Tuesday, November 25, 2014

sculptures and camels in San Jose del Cabo

I'm trying to see the beauty in every place we visit, and for some places that's very easy to do, others it takes a bit more effort. This place falls in the latter category for me. It's the city next to super touristy Cabo San Lucas. On purpose we skipped Cabo as we don't find it very appealing. Six years ago Tod arrived here with the Baja HaHa fleet as crew on another boat, and I flew there to meet him.

Reading underway in easy seas
Our overnite passage from Mag Bay, with great sailing and fun radio contact with another sailboat several miles behind us, took us around Cabo San Lucas at noon on Sunday. We decided to plow on and find a good anchorage near San Jose del Cabo. It didn't quite work out that way, we couldn't find a comfortable one and we wanted to rest. So we bit the bullet (more expensive than any marina we have ever stayed in the US) and went into this upscale marina. Lots of big US based power boats here, likely attracted by the great fishing here. The marina has many great sculptures though, along their pleasant sidewalk. A deserted sculpture garden is within walking distance.  Osprey's are flying over, and colorful mariposa's (butterflies) are abundant here. We do see the effects of Hurricane Odile which struck here last October.

Yesterday we had fun taking the bus into town to do some much needed groceries.No assigned bus stop, just stand on the road and the bus will stop. We stocked up, had some very yummy gelato on par with top ice cream places in Berkeley at 30 % of the price and took a taxi home to Bliss.

Tod carries Tessa in a backpack when we want to
go any distance, and they get quite some looks

In the afternoon we strolled to the other side of the marina, and we encountered camels. Wait a minute, are we in Mexico or? While Tessa clearly enjoyed seeing an animal she had only seen in books, and without any fear started to pet it, it just seemed not right. Sadly, these camels, as well as the dolphins in salt water pens we saw a few minutes later, are kept for entertainment purposes. The documentary BlackFish is well worth seeing to get a more`detailed background on this captive animal  industry.

We will leave here soon to continue onto La Paz into the Sea of Cortez.. No turkey on Thanksgiving for us, hopefully we will have some fresh fish taco's in our next anchorage.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A slice of Paradise in Magdalena Bay

What a great time we had in Magdalena Bay! This is a bay the size of San Francisco bay, and one of 3 gray whale calving lagoons on the Pacific Coast of Baja during winter time.

We played in the sand dunes with the most pristine sand we have ever seen; we saw a bunch of sting rays and luckily did not get stung while we walked out our dinghy on very low tide; Tod fixed a solar panel for the very happy port captain of the village of Puerto Magdalena. Even in this tiny place, where people do not have much material possesions, Tessa found a little play structure, while we watched kids of all ages playing baseball close by.

On our passage to Mag Bay we saw whales and flying bat rays, quite a spectacle.

But let me also share some less ideal moments in the days before. We had chosen another "daytrip' (10/12 hrs versus 24 or more hrs) to go from Bahia AsunciĆ³n to Punta Abreojos. The latter is popular for windsurfers in the summer, and it's close proximity to another grey whale calving lagoon in the winter. We had quite bumpy seas and wind coming in, and our hopes for a comfortable anchorage started to dim a bit. To our surprise, the anchorage was comfortable, and with no village lights to distract, the sky was just amazing to watch. Stargazing is Tessa's (and ours) favorite thing to do before bedtime.

During early morning hours, the comfort started to change, we both couldn't sleep anymore so  we decided to get an earlier start. By now we know that our girl does not wake up by any loud sound, engine (and it's loud!), nor the windlass pulling up our chain (chain locker is in her room, the v- berth).

The GRIB weather fax files , which Tod pulls up via our SSB radio, looked a little different than what we encountered. Strong winds in the upper 20's, with gusts of 30, combined with 4-6 feet seas in very, very short interval periods, made us run 90 degrees away from our destination, under reduced sail/ jib only. Let's just say, those are moments you wonder why one travels by boat. While Tod and I were not happy to be down below because of the super rocky motion, Tessa on the other hand? " Big waves, yeah" we hear from her room, where she wanted to be. So, who is the real sailor in this household? Today she asked me when she could steer the boat by herself. Well, kiddo, anytime now!

Eventually, the seas and wind subsided, and we made another overnite passage to Magdalene Bay. We sailed about 50 miles offshore, no land in sight, just stretches of long Pacific Blue.  When you arrive in a place like this,  you know why you take the  discomfort of this lifestyle, and travel by your own boat.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rugged Bahia Tortugas

Nap time aboard, and tessa is singing "buenos dias". She and I got back from a kayak trip into this small town to get some fresh groceries. We walked on dirt , unpaved roads, visited 2 tiny stores, and got lucky finding avocado's, bell peppers, cabbage and bananas.  And off course, a yummie, which she ate with gusta while I tried to converse in my less than poco Spanish with an older local man, who had lived in this former cannery town for 50 years. She had walked up to him, said " it's yummie", then they high-fived , and he kissed her on the forehead. Sweet, you can tell they love kids in Mexico.

