Sail Alegria

Vessel Name: Alegria
Hailing Port: Redondo Beach, California
Crew: Alicia & Tom Egan
01 May 2012
Recent Blog Posts
01 May 2012

May 1, 2012

01 May 2012
May 1, 2012
We crossed the canal a week ago and are now at the Atlantic side. We will probably be here in this marina one more week to paint the bottom, and then we will go south for a while, and then north. We like Panama. It has many natural parks covered with trees and sometimes we can see monkeys on the trees.

It also has many islands and very clear water. We are anxious to see some of the San Blas Islands. It rains almost every day for brief periods but very heavily, mainly early in the morning

April 8, 2012
El Salvador
We searched for a church and were picked up by a taxi at 7AM to take us to mass. Here at the marina today was like any other day. This marina is isolated like the marina in El Salvador. They have a bus that takes us to the market for free every day except Sundays.

We crossed the canal a week ago and are now at the Atlantic side. We will probably be here in this marina one more week to paint the bottom, and then we will go south for a while, and then north. We like Panama. It has many natural parks covered with trees and sometimes we can see monkeys on the trees.

It also has many islands and very clear water. We are anxious to see some of the San Blas Islands. It rains almost every day for brief periods but very heavily, mainly early in the morning.

February 29, 2012
El Salvador
Our sail to the island turned out to be quite windy with big seas which we were not expecting. We both got completely wet. The seas went down and the wind died by noon. Tom decided to go to the back side of the island for protection because he said that the papagayo winds were coming at night. He was right, but we were in a very protected cove and had no problem.

We got up early and left around 6AM to Nicaragua. We were at the marina by 1:PM. The marina is nice and there is a pretty beach nearby.The thing that I like the most about this marina is that the breeze blows all day and more at night because is so close to the beach and is much more open. There are just a few boats and not a lot of people around. Today Tom and I went to have dinner at their outdoor bar and we were the only ones there. It is also a very isolated place. There are two buses that come by. One comes at 5:00AM and the next one at 7:30 AM. We decided that we have enough groceries to last until we get at our next stop in Costa Rica. We want to leave on Saturday. Right now the Papagayos are blowing, but there is a window starting on Saturday.

October 23, 2011
We got back today from a six day trip to go see the Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua. The trip there and back was tiresome. We did six hours by bus from Mazatlan to Los Mochis in the state of Sinaloa. When we got there we had to take a local bus to a town that we wanted to visit because it has some interesting history and is also well preserved. We spent the night in a little hotel that used to be the home of the present owner's family. The stay in this hotel was very special.

The next morning a taxi took us to the train station where we got on the train for a six hour ride to the Chihuahua Mountains. The ride was very scenic. We stayed in the Copper Canyon for three days and did three tours to see different canyons and we also visited a Tarahumara village. This group of Indians never assimilated and they live the way they used to live before the white man came. It was cold up there. We were wearing a jacket and long pants. On the way back we stayed another night in the same hotel in the town of "El Fuerte." We were treated like old friends by Cristina, the manager of the hotel.

February 27, 2011
We are in Mazatlan anxious for the weather to cooperate so we can go across to the Sea. We are still on track for Loreto to be there the first week in April or end of March.. I think this year the weather and water will be cooler. So far we have not been swimming in the ocean because the water is very cold. It is 70 at the most, maybe less. It is very nice during the day, (80's) but it drops in the 40's at night. We are using our heavier blankets and wearing long pants and jackets to go out at night.

January 8, 2011
We just got our telcel chip and now we are connected to internet. We have been busy here meeting with old friends. It is like a family reunion. We got to La Cruz on Saturday. The weather is very pleasant. It is like LA in the summer with a nice breeze blowing during the day and at night we need to wear a sweater as it is cooler than usual.

May 11, 2011
Our cruising adventure is coming to an end. It is true that time flies when you're having fun, and we sure had fun. We met so many interesting people cruising and on their way to new lands, as well as people doing their explorations by land. Everybody has a different plan and method of discovering. Some have covered several thousands of miles navigating from Alaska to South America, to the South Pacific, some to the Galapago Islands, or to the Marquesas. Some, like us, get too comfortable mingling with the friendly people in the towns where we go. We like to take buses everywhere and to find the best places to eat. Our new friends inform us about where to go for entertainment, which for us, is usually a restaurant with good live music.We take advantage of Mexico's inexpensive public transportation to see as much of the interior as we can.

