02/10/2010, Puerto Escondido--buoy 106
As I said in our last post, we are now in Puerto Escondido safely on a mooring buoy. Number 106 to be exact. There are only 14 boats in the entire harbor(149 mooring balls available). Almost 30 are sitting outside the harbor on anchor in the "Waiting Room". They pay a lot less being out there. Yes, anyway you look at it, they get their money. At anchor or on a buoy, you pay Mexico. Don't believe some of the books. If on a buoy, you pay about $13.00 a day and while on your own anchor, you pay about $1.00 per day. You do pay extra for some other services while at anchor that a mooring doesn't. We opted for the buoy since there is another big blow headed our way and due in here by tomorrow morning.
Yesterday, we had planned to have Shadow put to sleep, but when we went to get him, he kicked up such a fuss about being put in the carrier, we decided to leave him alone. Over the past 3-5 days, he has made a rather remarkable comeback for what he had slipped too. He's eating and drinking again and will even jump up on the settees and sit in your lap. For the past week or so, he just laid there on a mat up near the bow of the boat and wouldn't eat or drink for 3-4 days. Now, he is back to what he was. Don't know what caused the improvement, but he is still kicking just fine. In the past, when it came time to take care of one of our cats, they just laid there and had no problem being put in their carrier and taken to the vet. Not this time. He is clearly not ready to go.
So instead, we hitched a ride into town with Dale and Linda off Moxey. They're the same folks we met in San Diego and helped us a few weeks ago during our first stop here. We planned to stop at the local vet--doubles as a pet food store-- and see if he would give us the necessary medication to do the job ourselves when Shadow's time comes. After doing some re-provisioning(bought more food), we stopped by the vets--he was closed for the afternoon siesta. Yeah, that happens all the time down here. Open at 0900, close at 1200, open again about 1500 and close about 1800. It is just the way of life down here. Sometimes a restaurant will be open and sometimes they will just close for a few days. It's not like it is back home. They march to a different, more relaxed way of life down here.
Once our shopping was done, we headed back to Escondido and ferried all the supplies back to Zephyr. We found that the line that attaches the bow to the buoy had gotten wrapped again around the buoy, so with Tracy at the bow and me in the dingy, I slowly tried to unwrap it. That didn't work, so I simply slipped the line from the buoy and retied it. Tracy pulled up on the line to make it tighter to the bow and now there is no chance of it wrapping again. I had to take a swim last time we left here and I really don't want to do that again.
Once the line was clear, I took off for the dingy dock with three of our gasoline jerry cans to get them refilled. If we had taken Zephyr over, it would have cost us an additional 20% on top of the fuel price. It's the same with filling up your tanks with diesel. A 20% surcharge can dig a hole in you wallet. Imagine going to your filling station and getting gas for your car and having them add 20% to your bill because you came in your car. I got the three tanks filled and carried them back to the dingy dock and loaded them on and returned to Zephyr. Tracy was ready with the block and tackle that we use to hoist Dragon(our 8hp out board)so the lifting was easy. While I was gone, Tracy stowed all the supplies we had picked up while in town so Zephyr was all ship shape again.
It has been cloudy here for the last day or so and is still overcast today. We are apparently in some sort of trough of weather that has allowed the clouds to come South for a change. Of well, there can't be sunshine everyday.
Today is my birthday!!! I finally hit 30(yeah, right-mentally maybe)It started with me baking some more French Bread. While the dough was rising, I went up the mast to retrieve the forestaysail halyard the came detached on our trip down from Bahia Concepcion. We slipped the bosuns chair onto the main halyard line and with Tracy at the winch with our Milwaukee drill, up I went. We bought this Milwaukee 90 degree drill when we were first in Newport, Oregon. With a bit from Winch Bit(it fits right in the top of the winch) it make all of our winches electric. Really helps out when the arms aren't strong enough or the winch isn't powerful enough. I danced around the rigging as I went up till I was at the spreaders and grabbed the line and lowered it back to the deck where Tracy fastened it to the life line. The shackle had simply come undone. Down I came(slowly) and on to the next project--I changed out the shackle for a better one on the forestaysail halyard(no reason to go back up if I don't have to). Tracy took off for the laundry leaving me on board to continue with the French bread and other projects.
