Updates sent to family and friends:
We arrived in Mexico on Friday, November 21st at 6:00 a.m. via the Mexican bus from Tucson. We left Boise on Thursday, November 20th at 3:00 p.m. and arrived in Tucson at 8:30 p.m. Kari Olson met us at the airport and took us to this awesome Mexican restaurant which we had hot dogs that were the best (seriously)!!!!! Our plans were for the Olsons to come with us to San Carlos for the weekend and sail around but Sven was sick so they had to change their plans. Next time though. Sven is now probably
in Germany on tour for a year. Hope you are doing well Sven and also Kari and the boys! ;) Kari then took us to the Tufesa Busline. We boarded our "Evecutivo" bus around 11:30 p.m. The bus was really nice, very comfortable. We had a great trip down as we had to get off the bus once for customs and luckily we didn't have to open any of our luggage as we had 3 crammed duffel bags and 3 large stuffed boxes with supplies for the boat. We boarded the bus again and fell asleep. There were some other
cruisers on the bus and one was actually from Boise. The next time we woke up we figured we were at another check stop but was surprised to find out we were already in Guayamas, our destination at 6 a.m.!!! You have to pay attention because no notification is given by the driver as where you are. The cruisers we met on the bus had a ride to pick them up and they offered to give us a ride to the boat yard. We then got the boat ready and it was in the water by noon - 21 hours after leaving Boise.
We hung around San Carlos for a few days and then sailed over to Guayamas to have the boat hauled out of the water so that Kelly could work on the keel for a few hours. We stayed at the marina for 2 nights and walked around Guayamas (population 35,000). We stayed until Thanksgiving evening and left for La Paz at 5:45 p.m. We had a great sail across the sea with about 20 knots of wind the entire 42 hour trip. Kelly put the fishing line out and actually had another nice dorado on the line and had
it all the way to the boat before it slipped off and swam away!!!! We are taking notes from other cruisers on how to land them so the next one will be dinner!!!!
We arrived on Isla San Jose around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, November 29th. It was so calm when we anchored. There was this large lagoon with mangroves that we explored with the dinghy. One of the channels in the lagoon ended on the other side of the mangroves and a nice sandy beach. The tide was going out so there was this nice current running out so Kelly and I went swimming and ended up on the beach. We stayed over night at this anchorage and then went to this island (Isla San Francisco) that we
spotted on the airplane when we went to Cabo a couple years ago. Isla San Francisco is a half moon bay with white sandy beach. We are still here! It's now Thursday! We've been hanging out enjoying ourselves. Kelly has been successful spearing fish and catching land crabs! No it's not a disease! They are the sweetest crabs we've ever eaten and they are really easy for Kelly to catch! He jumps out on rocks at low tide and stocks them. They aren't very big but there's surprisingly a lot of
meat in them. Our first contact that we had with them we were walking on the beach and one was just standing there. Kelly played with it for a little bit and then "WHACK" he hit it in the head with his hand. Poor little crab. But after I tasted him I was ready for more! Mark & Susan have you guys tried these where you are? If not, definitely worth it.
We just headed out now on our way to Isla Partida, which is 20 miles south/southeast of Isa San Francisco. We were on this island a long time ago with Mark & Susan with our 18 ft. Four Winds ski boat. This is the island where we actually decided that we wanted to retire on a sail boat after a couple sailed into the anchorage one night. We are planning to dive off a sea mount where giant mantas and hammerhead sharks frequent. We actually dove this a long time ago and didn't see anything. Maybe
this time . . . we will let you know.
Until next time . . .
Just wanted to let you know that we made it safely across the Sea of Cortez! We left Guayamas (mainland Mexico) on Thanksgiving at 5:45 p.m. and arrived on the south end of San Jose Island just north of La Paz at around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. This was the longest sail we've done as of yet - 218 nm and took 42 hours. It was a great sail the entire way. We had 15-20 knots of wind the entire trip. Kelly again caught a dorado that would have been perfect for us. Notice I said "would have been".
As we were getting ready to bring it on the boat it fell of the lure! Ok the next one we'll actually land and get to eat - I know it! We really should have a net on board! That's on our list of "must haves".
