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Sailing with Thor
Arrival and recap
02/15/2011, Bahia de Navidad

As dawn broke this morning, we found ourselves nearing Bahia de Navidad with our actual destination of the Lagoon at Barra de Navidad about 15 miles away. As we were listening to the local morning cruisers net, we heard our friends on Blue Rodeo checking in and after the net we gave them a call. We first met Mark and Anne way back at Avalon Harbor on Catalina Island and hadn't seen them since we left San Jose del Cabo. We had gone north to La Paz and the Sea of Cortez while they had gone south to the Mexican Riviera where we are now. Blue Rodeo was anchored in a small bay just around the corner from Barra. They were planning to go into the lagoon the next day and we chose to anchor for the night and follow them into the lagoon the next day since they have already experienced the shallow entrance channel to the lagoon. The bay that we are anchored in is gorgeous...a beautiful beach with a couple of nice hotels. The vegetation is lush and tropical, a far difference to the dessert like landscapes of the Baja side. And the humidity? It must be 90% with the air temps in the 80's making the weather nice and "sticky" also a far cry from the dry conditions and comfortable 70's on the Baja side. No complaints here, though as it is a completely part of Mexico that we now get to explore.

Our final day and night of our passage was eventful. While the day lended itself to good sailing conditions, about 4 pm in the afternoon, the wind started to increase and within a few hours we had winds in excess of 25 - 30 knots and high seas. We reduced sail and made the best of the conditions, a wild and rolly ride. About 4 am in the morning, the wind started to subside and eventually died away to nothing allowing us to motor the rest of the way into the anchorage in lumpy seas.

Day 3, Passage to Barra de Navidad
02/14/2011, At Sea

We are in day 3 of our passage to mainland Mexico, our destination of Barra de Navidad. Conditions continue to be favorable...we have winds from the NNW at 12-15 knots and are sailing with a full main and jib. We have really noticed the increase in humidity...the minute the sun goes down, water condenses on everything outside on deck. During the day, everything (on deck and below ) feels damp. I found two small squid on the deck this morning that came aboard during the night. We have about 100 miles to go and hope to be anchored by noon tomorrow.

Day 1, Passage to Navidad
02/12/2011, At Sea

We left Frailes at 08:30 this morning and this is out current position at noon. Current conditions are NNW winds at 25-27 knots, 6 foot seas from the north. Bumpy ride. We have furled the main and are running under the jib alone with the wind vane steering. We expect these conditions all day with it forecast to ease somewhat tonight.

02/14/2011 | Rachel
Happy Valentine's Day!

Remember how much you are loved and missed.
On the way to Frailes
02/10/2011, Ensenada de los Meurtos

After a layover day at Ensenada de los Muertos, we are now on our way to Bahia los Frailes about 45 miles to the south. We will anchor there tonight and tomorrow morning depart for Barra de Navidad. This will be a 3 day passage from Baja California to the Mexican mainland.

While at Muertos, we took a nice long walk on the beach to a very high end hotel located here, the Gran Sueno. Very fancy and secluded for guests that can afford a private suite for $2000 a night! A bit beyond our means! However there are only 12 suites but there was not a single guest staying at the hotel at the time. We walked through the grounds and checked out the really nice restaurant...very strange to see hotel employees but no one else around.

Later in the afternoon, Jeff and Jane from Adagio stopped by. We met them in La Paz and they are anchored here on their way to La Cruz.

As I write this, we are sailing down wind in 15-17 knots of wind from the northwest. We have one reef in the main and are sailing wing and wing with the jib poled out. There is a fair sea running,6 foot swells from the north. The boat is rolling somewhat but it's about normal for these conditions! Oh and we gave Otto the day off...the wind vane is steering today!

