07/01/2012, San Diego
June 18 - July 1, 2012: These two weeks have gone by so quickly. It seems like a lifetime ago we were bashing up the coast of Baja let alone cruising around Mexico. The check-in to U.S. for us was quite painless probably because it was Sunday and Father's day. No exit paperwork is required from Mexico for US citizens to check back into the states and no one came below to check out our food supply. The two agents just asked about alcohol, tobacco, firearms and fresh fruit.
The municipal police dock is now as pricey as other marinas. It was $1/ft vs. the $10/night rate just a couple of years ago; so much for hanging out here for 10 days or so. I called around and got moorage for 2 weeks at Harbor Island West Marina. It is easier to walk to the airport, jump on a rental car bus and get to a car agency from this location.
Once we moved the boat, the next order of business was getting "connected" to the world with U.S. phone and internet service. Thankfully we kept Bob's phone and our USB stick for internet access and with one phone call we were back on-line, of course, with a modest reconnect charge. Once on-line I could arrange a plane ticket for Dick, check emails, order Bob's meds and catch up on other business.
We hooked up with a few boats that bashed up the Baja together for dinner one night. Crew from Journey (Jeff & Dori), Wendaway (Mark & Wendy), Beverly S (Larry & Sue), Dick, Bob & I enjoyed drooling over the American menu but choked on the American prices. Man ... welcome home to high prices! This part of being home is discouraging.
We bid Dick farewell; what a great help he was especially with the night watches. I would highly recommend having a 3rd person on board. Having the extra amount of sleep made such a difference especially in the rougher parts of the passage. We worked on desalting the boat and doing the basic chores you always encounter after long trip. The laundry facilities are very nice here so I was able to not only clean our clothes but also tackle the bedding, blankets and rugs.
We took a break one day and toured the Midway aircraft carrier that is now a maritime museum moored on the San Diego waterfront. Goodness, we paid for 4 hours of parking and still didn't see the entire ship. It was very interesting along with all the airplanes that were on display on the flight and hanger decks. We toured the bridge, Admiral's & Captain's quarters, ready rooms, forecastle, mess, enlisted men's quarters, galley, engineering and many other areas too numerous to name. I wished I was 40 years younger, trim, fit and in good shape with good knees. Oh well, nothing like some Advil and lots of wine couldn't cure.
It was exciting being back in U.S. grocery stores. Who would ever guess grocery shopping could be so much fun? First thing we bought was fresh fruit, vegies and Triscuit crackers (I love these). A Costco run was also in order and we stocked up good candy (which means chocolate) of all things. I don't have that anxiety feeling anymore worrying about stocking up and having as much as possible on the boat to survive. That part is nice about being home although we were far from starving in Mexico; everything you need is available just not everything you want. However, drooling over the nice cuts of meats was very thrilling and we indulged ourselves with pork and beef tenderloins. And ohhh yeah, the wine selection is great.
The biggest reason for our long stay in San Diego really centers on our niece Rachael and her family. Her husband Adam has been transferred to Okinawa for a 3 year stay. So they are packing up the kids, renting the house, mucking out the household goods and farming out the cat and dog to other family members so they can meet their 2000 lb weight limit. This is no small task and takes many months. It's like moving from a 2500 sq foot house to a 47 ft sailboat, bah humbug!
We pitched in and helped where and when we could. Most likely our biggest job was keeping the 3 kids entertained and occupied. Disney flicks sure come in handy and have been a good babysitter for the 3 & 5 year old. The 12 year old is at the awkward age of too old for a little kid but too young to hang out with adults. The most fun we had was hauling the kids and Aztez, the golden retriever, to the local park to burn off energy and play. Even Aztez was happy to jump about and run free for a couple of hours. He chased the kids around the jungle gym, followed the kids up to the slides but chickened out coming down.
Wasn't long before they were bored and hot so we shuffled them off to the picnic table and shade, fueled them back up with juice and water. The beautiful butterflies caught their attention and shortly they were running themselves ragged chasing them around the park. I felt a good old fashioned water fight was in order to cool these little critters down so I instigated water wars. I refilled the water bottles and soaked them good ... yeah, they really suffered as they were yelling ..."get me auntie, get me". Turnabout was fair play, I got a good dousing myself thanks to Allie, the 12 year old. Bella & Tristan were more interested in soaking poor Aztez. Aztez was just too tired himself to avoid the little ones so he just laid there taking it all in. Tristan, Bella & Aztez took a 2 hour nap once we got home after our ice cream treat. It was a good day in the neighborhood.
Saying goodbye wasn't so much fun, too many tears. Three years isn't that long but long enough for little critters to grow up far too fast. We watch all the kids in our families struggle to mature and have the benefits of an adult. Little do they know life does not get easier as an adult just more complicated.
It is time to move north as we adults struggle thru our next challenge - getting the boat and ourselves back to the Pacific Northwest. Oh to be 3 years old again!
06/18/2012, San Diego
We are safely in San Diego as of June 17th around mid-day; tired but happy to be in the good ole USA.
More later ....
It's now later and here are a few stats for all of you to ponder. Our trip from La Paz to San Diego was 949 nautical miles (or 1091 statute miles) in length. It took us 19 days of which 3 days were waiting out weather. We had 4 overnight passages.
In total, we traveled 6,152 nautical miles while in Mexico during the past 19 months. It's has been an adventure!
We will rest for a couple of weeks and then start our trek north.