It's absolutely beautiful over here. We haven't been this far south with our sail boat so we are excited to explore all the area has to offer. We took a dinghy ride through some mangroves this afternoon. The temperature was really warm when the sun was out. We even went swimming and was very comfortable. When we were here this summer the water temperature was in the 80's and now it's cooled into the 70's.
Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We had tacos that were very delicious! I'll update more soon.
Still having a great time! We have been around the town of La Paz for too long. But on Monday afternoon we were able to get away even though it was only around the corner to an anchorage near the ferry's. High winds kept us over in that area for a few days. We went to this one beach where I found clams!!! They were kind of like razor clams that we use to dig growing up but smaller and skinnier. But they had a lot of meat on them and I fried them up. Kelly wouldn't eat any! He doesn't have
adventure for clams or oysters! Oh well more for me.
Yesterday we came back out to Isla Espiritu Santo. We are anchored on a 2 mile beach that is amazing. Yesterday we walked the entire beach. As we were walking we found signs that large turtles have been coming up onto the beach and either sunning themselves or laying eggs. Not sure about the eggs as there were holes in the sand where they had been laying. Kelly is out this morning looking for them. I think he might have found something as I haven't seen him in about 45 minutes now. Their tracks
were about 2 1/2 feet across so they have to be pretty large. The holes were pretty amazing that they made as you could see the indentation of their shells. We'll get photos!
We never did dive the sea mounts as we are going to save them for the next trip when the water is a little warmer. It is much more comfortable this time of year. It's in the 80's during the day and the 50's - 60's at night.
Our plans are to leave the boat in La Paz in a slip at one of the marina's here in La Paz. Then we'll take the ferry to the mainland.
Update #4 (didn't send out to friends)
We left La Paz Thursday, December 18 on the 3:00 p.m. on the Baja Ferry. We almost didn't make it on the ferry as it was "sold out". Kelly was told that it was sold out until Tuesday, December 23rd. We were put on a wait list (#20 & #21). Luckily Kelly was really friendly with the girl at the ticket counter and as he was back in line to check the status he was waved to the front of the line and she sold him our tickets. We found out that there were 1,200 people on this ferry.
We arrived in Topolabompo at around 10:00 pm. and jumped into a taxi for the bus terminal. We were hoping to get on the "executivo" bus at 11:15 pm. We arrived at 11:00 p.m. to find out that it was sold out. Talk about bad luck. We were then scheduled to leave at 1:00 am. There was a couple there who helped us out with our tickets as the woman at the counter didn't speak much english. We didn't leave until 4:15 am due to a bad accident south of Los Mochis that backed up all traffic going north. No buses arrived until about 4 am. We had a good time visiting with this couple while waiting for the bus for 5 hours.
Once we were on the bus we made it about an hour before the traffic stopped to go through a checkpoint. We inched our way to the checkpoint and after about 2 hours it was our turn. We had to get off the bus and after about 10 minutes we all boarded and continued on our way north. We arrived in Tucson at around 10:00 pm and Kelly's parents were waiting for us.
We spent the next 2 days with them in Casa Grande, AZ. We flew back to Boise on Sunday night.
I'm posting our emails that we sent to family and friends detailing our adventures from this summer. Enjoy:
Update 1 - Saturday, July 12, 2008
Wanted to let everyone know that we are doing great! Loving Mexico even though it's very hot and humid. But at least we are on the water.
