October 29, 2012 – Underway East of Isla San Francisco
Earl just caught a large sailfish, 7 feet or so – that’s what happens after you say the magic mantra “There are no GD fish in this GD ocean” and go to make yourself a sandwich. Daisy, of course, heard the first click and provided encouragement during the whole process. I was mostly driving the boat trying to help Earl keep some of the line on the reel. He was his usual self – calm not. This boat does not turn on a dime, especially at low speed. His real frustration is that he cannot both drive the boat and reel in the fish at the same time. I should record the dialogue! That said, it is a tribute to the 43 and to my fisherman husband that we are actually able to catch such a fish on a 7 knot boat.
We have been here about 2 and half weeks and there has been a fish drought. We finally caught a little skipjack this morning and now the big excitement of a sailfish. The billfish are so beautiful when we first hook them. Silver and blue. They fight so hard that they exhaust themselves and by the time we get a fish close enough to the boat to release it, the colors have changed to brown and orange. I hope this one survived.
We left Serenity in April and headed north to Anchorage to meet our new grandson, Reese. He is charming with the added bonus of dimples. His big sister Amelia is very good and protective – Daisy could do without him since he gets all the attention.
The summer started and ended with weddings of grand children. Last year, Jon’s son Justin married lovely Courtney. This year in June, Julie Ann’s son Erik married his Julie Ann in Las Vegas where they live. We now have two Julie Ann Andersons in the family. It makes for confusion on facebook.
The wedding was beautiful and we had a marvelous time seeing lots of our family. It is a small world – we discovered that the bride’s grandmother grew up in Anchorage not far from where we live. Earl did lots of dancing with his great granddaughter Lily and his granddaughter Meaghan.
The second wedding, in October, was Jon’s daughter Beth. She and Ryan were married in Dufur, Oregon at a lovely small old country hotel. We were surrounded by golden wheat fields with Mount Hood dazzling in the distance. Although the complete opposite of the first wedding in setting and style, It was again wonderful. Beth had 5 flower girls, aged 2 to 6, who were good enough to eat. The youngest spent the ceremony alternating between dumping out her pail of rose petals and then picking them up again. Beth’s daughter Lily, aged 9, was honorary maid of honor, and Jon’s wife Becky looked so young and lovely that she could have been the bride herself.
In between the weddings, in mid July, the Kari boys went fishing. Earl and all five of our sons were together on Serenity for a week of Mexican fishing. It was a very special trip. With 18 years difference in age between the oldest and the youngest, this was the fist time since 1978 that all five boys were under the same roof for more than a day. They really had time to be a family. The water was in the high 80’s and the temperature probably in the 100s. There was lots of swimming and water play, and many, many margharitas. And of course, there was fishing! Although no one caught any billfish, the dorados were slaughtered! Earl thinks they must have caught about 40 of them as they cruised from La Paz to Loreto and back. The largest ones ran about 50 pounds. A stop at Los Gatos and a visit with Manual produced 45 lobsters, so they had a feast of those as well as fish.
While Earl and the boys were fishing, I took daughter in law Isha, her eight year old daughter Bella, granddaughter Beth and her daughter Lily back to Stockbridge Massachusetts to visit our family home there and see some East Coast relatives. It was also a wonderful time. Beth and Isha are even closer in age than their daughters and have many similar tastes. We all enjoyed seeing the sights in New England, so different than the Northwest, and many hours were spent in the swimming pool.
In between our trips, we had wonderful at home times with our children and grandchildren and many of our friends in Anchorage and then La Conner Washington. October 10th, loaded with luggage, we headed for Mexico. As usual, we had tons of stuff to bring, the largest being a new barbeque since the old one had died when Earl was here with the boys. Also as usual, having Daisy slowed the process. As required, she had had her physical within the prior week, including expensive blood tests, and, being wise to the process, we even had duplicates of the forms with us. That was not enough. They now give the dog a full exam at the airport. Given that there is no control on dogs brought in by car, this is overkill.
Our wonderful friends John and Maria Luisa met us at the airport and we stopped at a grocery store on the way to the marina. After 6 months, it was wonderful being in the produce section of a Mexican grocery store. I have missed the marvelous selection of peppers and fruit. Then we hauled and hauled stuff down to the boat.
One advantage of keeping the boat here in Marina Costa Baja is that she is beautifully maintained by Fito and others at very reasonable cost. She is washed every ten days and her bottom is cleaned every three weeks. In addition, Fito polishes the outside and pretty much polishes the inside too. Thus, the biggest job on our return is unpacking and stowing. We don’t have much if any cleaning to do.
A couple of days after we arrived, our first guests of the season, Roland and Nancy Miller, arrived to spend a week with us. They had been down in the spring of the second year and we had gone north to Loreto. This time, we went south to Muertos (aka Bahia de los Suenos). We hoped to catch fish but that not happen. However we had a lovely visit there. First lunch at the beautiful resort Gran Sueno
and then dinner at the little restaurant at the other end of the beach. Then north again to Espiritu Sancto where Nancy was able to get in some post dinner skinny dipping. Too quickly, we had to return to La Paz and send them north.
Continuation – November 4 at Costa Baja Marina
The day after we caught the sailfish, October 30, we left Ensenada Grande after a peaceful night. The seas were flat and the sky blue and we were headed towards an anchorage at Bahia San Gabriel where we get internet. Earl had the fishing poles out and all was calm until he hooked a nice dorado. As usual there were the constant and conflicting instructions to the first mate: take it out of gear, put it in gear, go left, no go right, no go right ahead, put it out of gear etc. Eventually the fish was close to the boat and it was time for photos. As instructed, I left it in gear, put the auto pilot on, and went to the back the with camera. I could not get the camera to work, so Earl gave me the fishing pole and then discovered that the camera did not work for him either – dead battery. I suggested that he try his iphone. He did and got some photos. Then he gave me the iphone and landed the fish. We were in the process of taking photos of him with the fish –(more instructions about getting my back to the sun) – when there was a terrible noise and we were almost knocked off our feet. I rushed to the pilot house followed by Earl and to see a cliff rising in front of the boat with our anchor grinding into it. We had run into Isla Balena (Whale Island). It was an unreal moment. I looked to the left and could see rocks that appeared to between two or three feet below the surface. (It is hard to tell the depth with the water so clear.) I put it in reverse and we slowly backed away as we kept an eye on the bilge pump.
Miraculously, the only damage we could see was the anchor roller was bent. Embarrassed, shaken, but counting our blessings, we headed back for the marina. Lesson number one: don’t ever take things for granted. Lesson number two: if you are going to run into Whale Island, do it in a Nordhavn.
Today is our 40th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with mimosas and pancakes for breakfast, followed by domestic tasks in the marina. Daisy has had a haircut, I have done several loads of laundry, Earl has fixed some fishing lures in preparation for more fishing and now at last I am catching up on the blog. Our 4th season in La Paz has official started.