Monday, December 31, 2012

Six Years On the Boat and Still Afloat

The last six years on the boat have been great for us. In 2006 we sold our house and sold, gave away and then stored what remained of our stuff and moved onto our boat which at the time was a 44 Defever. In the Fall of that year we fell in love with and purchased a 46 Nordhavn then moved aboard and put the Defever up for sale. Six years later we're still living on our Nordhavn, Discovery, and have cruised twice to Alaska and down the coast to Mexico where we've been for 4 years. Life has been good to us for a lot of reason.

  • In Mexico everyday has a touch of adventure to it. Just going to the grocery store can be an adventure.
  • Life can be so unexpected. When we started this we had no idea we would end up here in six years and we have no idea where we will be 2, 4, or 6 years from now.
  • We survived the worst economy and market crash since the great depression and we still have enough money to keep going. Not sure exactly how we did that but we're glad we did.
  • We enjoy the warm weather of Mexico and there is nothing more fun than jumping off the back of the boat into warm water and swimming around a quiet anchorage. We have lived most of the last 4 years in t-shirt, shorts, and sandals.
  • Riding a bus around a Mexican city is the best entertainment available.
  • Our boat has become a very comfortable home. We have not wanted for bigger or newer. It fits us perfectly.
  • After spending 6 years together in a small boat in calm and rough seas we're still talking to each other and still very much in love.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Stuck in Ensenada Waiting for Good Weather

Wave height predictions for the northern Baja coast for Christmas week from


We're still in Ensenada, waiting for a weather window so we can head south. Our original plan was to leave December 8th, then there was a family health scare that turned out to be just a scare that put our plans on hold for a few days and then our ATM card was eaten by a bank machine in San Diego and it took a week to get replacement cards and then the weather turned bad, really bad. The winter storm season began up north and with one front after another coming down the coast with high winds and seas (10+ ft) that made it impossible to leave. As we wait it is quickly getting too late to get down the Mexican coast and to Central America this season so we work on a plan B, what do we do if we can't get out of here until mid January? Our Plan B is to cruise down Baja and the Mexico mainland to PV and then return to La Paz for the summer and leave next November to head south. As we sit and watch the weather forecasts every day we’ve started to like plan B, it gives us a good cruising season in MX this year and then we can leave early next season and take our time getting south. Now, if we get a break in the weather in the next week or two we'll need to decide once we get down the Baja coast, do we quickly head south or bag it for this year and wait for next season?

So we sit waiting, without our car which we took to Tucson and turned over to Linda's son when we thought we would be leaving in early December. And the cold winter temperatures are upon us. The low last night was 45 and the daytime highs barely reach 60. It's damn cold here and we want to get south!

Waiting for weather is difficult. The urge to leave is strong. We start looking for a small window of opportunity, a brief let up in the wind, hoping that the forecast is over estimating the wind speed or wave heights even though we know that's not likely. We try to convince ourselves to go ahead and leave even when the forecast is not so good. We're just going down the coast, it won't be dangerous, not in a Nordhavn we tell ourselves. But when we're out there being thrown around in large seas we swear 'never again' and yet the next time we think the same way.

So what’s good weather? Our rule is that the sea height needs to be under 5 feet with wave periods (the time between the wave peaks) of 10 seconds or greater. That gives us a comfortable ride. We need 4 days to get from Ensenada to the next protected anchorage, Turtle Bay. From there it's 4 days to Mag Bay and then 4 days to round Cabo Falso to the anchorage at los Frailes. So we need at least 4 days to get out of here. We can wait in Turtle Bay and Mag Bay for good weather but we won't leave without a forecast of 4 good days. And we don't like to leave in front of heavy weather. Better to leave just as a front moves through and have improving conditions as you progress rather than have deteriorating conditions as the front moves in on you. And better to have a good forecast than a marginal one because forecasts are often wrong and when they are the conditions are more often than not worse than predicted, not better.

