06/23/2011, Sonora, Mexico
I left Santa Rosalia as planned on Tuesday morning at 0600. As I cleared the marina breakwater and turned toward the mainland of Mexico I was treated to a large fog bank hanging just off the coast. Fog is the one weather issue that concerns me the most. I had had a bad experience in fog some 30 years ago when sailing my first boat to Ensenada. That boat was poorly equipped and I basically spent 3 days bobbing around in the fog off of the Mexican coast. Although the memory remains with me, Si Bon is a VERY well equipped yacht and by keeping a close eye on the radar we plowed through the pea soup thick fog, avoiding the Santa Rosalia ferry, several shrimp boats and of course the ever present pangas.
The crossing was a total of 72 NM (nautical miles) and I had calculated that it would take me somewhere between 12-14 hours, I arrived in Playa Algodones at 1900...which if my math is correct is 13 hours. You would think that a passage of that length would be full of boredom. However, I was kept busy all day, first with the fog, then with a couple of islands that I wanted to avoid and then with several other vessels. One of the vessels was the Research vessel New Horizon, The New Horizon put out a security message (a warning) that they were restricted in their ability to manuver and should be avoided. The message was in english, they only gave a vague discription of their location and they would not answer repeated requests from S/V Si Bon to clarify their location, which turned out to be within a mile of my intended course. Luckly I was on top of things and past the New Horizon in spite of their poor seamanship skills.
All in all it was a great trip, still no horror stories to tell, but full of adventure and excitement. I am currently anchored in Playa Algodones, which is a beautiful bay also known as "Catch 22 Beach" after the 1960's movie that was filmed here. I´ll fill you in more on Playa Algodones manana.
06/20/2011, cyber space
As you probably know sailblogs experienced a crash last week. Although you were unable to get into my blog for only a couple of days....I was unable to post blogs until now.
Sooo lots of catching up to do. After returning from the states I discovered that the temps had indeed risen here in the Sea of Cortez. Before leaving on my cruise I was warned that shade was an important thing. Keeping in mind that Si Bon already had a full bimini and a dodger which completely cover the cockpit area....my thoughts were always...shade I don´t need no stinking shade. Well once again I was proven wrong, as it is also important to keep the hot mid day sun off of the entire deck. I did have kinda a half ass little tarp and a small used sail that I tried to rig up...but that didn´t really help. It didn´t help matters that my two neighbors on each side, FireFly and Voyager have the most intense shade systems that I´ve seen. So off I went to get me some shade...and after the better part of a day I had purchased a larger tarp, cut down the used sail and put grommets it it for tie downs, rigged it all up and I now have shade. But make no mistake, FireFly and Voyager are in no risk of losing the shade award to Si Bon.
My current plan calls for me to leave Baja California tomorrow morning (early) and cross the Sea of Cortez for mainland Mexico. I will be single handing this leg. I have been super busy the last couple of days preparing for my crossing and today will be another busy day, but things are coming along nicely. I will be cruising around the San Carlos area of the mainland for about two weeks before putting Si Bon in dry storage for the hurricane season. As is becoming common, I don´t have a clue about when or if I´ll have internet access, but as soon as I do I´ll be blogging away.
home sweet home
06/16/2011, Si Bon....currently Santa Rosalia
Well I made it back home to Si Bon safely. After a 15.5 hour uneventful bus ride down Baja, I arrived in Santa Rosalia at 4:30 yesterday morning. The only real hitch happened at the Greyhound station in San Diego, where my bus left empty because I wasn't standing at the gate (I was standing 20 feet away waiting for them to open the door). They put me on the next bus to Tijuana, and upon arriving in TJ, I found that there was only one bus going to SR and it left in dos horas (two hours). So missing the Greyhound didn't really mess me up a whole lot. Things were pretty much the way I had left them here in Santa Rosalia except there were a lot more boats in the marina and a lot more bird shit on Si Bon.
I wondered on the way down if I would still feel the same about living in a foreign country. Within hours of being back I had two things happen to me...two little things, that reinforced my feeling toward the mexican people. I also decided on the way down that I would limit my gringo bashing, but never the less I couldn't help but think, why can't us americans be a little nicer to each other, we live in such a beautiful country and yet we treat each other like the stuff the birds left on Si Bon's deck. Maybe someone will read this and do something nice for someone else, like help them when their arms are full, or hold a door open for them ...or something.
