A REALLY Bumpy Night

When last I left off, it was getting bumpy and hard to type.  As the night progressed it got even worse.  The wind in this area is supposed to blow from either the North or the East.  We anchored where we would be protected from both directions.  However, “our” wind was out of the West and unrelenting (usually they die down at night) and was full on down the middle of our anchorage.  Neither of us slept really well.  I set the GPS anchor alarm to 100 feet and it went off at one point.  I think because we were bouncing so much, it “thought” we had moved.  Despite the alarm, I still got up three or four additional times to check on the anchor but it didn’t budge.  Fortunately for my peace of mind, I “dove it” when we dropped anchor the day before and saw that it was fairly well dug in.  A little tipped on the side, but not bad.  Had about 5:1 all chain scope, so as long as the wind didn’t go above 20 knots, it theoretically should be fine.

OK, I’ll spare you all the angst and such that I had all night bouncing around worried about breaking loose and being driven on the rocks a hundred yards downwind, other than to say that since the wind stayed for the most part, below 15 knots in our cove, I wasn’t ready to bail out.  Also fortunately, it was dark!  In the morning when we looked out, we both about had an attack.  I knew Charisma was bouncing a lot-we both were hanging on to our berths all night, but to see three plus foot waves rolling through our anchorage and the bowsprit going under water about every fifth or sixth wave was to get religion.  0600, coffee or no coffee, it was time to go!  Since it was too rough the night before to take the dinghy out of the water (we thought!) we still had that chore before we could leave.  Imagine lifting a 60 lb engine out of a rubber boat bouncing up and down three or so feet and trying to secure it to the side of Charisma.  Whew, we were glad to get that done and the rest of the boat cleaned up and were out by 0700.

Other than that particular local weather that we had at Espiritu Santo where just outside our cove it was gusting to over 20 knots, the rest of the day was blue sky, 15-20 knots following wind back down to Bahia Los Muertos, some 40 miles South.  A really stunning sail in blue sky, blue seas and we used almost every sail we had.  Spinnaker, 130 jib, main and stays’l saw use at some point during the 10 or so hour sail.  On the way, got a call from our friends in Black Pearl who were beating up toward La Paz.  They had stayed in Los Muertos for some boat repair and they saw us and called on the VHF (the benefits of tanbark sails are many and one is you are VERY identifiable).  Had a nice chat and wished them well for the rest of their voyage.  Garrett and Ruth are in Black Pearl, a 1960’s era Cal 30.  Garrett just turned 19 or 20 a week ago and I think Ruth is of a similar age and they are just “heading out”.  I hope to hear lots of good things about them in Latitude 38 as the months go by.

Oh, and I have to mention today’s food don’t I?  Well, it was another amazing fish taco with the last of the now mystery fish.  We determined that the two “tuna-like fish” we caught earlier in the week were Pacific Bonito, but we now don’t really know what the “wahoo” was.  We’re pretty sure it wasn’t a Wahoo, but it was by far the most delicious fish either of us have ever had, so we’re interested in finding out what it was.  It had a pointed nose, sharp teeth, about 30 inches, tuna-like body, although slimmer and the most distinctive spots on its side.  Let us know if you have a clue.

Got here (Los Muertos) around 1600 and am sitting in the cockpit right now at 1730 watching the most incredible, full, harvest moon rising over the water.  Huge, bright, perfect.

We’ll leave first thing tomorrow for the more picturesque Los Frailes where we’ll spend a day or so rigging the tiller pilot to Wilson the wind vane so hopefully, we’ll be able to have some amount of auto-steer under power for the trip back up the coast.

Dinghy Ride From..

Well, let’s just say it wasn’t the smoothest dinghy ride I’ve ever had.  OK, maybe worse than that.  But first, I have to note some “spiritual” doings from last night.