This season we did not see much of the Gulf of California because we spent most of our time sailing further south, but there is next time, as there's trully a lot to see in the Gulf.

After a week of being in La Paz, and after saying goodbye to friends that we met last year and who live here, we will begin our return. The weather will dictate how long it'll take to get home safely.

March 10, 2010
Zihuatanejo was better than we expected. We ended up staying there two and a half weeks. This part of Mexico is very indigenous. You would appreciate the Indian influence and traditions. The people are very nice and the food is delicious even though it's a little different. Some ingredients like vegetables, fruit, herbs, plants that they use for coooking are new to me and some I heard about them but never ate before.

Their tortillas are all corn, no flour, and at least double the size of the ones in LA.They make their quesadillas with a pumpkin flower inside the tortilla.There is a lot of culture, art, places to go see, museums, lots of nice shops, music, and many good restaurants. The indians in the precolonial time got a lot of their protein from grasshoppers. They still do and we tried some cooked with garlic oil. They were good but it's not something we would have again.

February 21, 2010
We are finally on our way to Huatulco, and this time we picked up an extra crew member who lives there. We met Lorrie during sailfest. She was attending one of the booths when she heard us mention our destination plans. She offered to be our Oaxaca traveling guide if she could sail down with us.

The weather report predicted sunny and calm days. We had motored about ten miles when we thought we were in heaven with so much breeze pushing us south. We picked up speed and started to sail at 8 knots. At the distance we could see rain clouds. It Looked like the sky had been painted with brush strokes of black and different shades of gray. It started to rain as we got closer to the clouds. We went inside the boat, but not for long, since the rain didn't last. Suddenly the wind switched and started blowing from the south. We were going against the wind and not having a good time. The green mountainous natural beauty of the coast line, together with the diverse sea life that we were encountering, made us realize that a little discomfort is not a high price to pay.

We had been debating if we should stop for the night at the nearest cove, or to continue down to Acapulco. We decided to stop at an anchorage called "Papanoa". Papanoa is a fishing village with a man-made harbor. From our anchorage we noticed that some youngsters were having a volleyball competition on a grassy field. Lorrie and I cooked dinner while we sipped on a glass of white California wine.

We knew we could get fresh fish in this village, so we waited for the fishermen to come back with their loads. Right when it was starting to get dark, two men on a panga went by our boat. They only had one big 6Ks. "mirror" fish. It was a pretty fish with a white metallic color. We bought enough fish for many meals.

We left south again the next morning. We'll be in Huatulco in two days.

February 13, 2010
Going cruising sure has made us more flexible and we have learned to alter our plans according to weather conditions and boat disposition. Originally we wanted to be in Huatulco, Oaxaca. but we are still in Zihuatanejo, which is not at all too bad. Our waiting for a boat part coincided with carnival. In the last three nights, the town square has been trembling until all hours in the morning with many different entertainers and different music styles. Every night the square has many different food booths, alcoholic and non-alcoholic booths, art, etc. We see lots of foreigners enjoying the tropical weather and the easy going Mexican life-style in Zihuatanejo. Meanwhile we are enjoying meeting people and making new friends.

Something Tom and I enjoy doing is exploring. Two days ago we went with another couple to a coconut plantation where we saw the whole process from how they cut the coconuts to how they get them ready for exportation, etc. After that, we went to another place where we saw tile making and learned all about bricks and adobe. We drove through big fields of papaya trees, mango trees, and banana trees. At the end we ended up at a fishing village called "Barra de Potosi," where we had the best fish lunch right by the beach. It is amazing to me, that in such small hidden away places , we still find so many Americans and Canadians enjoying the warm water and relaxing in the sun.