So we sit and wait doing small boat projects and using up all our supplies. Soon we’ll need to make a run to Costco to re-provision. And did I mention we don’t have our car? And it’s cold!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

San Diego Trip Rant

Last Saturday we had to go to our mail box in San Diego to pick up some new credit cards that we needed. We had already dropped off our car in Tucson so we had to get up and back by taxi, bus, foot, and trolley. This is our story.
  1. 7 AM. Taxi ride from the marina to the ABC bus terminal in Ensenada
  2. Bus ride from Ensenada to the terminal in Tijuana near the border crossing
  3. Walk over the bridge spanning the traffic lanes at the border
  4. The line of people to cross the border on foot was daunting. Someone said there were 3000 people waiting in line and it would take over 4 hours.
  5. A taxi driver approached us and offered to take us to Otay Mesa where the line was shorter and we could get across in 20 minutes, or so he said. We took the taxi.
  6. At Otay Mesa there was a mere few hundred people in line so we stood in line for 2 hours before getting across. The reason it took so long is that there was only 2 and sometimes just one US border agent clearing people.
  7. Had a quick lunch at the Bambino coffee shop just across the border (good bagel, cheese, & sausage sandwich).
  8. Took a bus to the Iris trolley station in Chula Vista. We didn't have the required exact change for the bus fare so the driver let us ride for free. (thank you, thank you..)
  9. Bought an all day transit pass and got on the Blue line heading to downtown San Diego.
  10. Due to trolley maintenance the line was closed for a three mile section in National City so we had to get off of the trolley and take a bus across the closed area.
  11. Got back on the trolley at the 8th Ave station heading north to the 12th Ave station.
  12. Got off the Blue line trolley and bordered the Orange line to the Old Town station.
  13. Got off at Old Town, waited 20 min and got on the number 28 bus heading to Shelter Island.
  14. Got off the bus and walked half a block to the Postal Annex store.
The trip north took 7 1/2 hours from the marina in Ensenada to arriving at the Postal Annex store in Shelter Island. After picking up the one envelope with our two new credit cards we walked three blocks to Downwind Marine to buy a quart of varnish and then reversed our route to the border, walked across the border to the bus station in TJ, picked up a quick meal at McDonald's and rode the bus back to Ensenada arriving at the boat a little after 7 PM.

A few observations -

It seems that US Customs is trying to make crossing the border into the US as difficult and unpleasant as possible. They have few border agents and the lines are too frikin' long. Driving south we have seen times when US agents will close 3 lanes of traffic with cones for no other reason than to cause a traffic backup just before the border. It seems that they are making life as difficult as possible for people crossing the border just because they can. Welcome to the US.

There are thousands of people who cross the Mexican-US border everyday to work in the US. The trolleys and buses are packed with Mexicans commuting from MX to jobs in the US. The women are frequently dressed in uniforms from the hospitality industry while the men are wearing work clothes dirty from manual labor.

Although the buses and trolleys are packed full of people and the border crossing lines are long the people are well mannered and courteous. The people look tired and burdened, these are hard working people who get paid near minimum wage for their labor. They should be treated better at the border.

The mass transit system in San Diego is great. It moves thousands of people a day in clean and efficient trolleys and buses. Thank you SD for building such a system.

Never walk across the border north bound in TJ on a Saturday or any other day if possible.

This was an exhausting trip that we will not do again unless a life depends on it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Summer Projects


Discovery in BajaNaval

Some projects came to us, we didn't have to go looking for them. Our hot water tank stopped working after 15 years of service and was beyond repair, so that became the top priority for that week. A new tank was located in San Diego and after a quick trip north we had a new tank onboard. We replaced the wire run from the panel and the old tank came out and the new in without too much hassle.

