Thursday, April 30, 2015

a favorite town in Mexico, Santa Rosalia

We have been enjoying this wonderful, non touristy working town on the Baja coast of the Sea of Cortez. Everyone greets you and is very friendly. Cars stop when you cross the street, no traffic lights in the town. A former copper mining town operated by a French company, and you see the French influence reflected in the architecture. Gustave Eiffel (yep, the one of the Paris Eiffel tower) designed the steel church Iglesia Santa Barbara. It made it's way from Brussels (disassembled) to Santa Rosalia over 100 years ago.

We bought some stamps today, and the very friendly clerk let Tessa play on her desk, and gave her a toy car to take home.We enjoyed warm French style baguettes. The ice cream at Splash is to die for.
The town is wheelchair accessible, which we have not noticed in other places in Mexico. We heard that there is an active transvestite community here, which reflects the open mind and heart of this town.

Marina Fonatur can count on our repeat business when we come back after hurricane season. Boats are leaving and spending their last weeks/month before the start of the hurricane season. Almost all our friends are putting their boats on the hard, and go back home or travel by other means for a while. While our Italian friends on s/v Kiribati heading north to haul out in the upper Sea of Cortez, we will be heading south tomorrow for a week of sea and beach time in Bahia Concepción. After that we will cross the Sea one more time to go to Guaymas, and prepare Bliss for her time out of the water, while our family will go back to the US.

The old headquarters of the mining company, now a museum.

The guy in the blue shirt was my personal tour guide for the museum.
At the end of the tour he saw that I was about to put 50 pesos into the
donation box .... he made it clear that he would be happier to have it
directly in his pocket!

Many of the buildings are colorfully painted in pastels.

Bliss at the fuel dock; the small marina (like maybe 20 boats max)
is in background

Tessa loved climbing on this chain hanging from the front of the train engine
on display in the plaza

Stop for some tacos and liquidos

The postal office clerk went to her desk to look for some postcard stamps.
Tessa made her way behind the counter, and before we knew it she was up on
the desk, using the ink stamps!  This lady ended up giving Tessa a toy race car,
which she was thrilled about!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Feliz cumpleaños! Tessa's 3rd birthday in Mexico

What a great way to celebrate your 3rd birthday! Four kid's boats in tiny Santa Rosalia, and sharing a birthday party with Nicolas from  s/v Kiribati was fun. The wonderful Isabella from marina Fonatur offered us a room here, and gave us some tables. Add double home made birthday cakes, balloons, plenty of kids and adults, a pinata and a good time is guaranteed!  And that was not the only party. Tante Corine, uncle Jak and Piper drove all the way down from Ensenada to celebrate a pre-birthday party with Tessa in Loreto a few days back. Thanks to all to make this another memorable birthday!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Necessity is the mother...

We are currently enjoying traveling along with a couple of "kid boats". It really is quite a nice thing to meet other families out here who have kids of a similar age -- both for the kids to play together, as well as for us to have other adults to relate to. We find that most other cruisers we meet -- even if they've had children in the past -- sort of don't get it when we say we can't go out for dinner, or that we need to be back to the boat for a mid-day nap. It's great to be with other parents in the same situation who really understand the way things are.

As it happens, the kid boats were are currently with are both Italian families! One is the boat "Kiribati" with Marco and Deborah, and their son Nicolas. In an amazing coincidence, Nicolas was born the exact same day as Tessa, and we are planning a joint 3rd-birthday party in a few days, on 28 April. The other boat is "Flamenco", with Filippo and Jasmine, and their kids Mathilde and Oliver.

We are again out of cell phone range, and therefore no internet. It's a bit weird to not have that connection to the world that we have all become so accustomed to. I've realized that, in the past, almost every evening I would spend some time looking at stuff on the web.

But we still have our wonderful SSB radio that allows us to get simple emails, weather info, talk to people hundreds of miles away. We can even use it to make this blog post, but with only very limited pictures (sorry, no pictures of Tessa and the other kids, or any other normal pictures ... this time I am trying a simple diagram to see if that works).

One ever-present hassle with the SSB radio is that some of the electrical equipment on board interferes with the radio signals, causing static or weird chirps and hums. One of the offending items is our refrigeration system. I have to resort to flipping off the circuit breaker for the fridge when I want to use the radio. As you can imagine, I am less than perfect in remembering to turn the thing back on when I'm done with the radio. I've tried setting a timer to remind me, and Jolanda even resorted to putting post-it notes all over the place! Finally, after thawing all of our frozen food one time too many, I decided to take an engineering approach to resolving the problem.

[By the way, in case you are wondering -- a radio expert in San Diego convinced me that it's basically impossible to install EMI filters to eliminate RF noise caused by refrigeration systems. He advised to give up on that battle and just turn the thing off when using the radio!]

What I wanted to make was a gizmo that would monitor the refrigeration circuit. If it saw that the power was off for more than 20 minutes or so, it would sound and alarm. After looking through the various electronic parts I have on board, I came up with a pretty simple circuit, shown in the diagram. I won't bore you all with describing it in detail (anyone really interested can read the notes on the diagram). It took a couple of evenings to put the thing together. But it was well worth the effort... it has already saved my butt half a dozen times, avoiding a total melt-down of our frozen stuff! When I hear a strange "beep ... beep ... beep" I suddenly remember "Oh crap, I forgot to turn the fridge on again!".

Sunday, April 5, 2015

swimming with sea lions and buddy boating

Swimming among Sea Lions is really neat, and you don't have to go all the way to the Galapagos islands to do this. It's even more fun to do it with another cruising family, and have your almost 3 yr olds join you in the water.  Lot Islotes is located 0.5 miles off the tip of Isla Partida, and our Italian friends Marco and Deborah of s/v Kiribati invited us to join them on their boat to go see them. Bliss stayed behind in the anchorage of Caleta Partida, and the six of us including their cute Jack Russell Pinta took off. Fun fact is that both our kids are born on the same day and are the same age.

Unfortunately we don't have any pics of any of us in the water with our snorkeling gear on, so we will have to come back for that. And enjoy some more time with these playful and cute marina mammals in their own habitat. These are wild animals, so we were careful to stay away from barking large bull males and to respect their territories.

Nicholas and Tessa eagerly awaiting to see sea lions

sorry, hard to see but sea lions are in front

It has been great for us to hang out with  other cruising families with young kids. We can all relate to napping needs, early dinners and the boundless energy that young kids have. Our buddies Nicole, Jack and their kids Marietta and Jack Jack aboard s/v Let It Be are also in the Sea right now, and we enjoyed some more time back in la Paz with them as well.

Walking with Nicole and Marietta  of s/v Let it Be to the store