all loaded up in the dingy and headed for shore. The girls meet a nice family with their twin teen age boys; the family was vacationing on a charter boat. They were from New York so they were enjoying the nice warm waters Mexico has to offer. The girls went for a hike and climbed up the hills to look down on the bay. Unfortunately they forgot the camera so I don't have any photos to share of their hike. That night we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. The rugged Sierra le la Gigantas on the Baja peninsula were silhouetted with the red and pink glow of the setting sun. Because we were in no hurry to go any were, we decided to stay another night and enjoy the beauty around us.
Our next stop was San Evaristo. San Evaristo is a very protected bay located on the Peninsula just 9nm north of Isla San Francisco. Just as we dropped anchor the family that the girls meet on the beach at our last stop, pulled into the bay. Gabby's and Rosie's eyes lit up with excitement. The boy's were 15 years old so the girls were happy to have kids their age to hang with. Well at least Rosie thinks she is 15. The kids all went for kayak rides and hiking the trails of the nearby hills. Lew and I went to the small tienda and picked up some fresh fruit and vegetables. San Evaristo is a very small fishing village that supports a small school, tienda, and cantina. At the end of the day all the fishermen come home with the days catch. You can buy fresh fish right off the panga if you had no luck with fishing yourself. This seems to be the trend this season. I have had no luck with my fishing so far. We purchased some nice langosta (lobster) and a small pargo for dinner that night. After 5 nights in San Evaristo it was time to move on.
Next stop Puerto Los Gatos, this bay is famous for its red rocks rolling down to the crystal blue waters. It has always been one of our favorite stops. We dropped anchor and 3 more boats pulled into the bay for the night. One boat had 2 very pretty girls on it. They were making their way to Loreto. The brunette seemed to know all about sailing and was running the boat. The blonde was new to boating and was learning trail by error. It was funny watching the one girl tell the other how to set anchor and then operate the dingy. They were both in string bathing suits so the fish camp on the beach of local Mexicans were all stopped to watch as the girls dropped hook and then proceeded to get ready for paddle boarding. Lew was a happy camper with his new view. After watching them for awhile, Lew turned to me and said "wouldn't it be cool if we had a paddle board." I said "it would be nice but I don't think we would draw as much attention as the girls were." As I said that I thought maybe we would draw as much attention. It would be funny seeing an older couple that was overweight trying to stand and balance on a flat skinny board. All kidding aside, I know our girls would have a blast on one.
The next day we pulled anchor and headed for Bahia Agua Verde. It seemed the boats what we shared our bay with us the night before were on the same trek as we were. We again pulled in first and dropped anchor in the cove just left of the main bay. Later that day the Argentina Swim team pulled in on a big charter boat. Lew was in heaven again. He had his view back. He sat in the cockpit watching the girls kayaked by to the nearby beach. They were all warring the same team gear so they all matched. Their panga support set up their tents and brought them coolers of drinks to enjoy on the beach. Some of them started jogging up and down the beach. This is all I needed, Lew was supposed to keep his blood pressure down and relax before we headed back home for more medical procedures. So far it was not working.
Later that day after the swim team went back to their boat a whale shark swam into our small cove. It was very large. It was definitely not a Juvenal. This shark was 40ft plus and dove just under our boat while it was sitting at anchor. Lew and I ran to the bow to get some pictures. Rosie and Gabby jumped in the dingy and tried to reach out and touch the large fish. Rosie got within inches of reaching out to the shark before it dove down and left our cove.
Bahia Candeleros was our next stop. There is a big hotel in the bay so it is a popular stop for cruisers who want to go ashore and enjoy the pools and the restaurant the hotel has to offer. That night the winds picked up to a howling 25knts. The next morning we were woke up by a nearby boat calling us on the VHF. It was about 6:30 AM so we were puzzled as to what they would be calling us for. It seems their dingy broke free the night before and washed up on the rocks behind our boat. Because we were the closest boat they called us to see if we could retrieve it. Lew and Gabby dropped our dingy and went over to try and retrieve their dingy. The wind was still howling and the waves were 2 ft braking on the rocks. Lew tried to pull their dingy off the rocks but it was full of water. Just as he was turning around to come back to the boat a large wave came and slammed our dingy into the rocks. Well as you can guess it broke our prop so Lew and Gabby were trying to paddle back to our boat without the dingy they were trying to retrieve. It was a struggle for them to fight the current and wind getting back to Puddle Pirate. I throw them a fender attached to a long line so it could be grabbed and then they could use it to pull their self back to our boat. After Lew made it back I called the other boat and told them the situation with their dingy. We couldn't help them and they were on their own. They were able to get a hold of their buddy boat and retrieve the wayward dingy.