February 10, 2010
Tom and I are on our way to Huatulco, Oaxaca (hopefully we can make it there since our boat is in need of a part replacement), but presently we are in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Zihuatanejo is a small city with a bay by the same name. A few cruise ships anchor there and their passengers get transported to the town, where they can do shopping to their heart's content.

Our main focus this week is the Z-Town sailfest, which, I learned, it started a few years ago with the only purpose to raise money for schools in the poorest communities. Most of these areas are un-planned communities, populated by families who no longer can live from their farms. Most of them are indian and many speak an indian dialect.

Today a group of sailors visited a school in such a neighborhood. I thought I was prepared to see a poor school, but I have to say, that a poor school in my mind looked a lot better than the reality. I found myself fighting not to cry. I decided to walk around and take some pictures of the kids. There is no better heart lifting therapy than the contagious laughter from children. As I started talking to them and taking pictures, I too started to laugh with them.

And how are we helping? Our job is to take people sailing for $25 dollars per person. We already have five customers for tomorrow.

June 10, 2009
We are listening to the weather report for Baja, and it's not good for us. High seas and lots of wind is all we hear and we don't want to be uncomfortable sailing back, so we must wait for better weather. Meanwhile we are enjoying the 82 degree water. The surroundings are very beautiful here in Bahia de los Suenos( Bay of Dreams) about 65 miles north of Cabo San Luca on the Sea of Cortes saide. There is a restaurant here with internet and they are nice enough to let us use it. It looks as if we had an acquarium under our boat.

There are lots of small fish swimming underneath and around. Some mahimahis (dorados) come in the evenings and in the mornings to eat so we get quite a show. We have seen either big eel or tube fish also. We see lots of baby tube fish and puffer fish. I get nervous swimming around the boat because of the puffers. I undertand that they are only poisonous if you eat them, but I won't take a chance. We usually take our dinghy and swim in a different spot near the beach. We might go tomorrow to a different bay, and from there go wait in the marina in San Jose Del Cabo. We are hoping that the weather will be favorable soon and be there before the end of June. I hope so.

May 3, 2009
We had been wanting to visit our California friends who are living in Puerto Escondido-Loreto, so, we set sail north. Puerto Escondido is a very protected natural harbor surrounded by "La Giganta Mountains," and it is about 15 miles south of Loreto.

Loreto is a fishing town well known by those who enjoy fishing because of its abundant fish.

My well beloved and missed mother-in-law used to tell us to go to "Mulege" to find Tom's cousin. She used to explain what it seemed to us at that timet sort of a legend, that he had married a Mexican girl and had moved to this town in the early 60's. We remembered this, so we decided to to to Mulege in search of this legenday relative. We sailed about 40 miles north to "Bahia Concepcion." "Bahia Concepcion" is about 21 miles long, and between 2 to 4.5 miles wide, and it is just a few miles south of Mulege.

We were told that to go to Mulege from our anchorage, we could walk 13 miles or get a ride. So we walked up the beach to the main rode and within 2 minutes two young men driving an old pickup truck stopped. They offered a ride as long as we didn't mind sitting on the truck bed. We didn't think we had a choice. We sat on the truck bed on top of an ice chest and some wet suits.

When we got to Mulege we got busy with our quest. We looked in a telephone directory with no success; but thanks to some people in town, we found Tom's relative at his property on the beach. We had a long visit, and as expected, the main topic of conversation was Tom's and Leon's family tree.

Presently we have left Bahia Concepcion and have sailed 40 miles north to a small city: Santa Rosalia. We are going to keep our boat here for about two weeks and then we will start sailing down south to Cabo San Lucas to make our turn to the Pacific Ocean.

May 2, 2009
Isla San Jose is not too far from Isla San Francisco. We listened to our cruiser friend who told us to make sure to explore the maze mangrove lined channels that lead through an open lagoon. In the distant background we could see the high desert- like mountains and its vegetation, but near us, in the mangrove, the vegetation was tropical with so many birds making the green mangroves their homes. It felt special to be there.

