05/08/2010, Caleta Lalo
It was a short hop today a grand total of 3.2 miles around the South tip of the headlands of San Carlos and into the small cove of Caleta Lalo(27 56.392N 111 05.433W). We decided to leave Martini to see what Lalo was like. Well, it's not that pretty a place with big houses up on the hills surrounding the cove. Lots of couples and their kids came to the beach today to enjoy the weather. It was just overcast enough to keep the heat to a decent level and that was a blessing. From what I observed, no women in Mexico own swim suits. Not a single women we saw was in a suit. All were in shorts and tee shirts as were their husbands. Some of the kid--boys only were in swim suits. The girls were all in shorts and tee shirts like their mothers.
The winds tomorrow are to come from the South and since there are very few places to anchor on the mainland to protect yourself from a South wind, we plan on going back the 4 miles to San Carlos and tying up to the mooring we have rented. Shouldn't be there for more than a day as the winds are expected to moderate by Monday. We'll be off for Bahia Algodones or farther North. I've put numerous way points and anchorages into our chart plotter with gps markings so we will have no problem finding them. Meanwhile, I sit and read while Tracy is stitching.
We made sure to put up tarps to cover the deck as soon as we arrived in Caleta Lalo to keep the Sun off the teak. It get VERY hot in the Sun and really heats up the interior. Our hull is painted a beautiful shade of blue and it is another heat absorber. While it was great for the Pacific Northwest, it's a big minus down here. We've discussed painting our hull white but we love the blue so much we may have to try a drape of some sort to cover the hull while at anchor to keep the heat down. We will have to see what we can find while we are back in Colorado in a month or so.
Well that's about it for now. We've confirmed our haul out with Marina Seca in San Carlos for June 12 at 1100. That's high tide and is the only time we can get near the haul out area. It's a nice harbor, but is shallow in areas. We'll let you know how the winds end up tomorrow.
05/06/2010, Martini Cove outside San Carlos
We dropped our lines to Marina Fonatur in Guaymas yesterday afternoon about 1600 and took off for the "unknown marina". This "marina"(27 53.32N 111 03.602W)was originally set up as a marina for the local panga fisherman just South of Guaymas several years ago. As of now, virtually no panga(small boat) fishermen use it at all. So it just sits empty most of the time with a security guard wandering around the docks from time to time. Keep in mind, it was a whole three miles from Marina Fonatur just South of the harbor. Very few people know it even exists. We found out about it from Angus and Rolande off Periclees a few weeks ago. Our time was up at the marina and we needed to move on.
We took in our lines and headed out. About 45 minutes later we pulled in. A tough ride. Now while the marina is a bit spartan--no electricity or water, it has nice concrete docks and lots of cleats to tie up to. The biggest problem is the bird guano all over the docks. The birds pretty much have the run of the place and stay where ever they wish. Once we tied up, I grabbed a bucket and splashed a lot of water all over the docks. With so few boaters using the docks, the bird guano never gets cleaned up. There was an aroma about the marina. We found out later, it was from the local fish processing plant over the hill behind the docks, about a mile away. The aroma came and went at the wind blew. I checked in with what I thought was the security guard. He was actually just a fisherman that came by to see what we were doing. After a few minutes he said adios and left.
An hour or so later, we got approached by a mother(Claudia) and her three kids--Caesar, Roberto and a little girl whose name I heard but could never understand what it was. They were at the marina on a family outing with the entire clan-two husbands, two wives, 4 kids, two grandmothers and a few more thrown in for fun. Once we had broken the language barrier(sort of) we invited the kids and their mother on board to see Zephyr. The kids called out to the rest of the family and they all headed over to see us. One group went to the next dock so they could get pictures of the group on board. The grandmothers had a bit of concern when they tried to climb on board and Zephyr tilted at the dock. I grabbed our ladder and set it up and on they all came, laughing and having a great time. This "marina" is so rarely visited that we were a novelty and everyone wanted their picture taken on board. The kids got theirs taken behind the wheel in the cockpit. They understood some English and we understood some of their Spanish so we could talk--at least sort of. We had close to fifteen people on board at one time with more on the dock taking pictures. We brought Snowshoe up on deck for the kids to pet. They have never seen a long haired cat before. This was truly a cruising experience of a life time for everyone. Later, Claudia and the three kids came back with some watermelon to share.
