Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10, 2013 - Anchorage, Alaska.

 I had intended to post this before leaving La Paz but ran into technical problems.  First while I was trying to load up the video of the mobulas, Earl helpfully sabotaged me by unplugging the modem.  Then when I did finally get the video loaded, I found I could not open it on line.  Nuts!  I will get one of my techno kids to work on it and may get it posted later.  So instead of posting this from sunny La Paz, it comes from icy Anchorage where the sun will rise after 10 and set well before 4. Nevertheless, we are in holiday mode and off to get a tree.  Merry Christmas to everyone!

December 7, 2013 – Marina Costa Baja
Today we leave for Anchorage, ice, snow and family.  While I could happily skip the ice, I am looking forward to the rest and to celebrating Christmas with 4 of our sons.  Stuart, his wife, daughter and her friend will be joining us.  What a treat to have them in Alaska again after 10 plus years.

Of course, since Earl is involved, we are ready to go 90 minutes before our ride will come to get us.  So I have plenty of time to bring this up to date before we leave for Cabo, Seattle and ultimately Anchorage.

As if to make up for the weather we enjoyed during Jon and Becky’s visit, our visit with Richard and Britt was not been blessed by the gods.  They arrived as scheduled, around 9 on Saturday night, and we went up to Azul for dinner.  The next morning we took off early to show them the islands.  The weather report indicated that we would have a day of bad weather on Monday, but we hoped to get as far as San Francisco before it hit.  We started off to check out the whale sharks, but quickly found that the seas were lumpy and headed off to Bahia San Gabriel to anchor up for the day.  After naps, Earl took them for a tour of the frigate bird rookery, we swam and all enjoyed the sunset.   

Unsettled seas

After a peaceful night, we headed north and got as far as Ensenada Grande.  It was cool and windy, and as evening approached we moved to a more secure anchorage at Caleta Partida.  And a wise move it was.  It howled!

We will need a new flag - the wind killed this one

Tuesday it was still blowing and, much more serious, Britt was very much under the weather and in bed.  We headed back to the marina.
Captain Rick
The next day, while Britt was feeling better, she was nowhere nearly 100% so we took it easy.  While Earl did some boat work related to the water pump, Richard and I took a quick tour of town.

Finally Thursday, Thanksgiving, weather and health improved we took off for an overnight on the islands.  We ran up the east side of the Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida.  Earl caught a lovely dorado and had the chance to test the tequila method.  We were prepared with a squeeze bottle full of cheap tequila.  Earl squirted it into the fish’s mouth and, sure enough, out he went.  No blood splattered back deck.  Now that we have mastered the technique, this is definitely a trick we will be using in the future. 

Tequila delivery system

Giving the dorado the micky!

We stopped at Los Islotes to see the sea lions.  We found it full of other boats and many people swimming with the sea lions.  None of us was brave enough to try, but we heard later from our friends on Paradise Found that it was wonderful.  Not only were the seals very playful, but the variety and number of fish was the best they had seen in the Sea of Cortez. 


Britt and Richard

Sightseers at Islotas
We split our fish with Paradise Found.  Thanksgiving dinner was grilled dorado and steak.  Pretty good! 

That night, Earl was up and wander as usual and was treated to a mobula ballet in our blue lights.  He woke me and we enjoyed a very special display.  We made a video, and Peter on the Solana cut it down so that I can post it here.

But then, it was Friday and time to go back to the Marina.  We had just enough time to take Britt and Richard for a quick trip around time and have a farewell dinner with them before they took the 8 am shuttle to Cabo for a long day’s trip to San Miguel.  

The weather has continued unsettled and we have stayed at the dock. Earl finds many tasks.  He fixed our head.  It was not broken, but had never worked as well as the forward head.  He dug out the instructions and determined that we needed more water in the bowl that in turn required changes to the discharge hose.  A complicated (and not particularly pleasant) task, but what a difference! 

