12 more days and we'll be on our sailboat in beautiful San Carlos Mexico.
Next sail scheduled for June, 2012 with the kids.
We received an email from Denny & Becky on SV Kokomo inviting us to come down to Panama and crew for them through the Panama Canal. We jumped at the chance and booked our flight after making sure they were serious about the invitation. After all we had only met them for a day or so in Mexico. We had told them if they ever needed any help to let us know and we'd come help them. Little did they know we'd take them up on their offer.
On Friday, October 7th we arrived in Panama and taxied to Barko Restaurante in Las Brisas on the Causeway near Panama City where Denny & Becky was waiting for us.
More to follow . . .
07/11/2011, San Carlos, Mulege, Loreto
On June 17, 2011 we left Boise with Brad and Cindy (Kelly's brother and his wife). Our vacation started with a delayed flight. We arrived in Tucson around 10:30 p.m. Our good friend Kari Olson picked us up at the airport and we headed to our favorite Mexican Restaurant (El Guero Canelo), which serves delicious Sonora Hotdogs. After filing up on good food and great conversation with Kari, she dropped us off at the Tufesa bus station a few blocks away. We purchased our tickets and got on the 1:00 a.m. Executivo bus.
After 7 hours on the bus we arrived in Guayamas and grabbed a taxi and headed to San Carlos to the boat yard. Kelly had emailed the boat yard the week before and asked them to have our boat washed and waxed so that when we arrived all we'd have to do is launch the boat and then start provisioning. When we arrived the boat hadn't been waxed let alone washed and was covered in thick reddish dirt and dust. UGH! After we launched, Hector, who had washed it before, came by and asked if we wanted him to wash and wax it for us. Since it was really hot and we weren't use to the heat yet we took him up on the offer. Our friends Billie and Roger whom we met last fall came by to say hello. They were heading to a beach so we invited ourselves and headed off to play for the rest of the day. When we got back the boat was cleaned and waxed. Of course it wasn't as good as we'd do so the next day we washed it again. That night Billie and Roger invited us up to their house for some dorado tacos. Were they ever good!
The next couple of days were spent with the girls grocery shopping and the guys working on the boat. Billie was nice enough to drive us to Walmart in Guayamas. During our stay in San Carlos we spent some great times with Billie and Roger sailing, eating, and just plain having fun.
On Tuesday morning at 3:00 a.m. Kelly pulled the anchor and we began our journey across the Sea of Cortez to Baja. Brad and Cindy came up on deck to enjoy the entire journey. As we sailed across the sea we encountered a lot of whales. We also put the fishing line off the back of the boat hoping to catch the elusive dorado. After a couple of hours we had a hit. Brad grabbed the reel and just as he got into position and the dorado began to run, the line was at the end of the spool and snap! Off swam the dorado and our line and lure with it. The guys put on more line and another lure and tried a second time. Once again, we had a hit. Another dorado did the exact same thing and took off with what was left of our line and another precious lure. This time he gave us a show and continued to jump in the air as he swam away. He was huge! Probably a good thing we didn't land it, as we would have had a hard time eating him. So that was the extent of our fishing the rest of the day.
We anchored off Santo Domingo just across the Concepcion Bay from Mulege. The water was warm and we spent the next 3 days snorkeling, swimming and one day going across to Mulege on a shopping trip for more fishing gear. Our first trip to the beach was shadowed by Becky stepping on a stingray. Luckily, Kelly had experience as to what to do and he rushed to the boat and got the snakebite kit. Kelly and Brad used the suction tool to suck out the poison. Her foot was feeling a little better in just an hour or so. The next day we sailed across the bay and anchored and walked to Mulege (about a 2 hour hike) in 100+ degree heat. When we were close to town an American driving by stopped to see if we wanted a ride. Even though we were close we took him up on his offer. On the way back, however, we weren't as lucky. Once we reached the beach we stopped at a restaurant on the beach and ate dinner and enjoyed the scenery.