Some of the other projects -

  • Remove the AIS receiver and replace with Si-Tex AIS Transceiver so we now transmit our location and heading . The Si-Tex AIS has a built in GPS so that can serve as a backup GPS for navigation.
  • Replace the 6 year old house battery bank with new Lifeline AGM 6-CT model 6 volt batteries that are 300 amp each for a total of 1500 amp hours, an increase of 300 amp hours over our previous batteries. We bought the batteries directly from Lifeline in LA and hired a local in Ensenada to drive up and bring the batteries back.
  • Replace our AirMar PB100 weather station that was failing after only 5 years with a new PB150 unit. Furuno and Airmar (the manufacture of the PB100 and 150 units) were not helpful in repairing or replacing the failing unit after only 5 years of use. A big disappointment!
  • Install a new IPN ProRemote battery monitor from BlueSky. This replaces our aging e-Meters that were starting to give erratic readings and it gives us more information on the condition of the batteries.
  • Replace many of our incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs including the anchor light. For the anchor light we purchased the Dr. LED replacement bulb for our AquaSignal anchor light.
  • Upgrade the navigation PC from Vista to Windows 7 and upgraded Coastal Explorer to version 2011 and installed Jeppeson C-Map charts for Mexico and Central America.
  • Purchase an iPad with the Navionics software and charts for Mexico and Central America.
  • Boat haul out at Baja Naval yard for bottom paint, installation of a new transducer, rebuilding the step in the passageway leading to the front stateroom, and adding two dorade vents to the pilothouse roof.
  • Purchased an Hobie two person kayak off of Craigslist from a person in Oceanside, CA. Now we have to find a place to store it on the boat. It's a little bigger on the boat than it looked in their backyard.
  • Replaced watermaker membranes and vessels (the tubes housing the membranes) with generic units from Cruise RO Water and Power. We had Village Marine membranes but they are 38" long in a 40" vessel ( Why do they do this? ) and the VM membranes cost $500 each while the generics are $187 each plus the VM end caps are made of plastic and they crack around the fittings causing them to leak. The generic vessels have metal end caps that don't leak.
  • Replace the aging paravane lines with new 3/4" nylon three strand line.
  • Replaced the engine starting battery. Our Interstate 8D battery died after 39 months, 3 months after the warranty expired. Replaced with a Continental 8D maintenance free (sealed) battery.
  • Replaced the faucets in both heads.  One was leaking and the other one was just ugly.  These are really small spaces to work.

And dozens of other little things that I can't think of now.

The problem with boat projects is that most of them take a lot longer to complete than planned for and nothing ever seems to go as planned. Parts don't fit, bolts are frozen, and you're often twisted into a small space where you're likely to drop parts into a dark abyss where they cannot be retrieved.

That's life on a boat.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ensenada Summer



Now that summer is over and we're near the end of our stay in Ensenada it's a good time to look back at what we've been up to.

The trip up the outside in June was not fun. It was rough at times and Linda suffered from sea sickness. When we arrived in Ensenada Linda was ready to call it quits for this boating thing and we were talking about taking the boat north and doing the inside passage or maybe even selling her. We then took a 3 week road trip to Tucson and up to Boise and when we returned we felt refreshed and started to take a new look at things. I was not excited about going north. Returning to the States was not exciting for me. What would we do? Get an apartment and go to the mall and Starbucks everyday? Being on the water, in the boat, just the two of us, that's exciting and what I really wanted to do. Linda, with some distance from the rough trip up here, admitted she really wanted to continue boating and go on to Panama. She knew her limits, she would have times of discomfort and she would get sea sick again but she still wanted to keep going. So over a coffee and chai tea at Starbucks we decided to keep boating and prepare to head south to Panama and maybe even Ecuador. We started to make plans to prepare the boat and continue the dream. Lists were made, projects discussed and prioritized, and money spent. Lots of money!

We don't know what we're going to do once we get to Panama, we just know we're going to have some fun and see some monkeys!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Pizza, Pizza


Up in the States, Linda found a magazine titled 'Pizza on a Grill' that had articles about cooking pizza on a BBQ. When we had a house, with a real oven, we used to cook pizza from scratch every week yet despite all our effort we have not been unable to cook a good pizza in our convection oven on the boat. The heat in our boat oven will not cook the dough evenly on the bottom, the dough is done on the top well before it's even close on the bottom. So being pizza crazy, Linda makes the dough from scratch in a bread making machine and the marinara sauce from scratch also, we jumped on trying the BBQ the recipe. And guess what, it worked the first time! Great pizza on the BBQ. Life is good, rather GREAT again. Now to get some Italian sausage and black olives.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Road Trip

Raod Trip 1

We just returned from what's turning out to be our annual road trip to visit family in Tucson and Boise. Traveling nearly 2500 miles in our '93 Jeep with 212K miles on it through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and back south through Nevada and Arizona in 18 days. A few quick observations.

