Sunday, December 5, 2010

Se Habla- La Paz

We are still in La Paz. We have spent some more time in La Paz after our last excursion to the islands. We have been waiting for another boat to arrive that is delivering some parts for us from the U.S. As it is difficult to get things shipped to Mexico this is a common way to get parts for your boat. It is taking a long time though because there was a big "northern" that kept the boat from contiueing to La Paz from Cabo.

We decided to take advantage of our extra time here with Spanish lessons. There is a great little school here called Se Habla...La Paz. We were only able to take a weeks worth of lessons but it has been very helpful.

We learned the proper pronunciation of the vowels. Learned to conjugate verbs etc. We now have a good base to contiue to practice on our own.

We truly have enjoyed La Paz. It is a great city with lots of things to do and see. The people are very friendly, it is a good spot for cruisers. There is even a club for cruisers here that sponsores a morning "net" in the vhf radio and publishes a handy guide to services in La Paz.

The parts we have been waiting for arrived on Friday (Dec. 3rd) so we are now free to explore the area. We will take another short trip to the islands here. We fly home on Dec. 11th for 3 weeks, so there will not be further postings until the first of the year.
The picture is in La Paz looking down the Malacon and the pangas on the beach.

Happy Holidays !!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Isla Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, and Isla San Francisco

We leave La Paz for a week excursion to the Islands of Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit) and Partida, which is located about 20 miles north of La Paz.

These islands are a natural marine park. The guide says "the Sea of Cortez is the second most diverse marine body in the world. It is home to 31 species of whales and dolphins- one third of the worlds total. The region also serves as a breeding ground for sea lions and marine turteles, and is a migratory corridor for 210 bird species. "

There are many bays to anchor in. Our first stop is Bahia San Gabriel. A beautiful bay lined with a pristine white sand beach that onced housed a pearl factory. We anchor in about 20ft. of water. We have the bay almost to ourselves with only one other boat in this large bay. We snorkle and have a lazy afternoon. The next morning we dingy to the shore with a lunch, there is a trail that cuts accross the island to the other side. We hike through the arroyo looking for the elusive black hare, but all we see is its scat. Later in the day we also find a good snorkel spot, it is like swimming in a fish bowl.

Our next stop is Caleta Partida. This cove is where the two islands divided (at low tide) . Again a great bay, the moon is on its way to being full and rises right in the middle of the saddle that separates the islands, a beautiful site. We follow the guide to the best snorkle site yet! On the way back to the boat we stop at a fishing camp and buy a fresh dorado from the fishermen. A great dinner was had.
Our last anchorage here is Ensenada Grande. We stop here as it is very close to Los Islotes, which is famous for its sea lion rookery, snorkerlers have been frequenting this rock outcropping for years to experience the beauty of swimming with the sea lions.

We have a very rolling night as the wind comes up from the SW where there is no protection. Not much sleep. It settles down the next day so we dingy to Los Islotes to swim with the sea lions.

I have to admit that swimming with the sea lions is a bit scary. They are very fast and get very close to you. Some other boats told me later that the mothers were being very aggressive. I did not experience that. Even though it was scary I am really glad I did it. The pictures of the seal was taken there. I also posted a picture of the rocky Los Islotes where they live.
Today also we go to the cove next to us to see the Blue Footed Booby rookery. They are beautiful birds with robins egg blue feet. If you click to enlarge the pictures here you may be able to see it. I could not get very close for pictures as they are on the cliffs.

After 2 nights in Ensenada Grande we leave for Isla San Francisco. About 20 miles north.

Here again is a large bay with plenty of protection for the predicted north winds that are comming. We hike accross the narrow section of the island through the salt flat to the rocky beach on the other side. Here we look for shells and agates. We spend two nights here and enjoy the beautiful moon rises.

