Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas, 2009 - La Paz

The kids arrived over the course of several days, and, because of them, it feels like Christmas even in the warm weather. The first bunch, Steve’s, looking weary from a 12 hours trip from Anchorage, and Stuart, Teri and Meaghan (looking delicious in her 20’s style straw cloche arrived together. We all scattered to do some shopping and met again for dinner at a Mexican place which was recommended by one of the locals. It was good, but I was afraid that John was going to fall asleep in his shrimp soup.

A couple of days later, we took the Alaskans out on the boat for the day. It was a glorious day, well into the 80’s and not a cloud. We went to Espiritu Santo Island, to San Gabriel Bay. This is a huge and very shallow bay. One can stand in waist high water quite a ways out from shore, perfect for people not too confident of their swimming skills. We had it all to ourselves. We all played in the water, kayaking, snorkeling, beach combing, swimming and just enjoying one another. Finally we went back to the boat, tired and sunburned, to hamburgers and the boat ride home.

The next day, we took Stuart, Teri, Meaghan and her friend Kasey out to a different beach on the same island. It is called Bonanza. Again, we had it to ourselves, and we all had a mellow time although it was not as beautiful a day. It is pretty amazing that just a couple of hours from La Paz one can find such solitude. Stuart caught two fish, both Sierra Mackerel and we made ceviche.

Last night, Christmas Eve, we spent at Stuart and Teri’s. They have rented a large place nearby that has plenty of space for everyone to sit and visit. The deck is huge and overlooks town and the bay. Last night the locals were partying – lots of loud music and firecrackers. We were also partying and had a wonderful time. Today we will go back there for a non traditional Christmas dinner and, no doubt, lots more jokes and laughter.

Tomorrow Earl will take the boys – Jon, Suart, Steve, Daniel, Jamie, and John – out for a couple of days of fishing. The ladies will be left on shore with cars and credits cards. I think we will be able to amuse ourselves.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 09 - Costa Baja Marina

I left Earl for a few days. I don’t know everything that happened in my absence, but Daisy got stung by a bee and Earl got some type of intestinal bug. Obviously they need a mother around. Earl blamed his disease on food he ate downtown, but I have my doubts. I got sick as well within a day of my return without the assistance of eating any locally prepared food. Hopefully, that is all now behind us. Christmas is suddenly here. La Paz is all decked out with lights and Xmas trees which seems incongruous to me in the Mexican desert environment. There are Santas wandering the grocery stores and the Xmas background music, usually Feliz Navidad, is ubiquitous.

I flew back into to Cabo San Lucas instead of La Paz. The difference between the two destinations is apparent even on the plane. The La Paz flight is a small plane and the passengers are quiet. The flight to Cabo was a party, all the more because I had been upgraded to first class. There was lots of drinking, laughing and calling back and forth across the aisles. I had decided to take a bus to La Paz. According to information on the web, that would be about a 2.5 hour ride and the buses left every hour or so. Our plane arrived around 1, so I had hopes of being back at the boat by 5. It turned out to be a learning experience. First, the airport in Cabo is crawling with people to ‘assist’ you. I mentioned I wanted to go the Aquila Bus Station in San Jose, and before I even had a chance to look for a cab, I found myself sold a bus ticket to the bus station, for more money than I thought the cab was supposed cost. (Not that it was much either way.) I sat on the bus for 30 minutes while it filled up, and we finally took off, with the first stop being the liquor store. Most of the passengers, almost all US, got off and came back with open beers and bags. The next stop was the bus station. Only three of us got off, as the bus apparently makes the rounds of all the hotels, which takes Lord knows long, but the passengers, well lubricated did not appear to care. They were already on vacation. Once at the bus station, the next challenge was communicating. There was a bus at 1300 and one at 1330. The man at the counter was very sweet, but spoke almost no English and I was flustered, since he seemed to assume that I was paying for the other two people who had arrived from the airport with me, so I did not ask the most important question, which was not ‘when does the bus leave’, but ‘ when does the bus arrive’. It was a pleasant, and very slow trip, though various villages, back streets, traffic jams and even one fiesta. I assume the bus has regular stops, but apparently they are willing to make additional stops for grandma or who ever, as needed. I finally arrived at the bus station in La Paz at 7. I suspect that the 1330 bus was an express that would have been faster. The fastest service is apparently the Peninsular Executive, which was also listed on the schedule. They apparently run every two hours and are nonstop to La Paz from Cabo and San Jose. If I fly into Cabo again, I will call Peninsular first and find out where and when to take the bus to La Paz.