11.20.10-We’re still at Caleta El Candelero, and getting a little seasick right now I might add.  It’s 2200 and we have a 15 knot wind out of the SW that’s blowing right into the cove where we’re anchored, with a fetch of about 14 miles, so we’re bouncing in about a 2 foot chop.  We’re going to leave tomorrow for Los Muertos, since as of tomorrow, we’re now officially heading back around the Cape and back up to San Francisco.

So, about last night∑right about 1900 we were down below getting ready for dinner, when very suddenly a stiff breeze blew down through the hatch and got our attention (I mean a serious, sudden breeze).  Geoff scrambled up the companionway ladder to see what the breeze was about and was practically paralyzed.  He was muttering something about 2012 when I pushed up past him and we both were staring at the most amazing sight; a huge plume that curved across the-by now darkened horizon-and covered 1/8th of the sky with a bright light at it’s apex.  We both stared at it for almost 10 seconds in absolute wonder until the bright light dimmed and just the plume was left.  What could it be?  Spirits communicating with us from Espiritu Santo?  We might never know.  We did note that it was on a bearing of 250 to 260 degrees from our position and we’ll check with NASA when we get back to find out if it was a meteor or comet, but in the mean time all we can say is that it was most unusual.  On top of that, the fact that we have little information about the world outside of the boat and our immediate Baja environs and it’s a little strange not knowing.

This experience prompted one of those “blogworthy” comments of the day from Geoff; “We’ve been out here for 34 days and we’ve already seen a lot of cool shit”.  Translating the existential meaning; when you’ve been on a trip like this, you see stuff that fundamentally changes you.  The amazing things we’ve seen and experienced assure we will never see things the same was as we did when we left.

OK, about the dinghy ride∑ Geoff said; “hey are you down for going around the point?”  From the comfort of my hammock lazing away up on the foredeck, I hesitated a moment, but knowing that I’d get no end of grief for NOT going, I quickly said; “sure, why not”.  Why not indeed.  It’s one thing to go DOWNWIND and downwave for two miles in an inflatable dinghy with a four horsepower motor, it’s quite another to COME BACK the same two miles against a 12 gusting to 18 knot building breeze and two foot waves in said dinghy!  We had a nice downwind adventure to Partida Cove which separates the Northern part of the island from the South.  You enter a large bay at the end of which is a beach with a channel through it to the East side of the island.  Pretty cool.  Very beautiful, etc, etc.  The ride back was another thing altogether.  First off, Mr. Geoff didn’t tell me we were going two miles each way.  His invitation; “just around the point”.  Neither of us thought to check the fuel either, so added to pounding back into wind and wave, was the anxiety of having to row part of the way if the engine quit!  We did have an adventure though, we were very wet and we looked pretty cool as we passed some other real boats who no doubt wondered what the two idiots were doing out in the middle of the Sea of Cortez in a flipping 9 foot inflatable raft!  Mission accomplished.

We finished today snorkeling, finishing our ceviche and generally enjoying our last day at this beautiful spot.  Here’s hoping we get to spend more time here in the future.  One could easily spend a month exploring this island and enjoying its beauty.

Tomorrow 0500, up and out (yeah, right).  I have to finish this for now as it’s getting too rough to type anymore. I cn’t begimmmmmmm to tlle whtt thhhhhhhe nex wvve is doiiiiiingg.  Tooo bummmpyi.

A Holy Spirit

We’re at Islas Espiritu Santo, which means;  Islands of the Holy Spirit.  There’s no question; you can feel a spirit here.  From the moment we motored into the bay at Bahia San Gabriel, there was a palpable feeling that this place was different.  From the amazing earthen colors of baked red, ochre, sea blue, coral turquoise, and cactus green, we knew immediately we were in a different place than we’ve been so far in this trip.

