the Sea of Cortez
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May 10, 2004: Feliz Dia de Madres! Mother's Day is always May 10 in Mexico. We were up early with a long list of chores to do before we left. I walked to CCC Colima for last-minute items and Jim went downtown to check out with API and take one last look at the internet. There was a stiff breeze which we hoped would die down before we headed out. It was still blowing at noon but it was time for us to leave. We had the marina do the paperwork for our officaldumb check-out. In Spanish, Jim said to the office clerk, "We'll return next table." She gave him a funny look and asked if he'd meant "month" instead! All it takes is to have one letter off to mean something different than what you intended! We secured the boat and left the marina at 1225, having lunch underway. With a south wind, we had a pleasant run up to El Cardonal and were the only boat in the anchorage. It was there that we realized that we'd forgotten to visit the Peso store for more puddings, were running low on coffee and knew that we'd bought 2 rolls of paper towels but for the life of us, couldn't find them. This could be a very interesting month (especially if/when we run out of coffee!) Except for a little rolling around midnight, we had a pleasant night. It was much cooler as well.
|A Feisty Local
||Isla San Francisco (Mañana
May 11, 2004: After a lazy start to the day, we left El Cardonal for Isla San Francisco, about 20 miles away. The south winds were still with us, giving us a nice cruise. A pod of several dozen dolphins joined us for a short while. It was fun to see them again. Once we arrived at the anchorage, we nosed our way as close to shore as possible trying to get a break from the swells from the south winds. All the coves in the islands tend to have beautifully clear water and white sandy beaches. We noticed several small puffer fish loitering under the swim step of the boat when we lowered Ruthie. We went ashore for a walk along the beach and some shell collecting (the shells were disappointing). We returned to the boat and had spaghetti, sausage and garlic bread for dinner. After dinner, Jim got up from the table, removed his t-shirt and jumped overboard! I noticed a puffer fish coming towards him and told him to watch out - the puffer fish was going to bite him! He told me they don't bite; a few seconds later, it took a little nip, surprising him! In the early evening, a large trawler (65') came deep into the anchorage. He was so big, and the area so small, that he had to use his bow thrusters to move himself around. The folks on the boats around us were all out on deck watching and wondering what he was going to do. The next thing we knew, he asked how much scope we had out and then dropped his anchor. The spot would have been fine for a 30' sailboat, but not him. The trawler on the other side of Zeus ended up moving. We weren't happy with his location, but he wasn't presenting an immediate hazard for us (it might have been a problem if the winds had shifted) -- he just showed poor anchorage etiquette in dropping his hook where he did. So, the first rule for anchoring etiquette is: if the people on the boats you're positioning yourself near are glowering at you, take that as a clue to anchor elsewhere. In case you're wondering, the second rule, although not applicable on this particular evening, is "no barking dogs wanted." We talked to Encanto after the net. They should be arriving here in the morning -- we're both really looking forward to seeing them.
A sailor's joys are as simple as a child's.
- Bernard Moitessier
May 12, 2004: Encanto hailed us when they were 3 miles from the anchorage. We told them it had been and was a bit rolly; together we decided to move to San Evaristo, about 10 miles north of Isla San Francisco (we knew they would be wanting some serious sleep.) About 45 minutes later, we watched as they went past the entrance to the anchorage -- looking good, guys! We passed them as they were taking down their sails and we anchored on the north side of San Evaristo. As soon as they had anchored, Judy was on the VHF, "Hey Mañana, c'mon over!" We joined them for lunch and caught up with where we've been, etc. in the 2 months since we saw each other last (in Nuevo Vallarta). We knew it was time for us to leave when John fell asleep on the settee. We returned for dinner at 1800, with wine and vegetables in hand. Judy had made oxtail soup, remembering how much Jim liked it (I now have the recipe). I brought the family a gift from Seattle -- Brother Bear, which Gaby, Sami and I had seen at the theater in La Paz. After dinner, the three of us watched the movie in English, Jim and John went outside to talk and Judy was stuck doing the dishes. At 2200 we all went outside to take a look at a comet that was visible through the binoculars. It was a perfect night -- cool with a million stars in the sky. Jim and I didn't leave until 2300, stirring up the green phosphorescence as we returned to our boat. Once aboard, I turned off our anchor light and we watched as schools of fish swam around the boat, illuminating the water with streaks of green. It doesn't get much nicer than this...
|The Welcoming Committee
||To San Evaristo
||Huge Rock Scallop
May 13, 2004: I really snoozed in! When I got up at 0800, Jim was on the settee dressed in his long jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt. I asked him why he was dressed like that and he said it was because it was cold -- the thermometer in the cabin said 75 degrees! We talked to Encanto and decided to go ashore to explore at 1030; they would pick us up. Once on shore, we were greeted by several burros and goats. We followed the primitive dirt road towards "town." I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but town consisted of perhaps six houses, a school, an unfinished building with a cross on it and a small desalinization plant...period. There were several pangas (small fishing boats) pulled up on the beach. We walked the length of the beach accompanied by a young dog, and then up a small cliff to the light beacon. By the time we returned to our boats, 3 hours later, the wind had shifted out of the north, making it necessary to move to the south side of San Evaristo. We followed Encanto and an hour later, we were both reanchored. At 1800, we brought BBQ'd chicken, homemade brownies (from a Mexican mix - the chocolate is more like cocoa - bitter) and a 6-pack of beer. Again, we chatted comfortably about our future plans and boat and financial worries. Those seem to be the three major topics among cruisers. We returned to Mañana at 2030 and watched a couple of episodes of Sex and The City before going to bed.
May 14, 2004: I had a productive morning; washed one load of T-shirts and while they were drying, I polished some of the stainless rails. When the shirts were dry, I washed and hung a second load. We had winds out of the north at 10-15 kts. so it was good clothes-drying weather. We realized that the freezer is eating our batteries now that it's so hot, so we wrapped a reflective insulation blanket around it, hoping that that will help. Time will tell. Jim pulled his back out a couple of mornings ago while digging in the forward head looking for the paper towels so stayed flat for most of the day. In mid-afternoon I decided to do some sewing. I made the Chemela Sunset and Cactus squares and finished the dolphin (I'm making a memory quilt). At 1800 we went over to Encanto with some white wine, pineapple marmalade and cream cheese. Judy made cha sui bows, a Chinese dish, as an appetizer before Jim ran the net. After the net, John made crepes. Judy had at least 6 different fillings to choose from. In my opinion, the cooking done on Encanto easily equals any 5 star restaurant! We returned to Mañana around 2130, with the promise of seeing each other in Aqua Verde in a couple of weeks.
Puerto Los Gatos
May 15, 2004: Jim's mood went downhill as the outside temperature climbed. He hadn't turned the radar or any of the instruments on before he started to raise the anchor. Encanto hailed us saying Andiamo was hailing us on the Amigo net. There was just too much going on as we were trying to get underway. I don't think either of us wanted to leave Encanto, either. Jim immediately got the generator started, but shortly after turning north out of the anchorage, it died and wouldn't restart. The next thing we knew, Mañana's main engine died, although all gauges were reading normal. After a quick look into the engine room, Jim deemed the problem to be that we had run out of fuel in the tank we were running on. Apparently he had a brain fart and thought he'd switched the fuel valves to the tank with fuel in it, but obviously he didn't! He quickly switched tanks, but the engine wouldn't stay running because of the air bubbles in the fuel line. I went out to the aft deck, listening to the engine turn over and tried not to cry. This is my worst fear, although we weren't in any immediate danger. Once he bled the air out of the system, the engine started right up and we were on our way to Puerto Los Gatos ("Port Cats" - we thought it only fitting to check the anchorage out since we have two cats on board). However, I had caught Jim's foul mood and conversation transpired as to whether we would turn around and return to La Paz or whether I'd fly home early and let Jim bring the boat back to the States. We decided to continue to explore the Sea; talking helped alleviate some of my fears, but I'm ready to return to the rat race. I made Sloppy Joe's for lunch and we ate once we were settled in Los Gatos. This is a pretty big cove offering good protection from the south winds we've been having. The cove is broken into two lobes -- we could see the skeleton of a long-since beached whale on the beach. We relaxed for the remainder of the day. Manuel stopped by around 2015. He's a local fisherman and wanted to know if we'd be interested in buying some langosta tomorrow (70 pesos per kilo). We said yes and he invited us to go along with him. He said he'd return at 0900. We went to bed leaving all the ports and hatches open. It was too hot!
May 16, 2004: We woke up several times during the night listening to DC run laps around the boat and got up at 0700 because the boat was rolling. Jim set the flopper stopper, had breakfast and waited for Manuel to arrive. He arrived shortly after 0900 and they took off for some langosta north of Punta Prieta. They returned at 1030 with two large lobsters. We cooked the tails immediately and I made a cabbage salad while they were cooking. As we were lowering Ruthie after lunch, Manuel stopped by again and indicated there were large waves and high winds to the north and suggested we move to the other side of the cove. We attempted to re-anchor but the holding on the other side was poor; we decided to head out to Aqua Verde, about 15 miles away. Jim raised Ruthie back onto the davits while I secured the galley. We passed Aqua Verde a few hours later and decided to continue on to Puerto Escondido, but then realized we would be pushing the darkness envelope. We stopped in Ensenada Blanca, about 6 miles south of Puerto Escondido. Andiamo hailed us as we were underway; we will meet them tomorrow on Isla Carmen. I made a tuna noodle casserole and after dinner I took a bar of soap out to the aft deck and took a shower (in my bathing suit). I felt human again! We had winds that gusted to 30 kts. on and off during the evening.
