04/15/2010, San Telmo
Qualchan never caught up to us yesterday because we DNF'd and started the motor when the wind died, we had to charge our batteries. Todd was a die hard sailor and sailed he whole way up the channel. We didnt have any more close encounters with humpback whales but we were joined for a while by a playful pod of dolphins.
We scoped out Los Gatos but there were 6 boats in there already and some had stern tied so they didnt swing into each other, it would have been tight if the wind picked up so we continued North to San Telmo, one mile up the coast. This anchorage is gorgeous. Scott from Scott Free commented that we are anchored in a screensaver! There are a couple of white sand beaches and snorkeling reefs and giant red and pink cliffs.
As soon as we anchored a panga came up out of nowhere and Miguel took our dinner order. I already had chicken marinating but Scott Free ordered a couple of lobster and we watched as he drove about 100 feet away and jumped into the water. 30 minutes later he returned to Scott free with 2 big lobster and 3 more for Qualchan. We have put in our dinner order for tonight YUM!
We will be here a couple of days for sure and then heading North to Aqua Verde and then on to Escondido for the end of the month. We plan to cross the Sea before the end of the month so we can be in Mazatlan for a couple of days before my mum joins us there for our last week in Mexico. I feel like I should be asking "Where has the time gone?" but it has been 9 months since we left Vancouver and we are ready to go home, although one rainy day in Van may change our minds. In the meantime its beaches and sun and lobster!!!
04/12/2010, Enroute to Los Gatos
We have spent the last 5 days at San Evaristo just up the coast from La Paz. It's a small fishing village with about 20 families. Staying a couple of extra days allowed us to explore the area a bit more and make some friends. As Jeff always points out, anywhere cruisers gather a local will build a palapa and sell beer. And that 's true for Evaristo too. A family with 3 young children live in a tent over which they have built a makeshift palapa with woven palm fronds and plywood lean-too, a couple of refrigerators on their backs powered by car batteries make their Cantina. Simple, but effective.
We got to kick a ball around with the kids and donate some clothes and supplies to the family. We walked up to the local school with the crew of Qualchan and donated supplies up there too and visited with the students where the boys played a quick game of soccer with the kids. In US vs Mexico, the two mexican kids won for sure!
The other day we wandered over to the beach as the fishermen were unloading their catch, they had about 14 massive Yellowtail tail they were cleaning and icing ready for the trip to La Paz. Qualchan and Rockstar bought one for 250p (about $20). After the fisherman had filleted the 4ft tuna for us we ended up with about 15-20lbs of fish to share. The crew of Scott Free and Qualchan joined us for a dinner of marinated sashimi, sushi rolls and ahi seared tuna. Yum! Jeff and Todd have done a lot of diving and yesterday Todd also speared 3 bass for dinner for his crew. We wont be going hungry anytime soon.
As I write we are racing Qualchan up the channel about 25km to our next anchorage Puerto Los Gatos. Qualchan had a decent start but Rockstar points to wind better so we have overtaken them. As the wind shifts Qualchan is gaining on us because she sails faster on the beam. We have seen turtles, a pod of whales and caught a Black Skipjack, which we released because the meat is too dark red and fishy to eat (especially with so much tuna still in the freezer). The coolest thing today was when we saw a giant humpback whale slowly ambling South in front of the boat, as usual Jeff got nervous when it was about 3 boat lengths away but he was truly shocked when it broached right in front of the boat about 10 feet away. Unfortunately, he didn't actually see it, only saw the splash under the sail. Carden and I were sitting on the windward side of the boat and saw the big whale jump vertical in the air and then belly flop down, diving about 10 feet from our bow. It was by far the closest I have ever been to a whale, even in the aquarium!
We dont have internet access right now so this blog is posted by SSB radio.
04/09/2010, La Paz
Well, we are back in our slip in Marina Palmira. We left Ensenada Grande this morning and had a quick motor back to La Paz. We arrived in time to drop off our propane tanks with the Marina office and then we jumped in Felipe's taxi for a trip into town.