While at the dock, we had the chance to visit with other boaters.  We enjoyed a fun evening with Peter and Mary Rose (Solana) and Jay and Lisa on Paradise Found.  Sarah and Darrel on Tiburon are tied down the dock from us.  We first met them in 2009 on our way south in Monterey.  Great to see them and their lovely dog Sparky.  And last night was another fun night with David and Sharon on Cipango across from us.  There are some wonderful people that we have met while cruising.

While Earl was busy with the boat jobs, I loaded up on ‘princess’ dresses for little girls and pottery for me.  Now they are all stowed and ready for our trip.  And in another hour, it will be time to go.

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013 - Marina Costa Baja

November 15, 2013  Leaving Bahia San Gabriel

We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the dock and the days fled by.  There is always a good deal of cleaning and shopping to do when we have been out, and, in addition, we got our beautiful new screen door installed on Thursday.  It is wonderful and it is a pity we did not do it earlier.  It is nice not to have to close the main airway into the salon just to keep the flies out. 

We have new neighbors in the marina.  Sharon and Dave on the Cipango, a 50+ foot Navigator.  We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.  In some ways we have oddly parallel lives.  Like Earl, Dave had custody of his children in the 70’s when it was rare for fathers to have custody.  He and Sharon have been married many years and had one child of their own as well as his children from his first marriage. 

We had drinks with them on Thursday and breakfast on Friday before we left to cruise.  And what a wonderful Friday we had.  We anchored in a little bay just south of Bahia San Gabriel in late morning.  It is called Ensenada de la Dispensa and I had always wanted to try it.  We have occasionally seen a boat in there before but had never anchored there ourselves. It was our personal paradise!  It is really a one-boat bay, with water as clear as crystal, and a small fish camp on the south side.   We swam multiple times, took Daisy to the beach and made her swim as well.  It was a magical mellow day. 

Around 4, we picked up the anchor and headed for Caleta Partida to tuck in for the night since there was some wind forecast.  Having had Dispensa to ourselves, we were at the other extreme for the night with 15 other boats for company.  It was, as is so often is, a beautiful sunset which we enjoyed from the boat deck.  What a place!

The next day was Earl’s (i.e. a fishing day).  In the search for a billfish, we headed way off shore to an area known as El Charro.  The weather was pretty perfect and there were a good many other boats out as well.  We caught nothing for most of the day, not even a sierra.  Finally around 2:30, Earl was on the boat deck looking for jumpers when he happened to notice a fishing line trailing 300 feet behind us and realized we had a fish on.  (Turns out he had once again neglected to put on the clicker.)  By the time he got down and to the rod, there were only about 10 feet of line left on the reel.  He was very close to loosing all the gear off a reel for the third time this year – although he is blaming one of those on our son Jon.  I performed just about perfectly, turning the boat around to run up on the fish, getting Earl’s fishing belt on him, pulling in the other lines and taking photos.  Earl had it easy, just one job, handling the fish.  It was a nice marlin and made our day!  Even better there was another boat watching.

Hard to believe I actually got this photo!

Neighboring boat trying to see what we were using
Earl made it look easy!

We anchored off of Bonanza for the night.  Hoping to get internet service, we were further off the beach than optimal and, as a result, rolled all night.  It reminded us of our Cook Inlet fishing days, although we did not need to get up at 3 am to go look for fish.

We ran offshore and south but saw no birds and caught no fish, so into San Gabriel we went, and into the water.  The water in San Gabriel is so clear, it is like swimming in an enormous salt water swimming pool.

We caught up on our email and messages while at anchor.  Our son Paul in Alaska had written that friends of his, John and Lisa, were going to be on a sailboat in La Paz for a week.  We tried John’s cell but it was turned off. 

Around sunset we were sitting on the boat deck, when a dingy came up to us.  Against all odds, it was Paul’s friend John who had just come in on the sailboat Grasshopper, anchored, seen our boat and come over to say hi. 

Friday November 22, 2013 – Marina Costa Baja

We came back to the marina on Monday.  It has been a busy week for the Marina.  The FUBAR, a motorboat flotilla from San Diego, was due in.  There were 37 boats this year, and approximately 25 of them came into the marina.  Out of the 37 boats, about 1/3 were Nordhavns.  Obviously, we are not the only people who think these are great boats.

