01/31/2010, Posada Concepcion, Bahia Concepcion
Well, the sunny morning yesterday changed to a cloudy and rainy afternoon. We had thought to head back to Concepcion to drop off our trash in Puff, but as we started to lower her into the water, we saw the rain clouds coming over the western mountains and decided to just wait to see what was coming. Well, what was coming was more rain. I thought to put up the sides and some of the rear of our cockpit enclosure just incase it decided to pour as it had the day before. This would all be done with the knowledge that once it was up, the Sun would come back out and the day would be beautiful. That's the way it works out here. Prepare for a storm or rough weather and it will pass you by. Well, not this time. Mother Nature decided to give the Baja more water. With the enclosure up, I sat out in the cockpit all nice and snug and watched the rain come down. For once, I planned accordingly. The trip to shore was off for a while.
Well, it rained and sprinkled through the rest of the afternoon with the occasional gust(out of the North) thrown in for good measure. We carry a "riding sail" in our inventory. Well, it is actually the "storm sail" that we used to carry on our last boat but we had brought it along as sort of a back up sail incase it got really bad out there. Compared to the rest of our sails, this baby wouldn't last long in a real blow. She's made of inland lake storms, not the stuff of ocean fame. So, now we use her as a "riding sail". She attaches to the stern of the boat and faces forward instead of the other way around. I attached the backup main halyard to the boom crutch(big arch of wood and metal that supports the end of the boom when the main sail is down)and pulled it tight. Then I attached the "riding sail" to it like a regular sail and use the primary main halyard to raise her up. With this sail up, Zephyr rides more into the wind and shouldn't swing so much at anchor in the wind. At least that is the theory. The wind passes over the sail and with it drawn tight, it continually shoves the boat back in line with the flow of the wind. Well, we still swing in a 50 degree arc at anchor, but that is better than what we swung without it up. Sometimes you want to have it up if you don't want to swing, but if you are in a crowded harbor and everyone else is swinging at anchor, you want to swing like they do so you don't hit them. As there was only one other boat in our little cove(and far enough away) I ran her up to give her a try. Not much point of having a sail if you don't use it. Of course the winds died down shortly after I put it up. Go figure.
Last night, as I wandered on deck, I looked down into the water and saw an amazing show of bioluminescence in the water below me. I called Tracy on deck and we watched the water glow. It's a biochemical emission of light by living organisms that live in the water. This cove is right beside a "hot" spring so there is more of the bioluminescence than we have ever seen. As fish swam by, they glowed in the water. Any time the water surface was disturbed(even by a small gust of wind), the water glowed. The pelicans continually splashed in as they could see the fish under the water as they swam by so every so often, there would be a big plume of glowing water as they crashed into the water to get their fish. We've seen this same effect before many times as we came down the coast of Baja, but not to the extent of this display. What a special treat. It's times like this that make our new life style special.
The rain clouds left late in the night and it now has dawned nice and bright and forecast from all the sources we listen to says today will be a beautiful day even though they don't think we will hit 70. BOOHOO!! It still beats the 40's back home in Colorado.
We're planning on heading down the shore a few miles to Playa Santa Barbara to see what it is like. Supposedly more remote as highway 1 isn't that close to it. We'll let you know how it turns out.
Oh, we tried one of the loaves of French bread I made on Tuesday with lunch. We pulled out some Summer Sausage and Boursin Cheese and sat in the cockpit watching the rain fall. We finished off the last of the apples we bought in San Diego way back in November. It was still good after all these weeks. The bread tasted just fine for my first attempt at baking. We still have one loaf to go but that will be for lunch today if all works out. Who knows, I might make into a decent baker after all.
One more thing, we're currently at 26 45.430N 111 53.599W in Playa Concepcion. If you click on the map on our page, it puts us out in the middle of the Sea of Cortez and not where we actually are. We had the same problem when we clicked on S/Y Dana's map on their blog. We knew they were in Bahia Concepcion, but it put them way off shore near Isla Carmen. So to really see where we are, go to Google Earth and put in the longitude and latitude I listed above for that is where we really are. Tomorrow, I'll let you know where we are then.
