02/05/2010, Playa Concepcion and onward.
I started yesterday by baking some more French Bread with another recipe. Two more loaves. It's all the oven will hold at one time. This recipe had much less "rising" time involved and gave a much finer texture to the bread. We like the other recipe better but will try a few more to make sure it is our favorite. The first one had a more open grain. This last was the texture of a regular loaf of bread.
As the afternoon came so did the winds from the North which put us on a "lee" shore. That means that if the anchor drags, we would end up on shore and that is not the place to be(at least for sailboat). About 1400, we upped the anchor and returned to Playa Concepcion where we had left a few days ago. Being up against a bluff helped cut the winds to manageable and we were no longer on a lee shore. With the anchor down, we settled in for a nice afternoon. Amazingly, I could get back on the internet again by picking up some ones signal. While not the fastest,(hey, this is Mexico) it was faster than most of the speeds I had in quite a while. When we arrived back at Playa Concepcion, we found "Hello World", the boat who's website is where I got my original recipe from for the French bread. What a small world.
We made the decision to return to Puerto Escondido and Loreto and take care of Shadow. After almost 18 years, he is on his last legs and can barely move around the boat anymore. He has stopped drinking and is now eating very little. We have some friends in Escondido that will give us a lift into Loreto so we can have him taken care of. He's been the best of our three furr people in that he doesn't get seasick and drool, but his quality of life is now horrible. It was a tough decision but one that needed to be made. So we are now on our way to San Juanico for the night and on to Escondido on Monday. I expect we will sign up for another few days while there and get some more provisions. We are just about out of gasoline for the outboard and the generator so they are a must.
That's about it for right now. I'll add more once we get into San Juanico if anything comes up. Of course the wind is so light that we couldn't sail if we wanted to do more than a knot or two so the motor is doing her job. We encountered swells once we left Bahia Concepcion in the 4 to 6 foot range and of course they are coming from the rear off the port side so every few seconds, poor Zephyr gets thrown from side to side violently. Then it's calm for a few seconds and then it starts all over again. It's not a pretty sight to see a big boat like Zephyr getting thrown around but there isn't much we could do about it and still be heading South. We should be in about 1730 if we are lucky.
Well, we made it in finally at 1830 just after the Sun set and dropped the anchor(26 22.006N 111 25.810W). We'd finally raised the sails at about 1400 as the wind had built to 10-12 knots. Up went the main and out came the genoa. We started off at 5 knots so we thought we would put up the forestaysail to help out. Up it went and then suddenly, there was a twang and down it came. The shackle that attaches the sail to the halyard had come undone-of course right where the line enters the mast--about 2/3 of the way up the mast. Now, I get to go up the mast and pull it down. That will have to wait till we get to Puerto Escondido. Once we got the two sails up, off we went heading South for San Juanico. Of course, now that the sails were up, the wind died back to about 5-6 knots and the speed dropped to 3-4 knots--maybe. On we went, plodding along just happy that the sails were up and the motor was turned off. By 1700, we had to start the engine as we were still 8 miles from our destination and we really don't like entering a harbor after dark. Down came the main and in came the genoa and on came the motor and off we went again for that last few miles. As I said, we pulled in about 1830 and got settled in for the night. There are just two other boat here this time so this big anchorage is just about empty. Last time, there were 8 boats here. We saw only two other sail boats to day and no power boats. One was headed South to San Juanico and one North to San Sebastian, a bit farther up the coast.
Tomorrow, we will be off for the 44 mile trek to Puerto Escondido. More once we get there.
02/05/2010, Playa Santa Barbara
We took Puff to shore at Playa Santispac to get rid of trash and had a nice conversation with the folks that had motored down from the US to spend the Winter here. People from all over the US in many big motor homes. Many had brought small structures to erect beside their vehicles to provide a place to sit in the shade and while away the hours and talk with others. A nice setup.
On the way in to shore, we stopped and had a short chat with Jackie and Tony on Windstrutter from New Zealand. A nice ketch rigged boat about the same size as ours. They have been here for a while.