I had hoped to go out to the islands for a couple of days this week. It was not to be. For one thing, there seemed to be quite a long to do list of little jobs. For another, we had our first experience with the sustained north winds that can come up in the winter. It was probably not terrible conditions compared to some we have been in up north, but we have gotten pretty used to flat water.

We have bought a new weather machine, a serius. We are hoping that it will give us more detailed information for the Sea of Cortez than we have been able to get from the sat. phone weather net. As usual with electronics, we are missing some cable to complete the installation, so we will have to wait until Stuart brings it with him on Saturday when he arrives. We are looking forward to seeing Teri, Meaghan , Steve, Heidi, Jamie, Elora and John tomorrow. As I mentioned, the plane flying into La Paz is small, and apparently half the passengers will have the same last name. Meaghan’s friend, Kasey, and Jon, Becky and Daniel will be arriving a few days later. I am sure they are all ready for vacation in the sun and we are ready for a vacation with them.

We decided to rent a car for the time that the kids are here. Renting a car is not quick thing here. I don’t believe I have ever seen so much paper work. We were very fortunate in getting a nice new car from National. Some people we met here were not so lucky. The car they rented came complete with spiders which bit them. Then came the fun part – driving in La Paz. The main roads are not bad, but most of the rest seem to lack street signs. Instead, at almost every corner, there is an ALTO (stop) sign, usually hidden in the trees. Judging from the local drivers, a stop sign here is merely a suggestion. At the most, people seem to simply slow down a bit. It is a little scary.

We spent most of yesterday trying to track down a leak in the water system. We started getting water dripping in the engine room after the boat was washed down in San Jose del Cabo. Earl thinks that one of the guys must have sprayed water up the vents in the stack, some of which found its way inside. The water gradually dried up, until the day before yesterday when Earl was filing the water tanks, it suddenly started dripping again. We tore the boat apart, emptying refrigerators and moving them. The boat is put together like a jigsaw puzzle. You can get behind and under things by lifting or unscrewing panels. Earl chased waterlines all around the kitchen area. After making a huge mess, he determined that we did not have a leak, but that some of the water which had come in in San Jose had been moving again. We are pretty sure that it was following the course of a green wire which carries the lightening ground from the mast to the bottom of the hull. So it turned out to be a wild goose chase. On the bright side, Earl knows more about his boat then he did before, and we have clean refrigerators.

We had a lovely couple over for drinks and chili last night. They are on a sail boat and came down as part of the Baja Haha. They were from Ventura California, but sold their house two days before they left, so their boat is now their home. They are off tomorrow for Mazatlan for a month. We hope we catch up with them sometime along the way.

Today is Earl’s birthday. We will celebrate by doing a little exploring by car and no boat jobs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1 - Costa Baja Marina, La Paz

We had a couple of days with the Scarboro’s in La Paz before they left on the 18th. We reacquainted ourselves with La Paz, explored the Municipal Mercado, and two grocery stores, one small and one (CCC) very large. At the smaller store, we were buying tequila. We had an enormous and baffling choice. So I asked an older gentleman who was shopping what he could tell us. Bottom line, it did not sound as if he had ever had bad tequila. We bought his recommendations, one of which was his every day tequila and one which was a slightly more expense brand. So far, Earl has not had any comments.

