05/30/2011, Puerto Escondito
We are back amongst the world of internet. I almost said civilized, but actually I think it is very civilized in the remotness of the Baja. They may not have internet or even electrictiy but that is what makes it a unique place to go. We thouroughly enjoyed our 3 weeks out of touch (well not really because we did have the ham radio) and we loved seeing the fabulous vistas and mountains and the water so blue.
I am amazed everyday at how the colours of the cliffs change as you move from one anchorage to the next. From Los Gatos we went to a small cove called San Marte. There is some big reefs off of this cove and we were looking forward to snorkeling on them. There were many many kinds of fish and I was excited to see such BIG Parrot fish. Wow they were about 2 feet long! There were also corals and fans and starfish and many other interesting things to look at. The water is still a bit chilly though at 23 degrees so we didn't stay in too long, maybe 45 minutes or so.
From there, we headed to Aqua Verde which was 7 miles. We went between the reefs with our friends on Kashmira in the lead as they had been through there before. You wouldn't want to do this without local knowledge as the reefs are not too far apart. In Aqua Verde, there are 3 lobes to anchor in, one protects you from the North winds, one from the South winds and the middle one your semi protected from either. Both the N and S were fairly full with boats so we opted for the middle on in front of the village. Conditions were calm so it wasn't a problem. We enjoyed Aqua Verde and enjoyed visiting in the village. One night that we were there, there was a crowning of the Queen and King of the high school. It was a festival to raise money to send these kids to a high school in another bigger town. The school in Aqua Verde only goes to grade 9 so to continue the kids go to Constitution City or the town of Loreto. The parents have to come up with the money to pay for their tuition for the week that they are away from home. Anyhow, the festival was fun, there was local performances by the students and there was really yummy food for sale made by the locals.
After 4 nights in Aqua Verde, we decided to move on to the island called Monseratte. We went to the north end of the island to a beach called Yellowstone Beach and yes the stone is yellow. It is a beautiful place but we only stayed a couple of nights as the wind from the north was predicted to blow so yesterday we upped anchor and came into the bay of Escondito. We are tied to a mooring bouy in the main bay and yes the winds are blowing from the north. We haven't had a chance to explore yet but we will be here for a few days so I will blog on this area later this week.
I've posted photos in the gallery one calle La Paz and another called La Paz to Los Gatos. I will try to get another one up today with the photos from Los Gatos to Escondito.
05/19/2011, Los Gatos
At anchor in Los Gatos and how can I describe it. It's mostly surrounded by red rock maybe a sandstone type of rock and it has been sculpted by wind and waves into beautiful shapes and forms. I've taken lots of photos so I will upload when we get internet. As well as the red rock, the anchorage is also surrounded by sand dunes, dessert hills with cactus and scrub, and beyond that, the beautiful Giganta mountain range. Yesterday we spent a good part of the day snorkeling in the rocky reefs around the anchorage and hanging out on a beautiful beach surrounded by these red cliffs. The highlight was spotting an owl up on the cliff and I managed a few good photos of him before he flew away. It was a big owl maybe a great horned owl. It reminded me of my cat Farley as the colouring was similar and seeing the owl up on the cliff maybe 25 feet high, it's horns looked like big cat ears. (I guess I must really be missing my cat!) Anyhow it was thrilling to be able to look at it for so long before he flew off. Then it was back to the boat where we hosted a happy hour on board with the two other boats that were in the anchorage, Kashmira and Ponderosa. Lots of fun and a great day overall. Today, |an and Steve from Kashmira took off on a hike about 9:30am. Around 11 me and Steve's wife Sue went off on our own hike. We were a bit reluctant at first because as we pulled up to the beach, we spotted 2 coyotes walking on the beach. We decided to go anyhow and carry a couple of sticks. We had a great walk along a washed out creek where it looked as though a flood may have come through at some point. Today it was all bone dry. We hiked up into the cactus scrub to where we had a good view of the anchorage and the water. We had noticed some footprints as we were walking and decided that they were Ian's and Steves and about 2 hours later they came walking back towards us. On the way back to the boat, I got all excited about doing some snorkeling after a bite to eat, but by the time we ate Ian needed a nap and it was getting pretty late in the day. So that will hopefully be on tomorrows agenda. For now it's time to barbeque some dinner and then it will be bedtime. Busy day in the life of a cruiser.