We head back to La Paz on the 24th. Along the way I catch my largest fish yet, a 28" 10-15 lbs Stripped Bonita. We are have Thanksgiving diner here in La Paz at the marina. The cruising club, Club Cruceros, sponsors this potluck each year. There were about 270 people.It is only 20 pesos per person. They do the turkeys and gravy the boats bring side dishes. It was a lot of fun and very good.
Again, please excuse my spelling mistakes, the spell check is only looking for spanish words that are misspelled while we are in mexico.
also you can click a picture to enlarge it... Please send along your comments, they are fun for us to read.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Road trip to Todos Santos

Today (Nov. 16) is Mel's Birthday. We decide to celebrate by renting a car and taking a road trip accross the the Baja Penisula to Todos Santos.

It is a beautiful drive through the desert. It is all cati and scrub, with some cattle and chili fields and rimmed with mountains.

Todos Santos is a small town with a lot of personality with many old buildings, we stop for a drink in the famous Hotel California (the picture of the metal sculpture is in its courtyard). We then drive the dirt bumpy road to the ocean.

All in all a fantastic day. We leave Wednesday (the 17th) La Paz city to sail to the island of EspĂ­ritu Santo to explore and snorkle. These island is suppose to be a meca for snorkling and swiming with the sealions. We will be back to La Paz on the 24th. I will post more then.

(p.s. please excuse and spelling mistakes as I am on spanish blogspot and the spell check is only looking for miss spelled spanish words)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cabo to La Paz

4 days in Cabo is more than enough. It is a real tourista town and it is noisy and expensive. We left on a Monday morning for a short trip to Marina San Jose los Cabos. It is about 30 miles south of Cabo. As we did not stay in the marina in cabo (150.00 per night, not thank you) we decided to check out this newest marina. Here I was able to finally wash the salt off the boat and do a couple loads of laundry.

We leave early the next day (wow the sunrise was outstanding) and head for an anchorage called Los Frailes (The Friars). It is a beautiful rock cliff with a white sandy beach next to it. The beach is home to a small seasonal fishing village and you can see the camper tops over the sand dune. There were about 30-40 fishing pangas . It was a great show when they came in. They would go full blast straight for shore and ride up the beach, raising their outboard motors at the last minute. Then an old 4 wheel drive truck would hook on and drag them up past the tide line. In the morning the same truck would push them back to the water.

We had planned to stay 2 nights but the weather report is calling for high winds later in the week and we want to get to La Paz before it hits. So off again in the early morning, and enjoy another sunrise.

We anchor in Los Muertos. Another sandy beach, but with a resort and golf course, out in the middle of no where. Many of the boats from the Baja Ha Ha rally are on the same route so we see many famiular boats. It is nice to know that we have them to call on if we need help.

Up and at it again early for the last leg to La Paz. We enjoy watching the scenery go by. I keep my fishing lines out as this is one of the fishing meca's of the world. And as luck would have it I see a fish on just as we are approching La Paz. We slow the boat and I pull in a lovely silver fish with yellow spots (and TEETH). I give him a good wack on the head and really ruin his day. I latter look it up and I caught a Spanish Mackerel. I forgot to measure him but it was bigger than my Dorado.

We get a slip at the Marina Palmira, at only 35.00 per night, wow what a difference from Cabo.
Frank is anxious to head for shore, a motel, long shower and to see the town. We celebrate our arrival with Cerveza and a toast. We later here that he is happy in a hotel and we meet up with him on the steets of La Paz.

We need to get a temporary import permit (TIP) for the boat. This is a permit that allows you to keep you boat up to 10 years in Mexico and to import repair and replacement part for it with out custome fees. This entails a taxi ride to the office, copies of our boat papers (I had) copies of the owners passport and visa (I did not have, luckly for 20 pesos you can do it at the emigration office next door) and 50.00 dollars. Our cab driver offered to stay and help translate. That was nice and helpful. With that chore out of the way we are free to explore the town.

LaPaz is a regular Mexican city, not really for tourists, everyone goes about there normal daily lives. There is a beautiful walk way along the beach on the main street. Along here there are no buildings on the ocean side. In the eveing it is full of activity, families bike, roller blade, or just walk. There are food vendors that come out in the eveing and people sell crafts, draw portraites, etc. There are also many sculptures along the path. Every one is very friendly and helpful. We are enjoying ourselves so much we have decided to stay 2 extra nights.

