02/09/2013, LaPaz, Mexico
Well...it's taken a long time...but, I'm finally learning how to be (somewhat) flexible...and it's not so easy. I've always thought out the plan and then implemented the plan, but this year has been different...and nice...I must admit! I've had it in my brain for two years now that I wanted to sail back to Manzanillo/Santiago Bay/Las Hadas where we have had so much fun in years past on Warren Peace, but the cards this year just don't play out that way...she's not going. My plan was to leave Warren Peace in LaPaz this summer for deck repairs, but we met with the carpenter and he is ready to get started...NOW! So it's time to be flexible and change our plans...we're staying in LaPaz for most of the cruising season to have major repairs done to our teak decks and enjoy the southern Sea of Cortez. Oh...and BTW...LaPaz is a great place to have to stay in! We talked to the carpenter early last week and he said that he could start working on the decks this coming Monday...the 11th of February. The repair work will take approximately one month so we decided to sail to the islands this week and enjoy our boat before she is committed to her slip for deck surgery.
We are currently at a marina called Marina Costa Baja outside of LaPaz and know lots of people here from years past...however, we are also meeting new friends every year...and this year is no different. Only two slips away from us is another boat named MaToWi. The owners of MaToWi happen to be from the Bay Area and know many of our friends....from the Passport Owners Association, from the Oakland Yacht Club, from Encinal Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Club and the Emeryville Marina....how small this world is! So...with all the years of sailing San Francisco Bay and going to dock parties at the Emeryville Marina...somehow, we missed meeting our new friends...Bill and Vicki. But, we're friends now. And...I'm glad we are.
Bill and Vicki on MaToWi and Sharon and I on Warren Peace set out early this week to create some new memories and adventures on the southern islands near LaPaz. Both boats left Marina Costa Baja on Tuesday and motor/sailed to Caleta Partida...winds were very light...almost non existent. Over the next several days we anchored at Caleta Partida and Ensenda Grande at Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida. On Thursday we decided to motor up to Isla San Francisco...only 18 miles north to the next island...BIG MISTAKE! We pulled our anchors at a beautiful quiet anchorage and motored out into the Sea of Cortez only to get blasted by 17-20 kt winds and very ugly choppy seas. Both boats got hammered and were taking lots of water over the decks. What should have been an easy trip at about 7-8 kts of speed over the water was down to about half of that....basically, a three hour trip was going to take us about five hours....ouch! I called Bill on VHF and asked...."Have you had enough of this?" The answer came back very quickly..."Oh yes" and we both decided to turn around, run with the wind and head back to Caleta Partida where the anchorage was still very calm and quiet. (Latitude 24 degrees 31.9 minutes north/ Longitude 110 degrees 22.8 minutes west.) We spent the afternoon and evening there where we played games, laughed and had a wonderful time. On Friday we hopped to several anchorages further south of the island and eventually sailed back to the marina just as the sun was setting. This week was a good time had by all.
Today...back to work! The attempt to sail to Isla San Francisco totally encrusted the boat with salt so Sharon and I spent the entire day washing the boat with lots of soap trying to get her as clean as possible. With the deck work starting on Monday...there will be no more washing of the boat for a month.
This coming week should be fun also as Carnival started today and the Malecon was closed to the entire town. There are craft booths, clothing booths, lots of loud music and bands everywhere. Sharon and I plan to attend the last evening of Carnival on Tuesday night when the parade comes down the main street on the ocean front...the Malecon. Should be a total blast and we'll take lots of pictures...possibly...the next blog! Wednesday morning we plan to rent a car and go visit friends from the Bay Area at a beach house about two hours south of LaPaz and stay there several nights. From there...drive to Todos Santos for lunch (home of the Eagles' song....Hotel California". Then...back to Warren Peace in LaPaz and watch the carpenter drill more holes in our deck...which I'm paying him lots of money to do. Seems sort of sick to me to watch someone tear up your expensive teak deck...but, the end result should be very, very nice indeed!
Stay tuned....more to come!
02/03/2013, LaPaz, Mexico
Well...I haven't written a cruising blog for quite some time...but there's a reason for that...we haven't been cruising for a while. Seems like life just gives you these little twists and turns that are just so unexpected at times...and that takes you away from what you may want to do and send you in another direction until you take that next tack or jibe. So...after a year away from Warren Peace...we're back! And...it feels so nice.