May 1, 2009
We enjoyed having Tom's brother and family with us in the Sea of Cortes. We spent five days sailing from cove to cove, and island to island. The terrain in the Gulf of California reminds me of the Grand Canyon. It's so grand. We sailed north from La Paz toward "Isla San Jose," and "Isla San Francisco." We were in awe, admiring the majestic "Sierra La Giganta" (Gigantic Mountain Range). These mountains are jagged and rocky. They appear to be rising straight from the depths of the sea.

"Isla San Francisco" was dramatic with its crystal blue waters and burnt-red rocky cliffs. We went hiking and walked around. As we were walking, we saw something in the distance that looked like snow on the ground. As we got closer we discovered salt ponds all over. I didn't know that Baja California Sur is the world's biggest salt producer, having its salination plant in "Guerrero Negro," on the side of the Pacific Ocean.

From "Isla San Francisco" we could see the tiny "Isla Coyote, which is one of the few inhabited islands in the sea of Cortes. The families who live there earn their income from fishing. We rode our dinghy to the island and went exploring. We bought fresh fish caught that morning, which we cooked later that day. Have you had tiger fish? We also bought some handcrafted beads and shell necklaces made by a lady in the island.

"Isla San Jose" is not too far from "Isla San Francisco." We listened to our cruiser friend who told us to make sure to explore the maze mangrove lined channels that lead through an open lagoon.

April 17, 2009
La Paz, Mexico
While we were waiting for our generator that was coming from San Diego, Tom and I decided to take a short one day trip by bus to a town called "Todos Santos." Todos Santos was named one of Mexico's "Magic Towns" on October 23, 06. It is located 51 miles southwest of La Paz, and it is on the Pacific Ocean. It was founded as a mission in the 18th century because of its good conditions for agriculture and cattle. Presently it's an important producer of vegetables. Resently Todos Santos has been converted into an outstanding cultural location since its traditional architecture is being restored and used as hotels, art galleries, and restaurants. Many national and foreign artists have emigrated to this town, which also hosts the annual Festival of Arts. Tom and I visited the old mission church, walked around the town, and as usual, we always manage to find a good restaurant to stuff ourselves.

March 24, 2009
La Paz, Mexico
Our crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz was rough with big waves crashing over the windows. Luckily it was just a one-night crossing. In the Gulf of California we fell in love with a bay called "Bahia de los Muertos, (Bay of the dead)." History says that there was a shipwreck nearby, and the crew was buried on this bay. Supposedly there were many crosses marking the spots. Now the name has changed to "Bay of Dreams," but people still refer to it by the old name. We anchored there for three nights and three days. This bay is about 27 miles south of La Paz.

From here we sailed to a 62 mile archipelago: "Espiritu Santo," which is located at the far end of the Bay of La Paz. Because its scenery and its sculptures were formed by erosion, it is spectacular. Its coasts have multi colored cliffs, small white sand beaches, and ponds bordered by mangroves. This region is protected, and it is great for hiking and camping. The Mexican government designated this marine zone a national park in 2007. Since weather predictions decide our navigating schedule, after five days we sailed to "La Paz Marina," where we did laundry and washed the boat.

La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur. It is located on a bay by the same name, inside the Gulf of California. It has many beaches with tranquil clear water. Sport- fishing is the most popular activity among the tourists who come here. History says that Hernan Cortez disembarked here on May 3rd, 1535, and named it "Bay of Santa Cruz." Colonization was not successful until 1720, when the Jesuits founded the "Mission of Our Lady of Pilar of La Paz." As far as abundant fresh seafood is concerned, La Paz is no different from all the places we have stopped along the coast of Mexico. La Paz still maintains a small town feeling, even though there are many tourists who come to this peaceful place.

Presently, we are having some boat work done and waiting for a part from the US. Our plan is to explore other islands and coves north of La Paz.

February 28, 2009
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
We are here in Puerto Vallarta with the Hyjeks. Today went sailing to a beach in Puerto Vallarta, about two hours from our marina. We basically just walked and had a very delicious late lunch in a small beach restaurant since our plans to go snorkeling didn't work out. We had very tasty fresh sea food which we all enjoyed. Tomorrow we will try to go snorkeling to a different place and go whale watching. You never know with the water conditions if we'll accomplish everything. The weather here is warm and pleasant with a nice breeze that starts around 4 pm every day.