On the way here from La Paz, we caught a Wahoo-first of that kind of fish we’ve seen.  A beautiful fish with some serious teeth.  We’re considering making some ceviche tomorrow with this fish.  After Geoff got him filleted and the decks cleaned up, he let the hand-line back out just to straighten it out so he could coil it properly and BAM, hooked the biggest Dorado we’ve yet seen.  Since we have enough fish on board, we decided to let the Dorado go and shook him off the hook.  Good fish Karma.

We anchored in Bahia San Gabriel with only two other boats.  It’s really nice to be away from the Ha-Ha fleet many of whom are still in La Paz.  On this second part of the voyage, we will likely be the only boat in most of the anchorages we visit, now that the race rally is done and most of the boats continue south toward mainland Mexico and parts beyond.

Dinner was as usual, delicious as well as creative.  Geoff “invented” something to make use of our stores.  Sauteed cabbage (one left that we’ve been stripping leaves from to keep it from going bad), grilled yams that have voyaged with us from San Francisco, ancho peppers from the local Mercado in La Paz and grilled “tuna things” (we’re not sure yet what these fish were) that we caught a few days ago and have kept on ice.  Amazing how it plated so well.  A whole grilled fish on a bed of sautéed cabbage with the grilled yams and grilled peppers with melted cheese (I did the grilling and clean up and Geoff was the Master Chef).  We have been eating some amazing meals courtesy of Geoff and his culinary creativity (more below).

My next goal is to get him out of the hammock that he conveniently settled into while I was doing the dishes (our goals here in this simple life are very modest); so I can enjoy the stars and moon.  Rum might be part of the problem here.  It’s Cuban Rum, so that’s OK.

(The next day, 11.19: OK, so the last two sentences above were caused by the Charisma’s before dinner (Geoff’s comment: “Make them strong, I only want to drink one”.  Of course I obliged), wine with dinner and then shots of Cuban Rum after dinner.  After reading them over today, I thought I’d leave them in as evidence of the evening’s activities)

Today (11.19.10 and 24degrees 26minutes North, 110degrees 24minutes West) we left San Gabriel around 0900 and headed further up the island to a spot called Caleta el Candelero.

A short 5 miles trip, so we left the dinghy in the water and towed it up the beautiful coastline.  If you flooded the Grand Canyon and then sailed in it, you have some idea of how spectacular this area is. Adding to the experience was the aroma of chopped onions, bell peppers and jalapeño peppers wafting up through the hatch as Geoff was preparing the Wahoo ceviche.  As he filleted the fish, he would toss bits of raw fish up to me at the helm.  Delicious!  A very pale, almost translucent flesh and a mild buttery flavor.  As we found out later, it made a most excellent dish marinated in the pepper/onion/lime marinade.  A bonus is that it will now keep for 3 or 4 days.

Upon turning into this spectacular bay, we both commented at the same time that we’d like to stay here a couple days.  It just does not get any more beautiful than this spot.  The bay is about π mile by π mile, shallow, mostly only 20 feel deep, all on a white sand bottom.  On the furthest inland side there is a stunning beach.  On the other two sides vertical walls of burnt umber and reddish colored rock rise a couple hundred feet, topped with ridges lined with cactus.  In the very center of the bay is the candelaro or “candlestick”.  It’s a large rock, about 100 yards, by fifty yards that juts a hundred feet or so out of the sandy bottom.  The sandy bottom and the absolutely clear shallow water and cloudless blue sky result in a pale turquoise color on which Charisma just seems to be suspended.  We can see Charisma’s and the dinghy’s shadow on the sandy bottom as well as fish swimming under the boat.  Did some swimming before lunch and saw the usual array of tropical fish, some puffer fish, a skate and some starfish.  Time for a siesta now after eating the delicious Wahoo ceviche, a cheese quesadilla topped with avocado and a cerveza.  More later.

A spiritual place indeed.

Work in Paradise

Yup, today was a workday.  Since we’re officially halfway on our voyage, mileage-wise at 1752 miles, it was time for some boat maintenance before we leave tomorrow to begin our trip back. Actually, we’re not heading “back” for a few more days, as the next two or three days will be at Islas Espiritu Santos, about 20 miles East of La Paz.