We ended up having dinghy issues where the bottom of the dinghy was coming apart. On our ride back to the boat from our Mulege trip we could see ocean through the floor (not a good thing). So we sailed back across the bay and spent another night on Santo Domingo then the next morning we headed south to San Juanico. On the way Kelly glued the bottom back on the dinghy. It ended up holding for a couple of days and we had to do another repair on the part of the dinghy that wasn't re-glued.
On our way to San Juanico we made a stop at Medano Blanco. This lovely spot has a white sandy beach and crystal blue waters. We decided to take a short break and snorkel and to walk on the beach. This anchorage isn't usually a good anchorage because it is open to the sea. However, we decided that it was calm enough to give it a try and stayed over night. What a beautiful place. There were lots of fish and langosta (lobster) to be had. We will definitely stop again the next time we go by this beach as long as weather permits.
We picked up anchor early the next morning and made it to San Juanico. We tucked into our favorite spot and Kelly and I went for a hike to the other anchorage (La Ramada) to see if it would be better anchoring because of the high winds coming from the South and since there were several boats there. We decided to stay where we were and spend the night in our anchorage and move to the other side the next day. The water wasn't very clear so instead we decided to head south to Isla Coronados, another favorite spot of ours. As we sailed south we encountered a group of large mantas. Kelly climbed the mast to the spreaders and got an incredible view of these majestic creatures. He guided the boat so that he could continue to photograph the mantas. Becky and Brad jumped in with snorkel gear and swam with them. Becky got close to one but the sight of their long tail made her a little cautious as to get too close. She did, however, swim with several and what an experience that was.
Isla Coronados was as fabulous as ever. We spent the afternoon on our beach lathered in sunscreen. Cindy had a hat on as well as an umbrella to protect her and keep her a little cooler. We ended up sitting in the water most of the time. The next morning we were dazzled by a large pod of dolphins in the anchorage. They spent several hours swimming back and forth, flipping and slapping and chasing fish as they filled their bellies. We eventually put the dinghy in the water and they swam at our bow. Brad got in the water trying to snorkel with them but the dolphins weren't too interested.
The next day we headed to Loreto for a day of shopping and enjoying the town. We went to our favorite coffee shop that we went the previous fall with Cathy and Steve on sv Lilly. I had to have a blended coffee in honor of Cathy. Boy was it refreshing. The shop however, had moved next door to a larger space and what an improvement. It looked as if you were in a coffee shop in the States. Our next stop was McLulu's Tacos. We have been going to her stand since the early 90s. She had moved since our previous visit last fall and had a larger place. She told us, however, that she is going to retire the end of August. How sad for us. Loreto won't quite be the same without one or two of her tacos de pescado and tacos de camerone.
After shopping and walking around Loreto for the day we headed across to La Lancha off of the north end of Isla Carmen. We didn't leave early enough so we arrived after nightfall with no moon to help guide us in. Kelly used a waypoint out of our guidebook and dropped the hook in the exact location. GPS's still amaze me of how accurate they are. The next morning we decided to hike ¼ of a mile to the old salt mine town on the island. Kelly and Becky both looked in the guide and it looked very close. It was 9:00 a.m. and we decided to leave early so we could get back before the heat of the day. We filled 2 water bottles and started our hike. After a little more than a ¼ of a mile it was obvious that we weren't very close to the town. We continued to walk and as we hit the actual salt flats we could see the town way off on the horizon. We decided to go ahead and finish the hike. Once we arrived the sign said it was 6.5 KM to La Launcha. A little further than the earlier estimate of a ¼ of a mile. Luckily on the way back one of the two vehicles on the entire island came driving up behind us about 1 mile from the town and offered us a ride back to the anchorage. We took them up on the offer with no hesitation!
When we got back to the boat Becky made limonada's with lots of ice. Were they ever good and refreshing. A little while later another pod of dolphins came into the anchorage and stayed for several hours. We got into the dinghy and tried to snorkel with them but as with the last pod they had no interest.
The next morning we decided to sail a little ways around the island and anchor in V-Cove. There is only room for maybe 2 boats and there was already one anchored there. With our swing keel we can go into more shallow water than most sailboats. So we went in past the other boat and anchored. What a beautiful spot! There are walls on both sides of us that make the anchorage a V shape, thus the name V-Cove. We spent a few nights here and snorkeled and swam. We all dove off the bow one day to help cool us from the heat.
