Just a few pics of our travels from Cabo San Lucas north to La Paz, Mexico which is on the inside of the Baja. This is a very popular spot where cruisers come to stay for the winter. Hurricane season is over and the weather is great. We have met cruisers who have been in the Marina de la Paz for over 10 years!!!. It is a nice city which exemplifies community. The cruisers have their own club here with about 600 members and they serve coffee every morning at 9:30 am and you can exchange books and rent movies.
The Baja Ha Ha is an annual rally and we participated in the 18th year of the event. We travel from San Diego, CA to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We started October 24, 2011 and finished November 3rd, 2011. There were about 160 boats from all over the world. We had a total of six crew, Reg and myself, Peter & Donna, Mike & Sue - we stood 3 hour watches starting at 10:00 pm. During the day we took turns being on watch, so to speak. It was a great way to make your way down the coast, meet new people and have a lot of fun. Parties were arranged at Turtle Bay with a potluck on the beach, baseball in town and volleyball. The party at Bahia Santa Maria was catered by the locals and they fed about 500 to 600 people, pretty incredible. They served shrimp, fish, rice, salsa, cold beer and margaritas. We had a beach party at Cabo and an awards night. The rest of the time we explored Cabo. The sailing was a bit light at least compared to previous years and we had a few uncomfortable rolly nights sailing downwind. We had a great time and a great crew!!!! (Many thanks to Mike Saker for using some of his great pictures. I apologize for them not being in exactly the order they were taken - this was the best I could do)
|Baja Ha Ha||
09/10/2011, Three Sheets, National City, CA
The most obvious difference from back home was the amount of wildlife visible 24 hours a day. All the animals whether on land or in the ocean spent all of their time hunting for food and when they weren't doing that they were resting. We were of no consequence to them as they carried out their daily routines and treated us as just another obstacle or competitor for food.
What amazed me is the absolute carnage that went on every night in most if not all of the anchorages we stayed in on Santa Cruz Island (including docking in a marina on the mainland). Pelicans, seals, gulls and whatever else might be able to cash in on a major feed took advantage of every opportunity that was provided. In the middle of the night we would be awakened by big schools of fish literally trying to leap out of the ocean to escape the seals that were hunting below. The pelicans would be basically dive bombing the area where the seals were hunting and the gulls would be trying to dash in to pick up any tidbits left over. The seals would swim around and under the boat and you could hear and feel the bubbles along the hull of the boat. If you were not sure what it was it could be a little disconcerting. I still have no idea how Pelicans can dive from a great height in the pitch black and pick up a fish - must have x-ray eyes!!!
We also saw many schools of dolphins and you always knew when the pack was hunting as just above them the pelicans and gulls and sea ducks would be following them to get whatever they could. They were so fast it was hard to imagine what was going on down below.
One night I kept hearing this tap, tap, tap and you could imagine the creature smacking whatever food he had caught on the rocks to break it open. I thought my imagination was getting the best of me. Next morning when we went ashore, there on the beach were large scallop shells that were quite encrusted on the outside but quite beautiful on the inside split open and just laying around. The sea otter would have been the logical choice but we never saw him.
Reg neglected to talk about the calamaties (mostly funny) that befell us along the way. Reg losing is D&G glasses (which he always hated anyway) trying to get us off the dinghy at the Santa Barbara pier (Island) where the surge was crashing up and down 3 to 4 feet. Judging when to make the dash was an art that our new friend Barry (from King Harbour) was very good at (we would never have gotten on Santa Barbara without him. Reg's lovely blue cap (that was my favourite) when a gust of wind took it away (that's what those clips are for honeybun). The real corker- me neglecting to tie the stern anchor line properly. I watched the line come loose (in horror) and drift to the ocean floor with the stern anchor attached to the other end. We spent an entire afternoon (Reg diving to locate the anchor and nearly freezing to death from hypothermia) and fashioning a drag line with hooks to troll (in the dinghy) for the anchor line in hopes we could retrieve it. Lo and behold we snagged it and rescued the (costly to replace) stern anchor and line!!!!
The weather compared to back home (Southern Ontario) was good and bearable. No humidity, that was wonderful, and hot sunny days when the marine layer did not intrude. At least the sun mostly shone in the afternoon. The nights, however, were cool and sometimes cold. Definitely sleeping bag weather, at least on top. We did not see one drop of rain the entire time we have been in California full time - end of May until we came back to San Diego from our Channel Island's Cruise. It was unusual but it really did rain and it was very hot and humid!!! Gladly it only lasted a few days.
