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.