The crossing from San Telmo to Mazatlan was great fro our last passage. There was nowhere to get provisions before we left so Monday afternoon found Carden and I baking a cake, which we then ate for lunch and Tuesdays breakfast. Tuesday we got a Mahi on the line which saved us form eating cake for lunch too! It was a big one, about 3-4 feet and our lunch was super fresh Mahi Poppers.
We got some great wind 10-15K on the beam on Monday night so we sailed at 7K without the engine and with a full moon, the perfect overnight sail. Unfortunately, the wind died on the morning and never recovered except for a light breeze coming directly from our slip in Mazatlan, right on the nose. We do find it quite suspicious that regardless of the weather forecast or what direction we are sailing, 70% of the time the wind is coming directly from the direction we are heading (very hard sailing). We have yet to find a way to outsmart the wind gods.
On wednesday morning as we were approaching Mazatlan a seagull took a rest on our spreaders, it didn't bother us at first, not even when it pooped on Jeff's head, but when the second bomb landed on the stereo Jeff snapped. It's pretty funny to see a grown man jumping up and down and waving his arms yelling "Caw Caw" (the bird took no notice). Carden tried to scare it away with the air horn (no effect) and then Jeff tried to hit it with a swinging halyard (which it dodged). So, then we each took turns throwing baby potatos at it (with my Jeff still thinking that "Caw Caw" would scare it away). Do you have a picture of this in your head?
We have spent the last couple of days in Mazatlan talking to Tony, who we are leaving the boat with for the summer and arranging to meet trades. I had planned to spend the week scrubbing a years worth of grime off the inside of the boat but Tony has a wonderful cleaner who for $35 a day with clean and detail every corner for me. Horrah! (I'm sneaking her home in my luggage!)
04/26/2010, San Telmo
We are now enroute to Mazatlan. We spent last night in Aqua Verde, back in our secluded anchorage and tonight we will be in San Telmo. We are following our Northbound tracks South and in a couple of days will turn East from San Evaristo and head across the Sea to Mazatlan.
We are really excited to get to Mazatlan Marina and pack up the boat for the summer. Of course I'm sure as soon as we get there we will wonder why we were so eager, and dream of secluded shallow anchorages with marching lobsters and palm trees.
We arrived in Escondido on Tuesday, its a pretty bay that is almost landlocked and surrounded by big hills. There is no village, only a Singla Marina and a haulout yard. Singlar has dropped about 100 moorings in the bay for visiting boats. It's a 20 minute drive to Loreto and there's plenty of taxi's but they take advantage of the remoteness of Escondido and charge 500 pesos (about $50) for the fare there and 300p back.
After realizing the 12pm bus was not passing the highway bus stop at 12pm we hitched a ride into town. Seems totally normal down here in Mexico for us to be flying down a single lane highway at 120km/hr in the back of a mini-pick up. A little scary, but totally normal. Loreto is charming with lots of old buildings and an old Mission. It's right on the water but there's no decent anchorage and the Malecon hasn't been developed which is a shame so its empty lots instead of restaurants and shops. We ate lunch at a restaurant called The Outback and had delicious breaded bass baguette and pasta. We headed back to the anchorage after stocking up at the local supermarket.
we were lucky enough to go back in for dinner on Thursday when Qualchan rented a car. With Todd and Jeff up front, Margaret, Charlie, Carden, Luke, Natalie and I squeezed into the back of the compact and raced down the highway again toward Loreto. Again, seems totally normal down here. Apparently the vehicle laws are that only 2 people are allowed in the front seat, but you can have as many as you like (or can fit) in the back. We ate at La Palapa, a great little Mexican restaurant with live music and the best chips and salsa. After dinner we strolled the town and did a little souvenir shopping and then headed home to a cold. wet dingy ride to the boat.
Since there's not a lot to do in Escondido we spent a relaxing couple of days catching up on emails and news back home and doing laundry.
04/21/2010, Aqua Verde
The last evening in San Telmo Jeff did his job as chief provider and grabbed us 4 nice lobsters! It was pretty cool to watch him dive with the speargun and find them, he had to hold his breath and creep up on them under the rocks.
We left Saturday and had a nice sail up to Aqua Verde which is a remote little village on the Baja coast. We watched a baseball game in progress as we wandered around the village and bought some fresh goats cheese (that tastes like salty tofu). The tiny tienda was a little overwhelmed for 3 new cruising boats looking for supplies but we managed to share everything out and stock up on the basics.
Aqua Verde has a beautiful beach and the kids spent all day on it swimming and shelling and playing which was nice and relaxing for the adults. In the next couple of days we had to move to different parts of the bay to prepare for high winds that were forecast. Luckily they never came. The tienda had a produce delivery on Monday which lasted about 10 minutes until Rockstar, Liberte and Qualchan snapped up all the fresh tomatos, avacados and onions. (And ice cold Coca Colas)
We celebrated Natalie's 17th Birthday on Qualchan with Chocolate Cake, which was a nice treat and said goodbye to Aqua Verde on Tuesday headed for Escondido.
I have updated the gallery with photos under "Baja Coast" Album
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.