in Bahia Marquer
May 17, 2004: After breakfast we upped anchor and cruised over to Bahia Marquer on Isla Carmen to meet up with our friends on Andiamo. I was a bit reluctant to go to Isla Carmen as we were hearing cruisers on the net talking about being inundated by bees. We arrived at 1115, and were greeted by a small pod of dolphins playing in the anchorage. John and Lisa stopped by for a while shortly after we got settled. We hadn't seen them since Nuevo Vallarta so we had a lot of catching up to do. They returned to their boat for lunch but we said we'd see them on the beach. Lisa and I walked the beach collecting shells while Jim and John went snorkeling. They warned us to be careful when washing our suits and snorkeling gear because the bees were attracted to fresh water. We hosed everything down on the aft deck and within 10 minutes, we had hundreds (literally) of bees crawling on and in everything that had been washed. For the most part the bees were staying on the aft deck, but several decided to come inside. I ran around the galley waving the fly swatter, scaring poor Jerry half to death. We eventually closed up the boat until the bees went away. We swapped movies with Andiamo that night. We watched "Y Tu Mama Tambien" ("And Your Mother, Too"). It was one of those movies that had no real story line or plot, but a lot of adolescent sex scenes. Very interesting.....
||Sunset from Isla Coronado
May 18, 2004: John and Lisa stopped by in time for a 1000 coffee. Lisa bought what looked to be a cantelope-sized watermelon, but she really didn't know what it was. We cut it up and indeed, it was a small watermelon with LOTS of seeds. We tried to figure out what the Mexican movie was all about, and decided that in the US, it would have been rated X. There apparently is no rating system in Mexico. Jim wanted to try trolling the cove. He hooked a trumpetfish and a graybar grunt but tossed both overboard figuring neither would make good eating. After lunch, he headed out again, but this time he took along our "Fishes of the Pacific Coast" book. I stayed on board to read. Quite suddenly, bees began coming into the boat's interior. I was swatting them but they were coming in faster than I could kill them. I ran around the boat closing the doors, windows and hatches while continuing to swat. I made a panicky call to Jim, who thankfully, had the hand-held VHF with him. As he was approaching Mañana, he noticed a swarm of bees hovering all around the exterior of the boat. He got on board moving very slowly as to not anger the bees and came inside. Once inside, he saw how serious the situation was -- the bees were coming in the gap in the door jam. He started the engine and went forward to pull up the anchor, while I stayed inside wielding my trusty flyswatter. The bees stopped swarming us as the boat got underway. In all, I probably killed 50 or more bees and I never got stung. We stopped the boat just long enough to more firmly secure Ruthie and to put the second graybar grunt he'd caught in a bucket. As there were reports of bees in most of the coves on Isla Carmen, we decided to anchor on the south side of Isla Coronado instead. Jim fileted and cooked the fish -- it was very tasty except for a few small bones he'd missed. It was a wonderful evening. Sunset was a beautiful shade of pink. We stood on deck watching pods of dolphins and some manta rays as the lights of Loreto came on in the distance.
|San Juanico Anchorage
||The Prudential Rock
May 19, 2004: Jim tried to start the generator before we left but no joy. Our guide books said the route we were taking was through good fishing ground so Jim set a trolling line and we cruised up to Caleta San Juanico at a slower speed than normal. We passed a school (?) of manta rays and a 3-4' hammerhead shark, who thankfully, was not interested in our lure (what would we have done?). Paul (Carmelita) greeted us in his dinghy as we entered the anchorage several hours later. We settled ourselves in, once again the only trawler. Jim wanted to go snorkeling but I suggested he start the watermaker before playing. The generator just would not start. He bled it several times but still no joy (no joy is a popular phrase down here). After 3 hours, he called it quits and went swimming to cool off. The generator situation put me in another foul mood because we have only 3/8 tank of water on board and the generator has been nothing but a headache ever since he installed it in San Diego. A happy hour on the beach had been announced and we decided to join it, although neither of us was in a party mood. We brought sardines in chili sauce, smoked oysters and crackers. Apparently our reputation had preceded us because everyone there had heard the story about us towing Encanto and we were told we were legends in the cruising community. Gee golly wizz! Caleta San Juanico is the home of the cruisers' shrine. It is actually a tree (probably the only tree in all of the Baja) that holds name boards and other imaginative items of the boats which have passed this way. I have an idea of what our name board will look like. When we returned to our boat we discussed our options -- head back to La Paz or start putting Mexican water into our water tanks. Jim will continue to work on the generator tomorrow morning.
May 20, 2004: We woke to clouds
in the sky which kept the morning cool while Jim worked on the generator. Still
no joy despite all his attempts so on to Plan B, whatever that is. We had a
lobster salad sandwich for lunch and then took Ruthie for a tour of the bay.
We saw several good snorkeling spots and lots of tropical fish and skates. Jim
went snorkeling when we returned to the boat; I went for a swim off the transom.
The water felt great. Paul and Carol (Carmelita) picked us up in their dinghy
at 1700 and we went to Dos Brisas for happy hour. Dos Brisas (Earl and Maria)
was anchored on the south side of the bay and we had a wet ride over because
of the wind (joke: How are cruisers like babies? They have big eyes, an ear-to-ear
grin and wet bottoms!) Earl is a net controller so we hear him on the SSB all
the time but had never had the opportunity to meet before. We didn't leave their
boat until 2030 -- so much for dinner tonight! We still need to create a signboard
for the cruising shrine.
The Cat's Meow
May 21, 2004: On yesterday morning's Amigo net, there was an announcement that a boat (The Cat's Meow) had hit a rock and sunk 55 miles south of Caleta San Juanico. On this morning's net the cruisers helping The Cat's Meow put out a call for divers and flashlight batteries. Jim and I had no real plans and Jim wanted to help out if he could. We put a call out to the fleet in San Juanico and asked for battery donations and water for our tank (for washing down the diving gear). Many boats responded and we left the anchorage at 1115 (so much for leaving a sign board at the cruising shrine), going as fast as we could. We arrived Isla San Cosme at 1730, settled in, lowered Ruthie and were immediately put to work (we are "fresh blood"). The Cat's Meow is sunk up to her flybridge but is technically floating with the aid of barrels. The Mexican Navy is on the scene as are 24 other cruisers. The Navy pumped the diesel fuel into all available barrels. When the barrels ran out, they tried to even out the diesel in each tank by pumping the diesel fuel from the full tank into the empty one. Unfortunately a lot of diesel went into the water and is now floating throughout the anchorage. The Cat's Meow has a hole in her side and progress to raise her will be slow until plywood and more barrels are received, hopefully tomorrow. Jim and I volunteered for the 2200 - 2400 security shift.
Bydand Pulls and Straightens The Cat's
May 22, 2004: It was a very busy day for all the cruisers as they scooted between The Cat's Meow retrieving floating items and brought them to R Dreamz, where the items were degreased, washed and then moved to Mañana. Jim came to the rescue and was able to put various valve pieces together for use on the fuel tanks. We were both busy doing various chores -- towing barrels and standing by Bydand as she pulled The Cat's Meow upright, among other things. Jim was asked to suit up to help put the patch on to seal up the hole. I stayed on board Mañana while Jim was diving. We needed to charge our batteries and Jim didn't want to leave the engine running unattended. However, I had plenty of company as one person came by needing our stern anchor, another came by needing another air tank for Jim and several dinghies came by to drop off cleaned items. A group of ladies got together and assembled sandwiches for all the workers. They roamed about the site handing them out to whoever needed one. They were back in the evening, having made a spaghetti supper. Their efforts were very much appreciated. We were pressed into action again at dinner time. Duty dictated that I get a crash course (no pun intended) on how to drive Ruthie. We had so much fun doing security last night that we signed up for the 0100 - 0300 shift.
|Workers Set 9 Anchors
May 23, 2004: Oops! We set the alarm for 0045 but we both slept through it. I woke up at 0145 and we scurried to get dressed and out to The Cat's Meow. Luckily the couple on the watch before us had volunteered for two shifts and weren't expecting anyone so it was a win-win for us both. We returned to Mañana at 0310 and reset the alarm for 0530. It was to be an early start so we could take advantage of low tide. Jim and several other divers hopped into the water at 0615 to reinforce the patch that was installed yesterday. The barrels that were alongside The Cat's Meow had to be cut loose so that workers could reach the scuppers and cover them over with wood. Rather than removing the barrels one or two at a time, all the barrels were cut at the same time and set free. The Cat's Meow heeled back over on her starboard side, which lowered everyone's morale. Bydand was called back in to try to right her but to no avail so they asked Gusto, a twin-engined power boat. Two other dinghies and I acted as tugs to hold Gusto in place as she pulled. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of ramming someone's boat and then keeping the dinghy in gear to hold me against Gusto. She was successful! The lunch ladies came around with egg salad sandwiches, chips and cookies - again, much appreciated. Jim stayed in the water until 1600 (almost 10 hours). His toes and fingers were very pruned! I drove Ruthie and acted as a tug, taxi and chauffeur. When I wasn't doing anything, I would circle the site and pick up any small loose items that may have floated out of the boat. We had about an hour to relax and clean up before dinner, which was a dinghy raft-up off Siempre Sabado (translated means Always Saturday). The ladies put together a sloppy joe and macaroni salad dinner. Somehow Mañana had won the community ice chest, so we brought that with us. As we were chowing down, crew on The Cat's Meow had the large pumps going and had raised the bow of the boat significantly. Soon the call came over the radio for all hands with buckets for bailing. Dinghies scattered in all directions as we returned to our boats and then went to The Cat's Meow. Jim climbed on board (once again I got dinghy duty) and joined over a dozen people bailing. The Cat's Meow rose out of the water steadily -- hooray! Unfortunately, though, the tide was coming in and the bailers were losing ground and the water flooded back in. Oh what an emotional roller coaster ride. Everyone returned to their boat, totally dejected. However, Martin was very optimistic and asked us to all be ready to go at 0430 for low tide. We declined the request for security watch tonight. Everyone agreed to turn the VHF to channel 13 and Martin agreed to give us all a wake up call.
The Cat is Back!