Looking forward to the next stage, preparing for Mexico and beyond!!
|San Diego CA||
09/08/2011, Santa Cruz Island, CA
Fry's Harbour is apparently one of the favoured anchorages, and we left for Fry's on a Saturday morning to find it empty, and we had it to ourselves for two days. We built a stone figure on the shore in the fashion of the Inuit, our second and best, climbed the canyon to small waterfalls, and photographed more wildlife, while the waters of the main channel pushed past with winds constantly above 15 knots and a heavy swell. On Monday morning we hauled anchor, pushed on to Hazards anchorage 3 miles upwind, an aptly named anchorage, secured the mother ship and pressed on by dinghy to "the painted caves and beyond" (Imagine Star Trek music here). When a local diver suggested we passed them we returned slowly past several caves which could have been painted cave, was once painted cave, caved in painted cave, and finally the PAINTED CAVE. Very impressive deep cave and after 4-500 feet we did not go into the totally dark section as we were in a 2 stroke dinghy, (real smoky) with no flashlight, at high tide (frankly the sounds of the sea lions inside the cave was a bit scary). It was great to see it, and then enjoyed a gunk holing ride back to Three Sheets then sailed back to Fry's, as Hazards was too exposed, for our final Channel Islands night before our departure to Ventura, California for hot showers, Starbucks, and internet. Thanks to Ron and Mary Ellen for inviting us into their home for a glass of wine and some treats....
|Santa Cruz Island, CA||
09/08/2011, Santa Cruz Island, CA
We returned to Santa Cruz Island in 18-20 knots of wind on a great reach, with one reef in the main, to Yellowbanks anchorage, accompanied by Len and Charlotte in a Capri 26, a very helpful couple we met in harbour. We spent another rolling night then beat upwind to Pelican Harbour for an anticipated flat anchorage. It was much better but still restless, despite anchoring what seemed to be alongside this vertical stone cliff to the west for shelter from the west and north west winds that were prevailing. It was spooky to look over and up the cliff wall. Needless to say we deployed a stern anchor to prevent swinging into the wall. In fact setting a stern anchor is standard anchoring practice as the anchorages are small, and usually very occupied. We finally identified the birds with the distinctive call we had been hearing for a week as the Black Oystercatcher, apparently a not so common creature. The highlight for me was hiking the trail from Prisoners Cove to Pelican, and it was beautiful. Probably the most varied landscape and vegetation I have experienced, with the lovely deep woods I imagined when reading the Lord of the Rings with reference to Fangorn forest. I would gladly return with Dora/Phoebe to climb up and down the canyon walls and be scolded upon entering and escorted on leaving the territory claimed by the scrub jays. As we were getting to our turnaround date and yet to reach what we initially intended as our western destination, the painted caves, we pressed on to Fry's Harbour, with the assistance of a gift of the cruising guide for the Channel Islands from two fellow cruisers we met in Pelican, Mike Livingston and Ron Dolbier of Ventura, CA - many thanks for sharing your knowledge.
|Santa Cruz Island, CA||
09/08/2011, Santa Cruz Island & Mainland California
Santa Cruz Island. We were again headed somewhat north and hoped for the prevailing westerly winds to develop and provide a SAILING opportunity, and we eventually got the wind and experienced a brisk pure sail in 13-17 knots of wind. It was great, but the majority was motor- assisted as we again wanted to make landfall with lots of daylight left. Arrived at Smugglers cove, our intended anchorage to discover more rolling so pushed on to the north shore and Little Scorpion anchorage. The waters of the channel islands are NOT warm, ranging from 62-67 degrees and with no wet suits swimming for me was a brief 3-5 minute dunk, and for Phoebe non existent. Consequently we confined ourselves to hiking on shore, and Santa Cruz did not disappoint us there. The history is fascinating and the creatures were abundant. We got some great photos of the fox and scrub jay that are endemic to Santa Cruz and many others. The island was at one time owned by a single family and the old homesteads from the 1890's are part of a national park and very interesting for an ex farmer. Loved it, and smiled again when Phoebe at one point lamented that she wasn't very adventuresome. Immediately got her picture at the sign for Smugglers cove, midway through a 5 hour hike. Henceforth I refer to her as Dora the explorer when we are pushing into obscure spots such as the painted caves or well up the canyon at Fry's harbor, (see pictures in the album). After two weeks away from groceries and fresh water we decided to set sail to the mainland at Channel Islands Harbour, prompted by the failure of our dinghy motor.
|Santa Cruz Island, CA||