Technicalities of the trip aside, there was work to do.  Charisma badly needed a fresh water wash, not having seen same since San Francisco.  She is much better now thank you very much.  I even thing she’s smiling now that all the salt has been rinsed off.

Down below, I changed the oil, oil filter, and the primary and secondary fuel filters.  Diesels will run forever IF they have clean fuel and oil (knock on wood).  We have used 114 hours since leaving SF on the engine.  Most of those hours have been “easy” hours used to run the alternator to refresh the batteries for power for nav instruments and lights, but as we move up the Sea of Cortez, we do less sailing and more motoring (less wind and when we have it, it’s right on the nose), so at least 20 of those hours have been in the last week.  We did very little motoring from SF all the way to Cabo.

Geoff started the day by going to the Mercado.  He had a fun time getting supplies and returned with stories of how to butcher a pig (apparently today was “pig day” at the market) as well as lots of fresh vegetables which down here means various peppers, some tomatoes, avocados, limes and sweet potatoes.  We stripped all the cardboard off, washed all cans and fresh veggies in white wine vinegar (the object is to wash/kill any pest eggs) and then stored all the provisions.  Hopefully this will keep Charisma pest free.

Geoff also made the supreme mistake of asking; “what else can I do?”  The Supreme Commander (yes, I still wear that hat occasionally) with an evil glint in his eye innocently said; “the ice boxes could use washing down”.  In reality, the Supreme Commander had discovered earlier, while changing the oil, the source of flies in the boat. They appeared to come from some fish that had gone bad a couple weeks ago and which run-off found its way into the bilge (the iceboxes drain there).  This resulted in maggots in the bilge, etc, etc.  The upshot: Geoff cloroxed the heck out of the ice-boxes, the drains into the bilge and the bilge itself.  All mentioned are now so clean, we could drink out of them.  In fact, after pumping the bilge, I think the marina is pretty clean now too!  The flies persist, but we’re eliminating them one at a time.  Not all is paradise in paradise.

For my part, I made a smallish mistake.  I decided that the best way to completely clear the bilge was to use the hand pump under the cabin sole.  It drains the bilge completely, whereas the electric pump stops a little short of clearing the bilge.  Anyway, as I said, I wanted to drain the bilge to get rid of the maggots.  The problem is or should I now say; “was”, we also use the manual bilge pump to pump out the holding tank at sea (for landlubbers, it’s where we – well – in the marina – well, it really stinks when we have to pump it out!  OK, I’m not admitting to anything here, I’m just saying; once I cleared the bilge, I had to leave the area for a while as I didn’t want to have to answer any questions from our neighbors or the dock police.  Back at the boat a half hour or so later, there appeared to be no repercussions.

We also discovered that Geoff is excellent at killing flies and bees.  For some reason, some bees had decided that Charisma was a good place to nest.  Probably the cereal Geoff brought back attracted them.  We weren’t as comfortable with them as they seemed to be with us.  Deadly force was exercised.  With dispatch!  The bees have retreated for now.

Boat projects have a way of expanding.  I won’t bore you with all of them, but suffice to say there were a ton of; “tighten this, fix that, etc, etc” and before I knew it, it was MARGARITA TIME.  Geoff is back in town for the evening and I went to the Beach Club for a shower (probably the last one for a while) and a cocktail overlooking La Paz Bay at sunset.  Beautifull!  Then treated myself to a last dinner ashore. I had Carpaccio de Salmone and Salad Rustico or something like that.  My waiter was the highlight:
Omar Fabian Hernadez Mondragon.  He was very, very good.  Really knows his wines and is trying to get into an exchange program to work in Canada.  I gave him my email address and told him I’d be an enthusiastic reference for him.  He seemed genuinely pleased.  My Spanish and his English made conversing an experience!  I hope I didn’t tell him by accident that he could bring his family and live with me in San Francisco.

