On vacation aye... I can just see some of you rolling your eyes as after all am I not already on a permanent vacation. Yes and no, what it is for us is a way of life. Because along with all the good stuff like seeing whales, meeting great new friends, going to fabulous beaches with no one else on them, we also have bad stuff like weather to be careful of, heat that can melt the skin off of your bones if your not careful, things that need fixing despite the fact it's over a hundred degrees inside the boat. So from the good and bad of our cruising life I am on vacation.
I had always planned to come home at some point in the first year to visit family and friends. Now seemed as good as any time to do it.
Here is a rundown of the vacation so far. I took the bus from Santa Rosalia to Tijuana - a mere 15 hour bus ride. We had 3 army checkpoints along the way 2 of which you had to get off the bus and go through your luggage with a guard. The third stop an army guy just wandered on the bus with a flashlight. The bus was the dirtiest one I've ever seen the toilet was AWFUL!! My arm rest was missing so it made the seat wider but not as comfortable. (This bus in no way represents the buses in Mexico. Most of the ones I've ridden have been very clean).
I managed to doze off and on throughout the night. Anyhow woke up around 8:30 am as we were arriving in what I thought was Tijuana. Turns out it was Ensenada and the bus stopped there and the driver got off an never said a word. About half an hour later he got back on and told us we had to change to a different bus as that bus only went as far as Ensenada!! I wasn't the only confused looking person aboard. Anyhow on to the other bus and another 2 hours to Tijuana. By the time I got there I was feeling quite tired of bus travel. The driver let us all off where you could either get into the mile long line up for the boarder, or get into a cab/van with 14 others and go into a 'faster' lane to the boarder. I chose the latter and just as I was getting into the van, I realized I didn't have my backpack!! I jumped out and the guy loading my duffel was such a saint. He grabbed my bag and me and we ran across the street and jumped into a cab. We went about 3 blocks to the bus station and the bus was there. My backpack was in the lost and found. I was in tears I was so relieved because my computer was in it. Anyhow then me and my saviour walked back to the place we started from with him carrying my duffel bag - which I'm finding really heavy by the way. So when we get to another van/cab I pulled out a couple of hundred pesos and gave it to him I was so happy to have my pack and computer back. He eyebrows went way up and a big smile on his face.
Once through the boarder my friends Penny and Fred from the boat Tapatai (met in Mexico) were there to pick me up. We went to their beautiful home in Point Loma and they made me feel right at home. We had a great couple of days together. One afternoon we played Mexican Train Dominoes with 8 other cruisers and then went to Sue and Bill's boat Sun Baby who had also just returned from Mexico as well as the other two couples aboard, Darryl and Sarah and Sally and Whity. So it was just like we were all still cruising. For me it was a great transition from cruising to north american culture.
Then my 2 days were up and the next destination was Toronto. Penny and Fred dropped me at the airport and I flew non stop to Toronto which was about a 6 hour flight. I'm visiting my sister Linda here and we have been out exploring various parts of the city. It's a big, noisy place and I don't know if I can get used to this. Maybe I've become more sensitive to noise being out at sea. Anyhow it's good to see her and that's why I came. This afternoon we are off to explore the harbourfront and see what's happening down there. Tomorrow I fly of to Winnipeg to see my dad and sister and brother and friends.
Had a quick skype with Ian who is back on board Kasasa in Santa Rosalia. Sounds like things are going well there. It's cooled down to bearable now and he is able to get some work done on the boat as well as explore the town some more.
07/07/2011, Santa Rosalia
I can't believe it is already the 7th of July. Even though we have been gone for over 8 months now it seems to have just flown by. And in a few days I will be winging my way home to Canada for a holiday from my holiday!
We enjoyed a great July 4th in Bahia Concepcion and met lots of new people.
We left early the next morning and headed out of the bay and went about 25 miles and decided to stop for the night at Punta Chivato for the night. Since the winds were from the NE we anchored on the S side of the pointl. Ian and I went in the dingy to the beach and boy did we hit SHELL HEAVEN! We arrived at the beach and I was out of the dingy and had 10 shells in hand when Ian said 'humm do you mind helping me pull the dingy out of the water'. Oh yeah! I got so excited about the shells I completly forgot the routine. Anyhow within 45 minutes I had a bucket full of beautiful shells. And there are thousands more where they came from. I felt like a junkie I just couldn't stop picking them up! So look out friends back home I'm coming with shells for you, unless they confinscate them at the boarder. On our way back to the boat we were treated to a sighting of a Whale Shark. These are one of the biggest fish in the ocean. They are a shark but they are totally docile and only eat plankton which is a microscopic thing. God had some sense of humor when he made these guys as they look shark like, they are really big (up to 45 feet) and they are covered in polka dots! Hard to be afraid of a fish covered in dots!