  • People in the US eat a lot of food, and it shows. Restaurant portions are huge and what is with all the bacon?
  • People in the US seem to be afraid of almost everything from strangers to obscure diseases. Maybe it's being constantly exposed in the media to every possible danger and risk including the constant barrage of pharmaceutical ads.  With all the random shootings maybe the fear is justified. Get a grip people, turn off the TV and go for a walk.
  • Utah is a beautiful place and it looks very prosperous. They seem to be doing something right there.

Raod Trip Fire

  • It's hot up North this summer and there are a lot of range fires. Global warming is here.
  • People in the States don't smile very much. People on the streets and in their cars seem either angry or depressed. What with the economy and the political mess they may have a reason.
  • It's expensive in the States. Hotels, gas, restaurants, even a drink in a bar cost a lot more than in Mexico. Not to mention health care, even with a job that has "good" insurance you can be out thousands of $ if you get sick.

We like to travel and had a good time seeing some parts country where we haven't been before but it was good to be back home on the boat and in laid back Mexico. Now back to work on the boat.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Last Leg of La Paz to Ensenada

We reached Ensenada Sunday 17 June in the afternoon after four days of nice cruising from Turtle Bay.

Here are the numbers for the total trip -

Avg Speed
Anchorage Waypoint

La Paz – Marina de La Paz 24°09.318'N  110°19.580'W
9 hr 11min
los Muertos 23°59.337'N  109°49.720'W


2 day 14 hr
Bahia Santa Maria 24°46.532'N  112°15.402'W

Bahia Santa Maria

Bahia Santa Maria

Bahia Santa Maria

Bahia Santa Maria

1 day 4 hr
Abreojos 26°43.969'N  113°32.259'W
12 hr
Asuncion 27°08.126'N  114°17.448'W
10 hr
Turtle Bay 27°41.170'N  114°53.242'W

Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay
7 hr
Isla Cedros – east side mid anchorage 28°10.107'N  115°09.356'W

1 day 8 hr
Punta Colnett 30°57.712'N  116°17.401'W
11 hr 30min
Ensenada – Cruise Port 31°51.313'N  116°37.267'W

Totals for La Paz to Ensenada

Total Miles  - 821 NM
Total Main Engine Run Time - 158 hours
Total Gen Run Time - 46 hours
GPH - 1.93 (for Main Engine, fuel used reduced for Gen run time @ .75 gph)
MPG - 2.88

Total days on board - 18
Total travel days - 12
Overnight Passages - 3

Passage Notes

Los Muertos to Bahia Santa Maria 
This leg took us around Cabo Falso which was 6 hours of pounding into 30 kt winds and 10' seas. The weather forecast was for winds of less than 10 kts and long period swells. This was the Buoyweather forecast for that area - 
                  WIND                  SEAS
DATE   HR  dir/deg  range(kt)   dir/per   range(ft)
----  ---  ------------------   -------------------
6/1   05    NW 318   9 - 12     WNW  8sec   4 -  7
6/1   11     W 263   2 -  2       S 15sec   4 -  7
6/1   17   WSW 255   4 -  6     SSW 14sec   4 -  6
6/1   23   WNW 303   5 -  7     SSW 14sec   4 -  7
6/2   05     W 274   1 -  2     SSW 13sec   4 -  6
6/2   11   SSW 209   4 -  5     SSW 13sec   4 -  7
6/2   17   WSW 246   5 -  6     SSW 17sec   4 -  7
6/2   23     W 274   3 -  5     SSW 16sec   4 -  7

We were off Cabo Falso at 00:00 (midnight) on June 2 and the winds were consistently over 20 kts. After 03:00 AM the winds started to diminish and from there to Bahia Santa Maria outside of Mag Bay the seas continually improved. It was a long passage of nearly 50 hours and we should have stopped in los Frailes and rested and waited a day. Boats that went the next morning had a much better trip.