That day the winds were building to 30knots. Just as Lew and I were getting ready to go below for bed, we clocked gust of 40knts. This was a little strong for our comfort being our proximity to the rocky shore line. Lew decided to stay up and do an anchor watch. We started our engine and held our anchor as the gust climbed up to 55knts. Needles to say we didn't get any sleep that whole night. About 4 AM as the sun came up we noticed a dingy washed up on the rocks. Lew said "that dingy looks familiar." Sure enough it was that same dingy as the night before but this time it had no engine. We called the boat that the dingy belong to and informed them where their dingy was and they would have to retrieve it before it drifted out to sea. They came right over and retrieved their dingy while thanking us for the call. They said they had put the dingy on the deck and tied it down to the cleat. The wind was so strong it lifted their dingy and flew it airborne like a kite, ripping the cleat out of the fiberglass and off the deck. Now that is some pretty strong wind.
After all the excitement we headed for Puerto Escondido for some much needed rest. The trip was only a two hour motor north because we were so tired from the night before our sails remained in the sail bags. On the way to the protection of the Port another sailboat hailed us and asked "why did you buy a sailboat if all you are going to do is motor. This statement made me a little mad but I was too tired to hail the boat back and explain why we were motoring. Once we arrived and grabbed our mooring ball we went below for some much needed sleep. Later that afternoon we noticed the other boats in the mooring field were the same boats that we had been traveling with all along. Lew noticed the paddle board again and heard it was for sale. You guessed it we now have a paddle board on deck with our 3 kayaks and dive gear.
The next day the girls and Lew all tried to stand on the paddle board. It was funny watching Lew but I do give him props for getting out there and trying it out. He was able to stand for at least 5 minutes before taking a swim. The girls were up next and Rosie stood up then immediately fell in. She continued this cycle for at least 10 minutes before letting Gabby have a go at it. Gabby stud right up and made it look easy. She paddled around the boat and then took off. Well I guess I will have to have a go at it next but I will wait until it warms up a little more.
03/24/2013, La Paz, Mexico
The last time I posted we were waiting for our water heater to arrive from the states. We were staying out of La Paz to save money and experience more of the cruising lifestyle, not the sitting at anchor for weeks on end type. To recap we had to leave Mushroom rock because the girls flipped the dingy while rinsing it out on the beach. Well sand got in the engine and this caused the engine to stop working. So we decided to head back to La Paz and fix the motor. Not to fear, we have a back up engine but it is a 15 horse power. Way too fast for the girls to handle by them self, but it makes for a fast fun ride. As soon as we arrived in La Paz we dropped the fast motor on the dingy and we were ready to go. Because it was Sunday, no stores were open to pick up parts for the other outboard motor. We settled in for the night and decided to head out first thing in the morning, so we thought.
Monday morning we called the marine store to see if our water heater had arrived on schedule. It had not arrived; in fact it was not even in Mexico. For some reason it was held up at the border and wouldn't arrive until the end of the week. Oh well there went our plans for a quick fix and then out cruising. So Lew set his sights on fixing the outboard. After a few days running around town looking for the right size bolt for the carburetor we finally got one and fixed the outboard. In the interim, Lew came down with a very bad chest cold and infection. We are not having great luck with leaving La Paz anytime soon. I called S/V Seamentress, a cruiser turn boat doctor who makes boat calls for all the cruisers located in the La Paz bay. She said "Lew you need to get some rest and receive an antibiotic shot every day for 6 days along with pills." Oh good I finely get to give Lew a shot in his ass, not just one shot but 6 shots in his ass. The down side was he was out of commission for the install of the water heater when it finally arrived.
While Lew was resting up, I called Will at Tex Mex services to come take a look at our auto helm. I wanted to see it there was any last thing that could be done before we pronounced it dead. Will came out to our boat and he took a close look at all the systems. Will had some good news; our auto helm can be revived. I welcomed good news after all the mishaps we were having. But if it wasn't for the water heater arriving late and Lew getting sick we would have left La Paz without an auto helm.
After a week of convalescents at anchor we finally left La Paz and pulled back into Mushroom rock. Water heater working, small outboard working and the auto helm resurrected and working again. I am starting to believe that everything happens for a reason. Lew getting sick while we were safe at anchor in La Paz with good medical available was better then last year when he got sick in the deserted islands of the Sea Of Cortez. Then having the extra time to investigate the auto helm and have it repaired was just the luck we needed. Our favorite crew member was back and better than ever. It all worked out for the good. Tomorrow we plan on heading up into the Sea and starting our journey back to San Carlos. We have two months to explore and cruise before our travel visa runs out. All systems are working and we are good to go. I am excited to finally cut the La Paz bungee cord for good.