That night we got some swells coming in the anchorage and for about 3 hours we were going up and down over and over. Not great for sleeping. Luckily they settled down and we got some sleep.
Next morning we left at about 6:45am and sailed for a couple of hours before the winds died and we had to motor. We saw lots of wildlife on our passage to Santa Rosalia. We saw a couple of whales that we identified in our book as Sei Whales. We saw a huge pod of 200 or so dolphins jumping about, and we saw another whale which we couldn't identify. Lots of wildlife out here.
We arrived in Santa Rosalia at about 1:30 in the afternoon and despite having a reservation at the marina, it was full. Lucky for us there was a boat leaving just after we arrived. I guess reservation in Mexican means 'who ever comes first'. It's all good though as we have a good spot and Ian will be here for over a month as I leave in a few days to go to Canada for a month.
I've uploaded some photos to a gallery called San Juanico to Santa Rosalia.
07/01/2011, Bahia Concepcion
Last night for the first time in over 8 months, we saw rain. It was very light and barely wet the boat but it was truly rain. And tonight there is a chance of rain again. We are now in the months of the Chubasco's which is a weather happening here that you want to always be aware of. It begins on the mainland side of the Sea of Cortez and you can see it from this side, it's lightning. On the other side it rains a lot in the summer, but on this side not so much except during one of these summer storms called Chubascos. They are (and this is only what I've been told, we luckily haven't experienced one yet) brief but very intense storms of thunder and lightning and rain with very strong winds. The worst part is that they happen at night so you have to always make sure that your anchor is well set and that anything that can blow off of your boat is well secured. Today was the 4th of July and we celebrated it with about 30 other cruising boats in El Burro Cove in Bahia Concepcion. It was a lot of fun and the food was great. Geary the local weather guru provided the hot dogs and everyone brought a dish for a potluck. There was a concession selling beer, water and sodas and there were some enterprising Mexicans selling the usual beach wear and blankets. It was a beautiful day with some cloud but still very warm. We also were able to celebrate Canada Day on the first as we were invited to a dinner party on another Canadian boat so we are getting all our holidays in. We have really been meeting so many great people here. Some of the folks cruising here have been coming back year after year and it's great for us 'newbies' to chat with them and find out the in's and out's of living in the heat, dealing with the weather and the best places to buy food and fuel. Tomorrow we are planning on leaving to head up to Santa Rosalia. We will probably go half way tomorrow and then arrive there on Wed. or Thurs. There is a lot of history in Santa Rosalia and there is a church there built by the same architect who built the Eiffel Tower. The town was a bustling place in the early part of the 1900's as there was a large copper mine there. It sounds like an interesting place to visit. I will be able to post some photos from there as we should have a good internet connection from there.
06/23/2011, Bahia Concepcion
Wow, I can't believe that just 3 days ago it was 85 degrees F and the water was 71 degrees F. 40 miles further north and it's 106 degrees F and the water is a hot hot 89 degrees F!!! It's almost uncomfortably hot except when you get out and there is a breeze it feels soooooo good. Not that I'm complaining it's just the facts! This is the hottest weather and water I've ever experienced. I think it will still get even a bit hotter than this so I'll let you know. We are in Bahia Concepcion and it is a big bay, over 20 miles long with lots of little bays within. We have been here for a couple of days now. I had a brief internet connection the other day, but now I don't. Maybe in a few days when we go to a different anchorage we will have it again. One of the reasons we are here, is for the 4th of July party that the weather guy Geary puts on for the cruisers. He lives here year round and every morning on the ham radio he does a comprehensive weather report for the Sea of Cortez. It's all a voluntary thing and it is something that is really important for us cruisers to know what to expect weather wise. So I'm looking forward to meeting him and expressing my thanks for what he does. Things are going well onboard Kasasa. Our biggest concern is keeping the batteries topped up enough to run the refridgeration/freezer. Our compressor is water cooled and with the water this hot well lets just say the fridge is working full time. When we get to Santa Rosalia where I will leave from to head to Canada for a month, Ian wants to take the fridge apart and try to make it more efficient. Sounds like a good thing to do while I'm not on the boat! I guess that's about it for now. No pics because I'm blogging via the ham radio. Even when I do get an internet connection here it is so slow I don't know if I can actually download photos or not. So it may have to wait until we get to Santa Rosalia.
