05/19/2011, Leaving San Jose del Cabo
We are ready to leave, boat is washed down, Ross MacDonald's special hatch tape is applied to all the hatches, we are showered, ate a small snack plate that Bob put together, removed the awning, taken the garbage out and not the mosquitoes are starting to bite so we will be happy to cast off. Will try to update the blog daily as we do the famous "Baja Bash"
05/19/2011, San Jose del Cabo
Well we had a good ol fashion goat rope today, our last in Cabo. I got concerned about the amount of propane in our tanks for cooking and didn't want to let the guys down by running out. I heard that it was easy to get and was near the Pemex station which I thought was just in town. Well it starts there as I found out that no, it is out by the airport and you need a car to get there but Thrifty has cars for $19.00. At least that is what Jim paid and told me. So Fletcher and I hoof it into town and find the Thrifty car rental agency and they had a car available. Sure it is $19.00 but the Insurance is $30.00! Well I am used to paying $50 a day for a car here so I just chalked it up to TMO. I told the agent (one man shop) that we only needed it for a few hours and when did he close. 6:00 pm Senor. OK we will be here by 6 and will you give us a ride to the marina since you are closing? Si Senor, No Problema.
Fletcher and I hop in the car and go back to the boat to pick up Bob who stayed behind to rearrange the refrigeration for the 3rd time so he would know where he put everything. We head out the toll road to the airport and find the Pemex station and then 1km further was the propane station. It looked like a gas station with pumps like for gas. So we unload our 2 aluminum tanks that really didn't feel that empty but, again, just to be sure. We they were able to stuff 5 liters in the two tanks so they were nearly full but now we know they are full.
Now time for lunch and Bob tries to find this restaurant that he ate at 6 years ago but to no avail. So we said, back to the Container as they have the best hamburgers in all of Mexico. We all had a burger and then went back to the boat to regroup and maybe take a nap. Bob decides to nap and Fletcher and I decide to drive the car for a little road trip to the cross and see if we can get into the housing development at Puerto Los Cabos. We get sidetracked on a paved road that says East Cape and end up in an area that has some pretty nice houses. There is a gated community called El Encanto and it is on the beach and there is an open house sign. The guard says "let me announce you" and then tells us how to get there.
We find the house and a nice young American man comes out to greet us and show us around. He says that this is the developers house but we can build one for you turnkey for $4 million. That is US. It is 5,200 sq. ft and has a pool and 2 casitas and a 2 car garage. Very nice but not my taste. Fletcher asks about financing and Si, Senor, we can finance. We excuse ourselves as it is getting close to 6 to return the car. We go to Thrifty and are there at 5:45 and guess what? The office is closed and the sign says he will return at 1:45. We assume that he went to lunch and never returned. So we head back to the boat as I didn't have my phone and when we try to call, no answer. No other numbers on the contract but the internet to the rescue. Made contact with someone and they said they would come to the office in 15 minutes. I was very specific to clarify that the office was the Thrifty office. So Bob and I hop back into the car and off to the office. We waited 30 minutes and I hit redial on my phone and no answer. We decide to leave Bob at the office and I will go back and look at the internet to see if I got the number right but I see a Thrifty car drive by so I give chase. Only and old couple like me and not the agent. I head back to the marina and as I am crossing the bridge a car blinks its lights at me and it is the Thrifty guys. I pull over at the roundabout and they follow me in. Guess what? They were waiting at the marina office! We go back and pick up Bob and turn the car in and get a ride back to the marina where we promptly hit the showers. That is what we call a goat rope and TMO (typical Mexican operation).