Leaving La Paz
02/07/2011, Caleta Lobos

Otto is back! Our repaired auto pilot finally arrived yesterday and after installing it and testing, it all worked fine. We finished preparations to get under way and left La Paz about 1:30 in the afternoon for the short trip (about 8 miles) to Caleta Lobos. And with that, another gorgeous Mexican sunset! We decided to only spend one night here, wanting to push on to Ensenada de Los Muertos today continuing our trip toward the Mexican mainland. We were greeted with southerly winds today, right on our nose and up to about 17 knots setting up a steady chop with short period wind waves. Otto steered flawlessly. Having 45 miles to cover for the day to the anchorage, we opted to motor sail so that we could travel the rumb line directly towards our destination and arrive before dark.

Over the weekend, we continued our exploration of La Paz, finding a really neat feed store that had everything from various pet foods to bulk spices and dried chiles. Most of the bulk goods were displayed in colorful bins some wooden and some plastic. There were many, many spices that we could not identify. We also visited another Dulceria, this one with a huge variety of pinatas and the candy and prizes that go in them. We stocked up on some various Mexican candy for those long night watches.

La Paz also seems to have a hardware store on just about every corner...they are called Ferreterias. We found an intersection that had these stores located on all 4 corners.

We discovered a small unique hotel right in the heart of downtown that had a huge array of antiques and art on display. This little hotel had only 12 rooms, but was also an art gallery and a tienda, Included with your room, you received coffee in the morning and a shot of tequilla in the evening. We found an old Baja California Sur license plate for sale, and it was purchased as a birthday present for Lorrie and her collection. Did I forget to mention it was Lorrie's birthday? - Feliz Cupleanos! We spent the entire day exploring La Paz and finished it off with a really nice dinner out.

02/11/2011 | Bonnie
Sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday! Happy Birthday Lorrie.
Blowin' In The Wind
02/03/2011, La Paz, B.C.S.

When a high pressure system forms in the southwest US, it creates a pressure gradient differential in the Sea of Cortez. The result is wind...usually lots of it depending on the size of the gradient. And the wind blows from the north, strongly, and hence it is called a "norther". The wind builds up large seas as well, usually short period wind waves that can build to 10 feet or more. It's not so much the wind that can hurt, but the steepness of the seas that it creates. Here in La Paz, the anchorage is mostly open to the north and in calm conditions is a delightful anchorage. But when a norther is blowing, wind waves can build up in the harbor and add to that an ebbing tide against the wind will kick it up even more. The Port Captain will close the port to traffic in these conditions and he has. We took advantage of a slip being available at Marina de La Paz and moved into the marina yesterday. It has been 2 months since we were last "at the dock" and it was time to clean up the boat, do some routine maintenance and generally enjoy the dock scene for a few days without having to use the dinghy to go back and forth to shore. We are in the second day of the "norther" with the wind howling through the rigging at up to 30 knots. The boats at anchor in the harbor are being tossed around in rough conditions. We are not entirely motionless though. The slip that we are in lies abeam to the wind so we are being healed over slightly due to the strength of the wind. And with the current and surge, the boat is moving around quite a bit but it's comfortable compared to what we would be experiencing if we were still anchored in the harbor. We've taken advantage of our dock time and the available fresh water to thoroughly wash the boat. We hired Enrique to dive under the boat and clean the bottom. We also hired Jacob and Rolofo to wax the hull for us and polish up the stainless steel railings and fittings. These guys all work very hard, they did a great job and it's nice to support the local economy. Besides, we couldn't beat the price...the labor for all three of these guys came to less than $200! The boat is nice and clean and shiny! Tomorrow we'll add a coat of Semco (teak sealer) to all the exterior teak. We'll also add a coat of wax to all the stainless steel since it tends to give added protection and keep it looking nice longer. And, I almost forgot...we got a call this morning telling us that our auto pilot is on the truck on it's way and it may be in tomorrow! We'll keep our fingers crossed on that one and have to wait and see but that's the best news we've had in a while.

02/05/2011 | Mary and Ken Strasser
Yeah for

you. Marina de la Paz is one of the nicest places, and your auto pilot is coming! Best wishes.
02/07/2011 | Teri
Happy Birthday Lorrie!!!!

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Who: Marc and Lorrie Cascio
Port: Bellingham, WA
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