I had a question posed on our sight as to where we got the name "Zephyr"for our boat. Heck, that's easy. It's the name she came with. we never changed it. "Zephyr" is late Old English denoting a personification of the west wind via Latin from Greek zephuros "(god of) the west wind". At least that is what the dictionary on my Mac says.
Have a great day everyone.
01/31/2010, Posada Concepcion, Bahia Concepcion
And the rains came and stayed throughout the afternoon and into the evening. A nice gentle storm that started shortly after noon and was still putting forth well after dark. The cactus will love it as it will soak in and not just run off like most of the rain that appears to fall here. The furr people just sat in the cockpit and stared out at the rain. Having rarely seen it, they weren't sure what to do. The both went out in it, at least for a short time till they ran back inside the cockpit. Today dawned nice and bright with big fluffy clouds.
I spent yesterday afternoon baking French bread. Now I'm not normally a baker by heart but the weather seemed to lend itself to having the aroma of fresh bread in the cabin. Boy, it sure takes a long time to get it ready for baking. First you mix the yeast with sugar and let it set, then you mix in the flour and kneed it and let it set, then you shape the loaves and let it set and then you get to bake it. I started about 1300 and they didn't come out of the oven till almost 1800!! All for two loaves. The recipe had called for just one loaf but I split it in two and I'm glad I did as it would have been a gigantic loaf the wouldn't have fit in the oven. They turned out a bit flatter than I expected but that's fine as it will make for good sandwiches.
Tracy spent the afternoon working on her jigsaw puzzle and stitching. A nice way to spent the afternoon. I read as the dough was taking the time to rise and bake. Dinner was a simple affair. We had planned to have hamburgers on the grill but since I knew I would melt if I went out in the rain, Tracy made a macaroni and beef dish with chili powder for some kick. Sure tasted good in the cool evening as the rains still poured.
Today, off for shore to get rid of trash and see if we can get a ride into Mulege. A small town of 3500 people just up the coast. We need some gasoline for the generator. For your information, Mulege is pronounced Moo-le-hay. English seems so much easier.
01/31/2010, Posada Concepcion, Bahia Concepcion
Here we sit at anchor amidst a weather change that has rolled through. Yesterday, and for quite a while, it has been beautiful and sunny. Today dawned cloudy and overcast. This morning it got down to a cool 60 degrees and may not hit 70 with the cloud cover. Now for those of you farther North, suffering in the REAL Winter, that is cold down here. We routinely see folks walking around in coats and scarfs talking about how cold it is. They have never even seen snow let along felt it's chill. Oh well, everyday can't be sunny and bright.
We put Puff and Dragon in the water yesterday morning and took off around the local coves. We went back over to Santispac to see the mangrove area on the West side of the cove and then along the beach to see all the motor homes that have rolled in over the past few days. We saw a good dozen roll in late Sunday afternoon from the South off Coast Highway 1(it runs right along the beach). They pull in and find an available spot and set up camp. There are dozens of them all along the beach. In the Summer, it is packed here.
We putt putted over to some of the other boats at anchor to visit as two of them are from Colorado and one from New Mexico(our old home years ago), We got the lay of the land from one sail boater and then stopped by a boat "Lovely Rita" from Denver. The two guys on board just arrived a day or so ago from San Carlos. They are going to be making their way South along the coast to Escondido and then to La Paz as they need to have parts of their standing riggings(the wires that hold up the mast) replaced. They just recently bought her and on the trip over, they almost lost their back stay as the turnbuckles that hold it together broke due to metal fatigue. They're on the hunt for a rigger to get it fixed. We discussed up coming weather and the front that we expected to come through.
Boats, especially sailors live and die by the weather. Winds, rain and even sunshine play a big part on our lives. Wether we leave on a journey or stay put many times depends on what is coming. We download our information from several sources to see what it coming. Each day, I get on the SSB radio and download weather reports from a company called Buoy Weather as well as what are called GRIB files that show maps and where the fronts are currently located and their projected course for the next 24/48/96 hours. We also listen to the Amigo Net every morning to hear the weather from Don Anderson out of Oxnard, CA. He started giving weather forecasts years ago over the net for the entire Pacific coast from California coast clear down the Panama with quite good accuracy. Without his forecasts, it would be a lot harder out here. There is also another net out here called the Sonrisa net that broadcasts the weather at 0745 on the SSB radio. If that was not enough, I can download weather faxes from the National Weather Service out of San Francisco, CA several times a day. They cover the entire Pacific Ocean from Japan to Panama. I can download these faxes for many different area of the US. A handy thing to have aboard. I just have to learn how to read them though(yes we have book on it, like everything else). If we plan on leaving a port or making another journey, we consult each source and then take what they say with a grain of salt. Just because they have pretty computers and nice satellites, doesn't mean they are accurate. We've seen them WAY OFF, but with them being the only sources of information, you have to go with the flow.