05/18/2011, The East Cape in Baja
What happens when 3 retired real estate entrepreneurs are in Mexico and have nothing to do? Rent a car and first stop at the bank, then the French Bakery for coffee and croissants. Then on the road to check out the East Cape. We left San Jose del Cabo and headed North on MX1 and took a turn off on a divided road that had a small housing development on each side. The road was only about ½ mile long and no village. It was built by the government for one of the Ejidos in the middle of nowhere. Then we turned off to Miraflores, Agua Caliente and Santiago. Miraflores was a real quaint, charming small town just south of the Tropic of Cancer at the foothills of the Sierra de Laguna's. From there we drove on a dirt road for about 20 miles and came across cowboy's herding their cattle. We arrived at Aqua Caliente where there is hot springs up in the mountains but we didn't seek them out. Then on to Santiago and the highway. From there we went to La Ribera on the coast (Sea of Cortes side) where a new marina and housing project is under way called Cabo Riviera. Supposedly Carlos Slim and Vincente Fox are involved. The dredging is under way and the rock jetties are in place. The development will be similar to Coronado Cays in San Diego as it will have islands with waterfront houses as well as golf course lots. There was work in progress and word is that the project is funded. We have seen a lot of projects that are dead in their tracks. This one looks like it is going on, successful? Wait and see. There was an RV park down the road that we stopped at and it had a neat palapa and the owner was an American. He has been there 7 years and he has 22 sites and serves barbequed T-bones for $2.00. Meat is $16.00 extra. Lots of witty signs around and he is a real character. We had 2 beers and one NA beer and he charged us $7.00. Fletcher gave him a $10 and he put it in his pocket and changed the subject when some other guests came in. Never offered us change and we figured he may need it more that we did. He did recommend a Taco Stand that our neighbor in the marina had also recommended so we stopped for lunch. One of the better fish tacos so we were happy.
We continued on as we wanted to see the old Rancho Buena Vista fish resort that was started in 1952. Penny and I flew into their air strip in a DC 3 from Cabo in the mid 80's so I wanted to see if it was the same. Unfortunately not as it had been sold a year or so ago and then the seller ended up taking it back and the kitchen and dining room were closed and all the classic photos gone.
Next up was the town of Los Barriles where many gringos have built houses. It was pretty gringoized and not very exciting. Lots of property for sale and commercial vacancy. Then we headed up the mountains to El Trifuno where I have been before but wanted to show the boys Eiffel's two brick chimneys that were built in 1892 for the silver mine. We walked the ruins and then headed to Todos Santos an artsy gringo colony 50 miles north of Cabo on the Pacific coast. Then down to Cabo and home in time for a burger at the Container restaurant at the marina. 12 hour real estate tour!
I think we all agreed that we don't want to have anything to do with Mexico real estate unless we rent it. We are interested in buying a panga for Bob's dock as his project in Liberty Station.
Fun and interesting day off the beaten path.
05/17/2011, Puerto Los Cabo Marina
Well all my crew are here and we sit in the very expensive Puerto Los Cabos burning up hundred dollar bills. But we have cable TV with all of 4 channels, ESPN, CNN, TNT and CBS New York news. We also have internet and a good loncheria, Gloria's across the channel. Great fish tacos the other day (she was closed but welcomed us in and said she would cook for us) and today great cheese enchiladas (2), chicken enchiladas (2) and a cup of refried beans and rice each, both the best yet in MX.
We accomplished a list of boat chores and tomorrow will test our chain plate leak cure. Out of 3 tubes of silicone on board, 3 were hard and unusable. I think that they have been on the boat too long as they were unopened. Fortunately the boat yard has a small store and we bought a new tube. Water test tomorrow afternoon while we washdown.
I also called my good friend Norm Reynolds who has made this trip more than most guys and he told me to stick close to the beach from Cabo up to Mag as there is less current and wind and some swell protection. I remember that he did that last year and we left the same time but went more on the rhumb line to Mag and he beat us to Santa Maria by 10 t0 12 hours. We will keep one foot on the beach and see what happens and I will report after we get to Mag or Santa Maria.
Fletcher barbequed some chicken that he put onions and KC BBQ sauce on and Bob mashed potatoes and cooked asparagus. Tomorrow we will hoof it into to town so I can go to the ATM and get some more hundred dollar bills, stop at the French Bakery for coffee and croissants, and then to Mega to add to our stores in anticipation of being able to get underway sometime Thursday. Looks like we can get to Mag Bay and maybe Turtle Bay before the next cold front comes roaring down. About 5 of us piled up here waiting and more on the way.
Yesterday we took a road trip but I will post that one later as it is time to give Penny a call and get to bed with my Ipad book Warlord.