Opps, almost forgot to mention that in the middle of all the work-Geoff made some excellent fish tacos from the Mahi we caught a couple days ago.  Fresh tortillas, avocados, peppers, salsa, mahi, onions∑.  We’ve been carefully keeping the Mahi and the two tunas on ice, so they are fresh as can be.  Yum.

So, tomorrow, we get up at a reasonable mid-morning hour, motor to the harbormaster and check out.  By then (late morning) hopefully the wind will kick up a bit and we’ll sail the 15 or 20 miles to our next destination.  We’ll see where the weather allows us to anchor (many of the bays at Isla Espiritu Santos are exposed to NW wind).

More once we get there.

A Day In La Paz

Don’t know what day it is, but my watch tells me it’s the 16th.  What a fun city La Paz is!  I really enjoyed walking around.  Probably because I’m a gringo, the entire city looks fascinating.  I didn’t even come close to covering the whole thing.  That’s good, since it leaves me room to further explore next time.  I’ll probably anchor in the inner harbor too just for the full experience. We’re further up the channel at Costa Baja Marina to give ourselves a break from anchoring out all the time.  More on Costa Baja below.

The part of La Paz I explored today was along the channel into the harbor.   It’s very picturesque.  I found the Super Mercado, where lots of individual vendors set up mini-shops to sell their wares under one roof. On one side of the market there are the clothes and shoes.  Not very good quality merchandise unfortunately.

In the middle are the produce vendors.  I bought a couple dozen limes, some cilantro and half dozen avocados.  All got washed in white wine vinegar back at the boat before they came “down below”.  I’m being very careful about trying not to pick up “critters” that are hard to get rid of later.  No paper/cardboard is allowed on board either.  Things like cereal boxes can harbor cockroach eggs in a tropical environment, so everything gets removed from its packaging and gets poured into various containers before being stored on board.

At the far end of the market are the meat, fish and poultry vendors.  There’s a lot of “interesting” looking meat for sale, including an entire pig’s head in one of the meat cases.  I took a picture and hope to upload it here someday when I have internet with enough bandwith.

Found a Tortilleria and bought a kilo of freshly made tortillas for about US $2.50.  I’m eating one (well, actually three) rolled up with some salsa for a snack right now.  Delicious!

Two popular things down here are the street fruit vendors and the ice cream stores.  The fruit vendors have all sorts of fruits that they peel, and chop into a cup.  I had a papaya with lime this morning.  Yum. After lunch, the ice cream.  A true luxury!  Actually it’s sherbert-more ice than cream, but all the more delicious in this heat.  I had Lime and Watermelon.

Anyway, tons of walking today and then back to Costa Baja Marina which is where we are staying.  A little luxury before we head back out.  After today/tomorrow I don’t think we’ll be in another marina until San Diego about three weeks from now (if we’re lucky with the weather).  This place is great.  It’s not downtown, the marinas there were full, but there’s a free shuttle every hour.  It takes about 20 minutes into town. But more importantly, this place is LUXURIOUS! (Sue and Andy, check it out online-there’s golf in the hill above AND a Moorings office in the marina.  They have about five 38ish foot boats for charter.  Isla Espiritu Santos is 15 miles away and you could easily spend three/four days just exploring there.  I think it’s probably on the internet at costabaja.com).

As part of the Marina Berth fee of US $40/day, we get access to the resort’s Beach Club.  I’m trying to upload a picture from my iPhone of sunset in the bar overlooking an infinity pool which in turn overlooks all of La Paz Bay.  Absolutely stunning!  And clean showers.  The first I’ve seen on this trip.  Most marina showers are dirty and/or in disrepair.  These are full-on resort showers.  Tons of water, clean and luxurious. Again; after this it’s sun showers on the deck, salt water bucket showers and/or sponge baths for the next three plus weeks, so we’re taking advantage of the resort access.