We had quite the adventure getting down here. We left Boise about 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1st and after only 20 minutes on the road we blew a tire on the trailer. We fixed the tire and decided to continue towards Twin Falls without a spare. You can only drive in Idaho on a two lane road until 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset with an oversized load so we wanted to get as far south as we could. Our route was to take us to Twin Falls and down 95 to Las Vegas south to Laughlin, Nevada, southeast to Phoenix and over to Tuscon then down south to Nogales which is on the Mexico/US border. Just out of Mountain Home another tire blew. We limped into Hammet and parked the boat in a lot that had a coffee stand and an outhouse. Cleanest outhouse I'd ever seen. I think there was even air freshner and a lined waste basket! We went to dinner in Glenns Ferry about 6 miles away and talked to some folks there to see if they had a tire store and luckily they did. The next morning we got up and started our drive to the tire store in Glens Ferry. Kelly decided to leave the blown tire on the trailer which turned out to be the wrong decision. When we were about 4.5 miles down the road the blown tire started to come apart and the rubber hit the tire in front and broke off the valve stem on that tire. That left us with one tire on the right side and 3 tires on the left. Let me tell you our nerves were really worn by this time. The boat weighed about 8 tons and only one tire was holding it on the right side of the trailer???? We could both see the remaining tire exploding from the weight of the boat. Kelly then took off one of the tires from the left side and put it on the right. This was taking place on the interstate with truckers speeding by not really giving us much room. Once we got that done we went on into Glens Ferry. We made it to the tire store and bought 6 new tires for the trailer. We finally made it back on the road by 2:30 that afternoon. We drove all the way to Ely, Nevada with no problems.
The next day we started our drive. We had this dilema with driving through Arizona. We had oversized load permits in Idaho and Nevada which we were able to get over the phone. But in order to get an oversized permit in Arizona we'd have to stop at the Port of Entry (POE). This meant that they would weigh the truck and boat. Our truck is only supposed to tow around 10,000 lbs. and the truck and trailer probably weighed at least 20,000 lbs. We were a little overweight and concerned that Arizona wouldn't let us drive through with our setup.
More concerns arose as we left Ely on July 3rd. We realized that you can't tow an oversized load on holidays or weekends. Ok, it's July 3rd which is a Thursday and July 4th is on a Friday and then it's the weekend! Talk about bad luck. We talked about staying in Vegas for 3 days but decided that would be very expensive. We also talked about maybe driving to LA and visit the Carrs (friends from college) for the 3 days. We also talked about going camping with the Olsons (friends from college) in Flagstaff. But decided to go ahead and push our luck and head on south. If we hung around Vegas we wouldn't make Mexico until the following Tuesday. We made it to Bullhead City, AZ. We stopped for fuel and once we stepped out of the truck we found it to be very hot!! Probably about 115 degrees. We realized that we had to drive up this big grade to continue on. The grade was 6 percent for 11 long miles. We thought if our truck can make this we will be lucky. We pushed ahead and after many prayers we made it to the top. I think we burned about 1/4 tank of gas just going up that hill.
Our next obstacle was the Arizona POE. We had done some research before leaving Boise and found out that the POE closed at 4:30 p.m. We stopped in Kingman and fueled up again. As Kelly was filling up the truck he noticed that the boat had shifted about 3" on the trailer. What more can happen??? Well Kelly got out his hydrolic jack and put it against the "I" beam on the trailer and the keel of the boat. He was able to move the boat back into place. He's so smart! However, when the boat shifted it moved it off the bow chalk in the front which is supposed to hold it in place in the front. He then used the jack to move the boat back into place there as well. In that process one of the metal pieces slipped and cut his hand pretty bad. He thought he might need stitches but only put some tape on it and off we went towards the POE. We thought we'd go ahead and chance that the POE would be closed and if not, face the music and hope they let us continue. As we drove up it was closed and we took that as a sign to keep going. It was about 4:30 on the 3rd of July and we only had about 3-4 hours of daylight left. We had called our friends Sven and Kari Olson in Tucson and were going to meet up with them on their way to camp in Flagstaff. We had wanted to spend some time with them but with only having a few hours of driving time before nightfall and the following day the 4th of July and then the weekend, we needed to keep going. We did meet up with them in Phoenix to pick up a few packages that Kelly had mailed to their house. We met them as they were on their way to Flagstaff for their camping adventure. It was, however, very dark by the time we met them. We still had about 3 hours to go to the border. We decided to keep going even though we were really going to be illegal traveling after dark and without a permit. We made it to Green Valley, AZ which is about 40 miles north of the border with no trouble at all. It was about midnight and we climbed into the boat and slept.
The next morning we got up and drove to Nogales, AZ. We needed to find some Mexican insurance but were finding most of the places were closed due to it being the 4th of July. We did find one open and bought our insurance and headed across the border. We were in Mexico! We drove all the way to San Carlos. However, the drive down was not that easy. We were 11' 4" wide and the four lane highway was, at times, two lanes. Semi trucks would pass us like we weren't even there. Kelly said at times it seemed like there was only 2" separating us as they went by.