The night the boats arrived, there was a cocktail party over at the Beach Club for the Fubar boats.  We were included and had the opportunity to meet some of the participants which was lots of fun for us.

Two of the FUBAR Nordhavns are on our dock.  The Endurance, also a 43, is hull number 3 and co-owned by two couples, Kurt, Steve, Susan and Carol from Southern California.  They have done lots of boating, but this is their first long trip south.  They said they had a beautiful trip and are eager to explore the Sea of Cortez.  We know that they will fall in love as we did.

The other is a 62 tied at the end of our dock.  Jerome and Karen own the boat which is named Daybreak, a name which is special to us since our commercial fishing boat was also Daybreak.  Not only is the name of the boat familiar, but as it happens that they live in Bow, Washington, just a short distance away from us in LaConner.  We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and Karen’s siblings, Keith and Barbara and their spouses Kristin and Bob.  I took them shopping to my two favorite places – Ibarra’s Pottery and the Public Market where I buy princess dresses. 
Bob, Barbara, Karen, Kristin and Keith on Daybreak

Tomorrow our friends, Richard and Britt, will arrive to spend a week with us.  We can’t wait to show them our special paradise.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013 - Costa Baja Marina

We never made it to Portobello for dinner – the water was too choppy and I don’t like dinner in wet clothes.  Next time, hopefully.  I love Pedro’s mojitos.  He said he learned to make them in Cuba.

Thursday the 7th, we left early, around 7am, in the eternal hunt for fish.  Earl was heading south, but I suggested since the water was pretty flat that we head north around the outside of Isla Carmen and then come down the inside to anchor for the night.  In retrospect, I should have kept my mouth shut.  Earl caught lots of bonito – not what he was looking for.

By the time we neared the northern end of the island, the wind had picked up and there were good size white caps ahead.  We anchored just north of Salinas for lunch and waited for the tide to change, which was supposed to make the seas go down.  I don’t know if the seas went down:  I do know it was not a pleasant trip.  I really don’t like it when things are flying around the cabin and my insides feel queasy. 

When we finally anchored in Ballandra on the west side of the island, we felt we had earned a drink.  While we had not succeeded in catching a marlin – the purpose of the trip- we had lost a big one.  It was 10 feet long.  It was also plastic and red and unfortunately a kayak.  The Britta water pitcher had turned over and drained over the stove.  I have never heard the burners gurgle before, which they did till Earl took them apart and dried them.  We also had enough salt to go start a commercial operation. 

The next day the weather was much better.  We had a lovely day, first retracing our steps around the north end of Carmen looking for a red kayak and then headed toward Isla Catalina.  Wonderful dorado fishing.  Earl caught five and they were among the most acrobatic ever.  I failed to get a photo, a real pity.  Finally, he announced that he was tired and we headed into Agua Verde for the night. 

Roca Solitaria welcomes us back to Agua Verde

We decided to spend the day here.  I washed the clothes and the windows and vacuumed.  Things looked pretty good and Earl invited 8 people over for drinks. 

We were visited by the usual pangero selling necklaces, this time accompanied by his wife and two boys.  I bought a delightful trio of pelicans made with shells. 
Larry, Moe and Curley

Later that day, I went ‘shopping’ in Agua Verde.  I was able by going to both little tiendas to buy tomatoes, onions and cilantro to make seviche as well as a piece of locally made goat cheese.  Finally I took a swim and managed to tempt Earl to join me.  He was convinced that 78 degrees would be too cold and was surprised to find it very pleasant indeed.