May 24, 2004: Martin gave everyone a wake up call at 0430 - UGH! Jim bummed a ride to The Cat's Meow at 0500. I can't see in the dark and The Cat's Meow had 9 anchors holding her in place. I had no desire to decapitate myself on one of the lines! Jim was on board in slimy fuel-slick water accessing the engine room. Martin wanted it all hosed down but Jim felt the grease would prevent the engine from rusting. I was up early doing some housework while I waited for the sun to rise. At 0600 I was on the scene of The Cat's Meow. She was floating on her own! The water was being pumped overboard and the barrels were being removed. Several dinghies were put into action retrieving and towing some of the barrels to the beach; others were towing some to the boat. The food ladies came around at 0700 with bacon and egg burritos - yum! The Cat's Meow started to float around 0815. By 1030, all barrels had been removed from the water and dinghies were assigned to anchor lines. Sabado backed into place after two boats moved out of the way (they wanted a straight shot out of the anchorage.) One by one the anchor lines were released. The dinghy's job was to keep the line from fouling anything and then tie a fender onto the line for easy anchor location and retrieval. I think La Paz heard our cheers and horns as Cat's Meow floated away, pulled by Sabado. What a feeling of accomplishment! Hooray! The dinghies retrieved the anchors and then it was mass confusion as folks tried to locate the anchor they had donated. At the last minute someone remembered the barrels on the beach (the Navy had brought them.) Mañana won 2 of the barrels. We looked like a barge with Cat's Meow property on our trunk cabin and flybridge, the community ice chest, various containers of soda and styrofoam cups and 2 rusty metal barrels. About half The Cat's Meow rescue team followed her to Puerto Escondido. We arrived at 1530; she was tied up alongside the pier. We anchored and relaxed the rest of the day; we were exhausted. We tried hailing The Cat's Meow regarding all their property but got no response. Hopefully we'll unload the boat tomorrow.
May 25, 2004: Jim slept over 11 hours. We finally had some time to work on our own projects. Jim tried the generator again taking the advice from an e-mail received from the Watermaker Store in San Diego but still couldn't get it to run. Guess we'll have to put Mexican water in the tank :( We lowered Ruthie and went to the dinghy dock. Sunlover Connie was there and offered to drive me to Willey's for supplies while Jim went to check things out at The Cat's Meow. Willey's was relatively well stocked and it was nice to be able to buy fresh fruit and veggies. Connie gave me information regarding how to go about obtaining gas, diesel and water. She also said that the Port Captain had been notified about The Cat's Meow and he would "look the other way" if the helpers didn't want to check in. We walked over to the API building and ordered three 55-gallon drums of diesel and a jug of gas. An API worker drives to Loreto (15 miles away), buys the fuel and transports it back to Puerto Escondido the next day. We were told to be on the dock in front of The Cat's Meow around 0800 tomorrow. I returned to our boat and Jim stayed at the dock to help empty The Cat's Meow.
|Robin and Martin
||You Know Who!
May 26, 2004: We moved Mañana over to the wall in front of The Cat's Meow at 0800 and notified API that we were there. Jesus told us the fuel would arrive around 1000 but it was okay for us to stay there. We filled the water tank while we waited. Eventually a crowd of helpers had arrived and we were feeling guilty for not joining in the "fun" so we donned our grubby work clothes and rubber gloves and got into the swing of cleaning oily, greasy everything. All of Martin's tools had been removed and were sitting in buckets of water with a degreasing agent. Jim worked on board removing equipment (washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, etc) and I made myself comfortable in front of a bucket of various tools. What a messy job! Our fuel finally arrived around noon. While it was being pumped aboard, I asked someone about lunch fixings. I was told that the lady who made the sandwiches yesterday wasn't around today but they had bread, ham and hot dogs. I asked the API official if we could stay tied up so I could make lunch for the crowd and he told me "no problemo, señora". So in 90 degree heat, I turned the stove on and cooked 18 hotdogs and made over a dozen ham sandwiches. The food was extremely well received and I was the hero of the moment. Jim and I stayed on site cleaning until 1600, when we finally decided it was time to collapse. Jim snoozed out on the settee but I ended up going back for more cleaning until it was time to start the dish I was bringing to the celebration potluck dinner. While my Spanish rice was cooking, Susan & Dennis (Two Can Play) and Linda & Tom (Frances Rae) tied up to Mañana and came aboard. We all headed to the Hidden Port Yacht Club (basically a shack under a bunch of palm trees) for the party. The mood was extremely festive and there was lots of wonderful hot foods, salads and desserts. The party broke up after dark. We sat on deck for a little while talking; it was a very hot night.
May 27, 2004: We moved Mañana back to the anchorage after breakfast. Caroline (Que Tal) had been the unofficial photographer and we'd asked her to cut us a CD. Around 1100, as we were looking at the photos, Robin made a call saying they had an emergency and needed all hands. We changed into our grubby clothes (they are ready to stand up by themselves!) and went to The Cat's Meow. The Puerto Escondido property was scheduled to be developed into condos, a marina and lots of other things. The French were the major money backers. Something went wrong and the French pulled their support, so the property sits partly developed (as do most things in Mexico). Anyway, the developer had called Robin to say he was bringing some officers from Mexico City by to inspect the property in 2 hours. Robin needed help sorting, etc. to help make the dock look more presentable. Lots of folks turned up and we all whipped the dock into shape. At 1330, no one had come by and we were all very hungry. One gal ran back to her boat and made sandwiches for the workers, plus brought back apples, cheese and crackers. Everyone continued to work on the cleanup. Jim and I left the site at 1500 and the developer still hadn't come by. Oh that's right, that's 2 hours MEXICO TIME! Once back at the boat, Jim climbed into the water to cool off and decided to clean Ruthie's bottom while he was in there. Royce (R Dreamz) hailed us to say his wife was going to wash wet suits and if we brought Jim's over, she'd wash it for us. I hopped in the dinghy as Jim was busy talking to Dave (Equity), a diesel mechanic, about the generator. His diagnosis was the same as Jim's -- the fuel injection pump has failed. This was definitely not what we wanted to hear, but Jim immediately sent off a memo to the folks at the Watermaker Store for a quote for various repair parts. Jim realized he'd left our hose on the dock with The Cat's Meow. He went ashore to pick it up and then headed to R Dreamz for his wet suit. Ruthie's engine was sputtering -- oh oh! -- almost out of gas! He was invited aboard R Dreamz for a beer and then asked Sabado to follow him back to Mañana, just in case!
May 28, 2004: We were underway by 0700, headed for Loreto. We would both like to just flake but the engine batteries needed charging. We arrived at 0930 and headed into town. Loreto is a very pretty small city -- palm trees and colorful bougainvilla everywhere. It is also the home of the first Jesuit mission, Mission Nuestro Señora de Loreto, founded in 1697. The mission is symbolic of Loreto. We walked to the mission first. I was a bit disappointed; I guess I was expecting something much different. We ran into Jay & Danicka (Alkahest), who pointed us in the direction of an internet cafe. When we finished with the internet, we asked the worker if he could recommend an inexpensive restaurant. He gave us directions and we went on our way. The restaurant was actually at someone's house; tables were outside under a palapa. We thought the prices were high for lunch (50-70 pesos) but we ordered anyway. Jim ordered garlic soup, chicken mole and a cervesa. I ordered what I thought was a chicken sandwich and a Coke. The waitress told me they had no soda, only beer! When I told her I don't drink beer, she ran inside the kitchen and came out with a can of Fanta orange. I think she'd actually gone into her own refrigerator and got it for me. The meal started with chips that had refried beans and melted cheese over them and salsa. Jim had his soup and I was given a small salad. Then our meals arrived -- we each had a plate full of food! Mine was a chicken cutlet, breaded and fried with a baked potato, refried beans and Spanish rice. I could not finish it. Jim's mole was a leg and 2nd joint of chicken, rice, beans and tortillas. Each meal was 50 pesos (under US $5) and very good. We waddled out of the restaurant and walked to the fruteria (where fruits and vegetables are sold). From there we went to the grocery store. It had a limited number of items. We ran into Mary (Elusive) and I asked her if she knew of another grocery store in town. She did, and as she had a car, offered to give us a ride to the store. We finished provisioning and she drove us back to the dock. Food is much more expensive here than in La Paz (for example, beer is 45 pesos in La Paz and 62 pesos in Loreto). We paid a young boy 10 pesos for watching Ruthie and helping us load the groceries into it and returned to the boat. A sailboat was arriving as we were unloading the food -- it was Andiamo! They anchored nearby and then stopped by for a beer before heading into town. Jim took a siesta and I updated the website. Neither of us had dinner. Andiamo invited us to their boat after Jim did the net. We went over for a drink and chatted about The Cat's Meow and the fishing in the surrounding anchorages. John picked up some new lures for Jim -- maybe he'll catch something other than bonito! We returned to our boat at 2230.
|Ficus Tree Arches
||Folk Art on Wall
May 29, 2004: Jim slept in as he wasn't feeling very good. I think yesterday's garlic soup, which was made with lots of butter, was too rich for his system. I rode into town with Andiamo; went to the bank and then to the pharmacy for some medicine for Jim. We'd stopped in a fabric store yesterday and I'd seen some interesting fabric so I bought that and then I walked around, poking in tourist shops and killing time while John and Lisa ran all their errands. I've been looking for a small Mexican flag to incorporate into my memory quilt. I asked one shop vendor who spoke English where I might be able to buy a flag. He told me that flags are only sold in September, apparently for some specific holiday. What does that say about patriotism down here? I met up with them around noon; they were on the tail end of errands so I decided to have lunch while I waited. We had a very wet ride back to the boat -- the wind was kicking up from the south. Jim was up and about feeling better when I returned. As it was already choppy and Don had predicted high southerly winds, we decided to head on out to Isla Coronado, where we were to rendezvous with Lazy Days. We said good-bye to Andiamo and headed out of Loreto. We were greeted by a large pod of dolphins. Two dolphins stayed with us and escorted us almost all the way to the anchorage. One of them was the Michael Jordan of dolphins! It did many great leaps totally out of the water. Then it would swim ahead of us, turn its head to see where we were and come back and swim in our bow wake. What fun! Lazy Days hailed us once we were anchored and invited us to happy hour at 1700. Cheryl made wonderful quesadillas and we enjoyed catching up. Around 1900 we noticed a sailboat coming into the anchorage -- it was Andiamo. Jim hailed them and they confirmed that Loreto got too uncomfortable. We returned to our boat at 2100.