06/16/2012, Turtle Bay to San Diego
June 15 -16, 2012: An early morning departure was in order again Â... yuck! But at least Dick & Bob let me go back to bed after we got safely underway. Once I can get over my early morning stomach woes, I usually can do reasonably well at sea. This passage was 169 nautical miles and we did it in 28 hours averaging 6 knots. What a nice change from our bashing earlier on this trip. By going to San Benitos we had a nice angle to cut across the large span of water as we worked our way to Ensenada.
Our watches have been 3 hours on and 6 hours off which allowed for good sleep time. Dick has been a great help to have along. It makes a big difference on the fatigue factor. We have several days of good weather so we want make tracks.
We stopped at Bahia Colnett for about six hours to shower, eat and rest for awhile. We decided to bypass Ensenada and continue on to San Diego, about 120 miles from Colnett. We can get there in 20 hours and arrive mid-day on Sunday. That gets us ahead of the anticipated weather change.
Bahia Colnett 30Â° 57.814N 116Â° 16.813W
June 14, 2012: The Baja Bash fleet was leaving at first light this morning to move north. Three boats decided to pass Cedros Island on the east side and anchor to position themselves for the next jump across a large bight of water. We took west side of Cedros and worked our way up to San Benito's Island 56 miles to the north for our jump off point.
It was another long day pushing against large swells, wind waves and wind on our nose. Once we arrived I was not pleased with the looks of the anchorage. Large kelps beds lay across the entire area and you could see the swells rolling in. We did have a whale greet us, along with a large colony of sea lions barking away to their heart's content.
I couldn't believe there was an actual fishing community located on this desolate island out in the middle of nowhere. The citizens of Mexico have a very hard life Â... and the fishermen are amazing.
San Benitos Island 28Â° 17.909N 115Â° 34.592W
June 12 - 13, 2012: The weather wasn't looking so hot and neither were the seas so we decided to hang out a couple more days here in Turtle Bay. We were invited along with the rest of the cruisers in the anchorage for a yellow fin dinner prepared by Ruben & his wife Anabelle, one of the local fuel providers. He really enjoys the cruisers and has built a nice restaurant overlooking the bay. Couldn't ask for a better deal, he provided transportation to and from his place, gave us a bottle of wine to take home and the meal was only $150 pesos including food & liquor. We enjoyed the company of 12 other cruisers while dining family style; it was a fantastic evening showing Dick some Mexican hospitality.
Wednesday I booted the boys off the boat to make a garbage run and stretch their legs. Beside I wanted them out of my hair while I prepared a couple more dinners and breakfasts. I got no argument out of either one since they knew it was a way to keep their bellies happy while underway.
We have been watching the Horatio Hornblower British Naval series which has added some entertainment to our evening hours. One night we had the benefit of our boat rocking in the waves and the wind howling outside just at the same time the sailboat in the movie was experiencing the same conditions. It quite eerie!
06/12/2012, Turtle Bay
June 11, 2012: Today was another 54 mile day, the last leg to Turtle Bay where we could refuel the boal and rejuvenate our bodies. This was a real pleasant day with reasonable seas, sunshine and good speed. Today we averaged 5.8 knots and made the passage in 9 hours.
We were greeted by the fuel panga drivers eager to sell us fuel. In December 2010, when we first arrived here, we were very wary of these guys and didn't know what to expect. Now, we feel like veterans and welcomed their offer. Fuel is brought by a panga and they use a portable generator to activate the pump. Interesting operation Mexican style but very effective.
Time to kick back for a day or so, watch the weather and catch up on a couple of chores. Bob is changing the engine oil, Dick is hand washing laundry and I am preparing meals for our next stint of passages.
Turtle Bay 27 41.016N 114 53.354W
06/12/2012, Bahia Asuncion'
June 10, 2012: The morning came early due to our 6 am departure. We wanted to take advantage of the calm morning waters and no wind. Sunrise was quite beautiful thru the marine layer of light fog. At least a dozen fishing pangas were out pulling in their lines/nets. But we made a safe passage thru and enjoyed a faster speed thru the water.
Our bliss only lasted a short period as we started picking up a contrary current and pushed up against it for the entire day. It took us 12.5 hours to travel 54 miles and we averaged 4.3 knots. Normally we could knock out this distance in 8-9 hours.
Once again as we pulled in the bay to anchor, the winds kicked up to 25-28 knots. Talk about a wind hole but during the night hours it did settle back down to no wind and calm waters. We hit the sack early this evening too.
Bahia Asuncion' 27 08.032N 114 17.378W
06/12/2012, Santa Maria to Abreojos
June 8 - 9, 2012: This leg of the journey takes about 31.5 hours to travel 145 nautical miles. We averaged 4.6 knots and had a pretty rough journey plowing thru very unruly seas. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the direction of the wind waves and swell. I don't mind so much the long passages but I sure don't like the rough seas. Time seems to pass at a snail's pace.
The winds were consistent at around 15-20 knots but right on the nose. We pulled the main sail out part way and motor sailed just a few degrees off of the wind. The shorten sail helps drive the boat thru the waves and easier to keep full.
I got the easy night shift of 9-midnight while Bob & Dick handled the midnight thru 6 am watches. Wow, 6 hours of sleep, what a treat. All of us were very glad to anchor up in Abreojos, even if the winds had piped up to 25-30 knots. By the middle of night all was calm and we got a decent night's sleep for our next day's passage.
Abreojos 26 44.090N 113 32.199W