05/13/2011, Los Frailes
We arrived in Los Frailes in the mid afternoon and only one boat was there. Later another one came in and that was it after 12 in Muertos. Where did everyone go! It was an uneventful powerboat trip to Los Frailes but the water temperature was 81 degrees. Bob took a swim and it got in up to my neck as I still have a punctured ear drum and can't get it wet or at least I shouldn't. I barbecued chicken and Penny and Bob did mashed potatoes and Darlene made a Wedge salad complete with blue cheese. We finished up our Mexican train game and then did a partners regular dominoes (Finally GUYS rule!) and then to bed. A coromuel came in with winds about 10 -15 knots early in the morning but no rocking and rolling so we all got a good night's sleep.
Took off about 8am for Puerto Los Cabos and there was enough wind to sail for a change. So up with the main and we motor sailed while running the refer system for an hour and then shut the engine down and rolled out the jib. We were in about 17 knots of wind from behind so went wing and wing and the old girl would surf up to 11.9 knots. Not bad for 36,000 lbs. We made it to Puerto San Carlos in 4 hours but the wind died the last hour. We stopped at the fuel dock and topped off and filled our 3 extra 30 liter deck cans and then into R-7, the same slip we had in November. The container restaurant is still going strong and there is another container converted to office space for a swim with the dolphins operation.
We plan to rent a car for a few days to get to town and do some final provisioning and to pick up Fletcher from the airport and drop off Penny and Darlene as they fly home Friday. Unfortunately the weather does not look good for leaving this weekend so we will have to play it by ear and keep looking at the forecasts and listening to other cruisers that are ahead of us. Our friend Em Black is in Mag Bay hunkered down and thinks he will be there through next Thursday when the front passes through. We will see if we can find a window to get out of Cabo to Mag Bay or Santa Maria before the front comes down but maybe not. Ah life in Mexico. Que Lastima - we hate to leave.
Penny's Nickel: Friday, May 13, 2011. It's a beautiful morning, clear with a nice breeze and a beautiful sunrise. It's my final day of this incredible journey that was arranged by my sweet Fred and began in November 2010; we traveled almost 2.500 miles across and around the most beautiful land on this earth. The beauty was staggering, but for me the best part of these last months was the people we met and the memories of the good times spent together. How do you put something as fragile and beautiful as friendship into words? I don't know how and so will end this journal with wishes for health, happiness, and safe travels with the wind always behind you.
05/10/2011, Between Muertos and Los Frailes
Well it is time to start to head north back home to San Diego. Our friends Bob and Darlene Spriggs arrived and will make the passage with us to San Jose del Cabo where Penny and Darlene will fly home on Friday the 13th and Fletcher Pond will arrive to help Bob and I make the passage to San Diego. Right now the weather looks grim so we may not leave right away but will monitor the weather looking for a window. In the meantime we had a fun day in La Paz on Sunday as we went to see the start of the Dos Mares 500 off road race. It started about 30 miles out of La Paz and we parked right on the start line and watched about 150 cars start 1 minute apart. Quite exciting watching the 850 horse power trophy trucks take off. Talk about noise, smoke and dust and of course we were downwind and got very dusty. Fun time and then the cars were finishing in La Paz late in the night and early morning. We were tired and slept through. We left La Paz and stopped in Los Muertos for two nights. Nice and calm the first night but rolly last night. We went into the Los Suenos hotel and had a drink and looked at Steve Games train collection - a lot of it came from Frank the Trainman who had quite the train shop in San Diego in the old days. Barbequed Arrachera last night and played dominoes. Girls won again! We are now on our way to Los Frailes and should arrive in late afternoon and will spend the night and then leave for Puerto Los Cabos in the morning. Penny's Two Cents: Watching the Dos Mares start was a blast! They start on a scratchy, pebbly dirt road and a couple of the race starts were so squirrely that I thought for sure bystanders or at least a dog or two would bite the dust. (Nope, didn't happen.) It was a smooth trip down through the Cerravalo Channel to Los Muertos and this morning is glass calm. Boppy's Star, Ross and Juli Macdonald, cruised into the anchorage about 3:30 yesterday afternoon having just made the cross over from Puerto Vallarta and they're headed up to La Paz for a month - lucky ducks! It was sad leaving La Paz and all of the wonderful friends that we have met along the journey - Fred and I hope that they will remain life-long friends. Signing off for now -p