The dough got punched and shaped into loaves. I forgot to cut the recipe in half(small oven) so we will be having MUCH BIGGER loaves. The oven will only hold one baking pan at a time. While the loaves went through their rising phase, I put on the mainsail cover and the covers for the winches and worked on the internet for a short time.
Once the loaves were ready, in they went and that is where we are now. Waiting for them to be done. About another 30 minutes. I sure hope they don't overflow the pan as they bake. Tracy should be back soon so we can have lunch. With the storm due here tomorrow morning, we want to make sure we are all battened down. The last one(winds to 60mph) caught several boats unprepared. They may forecast 30 knot winds but if you believe the weather people, I have some land down here I love to sell you.
Over the next few days, I'll post some new photos as the internet allow. We actually have a pretty good connection even out here on the buoy. Much better than the last time.
As always, stay tuned, there is more to come.
02/08/2010, Puerto Escondido again
We left San Juanico this morning at 0800 for the 40 mile trip back to Puerto Escondido. It figured to be a downwind trip since the wind typically comes from the North this time of year. Maybe not reliably, but from the North.
Out we went, and what wind there was was from the North. There wasn't much of it but there was some. Figuring the wind(when it got here) would keep coming from the same direction, I pulled out the spinnaker and put it up. While it was still in it's sock(yes, that how they normally get stowed so they won't fill with wind until you want them to)it flew from the top of the mast all ready to go. Of course, once we got it up there, the wind shifted to out of the Southwest which would do us no good with that sail. On we press(motor going of course) Southward.
Once we were past Isla Coronados, we decided that it was time to raise the sock and set the spinnaker free. Woomp--out she came and off we went. Speed increased and Zephyr was in her prime. We took off across the channel toward Isla Carmen. Not quite the way we needed to go, but close. The wind was off the port stern and clocking at about 12 to 15 knots. We were speeding along at over 7 knots and topped out at 8.6!! The wind kept building and building!!! Into the 20+ knot range and still it built. I was down below trying to download messages off the SSB when Tracy called out--"It's time to take it down! We're over 30 knots!!!" By the time I got on deck and to the bow, we had crested at 35 knots!!! That's much to much wind for our poor little sail. Well, not so little. It comes in at 1200 square feet of cloth. Our first house only had 1280 square feet!! It's almost as big as our first house! Now that's a sail worth flying.
I went to the bow and tripped the shackle that holds the sail at the bow and let her fly. Now it was only held to Zephyr at the top of the mast and with the lines that run to the stern. I pulled the sock down(the line you pull to raise the sail also pulls it back down)with great effort on my part--hey, it still blowing out there!! Down came the sock and the spinnaker was done for the day. Of course, as soon as we got her down, the wind dropped to 7 to 10 knots all over again. Mother Nature is sure a kidder. As we only had a few miles to go, we started up the engine and motored the last few miles into Puerto Escondido and picked up an buoy(25 49.230N 111 18.70W)
Puff(our dingy) went into the water and we were off to the office to check in for a few more days. No one in the office spoke enough English to do the check in, so I took off for the showers while Tracy walked up to the local tienda(store) to get some tortillas. We'd run out during our last trip. Upon her return, we got checked in at the office and bought our laundry tokens. On our way back to Zephyr, we stopped by "Lovely Rita", one of the boats we saw in Playa Santispac. Their backstay had nearly broken on their trip over from San Carlos a few days earlier and they were in search of a rigger to get it fixed. Apparently on their trip down to Puerto Escondido, their transmission started slipping and they barely made it in. They were taking it apart to change the fluids and to see if they could fix it when we showed up. They asked when we got in. Upon telling them, they told us they saw us coming down the channel. When you fly a spinnaker, it tends to draw attention. He asked if it was just the two of us on board--yep. "And you flew your spinnaker?" yep. Well he has one but has never used it. These sails tend to scare people. Ours did until we finally put her up and started using her. Now she is one of our favorite sails. From what we have read, the majority of your sailing while out cruising is done downwind and that is what a spinnaker does best. He retuned to his work and we returned to Zephyr for our sundowner drink. We couldn't see the Sun as the mountains to the West were covered in clouds but the thought was there and since it was after 5PM, it was "legal" to have a drink with out being called a lush(maybe).
Now the Sun has set and with the cloud cover, it's gotten a bit chilly but that's ok. Tomorrow is another day.
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.