The evening was great fun and our guests a varied bunch who packed the boat deck.  Alice and Jack on the Puffin have a home in Shelter Bay and 5 years ago had a Krogen named Serenity on the same dock as ours.  We had never spent any time with them before.  Their very good friends from Alameda, Marylyn and Rich on Tortuga, came with them.  The other two couples came from further away.  Estelle and Jan Louis are French, in Jan Louis case via Canada.  They purchased their boat, the Sun Bear, last year in San Carlos.  It had been stored for 5 years and needed a great deal of work.  Estelle told me there were 14 holes in the boat among the other things that had to be fixed.  Their tiller broke down as they were coming into Agua Verde and apparently there is still a good deal of work to be done. The last couple, Delphine and Robert off the Wakkuna, were a wonderful mix.  He is from Belfast and she is from New Caledonia.  Her parents had immigrated there from France when they were in their 30s.  It was a very jolly group and lots of margaritas were consumed.  Earl’s boat deck pavilion proved itself again to be a great location for a social gathering. 
Party: Jack, Rick, Marilyn, Delphine, Alice,
Jan Louis, Me, Estelle and Robert
Shortly before 7am the next day, Earl pulled anchor and we headed off after fish.  The day before from our anchorage in Agua Verde, Earl had seen a marlin jumping near shore, so we thought we would try fishing close in.  Just off Agua Verde by the San Marcial Reef there was a huge bunch of porpoises.  A few hours later, Earl spotted some whales.  We got as close as we could, and it was a thrill to see them, but as usual we are not really able to identify the species.  They were not large (probably under 30 feet), with square shaped heads, dorsal fin set well back and somewhat wrinkled skin.  They look like the pictures of sperm whales but those are apparently usually in deeper water and larger. 
Two whales
Two whales, one sounding

Whale tail
We can’t get over the change in the landscape.  Two years of rain have changed the brown to green.  Baja no longer looks like a desert to us.

More green
Green rock, always beautiful
Earl caught bonito and dorado.  We finally kept a couple of the dorado.  We tried pouring tequila in the first one’s mouth to see if it kept it quiet.  I think it worked – Earl says it is pretty difficult to get the tequila where it needs to go and he may think it takes too much.  We radioed a boat running south near us –Seychelles – to see if they wanted to come for dinner for fresh fish.  They accepted.  Apparently earlier they had watched a marlin following us for a period of time chasing our lure.  Sadly, it never got hooked. 

We anchored on the west side of Isla San Jose at Mangle Solo.  It is a nice sheltered spot and normally we have it pretty much to ourselves.  That night, it was just our two boats and some pangeros on the beach in a fish camp.  The pangeros came by and we gave them 100 gallons of water.  They had been drinking and it was a very merry water transfer.

Our dinner guests, Nicky and John, arrived in a two man inflatable kayak.  I am intrigued about replacing our red kayak with one of these.  Though technically it is a sit in not sit on kayak, it looks very easy to get in and out of and having one kayak that can take two people might be a handy thing.  It is made by a company called Sea Eagle and I am going to look into it.

Nicky and John turned out to be from Juneau and Alaska being as small as it is, we found that we knew a number of the same people.  It was a very pleasant evening.  We ate one dorado and sent them home with the other.

The next day, Monday, was my birthday.  We headed down to San Gabriel so as to get internet and phone connection.  It was beautiful with the water as clear as we’ve seen it.  I was in almost as soon as the anchor.  We celebrated with a special dinner of grilled rack of lamb that I had bought at Pedro’s market in Puerto Escondido.  It was from New Zealand, via Costco, and wonderful! 

Looking through 16 feet of water
San Gabriel from the boat deck
Tuesday and we are headed back into Costa Baja.  We will get a screen door installed in the salon on Thursday and I can hardly wait.  We have had many flies this year and I am tired of them!  We are currently being accompanied by a large group of porpoise, to Daisy’s utter delight!

Escort home

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6, 2013 - Puerto Escondido

Earl pointed out that I did not include some of his best photos from our visit with Jon and Becky.  So here are a few more.
Jon's last marlin
Lunch at the Golf Club

Outside the golf club
On Halloween we were visited by these lovely creatures:
Alba (witch) and Giada (angel)
On the way out of the marina, we took at photo of the most unusual tender.  We are told that this strange looking boat can go can go 60 knots and belongs to a 300+ foot Russian boat.