05/18/2011, San Evaristo
Well since I last blogged, we have gone about 9 miles north. We are in no hurry and have no schedule to be anywhere so we are just taking our time as we go. We are anchored in a small bay called San Evaristo and there is a small village here that subsists on fishing. There are maybe 30 or 40 houses here and there is even a small school. There is also a small store where we have been able to buy some fresh produce. We happened to go in yesterday just after they got supplies from La Paz and there was a good selection of fruit and vegetables to choose from. It's a very different world from Canada. Not better or worse just different. For example yesterday when we went into the store, they had just butchered a cow outside the store and there were cow parts still laying about. We didn't try buying any meat as we still have lots in the freezer, but you couldn't get it any fresher. We bought some fish from one of the local fishermen the other day, a small red fish that we didn't catch the name of but talk about delicious! For 4 dollars, we bought a kilo which is enough for 3 meals. They seem to catch loads and loads of it out here. I don't know if it gets any bigger but they were all only about 8 to 10 inches long. A couple of days ago, we went across to San Jose Island about 4 miles from here, and anchored outside the lagoon for the day. We dingyed into the lagoon and went for a long walk along a very gravelly beach. It was interesting because the amount of shells and fish bones, bird bones other things that had washed up was amazing. You could hardly go 3 steps without stopping to pick up something of interest. I'm not collecting any shells because I have no place to keep them, but I could easily have collected a bag full. We are thinking that tomorrow we will leave here and head north about 30 miles or so to another anchorage that is supposed to be quite nice. We are just waiting for the NW winds to lighten as it can get rolly there in a moderate to strong NW wind. Not that they have been too strong to date but we seem to get a good 15 to 20 knot blow every day in the afternoon for a few hours. I've been taking lots of photos so I will have a whole slew to upload when we get to Escondito where they have internet. Till then it's just text updates via the ham radio. Oh yes! Speaking of ham radio, last night I spoke with Dinis from the sailboat Vida Nova and they are in the Marqueases in the South Pacific. That's about 3000 miles from here and we could hear each other very clearly!
05/13/2011, Isla San Francisco
We left La Paz 5 days ago and since then we have seen no palm trees. We are truly in the dessert now. It's just rock and cactus but oh so fascinating to look at. The colours are so contrasting with the reds and browns of the mountains and the greens of the cactus and shrubs that manage to grow on the rocks against the turquoise blues and greens of the sea against the white sand beaches. Although I've recently taken a few watercolour painting classes in La Paz, I don't think I could ever capture these colours on paper or even on my camera. Our trip north into the Sea of Cortez has begun. While Ian and I were planning this whole offshore cruising gig, one of the places we dreamed about seeing was the Sea of Cortez. It holds some kind of magic for us what I don't know yet but we will find out in the next 6 months. It's going to be hot! Hotter than we can even imagine I'm sure, but from the people who have actually done this trip in the summer, we have heard nothing but positive things. Worth the heat and the summer storms. We have met people who come back year after year. We just met a couple who opted to do the summer in the sea instead of their usual winter in the sea. We will go about 4 hundred miles or so north of La Paz to a place called Bay of Los Angels. It has a bay within the bay that is a known hurricane hole should the unthinkable happen and a hurricane make it that far north. It is supposed to be full of wildlife in the sea and crystal clear water. We will be out of internet and cell phone range for a good part of the time that we are cruising in this area. There will be 2 or 3 towns along the way that we may be able to connect. That will be a challenge for me as I love to go online and read emails, blogs and news. But at least we have the ham radio and the modem to do emails and update the blog so I will just have to make do. The other thing is we will not have many grocery stores along the way. I've provisioned the boat with lots of canned goods and some dried stuff to see us through those times between grocery stores. The freezer is full and I know at some point I will have to make bread. And we will also have to do laundry by hand! I've gotten used to the mexican laundry where you drop it off in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day all folded nicely. Today we swam off the boat in water that was 23.5 degrees! It seems to get warmer every day. And talk about clear, I thought that in Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida (just outside of La Paz) that the water was clear, well we are only 20 miles north of that and it's crystal clear. I don't know if it can get any clearer! Tomorrow we will go for a snorkel and check out the clarity. Ian said fishing today he could see his lure flashing in 30 feet of water. I'll let you know how it is.