During the night, the parking lot above the marina becomes the cities "lover's lane" with several cars pulling in for some late night romance. At least that is what Tracy told me as I had crashed about 2000. I was just too tired to stay up later. The hectic life of a cruiser. I finally got a good night sleep.
Today, we were visited by the actual security guard as we were preparing to cast off. He asked where we had come from and the name of the boat and how many people were on board and where we were going. At least that is what I think he asked me. He spoke no English but my Spanish is getting better. Each day, we pick up more words and phrases. We cast off just after 0800 and slowly headed out of the South part of the harbor and made our way around the South point and then up the coast line. The forecast was for no wind and for a change, they got it right. We had to motor all the way to Martini Cove(27 55.932N 111 03.602W) just outside of San Carlos. As soon as we pulled in, we put up the tarps to cover the deck as it gets hotter each day. Today was well up into the 90's. I took buckets of salt water(plenty available around us) and splashed down the deck regularly. The teak decks get blisteringly hot. I have a feeling they may get removed in the future and we may just have the decks fiber glassed. I can't imagine how hot they will be once it gets into the 100+ degree range later this year. I plan on bringing back some long 50 foot tarps when I come back next month.
Several boats came and went as the day passed but we are now alone in the anchorage with a beautiful starry sky above us. Tomorrow, we will launch Puff and Dragon go and investigate a local sea cave and the local beaches nearby. We will also be going into San Carlos to pay the last of our fees for the mooring buoy. Heck, we might even have lunch there. Saturday, off again for another bay up the coastline.
05/04/2010, Guaymas, Mexico
The days pass with odds and ends getting done. Things cleaned, washed and stowed as well as lubed if there are any moving parts. Salt can screw up a block fast down here. I'll be flushing the outboard motor once the water tanks are filled this morning.
I made my reservations for the flight back to Colorado for later this month. Once we looked at the calendar, we figured out that I need to leave here on the 28 on a bus to Tucson and then catch a flight back to Colorado so I can load up the car and be back here long before June 12th when we plan on being hauled out. There is a long list of things that have to be done before we haul out--take all the sails off, cover every block on deck with aluminum foil, cover the port lights with foil to keep the heat and Sun out. It's a long list but nothing very complicated. Probably the most time consuming is changing out all the oil so it will sit with fresh oil and not the dirty stuff.
We've made arrangements to rent a mooring buoy in San Carlos from May 10 through June 12 so we will have a base of operation to work out of. This way, we can come back here when ever the weather dictates and be guaranteed a place to keep Zephyr safe and sound till pull out day. Tracy plans on being hooked to the buoy while I'm gone. Less chance of the kids making an escape. She'll have Puff to get back and forth to shore and the marina if necessary. Being attached to a large block of concrete will make sure she never drifts if a stiff wind crops up unexpectedly.
Tracy is busy defrosting the freezer since another layer of ice has built up on like the freezers of 30 years ago. No such thing as "frost free"on a boat. We feel lucky that we have so much freezer space. Food(meats, etc) keep much longer at 15 degrees than at the 38 or so the frig stays at.
I walked over to the local bus station yesterday to buy my ticket to Tucson. At 460 pesos--about $40.00 US, it's not a bad deal for the seven hour drive. Plus, it comes with food along the way. I figured I travel at night so I'll be getting into Tucson early in the morning to give me plenty of time to get to the airport to make my flight. We even used some of our United Airline miles so the flight will only cost us a bit over $2.00.
I stopped at the local Soriana(like Safeway) on the way back and bought a few essentials that we will still need for the last 5 weeks of our stay here in Mexico. We still will need a few more items so I'll be stopping there again one last time today since we are leaving tomorrow on the high tide--about 1600--so we can get out of here.
