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S/V Si Bon
Who: Steve Cook
Port: San Diego, California
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San Juanico to Puerto Escondido
11/11/2011, currently in Loreto

San Juanico (SJ) is a picturesque bay with beautiful rock outcropping and numerous reefs extending into the various coves which make up the bay. SJ is a favorite destination for people cruising in the Sea of Cortez. SJ is home to the "cruiser shrine" (pic), which is a tree (more like a bush) in which cruisers make up an ornament of some sort which pays tribute to their boats and then they hang said ornament on the tree to forever be remembered....or at least until the sun, wind, salt, birds, insects or next hurricane wipes the slate clean. After checking out the shrine on our first day in SJ, Sharon did a little beach combing and came up with some shells, a piece of driftwood and a scraggly old piece of cloth and spent most of the afternoon creating our very own shrine ornament.
After hanging our ornament on the bush....oops I mean tree, we hoisted the anchor and headed to Isla Carman and one of the most beautiful little coves that we've been in yet, called Bahia Balandra (not the same one as we stay in by La Paz). The water in Bahia Balandra was so clear it was like we were in an aquarium. after dropping the hook we threw on our snorkeling gear and were treated to an amazing show of nature. We both instantly fell in love with Balandra....until about 2:00 in the morning when a fairly strong breeze came up from the west and Si Bon turned into a rocking horse. Fortunately the wind died down after sunrise....just in time for the local bees to wake up and come over for a drink of water. As I was cooking up some hot dogs for lunch the rest of the hive decided to join us, we very quickly pulled the dogs of the grill, hoisted the anchor in record time and got the hell out of dodge....trying desperately to out run the little bastards. Yes cruising is full of many challenges and many rewards....but it sure beats working for a living.
We are currently on a land trip to Loreto where we are celebrating my birthday and taking a nice little boat break.

Sailing and catching fish
11/04/2011, Bahia Concepcion to San Juanico

As we were motoring out of tranquil Bahia Concepcion on our way to San Juanico, I vowed to Sharon that I was going to catch a fish for dinner that night. If you've been following my blog you know that catching fish is not one of my strong points. As the sun was rising over the Sea of Cortez I was deploying first a hand line with a cedar plug and then I let out a line from my pole with a repeller lure.
As we rounded the cape and turned south down the sea a breeze started to blow, I already had our main sail out motor sailing and within short time off went the engine and out came the 155 genoa..which is a large headsail which is very powerful. We were sailing along nicely in 10-15 knot winds and our speed over ground (SOG) was around 7 knots. I turned around and there on the end of the hand line was.....A FISH!!! A hand line is basically a long piece of thin rope with another long piece of fishing line attached to it, this is not a set-up for the sportsman as there is no fight and the fish has little chance of escaping, this is the best way for a cruiser to land a fish while sailing a heeling boat. I pulled the helpless fish to the stern of Si Bon, dropped him into the wet locker on our swim step and let the line back out for another try. Our fish, we think he was a tuna, was not large, but he was big enough for dinner for two later.
Mean time the wind had now increased to 20+ knots and Si Bon was becoming difficult to handle, we furled the genoa (reduced the sail area) in order to calm things down. I looked back and there was another fish on the hand line, I started pulling the line in, this time the boat was heeled WAY over and I was hanging on with one hand and reeling the line in with the other with Si Bon on auto pilot and Sharon ready with the gaff. We suddenly were hit with a strong gust, Si Bon leaned WAY over and began violently pointing herself into the wind, Sharon yelled "TURN OFF AUTO PILOT" and as I reached behind me to turn off the auto pilot....I let go of our fish. So much for the "fish having little chance" theory. At about that time the line on the pole started spinning off the reel, as we tightened the drag the fish snapped off our in a matter of minutes we lost a cedar plug, a repeller lure AND a complete hand line....but we had dinner and 20-25 knots of wind, so life was good. was the fish? Well I filleted the little sucker, threw him on the grill and when we bit into the dark purple meat we both nearly feel out of our chairs. This was by far the best tasting fish either one of us had ever eaten, if you didn't know that is was fish, you would swear that the tender meat was a fine steak. The next Day I caught another fish while at anchor and we made him into fish tacos for while I probably won't be seen on American Sportsman show anytime soon, at least we've ben able to get a couple of good dinners, and hopefully there will be more to follow.
As of November 8 we are in Puerto Escondido, where we will be for the next week or so before continuing south. Over the next few days I will post some of the adventures that we have had since leaving San Juanico last week.

11/12/2011 | Kathy
What wonderful experiences you guys are having...I'm jealous! Keep living the good life! Sorry we can't see you at Xmas but looking forward to my visit in Feb. Take care.
What time is it?
11/03/2011, Mulege

As planned we left Santa Rosalia on Sunday morning. We pulled away from the dock at first light....which we thought was 0700, however we later found out that due to a time change we had actually left the dock at 0600. Being out cruising you tend to lose track of days and times. Since my birthday is coming up soon I am wondering that if I miss that day does that mean I get to stay 55 for another year? But then again I would then miss out on my presents and other festivities.... so I better start keeping better track of the days (for awhile anyway).
Our trip to the VERY beautiful Bahia Concepcion was pretty much uneventful, as usual we caught no fish (although we did have a fish checking out our lure for awhile). The sea was almost mirror flat (after the first couple of hours) and for most of the way there was virtually no wind, once we reached the anchorage the wind picked up to about 12-15 knots (perfect timing). We anchored in Bahia Santispac for a couple of nights, then moved over to Bahia Coyote, a short distance of less than 5 NM. This morning we decided to go into Mulege by land, Mulege has the best provisioning in the area and for the first time since leaving Santa Rosalia we are able to have internet access.
Our current plan is to leave Bahia Concepcion tomorrow morning and continue south. Once we leave Mulege we will not have internet access again until we reach Puerto Escondido which should be by....hmmm.....what day is it today? Well it doesn't really matter, we should be there within a week from tomorrow.... whatever day that is. God bless!

