Wednesday, November 1, 2006

San Diego - Cabo

This one is going to be a little short on writing, but I'll share our pictures over the last couple of weeks and say a little about them. Right now, we have a fabulous internet connection from the boat, but the anchorage is extremely rolly, so it feels like we are actually on a passage - in fact the sailing has been so great on the way down, this might be the most uncomfortable part of the trip.

The good news is we are heading to La Paz tomorrow morning.

Matey helping me stow our wine in the bilge - Kevin, notice the bottle of Sailor Jerry's!!!!

So, because we were doing so much moving around in San Diego (3 days at La Playa anchorage, 3 days at San Diego YC, 1 day at the police dock and 3 days at Southwestern) and we had our rebedding of our steering system project going on, we had to travel around looking like the Clampetts. Here is a picture of what our cockpit looked like the entire time. All of the contents of our largest lazerette had to be emptied out. Greg even found Beverly Hillbilly music for us to play as we came into a new marina.

Matey had to have a final vet check to get her Health Certificate before entering Mexico. There was alot of talk about how this isn't really necessary (in fact they didn't even want to see her paperwork when we got checked in). But she is so important to us, it wasn't worth saving the 80 bucks to risk them possible taking her away from us. As you can see, our little grrl was a little nervous about seeing the doc.

John arrived Friday night and stayed in Matey's room. Here's Matey trying one last effort to defend her bed...

Finally Monday morning arrives and we are ready to go - though there's no bottom paint to see now that our waterline had raised a bit from all the extra stuff.

BANG! We're off....We were one of the first to raise our spinnaker and flew it most of the way. This leg by far was the best wind. This was some great sailing!!!!

So as we are zoom zoom zooming along, our topping lift for the spinnaker pole broke, so Greg had to go part of the way up the mast to retie it. No big deal.

Matey warming up to Scott (and we're wondering when it will get warm).

After 2 nights, we pulled into Turtle Bay on the evening of the 3rd night. But at a respectable 7:30 pm, who could complain.

A first meeting with the locals. There are a LOT of dogs here. It seems almost every home has one and very few cats. I also think there are about zero leashes and collars here. But with the large amount of dogs, there have really been very few situations that caused concern. Most of the dogs just stayed in their yard or wherever they were napping and didn't give her a second glance. A number of them came up to sniff, then mosied along. There was one in Turtle Bay who just wouldn't stop following us, then he started to bark in Matey's face. Since he had a couple of gnarly scars on his head we were a little concerned. Finally I just very aggressively shuffled my feet toward him and said 'NO' and pointed back to his home. He followed at a little distance for a short while then disappeared.

Oh, about the scarf, we decided to take it off - I think Matey may be scarfless except for special occasions. It just seems a little too "precious" in this country.

Typical Turtle Bay street.

This is our little pooch after her first Mexican day. She's slowly adjusting to the heat here. Yesterday as I was taking a sun shower to wash off the salt water, she came to stand under the running water so that she could get wet. Later when we were walking around Cabo, she did the same thing at an outdoor shower. We've started bringing a squirt bottle along with her drinking water to spray her down with.

Lots of boats at anchor in Turtle Bay...

So, Matey has this little habit - when she gets excited, she barks with the loudest screeching bark I've ever heard. Those of you on N dock have a hint of it - it's the same bark she would give when released to sprint up the ramp and play in the yard. Except when fish and dolphins are concerned, it's repeated over and over. Here Matey is doing her screeching thing at some dolphins in Turtle Bay and John has taken to keeping earplugs in his pocket.

A funny story - John and Scott took Matey around Turtle Bay in the dinghy. But this time there were dolphins in the bay. As soon as Matey sees them, she dove off the bow after them. This definitely took the fun out of it for her as she quickly turned back to look at the dinghy to be picked up again.

We made it!!! Here we are at Turtle Bay with Pacifica anchored in the background.

Frolicking on the beach

Games on board...

Start of Leg 2. This is when our fishing started. We caught 3 bonito (cioppino), a yellowtail (civiche), and a dorado (fish tacos).

Greg with the Dorado

Beautiful Bahia Santa Maria (note the full moon).