We also checked out the Marina La Paz. It is very different from Costa Baja and in many ways nicer. Costa Baja is pretty swanky, with lots of locals cleaning boats, many of which are unoccupied. The marina is part of a resort development and has excellent security and a purified water system. It is a ways out of town, but there is a free shuttle every couple of hours during the day. It also has the advantage of being right at the entrance into the bay and therefore about 1 hour nearer cruising waters. Marina La Paz has a long history here and is much beloved. It is in very good shape, closer to down town, significantly cheaper than Costa Baja and mostly filled with smaller boats. There is a lot more activity on the docks than at Costa Baja. The downside, the security is far from reassuring and the water is not really potable. It is also definitely not a hurricane hole, having been wiped out by a storm in recent history.

At the Marina La Paz we had the good luck of running into our Canadian friends that we had met in Fort Bragg. They were on their way south for the winter and will be back in La Paz in March and promised that we would get together then.

We took off on the 19th for our first cruise of the Sea of Cortez. Our first stop was at the nearby Island Espiritu Santo, which is ringed with beautiful anchorages, all with sand beaches. It is only a couple of hours for us from La Paz. We expect to spend a lot of time in the next few months around this island and its neighbors. Then we went up the Isla San Francisco to an anchorage called the Hook, again an easy run morning run from Espiritu Santo. For the first time in a while, the water was choppy. We had gotten lazy and were completely unprepared for anything other than smooth waters and had not put things away. We broke a decorative dish we had just bought in La Paz and got salt on the boat. I guess it was a day for screw ups. I did a bad job of tying up the dingy after Earl took a ride and we saw it drifting away. Fortunately, another boat, the Kismet, rescued it for us. The hook at San Francisco is almost too perfect to believe. It is a large crescent shape with a beautiful sand beach and aqua colored water. It is perfect for swimming and kayaking.

We continued on north through the San Jose Channel. On the west side there is the Sierra de la Giganta which is red rock, reminiscent of what you would see in the Grand Canyon or the Southwest. It is strange to see it in conjunction with the beautiful blue water. The red rock makes for spectacular sunrises and sunsets. We ran 54 miles north to an anchorage known as Aqua Verde. It is popular and having been there we can see why. A sailboat, the Last Resort, which had been moored next to us in Costa Baja and which we had been running into on the way north was anchored nearby and we invited them to come for drinks. Dick is a cancer survivor and has a website which has inspired a number of others cancer victims. We bought his book and have been enjoying his history.

The next day we looked into Port Escondido which is an extraordinary natural harbor, and then went across the way to another lovely cove on Isla Danzante. Having satisfied ourselves that we could explore this area for a long time we turned south, first to a little community of San Evaristo and then returned to the Hook for Thanksgiving which we celebrated without turkey or TV. It was wonderful. We spent a couple of days there kayaking and snorkeling. Finally we pulled anchor and headed for Isla Partita just north of Espiritu Santo. On the way, Earl caught a dorado which was beautiful (and apparently very tasty) and lost another fish. Again we anchored in a beautiful spot. However around 5 the wind came up and Earl decided that he did not want to rock and roll all night so we pulled up the anchor and headed toward La Paz. It was a pretty chopping ride with the wind from the south west. It is hard to find good shelter in a SW wind here. We finally anchored in cove behind Isla Lobos where we had stayed with the Scarboros. It was quieter than outside the cove, but the boat bucked all night. In the morning we found the anchor was really dug in.