Once back at Zephyr, we upped the anchor an set off for Playa Santa Barbara, about 4 mile South of Playa Concepcion. With Puff tied to the stern, we slowly motored done the bay till we reached our next home. As I have said in the past you can't trust the electronic chart plotters as our Garmin 172 C put us going right over Isla Coyote on our trip South. As we made our way South, we noticed a beautiful deserted beach on Isla Coyote and decided to head over there later in the afternoon. Once the anchor was down(26 42 .103N 111 52.831W), we stopped and took time for a nice lunch. My last loaf of French bread along with more Summer Sausage and Boursin and Cheddar cheese.
We put Dragon back on Puff and headed out for the deserted cove on Isla Coyote just as another sailboat entered the small cove. They dropped their anchor about 100 yards from us. Out we went for the mile trek to the Isla. As we rounded the point off the beach, a girl, walking along the beach took off running(as fast as she could) for her kayak. Apparently, she had taken advantage of the deserted cove to work on an all over suntan. OOPS!! Caught. She made to back to her kayak long before we got to the beach. She was there with a friend in another kayak. As we came ashore, another dingy showed up with two guys onboard that were going to look for clams. We watched from shore as they dug out in the water and came up with lots of them. Once done, they took off and shortly after that, the other young girl took off too with her friend. We had the cove to ourselves(other than the occasional passing fishing boat). We headed back to Zephyr about an hour later to start dinner. We took time for a nice Margarita(our first) as the Sun went down and gave a round of applause for it's days work.
We had a lovely dinner and watched a bit of DVD's till bed time. There was some bioluminescence but not like the night before. Today has dawned sunny and bright and we are off in a few minutes to see if w can find a wreck of a sailboat that is reported to be in the cove. I expect we will spend the afternoon at the deserted beach again for some fun.
02/05/2010, Playa Santa Barbara
What a lovely day today was. It dawned nice and bright and decided to stay that way. The decks were covered in early morning dew that washed away the salt.
I donned my new wet suit(bought it at Puerto Escondido from another cruiser) to make sure it fit. Once that was done, we took off for a sunken sailboat here in Playa Santa Barbara. Jackie and Tony(off Windstrutter) had told us they lost one of theirs on the wreck the last time they were here. Well, I like a challenge so off we went. Wet suit, fins, mask and a weight belt with Tracy at Puffs helm. It took us a bit of time to locate it as we only had an approximation of where it was. Finally, we saw a dark space in the water and putt putted over and there it was, about 7 feet below the surface. It has been down there quite some times as while you can tell it was a sailboat, the deck and mast are long since gone. Rigging is strewn around the coves floor. Over Puffs side I went into the water and down I went. Tony had said he lost it near the rigging so I started there. Since there was still 25 feet of chain still attached I thought it would be easy to find. Up and down I went for quite some time but no anchor nor chain. If I get a chance I'll try again tomorrow. Hey, we get busy out here cruising you know. It's a tough life!
A nice lunch and off to the "deserted" cove we went to yesterday. As we entered, a dingy was motoring out and there was still one on the beach. So much for deserted. As we talked to the two people that were there, two more showed up by kayak. Shortly after they arrived, three more showed up-two in a dingy and another in a kayak. This place was becoming party central. Tracy and I play a bit of frisbee to get some exercise and have some fun. We played a lot back in college so we got to relive "old" times. About 1630, we left for Zephyr in Playa Santa Barbara. As we headed out, we saw a sailboat leave Playa Santispac and head for Playa Santa Barbara. We had company last night and I guess we would have more tonight. They pulled in and dropped their anchor about an hour later. Along with them, we saw a small sailboat with two girls(maybe 25 years old) on board rowing(no motor on board) into the cove and dropping their anchor near shore to spend the night on the beach. These girls must be hard core sailors as it's an open boat--no cabin at all to take shelter from the wind and rain. The amazing people you see out here boggles the mind. I would never have thought of doing what they're doing at that age.
A lovely dinner of Chicken Curry(thanks Matt for the curry)after two margaritas in the cockpit to celebrate the setting Sun and the evening was complete. A truly lovely day.
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.