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CETUS TALES
After leaving Gig Harbor, WA in 2009, we spent 3 winters in the Sea of Cortez then sailed to the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia up to Hawaii, then to San Francisco Bay. We're now heading down the coast on our way to La Paz.
Moving around in Bahia Conception
04/19/2010, Playa Coyote, Bahia Coyote, Bahia Conception

Yesterday we traveled 8 miles south to Isla Requeson here in Bahia Conception, where we enjoyed a good hike across the small island and then a nice lunch at a shore side restaurant just a short dinghy ride away.

We left that lovely little spot this morning as we'd heard there could be a short period of strong northwinds sometime today, and that offered no protection from the north so we came up to this spot and tucked in behind a small bit of land. It wouldn't be a great place in a true norther, but this is supposed to be very short lived (a couple hours or so). The wind started coming up about 10 this morning -- just as predicted -- and by afternoon it should settle down and come from the south again.

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04/19/2010 | mike
We have a couple of friends there right now on the boat Katie Hill. A very nice couple that are down here for the first time. If you get a chance say hi. They are Bob and Janis Griswold.

mike, s/v Antipodes, Mazatlan
04/21/2010 | Dave and Joy Robbins
Enjoyed getting caught up on your travels today. We're back in La Paz getting our FM3. As soon as we get it we'll be heading north. Hope to catch up with you sometime this summer.
It looks like a lake!
04/16/2010, Bahia Coyote, Bahia Conception

Our trip from San Juanico to Bahia Conception last Wednesday, April 14th was the longest passage we've made since our arrival in La Paz last November: 53 miles.

We were fortunate to have good weather for it, with moderate winds to keep our sails full, though we also kept the engine running to assure a timely arrival -- didn't want to enter after dark! The sun was out and the seas were relatively smooth and the breeze kept the cockpit a very comfortable temperature, and since the engine was providing power we were able to fill our water tanks with some nice, pure water. It was a good day.

After dropping the anchor and looking around it gives the impression of being on a lake in Eastern Washington. There are some homes along the shores and there are mountains on all sides in this 20 mile long bay. Quite different than anywhere we've been up to this point, with Mexican Hwy 1 running right by the beach at this anchorage, we hear traffic noise from the Jake brakes on the trucks coming down the hill, which reminds us that we are closer to civilization than we have been on the more remote islands we so enjoyed.

But, there are other benefits to be found as we were able to go out to dinner last night at the restaurant right on shore, and they even played a movie for all of us that went in. Today the guy that runs the restaurant has offered to take several of us in to the nearby town of Mulege where we'll get a chance to buy some fresh foods and explore a little, then tonight all the boats here are planning a BBQ potluck on the beach.

Blog Posts: Travels
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Leave Eve
04/13/2010, Caleta San Juanico

We've enjoyed a fun four days here in San Juanico spending time with our friends from Dock 3 at Marina Palmira, Jim & Dianne of Prairie Oyster and Chris and Duane of Risk Taker.

Long hikes, beach combing, pot lucks and our floating happy hours where we'd tie the dinghies together and float around while the sun sets have been lots of fun, and now we're moving the party north to Bahia Conception. It's a long, 45 mile trip, so we'll get an early start in the morning.

After Bahia Conception both Risk Taker and Prairie Oyster will be heading across the Sea to San Carlos where they will haul there boats out and go back home for the summer months, while we will head south to La Paz for our trip home for a wedding in July, then return to La Paz and head further north to Bahia Los Angeles, where we'll spend the summer months here in the Sea of Cortez.

Check out this month's Blue Water Sailing magazine for an article I wrote on Rebuilding the Box, about replacing our refrigerator before we left Gig Harbor last May.

Blog Posts: Travels
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Homesteading
04/09/2010, Isla Coronados

Yes, we're still anchored off Isla Coronados! Friends from Marina Palmira, aboard Prairie Oyster and Risk Taker joined us here two days ago on the south anchorage and yesterday, when the latest norther settled down we came back over to the west anchorage.