Well we did make it here and it took us a few days to put the boat in the water. Kelly did need stitches which he got in Guayamas for $15.00 and only took 20 minutes. We went to the rescue building in San Carlos and they only cleaned his cut and sent us over to Guayamas which is about 15 miles away. The emergency room there was pretty scary. The doctor was really nice and worked on his english with us.
Well we are now working on the next leg of our adventure. It's been so hot here and today's cloud cover is a nice break from the hot sun. We went snorkeling yesterday and within 1/ hour I swam into a Man of War jellyfish. I was stung on my lip, nose and on my back. We swam back to the boat where Kelly poured vinegar on me. Half my lip was swollen up and I thought if it got the other side I might look like Angelena Jolie. Kelly quickly told me that I wouldn't look like her. What does that mean???????? LOL
We will make a few more updates. We plan to stay on the mainland side for a few more days. Going to do some diving before we head across the Sea of Cortez to Baja which is about a 19 hour sail. We plan to leave about 6 p.m. and make it across in the daylight hours.
I'd like to say we miss you but that'd be a lie!!! Maybe in another week or so. ;)
Becky & Kelly
Update 2 - Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We are sill doing awesome! On Thursday we sailed north from San Carlos to a bay called Bahia San Pedro. We loved it there so much we stayed for 4 nights! So peaceful and beautiful. When we first entered the bay there was one other boat anchored. We thought we'd motor by and say hello and see if there were any unknown rocks to look out for when we
anchored. The man on the boat was older wore only shorts and had a full on gray beard, very bushy. We didn't quite know what to think of him. His boat was incredible; had two masts and looked like a pirates boat. The name of his boat was very funny. It was called the Tropic Tramp. He said that we'd be ok anchoring in the place we thought looked good. Later that day he had swam over to our boat and introduced himself as Roger. He told us about clams near the beach and muscles that were delicious. Kelly ended up snorkeling out near him and Roger showed Kelly what to look for. Indeed they were very tasty.
On Saturday when it was cloud covered Kelly and I decided to go for a hike up in the desert. On our way we stopped by to talk to Roger and his wife. We thought we'd just say hello and introduce ourselves to Roger's wife Deb. We ended up staying on their boat for 5 hours. They were so nice and shared their knowledge of cruising. They cruised all over for 8
years. Learned so much from them. We are planning to stop by their place near Puerto Villarta when we finally head south. They've lived down there for 2 1/2 years managing a horse ranch. Roger actually ended up going on our hike with us. He showed us the fruit on this one kind of cactus that was very sweet and almost tasted like a strawberry. He said it is really good frozen and tastes like sherbet.
We also dove one morning which was fantastic. Saw so many fish and abundant sea life. Haven't found a langosta (lobster) yet, however, Kelly was able to spear 2 fish which one we ate in fish tacos and the other we just finished up with tonight grilled. So delicious! We're taking some underwater photo's and hope to have that perfected by the end of the trip. We also walked along the beach and found many different types of seashells. I could do that for hours.
As we left the anchorage this morning, we decided to stop by Roger and Deb's boat to say goodbye. We ended up visiting for another 3 hours! They gave us a tour of their boat and we exchanged information and emails. We will definitely keep in contact with them.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we're going to head into San Carlos to refuel and around 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night we're heading across the Sea of Cortez to Baja. It will take us around 12 hours so we will sail overnight to ensure we arrive during daylight hours. I'm sure neither of us will sleep as it will be another adventure.
Hope everyone is doing well and until next time.
Becky & (Kelly)
Update 3 - Saturday, July 19, 2008
We finally made it to Baja! We left San Carlos at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday and started our sail to Bahia Concepcion (Concepcion Bay) just after sunset. Of the 17 hours it took us to get here we were only able to sail about 3 1/2 hours due to calm winds. On Thursday morning as we were motor sailing we saw many sailfish off in the distance breeching. Kelly
actually threw out the line and we had a dorado hooked but after a few minutes it came off the line. Oh well - we'll land the next one. As we were continuing on, we looked up in the distance and saw this wave coming our way. Kind of strange since the water was fairly smooth. As we looked closer it was a pod of dolphins. They were jumping out of the water and on
the move side by side. It was pretty amazing as they looked to be making their own wave as they went. All of them were coming out of the water as far as 5 feet and making a big splash as they landed. They must have been feeding and herding the fish before the big feast. We saw other pods of dolphins off in the distance doing the same thing. It was an amazing sight.