Mid November Sharon and I left Grants Pass and made our way down to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico where Warren Peace had been sitting anxiously awaiting our return. She was very dusty and dirty sitting in Mexico patiently waiting for us on her boat cradle. We had lots of boat projects to do before we could put her in the water again and make her sea ready. The biggest project was to replace a leaking fuel tank which took us almost a month. Nothing in Mexico goes as planned...it's just Mexico, but that's OK because we love Mexico and the people here. The Mexican people are honest, hard working and genuinely nice people...not necessarily what you hear on the nightly news due to the drug problems....Oh...BTW...heard of any drug problems in the USA lately?
We didn't miss the holidays at all...we just had them here with our cruising buddies. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years were spent in San Carlos in the boat yard working almost everyday, but all our boating friends were doing the exact same thing...so it seemed so much easier to deal with. Our holidays were filled with laughter and friendship with boating friends and San Carlos friends that we've known for years. We stayed at our friend's house (Dee and Karen Searson) while working on the boat and had access to a telephone and internet every day so we could call back to the USA if we wanted.
Finally, we departed San Carlos (Latitude 27 degrees 56.917 North/Longitude 111 degrees 03.467 West) on Wednesday, January 16th at 10A and crossed the Sea of Cortez after two other attempts had failed due to bad weather and bad seas. I had promised Sharon a safe and easy passage on our first crossing after almost two years...and so...it was a safe and easy passage...what more do I need to say about that? I think you guys understand? Don't piss off the wife...there's four more months of cruising to go...and it's supposed to be fun...right? Our crossing that night was long and cold, but with good seas. To top that off...we weren't used to staying up all night, but all is well that ends well and we arrived on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez and dropped anchor at exactly 3AM on the south side of Isla Coronado...very close to Loreto. When we finally were anchored that morning I just sat in the cockpit of the boat in the calm of the night with seas so flat and watched in the distance...the lights of Loreto...so beautiful as they glistened off the flat sea. Anchored at Latitude 26 degrees 06.264 north/Longitude 111 degrees 16.562 west.
We slept almost four hours that morning and got up with the sunrise. We put the coffee on and sat in the cockpit at that anchorage talking about the previous night...we both hate night passages, but sometimes it has to be done. Later that morning...after a lot of coffee...we motored to Puerto Escondido where we stayed the day/night. We paid for a mooring ball and hot showers, but when Sharon took a shower...it was cold. Oh well...the cold water in Mexico is probably warmer than the cold water in Grants Pass. Life is good! We were on a mooring ball at Latitude 25 48.928 north/Longitude 111 18.671 west. Puerto Escondido is just south of Loreto. It is surrounded by incredibly high and rugged mountains that are spectacularly beautiful. It seems like the entire coast line of the Baja is shear, very high and rugged mountains coming straight out of the sea. There must have been lots of rain earlier this year because everything is green. The brush, the cactus...all vegetation seems to be very green. These mountains must have many different kinds of minerals in them because looking down the shear cliffs are many different colors in the different layers. The vegetation is different shades of green and the different layers of rocks are black, grey, brown, sand, copper green. Considering that this part of Mexico is so mountainous and rugged...it has its own beauty with so many colors.
Friday morning we left the mooring ball at Puerto Escondido and motor sailed south to Punta San Marte...just south of Aqua Verde...about 24 miles south of Escondido. We both decided that after all these years of sailing the Sea of Cortez we should try a new anchorage. We looked on our charts and Sharon decided that the anchorage she wanted to visit was surrounded by reefs....but, very protected from the northerly winds. We've heard good things about this anchorage, but reefs...that can be dangerous! Over the years we've seen abandoned boats that have crashed into these reefs...and this is where she wants to go for the night. Reread paragraph four....keep the wife happy! So...I plotted a very safe course around the reefs and that's where we went for the night. Once again...we're surrounded by spectacular mountains. Latitude 25 degrees 32.242 north/Longitude 111 degrees 01.021 west.