We all did the big hike to the top of the mountain -- a good 4 hours round trip. It's a difficult hike, but very rewarding.

We were treated to a beautiful sunrise this morning followed by having a pod of dolphin come into the anchorage and jump and swim by our boats. Today we're spending a relaxing day with plans to hit the beach and do some swimming and tomorrow we'll head a little further north to Caleta San Juanico.

No more internet service, so I can't post pictures for a while, but I do have several of Isla Coronados in our Photo Gallery to the right.

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Back and Forth.....
04/05/2010, Isla Coronados

We made another big move today -- to the other side of Isla Coronados.
We've spent the last week around this gorgeous spot, alternating between two anchorages, depending on the wind forecast. Another norther was predicted to come up today, lasting through tomorrow, so we traveled around to the south anchorage for a couple days.

Right now we're enjoying a beautiful sunset while watching some turtles, about 60 -100 feet off our stern pop their heads up every once in a while. We saw whales spouting in the distance as we traveled around today -- this area is rife with wildlife and we are constantly entertained.

It feels so remote, yet we are only a few miles away from Loreto, so we also enjoy having internet and cell phone service, which I'm taking advantage of because once we leave here we won't have them again until we start heading back south and pass this way again.

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Sunset at Isla Coronados
04/05/2010

Ahhhhh.......

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What a Hike!
04/01/2010, Isla Coronados

Yesterday we made the big hike up the trail to the top of the volcanic cone that rises 928 feet above sea level. What a great view of the white sand beaches and turquoise waters that surround the small island.

It was one of the best marked trails we've traveled -- but it was one of the most difficult, too. It was one thing to traverse rocky boulder fields, but the last switch back trail to the summit turned from gravel to soft dirt/sand that just slid beneath our feet making it feel like trying to run in a dream when your feet just sink into the earth. Had the top of the hill not been so close, I think I would have given up, but what a reward to make it to the top! And the hike down was much easier, as you could just sort of step and slide through the loose ground.

To the top and back took us 4 hours, including our rest break at the top to eat our apples and enjoy the 360 view. While we were hiking up, our friends on Galetea came into the anchorage and they hiked up to meet us on our way down.

Then it was back to the boat for a nice relaxing swim.......

Blog Posts: Travels
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04/04/2010 | svscottfree
Hi you two! You are making us excited for what we'll see when we come back in July up there! See you soon!
Whales Ho!
03/30/2010, Isla Coronados

We left Puerto Ballandra this morning and made a quick stop off of Loreto so I could make a run to the grocery store for some fresh produce, then went a few miles further and anchored at a beautiful little spot, Isla Coronados.

I've actually been here before, when I came down to Loreto to celebrate my good friends 50th birthday with her and two other friends of hers. We took a panga out to spend a day on the beautiful white sand beach, sunning and snorkeling -- but the hightlight of that trip was the pod of dolphin that escorted the panga along the way.

Today, shortly after anchoring, we went out snorkeling and were amazed by all the fish, and even encountered a large eel and a strange looking stone fish. But the big highlight was when we were headed back in the dinghy, there were a couple whales just passing through our anchorage!

We followed them along for quite a while, along with a couple kayakers that came out to look, too. It was always kind of eerie when they'd go below for a bit, because you didn't know where they might surface next.


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03/31/2010 | Jack and Joan
We knew you were having a whale of a time! now the pics prove it.
Puerto Ballandra
03/28/2010, Isla Carmen

This lovely protected anchorage is just 9 miles from Loreto and 16 miles from Puerto Escondido, yet we have it all to ourselves. The first day one other boat was here when we came in, and two others came in to get out of the weather later that day, but by the next morning they were all gone.

We've enjoyed great hiking, swimming and snorkeling and have found it a comfortable place to sit out a norther.

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03/28/2010 | Dave C.
Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Don't you guys need a lifeguard or something? I work for rum....
Bahia Salinas
03/27/2010, Isla Carmen

Here's the view of the salt flats and bay on the other side of the island from our anchorage.
It was a view worth the walk!

