Happy Birthday Mum
Kirsty, A Cool Breeze Finally!
09/21/2008, La Paz Anchorage
Happy Birthday... I'll be trying to call you tomorrow to wish you the BIGGEST Happy Birthday from Mexico.. you guys are just never home!
Have a great day and we will celebrate with you from here (any excuse).
Love Kirsty & Jeff
Sea Lions, Snorkeling and ooops Bongo loses his arm
Kirsty, Windy & Warm
09/19/2008, Islas Espiritu Santo & Partida, Mexico
We are going a little bit backwards in time here, but we wanted to cover our trip to Islas Espiritu Santo & Partida, which are about 25nm from La Paz. We spent a few days out there just before we headed out to San Diego. It's where everyone heads to fish (I still haven't caught one yet, but I now have a rod that we bought in San Diego, I'm ever hopeful!), snorkel and swim with the Sea Lions.
The Islands are pretty amazing in their own way - created out of a volcano, with not much water or vegetation and no people living there but beautiful in a stark kind of way. The big attraction is the marine life - we snorkeled off the beach and saw all sorts of amazing fish, we've decided that anywhere there are Mexican Chickens (Brown Pelicans) sitting on rocks it's a safe bet to assume that the snorkeling will be great - they like to eat! On one of our trips we anchored Bongo (our dingy) just off a rocky beach and spent a couple of hours in the water - the best find of that trip goes to Jeff - he spotted 3 huge lobsters (for those of you who have enjoyed lobster on Matrix courtesy of Damo these compared to some of the biggest he has treated us to), unfortunately we couldn't take them since the whole area is a marine park. Poor Bongo lost one of his oars while we were heading back to Nemesis after our snorkeling, and yes for those of you wondering it was me - but I'm blaming Jeff of course - how was I meant to know there is a super special and very secret way to lock the oar in. What a bugger - and of course finding a new arm for Bongo is not easy in Mexico...
The other big deal on the Islas is the Sea Lion colony. We had heard you could swim with them - and being shark bait has always been one of my life long goals, ever since seeing Jaws...We headed out to the colony in a pretty calm breeze - admittedly with gusts of 15-20kts and were greeted with 3 Sea Lions charging past us and treating us to our first look. We got to the colony, which was not behind the cover of land in the prevailing and found ourselves in rolling waves of about 4-5 ft - nothing to worry about but not something we wanted to swim in. The Sea Lions were everywhere - sleeping, swimming and bellowing at each other - a lot of fun to watch.
09/19/2008, secret island location - just in case it becomes NOT a national marine park someday!
So here is a picture of the Pacific Spiny Lobster Kirsty was talking about.. this is one of the three and they were HUGE... i'm talking a tail about 18 inch long tail! And the colors were just vivid... bright orange and white highlights in iridecent white.... the photo that shows the full Lobster didn't have good coloring, so I included a bit of another photo that was out of focus, but shows some of the true color... enjoy
*** If you viewed this post yesterday, the "old" picture has been color edited by Marko (who gave us the underwater cam as his boat gift)... looks MUCH closer to form... THANKS Marko! ***
and pass the drawn butter!
Happy Father's Day
Kirsty... Jeff chose the photo - its one of his favourites!
09/05/2008, Getting ready to head out to Islas Espiritu Santo & Partida
A quick hello and Happy Fathers Day for Sunday. I'm hoping to get to a phone in person but I'm not sure if we will have mobile range in the anchorage on the Island we are heading for later today.
Have a great day - enjoy the footy and I'll have a beer and say cheers from over here in Mexico. Hope you like the gift I left you - did you wait to open it?
For all you Americans don't fret your haven't forgotten your Dad - it's a different day in the US!
Off for Isla Espiritu Santu
jT - Hot, tad humid, high 90s/30s
09/05/2008, La Paz, Baja California Sur
Just a quick note and update. The last week has been a period of getting out of the marina and going to anchor, then having the batteries act up! Ah, all the fun, so we have check and re-checked charging systems and most seems to point to bad house batteries. Funny how you take having electricy for granted!
We just had a few maintenance days at Marina de la Paz and now are heading out to the islands above La Paz for a few days. We are still waiting on our mainsail to be repaired, they are SLOWWWW. So we will motor up and back. Funny, the boat looks strange without a main... one cruiser in the last anchorage came over for a chat... and had been confused on how we furled the mainsail in such a small boom! Hint: not furled, it's not even on the boat!