06/22/2011, La Ramada Cove
What is 'cruiseimers' you ask - it seems to be what we all suffer from down here. What day is it, where am I, where were we yesterday??? When you don't have a 'regular' schedule it seems much harder to keep the facts of daily life in memory. And when you think about it is it really necessary? As long as you know who you are and which boat is yours, the rest should just fall into place. The important stuff is to keep yourself, your crew and your boat happy and functioning, pay attention to the weather forecasts, have fun and enjoy the people and things that are around you. Why am I writing about this you may wonder - well the truth is that when I write a blog, I like to go back and read the last few that I've written so that I don't repeat myself. And since I don't have internet right now, I can't do that. Soooo I thought I would write about something completely different and that way if I do repeat myself you can roll your eyes and say 'Cruiseimers', and a bad case too! So where are we and where were we yesterday?? I do remember. Actually since we left Coronados, I haven't written a blog so I can safely write about the last 5 days or so. We left Coronados on June 17th and motorsailed our way to San Juanico. This is a place I have been looking forward to seeing as I've heard good things about it and read good things. Well sometimes the reality isn't as good as the expectation. In this case it's totally weather related. The bay itself is quite beautiful. But there is not really any South East protection and guess where the predominant wind is from right now!! We tucked into the most southwest corner of the bay hoping it would keep us out of the wind and the waves. Well it did to an extent, but not near enough. The wind seemed to funnel right through that part of the bay and though it was only blowing about 10 knots on the outside, we were getting gusts to 25. We toughed it out for 3 nights but by then we were plain tired of being blown about at anchor. So we left with our friends on Kashmira, and headed around to see if there was any space in the small bay around the corner out of the SE winds and waves. No luck as there were 7 boats in an anchorage that really fits 3 boats comfortably. So we carried on another 12 miles to a bay called Bahia San Nicolas. We tucked up tight in the corner and got out of the swells and waves but were still in a lot of wind. It did die down later in the day and we we comfortably anchored at last! We spent 2 nights there but I still felt that I wanted to explore La Ramada and San Jaunico some more. So this morning Ian and I upped the anchor and motored back 12 miles to La Ramada and lucky for us there were only 2 boats in it. Now we are 3. We will stay here until Friday and then rejoin Kashmira back at Bahia San Nicolas before we carry on up to Conception Bay. Temperature wise the weather has been fantastic. Not too hot yet. We have been having 85 to 90 degree F. days and the nights have had nice breezes so that you even need to pull on a thin blanket. Unfortunatley we are moving north faster than the warm water. 20 miles south we had 26-27 degree Celsius water and now we have 23 degree Celsius water - although that is still warm, it feels cold after the warmer water we have enjoyed. But it is warming up slowly as we head north.
06/14/2011, Coronados Island
From Bahai Salinas Kashmira and Kasasa continued the circumnavigation around Carmen Island. Our next stop was on the east side of the island in a small bay by what is called the painted cliffs. It's just a tiny bite of an anchorage with just the two boats fitting in.
Our first order of the afternoon was to snorkel the point. WOW! It just gets better each time. I saw a big (about 12" octopus), I saw my first Moray eel and I actually dove below the surface of the water. In 3 days I've gone from snorkeling with a life jacket on to no life jacket and now I'm diving below the surface!! I guess I'm gaining some confidence in the fact that I actually float and that I no longer need the security of a life jacket.
We spent the night there, and woke up the next morning to a very uncomfortable swell coming in and rocking the boat. I was feeling almost seasick from it. There had been no wind, so the swell was from the hurricane which was about 300 miles south of us. Ian and I left early and headed around the island to the north side hoping to get into some calmer waters. We anchored in a cove called La Launcha and found that we were still rolling but not as bad. We spent a couple of hours there and took the dingy to V-cove and checked out the sea caves there. When we got back to the boat at about 3pm, we decided to up anchor due to the rollyness and head around to the west side to a bay called Ballandra. Kashmira had decided to go on to Coronados Island and we would catch up with them in a few days.
We spent a couple of nights in Ballandra which was so CALM. No swell here. The water was almost 28 degrees celsius and we spent a lot of time swimming there. It's quite a big bay and the second night we were there we had the bay all to ourselves. The next morning we left early for a rendezvous in Loreto with Kashmira. Since it was so calm, we were able to anchor off of Loreto and go to shore to do some groceries and eat out. We even caught game #6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs - boy what happened there! At least there is one more chance for Vancouver.
Today, Ian and I decided enough of town, and motored the 6 miles up to Coronados Island. Once we got anchored, I noticed a humpback whale about a quarter mile away and we spent an hour watching it breech and flap its tail and fluks. So cool to see. I'm close enough to town that I am able to use my TelCel banda ancha to get internet. I even skyped with my dad earlier on.
We will stay here for a day or two and then head up to San Juanico. I've uploaded a new photo gallery so have a look.