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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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Ensenada De Los Muertos
03/29/2011, Ensenada de Los Muertos

Ensenada de los Muertos has a few surprises. After nearly a month in wild places with only a few stops in marinas it took us by surprise to stumble onto, of all things in this remote bay, a model train museum. The entire area is slated for development with a golf course and a hotel already established. ThereĆ­s an open air restaurant on the opposite side of the harbor with a dingy dock nearby. The hotel is exquisitely designed with pools, artwork, fountains and the unexpected train museum on the mezzanine of the restaurant. The hotel and grounds are laid out with so much thought given to the details of comfort and beauty that it is simply stunning. Roads, lagoons, cliff side homes and shopping centers are planned, but for now it is economically stalled.
With all this going on it would seem that something as simple as a dock for dinghies would be a somewhat stable affair. It is not. Assembled from large snap together plastic pieces it looks deceptively friendly like a Playskol product. We tied the dingy up and jumped onto the platform which is when the fun began. The innocuous plastic dock held an unexpected surprise. The surge sent it slamming it into the rock wall it was tied to, knocking us off our feet. The only safe way to traverse it was on all fours, which none of us were willing to do. We simply could not have successfully sailed down the notoriously difficult Baja coast only to discover the most difficult passage turned out to be fifteen feet of plastic gangway. Big tough sailors cannot exactly walk into a local bar with their heads up after crawling up a kiddy dock. We had merely a moment of warning, when the surge tugged the dock away from the wall, to prepare for the next jolt, arms flailing, knees bent, as it careened into the rock wall. A rubber fender or a few old tires would easily cure the problem, but in a billion dollar development complete with a mile of tiny trains and scads of marble water features it must be have been considered an unnecessary expense to ensure the safety of transient sailors. The surge swept the dock away from the stairs making the leap too far to risk between them. Timing was everything. Missing the chance required bracing for impact, then waiting for the next wave to shove the dock toward the wall, altogether quite challenging for a toy dock.
The steep stairway leading to the path to the restaurant must have been constructed by the decedents of ancient pyramid builders or they were an afterthought chipped randomly out of the vertical wall. I love Mexico, this would not be allowed north of the border and it was actually quite amusing after the initial near dunking when the dock first revealed its crafty little secret. The molded plastic ladder attached to the end of the dock, a modest convenience for the people who have been launched into the water, proudly displayed the logo EZ Dock, which is insultingly oriented toward the person climbing it soaking wet.

03/30/2011 | amber
sounds awesome!!
World record on Si Bon
03/27/2011, Ensenada de Los Muertos

We finally got out of Bahia Los Frailes yesterday, we had planned to spend 2-3 days and ended up being there a week, we are now anchored in a medium sized cove called Ensenada de Los Muertos, which translates to Cove of the dead. On our way here we trolled a fishing line, as we have most of the time since leaving Ensenada. Last night we all marveled at the fact that despite all of the time we've had a line in the water, we still have not caught a fish, and we are pretty sure that that is some kind of world record for not catching fish. You have to be aware that we are currently in some of the best fishing grounds in the world, so we feel that we are now experts at not catching fish, we have not caught some of the largest marlin ever to be not caught in these waters, we have also not caught very large yellowtail, dorado, sailfish and just about any other kind of fish here. We have not caught fish with every type of lure, jig and cedar plug you can imagine, we were given some squid by a local fisherman who assured us we would catch fish with it...but still no fish, we've trolled in Si Bon, we've trolled in the dinghy, we've fished off a dock and of the stern of Si Bon at anchor...and still we've not caught a fish, and in fact we are so damm good at not catching fish that we haven't even had a nibble, or strike or whatever it's called. We decided last night that not catching fish is actually a lot more fun than catching fish, we can still play out the line, open a can of beer and turn on some country music and we can still BS about large fish we haven't caught, but we don't get all tired out pulling in some hapless fish, we don't get fish blood all over our boat and our fishing equipment will last forever without the stress of actually catching a fish, plus our refrigerator doesn't smell all fishy. Well I gotta go now I heard the fish aren't bitting this morning so I'm dropping in a line, opening up a brewski, and turning on some Tim McGraw.

03/27/2011 | Rich
Don't worry Steve, I'll make sure to bring more fishing (non catching) gear with me when I get down there.
03/28/2011 | Sandy Bilodeau
When I sailed to Maui we trolled also and all we ended up with was a fish jaw, picked clean by... something? Still sounds better then what we're doing here at home.
03/28/2011 | marty hess
Fishing is over-rated! Just go to where the pangas come in and give them a carton of Marlbors and be done with it.
03/29/2011 | Karen
OMG I laughed my butt off reading your fish stories.. how you are experts at not catching fish!!! TOO FUNNY! try peanut butter? hmm .. I dont fish but what the heck.. could it be any worse? Let me know if you get the biggest darn fish out there with that! LOL take care and sail safe!
Settling in
03/24/2011, Bahia Los Frailes