||Mañana with Sail Up
||Happy Hour on Mañana
May 30, 2004: We headed out in Ruthie to explore the anchorage. It's very pretty with three separate white sand beaches. We ran into Andiamo, who was out trolling for dinner. I invited them to Mañana at 1700 for happy hour and we then continued on our way. We checked out the western-most beach. The water was warm, shallow and crystal clear; we saw lots of fish. The sand was talcum-powder fine and such a bright white that it hurt the eyes. We walked the beach truly amazed by the clarity of the water. Cheryl had offered to do a load of laundry for us (she has a washer on board) so we went to Lazy Days to see if the offer still stood. We chatted for a while and I invited them to happy hour as well. Jim brought a load of very dirty clothes to Cheryl and she said she'd bring them back when they came over. We ended up spending the afternoon on the boat, relaxing. In late afternoon, the wind shifted direction and was blowing out of the North. The northern-most beach is covered with dead fish and squid and the smell was being blown towards us -- P-U-STINKY!! The north wind, combined with the current in the anchorage, was making the boat rolly, so Jim decided to raise the steadying sail to see if it would help. To me, trawlers with a sail are a funny-looking site, but the relief was immediate. Lazy Days and Andiamo arrived around 1700. The table was full of finger food and Jim was the bartender. We had a great time chatting and no one left until after 2100.
||Barred Pargo for Dinner!
May 31, 2004: Memorial Day: A holiday for all but those of us cruising! Ron delivered our clean laundry - what a service! We decided to spend one more day here so I made us bacon and eggs for breakfast while Jim charged the batteries. Lazy Days left; I doubt we'll see them again as they were headed to Mazatlan for the hurricane season. After lunch we headed out to explore another beach. Once again, the beach was covered with white sand and the water was crystal clear. There were 8 or 9 people in swimming. We walked the beach and decided to go for a swim ourselves as it was very hot. It felt wonderful! We spent a little while on the beach drying off and then took off to a small cove on the other side of the islet. It was almost pristine. We dropped Ruthie's anchor in two feet of water and just sat and listened to the birds. After a while we returned to the anchorage. We stopped by Canadian Freight briefly to introduce ourselves. We've been sharing anchorages with them since San Diego but have never met them. Jim decided to join Andiamo in trolling the anchorage and I stayed on board and read. He returned around 1800 with a barred pargo for dinner. Hey! That new lure worked!! He cleaned and cooked the fish -- it was delicious, white meat with a very delicate flavor. We listened to the net and touched base with Encanto. I did the dishes and we readied the boat for an early morning departure to Loreto for a few last provisions.Candeleros Chico
June 1, 2004: We left Isla Coronado at 0830 and were once again greeted by a few dolphins. I dinghied into town while Jim stayed on the boat charging the batteries. We're finding that the anchorages are so close together that we don't get enough engine time to fully charge the batteries. Our freezer seems to be running about 15 hours a day in this heat. Loreto is truly a sight for sore eyes for me. I can't get enough of the palm trees. I went to the fruteria and bought a head of cabbage, 3 Washington State apples, 4 tomatoes, a bunch of cilantro and a grapefruit for 25 pesos (about US $2.00). We got underway as soon as I returned. Our first choice of destination was Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante. We'd heard good things about it but it was difficult to find the entrance from the angle we were approaching from. One guidebook said there was a rock just off the south end of the cove, so we were being very cautious. The north bight looked way too cozy for us, the middle bight was reported to have a rock bottom but the south bight looked beautiful (does this sound like a story you grew up with?). Unfortunately, the reported rock was inside the south bight and the water stayed deep until you were almost on the beach. If the wind switched directions, as it so often does 5 times a day, it would have put us in a precarious spot. So, on to Plan B, Candeleros Chico. We had tried to get into this little cove on our way north but it was full. When we arrived this time, the only boat at anchor was Carina, friends of ours. They hailed us and invited us to dinner. Once settled, we went ashore to explore. The beach is gravel and the shell picking not great. There was a dirt path that we followed for about 10 min. The land was flat and covered with different types of cactus. However, the heat was unbearable -- it must have been close to 100 degrees and the heat from the rocks was cooking our legs. We hopped into Ruthie and did a quick water tour of the anchorage before returning to Mañana. We went over to Carina at 1800 for dinner and conversation. They are having alternator problems so Jim was trying to help them troubleshoot. We returned to our boat at 2200 to find about 2 dozen bees in the main cabin. Thankfully they seemed to be sleeping rather than flying around, and that made it easy for us to kill them all quickly. Although we had the fan on in the aft cabin, it was still unbelievably hot and I didn't sleep well. Hot flashes and the Sea of Cortez in the summer don't make a good pair!
|A Sei Whale Spouts
June 2, 2004: I was hoping to sleep in once the aft cabin had cooled but Jim woke at 0700 to the sound of a bee in the aft cabin...not good. He killed it and then went up to the main saloon where a couple dozen were swarming around. What is it with Mañana and bees? Carina has had only one or two fly in and out. We touched base with Encanto again during the net; they plan to be in Aqua Verde tomorrow afternoon. At 0930 we saw The Cat's Meow go by the front of the cove, being towed to La Paz. We wished them well. Carina was still having trouble diagnosing the problem with her charging system so Jim sent over to offer assistance. He returned several hours later with their alternator. We'll drop it off in La Paz and they can pick it up. After lunch Jim went snorkeling with Leslie and Philip. I stayed on board for bee control but did take a few minutes to swim off the boat. That felt wonderful! I'm convinced this anchorage is the hottest because it's sandwiched in between two large rock walls and the sun heats those rocks and radiates into the anchorage. Jim returned from snorkeling after an hour saying they'd seen some fantastic fish and he wished he'd taken the camera. We got underway around 1430 with the north side of Isla Monserrat as our destination. We passed a Sei whale on our way. The north end has a large white sand beach with yellow sand dunes that are eroding away. We dug the grill out for the first time during this trip and grilled steak and zucchini -- mmm, mmm good!
|Yellow Sand Dunes of
||Aqua Verde Shore
June 3, 2004: We slept well. After breakfast we dinghied ashore and walked around a bit. The sand dunes are eroding and it looked like a mini Grand Canyon in away from the beach. The topography is different than anything we've seen so far. The wind started to pick up so we decided to head south to Aqua Verde. We saw three whales, one up close and personal. We also saw hundreds of pelicans around where we saw one of the whales. Jim put a fishing line out and we trolled in a big circle around them but no joy in the fish department today. It was a rolly ride to Aqua Verde as winds were 10-15 kts. from the South. We arrived at 1245. There are 6 other boats and it looks like a very pretty anchorage with palm trees on the beach in front of the village. Encanto arrived a few hours later. We chatted with them briefly before everyone jumped in the water. Jim made a poor man's salad (cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, chilis, mustard and mayonnaise) and we went over around 1700. Their Dutch friends, Wim and Richard, are on board; we've heard much about them and were happy to finally meet them. John grilled steak, Judy made home made tortillas and Gaby made brownies from scratch. We've threatened to kidnap Gaby as she loves to bake! Everyone sat outside on deck in the relatively cool air and watched the sun set. Jim and I left at 2100, returning to a very warm Mañana.
|Life in Aqua Verde
||Jim and Babies||Town Water Supply
June 4, 2004: Sami had school work to do so John, Wim, Richard, Gaby, Jim and I went into the village to explore. The area has large palm trees planted around the dozen or so homes, which are spread out. We noted several cows, pigs, turkeys and lots of goats (this village is known for its goat cheese.) In addition, we passed by the town water supply. We believe the water comes from a well that's spring fed. Each house had a hose attached to the pump. We stood still watching the goats and after a couple of minutes a few of the babies became curious and came over to us. They are adorable! They licked the salt off our toes and butted our knees, looking for milk. I took a picture of two young girls and showed them the picture through the view finder. They were most intrigued. They asked where we were going and then proceeded to give us directions to the tienda, while their mom looked on smiling. We were both doing our best to talk to them, but they kept giggling. Heaven only knows exactly what we were saying to them! We made our way to the tienda and bought avocados, mangos, potatoes, a cucumber, garlic, goat cheese and 2 cold drinks. We returned to our dinghies via a road that led directly to the beach, which is gravelly. We stayed on board Mañana all afternoon but went to Encanto for dinner again. Judy wasn't feeling well so Richard made machaca and we brought some home made quacamole, tostadas, Spanish rice and a bottle of wine. Once again we sat up on deck trying to cool off. After we went to bed, Jim kept talking about the nice breeze that was coming into the aft cabin. I couldn't feel anything and made the comment that I thought he got more breeze than I did, so we traded places. Sure enough, he's got the cool side of the bed! We stayed that way until 0400, when we woke me saying he needed to trade sides so he could straighten his legs (the hanging locker is at the foot of my side of the bed.)