By this time, we were starving so Felipe took us to "The Best Chicken Stand in La Paz" and it was! For 100 pesos, less than $10 we ordered a whole chicken that had been butterflied and bbq'd and served with tortillas and rice and yummy sauce. It fed the 4 of us perfectly. We also found out what the secret seasoning was, but we can't tell you because Jeff and I are pretty sure we want to open "The Best Chicken Stand in North Vancouver" when we get back! Hee hee. We also had a great conversation with Felipe about chicken farming, because I'm interested in where my food comes from, and we found out that the University of La Paz supplies most of the chicken shops. Apparently they have a big chicken, cow, pig and dairy farm for the students. Felipe also has 14 chickens at home and showed us photos of his new baby hens. (Mayor Mossato, am I allowed to keep chickens in my yard in N Van? How cool would that be?)
After lunch Jeff and Carden and I zipped (as much as one can "zip" with a 2 year old) around Walmart getting last minute supplies for our trip to the islands. My end of the cart had Veggies, a sink plug and Milk; Jeff's had Kraft Dinner, Vodka and Hot Dogs. (serious!)
04/09/2010, Ensenada Grande
We left Marina Palmira Tuesday morning at 6am...... Just Kidding! Our plan was to leave early but we motored out of the channel at about 10.30am.
We had a beautiful, but windy, motor the 25k or so up to Isla Partida, part of Epspiritu Santo's Islands and followed Qualchan into Ensenada Granda, a three lobed bay. We are now anchored in 15 feet of turquoise water, yards off a secluded sandy beach protected from the Norther by high sand cliffs. It was almost perfect until I went to make pancakes this morning and realized we were out of propane! We are now on the bbq tank which is only half full. Our options are to sail 5 hours back to La Paz, pull into the marina overnight and wait for the Thursday propane run. Or cross our fingers we have enough to get us to San Evaristo and then cross our fingers again that someone there can do a propane run back to La Paz for us. Qualchan has offered us their spare tank until we can sort it out which we will probably take then up on so we can enjoy the next few days of anchorages. Worst case scenario, Jeff will have to pull out his Boy Scout skills and start making fires on the beach for us to cook dinner! (and Ill have to make use of my crush on Jamie Oliver to make the food edible)
04/05/2010, La Paz
The week we were in La Paz we did pretty much "nothing", so on the Monday before we left we found ourselves doing "everything". We hired a taxi in the morning to take us up to Pichilingue which is where cruisers obtain their TIP (Temporary Import Permit) which allows us to leave our boat in Mexico. Luckily Felipe, our taxi driver, spoke great English and was a gem translating for us and making sure we had all the right paperwork. Unluckily, the officer required our Engine serial number for the forms and we did not have it. Luckily, I pretended we had it and jotted down a random number and the officer did not think it odd that I had it memorized.
With our TIP done we headed into town with Felipe and did a quick provision at the local CCC which is similar to a Walmart but not as organized. I'm sure it seems perfectly well organized to the person who designed the aisles but to the average shopper it is really confusing to have a seperate bakery, and then bagels over near the yogurt, pita bread in the produce section and bread in a seperate aisle altogether. From CCC we went back into town and visited the English bookstore where I picked up a couple of novels, Jeff bought some fish ID cards and a more detailed book on local fish species and Carden got a Dr Suess book.
Felipe then took us to "The Best Fish Taco stand" in La Paz, where the locals go. We had lunch there and even though he was really good at showing us landmarks so we could return we have no idea where it is. But, the taco's were amazing! For 15 pesos (about $1.30 Cdn) each taco was a tortilla with battered fish or shrimp on top (and the portions were massive, the size of a restaurant plate serving, 3 times bigger than the taco itself) and lots of shredded cabbage, guac, salsa and sauces to load on top. Yum!!!! Last we hit up the local Mecardo for fresh fruits and veggies, fish and chicken and headed back to the boat.
Monday night we planned to stay in and relax before leaving early Tuesday morning but Jeff talked to Qualchan on the VHF and we ended up going back into town for one last Hurrah at Banditos Burger Bar mmmm!