Not your father's dingy

We left La Paz on Sunday November 3.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  The forecast had been for intermittent bad weather, Saturday had been very overcast and heavy, and Sunday morning was not any better, but there was no wind and we were tired of sitting at the dock, especially since we had been pestered with flies.  So we cast off and headed for Bahia San Gabriel.  It was a little lumpy crossing but the anchorage was quiet and blissfully without bugs.  We watched a lovely sunset, with just a little blue sky peeping out to the northwest.  
It is hard not to put in photos of sunsets -they are wonderful

The next morning was clear and we decided to go to Escondido up north.  We have friends coming for a week at the end of November and then we go north to Alaska December 7th, so if we were going to get up there this fall, now was the time.   The seas were confused as we left and not pleasant, but Earl decided that it would be better if we ran to the west along the coast of Baja and he was right.  It became nicer and nicer.  We rarely run along the coast, I think because Earl is usually looking for fish, and it was a lovely change.  Close to land, we saw things that we had not noticed before.  Of course, with all the rain last year and this year, things are very green, which is pretty different from what we had the first 3 years.  

The colors of Sierra Grande always amaze

We contemplated stopping at Cabeza de Mechudo for lunch and a swim and then anchoring for the night somewhere near the north end of Isla San Jose, but the seas were so nice, we decided to head for Los Gatos.  As we ran north, close to the land, I was fascinated by the Sierra Grande that in places looks like a set for the Hobbit.  We saw no other boats.  Presumably everyone had been intimidated by the weather forecast.

The Misty Mountains?

Last year we had been disappointed to find beautiful Los Gatos full, not only of other boats, but many kayakers and their camps.  This time, we had the place to ourselves and it was magic.  With the beautiful red sandstone, this is surely one of the most beautiful places in the Sea.  A brief swim was followed by cocktails on the boat deck under the pavilion and chili for dinner.  It was our wedding anniversary, and I cannot think of a pleasanter one.
What a difference rain makes

Beautiful Los Gatos
Yesterday we continued north bypassing places we will visit going south.  Winds were forecasted for the 6th (and the forecast was correct) so our plan was to anchor up in the beautifully protected Puerto Escondido and enjoy Pedro’s wi-fi, market and restaurant. We have stocked up on eggs and oranges, did laundry, and are looking forward to dinner at Pedro’s restaurant, Portobello.  Based on the wind and waves and our trip back from the marina, we will be damp, both going and coming!  Tomorrow we will hopefully stop, at least for lunch at Honeymoon Cove, one of our favorite anchorages before heading south.
Baja rocky island

I neglected to post anything after the visit from our son Brian, his wife Isha and their darling Bella last spring.  We had all left Mexico the same day.  It was as always a wonderful visit.  This was the fourth year that they had come and Bella has grown from a 5 year old to a nine year old.  She has become a very confident swimmer, and we had wonderful fun diving off the boat.  She and her Dad had a great time tipping each other off the inflatable alligator (Milly Crocodilly) I had original bought for her first visit.  It was too much for Milly who deflated, but she did not owe us anything.
Proficient kayaker
Practicing diving
Roughhousing with Milly

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October 31 – Marina Costa Baja

We arrived in Cabo on October 1 and rented a car for the drive to La Paz.  We made a quick stop at Costco on the way.  I forgot to buy coffee, which I remember too late was excellent, but we picked up some beautiful U S New York strip steaks and great French cheeses.  We arrived at the marina at about 6, unloaded the car and made a dash for Azul, our favorite local restaurant where we ran into friends.  Peter and Mary Rose and Jay and Liza who are fellow Nordhavn owners.  They had elected to keep their boats in La Paz for the summer.  It was a first for them and most probably a last.  Both couples found it much too hot.

We had little time to cruise when we first arrived. Earl had brought parts with him – membranes for the water maker and pistons and bushings for the stabilizers.  Replacing these is normal maintenance, although in the case of the water maker, the unit itself had let us know that it needed the new membranes.  It has made lots of water for us since 2008 and the membranes had had it. 