 Bahia Santa Maria To Abreojos

Anchorage in Santa Maria was windy as we waited for a front to move through the area. This was a tough passage of 28 hours pounding into rough seas for most of the time. Abreojos was windy (25 kts) but well protected. The weather pattern for this area up to Turtle Bay is for high winds in the afternoon and evening dying out around midnight and staying mild until the afternoon so we would get up at 3:00 AM and try to get to the next anchorage by early afternoon.  

Abreojos to Asuncion

Up at 3:00 AM and off we went fighting a 1.5 kt counter current for most of the day. We arrived in Asuncion in  25+ kt winds which made anchoring easy, just stop the boat, drop the anchor and play out the chain as fast as you can. When you have enough chain out engage the chain stopper and the wind sets the anchor for you. Put on the snubber, set the anchor alarm and go to bed. In this area you are anchoring in 20' of sand in wide open bays so there is little chance of dragging.

Asuncion to Turtle Bay

Up at 3 AM again in calm winds and seas and race to the next anchorage. No counter current in this area so we made better time. Turtle Bay is the only really protected bay on the coast so it's always a relief to get here and rest for a couple of days. 

Turtle Bay to Isla Cedros 

Very pleasant trip. Beautiful anchorage in 25' depth on a small shelf extending from shore.

Isla Cedros to Punta Colnett

Pulled anchor at 4:30 AM. Nice passage in lite winds and calm seas. Colnett anchorage was a little rolly but nice.

Punta Colnett to Ensenada

The final leg was very enjoyable, calm seas with overcast. Arrived in marina at 3 PM. It was great to be done with the bash and tied to a dock.

We traveled with an informal group of boats making the same trip. The most notable companion was another 46 Nordhavn, Beverly S, with Larry and Sue on board. They are a terrific couple and we hope we can spend more time with them in the future. 
This was our fourth time on the outside and the roughest trip, but it was not too bad for this area and time of year. The boat made it with no problems other than a couple of minor issues that did not slow us down. Discovery again proved herself a very capable boat that can take difficult seas and just shake it off, if only her crew were so durable.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Middle Third

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
LATITUDE: 27-41.16N
LONGITUDE: 114-53.24W

We are in Turtle Bay, Bahia San Bartolome or Bahia Tortuga, having made 4 passages over 5 days from Bahia Santa Maria. This area is known as the windiest part of the outside passage and it did not disappoint.

The first passage from Bahia Santa Maria to Puerto Abreojos was the most difficult going overnight for 28 hours into steep seas. Not as bad as rounding Cabo Falso but still no fun and very tiring. The weather forecasts missed the steep seas and high winds but we were not alone, there was 5 other cruisers making the same passage and 5 or more faster yachts being delivered north in the same area.

Along the shore in this area the usual weather pattern is for strong winds to start in the afternoon and continue until near midnight then go calm and stay down until they start to build around mid-day. In hopes of traveling during the best part of the day we started getting up at 3 AM and traveling until early afternoon. Yes folks, even Linda was up at 3.

In Abreojos the wind blew 30+ kts all afternoon through the evening but calmed before we left at 3:30 AM for Asuncion. Abreojos reports the highest winds on the coast but Asuncion gave it a run for the money when we were there with winds over 30 kts in the afternoon and evening but dying out around midnight. When we again got up at 3 AM the seas were calm and remained calmed until we got to Turtle Bay.

Now in Turtle Bay we feel the worst is behind us, the northern third should be the best part of the trip and we're only 4 days from Ensenada. The weather forecast shows low winds ahead of us this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so we're going to leave here Wednesday or Thursday and go 45 NM up the coast so we'll be ready to make the final run to Ensenada.

Once we get to Ensenada I'll compile and post all the numbers on distances and times for the trip along with fuel consumption. All is well on Discovery, the boat is running great with only some minor glitches but nothing to slow us down.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The First Leg North

On Anchor
Location: Bahia Santa Maria on the west coast of Baja California Sur
LATITUDE: 24-46.54N
LONGITUDE: 112-15.35W

It seems that the weather god on duty Friday night for Cabo Falso did not care for our sacrifice of rum and he/she cranked up the winds and seas to show their displeasure. It was a rough rounding of the cape but that only took 6 hours and when we were 20 miles north of the cape things settled down and the rest of the trip was acceptable if not pleasant. Saturday morning we found ourselves in a different world, grey skies and seas and temps 30° below Thursday's in los Muertos. It's as if the storm around the cape propelled us out into a far different location on the globe.