05/08/2011, La Paz
Well today is a sad day. We said good bye to our good friends Penny and Fred from Tapatai as they are taking their boat back home to San Diego. That is one of the bittersweet things about this lifestyle. You meet lots of people. Some of them you hang with for a while and each go your own way at some point knowing that in a few days, months or whenever you may run into each other again in an anchorage along the way. But there are some people that are finished this part of their adventures and are heading home.
Penny and Fred were one of the first boats we met shortly after arriving in Mexico. We quickly became good friends and hung out together. We had similar routes and stops planned out for the winter so it was easy to run into each other along the way south to Barra-de-Navida. Sometimes it was a few days before we'd see each other, and sometimes a month might go by but we always knew (via email) where they were and they knew where we were and that we would see each other soon.
Well today they untied the dock lines and are officially on their way home. Fred with a few good friends will do what is called the 'Bash' back up the outside of the Baja back to San Diego. Penny will do the sensible thing and fly home which is the best way to go to windward! We want to tell you guys in this blog how much we have enjoyed meeting you and enjoyed your company. Your zest for life and your love and respect for each other are very much a part of why we loved spending time with you.
But it's time to move on and so we too will untie the dock lines this week and head north on the inside of the Baja as we make our way up to the Bay of Los Angels (in Mexico) for the summer. We are ready to go - the fridge is full, the sunshade is finished (finally) and once we top up the fuel tanks tomorrow we are off. We are in no hurry as we have lots of time to get there. We hope to be in Bahi de Conception by early July and in the bay of LA in August.
La Paz is a great place to spend some time. It's a wonderful town that is full of friendly and helpful people. It's one of the cleanest Mexican towns I've seen. There are lots of stores, marine stores, marinas and restaurants and lots and lots of cruisers too! But it is still a city and we crave the solitude of a quiet anchorage where we can just jump into the water for a swim and walk on the beach. From what we hear, solitude is easy to find as you go north. It's still quite remote without much for tourism and there will not be lots of of places for internet or phone access. So our next few blogs will most likely be via the ham radio.
Hasta luego everyone.
04/30/2011, La Paz
We have or I should say had a swarm of bees on the boat this morning. It started on the day we came in to the marina, we couldn't get into our slip because the boat that was supposed to leave couldn't because they had a swarm. So we waited for 4 or 5 hours while they tried to get rid of it which they mostly did. When we pulled into the slip, Ian and Les spent an hour killing bees and we thought that that was the last of it.
Well this morning when we left the boat, we walked by the bowsprit and I spotted this big ball of BEES! I hightailed it back into the boat and grabbed my purse and shut the hatches. I told Ian I was going out for the day and please have the marina do something! I may be brave and adventurous in somethings, but when it comes to flying or crawling things, especially those that can bite or sting, I am a COWARD!
My friend Penny on Tapatai says that we have the worst luck when it comes to marinas what with the Tsunami while we were at dock and now this.
Anyhow the marina called the fire department who came down and between them and the marina staff, they got rid of almost the whole swarm. There were still about 30 or 40 bees still hanging around the bowsprit this afternoon, but now that it's dark, Ian took some soapy water and sprayed them and they fell off into the water so hopefully that is the last of them.
We have heard that you can get bees on your boat up in the sea of Cortez and that they are looking for water. I hope we have had our share and won't get any more for the rest of the summer!