On Saturday morning we decided to really make some ground heading south and get to warmer waters and warmer climates. We spent all day motoring with no wind directly towards LaPaz and after 8+ hours of motoring we dropped the anchor at Isla San Francisco. Being in open sea all day we saw several huge whales, many hundreds of dauphins, rays that were approximately 2-3 ft in width doing flips in the air. One of them almost landed on our deck. The water in the sea is still greenish/blue...probably won't turn really blue till later this year when the sea warms up considerably. Again...all the way down to Isla San Francisco are spectacular mountains just climbing out of the sea. It's very hard to describe unless you see it for yourself...I'd recommend a vacation in the Sea of Cortez to view these wonderful sites. The sea is known for its flourishing fish population. The Mexican government is putting special effort to protect the Sea of Cortez and take care of the vegetation of the islands, the animals and sea life as best they can. Marine biologist call the Sea of Cortez one of the best/healthiest bodies of water on earth...it is flourishing in sea life! Saturday was also a fun day because for the first time we had good radio reception on our Single Side Band radio and were able to talk to boating friends about a hundred miles north of us and almost 1,000 miles south of us...it was like old home week with friends that we haven't talked to in several years. Obviously there is no TV out here, so the radio (both Single Side Band and VHF) is the main source of communication. As we ended our day...the main event was the moon rise...a totally awesome sight to see. We had a full moon coming up over the island where we were anchored and lit up the entire anchorage as if it were daylight. You could see shadows over the mountains as the moon was so bright. We had a good night sleep and then woke up early this morning to see the same moon setting over the horizon on the opposite mountains. The entire night seemed like daylight reflecting off the water....very, very beautiful. Latitude 24 degrees 49.222 north/Longitude 110 degrees 34.134 west.
The sea has been totally flat for days with no wind to speak of....and although we have a sailboat...we're glad that the sea is being nice because normally in the winter months...the sea is not nice at all...very high winds and choppy seas is the norm. We're thankful for flat seas this week as it allows us to make some really good mileage. Today we motored from Isla San Francisco to Ensenada Grande on Isla La Partida which is an adjoining island to Isla Espiritu Santo. The anchorage that we're in is gorgeous with beautiful waters. We're anchored in about 20 feet with very clear water...you can see our anchor chain and anchor sitting in the white sand below our boat. The air temps today were in the low 80s with water temps just approaching 70 degrees. There has been a gentle breeze coming through our cabin all day long and is very comfortable. Once again...we're thankful for another great day after waiting so long to get back on the sea. We're anchored at Latitude 24 degrees 33.503 north/Longitude 110 degrees 23.867 west. We are truly blessed as we are sitting at one of the most written about, beautiful anchorages in the Sea of Cortez....just about 20 miles from LaPaz...Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida. Google it...you'll be impressed too!
As much as we loved being anchored at Ensenada Grande it was time to move on because another weather system was due within a day. We decided to sail on to LaPaz and get settled at Marina Costa Baja. It's nice to be tied up to terra firma when bad weather arrives...and it did the next day. Our main intention to go to LaPaz was to get refueled, buy more groceries and check with workers that were going to help us with boat projects later in the year. After a couple of days here visiting with old friends and washing the salt off the boat we met with the boat contractor for our projects. The biggest project of the year is to get our teak decks refurbished. Our intention was to leave the boat in LaPaz over the summer and have the carpenter work on the decks then, but after meeting with him, he said that he could start the month long project in a little over a week. This is sort of good news/bad news as we had planned to sail down to Manzanillo/Santiago Bay/Barra de Navidad this winter, but having our teak decks refinished takes a higher priority. This also means that we will be able to take Warren Peace back to San Carlos this year which makes the logistics of our cruising season so much simpler. So, we stay in LaPaz for about six weeks and enjoy the city that we love the most here in Mexico...what a great place to be staying at a wonderful marina.
The charm and beauty of LaPaz is captivating to almost everyone who visits. The population is approximately 200,000, but you wouldn't know it because of the easy nature and tranquility of the city. LaPaz has a mild climate with warm days and cool evenings...very pleasant indeed! The waters here are crystal clear as well as at the islands. The white sandy beaches stretch for miles along the malecon with restaurants of all types along the way. Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo are only about 20 miles away...about two to three hours from the marina depending on which end of the islands you are heading. There are beautiful anchorages on the Baja side and on the islands only separated by a narrow channel called the San Lorenzo Channel which is the route to Cabo San Lucas. If you are considering a vacation...we'd recommend LaPaz as it is easy to get to from the west coast of the United States and you won't be disappointed.
