12/04/2011, Isla Partida
The sail to El Cardonel was a bit of work. After three days of winds above 20 knots from the north we encountered large swells off our port stern as we headed south to Cardonel, with wave heights of 6-7 feet. Had a few break under us and toss us around. Not threatening but challenging to maintain a course and fun as you surf down the face. I knew we were going to enjoy the anchorage as soon as we rounded the north west point to enter as we encountered our first turtle. The scale of the anchorages are hard to describe, with high sheer walls and widths of several hundred feet, you look at the shore, with nothing in front to allow a perspective and think you are quite close. Then another boat anchors between you and the shore and you realize the first layer of rocks on the shore are at least twice the height of a person, when without this perspective they appear you could step over them.
After Isla San Francisco, Ensenada le Cardonel was heaven. We had no more than 3 other boats with us at anytime in an anchorage several multiples larger and lots of room, privacy, and protection from the winds. I finally had a great sleep without having to worry about the rocky lee shore. The first morning we had the anchorage to ourselves by 10am and headed to the mangrove and sand beach at the head of the bay for a hike to the eastern shore, encountering two more turtles en-route. That evening we were entertained for an hour by three or four turtles that surfaced in the neighbourhood of our boat with great loud breaths, looked around to get a bearing and then dove again. The bay must be a feeding area for the turtles.
After our hike, we relaxed for the afternoon and resolved we would try snorkelling the next morning as Phoebe had seen some beautiful fish as we drifted back to the boat along the shore. This would be our first attempt at snorkelling since our initiation in the BVI's three years ago. It was a success, the fish turned out to be large angel fish, purple with a vertical white stripe and orange mouths and fins. They were hovering near the rocks of what was once a manmade stone pier close to the mass of oyster shells Phoebe photographed and posted. After the fish treat Phoebe practised floating without the camera and her confidence swimming in saltwater increased so we will venture further with this sport. My mask leaked through the moustache soooooo, given my thrill snorkelling, I shaved all facial hair the next day and the salty dog look is no longer. We stayed two nights and left reluctantly to La Paz to re-provision, pick up the sail left for repair, and wifi connect to the family.
|La Paz and Surrounding Islands||
12/01/2011, Isla San Francisco, Mexico
Lots of pictures of our stay on Isla San Francisco. We had very high winds and ended up staying 3 nights there. Even though the anchorage was mostly flat it was a bit scary at night worrying about the anchor dragging. This did give us a good opportunity to explore the island. We did not leave the boat the first day as we did have some trouble with dragging. This was a great spot, great hiking up the 600' mountain and over to the other beach on the east side of the island. The diversity of plant life on these desert islands is truly amazing considering they get less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. We saw manta ray's jumping in the sun (too fast for pictures), lots of birds some of which I was never able to photograph but I guess I still have lots of time. We really enjoyed the hiking and the views all around. I apologize as the pictures are out of sequence (long story and very boring) but we hope that they give you a good idea of what we have been seeing and experiencing. We are so very lucky to be doing what we want to do.....
|La Paz and Surrounding Islands||
12/01/2011, Baja Peninsula
A few more pics as we enjoyed more of La Paz. Lots of birds on the docks, fishing for their breakfast and dinner in La Paz. We headed north on Tuesday, November 22nd to try and take in some of the local anchorages. Caleta Lobos is a great spot and fairly well protected. We enjoyed the mangroves and the beach and finished up with a very nice sunset.
|La Paz and Surrounding Islands||
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)
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||