Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3, 2010 - Costa Baja Marina, La Paz

May 21, 2010 – underway to La Lancha on north side of Isla Carmen

Our hopes were high, but it was not to be. Not a fish to be seen on our way to Caleta Juanico. In addition to the absence of fish, Earl discovered that the transmission is losing oil. It was down a quart, he does not know why and it clearly troubles him. We had given away oil to our friends on the Imagine in Bahia Concepcion a month ago and had not replaced it, so our supply is a little low. Fortunately, as we anchored in Juanico, we were met by friends off the Solara, a 64 foot Nordhavn. They moor at Costa Baja and we have met them several times underway. They invited us to the beach bonfire party that evening and volunteered to bring over some 30 weight oil for Earl. Shortly after they left, our friends from the Black Dragon who had been out spear fishing showed up. We felt very welcome.

There were about 15 boats in Junaico, which is a huge anchorage, and most of them were represented on the beach at dark. It was congenial, with children roasting marsh mellows and guys talking about their boats. In particular, a Frenchman who had ordered a 76 Nordhavn grilled Earl on the details of keel coolers and exhaust systems. The temperature was lovely, maybe 82, and the air soft. Going back to the boat, we enjoyed a beautiful show of phosphorescence. The sparkles showed where the paddles dipped into the water. It was a special ride home.

We are headed south to Isla Carmen. Three of the boats from Juanico will be there and we have agreed to meet for a pot luck. The water temperature is now 78 and I think swimming will be on the agenda.

May 23, 2010 – Hook at San Francisco

We anchored in La Lancha on the north side of Isla Carmen. It was blowing from the south, so we were not able to anchor at Salinas, where there are the remains of an old town to explore. But there was nothing wrong with La Lancha. Beautiful clear water, and I did swim, although we have found that contrary to what I would think, that the water in the bays tends to be a couple of degrees cooler than out in the middle. The warm water is obviously coming north with the tides and the bays don’t get the full effect.

That night we had a pot lock on Gato Go. It was a dog friendly boat, so everyone brought their dog and the visitors promptly did their business on the boat. Daisy was quite discrete and dropped hers over the side, unfortunately only as far as the steps. Scupper, the other visitor spread his around the bow of the boat.

Early the next day, we were off again. Earl still has fishing on his mind. We are certainly equipped. The back of the boat has 5 rods, a bait tank, two gaff hooks, and two tackle boxes, which is a lot for a small area. Unfortunately, the one essential – fish- has been missing in action since we left Santa Domingo. To provide a little entertainment, the pump for the bait tank has been disconnecting from the hose or refusing to stay in the water, with bad results for the bait. It is once again operational and we have fish, including one already hooked up, swimming back there, but they are the only ones we have.

Last night we anchored in Los Gatos. The water was lovely and clear and I swam with the puffer fish. There must have been half a dozen of them swimming around me. They seem like curious little things, always the first to show up when we anchor. We were visited by a bunch of bees. They are apparently drawn to the water. By the time we got our act together and put up the screens, we had several dozen in the cabin. We finally had to kill them, since we could not get them out of the boat. It made me sad, but we had a lovely evening, even without the lobsters that we had hoped would be there, and then, early this morning, we set off again to try to catch fish, to no avail.

We stopped at the north side of Isla San Francisco to explore a beach that was reputed to have lots of shells. We did not find anything special in the shell line, but the beach was lovely. Earl took lots of photos, including one of a bird that we had not seen before. According to our bird book it is an American Oyster Catcher, which is seldom seen north of Mexico.