Anyhow, when we heard from the two guys aboard "Lovely Rita" that they were leaving and had to motor South, we took them the latest weather and wind forecasts we had from Buoy Weather. We get specialized information for any area we choose. You can get a two day forecast for free by just going to Buoyweather.com and choosing what area you want the forecast for. We pay for our information so we get a 5 day forecast instead of two and they send it each day via email to us. It makes it much better when you're out at anchor and need the latest information.
We had lunch at "Bertha" in Playa El Burro a few miles Southwest of here in another cove. Tracy had the special of Fish(locally caught) and chips while I had the Carne Asada(thin steak with beans and rice). Along with a beer and DIet Coke, the bill came to $15.00. Not too bad considering everything has to be trucked in to this out of the way anchorage. We had planned on heading for a local secluded beach (only accessible by boat) for the afternoon, but instead spent it reading and napping since the wind had come up a bit and it got a little chilly(68 degrees).
So that's the way yesterday went. Today, as I said above, is overcast and it has already sprinkled a little so I expect we will stay aboard and I will try my hand at baking bread. I downloaded a good(guess we will see) recipe from another sailors blog(s/v Hello World). Tracy has just finished reorganizing our supplies behind the port settee cushions. As we use things, more space opens up for reorganization. I'll let you know how the bread turns out. Our new oven isn't that accurate in maintaining an even heat.
01/31/2010, Posada Concepcion, Bahia Concepcion
Early this morning we had some visitors. Lene and Henrik off Dana came over to visit. We had last been with them as we sailed(and motored) down the outside coast of the Baja down toward Cabo San Lucas back on December 6 after making our way down with them from San Diego. We'd been with them as they checked into Mexico in Ensenada. When our steering went bad between Mag Bay and Cabo, we had to stop for repairs while they kept on going. They have been following our blog ever since(at least when they could get internet) and have known all that has been happening over the last 7 weeks. Today, we go caught up.
It was great to see them again. These are veteran cruisers having made the trip from Denmark around Cape Horn at the South tip of South America(a scary place) and up past Chile, over to Hawaii and up to Alaska and then down the West coast of the United States. Man, let me tell you, that is hard core cruising!! And here they were, in the same cove as us again. It was a great way to spend a few hours getting caught up. They had thought of leaving yesterday, but had read our blog and saw that we were on our way and stayed so we could visit. They left this afternoon for Guaymas to have their boat hauled out for repainting and a few repairs. Then they will be coming back to this side of the Baja for the trip down the coast again before setting off for Puerto Vallarta. After that, who knows. They will be making that decision after seeing what effect El Ninos has on the water, currents and winds off Central America.
As they had recommended that we up our anchor and move to where they had been anchored, that is exactly what we did as soon as they took off this afternoon. We're now about a mile West of where we anchored last night. A much quieter anchorage with no bar on shore to playing music till 2AM and no big semis with their big engines and air brakes going up and down the hills at all hours. We are right beside Highway 1, the major link to everywhere in the Baja. We have seen heaven only knows how many trucks since we pulled in here last night. Now, we are much better protected from wind and the noise from shore. With luck, we will run into Lene and Henrik again in our travels.
I spent the rest of the afternoon, reading a new book(it even has a plot!) while Tracy stitched and worked on a jigsaw puzzle. I'd done a chunk of meat(still don't know what type but is listed on the bag as "Carne Para Deshebrar")in the pressure cooker(added onion, garlic and barbecue sauce to the mix) a few days ago, so we had that on tortillas for dinner. I chopped up a jalapenos to add to mine. Amazingly, there was no "heat" from it at all. Quite a surprise.
Tomorrow, into the water goes Puff and Dragon and off we go to explore the area. Lene and Henrik told us about a few places to visit so tomorrow we will see what this area has to offer.
