Our Ever-Changing Backyard--Sailing with Scoots

27 July 2019 | Tavoro Waterfalls, Taveuni Island, Fiji
15 July 2019 | Viani Bay
23 June 2019 | En route to Savusavu, Fiji, from N. Minerva Reef
20 June 2019 | North Minerva Reef
17 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
14 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
13 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
12 June 2019 | Marsden Cove Marina, Ruakaka, NZ
06 May 2019 | Paradise Taveuni Resort
04 March 2019 | Koro Island
05 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
01 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
30 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
29 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
28 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
26 November 2018 | Port Denarau Marina, near Nadi, Fiji
18 November 2018 | Makogai Island, Fiji

Rhythms

22 June 2015 | Bahia San Pedro
Vandy
We've been anchored in Bahia San Pedro for four days now. We didn't end up floating our dinghy the other day, as the wind came up and blew 15-20 knots all day. That's just how it is, sometimes. We did get it in the water yesterday, and enjoyed some snorkeling near the rocks on the north end of the bay.

Our days have begun to take on a loose, easy rhythm: we wake up each morning at about 6:15 am, make coffee, and tune into the Sonrisa radio net at 6:30 am on the HF radio. This net reaches most of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Coast of Baja. We enjoy hearing some of the other boats check in; sometimes we check in, too, giving our location and the weather where we are. A man named Geary gives a really complete weather report at 6:45 am, with everything from the local wind forecasts to what's brewing in the "tropical kitchen." We listened to Geary's forecasts, when we were moving up the Baja coast, trying to stay ahead of Hurricane Blanca.

After the Sonrisa net, we eat breakfast in the cockpit, enjoying the scenery and talking about the day ahead.

Our daily activities are divided between things we want to do, and things we have to do. Some days have more of one than the other, but we keep a pretty good balance, overall.

Every day includes at least one dip in the water off the back of the boat - sometimes two or three - to cool off. We bought some "pool noodles" which are quite handy for just floating around on. Until today, this was a jellyfish-free zone, but this afternoon a flotilla of man-o-wars floated in, so we'll have to be a lot more careful now.

As part of our ongoing quest to embrace Mexican culture, we take a siesta each day after lunch, when the weather is scorching. The Mexicans have it right: you might was well sleep; nothing is going to get done then, anyway.

Bahia San Pedro is another one of those quintessential Sea of Cortez bays: turquoise water, white sand beach, dry desert beyond. It's very, very dry here. No trees, just cactus and mesquite shrubs and other desert flora. No signs of civilization anywhere. So we were very surprised, the other day at around sunset, to see ten cows (five mamas and five calves) wander onto the beach. We have no idea where they got enough fodder to live on, or where they get their water. The calves were cute, though: like children everywhere, they ran down to the surf and jumped around in the foam.

I've been enjoying watching a group of three ospreys who live here. Mom, Dad, and Junior? They like to perch on top of the big, fat saguaro cacti on shore, and call out in their shrill, reedy voices. I've been hoping to see one of them catch a fish, but I haven't been lucky enough yet. I always pictured them swooping down over the water, sticking out their talons, snatching a fish, and flying away. Very graceful. What I've actually witnessed is at least one of the ospreys just crashing down into the water with its entire body, making a big splash in the process, and then taking off again, without a fish. I didn't know they hunted that way. Maybe it's Junior learning?

Yesterday, we discovered a large grasshopper in our cockpit. He - or she - was clinging to one of the supports of our cockpit table, just hanging out. Gray and brown, and about four inches long, we have no idea how long it had been on our boat, or where it came from. We weren't sure if it wanted to be taken to shore - where the lizards live - or if it was just going to hang out with us for awhile before deciding what to do. In the meantime, thinking that it might be hungry, I offered it a piece of cilantro, and a piece of cabbage. It tried the cilantro - holding it between its two front feet - but it stopped eating after a bite or two. Moving over to the cabbage, it devoured the whole piece (about an inch square) in two sessions and then took a long nap. Later, at about sunset, it flew onto one of the lines at our mast. When I checked this morning, it was gone.

Swimming in a large, undulating mass near our boat - all day, every day - are hundreds of two-inch-long fish. Most of the time, they move peacefully, just under or at the surface. But every once in awhile, a bigger fish will lunge at the mass, and the little fish will explode out of the water, leaping in every direction and sounding like a sudden downpour.

Just like the daily rhythm that Eric and I have adopted, the local weather has one, too: all day long, in the mountains inland of us, where there's no sea breeze to cool things down even a little bit, the heat rises and forms big, towering clouds. And every evening, these clouds kick off storms. So far, we've only gotten strong, gusty winds and a small smattering of raindrops; the brunt of the storms - including all the lightning we can see in the distance - has remained inland. We now remove the canvas sun shade and remove loose items from the cockpit before going to bed each night, so we can avoid doing it fire-drill fashion at 2 am, in the dark, when the wind comes up.
Comments
Vessel Name: SCOOTS
Vessel Make/Model: Able Apogee 50
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Eric and Vandy Shrader
About: We've been living aboard full time since September 2014. We sailed to Mexico with the 2014 Baja Haha and had fun exploring Mexico until April 2016, when we turned SCOOTS west and headed to the South Pacific. As of late Nov. 2016, SCOOTS and her crew are exploring New Zealand.
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