My current plan calls for me to leave SR sometime in the next week. I wasted no time yesterday and began provisioning right away. I'll also be servicing the iron sail and of course fixing the gimpy windless with the part I picked up in San Diego.
Well gotta run....there is a dirty deck which is in need of a good washing.
Things I'll miss.
06/13/2011, San Diego, Ca.
Things are wrapping up here in the good old US of A. I've pretty much taken care of all but about 2-3 things, and I'm getting ready to head out in the rental car to finish those up. Current plan calls for me to leave tomorrow morning and catch a Greyhound Bus to Tijuana Centro bus terminal and catch another bus down Baja to Santa Rosalia, which is where Si Bon is awaiting my return. I have not been able to find the schdual for the buses going down Baja, so I really don't know when I will be back in SR. I'm pretty sure they run several times per day....but not 100% sure. Let's hope for the best.
There's a few things I'll miss about the US...and a few things I won't. The things I'll miss are my friends and family (duh), I'll miss the cleanliness of the US (why can't the mexicans learn to throw away their trash?). As much as I love the challange of speaking spanish, it was nice to not have to deal with the language barrier for a couple of weeks. I won't miss the traffic (pic) of SoCal, although in all fairness this is in LA. I also won't miss the fact the my fellow americans for some reason don't look each other in the eye. They don't say hello to each other and when passing one another, they seem content to pretend that the other person isn't really there. I guess the bottom line is that every place has its pro's and con's.
Ohhh...and I'm sure my negitive comment won't go over well....but just try walking through the mall and making eye contact with someone you don't know, then try saying "Hola"..opps I mean "hello"........ just saying!
One of the hard parts of the cruising lifestyle is the important days that you miss with your family and friends. In early May Amber graduated from San Diego Christian College with a BA in Communications and Bible. I remember it as being a difficult day. I was super thrilled and also very sad for not being able to be there. I think I can handle missing a few July 4´s and Labor Days, but there are going to be other days that will be tough.
Yesterday Ashley graduated from UCLA with a BA degree in International Development Studies with a Minor in African Studies. Ashley graduated as part of the Honors program, and Magna Cum Laude. According to the text Ashley just sent, she "thinks" that puts her in the top 10% of her class.
Part of my decision to return to the US was that the timing would allow me to attend Ashley´s graduation, which as you can see I did.
Congratulations to both Amber and Ashley who have both always been great students and have both turned into wonderful women. As we all know there will be important dates that I will have to miss in the future, but I´m glad yesterday wasn´t one of them.
Love ya both....be safe.
06/09/2011, Brattleboro, Vt.
OK... so I know that you´re probably saying Vermont? What is Vermont doing in a sailblog? Since I was already in the US and I was really missing Sharon (Shaybo), coming to Vermont was a great opportunity to see Shaybo, meet her family and friends and see the supposedly small town of Brattleboro, Vt. where Sharon grew up. There is a HUGE difference between the harsh, dry landscape of baja that I had just left and the lush green landscape of New England. Brattleboro is not what I was expecting, I would say it is more like a large town maybe even a small city (Megan). There is just about everything that you need right here in the very cool town of Brattleboro. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, stores, hotels, bed and breakfasts, a neat downtown area and of course Shaybo. We´ve been super busy since arriving. We went on a very long hike through the forest, we visited the local cheese factory, Sharon´s Mom treated us to a barbque with her world famous teriyaki chicken, we´ve been canoeing on the river and last night we meet Sharon´s brother Ryan and his girlfriend Megan and Sharon´s very good friends Courtney and Chris for happy hour and 35 cent wings. Although Brattleboro is quite larger than I expected it is a very quaint, cute and friendly small town.
I´ll be leaving Vt. tomorrow and flying back to San Diego. Part of the reason for this blog is to give people ideas of cool places to visit. If ever desiring a New England vacation, I HIGHLY recommend the beautiful town of Brattleboro Vt.