Thursday, May 12, 2016 Travel Days

Woke up:                  Agua Verde, Bahia Agua Verde, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Went to sleep:         Timbabiche, Bahia San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Travel Days

Peter’s travel day begins long before mine. Soon after day break he gets everything ready to go. The very last thing he has to do is flake the anchor chain as the anchor is lifted from the sea floor. Since this involves opening the chain locker below our bed, this is my last wake-up call.

Peter loves to sail this boat. He has all the sails up even before we leave the anchorage. Often the wind is light early in the morning. We’ll leave the bay under sail even if it takes an hour. This morning it took two. But, this is his precious quiet time.

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Peter’s Quiet Time

 

We sail far more than any other sail boat out here. The other cruisers know no matter how light the wind, Peter will be trimming and tweaking sails to move us down the road – if only at 0.9 knots per hour. He figures we could be sitting idle in the anchorage waiting for the wind to come up or sitting idle on our way. I agree.

Our friend, Mark, from Speakeasy, watched us on his automatic identification system (AIS) as we sailed from Catalina Island to San Diego. He later commented, “I’ve never seen anyone sail 50 miles at 2 knots before.”

The wind almost always picks up by 2:00 pm and often we enter our next anchorage with choppy seas and more wind than we want. But, we had fun and sailed almost all the way.

Mostly an optimist, Peter always says he can see a wind line on the water just off in the distance. This morning he took drastic measures getting us to the wind. We have an agreement he will always have us anchored before dark even if he has to paddle to get us there.

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Sometimes Peter has to row

 

My travel days are perfect, too.

I accompany my coffee with Buddhist literature. I’m currently reading Yoga and the Pursuit of Happiness by Sam Chase. This is an awesome book. As part of my yoga teacher training, I was required to read two well-known texts, The Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Neither one made any sense to me at the time.

Sam Chase has paraphrased these two famous historical texts and eloquently applied them to a life of yoga on and off the mat. I read it over and over.

After coffee and breakfast, I usually read a novel. My preference is historical fiction. Right now I am reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This is a wonderful love story which takes place during the horrendous throes of World War II.

Mid-morning I get sleepy from reading and take a short nap.

After lunch, I may do my arm workout. One hundred tricep push-ups on the companionway stairs and biceps, shoulders and back using 8-pound hand weights. Since the engine ran for a short time, I have ample hot water to thoroughly clean the galley or wash a small load of laundry.

Peter calls me up anytime he sees a pod of dolphins or a whale. The dolphins are the coolest. They’ll come 50 altogether, loping from off in the distance toward the boat, trying to see who can be the first to get to the bow wake. Then they follow us. We are surrounded on both sides by dolphins playing in the churning water cascading off the bow, racing us and each other, frolicking like children.

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The dolphins are very hard to catch on camera

 

The whales are not so welcome. We have heard too many stories of boats, sunk in minutes, the result of a whale tossing the boat into the air or ramming a hole in the hull. Peter turns on the engine to inform them we are not kin.

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A Whale

 

The sound of the ocean, splashing against the hull varies in intensity with our speed. I can recognize a 3.5 knot splash vs. a 0.8 knot splash. A 6.0 knot splash is cause for celebration. Quietly, the wind generator hums while pouring electricity into the battery bank.

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Peter decides to try the light wind sail

 

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Light wind sail aloft

 

Later in the afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky, I make guacamole and move out into the cockpit to visit with Pedro while working a crossword puzzle.

Each travel day is followed by at least one full rest day. We now have only ten days to get back to La Paz and perhaps four more destinations.

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Our Tour of the Sea of Cortez – Apr & May

Woke up:                  Anchored outside Marina de La Paz, La Paz, Mexico

Went to sleep:          Anchored outside Marina de La Paz, La Paz, Mexico

Our Tour of the Sea of Cortez

We set out 27 days ago to explore the Sea of Cortez. Our original goal was to visit 20 anchorages in 42 days. In fact, we made it to our most northerly destination, Playa Coyote, Bahia Concepcion but fell short of 20 different anchorages.

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Arriving at Isle San Fransisco

 

As it turns out, not all anchorages are created equal. Some are very large and can handle many boats while some are very small and can hold only a couple. If the anchorage is inadequate and the boats are close together, it may be necessary to deploy a stern anchor to avoid drifting into each other. Setting a stern anchor is a lot of work.

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A Lot of Work

 

Small anchorages with rock outcroppings and submerged reefs near the entrance are not inviting either.

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Casa Grande

 

Some anchorages have deep (35-feet +) water sloping quickly to the shore. We like to anchor in about 25-feet of water and still be at least 350-feet from the beach. If the anchor should drag in the middle of the night and you’re being blown onto the sand, it’s nice to have ample time to remedy the situation before going aground.

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Peaceful Water

 

All anchorages are exposed to wind chop or ocean swell which makes for a rockin’ and rollin’ vessel. Since it’s impossible to know from which direction the wind will come, you increase your odds of a good night’s sleep if you are protected on at least three sides. This time of year, the prevailing wind is out of the southwest. If the anchorage is open to the south or west you have a higher probability of a restless night. We skipped anchorages oriented in this way.

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They grow ’em big here!

 

Cruisers rate each anchorage by how calm it is overnight. People share horror stories of leaving the anchorage at 2:00 am because they weren’t sleeping anyway.