We pulled up anchor and started heading back north. We decided to head for San Juanico and then we'd head back across to San Carlos from there. As we were motor sailing we put a rope in the water with 2 lures. After a little while we had a dorado on! We were really excited as we actually finally landed one! Who needs a fishing pole? We learned this technique from Denny and Becky on sv Kokomo. That night we enjoyed that dorado. It wasn't too big but big enough for 2 meals for 4 people.
The next morning we decided to head around the corner to anchor in La Ramada. Becky decided she could do this all on her own so she got everything ready to move and after pulling the anchor she hoisted the sails. Low and behold she actually did it. We sailed into La Ramada and dropped the anchor without starting the motor. Kelly did, however, monitor the process very closely.
We all went for a hike to check out the Apache Tears that are around the area. It was pretty hot out and we made a short hike of it. Not before picking up several pieces of the black shiny rocks.
That night at around 6:00 we headed across to San Carlos. The winds were blowing anywhere from 15 to 25 knots. It wasn't as comfortable as we'd of liked it to be but that's the way it goes. At around 10:30 pm. Cindy spotted a light in front of us. We checked the radar and nothing showed up but still the light was there and it got closer and closer. We kept checking the radar and it still didn't show up. It turned out to be a ponga with 2 fishermen. They were very close and waving a light. Since the winds were blowing around 20-25 knots we couldn't really decipher what they were trying to tell us in the black of the night. But soon we discovered as we ran over their long line net. A line with a jug of some kind wrapped around our rudder and tapped on the bottom of our boat most of the way to San Carlos. Some time in the early morning it dislodged and we never saw it.
As we got closer to San Carlos we put our fishing ropes back into the water to try for another dorado. We actually had a couple of hits and Becky got to land one. Very exciting.
When we arrived in San Carlos we got a slip to ready for our departure. Billie and Roger invited us to have dinner with them since it was the 4th of July. We had the best time and great food. Roger drove us to Guayamas to the bus stop and we heading back home.
Can't wait until our next adventure!
12/18/2010, Boise, ID
After being in Mexico for 2 months we are back in cold weather. Wishing that we were back on our boat in the warmer weather.
We arrived in San Carlos the early morning of October 13th. We had flown into Tucson and spent the prior evening with Kari and Erik Olson. They dropped us at the bus stop and at 1:00 a.m. we boarded our bus to Guaymas. We arrived around 7 a.m. in Guaymas, loaded our luggage into a taxi and headed to San Carlos. The boat was launched and in the water by 1:00 p.m.
We spent a week in San Carlos provisioning the boat and getting everything ready before heading across the Sea of Cortez to Baja. While in San Carlos we met Roger and Billie. They were a very nice couple who lives in San Carlos and we spent some good times with them during our stay in San Carlos. Billie went out one day with us for a short sail while Roger had to leave and went to the States on business.
We left at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 21st to cross over to Baja. We arrived in the south anchorage of Isla San Marcos the next afternoon. We crossed the sea along with another sail boat (Akupara) whom we were anchored next to in San Carlos but hadn't met other than a wave here and there. We actually ended up hanging out with them and another sailboat (SOMF) for about a week and a half.
The next morning we walked to the village on Isla San Marcos. The village has about 600 residents who work mining Gypsum which is used for sheet rock. It was a nice town and the people were very friendly to us. We looked inside the church and hit the grocery store then walked back to the boat. That afternoon Kelly went out to spear us some fish for dinner. He came back all excited. He said that he tried to spear a rooster fish but the spear bounced off of it. Instead he speared a nice hog fish which made for a delicious dinner.
The next morning we sailed up to Santa Rosalia. We got a slip at the Marina Sta Rosalia, a rickety old marina with some interesting cruisers working the office. You pay by the honor system and write everything you take out of the refrigerator on a slip of paper and pay when you are ready to leave. There was internet service inside the building and the people were really friendly.