Returning to La Paz, I wondered what the most important discoveries were that we had made. The first is perhaps that this is a beautiful place to cruise, with almost endless beautiful anchorages. The next was that the Mexican charts for the area are not as precise as the ones we have at home. They are fine for the big picture, but not very much use close to anything. The plotter which shows our position from GPS has us routinely riding right over islands. It means we are learning new ways of navigating, using waypoints that we input with lat and long rather than just drawing in a course using the mouse. In the future we will input a number of these in our furuno plotter before leaving on a cruise. We are also very impressed with the cruising guide which we had purchased for the Sea of Cortez. It was written by a young couple and they have done a beautiful job of establishing GPS locations for anchorages and hazards, as well as doing a great job as a travel guide to the Sea. Another discovery is that our cell phones with Verizon are really not useful outside of La Paz. Our friends on the Last Resort had service with ATT which has partnered with Telcel here. They had good service. I will look into switching from Verizon at the next chance I have. I really don’t like being quite so cut off. We have the sat phone for emergencies, but it is just not the same as normal cell phone service. We also had the opportunity to check out a couple of small communities, Aqua Verde and San Evaristo. Both are fishing villages. Water desalinization has been a god send to communities like these. I wonder what they did for water before. We visited the small tiendas in each village. They are very small and very sweet. They have small supplies of canned items and some fresh vegetables and eggs. Nothing costs much. Another discovery is the extraordinary productivity of this sea. Every night we turn on our blue underwater lights and watch the fish and pelicans come. The pelicans tantalize Daisy as they dive under our swim step to catch fish which are incredibly thick. The boat basin here at Costa Baja also reflects the incredible fish population. Even during the day we feel like we are in an aquarium.

I leave tomorrow for a quick trip to New York. I hope Earl does not get into too much trouble in my absence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16, 09 - Costa Baja Marina, La Paz

On November 12 at the San Jose del Cabo Marina, we spend the morning at the dock. Earl had decided to get the boat washed. A small army arrived at 7:30 and went to work. They even took the cover off the dingy and washed the inside of it. They swarmed over the boat for 3 hours, leaving it looking beautiful. The cost was $60 for a job we could never have done ourselves in less than a week. When we left it was already noon and many of the boats that had taken off to go fishing that morning were already on their way back in. We found out why. Less than 2 miles from the marina we had two dorado on at the same time. Clark’s was the larger, probably about 30 pounds. Earl insisted on keeping both of them – eyes bigger than stomach issue. We now have considerable fish in the freezer. From now on, I will be a little firmer about the release part of fishing. However, I have to say, having had the opportunity to pull in one of the fish, that the catching part is great. We also have Clark’s great ceviche recipe which all our guest will have an opportunity to enjoy.

That night we anchored at los Frailes. It looked like a beautiful beach, but we did not put down the dingy, just sat and enjoyed. It is around the corner from a national marine park, Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, which has a large coral reef and is much loved by divers.

The next day, the 13th, we had a lazy day going north to the Bahia de los Muertos to anchor. This is large lovely bay. There were probably 25 sail boats there, a portion of the Baja Haha fleet, but there was plenty of room for all. The real estate developers have been busy here and there are a number of very large houses and one resort on the bay. For development purposes, they have changed the name to Bahia de las Suenas (Bay of dreams). Whatever the name, it is a lovely spot. As has become our habit, Earl turned on the blue underwater lights at dark. Boy did we have a fish show, a school of 10 inch fish, which sort of put us off swimming for a while.

That night the wind came up from the Southwest. This was our first exposure to the Coromuel, an evening phenomenon in the La Paz area. Based on the radio chatter, some of the sailors anchored near us, found it intimidating. They agreed that a northern, expected later in the week, had come in early. I am not sure how they got there in the face of a SW wind.

That day, the 14th, we took off and headed north. We had a bumpy ride to start with. We went through a narrow pass between the Isla Espiritu Santo and the Baja (Canal San Lorenzo) and then headed south toward La Paz. We stopped about 15 or 20 miles from La Paz at a charming little cove behind Isla Lobos. We had it pretty much to ourselves other than a sail boat anchored in another arm of the cove. The water was so clear that we could see our anchor on the bottom. Joan and Clark took a dingy ride. Earl and I rinsed off the boat. The water is very salty here and the short time we here in bouncy water had left a considerable deposit on the boat. We could brush it off with our fingers and Joan and I were tempted to scrape some off into bags and present our friends with bags of sea salt. Afterwards we all went for a swim – it was wonderful. After dinner, Joan and I went in again, without suits, and it was delicious. I had my first experience with phosphorescence. It is very cool. When you move your arms and legs through the water, you can see little flashes of light, like 4 of July sparklers. It is very cool. We were a little melancholy that this was our last night anchoring out with the Scarboros. Our trip from San Diego has gone too quickly. Clark, Joan and I went for a swim the morning of the 15th before heading for La Paz. It was so wonderful that we did not want it get out. Clark especially loves swimming in the sea, and it will be awhile before his next opportunity.