La Paz

So, tomorrow is boat project day.  We need to change the oil, and all the associated oil/diesel filters, see if we can find a way to combine Wilson the Monitor wind vane, with a tiller pilot I bought (theoretically Wilson can steer the boat while motoring with this set-up), fix a leak we found in the port deck light and do some final provisioning for the trip back.

So, until later, Adios Amigos – and thanks very much for all of you who have been sending comments.  They are fun to read!

1752 sea miles to La Paz

Yup, that’s how far we’ve come since leaving SF a month ago.

Left Los Muertos at 0558 on the 15th.  Enjoyed watching the sun come up as we got outside the bay and started heading up the coast.  Got into La Paz yesterday afternoon. A pretty uneventful motor sail of 8 hours in very light winds.
Caught two small tuna and then right outside La Paz caught a nice Dorado. We have a new way to “dispatch” our catch other than bonking them on the head with a winch handle (very messy). We now spray alcohol into their gills. Kills them instantly. What kind of alcohol you ask?  Well, we’re in Mexico, so we use cheap tequila. Now the fish pass on quietly and with a smile on their face. Everyone’s happier. Made Mahi Mahi for dinner with frijoles and rice.
Going into La Paz for the day now so more later.

Another slow day in paradise

Still anchored in Los Meurtos.  Pretty lazy today.  OK, REALLY lazy.   I spent much of the day napping in the hammock and Geoff spent it trying to spear a fish.  The fish didn’t cooperate.  He is very frustrated.   Bloodlust has returned.  He spent at least four hours today either trolling from the dinghy or spearfishing with his snorkel gear.  No luck, nada.

We changed roles later in the day.  I went snorkeling (although I know better than to try and spearfish.  It’s not as easy as it looks) and Geoff took a snooze on the cabin top after grudgingly consumed a PB&J sandwich.

Around 1600 we dinghied into the beach to check out the Giggling Marlin.  It’s a bar above the beach.  I think it was built in the hopes that there would be a resort here.  As of now, it’s just the bar and nothing else.   Most of the cruisers were there (there are about a dozen other boats anchored in the bay with us), so we “checked in” and joined them for a Margurita.  (For Ann: Valpariso, Otter, Double Dharma, and some others you know were there and we all had a nice chat.  They said to say; “hello!”)

Used the last of the eggs today and fried some potatoes with the last of the tomatoes, avocado and peppers and a little salsa and Sirachi Sauce and made burritos for dinner.  Out of the last five eggs, we had one bad one we had to scoop out of the pan.  We learned that when working with eggs that have been stored in the bilge for four weeks, it’s wise to break them one at a time into a bowl before pouring into the pan.  Not bad though, one for a dozen over four weeks without refridgeration.

Unless we catch fish tomorrow, we’ll be breaking into some of the dried goods.  The biggest surprise is that we’re been eating fish for over three weeks now and haven’t had to break into the longer term stores. Many of the other cruisers here are quite jealous as there are many reports of no luck at all while we’re catching at least one almost every day.

Tomorrow we leave for La Paz.  Early (hopefully anchor up around 0600).  It’s 55 miles and definitely NOT recommended to enter in the dark.  It’s not too likely we can get there before dark, so our alternate plan will be to stop at a bay just to the North called Estero Balandra.  If that doesn’t look too good there are a couple other options as well.  I learned today, that it’s Sunday, so that means we plan to get into La Paz on Tuesday. We’ll spend a day or two there, then go out to Isla Espiritu Santo for a couple days and explore that island before retracing our route back around the Cape and up to San Francisco.

That’s all for today.

Don’t know, don’t care.

Position: 23degrees 59minutes North, 109degrees 46 minutes West

Yup, that’s about where I am right now.  I realized today, I don’t really know what day OR date it is.  NICE!