Two Young Girls
June 5, 2004: Jim ran the engine to charge the batteries. At 1030 Judy hailed us asking if we had a loaf pan. She had made bread dough and was offering us a loaf. The catch was we had to cook it in our oven, not normally a problem but it was already 90 degrees in the cabin. However, the smell of fresh bread baking was worth the extra heat. Afterwards, we headed into shore with Sami and a printed picture of the two young girls and some candy. We found one of the girls (Amanda, 5) and gave her the picture. There were a few older boys with her and everyone was quite excited. One of the boys said Marissa was Amanda's friend. Amanda was very happy with our gift, remembered to thank us and ran off to show other people. Neighbors came running asking "Que paso?" Sami, Jim and I continued down the road so Sami could see the goats. The same babies as yesterday came up to us, again, butting us and letting us pet them. Eventually we walked on to the tienda. On our way there we were greeted by an extremely friendly baby goat. He was butting us and trying to nurse on our finger, all the while his little tail was going 90 mph and his back feet were stomping on the ground. We tried to walk on but he insisted on following us. It didn't matter how many times we tried to shoo him away. Finally Jim picked him up and carried him back to his herd. A couple ladies had been watching us and were laughing. One of the ladies took the baby away for Jim. At the store we bought more veggies (the quacamole was a hit). We returned Sami to Encanto and then decided to go swimming to cool off. It must have been 100 degrees in the village; thank heavens there was a slight, albeit hot, breeze. After a brief dip, Jim decided he wanted to snorkel around Pyramid Rock. He had his spear gun with him and saw a school of yellow tail but couldn't remember if they were supposed to be good eating (yes!) We joined Encanto for supper again. This time John and Wim were ill. The wind really kicked up before sunset and Encanto started dragging. It took 3 tries to re-anchor her. Afterwards, those of us on the healthy list sat outside in the cockpit having cookies with Nutella and enjoyed the cool air ("cool" is a relative term). We left at 2100; the interior of our boat was 92 degrees (it was 90 degrees outside). We brought the flybridge cushions down to the trunk cabin, laid on them and watched for satellites (saw 2) and shooting stars (saw 4). Jim fell asleep outside but came inside at 2300, when he started getting cold.
June 6, 2004: It promised to be a hot day early on. I hailed Encanto and Judy reported that both John and Wim were asleep. The heat was getting to me big time and I didn't feel like doing a thing so we stayed on board all day, moving from spot to spot, wherever the shade was. At one point I asked Jim if we could head back to La Paz tomorrow. He gave me a look that said no. I reminded him of our verbal agreement that there'd be no questions asked if one of us wanted to go home. He said that condition was for after one year of cruising. I reminded him that it's been over a year (6/1/03 was our official cruising date), but he said the agreement was for once we returned to San Diego. Oh well, he's the one who has to live with me and my bitching.These 95 degree days are going to do me in. I hailed Encanto again in the afternoon; John and Wim were still sick.
June 7, 2004: We decided to explore the north beach after breakfast, while it was still relatively cool. We had to stop by Encanto first so Jim could retrieve his hat and sunglasses. We were pleased to see everyone on board smiling and on the mend. We toured the perimeter of the north anchorage for possible good snorkeling grounds. Saw lots of king angel fish, sergeant majors, puffers and a large bat ray. We walked along the beach facing the anchorage and then walked across the small ithmus to the other side. This side was very gravelly and rocky but we found a wide variety of nice shells, including a 2" cowrie, a 4" paper nautilus, several purple sea urchins and a piece of a red fan coral. We stopped by Encanto again on our way back to our boat and replaced the sea urchin that Jim sat on two nights ago. Jim was getting ready to go snorkeling when he hit his head on the boom. He had his straw hat on and the roughness of the straw took a decent-sized piece of skin off the top of his head -- ouch!! So much for snorkeling today. We spent the afternoon reading up on the flybridge. Judy hailed us at 1600 and invited us to dinner. We brought a cucumber, goat cheese and tomato salad and I baked a pineapple cake. It wasn't until we went aboard Encanto that we remembered that Richard is allergic to pineapple. Sorry, Richard! He made a delicious pork and peaches dish. As before, we sat outside and ate. A cold wind kicked up and felt wonderful but everyone had to go inside to put more clothes on. Friends of Encanto are expected here tomorrow and Judy has been planning an "out of school" party for the girls. Gaby asked if we could stay for the party. What the heck! This is a very nice spot.
June 8, 2004: It was 75 degrees in the cabin when I got up at 0830. There was a cold wind and I actually shut the door! What a pleasant change! We stayed on board and read all morning. After lunch, Wim hailed us to see if Jim was interested in snorkeling with the group...he was. He swung by Encanto and squeezed Richard, Wim, Gaby and Sami in the dinghy and off they went. I offered to keep Judy company but John had changed his mind and was going to stay on board with Judy. Jim returned an hour or so later saying the clarity wasn't as good as yesterday. Judy hailed us at 1615 saying the girls' "school's out" party would start at 1700. I quickly thawed some steak for the grill and had planned to make a cabbage dish but the cabbage was rotten; okay, on to Plan B. You just never know about the veggies in Mexico. Either they look good on the outside but are rotten in the middle (onions and cabbage) or they go bad too quickly (avocados and tomatoes). Our main computer, the one that our navigation and email softwares are on, has been getting slower and slower to boot up lately. Jim ran a diagnostic test on it and when he tried to reboot it, nothing happened. Oh goody! I shudder to think what may be next to break. We arrived over at Encanto's at 1715; I used their computer to send a message to family that our computer is dead so no one would worry about us. Elke, Alistaire and Annika (Monkey Girl) arrived shortly after we did. They are a lovely family and it was very nice to meet them. We sat around the table chatting while dinner cooked and the talk turned to cruising women who are going through menopause. Everyone agreed it's a bad thing! How come no one's ever put that in print?! We had a delicious dinner -- grilled steak, rice, zucchini/carrot stirfry and broccoli and tomato salad. After that, the girls were given gifts and we had chocolate cake. We retired to the side decks to watch for shooting stars and satellites. Monkey Girl left at 2200 and we followed. It had been a wonderful, enlightening night.
June 9, 2004: We hailed Judy saying we'd be by at 0930 for a trip into town. Gaby came along, too. We followed the folks from Fifth Element, Clair de Lune and Alkahest to the tienda. The store had a good selection of foods, but no cucumbers. We bought 3 bananas, 2 apples, 6 eggs, 2 zucchinis, 4 serrano chilis, 1/4 kg. of machaca, tortillas, cookies and a couple packets of nuts. On the way back to the dinghy, two bulls we had walked by decided to charge the goats under the trees. It really startled us and it apparently startled the pigs, too, because a couple of them were running loose, one of which's line (leash) was broken. We dropped Judy and Gaby off at Encanto and said goodbye to the crew; we don't know if we'll connect with them later this month in La Paz. We got underway at 1100 headed for Los Gatos. We arrived at 1400, having the anchorage to ourselves. It was a little unsettling not having our electronic navigation charts available but thankfully we'd been here before and of course, we had our paper charts. We lowered Ruthie and attempted to go ashore to check out the beached whale. There was a healthy surf break and the beach was steep. We beached Ruthie but it quickly became apparent that we couldn't leave her; the surf was breaking over her transome. I walked the beach with the camera while Jim toured the perimeter of the anchorage. I was sorry I'd been curious about the whale. The flesh was mostly gone but the bones stunk horribly! Several turkey buzzards were picking at the remainder of the blubber. Jim picked me up at the other end of the beach and we decided to explore the beaches north of Los Gatos. All were too rocky for us to beach Ruthie so we returned to the southern-most beach in Los Gatos, pausing to check out the reef on our way. We beached Ruthie and started walking around looking for shells. Jim found a lovely piece of coral. We were examining all the starfish that had washed up on the beach when Jim noticed Ruthie off the beach and drifting into the anchorage. Not again! This is the third time she's broken away from us (although to be honest, we did not set her anchor because we thought she was far enough on shore.) Jim handed me the coral as he ran past me on his way to retrieve Ruthie. We finished exploring the beach and returned to Mañana to find the main saloon crawling with bees. Jim quickly got the situation under control while I closed the doors and hatches. The bees stopped coming around after 45 min. and we were able to open the boat back up. We had an occasional straggler visit us, but it didn't last long! The wind shifted in the late afternoon, causing the anchorage to become quite rolly. Jim set the flopper stopper and I lowered the sail. Those two actions helped steady the boat a little. We checked into the net and then climbed into bed to read. Manuel did not stop by tonight.
Inside the Lagoon
June 10, 2004: We rocked and rolled all night long. Despite the rolling, I slept well. It was 70 degrees outside and had been comfortable sleeping weather. We made coffee and got underway with no real destination in mind, but we wanted to get a jump on the wind. The seas grew flatter the further south we got. We decided to check out Bahia Amortajada on Isla San Jose; there were two other motor yachts already at anchor. The guide books said the area shoaled up but our depth sounder increased as we got closer to land. I was afraid that it, too, had decided to die. However it reached 56' and then rapidly decreased. We successfully anchored in 27', which is deep for us. We read for an hour before we explored the bay. Jim remembered reading about a lagoon so we went in search of the opening. The stream was lined with mangroves on each side and there were lots of different fish. We took a side stream and noticed still more fish. We were surprised at the lack of birds in the trees, however. We reached the lagoon and gave it a quick tour. We briefly beached Ruthie and walked across a rocky spit where we could see Isla San Francisco. We returned to the anchorage and beached Ruthie again near Mañana. All the beaches are made up of small-to-medium rocks. We managed to find several different shells and many common paper nautilus (no black coloring on the spine). We returned to the boat and Jim dove on the bottom to see why the speed log wasn't working -- it was covered with lots of green growth, which he scraped off. We settled down for a quiet and pleasant evening after dinner.