Today is January 31. When I look back to a year ago, I remember that we were in Brownsville, Washington on this date. Freezing in the cold damp Winter of the area. Lots of snow had fallen(4th worst Winter in Seattle history) and had both our heaters going in Zephyr and still had frost on the inside of the hatches. We had mold growing in just about every closet or cupboard aboard. At that time, we couldn't imagine where we would be a year later. We didn't even discuss it. All we saw was more repairs and delays in our future. Now, here it is a year later and we made it back to Port Townsend and up to Juneau, Alaska, Back to Port Townsend and down the coast to Cabo San Lucas and up the eastern side of the Baja to Bahia Concepcion. All in all, darn close to 6,000 miles!!! A lot of water has passed under our feet in the past year, and heck, most of it since April 4th when we left heading North to Alaska. Ten months and a lot of miles later, we have lived and learned as we went. Growing as sailors and "cruisers" what we never could have imagined just one year ago. Heck, two years ago, we had just sold our business and were still planning when we would get to take off for Zephyr and our new adventure. It's been an amazing time for the five of us(ok, not so much for the "furr people"), and we still haven't scratched the surface of where we want to go. Stay tuned folks, we're just getting started.
If you have time, take a look at the link on our main page. It will take you to our last blog site on Blogspot .com. You can read all about what we have done and where we have gone and what we have experienced sine we move aboard at the end of April in 2008. The good, the bad, the horrible and the great fun and great people we have met.
01/31/2010, Playa Santispac, Bahia Concepcion
We've moved on from San Juanico to what we hope to be a nice little cove, Playa Santispac in Bahia Concepcion another 54 miles farther up the Sea of Cortez.
Friday was spent hiking ashore with folks from three other boats. We got an invitation to walk over to La Ramada, a nice cove to the North of San Juanico to have a picnic lunch on the beach. We all met ashore at 1100 and first visited the "Cruiser's Tree". This is a tree along the shoreline that fellow cruisers leave small bits of things--signs, flags, etc--too show that they have been there. If you have been following our earlier blog(see the link on the main page to Sailblogs.com), you will remember us visiting a similar "shrine" up in British Columbia on our way North to Alaska last year. There were mementos of lots of earlier cruisers from as far back as 1997 along the shore with names and dates as to when they were here.
One of the attractions for me during the hike was trying to find some "Apache Tears", These are small bits of obsidian that can be found along the shoreline and on paths around the cove. The story of them that is in the "good book"(Sea of Cortez, A Cruisers Guide by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer) is as follows: "The legend of Apache Tears began back in the 1870's when the United States calvary fought against the Apache in Arizona. With defeat imminent, the Apache warriors refused to be held captive and leapt to their death from atop the face of a cliff. The families of the warriors wept greatly for their loss and with each tear shed, it turned to stone upon hitting the earth. It is believed that anyone who carries an Apache Tear will never have to weep again, for the families for the Apache warriors have wept in place of your sorrows." So the story goes. None of the other folks we were with had ever heard the story and we all started looking for th small stones. We each found several--about the size of a large pea. all rough and tumbled from all the years of exposure. I cracked one in half so the others could see what the inside look like. Obsidian is volcanic glass. A beautiful shade of black and reflective like glass. We now have several pieces to keep on board Zephyr.
We had a great hike to La Ramada and had a nice lunch and explored the beautiful beach and hiked out to the East point of the cove. There were landmarks where it is plotted out for what may be construction of a future home. There are several homes along the cliffs above the beach at San Juanico. They are crazy to build there as the first hurricane that comes through with big waves will wipe them out. Upon our return to San Juanico, we found our dingies far up the shore as the tide had receded a good 100 feet as the beach goes out quite a bit as the tide goes out. Everyone pitched in hauling the dingies back out to the water. After getting cleaned up, we all met on "Island Grace", a beautiful cruising trawler that we had spoken to as we came in the anchorage a few days ago. The eight of us talked, the guys drank beers(lots) and ate popcorn up in the pilot house while the girls were downing Bloody Mary's and noshing on smoked oysters, gouda cheese and crackers and orange peel stuffed olives, and whiled away the rest of the afternoon. A nice way to spend the day.