We left Frailes (reluctantly) at 0630 this morning.  I think we both would have gladly stayed there another couple of days, but despite not knowing what day it is, we do know we have a schedule to be back by and it doesn’t allow too much lingering if we’re going to have time to get to La Paz.  Most of the other boats that were with us stayed in the shelter of Frailes, waiting out the northerly.  We unfortunately had to go and pound through it to get to Los Muertos.  Basically 10 hours of bashing into 15-25 knot winds on the nose, with three to four foot chop. We motored the whole way.  Not fun, but got us there/here.  We averaged about four knots, which basically means if you were able to fast jog the forty miles, you might have got here before us.

On this leg we were able to “touch” 5 knots, but then would hit a series of waves that would slam the boat and slow us to 3 knots (sometimes a little less).  Charisma would dive into the wave, bury her bow and shake the water loose as she threw her head to the sky like a wild horse kicking and jumping across the plain.  As she did this, she’d throw a couple dozen gallons of water that she’d scoop up into the air and down the deck.  The result would be two sailors constantly ducking underneath the dodger (oh, that’s why they call it that!) and six inches of water in the scuppers trying to drain over the side.  A taste of things to come when we BASH back up the coast of Baja and California.  Except the wind and water here are warm.

Some dolphins joined up with us for a while, but we were going to slow for them and we didn’t have the “dolphin whisperer” (Ann Adams), so they didn’t hang too long.  About five minutes and some jumping next to the boat.  Geoff and I are getting pretty blasé as neither of us even made a move for our cameras.  “Oh, there are some dolphins, yawn”.

No fishing today.  We were both tired and I think we’re secretly tired of fresh fish!  Had some smoked oysters with our Charisma at sunset and I made Sardine Pasta.  I’m sure the bloodlust will hit again as we leave here for La Paz.  Fresh fish is such a luxury, who could really tire of it?

A minor crises; we’re out of wine (OK major crises, but I don’t want to make too big a deal out of this).  We’ll go ashore tomorrow and see whether we can find some wine and by then we’ll be out of ice and probably close to out of beer too.

Oh.  My.  God.   We’re still at least three days out of La Paz.  What will we do???

Got in here a little before sunset (that’s two for two now.  This time we even saw the sunset after anchoring) so we haven’t explored the area yet.  From our anchorage about 100 yards off the beach, there’s not much to see. But we know there’s a Giggling Marlin (don’t ask) at the end of the cove.  Might have to check in there tomorrow.

That’s it for today.  It’s 2030 and I’m thinking some stargazing and bed are on the busy agenda for the next hour or two.


You can see the bottom at 40 feet

November 11, update:

The water here at Frailes Bay is so clear I can see the anchor chain on the sand, 40 feet down.  I went for a swim/snorkel and saw a Leopard Ray (I think they are called that, big bat ray, with leopard spots and a two foot long stinger), a skate, grouper, and hundreds of schooling fish.  I even swam with a couple of the schools.  They tolerate you if you don’t move too much and you are quickly in the middle of hundreds of brightly colored 6-10 inch long fish.  The ones I was with had bright yellow tails and a yellow stripe down the side of a silver body. Lots of other tropical fish in 15 feet of water among the rocks.  Just like being in an aquarium.

The water temp is pure bathtub.  Jump in, no cold shock.  Wonderful.  We swam a good part of the day and I spent the other part in the hammock on the foredeck.

Our friends on Black Pearl showed up just before lunch.  As usual (for them) their engine wasn’t working well coming out of Cabo, so they sailed all the way here.  Took them just short of three days.  At this point, they are pretty much on a diet of Top Ramen and Mac and Cheese, so we had them over for a beer and fish tacos.  I think they each ate about four.  Gave them some ham to help perk up a future dinner and some earplugs (they mentioned that when the diesel is working, it’s REALLY LOUD.  No soundproofing).  Part of the cruiser’s economy.  You give folks what you have extra of.