By noon of the 15th, we were tied up at the dock in the Costa Baja Marina, and at the end of the journey part of our trip. From now on we will ‘cruising’ with much less of a fixed target. We splurged, eating out both lunch and dinner. For lunch, we ate at a lovely little open air place on the beach. Dinner we took the shuttle bus into town and had dinner at Las Tres Virgenes, a charming restaurant in the courtyard of an old building. Heavenly!

Today, the 16th, Happy Birthday to Brian. We are off to check out the Mercado later and replenish our veggie supply.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12 - San Jose Del Cabo

November 4 - underway from Ensenada toward Turtle Bay. We left the dock at 7:30 am November 3rd to get in line for fuel and pick up some ice for the cooler. We were there first and the only ones in line. Perhaps everyone else already knew, as we found out at 8 am that there was no fuel available. It was due in later in the day. Since diesel is much cheaper in Mexico, we had been waiting to fuel up till we got here and so we only had 440 gallons aboard. The Captain, eager to get going and catch some fish, did some calculations and determined that we could get by till Cabo. We shall see. We have reduced our running speed to 1650 which should give us 2.4 gallons per hour and 6 knots. Cabo is less than 700 miles. I suspect we will be getting down to fumes.

It was a beautiful day. Small swell, no wind and by 11:30 Earl had his first fish. It was a pacific bonito, which are apparently not terribly good eating, so we released it. We caught 4 of them during the day before Earl and Clark got tired. We had a good push and averaged over 7. Earl decided that we should take advantage of the good conditions and run all night. Our target is the a small group of islands called San Benitos offshore and a little north of Turtle Bay. It is off Bahia Vizcaino. The sunset was lovely, followed by a spectacular harvest moon. We are running about 20 miles off shore, so we did not turn on the floodlight. We rigged up a shield to keep the green starboard running light from lighting up the foredeck and were able to see quite well by moonlight. The Scarboros took the first watch and Earl and I did the second and got treated to the sunrise just off Punta Baja.

No sooner than it was light, Earl disappeared to the back deck and almost immediately started shouting “fish on”. I slowed the engine down and kicked it out of gear, which got Clark up in time to see Earl bring in the first yellow fin tuna for the boat. It was small, thankfully, and just the right size for us. It should make wonderful eating. We will be celebrating both our anniversary and Clark’s birthday. It is now 8 am and we have a dorado in the cooler with the tuna and have released another tuna. Happiness! We did have a scare. Daisy wanted to get in on the action and almost slipped under the web on the starboard side. By the time I got her, only 1/3 of her was on the boat. It was awful. She is now encased in her life jacket and Earl will need to tighten up the netting.

Evening November 4 - We finally arrived at the San Benitos after dark. Fortunately, there is a full moon these days that helped. Coming from the north, the most direct approach to the anchorages on the south side of the islands is through a gap between them called Peck’s Canal. It looked great on the chart and we intended to take it. However, by the time we got near it, it was dark. We have a maptech plotter on the lap top and a different plotter on the Furuno, on which the radar is also displayed. As has happened before, the chart on the furuno does not line up with the information from the radar. It makes a soul have doubts. Although we could probably have trusted the other plotter, Earl felt more comfortable taking the long way around the island to the anchorage. We anchored and had Clark’s birthday dinner – grilled fresh tuna, mixed berry cobbler and champagne.

