05/16/2010, Las Cocinas
We moved a bit father North yesterday out of San Pedro cove and 16 miles farther on our journey. I got everything ready for a nice sail as the winds were forecast to be out of the South to Southwest and that was just what we had as we sat in the cove. So off came the sail cover and I put the DuoGen back into "water" mode with the small propeller that drags behind Zephyr as we sail. Halyards were attached to the mainsail and the line were all made ready for use as we hoisted and unrolled the sails. All this work was of course the kiss of death to have any chance of sailing. Up came the anchor and out we went.
As we left the cove, the winds shifted to out of the North and the swells were coming out of the West so we began to first rock bow to stern and then side to side as we headed out. If it wasn't fastened down below, it came flying across the cabin. What winds we had died back to 2 to 3 knots so with the motor running, on we went along the coast. We really had no idea where we would end up for the night as there are several coves along the shoreline. We motored in to Serimuerto as well as Caleta Venecia and found both too rollie as the swells were rolling in making it an uncomfortable anchorage.
On we went toward Rada El Pasito--a wide spot along the coast. To open for our tastes is the wind changed at all. A mile farther up was Ensenada Julio Villa. A nice looking LITTLE cove. It would be great for a 30 footer but not for the 45 feet that Zephyr is. Plus there were some campers along the shoreline. We motored in to see it but never actually entered the cove as we judged it just to small for comfort. Now this little cove is out in the middle of no where so I can't imagine who let alone why any one would carve a road in the dirt to make a path to this place. But there was a nice road carved into the hills and flat lands all the way to this out of the way place. No houses not any water available but a decent road to get there.
We rounded Punta Morena and made our way to Las Cocinas(the kitchens) and found a delightful bay that would protect us from the South winds and swells that were rolling around out in the Sea of Cortez. There is a South cove to anchor in that will protect us from the South and a North cove that could protect us from North winds and swells. An all around decent anchorage for any wind. We dropped anchor at 28 13.09N 111 22.536W just after noon and settled in. We put up some tarps and lowered Puff with Dragon into the water so we could explore the neighborhood later.
After a nice lunch of curried chicken on tortillas, we changed into swim suits and took off for the smaller coves around the South corner of our bay. The rocks are beautifully colored with reds and different shades of other colors and is magnificent in the brilliant sunshine. As the Sun moves across the sky, the rocks take on different hues throughout the day. We saw panga fishermen motoring South throughout the day and only one small boat came in our little space of heaven. The coves we visited were beautifully carved stones with a bit of a small beach(or small stone) at the head. We pulled ashore and hiked a bit around the cove. The only really good beach was at our cove with a nice long stretch of sand that changes to small rocks the farther North you walk. So far, the water has been quite chilly no mater where we have stopped. The water here is just 70 degrees, a bit chilly for swimming. The really warm water comes later in the year.
We watched the Sun set about 1930 into the flat calm water West of us and sat out and watched satellites and planes pass overhead as the last of the glow from the Sun faded. The moon was just a small crescent that set by 2115 and the night took on a beautiful darkness that allowed the stars to shine brilliantly in the night. As the Sun goes down, the temperature drops quickly and the night air takes on a chilly feel to it. You can be sweating one minute in the heat of the Sun and have a chill the next. An amazing environment to spend time in.
We will spend today exploring our little slice of the Sea of Cortez. Tomorrows winds are forecast to be from the North to the East(yeah--right) so we will see what happens then. Yesterday was the "official" start of hurricane season so now we really start watching and listening to the weather.
05/13/2010, Bahia San Pedro
We dropped the line to the mooring buoy about 1020 and headed out and North along the coast. The winds had been blowing into San Carlos Harbor from the Southwest at about 10 knots so we knew we were going to have a great sail up the coast. HA!! Fraid not!! As soon as we left the harbor, either the wind shifted or we went the wrong way as the wind hit us on the bow and never let up the entire 15 miles we went today. Go figure--wind from the wrong direction. How could it be????? With the engine running, we headed along the coast playing with the radar to see what it would show us. With the engine running, we had plenty of power to use it for a change. Along we went, passing other boats--both sail and power as they headed South--most with sails up(darn them). We chose Bahia San Pedro as it's a well protected cove. We're set for all but big winds from the South. Of course, that is what is scheduled for later this evening, but only in the 6 to 8 knot range so no big deal. If it gets higher, we can always re anchor in the Southeast side of the cove and be just fine. We're located at 28 03.436N 111 14.685W for you Google Earth fans out there.
The trip was uneventful and there is just one other boat at anchor with us and just one panga full of fishermen that are camping along the shore. We plan on launching Puff in a few minutes and exploring the shore to see what it has to offer.
The folks on Evergreen(another Liberty 458) pulled into the marina yesterday afternoon to continue getting their boat ready for it's haul out on Saturday. They have already taken off their sails and are prepping the rest for its Summer nap just as we will be doing later this month for our Summer lay up in June. We'd thought to be there on Saturday when they haul out but the Sea of Cortez calls out to us so we will probably just continue North along the coast to see what the mainland has to offer. We just have to be back in San Carlos by he 28th so I can catch the bus North to Tucson for my flight home. I already have a long list of things to buy while there and spent most of yesterday afternoon at the Marina Cantina using their wifi to order in some items that won't be available in Denver. They will be sitting there all ready for me to bring back when I come in early June.