In early to mid March we plan on sailing back north into the sea and island hop back to San Carlos. The weather should be nicer in March also...maybe a little warmer. All in all...the season has already been fun. We've enjoyed the holidays in San Carlos, we've been reacquainted with cruising buddies from years past, Warren Peace is being nice to us as there have been no major mechanical/electrical/refrigeration issues to deal with and most importantly...life is good!
Hugs to our friends and family from sunny and warm LaPaz
Latitude 24 degrees 13.066 minutes north/Longitude 110 degrees 18.193 minutes west
11/26/2010, San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
January of this year seems like such a long time ago, but that was the last time I had an entry in the blog. So much has happened in 2010. While we were in LaPaz early this year, Sharon was diagnosed with cancer. As a result of her illness, our lives took a different direction. So, mostly we have learned to appreciate good health. Nothing else is as important as that. All is well that ends well and she is very healthy again.
Now we are back in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico preparing Warren Peace for another season of cruising. She has been sitting in her cradle in the hot desert since April of this year and she's thirsty for the sea. We have been in San Carlos for several weeks now working on her mechanical and electrical systems, restocking her with spare parts and putting food supplies on board. There have been some mechanical issues, but overall...we're getting close to departure. Now, we are mostly waiting for a good weather window to cross the Sea of Cortez and make landfall on the Baja side of the sea. Once on the Baja, we'll work our way down to LaPaz for the remainder of December and spend Christmas and New Years in one of our favorite cities.
While in San Carlos we have been staying at our friend's casa and life has been good. Not only did we have a chance to spend a week with Dee and Karen at their beautiful home, but we have reconnected with many of our cruising buddies in the boatyard. The cruising community is so close and is a family amongst themselves. We look forward to new adventures on the sea this year, however while we're in San Carlos we are enjoying being surrounded by the natural beauty of the spectacular mountains, the Sea of Cortez and the desert in between. This part of Mexico is tranquil...sunrises are beautiful and the sunsets are equally mesmerizing.
The weather here is warm and sunny and we are enjoying being in shorts every day.
I promise to write more this season when there is something to report, but I must say that we are already missing our friends back home.
So...everyone take care...and enjoy the sunshine or the snow. Enjoy life because it is so precious!!!
01/13/2010, Isla Partida
There is a group of islands just north of LaPaz...Isla Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco and Isla San Jose. The closest which is Isla Espiritu Santo is only about 20 miles from our marina and Isla San Jose is the furthest north in this little island chain...approximately 50 miles away. All these islands have beautiful anchorages and most are well protected from the northerly winds. If you ever travel to LaPaz these islands are easily accessible on a day trip by a fast panga.
West of the islands is a mountain range with shear cliffs and spectacular striations of different layers of multiple colors. These layers are colored in rust, charcoal and green. The rust must be from iron and the green is obviously copper...but, not sure what is forming the deep layers of charcoal.
Larry and Karen Burnworth...friends of ours from the Corinthian Yacht Club...arrived last week for an adventure on Warren Peace. Their arrival coincided perfectly with a great weather window which allowed us most of a week at the more popular anchorages. Our days were filled with sailing from anchorage to anchorage, fishing, swimming and snorkeling. It seemed however that the main goal of the week was to catch fish...particularly Dorado (also known as Mahi Mahi). It was only on the next to last day when we were sailing from Isla San Francisco to Isla Partida/Ensenada Grande that we hit the jackpot...twice. We were all in the cockpit talking about how nice the trip had been when Karen looked back at the fishing lines and there were two of the most prized fish on our hooks. Karen pulled in one of the lines and I pulled in the other to find two nice Dorado's that were willing to give themselves to us...well, maybe they weren't that willing...but we kept them anyway. (picture is attached of Karen with her Dorado)
Our last night was spent anchored at Ensenada Grande which is most beautiful. The sea was like a swimming pool...totally flat...which made the water crystal clear. You could see every detail on the sand about 20 feet below our boat. It seemed that you could almost reach out and touch the anchor...the water was like glass.
All good things eventually come to an end. On the last night of anchoring the winds and swells started building about 2:00AM in the morning and our friends got to experience the uncomfortable side of being at anchor. The boat starting pitching, the anchor chain started growling and no one got any sleep from that point on. We pulled the anchor just before daybreak and motor sailed back to Marina Costa Baja in 20 to 25 knot winds with lumpy seas, however...the weather did improve as we got closer to LaPaz and all ended well.