Matey hasn't ridden on a Panga yet - we've been tackling the beach landings in the dinghy so far. And these have been pretty big waves on the beaches both at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. You know they are big when beginning surfers are surfing the break you are trying to cross in your dinghy. But we have to learn at some point - and at least we got our first flip over with a couple of years ago in San Simeon.

The little fishing village - it looks like they are drying fish. The fisherman come out here to fish for about 6 months (the season) then go back home.

John discovered a patch of quicksand, so Scott takes this opportunity to tower over him.

Matey loved playing in these tide pools caused by the tide going out. There were little schools of fish trapped in them that she would run and try to pounce on. This has been her favorite day so far!!!

Matey mid pounce.

Bahia Santa Maria

Leg 3 - we caught a Matey.

Fisherman Greg

Lunch in Cabo

A better lunch place on a side street. They had 3 tables inside, Matey was welcomed and we were the only people there.

There was one other boat in the HaHa from the Berkeley Yacht Club. And amazingly, both of our boats won first place in our divisions. We also had the honor to be one of the few boats to have sailed all three legs in their entirety - We are very proud!!!!!

Cabo to El Cardonal

Hello ~ After a very rolly evening at Cabo, which no one slept, we dropped John off at the dock and Greg, Matey and I headed for Los Frailes.

The smallest boat in the HA-HA fleet, a Flicka 20 leaving Los Frailes

Bon Fire on the beach at Los Frailes

Panga to Panama guys who kinda piggy backed with the HA-HA. Check them out at

This was by far the hardest leg since the Bay Area. We've gotten soft in our couple of months of downwind sailing. To make it even more challenging, as Greg went up to reef, I noticed him taking longer than usual. After a couple of yells, "What's going on??" I get the response, "Ahh, something's wrong with the boom." Not really what I wanted to hear... After more questions like, "What do you mean? What's wrong with the boom?" Greg finally has time to process it and our cotter pin that holds the pin that holds the boom to the goosneck sheared off (did you get that?). In other words, our boom was falling off the mast and we couldn't use our mainsail anymore. Hmpft, we had LOTS of wind, so we just sailed with a full Genoa. Banging along in choppy seas getting choppier.

After a number of hours beating ourselves up, and a loop de loop when we almost turned back to Cabo (until we heard an announcement on the radio, "All cruisers with boats in the anchorage in Cabo, please return to your boat immediately - hopefully it will be in enough time, the anchorage is getting nasty"), we were finally a couple of hours out of Frailes when BANG!!!! Greg and I both immediately looked up, checking spreaders and shrouds, till we noticed it was only that our jib sheet exploded. Of course now we had a wildly flapping jib which Greg had to tame. After that was over and after a minor meltdown by yours truly, we happily motored into Los Frailes.

That was the end of our drama lately, we had beautiful days at Los Frailes and Los Muertos (our next stop) snorkeling and attending beach parties with bon fires on the beach with other cruisers in both locations. By this time, it was like a mini Ha-Ha since most of the same boats were at the anchorages and we were still monitoring the radio regularly. In fact, one of the other boats even nicknamed us the Baja - YaHa Fleet.

Sometimes when Matey sleeps, she kinda slips off the back bench because of the waves - we think it's kinda cute. Once I had to pick her up out of a 5 gallon bucket. Notice the 'poop deck' sign over her toilet...

Believe it or not, there was a Giggling Marlin in Los Muertos - or Bay of Dreams. You see the developers don't like the name Encenada de Los Muertos all that much since it means Bay of the Dead, so they are trying to change the name of the cove to 'Bay of Dreams'.

Matey, Conner and Tanner (from s/v Sonadora) looking for treasure on the rocks.

Imagine my surprise to be sitting in Mexico with a Pacifico and a bottle of Tobasco on the table. Tobasco is made in my 1st home State of Louisiana. As you can see from the menu, this was mostly a gringo joint - the last of this cruise.

While in Los Muertos we purchased this huge Ahi for $19 US. Here I am filleting it. Matey of course is getting fresh sushi.