We'd planned on doing our laundry yesterday but when we went ashore to do it, we found Barracuda Bob's closed and when they close, there is no where else to by the laundry tokens necessary to use their machines. Instead, we walked over to the hotel and took advantage of their laundry and had them do it for us. Our 5 kilo bag of laundry cost just 105 pesos or about $8.50US. To have done them in the laundromat would have saved us a whole 5 pesos or about 40 cents. That was a no brainer. They had it all done by 1700 when Tracy stopped in to pick it up. As the wind was blowing at about 30 knots, I'd taken Puff back to Zephyr giving a lift to another cruiser that was just returning to his boat after a trip home. He'd asked the marina to set him up with a panga fisherman to get a sort of "taxi" ride back to his boat. The marina wanted $25.00US to take him the mile back to his boat. I beat their price by doing it for free. Cruisers have to stick together!!!! As I was about to go back in to pick up Tracy and the laundry, who should appear but the same guy I'd helped get to his boat. When I took him out, he had his outboard with him and he attached it to the dingy on his boat and had gone back in for his suitcases. He saw Tracy waiting and gave her a lift back to Zephyr. That was great as I had just put a loaf of Pumpkin Spice bread with walnuts into the oven to bake. I didn't have to leave it unsupervised. It came out an hour later just great.
As I sit her typing this, I have the VHF radio going in front of me. I'm picking up radio calls from Puerto Escondido on the other side of the Sea of Cortez. That's about 80 miles from here. Normally VHF radio only has a range of maybe 20 miles if you're lucky. We must be getting some kind of weird skip in the signal as that is way beyond the range normally received. When we were crossing from La Paz to Maztlan, we'd heard a call to the Pilot in Guaymas that takes boats in and out of that harbor and it several hundred miles away from where we were at the time. The Sea of Cortez can be a strange(and beautiful) place to cruise.
Well, it's time t get back up on deck and get Puff in the water and see what the beach is like. I'll let you know what we find. Oh, by the way, if you ever find yourself cruising down here, we both thought that Caleta Lalo to be the ugliest anchorage we have been in since we sailed into the Sea of Cortez. The shoreline was ugly and the locals parked their cars and trucks so that the sounds of their radios blared across the small cove all though the night. So if you are ever over here, plan of avoiding Lalo at all times. Its not a pretty nor quiet place to visit.
As always, there is more to come.
05/11/2010, San Carlos
With the wind forecast for the mid 20 knot range and out of the Southwest, we decided to utilize the mooring buoy we paid for and headed back for San Carlos for a day or so. Well, we're on day three now and might be out of here tomorrow. Not sure yet as we have offered to help another boater get his boat ready for haul out on the 15. Its a Liberty 458 called Evergreen. Hull number 3 of the line. She sailed in yesterday morning as we were getting ready to head out. Plans(as always written in sand)changed in a split second as this was the first Liberty we have seen since we left Port Townsend last August and the first we have seen since September of 2008 when one wandered into the Hudson Point Marina when we were on the hard. She's a beauty with a white hull instead of the blue like ours. The folks on board headed below after dropping their anchor so we figured they had just made the crossing from the Baja. When we saw them a few hours later, they were getting into their dingy and heading ashore. We climbed into Puff and headed in a few minutes behind them. As we sat in Baracuda Bob's for lunch, we took a stab at the first guy(Dennis) that entered and asked if he was on Evergreen. We got lucky and he answered "yes" with a quizical look on his face. When we told him that we had the proto type for the Liberty line, the conversation took off from there. Shortly, his wife(Carol) joined us and then his 12 year old son(Josh) came in also. They'd stopped in for a shower. We sat for the next few hours and traded stories of our boats. Apparently, they had seen Zephyr back in 2006 but passed on buying her. They later purchased Evergreen while living in California. They came down to Mexico in last years Baja Ha Ha race held in late October. They've spent a good bit of time since then on the mainland side and had recently gone over to the Baja side for a few weeks until they crossed back yesterday. They hadn't seen us when they came into the harbor. We set up arrangements for having dinner aboard their boat. Its quite similar to our with a few subtle differences. Amazingly, their forward berth area is set up very similar to ours but they only have one bunk on the port side while we have two. They have the wall between the two cabins that the last owners had removed to make that area much bigger. Lots of little differences here and there as there were a few years between the boats. We volunteered to help them anyway we can since they are getting hauled out on the 15th.
Oh, just a note--the big winds from the South that made us come back to San Carlos never materialized. It was just about calm for the entire day. Now yesterday, it blew in the mid 20 knot range most of the afternoon and died off in the early evening. Today is the same with it having a nice little blow outside. I guess it's the reaction of the heat from the land hitting up against the coolness of the water. We had fog yesterday morning when we got up. It didn't last long, but it seemed strange to see fog in Mexico. Especially mainland Mexico. Its now sunny and forecast for temps in the high 80's so as long as the wind blows, it's not too bad. Being in the shade helps so we have put as many tarps as we can over Zephyrs decks. It really makes a difference in keeping the inside cool.
So here we sit and here we will stay till at least tomorrow. If Evergreen doesn't ask for any help by then we will probably head out to Bahia Algodones for Bahia San Pedro and enjoy the quiet of being back on anchor. We just want to make sure we are back here by the 15th to see Evergreen get hauled out.
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.