We had favorable weather forecast from three different sources for rounding the cape and all of them were wrong. VERY WRONG! All predicted 5-10 kt winds and but what we had was sustained winds of 30-35 kts for six hours. For us that made the passage uncomfortable, for a lesser boat it might have been dangerous. We'll do a post in the future on the miserable state of weather forecasting in Mexico.

We are now in Bahia Santa Maria and have had a restful nap after arriving at 9 AM. The rest of the Bash fleet opted to anchor inside Bahia Magdalena at Man of War cove so we are the only boat in the outside bay. Santa Maria has an wild look to it, high dark hills on the west side with a long sandy beach backed by sand dunes and mangroves stretching for miles around the bay. Ocean swells wrap around the point and there is heavy surf breaking on the beach. We have the paravane fish in the water and gently rise and fall as the swells pass under us. The low marine layer of clouds give the area a solemn and wild look reminiscent of SE Alaska.

The weather forecast is for higher winds on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so we're going to stay here for at least 3 days waiting for the wind to die down.

I was able to post 4 position reports to winlink so that's up to date.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Heading for Cabo Falso

TIME: 2012/06/01 22:42z
LATITUDE: 23-18.11N
LONGITUDE: 109-23.78W
SPEED: 5.0

Thursday we had a great trip from La Paz to los Muertos in calm waters and lite winds but it was very hot and humid. Afternoon temperatures were near 100° with 70% humidity. In the evening we ran the gen and turned on the A/C to cool the boat down for dinner.

The next day, Friday, we ran into high winds and seas on our way to los Frailes and the seas were coming straight into the anchorage in los Frailes making it too rough to anchor in so we decided to continue on and round Cabo Falso Friday night. Yes, who needs sleep when there's a cape to round and a nighttime passage to make. The weather forecast is favorable but we did talk to south bound boat that got the shit beat out of them last night on the same passage were making only going south. We'll see what happens and try to find something suitable to sacrifice to the weather gods. I have an old bottle of rum that might just do the trick.

There are at least 5 boats staged and ready to make the bash north, 4 power boats including another 46 Nordhavn, Beverly S, a Krogen, and a 44 Defever, and some sailboats. All at the southern end of Baja preparing to head north this weekend.

We have been unable to post any position updates because we have not been able to connect to winlink, the system that provides that service. We'll include our location on blog posts and continue to try winlink.

All is well on Discovery.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It’s the Journey–Heading North



We're heading around the south end of Baja tomorrow, Thursday May 31st, and starting the trip north up to Ensenada. The first leg will take us to los Muertos and then to los Frailles. From los Frailles we will leave at dawn and go around Cabo Falso to Mag Bay.

Distances -
La Paz to los Muertos - 58 NM, 10 hrs
Los Muertos to los Frailles - 48 NM, 8 hrs
Los Frailles to Mag Bay (Bahia Santa Maria) - 220 NM, 37 hrs

The weather forecast for the next 5 days is for lite winds under 10 kts from the NW with swells of 4-6 feet from the SW behind us so we should have a comfortable ride. We'll spend at least one night in Santa Maria and wait for good weather before we  continue from there.

We'll post position reports underway and update the blog at anchorages. Depending on weather we hope to be in Ensenada in 14 to 20 days.  We made this trip 2 years ago with one additional crew member and went non-stop in 7 days from La Paz. With just the two of us now we plan on stopping nightly so we are well rested and enjoy the journey. We have enough provisions to last at least a month so there is no rush.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tragic End to a Great White

A Great White Shark was accidentally killed in fishing nets off of Guaymas in the Sea of Cortes.


See article here.

Linda may never go swimming again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Back in the Barn

We're back in Marina de La Paz, a week early based on the plan but who looks at those things anyway.