P.S. to see where we are and on what day we are there, please follow our SPOT LOCATER map on Facebook.

Santa Rosalia....
10/29/2011, Hummm...Santa Rosalia

Well once again we find ourselves waiting for a break in the weather. Our original plan was to stay here 2 or at the very most 3 nights...HA. A strong northern came up, Steve got food poisoning and here we are... still in Santa Rosalia. The good news is the wind is projected to ease up tomorrow and after many trips to the head my tummy is feeling much better, and....there is a HUGE Halloween celebration tonight in the town square. Our new plan is to finish up provisioning today, attend the Halloween party tonight and leave for Bahia Concepcion early tomorrow morning (subject to change of course).
The last time I was here in Santa Rosalia I was busy with boat preparations, both before I went back to the states and before I left for mainland Mexico (San Carlos). This time Sharon and I have been able to do a little more exploring (other than the day I spent on the porcelain throne). I have enjoyed checking out more of the town and I now have a slightly better opinion of this unusual little Mexican town.
After being inspired by my exceptional blogging skills, Sharon has begun a blog. If you would like to have a different view of our journey together you might want to also follow her blog. Here is the link and I'm hoping that I don't lose all (both) of my blog followers to; as she is becoming a pretty talented blogger.
Oh...and one other thing I have learned since being here in Santa Rosalia, If Sharon makes a funny face and says "eewwee, I'm not eating that" then I'm not going to eat it either.

10/29/2011 | Pat K'ski
Two blogs are always better than one. . . We'll stay riveted to every word from bothnof you!
Mexican tug boat
10/27/2011, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur

One of my motivating factors for cruising to foreign countries was to become submersed into other cultures. It didn't take to long living here in Mexico to see that things are not always done the same way as they are in the good ole US of A.
For instance lets say that there is a street light burned out, in the US the city would send out a $60,000.00 dollar shiny truck with a lift arm on it, some dude that makes $50,000.00 a year would get in a little basket and ride up and change the light bulb. Here in Mexico they would send out 3 Mexicans in a beat up pickup truck with a rusty ladder, if the ladder wasn't long enough they would probably find a box or a chair or something to set it on then one would wobble his way up and change the bulb...homey would be lucky if he made $50 a week. these types of things go on and on...half dug holes are left uncovered in the middle of sidewalks, detours on highways are half ass marked blah blah blah.
Yesterday morning while we enjoyed our coffee, the Santa Rosalia/Guaymas ferry came in from Guaymas and was preparing to dock. Now in the US of A they would send out a tug boat with a 3000 horse power engine and a crew that probably would be paid close to $200,000 a year....not here, they sent out two dudes in a panga with a 35 horse power Mercury outboard, they nudged up to the ferry and pushed her stern over to the dock...AND VOILA! Now the end result is usually the same (unless you fall into a hole in the sidewalk), The light bulb gets changed, the sidewalk gets repaired and the ferry was safely docked....however it's much more entertaining to watch here!

The crossing
10/26/2011, Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur

Crossing the Sea of Cortez between San Carlos and Santa Rosalia (SR) is about a 72 nautical mile (NM) trip, which in a sailboat that averages 5 NM should take around 14 hours. When I crossed over to San Carlos in July I was able to do the complete crossing during daylight, however the days are now shorter and since we did not have a slip reserved in SR, I wanted to make sure we got here before the Marina closed.
We got up Tuesday morning at 1245, made a quick pot of coffee, threw on a pair of shorts, hoisted our anchor and headed out of Bahia Algodones on a warm, moonless night. Nighttime sailing is something that terrifies some people, in some cases causing them to make dumb mistakes, simply to avoid being on the water past dark. Sharon had never been sailing at night and although she seemed up to the never really know. As we past the rocky, unlit points of land which protect Algodones and headed into the VERY dark sea, the gentle breeze began to grow stronger and the Seas began to pick up. Sharon had taken up watch over the bimini cover with a pair of binoculars glued to her eyes, while I stood at the helm glued to the radar, GPS and wind monitor. Within a few miles of leaving we had our sails up and full of wind, the wind indicator was now showing 15-20 knots. We had spray coming over our bow and across our decks and Si Bon was heeled (tilted) way over and doing 7+ knots. There's not to many times in a sailors life that you can have such a great point of sail, in a strong wind, at night, being doused with spray.....and be wearing only a pair of shorts (and of course our life vests).
As the sun began to rise and night turned to day, the wind continue to blow and we continued to sail along nicely until we finally lost our wind about 20 miles from SR. The day was as clear as I've ever seen, we were able to see the Baja peninsula as soon as it became light and we didn't loss sight of mainland Mexico until we were nearly to Santa Rosalia...meaning we had visibility of at least 60 miles. Although we kept a vigilant watch we did not see one other boat (NOT ONE) during the entire 13.5 hour crossing.
This was probably not the best night for a first night sail, it was extremely dark, the wind was at times howling, the waves were at times coming in sheets over our bow. did Sharon do? Well she certainly gained my respect, she kept a vigilant watch, she helped with the many chores necessary to sail a boat across a large sea, before we left she had prepared meals for us to eat along the way and of course she took a couple of traditional naps in the cockpit. So all in all it was a wonderful crossing...still no horror stories to tell and we are now excited to begin exploring Santa Rosalia together for a few days until we move on to.....who knows where. God bless!

10/26/2011 | amber gilbert
Glad you made it over safe!!! ya sharon... i would be so scared! and way to keep the captain fed and happy :) you must have already experienced the "other" capt cook that misses a meal... ahhh!

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