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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