Tuesday, May 26, 2015

naked Bliss

Is this our beloved Bliss? She looks so naked (or naky, naky, as Tessa started to say when she was younger).

It's hard to believe, but when you take all your lifelines and netting off, you take the dodger and bimini down, cover all your winches and plastics with aluminium foil, then this is the end result. Hard to imagine this is how she came in this world as well, and that 30+ yrs ago, her first owners bought her like this (OK, I admit in a bit better shape than this).

Our haul out was at 130 sh today, and we were excited and anxious to see the truck driver coming with this large hydraulic trailer. The haul-out team obviously know what they are doing, as they have done it for years, and do this procedure for hundreds of boats each year. After they hauled Bliss out of the water, she went for a 1/2 mile ride on the road to the work yard, where Tod is doing the final touches for dry and heat preparations (I have read about recorded thermometers of 150 degrees F inside boats during peak summer). You gotta think carefully what you store down below in that kind of heat!

We are now spending our 2 last nites in Mexico in a hotel. Tessa is slightly confused by this. "When are we going back to Bliss", she asks? Bliss is the only home she knows. But she tells everyone who is willing to listen that Bliss is out of the water, and that she is going to see oma and opa. Hopefully the taxi driver will come with a large enough car on Wednesday morning to fit all our luggage: 2 large duffel bags close to 50 pounds each , 2 carry ons and 2 personal items. Oh yes, car seat as well. The Bliss crew travels not so light.....

Thanks for following us on our first cruising season, and we are hoping to see many of you during our land travels in the US!

Bliss going towards the Golden Gate at the start of our journey,
almost 8 months ago (courtesy picture of Mika)

Monday, May 18, 2015

treasures of the ditch bag

Never thought I would be so excited to find roasted almonds and fig bars. But I am. We can have those in abundance in 10 days from now, when we are back in the US, but here you have to be very lucky to find them.  They were hiding in our ditch bag,  the grab bag we have on board when things go wrong, really wrong and you need to abandon ship.  I can't really answer why I thought it was a good idea to have these items in our ditch bag, but I'm glad I did, as we are getting to enjoy them now at the end of the season.

While Tod and Tessa are taking the bus to Home Depot in Guaymas, I'm going though all the nooks and crannies of Bliss. Our beloved home will be kept in sweltering heat conditions during the summer here, and it's recommended to remove all your food items of the boat. Another score....two bottles of wine we brought from Berkeley 7.5 months ago. Found deep stocked away. We have been drinking some box wine here labeled California, nothing to get really excited about, but the price is right as even very mediocre bottles of wine are expensive here.

Most of the mornings Tod is working on the boat to prep for summer storage on the hard in the dirt of the dessert. Sails and lines are rinsed with fresh water to be stored below decks, water maker is pickled, electronics, wind generator, solar panels are removed, and the list goes on and on (the marina gave us a list of 2.5 pages of tips for hauling out ). It will keep us busy till next Monday when Bliss will be lifted out of the water. Tessa and I spend most mornings at the hotel pool and little playground, after we visit the market close-by.  In the afternoon, we switch and I get to figure out what to pack for the next 6/8 months, or till we come back. We might also travel to colder climates, so hats and mittens are packed as well.

We are in San Carlos, the gringo neighbor city of Guaymas. Google maps calls it Nuevo Guaymas, as it's only 50 yrs old.  It feels like you are in Arizona here. We were only planning to spend a few days in the nice anchorage here, and then go back to Guaymas for our haul -out. But after talking to some fellow cruisers here, we just decided to stay here. What it might lack in, for a better word, character in comparison to the busy working city and history of Guaymas, it makes up in being very clean and quiet. That's all good for what we are trying to do here.

pretty cathedrals you won't find in San Carlos, but you do in Guaymas

bus ride in Guaymas

tessa loves rides in the bus
another birthday aboard in Mexico, with cupcakes and lobster for dinner

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Crossing off our last crossing of the season

I indulged. No, not ice cream, no chai latte extra foam (high on my list when we are back in the US) nor excellent dark chocolate, which is not available in Mexico. No, my indulgence was a 10 minute hot shower in the super clean facilities of Marina Fonatur in Guaymas. And to my surprise, my hair was almost dry when I walked back to Bliss. We're in the desert here, not much humidity. And at this time, the climate is pretty comfortable: not too hot during the day, and we use a light sweater in the evening. We always shower on board, and seldom use shower facilities during the few times we are in a marina. But our showers are short, and we use no more than 4 gallons per shower. Today, I just felt like a long one, one of the things I will enjoy more once we are back on land for a bit.