The Spring weather pattern around La Paz has set in meaning frequent nigh time winds from the SW of 20+ kts. These winds are called Cormuels and blow from the Pacific side of Baja through the low plain that stretches from La Paz across Baja to the Pacific and makes most of the anchorages in La Paz Bay very windy and rolly every night. Most cruisers move quickly through this area to avoid the sleepless nights bouncing at anchor and we were no exception spending just one night in the area.  We have found one anchorage that offers protection and gives some hope of sleep on Isla Espiritu Santos in Ensenada Gallina at 24°27.038'N  110°22.327'W tucked up against the south shore. The mouth of the bay curls north on the southern end giving the south side of the bay near shore protection from the waves. The wind may howl but the wave won't reach you.

When we arrived at the marina there was a small mix up on our slip assignment and we had to spend the night at the fuel dock while they sorted it out. The next morning Neil and the marina staff shuffled some boats around and we were in a slip by 9 AM. Our thanks to Neil and the staff of the marina for going the extra mile to get us in.

Those Cormuel winds that are such a nuisance out on anchor are welcomed by the boats tied up in the marinas as they bring a cool overnight breeze and relief from the daytime temperatures of near 100°.

discovery 1-002

The photo above was taken by Ron on Aegean Odyssey in the north lobe of Agua Verde. It was good to see Karen and Ron again after nearly a year. Once back in La Paz we had dinner with Karen & Ron and Jennifer & Dean of Emily B, all friends that we haven't seen for awhile.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Migration

The Spring migration is on in Baja. It's time all the cruisers return from mainland Mexico to Baja and start moving north, enjoying the warmer Spring weather before putting their boats away for the summer. There are the annual cruiser festivals in La Paz and then Loreto and the anchorages start to fill up as the boating population explodes. It's also the time of northern winds forcing boats into the few anchorages with protection from the north winds. Oh the joy of the crowds.

As you should know, we are not crowd people nor festival goers although we've been to both Bayfest in La Paz and Loreto-fest once. You have to go once just to see what it's all about. This Spring we are trying to find the off the beaten path anchorages and using the festival days as a time to visit the popular places while others are in partying.

So we went to Punto Colorada on Isla Carmen, Punto Pulpito, Punta San Antonio, and Punta Mangles on Baja, and now La Lancha on Isla Carmen again. All these locations are new to us and places most boaters don't go and all of them have been very enjoyable.

Our favorite so far is La Lancha, a bite on the north end of Isla Carmen that has protection from any southerly wind but is very exposed to the north. The shore is rocky but the bay has a sand bottom and the water is clear and full of fish and Linda spotted a Big Horn Sheep on shore. Isla Carmen is stocked with Big Horn Sheep, the desert variety which are smaller than the mountain kind, and there is a hunting lodge on the island where people come from all over the world to hunt these animals. We don't get it but to each their own. All the anchorages on Isla Carmen have signs posted to not walk inland on the island because you risk being mistaken for a sheep and shot at.

When you are anchored in Salinas Bay on the island in front of the lodge it is a courtesy when you go ashore to take a couple of curvesas with you for the caretaker who is also the hunting guide. He is happy to show you around the lodge and remains of the old salt flats so be nice and pay his small tariff. We'll be visiting Salinas in a few days and I'll have a couple of cold ones in a sack with me when we go ashore the first time.

The temperatures are rising into the 90's and the water should be getting close to 80 by the end of the month, warm enough for leisurely afternoon swims. It was a cold winter, last year we were swimming by mid-April.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sitting Still

We're still at Santispac in Bahia Concepcion, same spot that we anchored at last Saturday. The holiday campers are mostly gone and the bay has quieted down. There are bobo's in the bay, small black bugs that swarm all around you but don't bite. Thankfully every afternoon the wind picks up to 15-20 kts and blows them away but in the morning we kill dozens of them in the boat with our sapper electric bug swatter even though we have our screens up.

The winds have started to pick up as a northern comes our way. The forecast is for winds in the high teens, we've already seen gusts of 32 kts with steady winds in the mid 20's. The forecast is for high winds through the weekend.