The first beach we saw, we stopped and anchored (Punta Santo Domingo). There were so many pelicans and sea birds along the shore. The temperature must have been at least 105 degrees with no wind. I was so hot. We swam to shore and stayed in the water because the sand was so hot. Later that afternoon we snorkeled and was amazed how many fish there
were. From sergeant majors to schools of mackerel that when we swam through them they parted and kept on in the same direction. It was like swimming in an aquarium. We wondered why there were so many pelicans near the beach.
Around 6:00 that night I looked at our thermometer inside the boat and it read 100 degrees. We went to bed and I had to sleep in the cockpit because I was so warm. Around 1:00 a.m. the wind picked up and continued until it reached gusts of 35 knots. I've been listening to the Chubasco Net on the HF radio and there wasn't mention of this change in weather. We were up a few hours making sure everything was secure and that we wouldn't drag anchor. The next morning it was overcast and much cooler. We picked up anchor and sailed into Concepcion Bay. We arrived at Isla Coyote yesterday afternoon and it's amazing. We have just laid around reading and walking along our little white sandy beach. It's definitely our heaven on earth! ;) This is the spot we've been dreaming of being at since we decided to bring the boat down to Mexico.
We are amazed how few sail boats there are around. Maybe it's because it's hurricane season??? Many of the cruisers are in marinas and on moorings close to the marinas. Oh well more secluded white sandy beaches for us!
Until next time.
Update 4 - Friday, July 25, 2008
It's amazing how being on the water you forget time. I actually don't know what day it is! Got to love that. I'll turn on my
phone and see . . . I guess it's Friday, July 25th. We stayed in Concepcion Bay for a few more days before we headed south. The night before we left the bay we heard on the net that there was a chance of a Chubasco that night. What is a
Chubasco? We didn't really know ourselves until we heard this man on the net explain. It's weather that comes off the mountains on the mainland and could be very nasty if caught in one. Winds could reach up to 60 knots and with it heavy rain. We were lucky that we never seen any of this and got up the next morning to head south. We listened to the morning net to make sure the weather was going to be good. According to our weatherman Don out of California everything in the Sea of Cortez looked good. Variable winds and cloudy skies in the morning and burning off for sun in the afternoon. As we
started out around 9:45 a.m. the winds were picking up and within a few hours we were sailing in winds up to 22 knots which
really isn't that bad but the swells in the ocean also picked up and made for a bumpy ride. We arrived in one anchorage we heard about but it was not too pleasant there. Too many rollers coming in so we decided to keep going to the next anchorage La Ramada. We had about 3 hours of light left and made it just around sunset. It was really calm once we arrived in the
anchorage and we've been here for 2 days now. We've snorkeled and walked along several nice beaches. Again, we are in paradise!
We have been more than comfortable with the power we've been getting from the wind generator and solar panels that Kelly installed. They are working perfectly and we haven't had to start the boat once to power our batteries. We've also been making water and that's also working perfectly. We can generate about 5 gallons of water in about 3 hours. Just wish our
refrigerator was working to make ice. We are now on the last of our ice and will be heading to Loreto tomorrow (20 miles south) to resupply on ice and food. Last night Kelly speared another fish. Not sure what it is but we'll find out tonight how it tastes!
Well hope everyone back home is doing well and having a great summer!
Update 5 - Monday, July 28, 2008
We made it to one of our most favorite anchorages Saturday. Isla Coronado 6 nm north of Lorteo is spectacular. We stayed on this beach with the Wheelers and the kids about 15 years ago. Brings back wonderful memories. The only difference this time is that it's a lot more popular. Every day there has been at least 5-6 local boats on the beach and several boats at anchorage including several mega yachts worth at least a million each. One of the boats had it's hired crew go to the beach and set up their sunshade and all the beach toys which included one of those submarine torpedo looking things that Jacques Coustoe (sp?) used to use while diving. What a life! I'm very happy with my boat crew!