June 11, 2004: It was absolutely calm last night -- no need for anchor watch although Jim was up a time or two out of habit. At 0930 we took off in the dinghy to Isla Cayo so he could dive. We dropped Ruthie's anchor and I stayed on board with a book while he dove on the reef. I was too busy looking down into the water at the sergeant majors, Cortez rainbow wrasse, king angelfish and other colorful fish to be able to concentrate on reading. Part of me wished I'd brought my snorkel gear but I haven't really been in the water since I was stung in Isla Isabella. Why I'm (mostly) okay bobbing in the wide, deep ocean and afraid of an unseen jellyfish, I'll never know. Jim returned 40 min. later disappointed with the water clarity but impressed with the variety of fish. We returned to Mañana at 1100 and were underway at 1145, headed for Isla Partida. On the way over we saw a pod of ??; possibly dolphins or possibly whales. We never did figure it out. The blows seemed too large for a dolphin but the swimming mannerisms seemed too unlike a whale's. I was also longing for fresh water and a bar of soap -- LOTS of fresh water! I'm feeling hot and sweaty. I've dipped my body into the Sea to cool off but haven't been able to rinse the salt off. That, in addition to 95 degrees and hot flashes, have me feeling gross. The clean underwear and sleeveless top supply are also dwindling. Thank goodness w'll be in La Paz in 2 or 3 days. We decided to anchor in Ensenada Grande and had it all to ourselves, excluding the damn bees, until 1800, when two other boats arrived. Jim cooked dinner and then handled the net. Lou's wife (Niña del Mar) is hospitalized so Jim offered to take Lou's night tomorrow.
|Mañana in El Embudo
||Jim Runs the Net
June 12, 2004: It was NOT absolutely calm last night. The wind blew 20 kts. almost all night long and Jim did anchor detail many times. I was awake several times as well. I got up at midnight to see the phosphorescense in the white caps in the anchorage. Pretty spectacular although I could have done without the white caps altogether. We got underway at 0900 with the thought of Jim diving with the sea lions at Los Islotes. Once outside the shelter of the anchorage, it was very apparent that it was going to be too windy for him to dive. Instead, we went into Caleta El Embudo, a small cove on the west side of Isla Partida. It afforded a comfortable temporary anchorage. Jim decided to snorkel while I stayed on board and did bee detail. He returned a while later saying it was an excellent snorkel area. After he warmed up we took Ruthie to shore and explored the beach. This is a popular cove for kayaks so we really didn't hold out too much hope for finding good shells. We had lunch and got underway, headed south. Jim set a line out and caught a fish -- we couldn't decide if it was a Skipjack tuna or a Mexican bonito. In any case, Jim released it. At one point we were in a precarious situation with a large plastic fantastic yacht. We were attempting to cross its bow but it kept changing course. So Jim hailed it, quite specifically calling for the large white motor yacht off Puerto Ballandra, and identified us as "the trawler across your bow." The boat that answered identified herself as "Roxana", one of the motor yachts that was with us in Bahia Amortajada. We found this very scarey because the large boat we were passing in front of was NOT Roxana. That boat never answered our hail but did change course. Roxana later reported they were two hours out of La Paz. I was sure glad I'm not the one paying for the "learned" crew on that boat! We checked out the anchorage situation in Puerto Ballandra but the good spots were taken so we continued on to Caleta Lobos, where Amigo dragged down on us in February. It was nice not having to swat the bees for a change; instead, we had the pesky bobos, the little fruit flies that like to fly into your eyes, nose and ears. We sat on the flybridge during happy hour taking in what little breeze Mother Nature sent our way. The cool wave of the past few days is gone...it was over 90 degrees inside the cabin. Oh how I hate this heat. Anyway, we spent a while reflecting on the past 6 months in Mexico and the cruising in general; was it worth all the blood, sweat, tears and money spent over the past two years? Did we have fun? Would we do it again? Jim was able to answer "yes" to all the questions but I had a harder time. Was it worth it? I don't know, only time will tell. Did I have fun? Yes. Would I do it again? I don't know, only time will tell. I'm not looking forward to bashing north for the next 800+ miles and I really wish we knew where'd we'd be able to settle down and I had a job on hold waiting for me. Sometimes the thought of finding a new marina, a new job, etc. in a strange city is more than I think I can bear, but there's nothing waiting for us in the Northwest either and San Diego is a lot closer to La Paz than Seattle is! We put marinated chicken and zucchini on the grill and Jim ran the net. We went to bed praying for a calm night as we were both quite tired.
June 13, 2004: The anchorage was windy and rolly from time to time but a cool breeze picked up in the wee hours of the morning, cooling us down a bit. As we were only a couple hours from La Paz, we decided to have a lazy morning (actually, most of our mornings are lazy) and Jim made a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs and English muffins. We finally got underway in the late morning and had an uneventful cruise to La Paz. At our request, John (Pelican) had secured a slip for us at Marina de La Paz. Jim has a lot of engine/mechanical work to do and we decided it would be best to be in a marina, rather than at anchor with no engine. After we had tied up in a slip, we went over to Pelican and met Joanne and Dave on Anam Cara and Lou from Niña del Mar. We chatted for a little while before returning to Mañana to flake. It was over 100 degrees. The marina office was closed and we had no gate key so we stayed on board all afternoon. Eventually we realized we needed to eat something, however, our stock was low and neither of us wanted to fire up the stove. We decided to have dinner at the Ciao restaurant; Aggie was performing. We returned to the boat a couple hours later and tried to decide the best way to keep the hatches open but DC on board (he has a habit of jumping ship in the evenings when we're at a marina). We closed the forward hatch and side door, and tied a line around the aft hatch screen, keeping it tight so he wouldn't be able to push it open.
June 14, 2004: HOT! Demasiado calor! DC didn't escape but it was very warm inside the cabin so we'll have to work on Plan B for opening up more hatches but keeping DC inside. Jim ran a couple of errands before checking us in with the marina and I started on the laundry. One load contained all the clothes we wore during The Cat's Meow. I washed them once using 1/2 bottle of degreaser and then put them through a second time with detergent. While Jim was out, he ran across a couple who had a trawler that was destroyed by Hurricane Marty. Their boat had the same engine as ours and they had some spare parts. Jim agreed to buy the oil cooler and a couple of impellors from them. They stopped by at 1530 asking if we'd like to follow them to their hotel to get the parts. We put on our walking shoes and back packs; their room was a few blocks from the grocery store and we needed food. We chatted for 45 minutes before continuing on for groceries. It was over 100 degrees and only stupid gringos were walking around with backpacks! We did our shopping and took a taxi back to the marina - what a splurge! Jim ran into Joanne & Dave and invited them over for happy hour. They stayed for over 2 hours. We have a lot in common and we were having great laughs. After they left I opted for a long overdue shower instead of supper (it felt WONDERFUL) and then we tried to figure out Plan B. We put the screen on the forward hatch and tied it snug. Hopefully it will keep DC inside.
June 15, 2004: Another scorcher today. Welcome to La Paz in the summer! We headed to the internet cafe at 1100. Jim had sites he needed to visit and was going to be a while so I walked a mile to the Peso Store in search of our favorite Hunts puddings and limeade. I bought lots of 4-packs of puddings, a bag of cheese puffs and two cans of juice. No joy finding the limeade. Afterwards I returned to the internet cafe and waited for Jim to finish. We walked back to the boat, had lunch and flaked the remainder of the day. It's almost too hot to breath and I wonder just how little we can wear before the marina management begins to frown! We waited until the sun started to set before cooking dinner. By 2100 we were up on the flybridge and I had a windbreaker on. I wish the breeze would cool the interior faster than it does. We were just falling asleep when we heard a loud noise -- DC had gotten under the screen in the aft cabin. Jim climbed out of bed and went on deck to bring DC in; DC knew he was in BIG trouble!
June 16, 2004: Our thermometer indicated that it was 63 degrees last night. By 1500, however, it was 97 degrees and still climbing. As my back was sore, I decided to stay on board and let Jim do the running around. My plan was to do some cooking while it was still cool. Ten minutes after Jim left, the propane ran out. Terrific! We had another full tank but I wasn't sure how to switch tanks. So, on to the next chore...repair the Mexican courtesy flag. I dug out my sewing machine, removed the flag, restitched it, and rehung it. Jim wasn't back yet and I was anxious to make a Snails Trail quilt square. It took me a couple of tries but I was successful. Jim returned in time for lunch and switched the tanks for me. He headed out once again on more errands and I made a pasta salad for dinner and boiled a couple of eggs. He returned at 1615 saying that we'll pick up new fitted hatch screens tomorrow. Hopefully they will keep the flies and bees out and DC in! At 1900 we set out for the polka dot tree, where the best ice cream in La Paz can be found. It's about a mile from the marina, along the malecon. We took our cones across the street to the municipal dock, where we sat watching the sun set. The malecon was crowded with people out enjoying the evening as we were.
June 17, 2004: I decided it was time for a haircut; it's been two months and was long overdue. As the screen store was a few blocks away from the hairdresser's, I picked up the screens before returning to the boat. While I was out, Jim got personal with the engine. We knew the oil cooler needed to be replaced and he'd seen evidence of a water leak near the muffler. As he started digging into things, he realized that the exhaust elbow was corroded and one of the hoses was split. Additionally, the water lift muffler had a small crack in the fiberglass. Terrific! In the good news category, he was having luck dealing with Microsoft regarding his copy of XP (it's a long story.) He'll probably still have to buy a new hard drive, though. We spent the afternoon reading and at 1600, Jim headed off to the internet cafe and ran a few errands. Our thermometer indicated it was 102 degrees. I made fresh salsa to go with tonight's fajitas while he was out.
June 18, 2004: Happy 21st Anniversary to us! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd be celebrating a wedding anniversary on my own boat in Mexico! Sometimes life can be full of surprises! We had the last of our Portuguese muffins for breakfast as a special treat -- yum! Around 1030 we carried the water lift muffler to Alejandro to see if his yard could do the necessary fiberglass repairs. He looked it over, gave us a quote and said it will be ready Tues. He didn't specify which Tuesday. Good - one chore down, 100 more to go! We ran into Dick (Corazon) at the yard. He used to be a diesel mechanic and he gave Jim some pointers for when Jim pulls the engine's injectors. It's always nice to get tips from the pros. Jim's been squirting the joints of the exhaust elbow trying to loosen them, but they aren't budging. After lunch, John (Why Not) stopped by to talk to Jim about his Balmar regulator. He's having some problems with it and wanted another opinion. He stayed for over an hour and we talked about all sorts of things, including suggestions for repairing/replacing the exhaust elbow. Jim spent the afternoon backing up the hard drive in preparation for replacing it. At 1900 we walked up to Rancho Viejo for our anniversary dinner. Clouds moved in and we hoped that they'd stay for a couple of days and give us a break from the heat.