That’s it for a quick add to today’s post.  It’s about sunset, so out with the cameras, then Charismas!  We were in a near rum crisis, but turns out Geoff has a “handle” of Sailor Jerry.  Crisis averted.  We’re going to try Sailor Jerry as the prime ingredient tonight.

Dinner plans are for Mahi and Tuna steaks in teriyaki/sesame/lime marinade and bbq’d yam slices with olive oil and salt.

After dinner now that the hammock is set up, I’m going to pretend to be looking at the stars and probably fall asleep in said hammock after such a tough day (he says with tongue firmly planted in cheek).

Bye for now.

We can see our anchor chain 38 feet down

Position:  23degrees 22minutes 47seconds North, 109degrees 25minutes 16seconds West.

We sailed all day yesterday and anchored in Frailes Bay right about sunset.  Yup, we finally entered someplace before dark.  We would have been here earlier, but caught two fish on the way which delayed us while we brought them in and then cleaned and filleted them.

The trip down was seemingly what Baja sailing is all about.  12 knots wind, warm temps, minimal waves and sea life everywhere.  Upon leaving Puerto Los Cabos, we saw a whale spout and dive.  It didn’t come back up, so we’re still waiting for a “quality” whale sighting.  About an hour later, half a dozen or more Manta Rays passed us, about two feet under the surface and going the other direction in perfect formation.  They looked like a flock of geese in their formation.

2PM, the clothespin on the handline went; “pop” either signaling someone bumped the lifeline as we often do, or a fish hit the lure.  Geoff checked it and found the latter.  Game on!  After about 10 minutes of pulling, we saw a flash of bright blue and then fluorescent green.  Dorado!  Gorgeous, flashing his colors at us while we gaffed him and pulled him aboard (sounds primitive-it is!).  About 40 inches or so, we’ll have Mahi Mahi for a few days.  Or more likely we will dinghy around the anchorage today and give some away to the folks who aren’t having any luck fishing (there are quite a few).  While Geoff was cleaning and filleting his catch, we sailed through a whole school of Dorado chasing flying fish.  They were leaping out of the water five and six times following their prey.  It is amazing seeing such brilliant colors all of a sudden exploding out of the deep blue water.  Equally amazing seeing a four foot plus fish flying through the water!

2:30, a flying Manta Ray!  Six foot wingspan leaping completely out of the water four times.  Each time spinning into a double backflip.  Entertaining as hell.  You can’t keep your eyes off the water in expectation of some fantastic show.

3PM, ziiinngggg!  Tuna on the fishing pole.  I took this one and reeled him in, cleaned and filleted him.  The hardest part about fishing out here is actually cleaning/scrubbing the deck afterward to get the blood off before it becomes part of the nonskid.  About a 20 pounder, he contributed to sashimi once anchored.

The evening in Frailes was wonderful and relaxing.  After sashimi and Charismas, we adjourned to the cockpit for cigars, scotch and shooting stars (several of which were so bright they looked more like parachute flares hanging in the sky).  And I’ll let you in on a little secret:  If you pee over the side here, the phosphorescence in the water makes it glow (from Ann – much to Ann’s dismay, Bob refused to prove this for her).

Went to bed around midnight, but bounced back up to check on a noise.  Geoff was still awake and my words to him after our evening of scotch, beer, Charismas and a little wine; “if you hear a splash, come get me”.  Hysterics from the forepeak.

Back to this morning.  It’s 0930, I’ve just finished my coffee, cereal and this post and am getting ready for a swim.  Geoff just got back and reported that he’s already seen; a seal, angel fish, puffer fish, parrotfish, barracuda, grouper, stingray, skates, and an eel among others he’s not sure of.  So far this morning I think he’s said; “I can see why people never leave here”, about 7 times.  I agree!

That’s it for now.  We’re staying here for the day.  Maybe go further North tomorrow, but we’ll see.