I had pretty well cleaned out the pantry and frig before we left, so while Earl was overseeing the maintenance, I was doing provisioning.  Finally, a week after arriving, we left the marina, with Earl chomping at the bit.  Fishing was supposed to be great!  Within 20 minutes of leaving the marina we were stopped and boarded by Mexican security wanting to inspect our papers.  They are always very nice and polite, but, all the same, the machine guns put me off a little.

We headed up to Ensenada Grande.  Earl put his fishing lines out and everything was just fine.  I was sitting in the air conditioned salon reading and Daisy was chilling upstairs in the pilot house.  When Earl found that he had lost all 400 yards of line, as well as an expensive lure, from one rod, he tried to pin the blame on us.  No way!  We had not been told that we were on duty and were not taking the blame!  (And how was Daisy to hear the fish if someone did not put the clicker on the reel).

Other than the fishing fiasco, it was a lovely ride: beautiful water, porpoises and mobulas.  We were in the water as soon as the anchor was set.  What heaven!  We had the place to ourselves – 85 degree water as clear as could be and no suits needed. 

Unfortunately, the next day, I started to feel under the weather.  By mid afternoon, Earl was concerned and headed back to the marina.  He took care of everything, including getting the name of a doctor to see me, Dr Touchman (612-157-0126) who was wonderful.  Earl wanted to go to the hospital at 8 pm.  I told him I would go the next day if I was not any better.  That I was willing to consider a trip to the hospital was enough to convince him I was at death’s door – He has never let me forget the “false labor” that resulted in our son birth shortly after arriving at the hospital.  

The next day I was still not well, so off we went.  This was my second experience with Mexican medical care.  My first was having Dr. Veronica sew up the back of my scalp at 9 pm on the boat.  Once again, I have to say that I am impressed.  Earl had spoken to the doctor on the phone and he said the best place to go would be the old city hospital since they have the best diagnostic equipment and that he would meet us there.  We went to the hospital and Earl called the doctor who came out and led us back to an examination room.  After he checked me out, he said an ultrasound was in order.  So we followed him down the hall.  The first room he tried was occupied, so he took us down a hall to another.  There he and the ultrasound tech  checked me out.  Following that he told me that the good news was that no surgery was required and that basically everything was great except I had an irritated colon that could be treated by diet and medication.  He gave me some prescriptions and told me to call if I did not feel better in 3 days.  At that point, I asked him how we were to pay him.  (Keep in mind that we had not filled in one piece of paper at this point- let alone the norm for the US).  He said the ultrasound was 600 pesos and his fee was 400 pesos.  I gave him 1,000 pesos and we were off at a total cost of less than $75. 

Getting the prescriptions filled was also novel.  I had three medications.  Unlike the US, here the pills come in packages, the quantity having little to do with the prescribed amount.  I was given 10 of medicine A that I was supposed to take 4 time a day for 3 days (12 needed), 15 of medicine B that I was supposed to take 2 of, 4 times a day for 3 days (total of 16), and 24 of medicine C that I was to take 3 times day for 10 days (30 ).

Whatever, within 3 days, I was feeling significantly better!

While we were in La Paz, Earl replaced the switch in our grey water tank for the second time. Although almost everything in this boat is great, Nordhavn did some things oddly, the grey water system being one.  All the grey water, including the kitchen sink went to the tank.  No matter how careful one is, the water from the kitchen sink can be greasy, unlike the water from the washing machine and showers, so a bypass is be nice to have to keep grease and such out of the tank. Last year, we finally put in a kitchen sink bypass.  The automatic float switch in the tank had stopped working shortly after we bought the boat and PAE had replaced it for us in the fall of 09.  It failed again within two months. This time, Earl and Fito replaced it.  When Earl and Fito pulled it out, it was a disgusting sight, even though we had tried to clean it by pouring large amounts of cleaner down the shower.  After spending a few hours cleaning out the tank, they discovered that the switch may have shorted out since it was installed inside the tank itself.  The new set up has the switch outside and dry.  We will see if it does better.  It is certainly lovely to have it on automatic!