June 19, 2004: I was off to CCC for groceries at 0800 while it was still cool out, a very smart idea on my part. An hour later, my backpack was full and heavy and I decided I'd take the colectivo back to the marina. At 5 pesos, it's a very economical way of getting around the city. The exhaust elbow pieces still haven't come apart; Jim brought it up to the marina office and talked to Mac, the manager. The marina has a shop and Jim was hoping that maybe one of Mac's men could break it loose. Instead, Mac gave Jim another idea and Jim returned to Mañana all excited. He wrapped the exhaust elbow up in an old towel, stuck it in his backpack and took off for the welding shop that both Mac and Alejandro recommended. He returned an hour later saying the exhaust elbow will be ready next Friday. After lunch he went to the computer store to buy a new hard drive. It wasn't until he got back that he realized it's different from what we have and he'll have to go back to either exchange it or try to find an adapter. Then he headed over to Why Not to see if he could figure out what's going on with John's regulator. While he was out, I made cole slaw for tonight's BYOM potluck over on Pelican. At 1800, Jim, Joanne, Dave, John (Pelican's John, not Why Not's) and I had our various meats on the grill and we enjoyed grilled potatoes, zucchinis, salad and cole slaw. It never ceases to amaze me how many great-tasting foods come out of the little galleys of boats! We finally said adios at 2045, fully prepared to climb into bed. However, Rich and Donna were on board their boat next to us and invited us aboard. We told them we were just getting ready for bed but we'd come aboard for a few minutes...two hours (!) later we climbed off their boat. Unfortunately that was when Rich was just starting to tell us ab out their canal barge trip through France; we said we'd take a rain check on his story as that's something I really want to do.
June 20, 2004: Feliz Dia de Padres! We decided to play hooky from any and all chores this morning -- we were both into good books. At 1400 we decided we should get something done before Philip (Carina) arrived. As the computer is in pieces, Jim headed out to the internet cafe and I did a couple loads of laundry. I had just finished the laundry and was headed back to the boat when I ran into Philip. He'd taken the bus down from Puerto Escondido, a 5 hour trip, and was going to stay with us for a few days while he ran errands. Jim was back on Why Not, so we walked down the dock and joined Jim and John. John's boat is air-conditioned and it was a pleasure to sit there chatting in the cool. At 1730 the three of us went for dinner at Rancho Viejo, Philip's treat. We had an excellent dinner and waddled back to the boat in time for the evening net. Philip said he'd be happy to sleep up on the flybridge where it would be cool. I gave him a sleeping bag despite his protests.
June 21, 2004: Philip thanked us for the use of our sleeping bag when he came down for coffee, but he said he slept well in the cool air. Jim made a big breakfast of chorizo, eggs and English muffins and then he and Philip took off to run their various errands. I cleaned the boat before deciding we could use a few more groceries on board. I put a bottle of water in my backpack and walked to CCC, over a mile away. I bought the groceries and as I was loading them into my backpack, three schoolboys (age 10?) stopped and tried out their English on me (many people will walk by and greet us in English). I haven't decided if I should reply in English or practice my Spanish on them, but this time I spoke English. They quickly switched to Spanish, as did I. They laughed at me, waved and said "good bye". I waved saying "adios". I took the colectivo back to the marina. Jim and Philip returned at 1330; they'd stopped at the polka dot tree for lunch and weren't interested in a sandwich. Jim was able to swap the hard drive, but they couldn't find the parts necessary to replace the refrigerant in the refrigerator, something Philip needed to bring back. They were told to hail Hector, which they did. He does boat refrigeration and he had all the pieces that Philip needed. Jim decided we should probably have the parts on board as well. Hector said he'd bring the parts by at 1630. At 1400 Encanto hailed us. They were just anchoring in El Mogote and wanted to know if we wanted to join them for dinner at Rancho Viejo. Three times in four nights would have been overkill and I had chicken that needed to be cooked. They suggested we join them for ice cream at the polka dot tree afterwards. I hadn't had my ice cream fix so that was fine by me (and neither guy complained too loudly!) Hector arrived at 1700, took the order and said he'd return between 1900-1930. Jim fixed a Thai noodle dinner and I was just finishing the dishes when Hector stopped by. Encanto hailed us 30 min. later and at 2000 we were bound for ice cream. We sat on the beach eating our conos (cones) and chatting about anything and everything. We didn't get back to Mañana until 2130. By then a stiff, cool breeze had kicked up and Philip knew he'd be needing the sleeping bag tonight!
June 22, 2004: The marina was very noisy and there was no chance that anyone could sleep in, which was just as well because Philip had to be at the bus station at 0800 for his trip back to Puerto Escondido. Although the coffee was hot and we offered him breakfast, he declined saying he'd pick something up along the way. I made him take an apple, just in case. Jim walked down to Direct Express to pick up two packages that had been delivered -- oh boy! Mail call! I received a lovely Mothers Day card and note from Jackie and Skip. Thanks, Jackie! I walked downtown hoping to find some binding for the rug we bought in Nuevo Vallarta -- it's too long and I'd like to cut several inches off. I went into two fabric stores but neither sold anything that could be used to bind the edges. Guess this project will have to wait until we return to the States. Not wanting to waste the mile walk downtown, I went to the Peso Store and panaderia (bakery) and picked up a few items. I purchased two bollos (rolls) that had requeson y chiles (curd cheese and chilis) in the center. I asked the clerk if the chilis were caliente (hot); she said no but in truth, they did have quite a kick to them! But they were good! Encanto hailed us late in the afternoon asking if we'd catch their lines; they were coming into the marina for a few days. The wind made it a real challenge for them. Richard and Wim weren't aware that Encanto was coming into the marina. They hailed Encanto saying cold drinks were waiting for whoever met them at the Dock Cafe. Richard was surprised to see six of us walk to their table, but graciously bought everyone a cold drink (ice cold fresh squeezed orange juice was the most popular request.) At 1830 we decided we should probably think about what was for dinner. Judy was making a Caesar salad and I had planned hamburgers and a cabbage salad. We pooled our foods and had a late dinner on board Encanto. Sami, Gaby and Jim are hoping to get their ears pierced tomorrow.
Beauties and the Beast
June 23, 2004: The eight of us left the marina at 1030 and set off for Centro de Salud, the health clinic. I don't own any gold earrings and we all imagined that a gun that shoots an earring stud into the ear lobe would be used. Judy has a second piercing in one of her ears and she wore a gold earring, though, just in case. We passed by several joyerias (jewelry stores) thinking we didn't have to deal with earrings just yet. There were lots of people sitting in chairs in the clinic's waiting area; I figured we were in for a long wait. There was one lady in the information/cashier booth. We tried to ask her how we'd go about getting ears pierced. Unfortunately none of us knew enough Spanish and she knew no English. She left the booth and returned a moment later with a doctor who spoke some English. We explained what we wanted and he told us to come back in an hour because the nurse who does the piercings was in a class. Then he stepped outside and came back in with a(nother?) nurse. He spoke to her and told us to follow him. We followed him into a staff break room; we thought he was going to explain something to us but the nurse took out 3 alcohol swabs and asked if we had earrings and who was to go first. Still thinking that they would be using a gun, Judy took out the earrings she had for the girls and asked if they would work. The nurse looked at the post ends and made a comment that none of us understood. She then swabbed Gaby's ear, the earrings and her own fingers and simply pressed the earring through Gaby's ear lobe! We were all in shock, and I thought poor Gaby was going to faint, but she was a trooper. Jim was next -- Judy quickly removed her gold earring and the nurse swabbed it with alcohol and pressed the post through Jim's ear lobe. Jim's went a little easier because the post end was a bit more pointy than the earrings the girls had. Sami went last and didn't handle things as well as Gaby. Judy consoled Sami, Jim and I consoled John and the Dutch uncles offered what support they could. When all was said and done, Gaby and Sami looked beautiful with their new pierced ears and I'm not sure what Jim looked like, sporting Judy's small hoop! As a reward for being so brave, we stopped at the polka dot tree and had ice cream cones for lunch. Judy and I headed downtown to figure something out for dinner while the rest of the group returned to the boat. We decided to have papas relleno (stuffed potatoes) for dinner and I volunteered to put them on our grill. We brought the cooked papas to Encanto at 1830 and had a great dinner out on deck. We left at 2100; Encanto was going to have a very early morning because the Dutch uncles were heading back to the Netherlands.
June 24, 2004: After breakfast Jim climbed down into the lazarette and started working on the generator. After he took it apart, he climbed into the engine room and pulled the raw water pump. Then he headed off with various parts in the backpack. He returned 4 hours later, totally wiped out from walking miles in the heat. At one point I ran into Judy in the club house; it houses the cruisers book trading library. I told Judy that I must be ready to go back to work -- I was wanting to alphabetize the books by author, or at least put books by the same author together. "Funny thing," she said, "I'm having the same thoughts and that's not like me!" So together, we put the books together by author (I'll save alphabetizing them for another day). We had a good laugh over it once we'd agreed the place looked better! I spent time picking out the pictures I want on my memory quilt. I put them into a PowerPoint presentation but then realized that whatever software I use will need to be able to reverse the pictures. I'm not sure PowerPoint can do that, or any of our softwares for that matter. Guess I'll save researching that for another day, too. The pictures I chose are mostly of people, both family that visited us and friends we've met. I added a few palm trees and flowers, but mostly, I'll let the quilt's colors (yellows, corals, pinks and purples) speak for Mexico. Jim spray painted the oil cooler after dinner.