We walked the town and walked up a hill to see the museum. Unfortunately it was closed but we took pictures. We ate at a few places that were mentioned in the cruisers guide. One hotdog stand called Chuyitas made these deep fried hot dogs that were wrapped in bacon. They put them in a soft hotdog bun and added the following: onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayonnaise, nacho cheese, jalapenos among other mexican styled condiments you wouldn't think to put on a dog. It was so delicious and well worth every calorie. Early next morning we hiked up to the smoke stack above Santa Rosalia. Santa Rosalia is an old copper mining town. The old mining buildings are still along the waterfront and mining equipment is seen all over town. The smoke stack was built up on the hill so the smoke wouldn't cover the town. It had a cement shaft that snaked up the hill from the factory on the waterfront. We hiked up there and at the base of the stack met a guy named Gabriel who was building a house. He spoke very good english and he told us about some old mine shafts that were further up the hill. He gave us directions and flash lights and off we went to explore. We found them and hiked back into one about 1/4 of a mile. It was so hot and humid in the shaft but was very interesting. We returned the flashlights to Gabriel and visited with him a while longer. He was building a house because he was living with several relatives and wanted his own place. It had a spectacular view of the sea, probably the nicest piece of property around. Gabriel is a diver and offered to take us out for a dive. We declined but may take him up on his offer some time in the future.
The next morning we sailed back south to Isla San Marcos and anchored for the night and then on a few nm (nautical miles) south to Punta Chivato. We anchored on the north anchorage at a beach called "dead man's beach". The water was a little rough but we tucked into the corner. We explored the beach and Kelly snorkeled around the rocks at the point. That night the winds picked up and it got a little more rough so at around midnight Kelly woke me up to say we were going to move to the south anchorage. Two hours later we dropped the hook in calm water and went back to bed.
We explored the long beach on Punta Chivato the next day. The beach had so many shells and believe it or not I didn't pick up one. We visited a while with two men that had a beach house there. Paul had kayaked by our boat and talked to us for awhile and invited us to stop by the house. So we did and had a nice visit when him and his friend Rich. They gave Kelly a lure and unfortunately we didn't catch anything on it. We were then we were off to Bahia Concepcion. Kelly was pretty excited that he hoisted the spinnaker as we left anchor at Punta Chivato and took it down as we anchored at Santo Domingo without using the engine.
We spent one night at Santo Domingo which is just on the outside of the entrance to Bahia Concepcion. The next morning we walked along the beach and once back on the boat I slipped down the companionway and hit my head and either cracked or separated some ribs on my back. I would feel them for the remainder of the trip. It was not pleasant.
Then we went on in to Bahia Concepcion and spent a week near Santispac. We hung out with Jerry and Lauren on sv SOMF whom we met at Anna's Restaurant and Akupara (Dan & Kate) whom we met earlier. One morning we all hiked the hill overlooking Burro Cove. The remainder of the time in Concepcion we spent watching the World Series, visiting and sharing meals. One day Kelly and I hitched hiked to Mulege. I was in need of a hairdresser and was in luck. I found a salon and this girl colored my hair and trim my bangs for only $12.00! Best deal we found in Mexico. We bought more groceries and went to Scotty's to watch the World Series with our friends from SOMF and Akupara.
After spending an entire week in Concepcion we headed south to San Juanico. Hoping to see our friends from last year, Steve & Cathy (sv Lilly) and Robert and Virginia (sv Harmony). Steve just happened to be doing the radio net the morning we picked up anchor and when Becky checked in we found that they would indeed be in San Juanico when we got there. As we dropped the anchor both couples came over to welcome us. It was a nice reunion. Also in the anchorage was Dave and Karen from sv Paragon. They were also with us last year. We spent evenings playing bocce ball and visiting. Akupara and SOMF were also in anchorage with us. We hiked to the north anchorage and while on our hike Kate spotted some Apache tears so her and I collected a handful. Kelly was thrilled! lol One night we built a fire on the beach and roasted hotdogs. More great times with our new friends. A boat called Wakuna was also in anchorage with us and they had a satellite set up on the beach and provided everyone in the anchorage with internet. Wakuna called every boat as they came into the anchorage and told them they were more than welcome to use the internet. It really was a sweet set up. I went to the beach one afternoon and sat under a tree and surfed the net. Wakuna also had an air compressor and filled our tanks for us. What a nice guy.