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Snake in the grass
03/27/2010, Isla Carmen

We went for a big hike across the island today, from our anchorage in Ballandra Bay on Isla Carmen. This island is just 9 miles off of Loreto.

It was a beautiful hike through lots of varying terrain and we ended with a great view of salt flats and an anchorage on the other side.

We're always disappointed at how little wildlife we see on these treks, so we were really surprised when this 5 - 6 foot long snake appeared at the side of the trail! We waited a minute for him to cross, before we continued on......

Blog Posts: Travels
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Loreto
03/22/2010

We enjoyed a trip to Loreto today, taking a taxi from the marina. He dropped us off by the historic mission then returned at the end of the day, 4 pm, to pick us up and return us to Puerto Escondido.

It was a great trip -- he showed us sights along the way. And the small town was a delight. I'd been there a few years back and it was fun to see what had changed. They're doing a restoration of the historic mission district, so the roads were torn up and a lot of work going on.

We picked up some fresh foods and vegetables at the supermarcado as well as some other small stores in town, and enjoyed a nice lunch at Cafe Ole.

We browsed the touristy shops and looked in every hardware store we passed -- it was a fun day.

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Civilization
03/20/2010, Puerto Escondido

We finally made it to Puerto Escondido -- the largest protected anchorage in the Sea of Cortez. It's a nearly landlocked body of water and is considered to be a good hurricane hole. There's big plans for the area, but right now it offers a boatyard with travelift, laundry, showers, a tienda and a restaurant.

They've placed over a hundred mooring buoys in the bay and charge about $15 a day to moor and use the facilities and WiFi internet that you can pick up out in the anchorage. Not a bad deal.

Right now there are only about 20 boats in the harbor on the buoys, with another 20 opting for the less expensive outer anchorage areas. In a few weeks it will be filled when the boats flock in for the annual Loreto Fest.

Puerto Escondido's other claim to fame, besides being a safe anchorage, is it's proximity to Loreto. It's 14 miles away, but it's the closest anchorage to safely leave your boat to visit the quaint, historic old town.


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Moving on
03/18/2010, Agua Verde

The north winds died down, so we moved a little farther north -- a whole 7 miles to the popular anchorage of Agua Verde.

When we arrived we were the only boat in the whole bay, because all the boats that had been here, moved on at the change in weather as well. That has been the pattern we've seen, everyone finds an anchorage reported to offer good protection in a north wind, they tuck in and as soon as it blows itself out they continue heading north sort of leapfrogging up the Sea.

Right now there aren't any new northers predicted for several days, so we're able to enjoy some anchorages that don't offer the north protection, and we've chosen a nice spot here in Agua Verde that is a little more secluded than the small nook that boats have to crowd into for the north winds.

We'll probably just spend a one day here doing some hiking and checking out the small tienda in the village, so we can get off to some other anchorages before another north wind comes up.

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Day of the Dolphin
03/14/2010, Bahia Santa Marte

We left Timbabiche yesterday and motored the 15 miles north to Bahia Santa Marte. What little wind there was, was coming from the north, so we decided it would be a good day to make water, and added about 12 gallons of freshly desalinated water to our tanks.

We tucked into this nice little anchorage with plans to sit out the next light norther here, that's predicted for Monday and Tuesday.

We've been enjoying swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing and hiking the area, then today we got a special surprise when a small pod of dolphin came into the anchorage! Terry got in the water, and for the first time since we were in Kealakakua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, he swam with the dolphin!

I didn't get a chance to get in the water, as I had a loaf of bread in the oven, but it was great to watch and I think I got a few good pictures.

We had a weird phenomenon today with the VHF radio. Usually reception on it is line of sight, 15 - 20 miles if there's not a lot of big hills around, Well, today we were hearing boats from Marina Palmira as clear as if they were right next to us! We tried talking to them, but the skip was pretty much one way apparently because they could hear us, but just barely and very scratchy.