November 5 After a peaceful night, Earl and I were up around 5 in time to enjoy the sunrise and actually see the San Benitos and our anchorage. It is a very nice place to stop and good protection in prevailing winds. We decided to pull the anchor and head for Turtle Bay right away. There must have been 200 feet of chain to pull and it certainly got the poor Scarboros out of bed early wondering what was going on.

It was a nice run past Cedros Island and into Turtle Bay. The water is now the most beautiful color blue and very clear. We saw lots of marine life. Porpoises are now pretty common. We did see big whales spouting and unexpectedly we saw some orcas. I did not realize that they would be so far south. Local fishermen are now showing up in their little open boats, pangas, and we are beginning to see lobster pot buoys. These are generally quite small, sometimes no more than gill net floats, and the line is usually floating. The water is rapidly becoming warmer. It was 68 when we left Ensenada. It went up two degrees between Ensenada and San Benito and it is now up to 72. We will need to try it soon.

We arrived in Turtle Bay around 2 and were met by an enterprising pangero offering to sell us fuel. Earl dropped Clark, Joan and me off by dingy and we explored the town. At one time it was thriving, with 10,000 people. Then the cannery closed. There are now about 1,000 people. It is heartbreaking. We stopped by a tienda that was surprisingly well stocked. Of course, there were not many visitors in the harbor, so we had our pick of the goods. It would be different if we were with the Baja HaHa or FUBAR fleets.

Turtle Bay has an enormous pelican population. Some of the local boats look like rookeries. We turned on our underwater lights and watched the gulls and pelican congregate to take advantage of the light for some night fishing. We went to sleep listening to the little fish jumping, which sounded like rain.

November 6, underway from Turtle Bay Earl and I got up at 4:30. It is 90 miles to Abreojos where we plan to anchor tonight, so we wanted an early start. We warned the Scarboros and told them to sleep in.

November 7 – Abreojos We arrived at around 10 pm. The rocks are well marked on the chart. Not marked however are the lobster pots. Earl turned on the flood light and we all kept our Ojos Abres as we picked our way in. The wind was blowing around 25 and the flying fish were being blown over the bow. We also ran into a bunch of small birds, two or three of which landed on us. We had to keep Daisy inside as otherwise she chased the poor things. Abreojos is a very nice anchorage. Since our next stop, Santa Maria Bay north of Mag Bay was about 120 miles, and we did not want to arrive in the dark, we delayed our departure from Abreojos till about 10. We took the opportunity to do some long delayed house keeping. And then, feeling virtuous, we sat around the rest of the day as we made our way south.

We have been running at about 1650 since Ensenada. According to Earl we have used 120 gallons of fuel. We have gone 392 miles, run the engine 61 hours and the generator 20 hours. Our average usage has been 1.97 gallons per hour (ignoring the generator) with an average speed of 6.4 knots per hour, and 3.4 miles per gallon.

November 9 - Santa Maria Bay, north of Magdelena Bay We arrived here about 10 am on the 8th. It is a very large bay and could obviously hold a large number of boats. To our north, we are protected by some hills, which are barren of trees or structures. However, the hurricane Jimena visited this area a month ago and as a result the hills are green, which I gather is very unusual. The hurricane did lots of damage to the little community of San Carlos at the head of Mag Bay. In addition to destroying a number of buildings, it wiped out the desalinization plant, which has created extraordinary hardship for the people of the area. We had two boats ask for water and we filled a couple of large drums for them.

I had the chance to try out my baby Spanish with the local fisherman, or pangeros as they are called. It was pretty exciting to actually be able to communicate. We bought lobsters from one boat. They only had three small ones at the time but promised to come by with more the next day. Sure enough they were back bright and early the next day, beaming. In addition to the small ones we had been promised, they had a lovely bunch of larger lobsters. These they did not want to sell to us, telling us they were muy caro (very expensive) and besides the smaller ones were more tender. We suspect that they had already promised the larger ones to the much larger and fancier boat anchored near us in the bay who was probably a better candidate for paying top dollar. Whatever, they could not have been better than ours which we feasted on that night. We had hoped for some oysters from the nearby mangroves, but apparently the tide was too high. The fisherman were fascinated that their engine had higher horsepower than ours and that we could go to Hawaii on one tank of fuel. I was told the boat was very economical. Yes, perhaps, I replied, at least after the initial purchase which was muy caro.