We went into Loreto on Sunday and re-provisioned. We walked around town for several hours and even enjoyed a caramel frappacuccino from the Mexican version of Starbucks called CoffeeStar. Was actually pretty good. Then we did a little shopping and headed back to our anchorage on Isla Coronado.
Today we went for a dive on the northeast side of the island. It was amazing. Visibility was very good and we were able to see all kids of interesting fish. Kelly tried his hand at spearing another fish but the gun broke after trying to spear tonight's dinner. It would have been ok but he lost the fish so I guess it's spam tonight! The rest of today we have just been lounging around reading and sunbathing. Snorkeled with some schools of Manta Rays. Was surprised that they allowed us to follow
them for awhile. They are amazing creatures. We actually have some video footage of them. We've also seen a few turtles in the anchorage near our boat. I don't remember seeing turtles here in the past.
Until next time . . .
Update 6 - Thursday, July 31, 2008
We stayed at Isla Coronado for another night and again dove on the north side of Coronado. It's so amazing how many different species of fish were swimming around together. We saw many huge green moray eels and got some great video of some of them. After we dove we picked up the anchor and sailed south to Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante. We had
the perfect anchorage all to ourselves. There was only room for one boat in this cove and we put out a stern anchor as well to keep the boat from swinging into the rocks. Well it was paradise for all 15 minutes. This 44 foot catamaran came and dropped their anchor right in front of our boat. Talk about crashing our party!!! Well we still enjoyed the anchorage and went
for a hike up this steep hill and had an amazing 360 degree view from on top.
This morning we picked up anchor and went to Puerto Escondido where we've been numerous times before. There use to be this big hurricane hole where there would be about 50 boats anchored in the bay but today we saw about 10. Reason is that the government put in a marina with a fuel station and now they charge high prices to moore your boat in the harbor.
Prices that are double what you would pay for a mooring ball in the U.S. so the cruisers are bypassing the place until the prices come down. We did refuel and walked up the road to get more groceries. Then we continued on south. Kelly put out the fishing line again hoping to catch a dorado. We encountered another school of dolphins in the midst of their feeding. This time we turned the boat and actually went right in the middle
of them. It was incredible. We forgot we had the fishing line out and I think we almost caught one! Oops! The line went flying out of the rod and didn't stop when it got to the end. I'm sure we had one of the poor dolphins at the end of the line. We felt really bad. Kelly put new line on and we continued on but didn't have any luck!
Now we are at a place called Agua Verde. Beautiful bay with a small fishing village that has a tienda (store), a school, a restaurant and a goat dairy. We met another cruiser who invited us to join him and another cruiser to go to the restaurant and it was quite the experience. We walked down the dirt street and saw this blue house with a sign on the fence "Restaurant". We sat down on her porch and the woman just stood there. Luckily one of the other cruisers was Mexican and asked if she had food to prepare and she just answered "Pollo" (Chicken). We said ok and after about 20 minutes she came back from the tienda and said "no pollo". So then we asked what she had and found out she could make some quesadillas with
papas (potatoes) and frijoles (beans). We said ok. We only received a small amount of beans and a few potatoes and about 4 triangles of quesadillas. All she had to drink was cervesa (beer) so Kelly went to the tienda and bought us some Coke-a-Cola. After the meal was finished we found out she was charging us $6.00/person. We weren't too happy. One of the other
cruisers was pretty mad and told the woman he would not come back to her restaurant. He was actually a writer for cruising magazines so I'm sure he won't give her any recommendations. We've been finding these prices since we came into Mexico.
They are charging too much money for small amounts of food and no service. I guess once cruisers quit frequenting their establishments maybe they'll get the picture that no one will pay those prices.
Well the plan is to stay here until Saturday morning. The winds are supposed to pick up then and we'll start sailing north
back to Bahia Concepcion before we cross back over to the mainland side. We really haven't had great sailing yet so we're hoping that we'll be able to sail most of the way north.
It's sad to think our adventure is about to come to and end. We've been having so much fun. I guess we'll come back for the
month of October! Woohoo!
Until next time . . .