We arrived on Tuesday 5 PM, being under way for 2 days and 2 nights. Tiresome for us, but for the little one, it's just life as usual with a lot of playing, "I spy" games, eating and sleeping. Two hours before we caught our first fish, a 15/20 pound Dorado, brilliant colored fish, also known as
Mahi Mahi. Catching it was easy, however we were not really prepared what to do next. Tessa  was back into the cockpit after her nap and wanted to see it all. We did spare her the less appealing part of killing the fish as well as gutting it. Tod did an excellent job on his first fish, and we enjoyed great fish steaks the next days.

Some other firsts since leaving Ensenada: our water maker is in full action, making about 6 gallons/hr (yep that is slow, so it needs to run for hours to fill our 90 gallons water tanks).  And we have finally used our "car", our RIB dinghy with outboard. Dinghy wheels are installed as well, and we learned the hard, wet way, that they need to be up before landing.  The deserted beach with great shells was so worth it tough.

All is well aboard Bliss, happily swinging at anchor. Toddler question of the day: " at the doctor, you get a haircut too?" Also, "Buddha is a diver", after a tiny bronze Buddha sculpture bounced overboard.

We were celebrating our 5th yr wedding anniversary with a day sail of 50 + miles to the next stop of bahia Asucion.

1st Catch!

fence of the school

big surprise, a great playground in this town

sunset towards our next destination

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First post via radio

We are approaching the end of a tough 50-hour passage, from Ensenada to Bahia de Tortugas (Turtle Bay). Actually, the sailing/motoring has been easy (some more wind would have been nice... we only sailed a few hours). But being awake all night and then dealin with Tessa all day is tough. Current position: 27 degrees 50.90' N, 115 degrees 15.31' W. This is being sent via our SSB radio! (more about that later)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hola Mexico!

Another fun ride with our spinnaker up! We left San Diego Thursday early with not much wind, but 3 hrs later we were flying with a combination of sails. Ten hours after leaving San Diego, we arrived in Ensenada, where we reserved a slip in very friendly Baja Naval. Tessa practiced her HOLA on several people. We know she will be ordering our food in Spanish soon!

Today we spent all morning on clearing into Mexico, getting our visa's (for 6 months), boat import papers (boat can stay here for 10 yrs). Al tough this was all conveniently located in one small building, it was a good exercise in patience. Tessa and I decided to leave the party earlier, and go home for a nap, well at least one of us was...Ice cream, happy 'fish tacos' hour, dancing to a mariachi band, and just walking around in our usual 1 mile radius (limitations of going traveling with a toddler, who just thinks that even a trash can is awesome) filled the afternoon.

On a side note, we have a very fast internet connection here, faster than we ever experienced before. We realize this will be very short lived, as we are making plans to move further South to the more remote part of Baja California. 

Leaving Point Loma Lighthouse behind at 6AM

Our chart plotter confirms we have arrived in
Mexican waters

raising the quarantine flag, before you have officially
cleared into Mexico
"I need my reading glasses" for all the paperwork
time to raise the Mexican flag after we cleared in

at the civic plaza close by, sculpture of Mexican hero and former
President Benito Juarez

practicing mariachi

the fish market has a huge selection

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Last stop in the USA and WHY?

In the cockpit, before bedtime, Tessa is asking Tod: “what are you doing” Why”? Then she says to me “papa is drilling, making holes for solar panels”. Question to Tod “ is that prescent (crescent) mimi (aka moon)”? To me: “the moon is skying”.  We are in the WHY phase big time with our talkative 2.5 yr old.
great walk path in Point Loma neighborhood. Tessa
likes to take Baby Holly for a ride (and yes, she picked her
all pink clothes)
Bouganville galore, love it. 

Tessa and Tod went out to run some last days -errands this afternoon, and I did the laundry. We have been in San Diego since last Friday. It's our first and last stop in a large city in the US. Close to Point Loma we had 2 war ships within close proximity. The navy's presence while we entered the harbor was something different than what we are used to see in San Francisco Bay. 

Our host yacht clubs are both on Shelter Island, a mecca for marine stores/suppliers and within the very nice Point Loma neighborhood.  We are currently staying at the San Diego Yacht Club, and boy, am I glad that we are not at the guest dock (where all members can see you while sipping their drinks), but some where " in the boonies".  We don't have a yacht, we have a great plastic sailboat. Having said that, we had 2 nice encounters with members of both clubs. One older gentleman gave me a ride home from the store, just when I was about to load 30 pounds in my backpack for the 1.5 mile trek home. Another kind club member offered to take Tod anywhere he needed to go.

Last day here tomorrow before we head down to Ensenada. Our friends John and Priscilla with their lovely dog Bo are kindly lending us their car to go to the "winkel", we know who is excited to go!