We're still here waiting out the norther, the wind was slightly calmer yesterday and the temperature warmed back up. We may be able to get going tomorrow, we'll see, we don't expect to many people to feel sorry for us being "stuck" in this beautiful place, besides we really don't have to be anywhere until April 3 when I pick up Shaybo at the La Paz will be really good to see her again and give her a big hug. Yesterday Peter and I walked to the Regional House restaurant, a nice little place in the middle of nowhere, the Bartender was a guy from San Diego named Pablo, he came down here on vacation and was asked to watch the restaurant for a few days while the owner went to take care of some medical condition, that was 5 weeks ago and Pablo is really pissed. We also walked around the camp ground that is on the beach and met some of the people camped out here, most are Canadian.
The crew is holding up really well, we seem to have formed a sort of bond or mutual respect for each other, sailing down the desolate Baja coast together definitely builds character and is something that most people will never do.

03/24/2011 | Phil Anderson
It must be tough when you don't have to be Chuck Berry said " no particular place to go " live on !!
03/24/2011 | ShayBo
I cant wait either :) tick tock, tick tock...
03/25/2011 | Susie
Take good care of my bestie for me :(
03/25/2011 | mark burrows
After la paz where do you go from there?
We got 2nd place last week. Headed out for a catalina club raft up on sat. Take care Steve.
Keep up the good fun.
03/26/2011 | Steve cook
I will Susie, Mark, we are staying around La Paz for most or all of April, then start working our way to Santa Rosalia and be ther around 1st on June. Hope you can join us somewhere, Phil Likewise amigo. Shaybo, tick tock tick tock...almost time.
Good decision
Steve/sorta calm for now
03/23/2011, bahia Los Frailes

Los Frailes is a medium sized bay which "offers good protection from north winds", yesterday we had sustained winds of 15-20 knots and wind chop of a foot or so in this well protected bay. As we gazed out beyond the protection of the point into the Sea of Cortez, it resembled a raging river, Peter and I put it in the range of some of the class 4 rapids that we have both run on rafts. The current weather guess is calling for this to last until Saturday.
Yesterday we all stayed on the boat, we read, we napped and we studied our spanish. Si Bon's anchor is now pretty well dug into the soft sand bottom and other than looking around occasionally to check our position and ensure we're not dragging anchor, there's not much to do.
Today we're going to put the motor back on the dink, which the crew affectionately now calls Bon Bon, and go in to find the camping kayak fisherman that warned us about the wind. This dude, John, has lived on this beach for something like 10 years, sleeping on a cot and fishing for food. I want to pick his brain about the wind and about fishing, there is also some sort of restaurant in the area that we want to try to find...and I might ask John to join us in gratitude for saving our sorry gringo asses.

Change of plans
03/22/2011, Bahia Los Frailes

I checked the weather this morning and the guess was calling for 10-15 knot wind going up to our next anchorage, it would be on our nose but didn't look like anything we couldn't handle. As I was down below getting ready, some local dude who I had met on the beach yesterday, paddles up in his fishing kayak and tells us that he just came from around the point and we might want to wait a day or so, I told him I had checked the weather and it looked OK, to which he responded " oh, you checked the weather and everything looked good? then you should be fine". I think he was probably thinking "good luck asshole, I've been camped out on this beach for the past ten years, but your stupid weather guesser knows more than me" But instead he gave us some bait for fishing and with a friendly smile paddled away. About that same time a large catamaran, Santosha, that had been anchored next to us, and left in the early morning hours pulls back into the bay and drops their hook. Peter and I rowed over to Santosha and ask them if they had headed north, to which they responded "yes, and don't bother"
There is a weather pattern in the Sea of Cortez somewhat similar to a Santa Ana in So Cal, it's called a Norther...that appears to be what we have right now, the wind is howling at probably 20+ knots, there are now white caps in our bay, and we have recommended by the local camper/kayak fisher, to stay put.

03/22/2011 | amber Gilbert
03/22/2011 | amber Gilbert
03/21/2011, Los Frailes

As any fisherman (which none of us are), will tell you there is a reason it's called fishing, not catching. We've been trying our hand at fishing since we left Ensenada, and so far the only thing we've caught is a nice sized piece of kelp and a small piece of sea grass. Last night as Catherine was getting ready to prepare another gourmet meal for us, Peter and I decided to take the dink out and troll around the bay, we grabbed a couple of brewskis and headed out. Peter played out the line and we made a little wager, if he caught a fish I would do the dishes, if he didn't, he would do them. As we slowly motored around this beautiful bay, we looked down and saw phosphorescences, which look like tiny little lights, shooting out of the dinghy wake, we suddenly forgot all about the fishing as we spaced out at this amazing, tinkerbell sorta look, we were completely memorized by this VERY cool sight.
We got back to Si Bon and Catherine had now finished our dinner, a dish called Loco Moco, an Hawaiian dish that like everyone of the meals she does... seemed to taste better than the one before, Catherine's cooking gives the term "boat food" a whole new meaning, plus Peter had to do the dishes.
We plan to leave tomorrow morning for Ensenada de Muertos, a distance of 47 NM.

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