All in all...a wonderful five days of sailing the southern Sea of Cortez with friends. Good times had by all!
12/22/2009, Isla San Francisco
We left San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico at 7:11AM on Sunday morning and after a quick 27 hour sail almost due south down the Sea of Cortez we anchored at Isla San Francisco...about 200 miles total. As of Monday night, we're at Latitude 24' 49.284 north by Longitude 110' 34.170 west. (You can actually Google Earth that Lat/Lon and see the anchorage.) The trip was nice because the seas were almost flat with winds at 6 to 10 knots. It couldn't have been a better crossing.
We dropped the anchor at Isla San Francisco and within 30 minutes there were two dinghies coming along our side. As it turns out...one of the couples we knew from Alameda, California was Rob and Teri Moore. They both were Commodores at the Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda. They introduced us to Jay and Gail Bryan from South Lake Tahoe. Both couples were cruising together on their own boats coming to Mexico on this year's Baja Haha. Within a short period of time...Sharon organized a sunset beach party. Our first full night of anchoring at Isla San Francisco was shared with old and new friends. How quickly we slipped back into the relaxed mode of meeting friends and enjoying life on anchor. Life is really good here!
At dusk we watched the sun fall over the mountain range of the Baja. It just doesn't get any more beautiful! We were at a small anchorage with friends watching a spectacular sunset on the Baja after a long journey down the Sea of Cortez.
At anchor tonight...it is so dark with so little moon...the evening sky is totally black and spectacular on this island. You'd think you could reach out and touch each star...the sky is brilliant with celestial life! It's totally amazing how beautiful it is!!!
Tomorrow morning we will pull the anchor and sail to LaPaz. LaPaz will be our base for the next five weeks as we have friends flying down to join us and lots and lots of boat maintenance. Mucho varnishing to be done!
All is well here and we hope that all is well with you. We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Love to all our family and friends.
12/15/2009, San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
It's a long way to LaPaz by road from San Carlos...probably close to 1500 miles or more. Actually...S/V Warren Peace just got splashed yesterday and the ride from the dry marina to the wet marina is only a short distance. It's quite a site to see a huge boat going down the main street of San Carlos!
Sharon and I arrived San Carlos only one week ago today and it's been non stop work getting Warren Peace ready to launch after a summer of sitting on a cradle in the dry heat of Mexico. Amazingly...she did quite well. We've stored her in the dry marina now for several years and feel like we have the whole process down. All of Warren Peace's systems have come back to life with almost no problems. A huge battery bank that we have on board charged back to full power in about 24 hours, the refrigeration unit cooled down the refrigerator and freezer in only a few hours this morning (this is of major importance to keep the steaks cool and the beer cold), the main engine started with no problem, the genset started with no problem and most importantly...all the new navigation software came up on our new laptop. GPS (Global Positioning System) is working fine which is the most important piece of navigation equipment we have on board. We are having some difficulties with the new software on our VISTA (@#%^!) computer talking to the autopilot...I guess we'll just have to hit a few more buttons at the helm until I figure out the problem. The radar, VHF radios and our Single Side Band radio are also working again after having all the antennas disconnected for the summer...we disconnect all antennas due to possible lightning strikes during the rainy summer months. We turned our XM radio back on so we can get news and music from the USA. The only major piece of equipment that we haven't turned on yet is our water maker and we probably won't do that until we leave LaPaz for destinations south of there on the Mexican mainland.
We were intending to sail across the Sea of Cortez from San Carlos to San Juanico...one of the most beautiful anchorages on the Baja side of Mexico...on Wednesday night, however weather has us pinned down until this weekend. We now plan to sail across the sea on either Friday or Saturday night. The crossing is approximately 95 miles and should take us about 13 hours.
We'll give the ole blog an update when we arrive LaPaz. We have a slip already rented for the month of January at Marina Costa Baja.
We're very excited to get back underway on Warren Peace for another season of cruising in the warm winds of Mexico! No more blue jeans and long shirts....we're now in shorts, T-shirts and flip flops. Temps have been in the high 70s and should be slightly warmer once we get to Lapaz.
I'll update our pictures of Warren Peace being launched....you can see the pictures in the gallery as soon as I get them posted.
Take care all......