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Many Shells

 

Rocking can occur either bow to stern or side to side. Bow to stern rocking, if not too ferocious, is like being rocked to sleep in a cradle. Side to side rocking, on the other hand, is almost always miserable. The boat will be completely still for a while. Just when you are falling to sleep, the boat rocks gently side to side. Soon after, the boat is rocking violently to port and you brace yourself from rolling into the wall. A minute later, you find yourself holding on to avoid falling out of bed.

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Agua Verde

 

The sea state can be relentless, continuing unabated for hours or even days. And yet, it’s not even the movement of the boat which is most disturbing but rather the clanging of pots, pans, glasses and plates sliding from one side of the cupboard crashing to the other. We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had only half a dozen sleepless nights since the last time we were tied to a dock, last October in Chula Vista Marina.

Our worst night ever was in Cabo San Lucas. After sleeping very little, we attempted to sit together on the settee and drink our morning coffee. This routine activity was a challenge. Getting your mouth and your coffee cup to the same elevation at the same time – nearly impossible. That day we gave up and checked into the marina for some sleep.

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Agua Verde

 

Each anchorage is different from the last. There seems to be a relationship between the amount of vegetation and the number of insects. We received reports Isle Carmen had bees so we crossed that off our list of places to visit. When you have over 20 to choose from, you can be selective.

Some places have well defined hiking trails. I prefer dirt roads over scrambling through rocks and brush. I haven’t encountered a rattle snake yet and I hope to keep it that way. Agua Verde has a nice dirt road, with four aerobic style up-hills, leading to the Highway 101.

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Dinner?

 

Each location offers differing amenities. In Playa Coyote, a single bar/restaurant on the beach offers excellent Wi-Fi for $20 pesos per hour. Isle San Fransisco has a white sandy beach about three miles long. Agua Verde has snorkeling to rival Hawaii. Bonanza, acsessed via a hike from San Gabrielle, is a beach composed entirely of sea shells. Timbabiche has abandoned historic buildings to explore. Loreto is a wonderful small fishing village offering all the conveniences of a small town, including a dinghy dock.

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Isle San Fransisco

 

Puerto Escondido has almost everything. Restful nights, a flat clean place to practice yoga, hot (mostly) showers, groceries, restaurant, few bugs, spectacular scenery and the legendary Steinbeck Canyon. But, sadly, no cell service.

We made our trip into the Sea, to places we hadn’t visited before. Once again, it’s getting hot in Mexico. We are now making way to La Paz. I fly back to San Diego May 25th and Peter has a friend flying in to help him drive Penelope home.

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On to the next anchorage

 

 

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Friday, April 29, 2016 Adios Amigos

Woke up:          Playa Santispac, Bahia Concepcion, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Went to sleep:  Playa Santispac, Bahia Concepcion, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Adios Amigos

Always having to say ‘good-bye’ is, for me, the hardest part of the cruising life style. This morning I cried when we waved adios to our dear friends, Patrick and Celine, aboard Viola! Patrick’s conch shell sounded a long, mournful ‘so long’ just as the sun was peaking over the rugged mountain range to the east.

Patrick and Celine

Patrick and Celine

Over the past 2 years, we’ve met many couples on many boats and inevitably parted ways for differing destinations. Patrick and Celine will be leaving their boat and driving their motor home to Quebec for the summer.

Two months into this voyage, I cried to my father-in-law, “I miss you guys!” The next day we met Cass Sinclair and John Enders, aboard Victoria, in Morro Bay. He let us raft up alongside his boat when others had turned us away. Cass is famously known as my first female friend. We practiced yoga together there and later in Santa Barbara. After many months together, we said good-bye to John and Cass following a lovely day poolside at Paradise Village, Puerto Vallarta.

After all the hoopla of the first Ha Ha, our crew, Alex and Krista, flew back to Oregon.

Alex and Krista

Alex and Krista

I cried again, feeling sad and alone. Later that evening, anchored in Los Frailes, Ed and his son, Jake, dinghied over to say ‘hello.’ Ed’s wife, Melinda, swam over from their boat, Lorien, anchored nearby, and treaded water next to us for over half an hour.

The Crew of Lorien

The Crew of Lorien

For several months, Ed, Melinda, Jake and their older son, JD, and we played Bocce Ball on the beach in Ensenada Grande and the entire family attended my yoga classes each morning at 9:00 am. In the spring, they left to sail to the South Pacific.

We followed Mark and Deanna, aboard Speakeasy, all the way to Zihuatanejo. There we were introduced to the Mexican tradition of lively music and colorful dancing in the town square each Sunday evening. Entire families, children, aunts, uncles, and grandparents come out to join in the festivities. We had wonderful dinners aboard Mark and Dee’s 42-foot Manta catamaran.

Mark and Deanna Rosenthal With Pedro

Mark and Deanna With Pedro

Peter helped Mark retrieve a wayward anchor from the bottom of the bay in La Cruz. Deanna walked with me many tearful mornings in Tenacatita, comforting me after my skin cancer diagnosis. We said good-bye to Mark and Deanna in La Cruz just before their 19 day, 19 hour voyage to the Marquesas.

The list goes on and on. So, how do I reconcile the joy of making new friends with the loss of having to say good-bye?

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