We decide to tour a local grocery store. It was very interesting. It is amazing on home much is the same. One of the big differences was the cuts of meat. Not really recognizable as steaks ect. It was more along the line of chuck roasts and stew meats. Chickens were mostly whole although I saw a few boneless breasts in a package. No lunch meat selections like we have, ham, and balogina (spelling?) is all I could see. I carry an electronic translator with me and it has been helpful. It will do english to spanish and visea a versa.

We will leave on the 16th to explore the Isla Espiritu Santo just a few miles from here. Here there is suppose to be great snorkling and fishing, and hiking.

Monday we will go with friends to shop, at : Sam's Club, and Wal-mart and Home Depot. Got to find recognizable lunch meat.
The pictures are of us at the marina, Los Frailes, my fish, and the beach with some of the pangas. Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Baja Ha Ha pictures

Here are more pictures of our trip from San Diego To Cabo San Lucas

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baja Ha Ha 2010

The Baja Ha Ha is a rally of sail boats from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. There were about 150 boats who signed up this year. The magazine Latitude 38 sponsors the event each year. It is a fun way for a bunch of boats to go down to Mexico. Many of the boats are here for a season or two, or like us who are going on to the Pacific or further south.

The rally is in 3 legs. San Diego to Turtle Bay. Turtle Bay to Bahina Santa Maria. And last, Bahina Santa Maria to Cabo.

The first leg we completed in about 48 hours. We have a crew with us. Al and Frank. So we share watches, 4 hours on, 4 off. We had fantastic sailing out about 30-50 miles from shore.

The rally sponsors events at each anchorage. In Turtle Bay we had a locals - v- yachties baseball game. Baseball is HUGE in Turtle Bay, so the whole town comes out for it. Lots of folks also bring baseball equipment to donate to the town.

The pictures of a town are Turtle Bay. It is a very remote village on the Baja peninsula. There is a big bay that we all anchor in and the panga's will come to your boat to ferry you in (for 2.00 a head). This weekend for them is one of their biggest money makers for them with all the crazy gringos spending money.

There was a beach pot-luck partythat was a lot of fun.

People here live a very simple life, mostly fishing. But I did see many newer cars, but as you can see the houses are very simple.

Our next leg is to Bahina Santa Maria which is even more remote. They too depend on fishing. They put on a lunch for the rally which is a huge fundraiser for the villiage. We also bring school supplies, clothes etc. to donate. They bring in a rock and roll band and mucho cerveza! and as you all may know I love to dance, so I got my exercise that afternoon.

Several boats have kids aboard so one night it was anounced that there will be trick or treating, if you have any treats turn on your boat lights. Families came by dingy with their kids, in costumes to the boats. We had 4 boats come by. We had brought candy for the kids in Turtle Bay and Santa Maria, so I had lots. It was very fun to carry on the tradition even in this most unusual way.

The beaches are beautiful, the people are nice, and we are meeting lots of fellow sailors, that I am sure we will meet up with again and again as we travel through Mexico.

We have had the best sailing since we left Seattle. The boat is fantastic. It sails well and is very comfortable. We havebeen lucky enough to see whales, dolphins, seals, etc.

One of the highlights of the trip was my first fish. I caught a 28" Dorado. We troll with hand lines, so I am glad it was not tooo big. It made a great dinner for the 4 of us..

Attached are various pictures of the trip down and of course the fish.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Turtle Bay Mexico

Here we are in Turtle Bay Baja Mexico. We had a great sail. 48 hrs to get here from San Diego we sailed the entire time. We will post more later

Friday, October 1, 2010

San Diego

I am sorry that I have neglected to update our blog for a while. As many of you know we arrived home on September 11th to take care of land-based business and to see our son Spencer off to college at Southern Oregon University.
We arrived safe and sound in San Diego on September 6th. Mazu is are in Kona Kai marina while we are home. Here is a synopsis of our trip from Marina Del Rey to San Diego.

After we left Marina Del Rey we had a fantastic sail to Catalina Island. Along the way we were treated to a whale show. We must have seen at least 5 whales. I will soon try to put a link up from my flip video.