It was a bit of a domestic day, too. In addition to the bread baking, I did a load of laundry (in the sink) and we went to shore and burned garbage. There's a burn barrel that some fisherman apparently set up at one time. We know it was fisherman because of all the small shark heads thrown around the beach near there! What a weird sight!

Three other boats came in today to wait out the weather, so it's not our secluded little spot anymore.

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Tucked in for a Norther
03/11/2010, Timbabiche

We left San Evaristo yesterday morning to start our trek north. Knowing a Norther was going to begin blowing today, we searched our guidebook for what might be a good spot to sit out the wind and wasn't too far away. We first ducked into Nopolo, only 7 miles north of Evaristo, but the panga fishing fleet from the village appeared to be fishing right in the recommended anchorage area, so we pressed on.

Next stop: Timbabiche. It has a small spit of land that offers protection from the wind generated waves, which are the worst part of any strong wind -- it looked good and we were the only boat there, so we were able to pick what we felt would be the best spot. Last night we had a special treat, when Manuel came out to our boat in his panga and offered to get us lobster for our dinner that night! So off he went and a couple hours later he returned with 5 nice sized lobster. He only wanted 100 pesos (about $8) for the lot of them, so we think it was a pretty good deal -- and a very good meal.

We were able to row to shore this morning for a long beach walk and a hike up a small hill with a good view, before the winds picked up. Almost as soon as we got back on board the wind started gusting to 18 then 20. So far it's a pretty comfortable ride -- even though the wind is howling, there are just small wavelets pushing by the boat. The wind is supposed to be a little stronger tomorrow, so only time will tell if we've made the right choice to ride it out here. There isn't any danger to us, it could just be an uncomfortable rocky anchorage if the large swell from the outside begins to wrap around our little point of protection.

Once this one blows through we'll have a couple days to travel on before t he next Norther is expected.

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We're off to the islands!
03/04/2010

We're finally free of the dock and on our way!

After noon today we'll be out of internet and cell range for quite a while and will be back to communicating through our SPOT position reports and our winlink email. I'll do blog posts through the HAM radio, but no pictures until we get internet service again whenever we get up to Loreto.

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I love a parade!
02/17/2010, Carnival in La Paz

One of the best parts of Carnival is the parade!

Lots of brightly colored floats (flatbed semi's) carrying dancers, queens and kings and blaring loud music travel from one end of the waterfront to the next bringing great delight to young and old.

It seems half of the towns population is involved in one form or another, and even the bystanders get pulled into the fun to dance along with the passers by for a moment.

The floats sport signs announcing their sponsors and in addition to the Pacifico Beer, there is LaLa Milk and one of my favorites: Bimbo Bread.

We could tell that Carnival had ended for the year when the music emanating from town was finally silenced about 3 am this morning. Today, Ash Wednesday, signifies the start of Lent, and then the Easter Celebrations will begin on April 4th.

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The Blanket Sellers
02/15/2010, Carnival in La Paz

One of the many fascinating sights of Carnival are the blanket sellers.
This year there are two of these stages where they put together a pile of about 5 blankets, pillows and and large beach towels and appear to be auctioning them off. They talk so fast I'm not really sure if it's an auction or just a good sales pitch and I'm sure they're selling for a very good price. Great entertainment to stand and watch!

I tried to upload a short video of the blanket sellers in action, but had no success, so the best I can offer this picture of the stand. I hope to post some more carnival pictures in the photo gallery today -- so check out the Carnival folder!

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Carnival! in La Paz
02/14/2010

Since our arrival in La Paz at the beginning of December, we have been awaiting Carnival! This 6 day extravaganza is quite the event and we had great memories of all the festivities from our visit to this area 10 years ago.

The main street along the waterfront malacon is closed off for blocks and stalls selling jewelry, food, blankets and even hair extensions are set up. There are also rides, for young and old, and stages for bands, singers and crowning of the queen. There will be parades and dancing. It is a good old country fair set up in the middle of town!

We've enjoyed walking through town the past two evenings taking in the sights, sounds and smells -- and are looking forward to getting in to catch a glimpse of the night life when things really get rocking and rolling in town.


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