January 13, 2009
Yesterday Tom and I left Ixtapa on our way to Taxco. We thought that this ride was going to be a piece of cake but it was more than we asked for, so we had to stop in Chilpancingo to spend the night in a hotel. Believe me you do not need to come to Chilpancingo. We were glad when the day light came in and we could leave our hotel. The next morning we drove for three hours when we arrived to our destination after crossing a very high stretch of rugged mountainous cliffs with lots of pine trees and other trees that we could not identify.

Our long journey was worth it after we saw the town of Taxco. It is a small town with very narrow streets that go up to very steep hills where people have their homes. There are store after store full of beautiful silver jewelry that I had never imagined. After a while you feel tired of seeing so much silver and every store has different designs so you are not looking at the same thing. Most of the silver jewelry in Mexico is made in Taxco, since it has the biggest silver mine. The cathedral in the town is beautiful with lots of incredible gold art. Tomorrow morning we are leaving Taxco and driving to the pyramids of the sun and the moon in Teotihuacan, an hour after Mexico City. After that we might spend the night in Cuernavaca, the city of eternal spring. By the weekend we plan to sail from Ixtapa back to Manzanillo where we will try to connect with Toms sister in law who will be down from Canada.

December 21, 2008
We left our marina a week ago and on the way down we have stopped at different anchorages with great beaches. Careyes is the beach that I found to be the most beautiful beach I have seen so far here in Mexico. White fine soft sand and crystal clear water that you can see the bottom. Lots of trees and the best thing is that there's no body there. Tom and I had the beach all to ourselves. On the beach to the right side after you go pass a tiny island there is another beach with a hotel that is a 4 star resort. Its wonderful and very uncrouded. It's a place to rest and relax. About tow hours from there we anchores at Tinacatita which is another beautiful beach but is bigger and it has lots of small restaurants and a few little hotels.

The water is warm and clear and there are no big waves which is perfect for me but Tom wants more waves. Now we are anchored at Barra de Navidad and leaving tomorrow morning to Manzanillo for the holidays. It's like summer here. I wear shorts and sandals everyday,

December 10, 2008
Our life is different: eg. we go everywhere by bus since is very cheap and convenient, besides we like to interact with the people. We each get our canvas bag and go to the market and come back loaded with groceries. We walk to the town's laundry to drop off our dirty clothes and we can pick them up at night or the next day. Here in this town there's no access to a laundry mat where you do your own, but they do the laundry for you, fold your clothes and you pick them up at night or the next day. It's not expensive. We walk to the stores, restaurants, etc. We have gone to some remote beaches by bus and spent the day just walking around the little towns.

Everybody has been very nice. It really has been a pleasure to interact with the people everywhere we have been. In the towns we don't see alot of wealth but it seems that everybody is trying to make a living by working hard. The people seem to have enough to meet their needs and they seem to enjoy life and seem happy. They show a good attitude and are very courteous, but perhaps, things might be different in big cities. We were surprised that this tiny fishing village has an Italian restaurant, a German one, and a French one. We tried the Italian and German and they are very good. Some Americans and many Canadians live in this town, but many live in Puerto Vallarta. The Americans do activities to help and improve the community. For example, the owner of a restaurant-bar gives free English classes to children in this town, and he also gets other Americans to donate Christmas gifts to them.

In Puerto Vallarta they do fund raisers, etc. We have met other people who are cruising and we have gone to restaurants and met at each other's boats to have some wine and talk. We have a lot of time to be social. I drink beer everyday because it's too hot(although it has cooled down a lot) and it's the preferred drink here.

December 3, 2008
We just found the near perfect anchorage:Yelapa." This anchorage is just a few miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, but what makes it unique is the fact that there are no roads to this place.

It is surrounded on all sides by mountainous jungle terrain The only way in is by boat or panga (water taxi), or by walking ten miles through jungle trails from the main road. The hills are steep and the houses seem to cling from them. We went ashore via water taxi and hiked up to the town through narrow stone pathways overlooking the beach. At the end of one of the trails is a waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom. The pool was cold, but a few brave souls and a dog were up for a swim. The local temperature just dropped down to 73 degrees with a slight breeze on the nose, and we are looking for our jackets. Believe it or not we are cold. The sun is now down and the lights from the town reflecting off the cove, make a spectacular show.