Catalina Island is very pretty and we ended staying there for 4 nights.
We then sailed to Oceanside. It was fun to see my cousin Eileen and her family. The Oceanside marina was full of activity. It was one of our favorite stops. I also took the train to visit my sister Sharon and her husband Dennis.

Getting to San Diego marks the end of of first part of this unbelievable journey we have decided to take. We are so grateful to all the support of our friends and family. A huge help to us here in San Diego has been Frank Slater owner of Outbound "Ocean Dancer". We have just met Frank but he welcomed us on the first day we arrived as if we have been friends for years. It is great to have someone here that is so knowledgeable of the boating community and services,as we have several finishing touches to accomplish on the boat to get her ready for Mexico.

We return to Mazu on Oct. 2nd. and will finish up projects and provision her for the trip. We set sail for Mexico on October 25th.

Again thank you all for your support and comments. Please keep in touch... Love, Elaine

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey

Fog, lots of fog. That is the story of the Southern California coast. We left Santa Barbara in very thick fog. We had poor visibility all the way down to our next port, Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard (or as we heard two fishermen call it over the VHF Fognard). I guess we can say we our honing our radar skills.
The Channel Islands Harbor had lots of transient moorage available. We have noticed a lack of activity each place we have gone. I guess the economy is effecting everyone.

On Friday we leave Oxnard in guess what? Pea-soup fog! On our way to Marina del Rey.

We arrive mid afternoon. We are lucky again to have little traffic as we enter the marina and find our slip easily. We spend the rest of the day cleaning and then going to a nice shopping center near here for provisions and dinner. We had hoped for a movie theater but it did not have one so we returned to the boat for a movie night.
My sister Dolores (DeeDee) her husband Bill and son Charlie along with my cousin Margie and here husband John came to see us on Saturday. We had a great visit and they appreciated seeing the boat.
I have posted pictures of them and one looking at the fog we have encountered.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Port San Luis/Avila Beach to Santa Barbara

We left early in the morning to head for Port San Luis. I believe that we will be close to my nephew Greg and his wife Angela so I call to leave a message for them.
We arrive early in the after noon and find a good anchorage. We decide to take the dingy to shore to see the sites. Things are different along the coast, goodbye to the nice harbor dingy docks, here you are expected to tie a long line from your dingy to a wharf ladder and then climb upthe ladder. I am not talking a foot or two these wharfs are quite high. But we are willing to try. we get all tied up and I start up the ladder, then I make a mistake and look down. I decide that it is too much and climb back down telling Mel that perhaps I will be braver tomorrow. Luckily we see a platform for loading and unloading on the other side of the wharf. There is no sign telling us we cannot tie up so we do and take the nice reasonable stairs up to the wharf.
Avila Beach is very nice with an all new beach front (thanks to Union 76 and an oil clean-up) and a nice long beach. We have a margarita and try to cool off as it is an unusually hot day for the beach.
On the way back to our boat we notice another Oregon boat on the hook. They are from Newport so we stop to talk. They are also on there way to Mexico and are going to do the Baja-Ha-Ha ralley in October. We note their name in our log and hope to see them in Mexico.
The next day we meet up with Greg and Angela for cocktails on the boat and dinner at the "New" Custom House restaurant, (see picture of them on our boat). They are the first of my family to see the boat.

The next day we leave early as we have a good weather window for Point Conception, this is known as the "Cape Horn of the West Coast" the winds and waves can be quite bad in this area. We pass around it with little wind and low seas, it is all about timing.
We also pass by Vandenberg Air Force Base. Boy, talk about being in the middle of no where, I guess that is by design.
Our engine prop starts to make a very strange vibration so we lower the RPM's and head to our anchorage. We are very concerned and after we set the anchor, Mel gets on the scuba mask and looks under the boat at the prop but sees nothing on it. We decide that there is nothing we can do so we have dinner and a movie (2 episodes of X-Files).
Luckily the next day we have no vibrations and the engine works just fine.
We motor in the fog all the way to Santa Barbara where the dolphins greet us and "dance" around our boat. They always leave when I get the camera out, darn.
Tomorrow we continue on south and will be in Marina Del Rey for the weekend and will see family there.
The pictures posted here are of me at the helm on a very windy with somewhat high seas. Point Conception, and its lighthouse. Greg, Angela, and me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