part of shrimp fleet in Guaymas
We arrived in the port city of Guaymas, Sonora on the mainland side of the Sea early Thursday morning, after a rather uncomfortable overnight passage from Point Chevato on the Baja side. The forecast was not what we experienced. One large 10' wave on our beam made Bliss heel over a good 35 degrees, and our casserole dish was the first broken item we have had since we started travelling 7 months ago. The cabin was a mess down below, but no one got hurt. Tessa did her usual thing, sleeping through the whole night, while Tod and I slept one hour each during the 15 hr passage. Yoho, no more passages for 6 + months!

the after wave effect

Unfortunately we did not see any whale sharks in Bahia Concepción, but did go to a wonderful shelling beach. Tod and Tessa left a geo-cache for our friends of s/v Let it Be on that beach, and hopefully they will find the little surprise.

mhm, did Bliss just move on top of an island?? 

at anchor in pretty  Bahia Concepción
Guaymas is not a place you will find recommended in your guide book, but we are enjoying our time here. It's a working industrial town, one of the largest shrimp ports, with some beautiful restored buildings, friendly people, and all kinds of stores withing walking distance of our marina.  We explored a bit downtown with our friends of s/v Astrea, who we last saw in La Cruz and Tessa and Sully got to chase each other for a while.

Typical Fonatur, mexican government operated marina's.
 Their buildings are`exactly the same in each city.

Guaymas inner harbor,considered a natural hurricane hole. A wedding
party is scheduled for tonite, better get my ear plugs ready
We plan to take Bliss to San Carlos just 18 miles up North  for about a week, and then come back here for preparing Bliss for her haul-out and dry storage.

Happy Mama Day (as Tessa says it) to all my mama friends tomorrow.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Change of scenery and natural breaks

Photo caption: a view of the anchorage at Isla San Francisco, taken while hiking up on the surrounding hills. Bliss is the boat farthest away. Our dinghy is sitting on the sandy beach at lower left (close to another dinghy that's in the water near beach). Those black streaks in the water going away from the beach toward the left of the picture are actually schools of small fish!

The official start of hurricane season in Mexico is around mid May. It provides a natural break for most cruisers, as they put their boats on the hard on stands and go home for 5-6 months. The far majority of people we have met are retired and have a home to go back to, and cruise the waters of Mexico for years on this schedule. Others cruisers we have met planned to go to the South Pacific and spent their first 6 months in Mexico, before they made the big jump across the Pacific in March. Several of our cruising friends are there now, and are enjoying French Polynesia. We have also made friends with families who cruised the Mexican waters for 6 months and then started to make the bash back home to California last month. There so many ways to go cruising, and live this lifestyle.

After 7 months of cruising, the adults on Bliss are ready for a change of scenery and don't mind that the upcoming hurricane season forces us to take a natural break. Tessa could play on the beach every day, but we know she will be very happy to see our family and friends back home too. Like all ways of life, variety is the spice of life. We are looking forward to see our family and friends back home; to live in a place/house where the floor isn't always covered in sand; to go for hikes in the hills and woods; to eat differently; and to enjoy a different climate (both Tod and I love the San Francisco bay area climate, and knew we would miss it).

The Bliss crew will first visit our family in Ohio, and stay with oma and opa. After that, our friends Doug and Cathy graciously let us use their home in Berkeley for three months. Tod will do some part time consulting/contracting work, and Tessa is enrolled in the same art/play group as last year. And I, ever restless, will spend some time looking into our next travel adventure. Buying a small RV and touring the US and Canada is an idea we are toying with. Our home Bliss will be waiting here for us here until we come back after hurricane season and enjoy another cruising season in Mexico.

We have a few more weeks here to go look for that whale shark, which is high on our list! We hear they are around here somewhere close by!

This blog post is being done by radio email, so sorry for including only one picture... even that one low resolution picture is a stretch for our 10K baud radio modem.

At 5/3/2015 04:35 (utc) s/v Bliss was located at 26°43.15'N 111°54.35'W