A boat left late yesterday evening and ran aground on his way over to the yard where he is being hauled out. He draws just over 7 feet, so he's in bigger trouble getting around this harbor than we are since we only draw a bit over 6 feet and we came very close to running aground when we came in last week. The wind further complicated his trip last night as it started blowing out of the North as forecast by the Amigo Nets weatherman. It was a good bit later than forecast but still piped up into steady winds in the 25 knot range with gusts up into the high 30 knot range just for fun. He came back as the wind was really getting going. At about midnight, the boat just off our bows Genoa came unfurled and started flapping in the wind. The boats owner hadn't tied down the line to his furler and the wind got under the sail and out it came with a furry, flapping in the wind. People came running from their boats to see what was happening. Two of us grabbed the sheets that control the sail but that did no good. I ran for our electric drill we use to furl our sails and stuck it on one of his winches and reeled in the sail nice and tight. The lines all got tightened and the sail was now safe and secure. It was time for bed.
Our water tanks are now just about full so we will be fine for the next month while we are out. Always pays to fill the tanks when water is available.
Now that the freezer is defrosted, the compressor is having a problem starting up. I've put in a call to the Cool BLue folks that make it and they have given me a remedy. So far it hasn't worked so I'll be off to the computer room to use Skype again to call him back. He was at lunch when I last called. Hopefully, he can resolve the problem. Heck, the guy I'm talking to owns the company and builds just about all the units that he sells. I'll let you know how it turns out. This is the first problem we have had since we installed the unit early last year.
More to come as always.
05/02/2010, Guaymas, Mexico
I updated the photo gallery and finally got the photos in for San Juanico. Definitely one of our favorite places along the Baja.
I took off up the mast earlier this morning and the anchor light is definitely on the frith. It still works in Strobe and with the Navigation lights, but not under the "anchor mode". I've sent an email to Orca Green Marine for a replacement. IT comes with a two year warranty and we are way short of that. Of course, it is also the fourth one they have had to send us since the last three have died or fizzled out as we made our way South. I had Xander, our son go up the mast and change out the last one when we were in San Francisco back in September of last year. I've been up the mast several times since and it is no longer such a big deal. Do I like going up the mast? Heck no, I'm not that crazy but I'm no longer afraid of it as I was. Now, I'll have to go back up once I get the replacement and switch them out.
This afternoon, swab the deck and fill the water tanks again. Doing laundry took a lot of water and it is safe here to drink. Lots of little tasks as other boaters here at the marina work on getting their boats ready to be put away for the Summer. Our job comes in a month or so. Gee what fun!?!
Any one care to take a guess as to what is happening with our electrical system? When we are hooked up to shore power, all outlets work just fine. When we use the inverter, all outlets work just fine. When I hook up the Honda Generator to the inlet normally used for shorepower, all the outlets on the starboard side don't work and the "reverse polarity" light comes up on the circuit panel. Makes no sense to me. any one have any suggestions?
I've added several new photo albums to the blog. I couldn't get the one for San Juanico to take so I'll be adding it again once I hear back from the folks at Sailblogs. Enjoy what I posted.
04/30/2010, Guaymas, Mexico
Yesterday was a day of exploration. We took an early morning bus to San Carlos to check out the local yards to see which would be best for hauling out Zephyr in June.