There is always something that can be done on a boat!

Finally on Monday the 14th we took off again.  We were in such a hurry that Earl refused to be impressed by the tropical storm Octave that was heading toward the Baja.  After all, it was going to Loreto not La Paz.  The air was heavy and wet, but we did not care.  After the winds picked up, we moved from Gabriel to Caleta Partida, our bulletproof anchorage between the islands of Espiritu Santo and Partida.  We had a lovely pasta dinner on the back deck watching the clouds race across the sky and then the storm hit.  Rain harder than we have seen here before and winds, building and building.  Earl finally resorted to taking his clothes off to keep them dry when he went out to check things.  It was actually exactly as forecasted, except instead of maximum winds of 30 we had gusts of 55 or more before the storm passed in the morning.  (Turned out that Octave went south and probably closer to us than Loreto).  It was a pretty wild night, but with a good anchorage, good anchor and lots of chain, we really did not have anything to worry about ourselves although our flags took a beating.  About 1 am someone anchored in a nearby bay started calling mayday.  That continued for the next 4 hours or so.  There was really nothing we could do.  We would have been nuts to go out and did not try.   The next day, we saw a sailboat grounded on the beach there.  Pick your anchorages with care!

The next day we finally caught some dorado.  Daisy has remembered that she is on watch and lets us know when she hears the line on the rod going out.  The first fish flopped around the back deck and splattered everything with blood.  Earl took off his shorts and shirt and soaked them in cold water before going down to get fresh clothes.  Bam!  Another fish on!   This one fought by a naked Earl.  He has special strap on pole holders for fishing into which the rods fit, but the original belts have failed and he replaced them, not particularly well, with twine.  Since the twine was loose, I had to stand behind him, holding it up.  Sorry – no video.

Some friends told us yesterday that we should pour cheap tequila over the gills of the fish when we bring it in and will pass out, thus avoiding the blood spatters.  I will get a bottle rot gut and put it with the gaff hook.

W returned to Costa Baja on the 15th so that we could pick up our friend John (in his car) at the airport in La Paz and get the boat ready for our next cruise.  Our son Jon and his wife Becky came down to spend 10 days with us on the 19th.  What a treat for us!

Maybe to compensate for Octave and the relative lack of fish earlier in the month, we had a fabulous trip on both counts with the kids.  The 20th we headed out south towards Cerralvo Channel on beautiful seas.  Fishing was supposed to be good, but not for us so we headed north to anchor at Bonanza on the SE end of Espiritu Santo.  The kids took the dingy to the beach and walked for a couple of hours – a bit further than I think they had intended.  Everyone swam and we had stir fry chicken, then Jon and Becky hung their feet over the swim step and played with the fish swimming in our blue lights before going to bed early!
Off the beach at Bonanza

Gin clear water

After leaving Bonanza, Becky caught the first fish – a bonita – the first of many fish for the week.  We ended up at Gabriel for the night – more swimming, running around in the dingy and dorado for dinner.  The next day, Tuesday, we headed north to Isla San Francisco and had good luck catching dorado.  Just as we headed into the anchorage, we got a bonus – a sailfish.  What an unexpected thrill!  Releasing it was also exciting.  The fish first got its bill under the swim step and then managed to come up and slash Earl’s leg.  (He is very proud of the injury!)
Becky's dorado

Earl's war wound

The kids hit the beach and we tried to give away some dorado, since we had more than we could eat for dinner.  Jon and Becky climbed up the ridge and down the back to the beach on the north side where they went skinny dipping.

The next day we were hard at the fishing again.  We went north up the west side of Isla San Jose, around the tip, and south back to the anchorage at San Francisco.  Right away we started catching (and releasing) fish.  After about an hour, Earl was afraid that we would not make it around the island, so we pulled in the lines for a few hours.  Later, the lines were out, and Jon was napping in the salon while Becky was watching.  Zing!  Fish on.  Jon jumped up and knocked over the table in the cockpit in his rush to get the fish.  Lots of yelling!  Within 2 minutes we saw a huge marlin jump, just about the time that Jon announced that all the line was gone.  Apparently there was some issue with the drag.  Boy, did Earl give him a bad time! 
Pelicans waiting to feed at our lights

Laundry day

Wasn't Becky's larger?