We are now anchored at the Hook on the south side. We have been here so many times, that it is beginning to feel like home. Once again, we seem to have a lot of bees around. We were a little quicker to get the screens up, so there are only a few inside. Tomorrow, we will head south for Espiritu Santo for our last night out before heading into La Paz and then home to Anchorage. After dinner we went to the beach, stopping on the way to visit with a 65 foot boat called Pathfinder. We had watched curiously what we thought at the time was a young man and women lower a dingy by hand from the top of the boat. They then let the line lose and started drifting away from the boat, unable to start the outboard despite the young man’s repeated pulls. The young woman, sitting on the floor of the dingy started rowing strongly, not an easy thing from that position and they returned to the boat. We decided that the owners were obviously young people. Anyway, Earl loved its lines and we were curious to know who had built it. There were a couple of women on the back deck when we came by. They were our age, and were in fact the ‘young man and woman’ we had seen on the dingy. One of them, obviously the owner, told us they had the boat designed by Ed Monk Sr. and build by Jones and Goddell in 1988. It was based on a tuna troller, but with 5 feet rather than 9 feet of draft. For its time, it was a pretty advanced design. Although the boat had been in Puerto Vallarta for 4 years, they had spent lots of time in the Northwest. At one time they had the boat on the hard in the Skyline Marina in Anacortes and had good friends who live in Shelter Bay.

May 25, 2010 – on our way into La Paz

The wind was blowing, and we could see white caps outside the anchorage on the morning of the 24, so we opted to stay put in this lovely place. The bees which had greeted us disappeared quickly and the weather was just about perfect. While we were still in our night clothes, the dingy from the Pathfinder ran up, the outboard now running. Judy had written down the name of their friends in Shelter Bay for us to look up. Apologizing for our state of dress, we invited her in for coffee and had a wonderful visit. She, as I had suspected from her accent the evening before, was from Canada. She was raised in Cambell River and had boated all her life. When she met her husband, she was living in a boat which she had restored. She is an avid fly fisherman and very fit – in fact, she was the ‘young man’ we had seen trying to start the outboard the day before. She has a spirit that Pam Oldow, another wonderful product of Vancouver Island, would recognize. She has her 100 ton license and is working on her 200 ton, not because she wants to be a commercial captain, but because she “wants in on her gravestone.” They have another boat in Ketchikan, a Krogan Express and she has always been captain on that boat, while her husband was captain on the Pathfinder. He is now 84 and has had some health issues, so she is now captain of this boat as well. We loved hearing about her experiences. Although they are nominally Nevada Ranchers, they were able to spend a good part of their summers in the Broughtans when their children were young. They had a house on a raft that they kept at Lagoon Cove and a boat.

That evening they came over for a drink and we greatly enjoyed getting to know them better. Afterwards, as we were getting ready to go over and take a quick look at the inside of the Pathfinder, we saw a couple swimming over to visit us from a nearby sailboat. We had spoken to them earlier in the day about shrimping up in BC where they were headed next and they wanted to find out more. He was wearing glasses which was surprising for a swimmer, and she was wearing her underwear, which was also surprising. We gave them towels and told them to make themselves comfortable while we took a quick look at our friends’ boat and we would be back. Earl enjoyed showing them around our boat and we had a good visit. Another lovely day at anchor at the Hook at San Francisco.

Today is our last day of boating for a while. We have gone almost 5,500 miles since leaving La Conner on August 15. It has been a lovely ride into La Paz. On the way we passed panga with a couple fishing under a green umbrella. They were accompanied by a gull on the bow and two pelicans behind, and the umbrella gave testimony to visits from other birds. Everyone looked happy.

June 3, 2010 – Costa Baja Marina, La Paz

Tomorrow we are off. We have spent the last week getting things ready. Earl finally was able to dig into the engine and diagnosed his problem as a leak from the oil cooler. Fixing it required cleaning oil out of the cooling system and replacing some seals, which we ordered from Seattle. They were sent DHL on Thursday, cleared customs in Guadalajara on Friday and were then sent to New York early Saturday morning, where they apparently have taken up permanent residence. Earl has had multiple conversations with DHL, none very pleasant, and has yet to get a straight story. Repair will need to await our return.

We are moored in something of a Nordhavn alley. Across our bow is a 60 footer, behind him is a 64 and a new 75 foot sport fisher, to the right of us is a 55. In the inner basin of the marina there is a 40 and a 46. Earl just told me that this feels like home, and I know what he means. Nevertheless, I am ready to leave this home and revisit my other in Alaska. We will look forward to our return at the end of the summer.