11/10/2012, Mag Bay, Baja South, Mexico
We pulled into Mag Bay at daybreak after two days of sailing down from Turtle Bay. We had so much wind that had to roll in our head sail to slow us down and still arrived at 4 am. Because there are a lot of fish traps in the area we hung off the entrance until daylight. That wasn't exactly fun as we had gusts up to 30 knots and the seas were kicking up.
The sail down was good. Ken had two handlines out and caught a fish. He also lost two lures. Something big grabbed one because the hand line sprung back violently and snagged in our lifelines about 15 feet forward of the stern.
The wind is still really screaming and it is coming out of the N to NE. There is really no protection from wind out of that direction in Mag Bay except for a little peninsula called Swam Point at the village of Puerto Alcatraz. We are anchored there now and are comfortably waiting out the wind.
When we pulled up there was a fisherman in a panga out checking his traps. He soon headed our way and offered us a lobster. He didn't speak any English and our Spanish is poor so we thought that he wanted to sell us the lobster. I went and got money and he shook his head no. He just wanted to say hi and give us a treat. We offered him a gift of a coke and two peanut butter cups. He was beaming.
11/06/2012, Turtle Bay, Baja North, Mexico
We left Ensenada on Sunday morning and sailed for most of the day. The wind died after dark so we motored all night long. Same for Monday.
Monday afternoon I saw a huge sea turtle! Another first was that we had 5 little squid on the deck this morning. We offered one to Elliot but he refused. They are really big, blue eyes!
Now for the bad news. We blew a panel out of our main overnight. Bummer. I have my sewing machine and luckily had some spare sail cloth to make a repair. It's not easy to sew a huge sail on the deck of a sailboat but we got the job done after about 3 hours of solid work. It's not a pretty repair but it will do.
Turtle Bay is a dusty little town. It has a fuel pier that is 15 feet above the water and has no way to tie to it. You have to drop an anchor and then back to it. They lower the fuel nozzle down to you then you stuff your money in a tin can that they raise up to the dock. Not exactly convenient. We heard rumors of a newer service that comes out to you. The company is called Anabels and they are located a little to the west of the main part of town. We were looking for a place to anchor and two guys approached us in a boat marked Anabels. I told them that we needed diesel and they said to side tie to their barge. It was so easy and we were relieved that we didn't have to med-moor to that pier!
We'll spend the night here and leave for Mag Bay tomorrow morning. There are 4 other cruisers anchored near us.
11/03/2012, Ensenada, MX
We tied up at Baja Naval Marina at 8 am on Thursday morning after leaving San Diego about 8 pm on Wednesday. I like the overnighters when we have the sails up and there is a full moon. We had a full moon but there was no wind until around 6 am.
The staff here at Baja Naval reviewed our paperwork and put everything in an order that would make sense to the various governmental agencies that we needed to visit. Immigration, Port Captain, Customs and the Fishing Department, with a stop at the bank between each agency. It sounds more difficult than it was. The whole process is done in one building (even the bank) and it took about 2 ½ hours. We were tired and a bit confused at times but overall the whole process wasn't a big deal. Other people who arrived by boat had problems because of lack of insurance and/or confusing boat registration issues.
Baja Naval is a small marina but is in a very convenient location. There is a boat from Portland who we met on the way down, a boat from the Netherlands, a French couple who currently reside in Uruguay and one from Vancouver, BC.
Kens favorite wine is created near Ensenada so we headed over to the winery to make some purchases. The prices have quadrupled since we were here last so we only bought one bottle. He'll have to savor it.
We found the Telcel office and got set up with Banda Ancha Movil so that we can get internet while on the boat. We also bought a cheap cell. They don't have contracts and are reasonably priced. I think the phone was $20 as was the USB stick for internet access. I'm not clear on how much minutes are going to cost us but internet will be about $40/month.
We've visited a couple of taco stands and wandered around downtown. Today we plan to go grocery shopping. I had let our fruit, vegi, and meat supplies dwindle because I was unclear what Customs would let us bring in. Turns out they let everything through, contrary to what google searches told me would happen.
10/29/2012, San Diego, CA
The Baja Ha Ha rally (about 130 boats this year) left this morning so we walked over to the park overlooking the bay to wave goodbye to all of our new found friends. We'll be leaving San Diego on Wednesday, with planned stops in Ensenada, Turtle Bay and Mag Bay before arriving in Cabo San Lucas on/around the 14th of November.
Mexico is on the horizon!
10/26/2012, San Diego, CA
Elliot loves San Diego. He's figured out that he can squeeze through the gate so he goes to shore every night. He usually comes home by midnight but this morning when we got up he hadn't come home yet. I found him up at the top of the ramp and he readily followed me home.
I worry about him but he is so darn happy with this new freedom that I don't have the heart to take it away from him. He misses his yard in Seattle I'm sure.
The picture is of him sleeping off his big night out.
Ken is full of bruises and has a few bloody spots but the transmission is back in place! What a job that was. The transmission came out relatively easily but then there were major problems getting the damper plate out. Mostly due to previous owners or mechanics rounding heads of bolts. The whole flywheel and housing had to come off so that a machine shop could remove two bolts. That was no easy task since Ken had to remove the engine mounts and raise the whole engine about 6". Scary for me.
We've had a continous problem with a small leak in the oil pan. Ken made the decision that since the engine was raised that this would be the best time to replace the gasket. There were buggered bolts there, too but the problem was getting it back together, not apart. We found ourselves buzzing over to the mechanics shop in the dinghy to pick up two replacement bolts.
Did I mention that Ken had to take the heat exchanger and the mixing muffler off to get to the transmission? Since all these parts were off, why not change the hose that carries the grey water (shower water) from the holding tank to the outside of the boat? Ugh.
Fixing one problem can very easily create new issues. When Ken was feeding the difficult 1 1/2" not-very-bendable hose from the grey water holding tank to the thru hull fitting, he unknowingly got it caught on a wire that gets power to our bilge pump. That was fun for me to diagnose several hours later when I realized that we didn't have a working bilge pump.
Also, a hose clamp that was left loose fell onto the house water pump and got caught in the belt, shredding it. The hard part was finding the spare belt in storage on the boat, not fixing the pump.
I think all is fixed now. The transmission promptly shifts into all gears, the vibration of the engine has greatly been diminished because of the new damper plate, we have water and the bilge pump works. Happy day!