June 25, 2004: Jim picked up our raw water pump after breakfast. It looked like new and cost 550 pesos (about US$50) to have it rebuilt. He said he should have brought our fresh water pump to the shop to see if they could rebuild that, too. We searched high and low looking for the pump but couldn't find it anywhere. We took the bed apart checking to see if it was in the storage area underneath, checked all the drawers, cabinets and boxes in the forward cabin and forward head and climbed into the engine room -- nada! He was pretty sure it's on board but we'll be damned if we can find it. You begin to wonder how you can lose something when you only have 38' to store it in, but we figured it's probably wrapped in our second gray towel (which we can't find), safely tucked away WAY in the back of a closet. Well, it was a thought anyway! I went over to Encanto in the afternoon to check out Judy's new haircut -- it's very short but it looks great on her. Elke was visiting as well and we decided it really feels good when 3 women can get together and talk. It's safe to say that sometimes there's a little TOO much relationship going on when one lives with their spouse on a small boat 24/7. Communication? What's that? There's really only so much one can say to one's spouse when you're together that much! Having no jobs, TV, radio or newspaper makes for virtually no outside distractions to talk about. I made rice and beans for dinner and Jim ran the net. Afterwards we went up and took a shower and then sat on the flybridge for 45 min. before climbing into bed. It was another warm night.
Too Scary for Words
June 26, 2004: We've talked about trying to put the sun cover over the aft cabin for several days so this morning Jim dug everything out of storage and we did our best to figure out how to assemble it. I seemed to recall that Garrett Smith, the 2nd owner of the boat, had sent us a picture with it up so I located the picture and we used it as a reference. The cover is very tired with lots of holes and really needs to be remade, but it'll work for the time being. Jim took a taxi out to the welding shop and returned with the exhaust elbow and the spare. The shop did a very good job for not much money. While he was out, I made some measurements on the flybridge; we'd like to make a sun screen to attach to our bimini. We had a list of chores -- film processing, buy gold earrings, buy sun screen material, go to the grocery store and a hardware store. We started out okay but faded shortly after lunch, when the heat really started cranking up. So, in our infinite wisdom, we hopped on a colectivo to the grocery store. The colectivos have their destinations written in soap across the windshield. We saw the word "Ley" (the grocery store) so we hopped on. We were still on the bus what felt like a good 45 min. later but we were getting a grand tour of the city. We were way back in the hills on dirt roads; I think we were in La Paz but I wouldn't swear to it! At one stop, a drunk with too little money got on the bus. Neither of us understood everything the driver was saying, but we caught the por favor a lot. It was evident that the driver was not going to move the colectivo until either the drunk paid or got off. We watched the actions of the other bus passengers (a man and a woman). The man looked straight ahead and never made eye contact with the drunk; the woman glared at him. Eventually the drunk got off the bus and we continued on our way. We poked into a few joyerias on our way back but Jim didn't see any earrings that he liked. With a backpack on my back and another bag in my hand, I felt like it was too hot to breath and suggested we take a taxi back to the marina. Jim didn't hesitate in hailing one; it was the best 30 pesos we spent all day! We hadn't been on board our boat for more than a minute when I looked out the window over our stove and noticed a boat 2 docks over from us on fire. I grabbed the camera and started taking pictures. How terribly shocking and sad to watch a beautiful old wood boat go up in flames and become totally involved in a matter of minutes. There was mass confusion as people tried to move other boats away from the heat and flames and then there was a bit of a nail biter when the flames burned through the boat's bow and stern lines and the wind blew the burning boat down onto the other side of the slip, causing the dock to catch on fire. About that time the fire department arrived, as did 2 other smaller boats. The smaller boats somehow managed to get a line on the bow of the burning boat and they towed the burning boat out of the marina and set it aground on El Mogote, where it continued to burn for hours. It was a total loss in only a matter of a few minutes. We can do without that kind of excitement. I, especially, get worried when I see something like that because right now, our engine isn't working and if it had happened here, we wouldn't have been able to move. I voiced my concerns to Jim and he said we would have cut our lines and let Mañana drift; with luck, some hero would have come along to tow her out of harm's way, and with luck, we'd have had time to get DC and Jerry off the boat. I shudder to think about it... Later in the afternoon a boat that had participated in the dorado fishing tournament pulled into the slip next to us; they had caught six dorados. Jim poked his head out our door to congratulate them and they asked if we'd like some dorado. Is the Pope Catholic? Dorado is the fish we dream of catching whenever we put a line out (and somehow all we manage to catch is bonito). They gave us a filet that weighed just over 2 lbs. Gracias!! We joined Monkey Girl for a potluck on Encanto at 1900. Once again, lots of really good food and a good time had by all.
June 27, 2004: After breakfast, Jim changed into his work clothes and climbed into the lazarette to work on the generator. He changed the fuel injection pump and the injector and in the process of bleeding the fuel injection pump so that he could adjust the timing, he realized something else was wrong...seriously wrong, as in "It's dead, Jan." The exhaust valve clearance was .25" instead of .02" -- not a good sign. Needless to say, this was NOT what either one of us wanted; we'd basically just thrown over $400 down the drain because the fuel injector wasn't the problem. So, what do we do now? I'm miserable in the heat and want to get out of La Paz soon, but I don't want to head out without ample water. Jim could take the whole unit apart, remove it from the lazarette to work on it and hope he could find the parts here; if not, they would have to be shipped down from the States and that process could take a week or two, not to mention an unknown amount of money, which we are very short of these days. We decided to sleep on it before making any decisions. I started working on the sun screen for the flybridge. I got it 90% finished but am to a stopping spot until we buy some grommets to put into the hem.
June 28, 2004: Judy hailed us in the morning asking if we'd like to join them for a macaroni and cheese dinner tonight. We accepted their invitation and offered to bring the dorado. Jim started work to replace the oil cooler. He realized that the hose fittings on our old oil cooler were larger than the fittings on the new one, so that had him out looking for fittings that he could make work. He came back a little while later with a smile on his face and then spent some quality time in the engine room. Several hours later he climbed out of the engine room having successfully replaced the oil cooler, oil filters and changed the oil. We talked about how much longer we'll be here and decided if all goes well with the muffler installation tomorrow, we'd only need a couple of days. So he paid us through Weds. and we'll keep our fingers crossed. We decided not to repair the generator until we get to San Diego. We'll top our water tank and fill our two extra water jugs and pray that we can make it to San Diego in less than a month, the amount of time a full tank of water lasts us. We believe we can buy water in Turtle Bay and Ensenada if we are held up because of weather. Jim put the dorado on our grill and when it was done, we brought it over to Encanto. It was delicious (as was the macaroni and cheese). Before we left their boat, Judy asked if we'd take a nut loaf and the cheese that was in their refrigerator. They are in the process of using up all their fresh and refrigerated foods as they are going to the States for a month and will be turning off the refrigeration. We gladly accepted to take the food off their hands but it wasn't until we returned to Mañana that we realized just how much unopened cheese they had given us. I can definitely cross "cheese" off my provisions list! There was a brisk wind that cooled La Paz off nicely. We went to bed for the first time in a long time without the fan turned on.
June 29, 2004: A busy day for both of us. I walked downtown early in the day for some last-minute items. I passed a primary school that was celebrating the end of the school year. Lots of parents were on hand for the ceremony. The young students were dressed in white -- girls in white dresses, socks and shoes and the boys in white shirts, pants, shoes and a bright cumberbund (?sp). I went to the grocery store, poked into a couple of fabric stores, bought some earrings for Jim (he doesn't like them so we'll have to exchange them), stopped by the chicken lady's booth at the public market and then returned to the marina, several hours later. While I was out, Jim continued working on the engine and by the afternoon, had it running. The temperature at lunch time was 101.7. I told Jim I wondered what radio station that correlated to -- "101.7 -- your radio station with HOT music in the summertime!" God, the heat is really getting to me! I did three loads of laundry in the afternoon. We got together with Monkey Girl on Encanto for yet another potluck. This one was the farewell potluck as Monkey Girl is headed for Puerto Vallarta tomorrow. John made home made french fries, probably the best that any of us have had in a LONG time. I offered a roasted chicken that I'd bought earlier and Monkey Girl supplied home baked chocolate chip cookies. Judy told us to take home a bunch of cilantro, two poblano chilis and two green peppers. In addition, Encanto put together a grab bag of treats for us while we're making the bash north. She started with a canvas bag and individually wrapped 12 items. We can open them as we want. Judy is a very special person. She remembers everything people like and can surprise you with something very special when you least expect it. We are really going to miss them all. The evening was wonderfully cool, but the interior of our boat was still quite warm.
June 30, 2004: Jim did a last minute engine room check and we left the marina at 1030 for a short shake-down cruise to make sure everything is working fine engine-wise. Once we passed the La Paz channel, we headed out into the deeper water, turned the engine off and did another engine room check. Only a little dribbling in one spot; Jim tightened the bolt and stopped the drip. We had told Marina de La Paz that we would be in for fuel at 1300. It was only 1130 so we had lunch and killed a little time. Jim realized we needed to calibrate the auto pilot; wind/sea conditions were favorable so we took care of that little task. We returned to the marina at 1330 and took on 306 gallons of fuel (at US $2.02/gal). I think the boat sank a couple of inches on the water line with the full tanks! The afternoon breeze was in full swing so I hailed Encanto and asked Judy if they could catch our lines for us. Luckily no one's been in the slip next to us so there was no pressure of being blown down onto anyone. I headed to the laundromat with two more loads of laundry and while they were washing/drying, I hosed down the flybridge cushions. The boat is filthy and will get a thorough bath tomorrow. John on Pelican stopped by to see if our cruise went well. We told him yes and said we were going to provision and then we'd be out of here tomorrow. He offered us the use of his van, which was very generous. With visions of ice cream in our heads (yippee! we have a car so we can get frozen foods back to the boat before they melt!), off we went to the grocery store. Two hours later we were piling bag upon bag of food onto the boat, but no ice cream. We haven't bought anything frozen in over 6 months so we're out of practice! Oh well, we bought plenty of other goodies. We stowed the items that needed refrigeration, took a quick shower and joined Encanto for a dinner at Rancho Viejo, our treat because of all the food they sent our way over the past two days. After that, we walked down to the polka dot tree for an ice cream. We didn't return back to the marina until 2330 -- way past our bed time!
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