So we will be cruising the islands for the next few days... we'll have some more blogs and photos after that.. then we are off for San Diego to pick up some supplies we left at Grandpa's house... as well as things delivered that we've been ordering...
All is well... hope everyone is having a good week, sailing and racing going well... holler back with a comment if we haven't heard from you in awhile... or if your reading but haven't commented so far!
Fair winds and sunny beaches to you, too!
La Paz - A great little Mexican town to get lost in
Kirsty, Blue Skies, No Tropical Storms, 95F / 35C
08/30/2008, La Paz, Mexico
After all the excitement with tropical storm Julio, La Paz is a little piece of heaven. It's the capitol city of Baja Mexico - which is the pointy bit that joins with California. It's a foodies heaven here, with all sorts of street food, little cafés and bars with live music everywhere you turn.
We took your advice Ian and tried a Banderas. Banderas means flag and the drink represents the Red, White and Green of the Mexican flag. It's a sipping drink served in three separate shot glasses of Tequila, Spicy Tomato and Lime Juice and after the initial choke on the lime juice it's a good little cocktail and a great way to try to out the Tequila here. As a general rule the Tequila is excellent - nothing like the throat burning options we have in Australia and very cheap! We have also been trying out some of the non alcoholic drinks - they make a drink out of the Hibiscus flower called Hamaica - pronounced Jamaica, (H's are J's - yes Jeff still laughs about me pronouncing La Jolla with a J the first time we went to San Diego) that is wonderfully refreshing in the blazing sun - which is pretty much all the time. And I can happily report that the wines from Chile are readily available here and as good as everyone says.
The street food is damn good as well, we had a carne (meat) burrito from a street vendor, which was some of the best Mexican food I've had here, a little spicy, with meat and jalapenos, lettuce and salsa wrapped in a tortilla. It was 30 pesos (about $3) and so big that Jeff and I shared one. The other really yummy thing we trailed was a mango on a stick, cut like a flower and seasoned with salt and lime juice... sensational! Ok so enough about the food - nothing has changed I'm still obsessed by food...
What else is there to do in La Paz but eating and drinking? Well everything is based on or in the water here. The day after we docked after our tussle with Julio we were thinking about going diving but decided that the visibility would be probably not be so great and couldn't justify the $120 price tag, so we decided to give the snorkeling a go here instead. I'd done a little investigation and found the best spot according to the locals, which was about a 30 minute drive away.
Jeff, Marko and I headed out to catch a bus or grab a taxi - depending on how hard the taxi drivers would bargain and lets just say that the taxi drivers must be doing pretty well here because they didn't seem to interested in the fare at a price we were willing to pay. We ended up hiring a car for the afternoon - Jeff had some fun bargaining in the low season! We headed out to Balandra, which turned out to be a beautiful little cove, with very shallow water - how shallow - I could stand up in a lot of it ? There were lots of other folks - both locals and a few tourists - enjoying the serenity (for all you Aussies out there in true Castle style we'll all be heading off to Bonnie Doon shortly and the pictures we took with out new snazzy underwater camera that Marko gave us, will be going straight to the pool room).
We donned our masks and snorkels and headed off, after a bit of swimming we got to a rocky point that had some wonderful snorkeling around it, we ended up spending a couple of hours in the water and were rewarded with warm water and some great fish viewing. As you can see from the pic with this post we need to do a little fine tuning on the underwater colours with camera. I have to make a special mention of the jumping Manta Rays here - they literally do backflips 10 feet out of the water - amazing.
As with the rest of our stay in La Paz the Marina de la Paz where we are staying is bueno. The staff are the most helpful that we have come across, nothing is too much trouble for them - it must be something in the water here.
Today we are leaving the marina and are going to motor sail down to a couple of the local coves and anchor out for a few days and do a bit more snorkeling. We are without a mainsail and a headsail right now - both are with the local sailmaker being fixed. Once they are fixed and back on board we will be heading off to the Islas Espiritu Santu and Partida - a couple of Islands very close to La Paz that are great for snorkeling and exploring. Weather is forecast to be clear for the next 48 hours - lets hope so!