Happy Mother's Day
18 May 2008
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
Since my last posting from La Cruz, Zephyra sailed as far south as Barra de Navidad and has returned north to La Paz. We left La Cruz late in the afternoon on March 26th and had an easy motor-sail around Cabo Corrientes which many consider Mexico's Point Conception. Our experience with both Conception last fall and Corrientes this spring was some confused seas, but easy winds and pleasant passages. We are finding that we are motoring our sailboat much more than we ever imagined we would here in Mexico. The next day we reached Chamala but found the anchorage too rolly to enjoy so stayed one night and moved on to Tenacatita Bay.
Tenacatita is a beautiful bay and we spent several days enjoying the beach there. There is a river that connects to the bay and we took a dingy trip up the river to the actual town of Tenacatita. We traveled for about 2 ½ miles through quite dense jungle and finally landed on a beach near the town. The town has a liquor store, a small grocery and dozens of palapa restaurants on the beach. Corona gave every restaurant in this town a sign so you look up the street and it looks like one big Corona beer advertisement. Beer and soda companies giving small business their signs is very prevalent in Mexico. I guess it is a win-win situation since most these little places could not afford nice signs otherwise. We met up with some other cruisers from the anchorage and had a delightful lunch of fish rolls which are the specialty on the area.
The following week we motored a little further south to Barra de Navidad. The anchorage in Barra is in a lagoon and thanks to the advice and waypoints given to us by our friends, we had no problem entering. Most boats visiting Barra anchor in the lagoon since the marina is one of the most expensive in Mexico ($100 a night for a boat our size). Their market is mega powerboats and there are many of those visiting Mexican waters. The marina is connected to a resort and golf course and is upscale all the way. This is in contrast to most of Mexico which is in a permanent state of construction. It is a country where many projects are started but few are ever completely finished. In every town and city we have visited there is stalled or abandoned construction gathering trash. Trash is another major problem in Mexico. Unfortunately our anti-litter program of the sixties did not extend to our southern neighbor and there is trash collecting all over their beautiful beaches and bays. Anyway, this mega resort in Barra was the complete opposite. I would run on the outskirts of the golf course in the mornings (never once saw anyone playing golf. Strange!) and there would be workers sweeping the road which had evenly laid paving stones. There were guards in the guardhouses (nobody ever asked what I was doing there) and they were doing some utility work on part of the road, but they were finishing one area and then moving on to the next. The town of Barra de Navidad is cute and friendly, but with the typical Mexican uneven streets and holes in the sidewalks.
While in Barra, we had some e-mails from family and friends and decided we wanted to get to La Paz by the end of April. We reversed our course and harbor- hopped our way back to San Blas taking our time. This time as we were motor-sailing around Cabo Corrientes, we started to make the turn north and the alarm went off on the autopilot (Poindexter) and we didn't turn. Russ swearing at the autopilot (one more time) pushed the standby button and was going to manually steer the turn to put us back on course. Then he realized he had no helm at all. We slowed the boat down and Russ went down to check the hydraulics. The boat had lost all its steering fluid. Fortunately we had more fluid on board and we were able to refill and keep going. Also it was good that we were over 3 miles off the point and had plenty of sea room to deal with a potentially dangerous situation. We got into the La Cruz anchorage at midnight, slept and the next morning Russ found two leaks in the copper tubing of the hydraulic steering system. He put did a temporary fix on the problem and after a few days in La Cruz, we headed north to San Blas.
We left San Blas on April 22 and set a course to La Paz. We really wanted to sail instead of motor this long trip. We spent a frustrating day trying to sail in very light wind forward of beam and at sunset when the wind died completely, we started the engine and motored through the night and next morning. Finally mid-afternoon, we got some sailable wind which was nice while it lasted but again died after sundown. The third day, the wind came up early and decently strong but directly on the nose for La Paz, so we altered course for Los Frailles. We arrived at Frailles at midnight, dropped the anchor and slept like dead people. The next day we landed up motoring most the way to Muertos and after a night's sleep headed to La Paz. The best sailing of the trip was the last ten miles in La Paz bay, where we were finally able to set the spinnaker.
We caught up with our friends from Mazatlan in La Paz and after a few days in the city, left the boat to visit Cherise and Dieter in Los Barriles. Kathy and John had flown down as did John's kids and in-laws, so our first night there, Dieter cooked a 15lb snapper he had caught and we had a party. We had a nice visit in Los Barriles at Cherise and Dieter's wonderful house right on the beach. This is also another side of what's happening in Mexico. There are gingo beach communities all along the coastline, both in Baja and on the mainland. Most of the homes people have built are beautiful and property values have skyrocketed in the last few years.
Our family has left to go back to Tahoe and Truckee and we are once again at anchor in La Paz. A side note for my women's sailing group in Tahoe (who I miss terribly), on Friday I went out with a women's group that has formed here and we practiced man-overboard drills on a Gulfstar 50. A little different than doing it on a Catalina 27. We did have a large girl (about 180lbs) go in the water and we were able to bring her on board with a lifesling. The Gulfstar 50 was owned by a woman who sounds like my husband as she does all her own work including sail repair, rigging, electrical, plumbing and engine repairs. She also earns her own money as a webpage designer. I was in awe.
As I write this, Russ is tearing apart the hydraulic steering system, so he can rerun it with new materials. Zephyra was built in 1979, so it's probably time since it has never been replaced. We have several projects to get completed while we are in La Paz and then we will fill the boat up with provisions and head up north in the Sea for the summer.