We started at Marina Seca in San Carlos. These are yards that are all over Mexico and I think controlled by the Mexican government or at least set up by them, much like the Marina Fonatur's that are all over the Sea of Cortez. This yard is quite a ways from the water and requires a travel down some city streets to get your boat to the yard. In San Carlos, they use a hydraulic trailer that has arms on it to lift the boat and put in on the trailer. Then it is trucked across the road and deposited on the yard. The rest of the yards we visited all use a lift like all the rest in the USA. They have straps that hang under the lift and they cradle the hull as it gets lifted. At Marina Seca, they have two yards--one for work and one for storage. You can have you boat put in the "work" yard so that you can do things on your boat. In the "storage" yard, you are not allowed to work on your boat. In order to make it a rotating "work" yard, the longer you stay, the more they charge you per day. Instead of getting cheaper, it gets more expensive. All of the yards we visited are dirt yards, not a piece of concrete anywhere. The Marina Seca yard in San Carlos even has what are called "hurricane polls". These are large steel polls driven into the ground that you boat is hook onto to keep it from falling over if a hurricane should hit. Last year, San Carlos got over 25 inches of rain in one day and the only boats that fell over were the ones attached to the "hurricane polls". They might be good in a wind, but they aren't worth a darn in lots of rainfall.
After our conversation with the nice folks at Marina Seca in San Carlos, we made reservations for a haul out on June 12. We can move it up or delay it as necessary, but we had to at least get our name on the list for a haul out. The alternative is to leave Zephyr in the water all Summer. Many boats do exactly that. There is some work we need to do upon our return in October and we really wanted zephyr out of the water and available for the jobs we have planned.
We walked down to Marina san Carlos and toured their place running into Mike from Tazmo. We'd met him the day before in the "cruiser's lounge at Marina Singlar in Guaymas. A real nice guy that has been down here for several years and knows the area well. After a nice lunch in the local cafe, he offered to take us around San Carlos and Guaymas and show us the sights. For the next several hours we had a guided tour of the entire area. All the yards, both in San Carlos as well as Guaymas. Plus just about every kind of store you could imagine from hardware to restaurants to grocery stores. We got back to Zephy well after 1800 exhausted from a day of going everywhere.
After visiting all the yards, we still feel that the Marina Seca in san Carlos is the best yard for Zephyr. She can be taken out without having to dismantle the rigging and that is an important feature. The Marina Seca yard in Guaymas only has a typical lift and the yard is on a slant(also dirt) so Zephyr wouldn't sit level.
Chris and Rani on Ladybug 2 showed up early in the day and took a slip down the dock. We'd met them in Mazatlan and they had gone back to the Baja for a few days until crossing again to Guaymas so they can have their boat hauled in a few days. They are getting pulled out at the Marina Seca yard in Guaymas. When we visited that yard earlier, we saw Angus and Rolandes boat, Periclees. We'd been with them up the coast from Mazatlan but parted at Topolobampo a week or so ago. They were in a hurry to get home. Luckily we have no real reason to rush other than to beat the heat of the Sea of Cortez during the Summer.
One thing I left off in my post about Punta Lobos, was all the shells we saw there. There were tens of thousands of cone shells littering the beach in all sizes and colors. We've never seen so many of them at any beac we have visited so far in our journey. It was amazing to see so many in one location.
We were lucky enough to have the "Miss Guaymas" pageant at our marina last night. It started just after 2000 and went till close to midnight. Tons of people and 8 contestants vying for the title to continue on to the Miss Sonora on a few weeks. The organizers spent all day Wednesday setting up the stage and lights with flogs flying all over the place. Quite the show.
I'm sitting in the laundry room as I type this getting all the clothes clean. It's nice to have "big" washers to get the job done. Civilization does have it's perks I guess.
I have to go up the mast again. When we were in Bahia Santa Barbara down the coast, we had a frigate bird perched on the top of the mast. You could clearly see him in the light of the anchor light. Since that night, we haven't been able to see the anchor light at all. On the night before we left Punta Lobos, we left Puff in the water and I motored around Zephyr after sunset. No light!!! It still works in the "strobe"(flashing light) mode as well as the "navigation light" mode(red, green and while lights), but not in the "anchor light" mode. Not sure what has gone wrong unless the photo cell that turns it on at sunset and off at sunrise has malfunctioned. This will be our fourth Orca Green light to have failed since we installed the first one in September of 2008. To their credit, Orca Green has replace every one that has gone wrong. I guess we will see what is happening when I get up there. Then the emails will start to get a replacement.
That's it for now. The dryers have just stopped.