December 2, 2008
We really liked our sail from "Cabo San Lucas" to "Bahia Banderas" because we got to discover beautiful coves that are hidden and undiscovered by most people. For example, when we left Cabo we sailed to "Bahia Los Frailes," which is about 40 miles from Cabo in the Gulf of California. There were some people from the US camping there. Divers like to dive at Pulmo Reef, which is the only true coral reef alive in Baja California, and it has some underwater species that do not exist elsewhere. We left Los Frailes at 2:00 AM to avoid getting in our next anchorage at "Isla Isabela" in the dark. Isla Isabela is not in the Gulf of California but in the Pacific, in the state of "Nayarit."

Jacques Cousteau made his own documentary film of the island. It is home to many sea birds as the frigates, boobies, and many others. There is a bird conservation building, and students from the university of Guadalajara come here to collect data for their graduate studies. We were apprehensive about anchoring there, because it was too rocky and the wind was blowing from the wrong direction. We anchored for a couple of hours and after we slept and ate, we lifted our anchor and sailed down to "Bahia Banderas." This bay reminds us about Santa Monica Bay. It is about the same size, and it also has pretty beaches with lots of hotels, restaurants, and condos.

We arrived to our marina in the morning. Our marina is called "Marina Riviera Nayarit," and it is in a small town: "La Cruz de Huanacaxtle." It is close to the entrance of Banderas Bay, about a 40 minute ride to Puerto Vallarta. We are planning to stay here for a while and explore the many anchorages with their abundant sea life and warm waters, not to mention the picturesque villages with their friendly people.

November 27, 2008
We are celebrating Thanksgiving at an American small restaurant bar here in town. Philos is providing the turkeys and the people who come will bring a dish to share family style. I ordered two pumpkin pies from the wife of one of the divers here in the marina. Philo also sings and plays the guitar and has a small band of other American musicians who play for fun. They are very good.

November 24, 2008
So far we have traveled 1090 nautical miles from Redondo Beach to Puerto Vallarta. We were cold the first day we left with the Baja-Ha-Ha group, but the closer we got south, the warmer it got. The weather cooperated giving us warm days and nights with light winds pushing us most of the way. We had one day when the seas were confused and the waves were coming from both east and west. We were beomg thrown all over the place, so we made sure to wear our life-jackets and harnesses. I was very thnkful to have my brother in-law sailing with us all the way Cabo. We arrived at "Turtle Bay"at 6:30 P.M. after 48 hours. After we anchored we opened a bottle of wine (or two) to celebrate our first passage.

The next day we went into the fishing village and talked to some of the natives. We asked a couple for a place to eat, and they told us to hop inside their car and drove us for a couple of minutes to a restaurant, where we had a very tasty fish dinner. It was hard getting back to our dinghy, since the surge had grown and the dock kept moving sideways and up and down. The next day at noon all the 500 people from the 140 boats went to the beach for a potluck and to neet other cruisers. The water in Turtle Bay was not clear and it smelled like dead fish. It seemed that the fishermen clean the fish and throw the pieces bacvk in the bay or something, because we didn't feel like going in the water. Tom wasn't happy when he had to go under the boat to check for kelp stuck on the sail-drive.

Our second leg was from Bahia Tortuga to Bahia Santa Maria. We sailed all the way for 40 hours with light winds. I really liked this bay except that it was hard to get in and out of our dinghy to go ashore, since the current can grow early and unexpectedly. All the boaters went to a party at the toop of a hill where there was a band called "Los Pinguinos," who had come from La Paz just to welcome us.Some ladies cooked fish and shrimps and we all ate. Outside there was a bar with margaritas, beer, and other drinks. It was a very unusual setting that seemed surreal and enchanged. This area is so desolate and rugged, that it's the last place to expect a party. This was un unforgettable day. I loved it. We left the following morning to Cabo San Lucas.

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