We got into the anchorage around 4:30, with just enough time for a swim before John and Maria Luisa came over from the Viking Spirit for dinner. Our boat is not really big enough for 6 comfortably at the table, so we had a picnic style evening on the boat deck under Earl’s pavilion.  Scallop ceviche and pate, followed by fabulous (if I do say so) Thai chicken curry and rice, topped off with vanilla ice cream and baileys.  A hard life, but someone has to do it!

The next day John and Marie Luisa took us in their big dingy to Isla Coyote, which I have long wanted to visit, but Earl always had some reason not to go.  It is a rock on which there are few houses.  The families there live off of fishing and the sale of some really lovely shell necklaces.  Up until a few days before our visit, one of the sights was a collection whale bones – whole skeletons as I understand.  Sadly, just a few days before our visit a bunch of Mexican marines came to the island and took all the bones, some of them 40 + years old.  The locals suspect that they were taken to be sold.  It is very sad.  These people have so little and they were very proud of these whale bones. 
Jon and Becky atop Isla Coyote

Coyote fisherman and crab

After our visit to Coyote, we fished east of Isla San Jose for 4 hours, but caught nothing.  Back to Isla San Francisco, this time to the northeast side, for the night.  The kids explored the beach and Earl and I swam before going over to the Viking Spirit for dinner with John and Marie Luisa.  As usual, it was wonderful.  John’s specialty is huge, half pound, beef filets accompanied by equally large baked potatoes and masses of butter.  It was delicious.  I am ashamed to say, I ate all of mine. 
Three ladies watching dolphin

The next day we decided to make one last attempted to get some big fish for Jon.  We ran quite far off shore to a underwater sea mount that is known for good fishing.  It worked.  Actually everything worked, the seas, the fish, the fisherman etc.  John hooked a large marlin. We guess over 300 pounds.  It was everything it should be, fighting, jumping and wonderful.  It left John exhausted and in seventh heaven.  Not very long after, he caught another smaller marlin.  We pulled into Ensenada Grande around 6:30 and collapsed into the water.  It was a wonderful day.

Marlin jumping
Marlin by the swimstep

The next day, we all decided there would be no fishing.  The kids went for a kayak ride – Becky’s first – while we stayed on the boat and took multiple swims.  It was Saturday and a good number of boats came and anchored.  We decided it was too crowded and headed south to San Gabriel for our last stop.  It was much more private and Jon and Becky enjoyed a long kayak around the bay.  The high point may have been the discovery of a treasure trove of shells, some of which they have taken home to Oregon. 
Kayaking at Ensenada Grande

Sunday morning we headed back to the marina.  Jon and Earl stayed at the boat while Becky and I went to refresh our provisions.  By this time we had no eggs, no oranges, no onions, no tomatoes, no fruit, and almost no vegetables.  We had been given only an hour to shop, so we were very efficient and managed not only to get groceries but also to stop by Ibarra’s pottery to get some bowls for Becky to bring home.  We got home in time for lunch at the golf club as promised, only to find that we had changed from daylight savings time that morning and it was consequently only 11 am.  We must have looked tragic, because they agreed to serve us lunch instead of breakfast.  Later that afternoon, Becky and I hit the public market for ‘princess dresses’ for Becky’s granddaughters and did some other souvenir shopping.  It was very successful shopping.  The day was finished by a wonderful dinner at Azul.
Our pretty neighbors - Giada and Alba - who love Daisy

Monday, the last day, Becky and Jon spent mostly at the beach club, catching more sun and some swimming in the infinity pool.  We broke long enough to get real Mexican food at Rancho Viejo for lunch.  That night, the kids went to eat sushi - Earl and I were still full from the past few meals and stayed home.  Then sadly the next morning the taxi came to take them back to the airport after a wonderful time for all four of us.