Next we headed out to Isla Coronados and spent one day at our favorite white sandy beach. It was very relaxing. We just spent the day reading and walking along the beach. SOMF was a day behind us and Akupara went to Puerto Ballandra before heading to Puerto Escondido where we would all meet up again.
The next morning we were off to Puerto Escondido just south of Loreto. We planned to meet Steve & Cathy from sv Lilly to drive up to the San Jarvier Mission about 20 miles west of Loreto. The next morning we jumped into the rental car with Steve & Cathy and headed up into the mountains. What a beautiful place. The mission is in very good shape for it's age (300 years old). On our way up two of the cars that were going to be in the Baja 1000 the following week came barreling up behind us. They were doing their practice run before the actual race. We decided that we'd meet back up the next week and rent a car and watch the race together.
The next day we hiked up Steinbeck canyon with Jerry & Lauren and Skeeter the dog. The canyon was dry and only had a few pools with water. Very different from our hike last year with Travis Cutter where we dove into pools and slid down natural water slides. We did, however, find the route to the top of the waterfall. After climbing back into caves and scrambling up chimneys and rope ladders we made it to the top. It was a great time.
We were tired of Puerto Escondido and ready to journey south to Agua Verde before we had to be back for the Baja 1000. We hosted a dinner on Escape and found out the while in Punta Ballandra Dan had proposed to Kate and they were now officially engaged. We were all very excited for them. Soon Dan & Kate were headed off to La Paz to meet Dan's boss for a job so we said our goodbye's to them. Jerry & Lauren followed us to Agua Verde.
We had a few days until the Baja 1000 so we spent 3 days anchored off the pristine green waters there. Kelly & I dove several times and the water was very clear with at least 50 ft visibility. Wakuna was there as well and filled our tanks for us again. Barney motored his dingy up to us one day and had to ginormous dog snappers in the bottom of his dingy. Kelly and I went directly out and tried to find our own to spear but no luck. One day we hiked to a cave that had some old indian petroglyphs with Jerry & Lauren and a few others from the anchorage. We had to climb up a fairly steep hill to see them but it was worth the effort. We shared some more great meals with Jerry & Lauren and many laughs.
We said our goodbye's to Jerry & Lauren (sv SOMF) since we couldn't talk Jerry into coming back to Puerto Escondido with us and headed back to Puerto Escondido to watch the Baja 1000 with Lilly. We were very excited we picked up our rental car at noon and headed to Loreto. The first racers weren't due until around midnight so we had some time to kill. We messed around Loreto and had lunch at our taco stand, McLulu's. Steve and Cathy hadn't been there before and they seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. We went ahead and did our grocery shopping because we'd planned to spend the entire night out watching the race and figured we wouldn't be in the mood to shop the next morning. After dropping the groceries off back at the boat and eating dinner at the marina we headed off to watch the race. Mark on sv Orchid and Dean on sv Physic joined us. We found a spot just off the road on the river bed. There were fires all along the riverbed with other Baja 1000 spectators who were waiting for the excitement to begin. We arrived around 9:00 and at around 10:00 the first motorcycle came riding through. We were so excited until he took the wrong line and headed straight towards us. I ran for cover and he came within 20 feet of our campfire. What an exciting way to start the race! About an hour later two more motorcycles came through both a little lost as to where the course went. The next to come were going to be the super trucks we were both excited and a little apprehensive since the motorcycles were coming our direction instead of staying on the course. But then another hour passed and we saw the sky light up and there came the first super truck. Boy was it loud. Luckily it stayed on the course. We stayed up all night watching motorcycles, quads, super trucks and then other vehicles come racing through. We decided we needed to stay until the sun came up so we could watch during the daytime. It was well worth it. Check out a video in the video section. After leaving the race course we dropped the boys off at Puerto Escondido and headed back to Loreto for breakfast and to try and get our dive tanks filled. When we got back to the boat and finally laid down I had been up for 34 hours straight. I was exhausted and fell quickly to sleep.