We countinue South

We sadly said good-by to Santa Cruz in the early morning fog (typical) and headed across the bay towards Monterey. We were entertained by several whales, and had to slow up several times to watch as they slowly meandered by. Several times we saw their flukes slowly sink into the bay. We are also surprised by the many birds that seem to make their home on the water, many with their babies squawking behind them.

We decide to head for a mid way anchorage, Point Lopez. A couple we met in S.C. said they anchored there. We want to make it to San Simeon on Saturday. She mentioned that is was a "rolley anchorage" and boy ever was she right. This is the only time that I got sea sick on this trip. I was ok until after dinner then I told Mel I had to go to bed or get sick. Bed did the trick and I was soon asleep with my dinner still in my tummy.

We have been going too fast to troll as we have had to motor most of the time. We hope for more wind as we head south.

Today we made it to San Simeon bay. It is very pretty with the lovely brown rolling hills in the back ground and the impressive Hearst Castle perched on the top the the hills. We were going to go on a tour to see it but they sold out (we tried to book on line prior to leaving the boat).

We decided to go for a dingy ride (dingy being the small inflatable boat we have on the back of the sail boat). As there is not a dingy dock here you are required to make a beach landing. We were excited to try our first one as we know we will have to master this in Mexico.

We sized up the beach, motoring from one end to the other to pick the most favorable (and least populated) spot to make our entrance. Mel and I discussed our plan, Mel would gun the motor at the precise moment I would be ready to jump out of the dingy and pull us effortlessly onto the beach, all with out getting my shorts wet.

We approached the shore behind the breakers (all of 2 ft) and waited for our moment. Mel waited for one wave and then gunned the engine, he saw another approach, but it was too late, he felt we could ride in it in, but noooooo, over we went, inflatable life jackets inflated, we are tossed out of the boat, and scramble to shore with our dingy upside down.
We get it righted, check that camera, wallet, etc are dry and secure (we are soaked). Of course the engine would not start, so we now have to row back to the boat.

Luckily we provided enough entertainment that a nice man decided we could use some help. He offered to push us out past the breakers and send us on our way. He also was able to get our engine started again.

After we got all the sand off of us and the dingy cleaned up Mel and I enjoyed an adult beverage on the boat. I sure hope we do better next time.

Here are some pictures: John, Cindy and us at Aldos at the harbor (note Mazu in the background), Twin Lakes Beach, and misc. pictures along the way. Sorry no whale pictures, too busy watching them. I have also noted that if you click on a picture you will see a larger image of it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Santa Cruz

Well I did it! We sailed our boat into the Santa Cruz Harbor....

As most of you know Santa Cruz is where I was born and raised. It was a very special moment for me. To see my home town from sea was a perspective I have never seen.

Twin Lakes beach is all grown up, with beach volley, restaurants, and boats. The harbor looks the same. We had lunch today with cousin John and Cindy at Aldo's overlooking the harbor. Last night we had drinks with Chris Cole at the Crows Nest and listened to music.
Today I walked to Days Market on Seabright Ave. and down to a place that I live right above the train trestle and Boardwalk.

It all brings back memories. Like I cannot believe that I would walk from that house all the way to the end of Ocean Ave. for work at 5a.m. in the morning. Wishing for a TOGOs avocado and jack cheese sub sandwich, hanging out at the downtown mall and Cooper House. And the summer that Nancy and I spent at Twin Lakes beach, and riding our 10 speed bikes all over town.

We think we have solved our gremlin in the electronics as we have someone working on the boat as I write this.

Tomorrow we depart. We will cross the bay and anchor somewhere in Monterey and contiue our trip south. Watch for my SPOT emails that will tell you where we are.

Here are some pictures of West Cliff Dr., the light house, wharf and boardwalk, and our boat in the harbor looking out to the bay