We left San Juanico yesterday morning for the 54 mile trek to Bahia Concepcion and Playa Santispac, a small cove in the large bay. We faced a stiff 12 to 15 knot wind from the Northwest, straight at us. We knew the sail up from Escondido was not going to be repeated. We were hitting 5-6 foot swell and a good breeze so we slowly made our way North. We saw several whales(far off) and a pod of dolphins as we plowed through the waves. We finally pulled in as the Sun was setting and dropped the anchor((26 45.674N 111 53.048W). We'll be exploring this large bay for a few days before we decide where to head next. Maybe farther North to Santa Rosalia, or we may start heading South again toward La Paz and then across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. For right now, explore where we are.
01/28/2010, San Juanico
We planned on leaving Escondido yesterday and getting a good start to San Juanico but got waylaid by a wrapped buoy line. The line that we had used to keep ourselves securely tied to the buoy got itself all wrapped and tied during the night and was not coming off for love nor money. Into the water I went(God it was chilly -68 degrees). It took a while but I got it undone and back aboard. We headed for the dock to fill our water tanks one last time before I finally get the water maker online. I went in and took a shore to get all the salt water off. One of the workers was trying to sleep in the shower room and told me there was no hot water in broken English. I headed for the office to check out and let them know we were leaving and still had one last day on our credit. I found the office deserted so I thought I might as well shave since I was there and headed back to the shower. Running the faucet, I found HOT water. I guess the guy was wrong and there really was hot water. I was just disturbing his siesta time I guess. Once done, back to the office and then back to Zephyr and out we went leaving about 1000. Late but at least we were under way.
We left yesterday as that was the last day that winds from the South and West were forecast and that would help us on our way North(no engine necessary!) We rounded the entrance and turned toward San Juanico. Hey, for once, there was wind that we could use our sails to move us forward instead of against us!!! Up went the main and then we unrolled the Genoa and off we went--slowly but we were under sail. The winds were only about 6-8 knots but we were going about 3+ knots so that was fine. We had all day and it tends to get stronger wind in the afternoon. We hoisted the forestaysail to give us a bit of extra push. The winds were pretty much from dead astern so we push the main sail out on one side and kept the Genoa on the opposite side to get the most from both sails. It's called "wing and wing". This went on till after lunch when we decided to hoist the spinnaker and use it to get more speed. Down came the forestaysail and we rolled in the Genoa and up went the spinnaker and off we went. With the main and spinnaker up, we increase our speed to 4+ knots. Still not a streak of lightening, but at least a bit faster. As the afternoon progressed, the winds grew to 10 to 12 knots and we really started making good time. Up to 6 knots and in the right direction. By 1600, we dropped the spinnaker and rolled out the Genoa again as the winds had shifted to more from the Southwest and that made this a better combination for increasing our speed. Boy, did it ever increase. We were racing along at up to 8.6 knots. Some of the fastest sailing we have ever done since we left Port Townsend. We were clicking off the miles we had left rapidly. I was all over the deck adjusting the sails and stowing ones we were no longer using as we zipped along. Tracy was at the wheel playing the winds making sure we got the most out of the big winds we had. What a trip! We were back in our element again. The Sun was getting ready to set behind the mountains and twilight was approaching fast. We didn't care since this was some of the best sailing we have had in a VERY long time.
I took a shot and used the VHF radio to see if anyone was listening in San Juanico harbor. There's no town there but there might be a boater listening. One responded and told us what to expect in the harbor and gave us a good hint as to where it would be best to drop the anchor once we entered. It was still blowing in there about 12 knots and from the West. We finally dropped the sails and started the motor and headed in and dropped the hook about 1845 and got settled in. Since I had already bagged all the sails on the way in, we just went below after a quick deck check to make sure all was well and had a nice dinner of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Perfect after a great day of sailing. We had covered our 40 miles and had a GREAT time doing it.
We've now gone past the 3,000 mile mark since we left Port Townsend back on August 16 so with the Alaska trip added in, were over 5600 miles so far his year. Zephyr had sure gotten some miles under her keel this year.
We'll be here for a few days, hiking and diving and having some fun. I'm back on SSB for posting so I won't see any of your comments till I get back on the internet is a few weeks. Meanwhile, enjoy!!