We stayed in Puerto Escondido another day and then our power inverter broke. We use the power inverter to charge our computer and our camera batteries. Kind of a necessity. We were planning on going to our next anchorage which was Puerto Ballandra directly across from Loreto so we decided to stop in Loreto and anchor off the small marina and try and find us an inverter. It took us a long time but in the end just before giving up we found one at a hardware store. Now we were back in business. Oh yes, we were a little hungry so we stopped at McLulu's for more tacos! ;)
Next stop was Puerto Ballandra on Isla Carmen. Lilly was going to meet us there for a few days. A big northern was called for the next 5 days so we stayed in the anchorage for it to blow by. Unfortunately, it is a national park and you can't spear fish so we had to dig into our chicken, steak and pork for meals. Lilly decided to spend the entire time with us at anchor so we were able to spend more quality time with them including Thanksgiving. We actually sailed their boat across to Loreto one day for a propane and grocery run. We found our last tank was not as full as we needed it to be so we decided to take Lilly. Boy was that ever fun. Lilly is a 47.7 Beneteau First which is a racing boat. It is so beautiful and fun to sail.
The winds eased up on Saturday. Lilly headed back to Puerto Escondido because they were heading back home to Spokane for the holidays the next week. We continued heading north to our anchorage on Isla Coronados for the night. I had woke up that morning very sick and didn't feel good the entire day. I ended up sleeping it off pretty much the entire day. Not only did I sleep most of the day I slept that entire night too and woke the next morning feeling pretty good.
We then picked up the anchor and headed north again for San Juanico for the next northern. We stopped at Punta Mangles on the way to San Juanico. The beach was fabulous. I have this habit of going to a beach and finding all the pretty shells I can find. Boy did this beach have them. Kelly just shook his head and said "You are keeping all of those?" I didn't, I just kept some really small ones for Kelly's Mom. She loves shells and these were all the same and a coral color. We stayed only a short time and finished our trip to San Juanico.
The winds picked up again and this time we had around 25 - 30 knots that lasted a couple of days. We went to shore only a few times and then we were wearing sweatshirts most of the time. A lot of movies were watched and books read while at anchor. Another boat at anchor was Kokomo with Denny and Becky on board. We spent time with them and had another hot dog roast on the beach. They are taking the next 5 years to sail around the world. It will be fun to read their blogs and watch their progression.
On Wednesday, the winds were fairly light so Kelly cleaned the bottom of the boat. We heard on the net that the winds would die and the next northern would start the following Monday. We then decided that we would go ahead and continue north the following morning and depending on the weather forecast either keep going north to Santa Rosalia and cross back to San Carlos or cross over earlier. We needed to be back across the sea before the northern blew on Monday.
We ended up spending one night at Isla San Marcos before heading up to Santa Rosalia. We again stayed at Marina Sta Rosalia and walked to town. Of course we had to have another hot dog with the works. Santa Barbara Days were going on. I guess in Mexico for each day of the year it's named for a Saint. This day happened to be Saint Santa Barbara day which is the saint for Santa Rosalia. There were drums and dancers and the saint paraded through town before going to the church for an elaborate service. It was fun to watch.
Kelly woke up early and we took off for our crossing to San Carlos at 5 a.m. I woke up to the boat rocking back and forth. Wondering what was going on and I couldn't sleep anyways I got up to see what was happening. Well there were rollers and soon the winds began to blow and the seas built. We had a fast trip across with winds reaching 25 knots. Kelly found that our average boat speed was 7.1 knots and the highest speed was 8.8 knots. There was a little water over the bow but we finally made it across after 11 hours.
Instead of going right into Bahia San Carlos we went into Bahia Algodnes. The beach is the "Catch 22" beach we love to walk. We anchored two nights and then headed in to get a slip at the marina. Kelly spent the afternoon rinsing the boat and all our dive gear. Becky did laundry. Kelly ran into Dave and Karen from sv Paragon. They invited us to a cruisers party on Friday night at their house. Looking forward to seeing them again.