We've had Sirius radio for over 5 years and have enjoyed it a great deal but they recently removed one of the two NPR channels and changed the remaining channels schedule so all of our favorite shows are gone. I've written to Sirius to complain about this and they replied that by consolidating the two channels into one they are making it easier for us to find our favorite shows. They must think we are idiots.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Punta Pulpito to Bahia Concepcion

We had a rough trip up from Punta Pulpito to Bahia Concepcion. The seas were 6 to 8 feet and steep sided violently tossing the boat around, winds were 20-25 kts with gusts to 35 kts on the bow and Linda got sea sick and spent the last 4 hours bent over the aft head. No fun for anyone. The weather forecast was for lite to moderate winds and seas, no one can forecast the weather in the sea with any accuracy. It took us 8 hours to get to Santispac and once anchored we ate a quick dinner and collapsed in bed, glad that the day was done.

It's Easter weekend and the bay in Santispac is lined with campers with a small carnival set up at the head of the bay. We have never seen this many people here. There were no other boats in the bay when we arrived, another first, and only one boat arrived after we did. We plan on spending a couple of weeks in Concepcion, exploring the bay and doing what boaters do. The first thing on the list is to clean up the boat, the outside is covered with salt spray, and work on some small repairs. There's always something.

click on 'Discovery's Location' to the right for a map of where we are.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Good Boat Karma

Five days out of La Paz and we couldn't ask for a better trip. The weather has been perfect, sunny and calm, and the boat has been performing perfectly. After months of sitting in a marina we were concerned that some of the boat systems may have become atrophied from non use but that's not the case. Before leaving we inspected and ran all of the systems on the boat but you never know what will happen until you're out here. Like Captain Ron says, "If it's going to happen, it will happen out there."

When we last used the water maker in November it was showing it's age, output was low and it did not hold the high pressure so we did a chemical cleaning of the unit and replaced the needle valve. We were afraid that the membranes were going bad but our work did the trick and we are now getting over 30 gph and it's holding a steady 800 psi. We plan to replace the membranes this summer, they are over 6 years old which is their expected life, but they now seem to be ok until we reach Ensenada in 3 months.

All other systems are working great. The house batteries, again over 6 years old, are holding a good charge and responding well to the charge from the solar panels. The dinghy motor is running great for the first time in years. It looks like we finally found the problem with the outboard motor over the winter. The fuel line connector to the motor was failing causing it to cut off the fuel so we just connected the fuel line directly to the motor without the connector and all is well.

We are trying to visit some anchorages where we have not been before as long as the good weather continues. We are currently anchored on the East side of Isla Carmen at Punta Colorado, our first time here. Click on the 'Discovery's Location' link on the right to see a map of our location.

Life is good on Discovery and we look forward to a great few months cruising in the Sea.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hop on the bus, Gus


Bus 1

We've stored our car in Ensenada, finished all critical boat projects, and bought enough provisions to last through the apocalypse (not that we think that’s going to happen) so it's time to cut the lines and leave La Paz.  After too many months in the marina to admit, we're going to spend a couple of months in the Sea of Cortes before heading up the outside of Baja to Ensenada for the summer. La Paz has been fun but our feet have sunk too far into the sand and it's time to move on. We are happiest when moving.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Plans to Move on and Carnival

It's time to move on. Life in La Paz has been wonderful but we're happier when we're moving around a little. March will be our last month here.

Next month we'll take the boat north into the sea for 6 weeks and then return to La Paz for a quick stop before heading around and up the outside of Baja to Ensenada where we'll spend next summer. We may not get back to the Sea again and we want to spend some time at some of the beautiful anchorages before we leave.  2 years ago we went back to Ensenada for the summer and had a cool but nice time and got a lot of boat projects done with San Diego just a couple hours drive.

Carnival was in February and we had a great time going to the parade on two nights and once just to the carnival.  The Mexicans sure do enjoy their festivals and they know how to have fun with the whole family. It seemed that the entire town was lining the parade route and half of the people were kids under 15 years old.
Here's some pictures.
Carnival 1
Carnival 2
Carnival 3
Carnival 4
Carnival 5
Carnival 6
Carnival 7