We took the opportunity of a day at anchor to play. Joan and Clark went for a dingy ride and then the boys went fishing. They had fun. Clark caught a sierra mackerel and a tiny tuna. The tuna was released. Earl returned wounded. He got bitten by both the mackerel and a needle fish. I tried out the kayak and managed to capsize it getting in. Hardly a tragedy in 78 degree water. I took the opportunity to determine that I could right the kayak but that I could not get back in from the water. That afternoon we saw something new for us, jumping manta rays. They were a ways off, but we estimated that they were small, maybe three feet across. There were two or three in the air at once.

Earl also got to try out his new flopper stopper. Earl and Clark found the fish easy to deploy. Even though there was not a great deal of swell, we all agreed that it made a noticeable difference.

November 10, - underway towards Cabo. Earl got up at 3 am to drive 50 miles offshore to a fishing hot spot he had heard of. It was a beautiful day, but fishing was not much. Finally around 4 Earl hooked something very large. It took almost all the line off the reel. Earl was his usual not calm self, yelling at everyone to do multiple things at once. We eventually got our act together and chased the fish so that Earl was able to retrieve some line. What it was, we don’t know. We were fishing with barbless hooks and it eventually left us. Hopefully Earl will not need shoulder surgery. Later, predictably just as supper was almost ready to go on the table, he caught a dorado. This had a better outcome, and he landed it. It was about 15 pounds. Dorado are beautiful fish fresh out of the water, a lovely yellow green. Clark is licking his lips.

November 11 – underway towards Cabo It is night and Earl and I are keeping watch. This is not a hardship under these conditions. We slept from 7 to midnight, when we relieved Clark and Joan. The seas are calm. There is really not much to run into other than a stray bit of line which we would probably not be able to see in time to avoid, so we just sit back and watch the radar for other boats. The only one so far was a large cargo ship headed to Panama. The stars are spectacular and the temperature outside is about 75, cooler than the water which is 79. Earl saw light over land which he thought might be a fire. It was a beautiful crescent moon rise.

November 11 – San Jose del Cabo– landfall at last We rounded the Cabo Falso at around 7:30 and were met by what looked like a giant fleet of sports fishing boats coming our way. We decided to go into a marina, rather than anchoring, and so we called at Cabo San Lucas about space. Yes it was available and it would only cost us 195 dollars plus tax for the night. We decided to continue 15 miles to the quieter San Jose del Cabo, where the price was about half, still high by our standards. We arrived at San Jose del Cabo at around 11. It is a new marina and still under construction. The amenities advertized, such as retail shopping, have yet to be built and the boat slips only partly full. That said, the location is great and it looks to be a high class development. Clark, Joan and I took a cab to the old town and enjoyed a walk around. The contrast with the mad house at Cabo San Lucas is wonderful, but it was almost too dead. The poor shop keepers are having a very difficult time dealing with the noticeable decline in tourism. We then went to the Mega grocery store, which was described to us as a Mexican Walmart. It was huge and we restocked.

We got home in time to enjoy some of the beer we had bought. It was delicious in the hot temperature. Then the Mexican agricultural inspectors came. This was something that we had avoided in Ensenada. Apparently the Mexicans feel our beef is unwholesome and confiscate what they find. We gave up some burger and a couple of steaks. Fortunately, we had been told to expect the inspectors and Earl had decided that the proper place to thaw the steaks for dinner was in the nicely covered barbeque. Our dinner was saved.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 3, 09 - Ensenada

Since we will not be able to post photos for some time, we will not be able to send photos of our plotter showing our progress on a chart. So, here are some photos of maps from the guide book. Hopefully they will help make sense of our reports (This is for you, Steve)