After leaving Muertos, we had planned to stop off in Balandra Cove, but it was way too rolly, so we kept going till Caleta Lobos which was an absolutely beautiful little cove. Oh, I should mention, the sailing has been fabulous. Los Frailes to Muertos was just about perfect - warm and great wind (Greg jury rigged a fix for our boom and we just used a spinnaker sheet for our exploded Jib sheet). And then Muertos to Caleta Lobos was again great - windy, so we just had a single reefed main with a reefed Jib. We were able to move very well under sail through the Cerralvo Channel, and even got into our anchorage before dark.

Sunset in Caleta Lobos

Greg and Matey fishing. This is the location where Greg got so lucky with all the Trigger fish - and they do make excellent fish tacos!!!!!

Monday before Thanksgiving we pulled into La Paz and anchored outside Marina de La Paz. Pacifica had a good time engaging in the La Paz waltz till a very nice local called us on the radio to tell us about turning our wheel hard over to starboard. As soon as we did that, Pacifica settled right in and stopped "dancing" around her anchor. The current is strange there, most of the time we spent pointing into the current with the wind on our beam.

Picture taken at anchor with the wind blowing up our stern.

La Paz waltz

We met some new people in La Paz - both at the anchorage and in the marina. We also had some wonderful food. Our best value meal ever was at La Fonda which a backpacker we ran into on the street told us about. Greg and I both had fancy dinners, mine was a shrimp dish, Greg's was fish, we split a huge bowl of tortilla soup, and each had 2 beers. The total came to about $18 US.

We also had to get our boom fixed. We already had a plan of what to do since this was a modification Greg had been thinking about and had already spoken with Bill of Cat's Paw in Catalina about it. But, we needed a welder and stainless steel for fabrication. So, after we got a recommendation for a local welder on the morning net, we headed over to the shop. I am still gleeful about the response we got - they did it while we waited and even had a spare piece of stainless for our boom. They did lots of intricate work while Greg waited and supervised -- the total came to about $85 US. Meanwhile... Matey and I went to play on the beach.

I have become the ultimate in lazy doggie mom. In La Paz, I just go to the beach, take off Matey's leash and she runs into the water to chase fish. After she swims and jumps for about an hour, I call her out and we leave. But the other evening she did get to romp with a mexican street dog who was probably about a year old and very into running. I was nervous, but they played well together. But soon, Matey tired and we put her back on leash.

Thanksgiving was spent at the Cruisers Thanksgiving dinner (where about 250 people showed up) which was free except for bringing a dish to share. The day after Thanksgiving, we signed up for a scuba diving trip. The first dive, I flaked out - my breathing wasn't good and I knew we were going deep. But Greg and the rest of the crew saw 4 hammerhead sharks while I saw a jumping Marlin from the boat. I would have rathered seen the sharks, but that's how it goes, I didn't feel comfortable forcing myself down. The second dive was in the same place (I think the dive master was hoping to give me another shot at seeing the sharks) but the visibility was not great and there just wasn't anything there. The 3rd dive site was a shallow reef, so there was tons of life and lots to see.

Thanksgiving dinner - actually the line getting to the food table, luckily there was more than enough food.

Greg and I in our Thanksgiving cruiser finest... Notice the hair - I finally had enough of the long hair in the saltwater - way too much trouble. So I went for the adventure of a 50 peso haircut in a shop that didn't speak English. It was really great! And there are 2 other cruisers that I know of who did the same thing.

Greg Dreaming - Don't worry he knows she's not much of a sailor and can't filet a fish.

There is a Norther expected to start blowing Thurs - Sat, and we really wanted to get some Island time before then. So, yesterday afternoon after a final visit to the farmer's market, we cancelled on a movie with a couple of cruiser friends and headed out of La Paz. Last night we were at Caleta Lobos again and today we are in a beautiful Cove called El Cardonal. We were headed for Partida Cove, but it was too crowded for our tastes today.

Scenery of Isla Espiritu Santo

Scenery of Isla Espiritu Santo

Crowded Partida Cove (you can see all the little white boats anchored to the left of the cove.

Our secluded El Cardonal

When we got here, no one was here. We dropped the hook and started up some fish tacos for lunch (Greg racked up on Trigger fish last night so we have a couple of meals worth). That was until we heard on the radio that others we coming, so we put the lunch on hold and jumped in for a little birthday suit swimming while we were alone. Now there is one other boat here, but they are on the other side of the cove.


Matey at El Cardonal