Jan's Journal

Southward, Hoh!

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Fish On! 45" Dorado

Dec. 15-16, 2007: Tiny electric blue neon dots floated in the water around the boat as we pulled up the flopper stoppers. Have no idea what they were but they sure were blue! Today's destination was Cabeza Negra, 45 miles away. Olive ridley turtles dotted the sea, and at times, I played dodge 'em with them. Jim set his fishing gear and within 30 minutes I heard the cry "FISH ON!!" He'd hooked a beautiful 45" dorado and 2 other dorado followed as Jim reeled it in. There was no need to gaff the additional fish as the one he had hooked would provide us with enough meat for a while. We arrived Cabeza Negra at 1500, right on schedule, but by this time 4-6' sea swells were headed directly into the anchorage and we could see the huge surf break. So onto Plan B, which was to run overnight straight to Zihuatanejo. There are 2 other anchorages south of Cabeza Negra, but too far away and we would have arrived after dark. Once the decision was made to run overnight, we got into watch mode and hunkered down for a long night. We arrived Zihuatanejo at 1115, our scheduled southern-most destination on Mañana's Great Adventure - Part Two. Other cruisers had told us that the La Ropa section of the bay is best, but we decided to anchor in the municipal anchorage because it is closest to the port captain. It may turn out to be a noisy spot because jet skis are running through the anchorage while fishermen cast their nets and divers are behind us. A sandy beach rings this part of the anchorage. The city is built on top of and into the mountain side; lots of modern condos, homes and hotels in bright colors with several more under construction. The vegetation is green and lush. We had dorado for dinner and climbed into bed at 1900, barely able to keep our eyes open!

Dec. 14, 2007: Jim woke early so he got up and began transferring the fuel from the aft tanks into the starboard and port tanks, a process that took over 2 hours. We didn't get underway until after the French baker stopped by. Today we purchased his last 3 raisin pastries. We shouted our good-byes and good wishes for a happy holiday season as we left old and new friends in the anchorage. We felt a bit more confident leaving the lagoon, as the tide was higher than when we arrived. However, once again, two pangas were sitting in the middle of the channel. One fisherman urgently pointed us to our left -- the reason for his urgency became clear when we noticed bubbles coming from the water just ahead of us -- there was a diver in the water. Jim turned Mañana sharply to port and put the boat in neutral. We turned to make sure that the bubbles continued, which they did. Let's see...I think I'll put my little boat in the middle of the channel where the big boats need to be and then I'll jump overboard and dive for whatever. Grrr! Once past that obstacle, we crossed the entrance with no difficulties and made our way to what seemed like it should be south, but was really east! In the distance we saw several whales. The sea swells were mixed, coming from both behind us and beside us, so we weren't sure which anchorage in Manzanillo would be the most comfortable. We arrived Ensenada Carrizal, 7 miles west of Manzanillo harbor, three hours later. This anchorage was narrow but deep and we had it all to ourselves. The wind was blowing off the land, but we entered the anchorage and hoped it would afford us a comfortable night.

Dec. 13, 2007: The French baker came around the anchorage this morning. He is one of the reasons we came to Barra...his pastries are delicious! We purchased a raisin pastry, a chocolate danish and a loaf of multi-grain bread. We made another trip to town with Emily B, this time both of us ladened down with lots of trash. Thursday is swap meet day and we enjoyed poking in the various stalls. We bought a colorful ceramic lizard and Jim bought himself yet another Hawaiian shirt. We found the vegetable store that we had been looking for yesterday, so Jennifer and I went in to see if there was anything we couldn't live without. I bought a few small cucumbers and a clove of garlic. While I was shopping, Jim went across the street to a shop that had a "deli" sign in front of it. The store was run by an old gringo and sold hard salami, pastrami, (no bologna; when Jim asked, the man wanted to know if we were Canadian!), and for cheeses, he sold brie and blue cheese. Jim bought enough salami and pastrami for a couple of sandwiches. We will definitely remember him on our return trip! Jennifer & Dean decided to head back to their boat and Jim & I decided to have lunch out again. The restaurant overlooked the ocean and we watched several sailboats come across the entrance. Lunch consisted of shrimp ceviche and shrimp fajitas. After lunch we returned to the lagoon, where we flopped. It was very muggy and not a hint of a breeze; the thermostat indicated that it was 84 degrees both inside and outside the cabin. We forced ourselves to stay up late so we could listen to Don's weather forecast. It sounds like it will be more of the same.

Children in Barra de Navidad

Dec. 12, 2007: We headed to Barra de Navidad early, hoping to catch the slack tide. The entrance to the lagoon is a narrow bar crossing; once across the entrance, it is well marked as there is a marina at the Grand Bay Hotel. However, once you get to the marina, all aids to navigation end and you are left to your own devices to figure out where the dredged channel is. We'd been told to "split the difference between the two shacks" but when we arrived, there were a couple of pangas fishing where we wanted to go. So we went to the right, watching as our depth sounder went down and down and down. When it got to 0.4 feet under our keel, Jim put the boat in neutral waiting to feel us go aground but when the thump didn't come, he turned the wheel to the left (we were past the pangas by this time) and the water started coming up -- whew! There were 8 boats here; we anchored next to Emily B and settled in. At noon we hailed a water taxi to take us into town. At $2.50 pp r/t, it is a good deal. Jennifer and I both had similar errands to run. First stop was to drop off our laundry, then on to the port captain, next came lunch, then food shopping (still didn't find a can of black beans!) and a bit of touristo shopping (colorful table cloths and a new t-shirt) and finally we picked up our clean laundry at 1500 and walked back to the water taxi stand. At 1730 we headed to Emily B for a potluck with several other boats, a few of which we knew and one in particular, Nikiwiki, an ex-customer of Jim's in Chula Vista! Small world! Talk at potlucks is never boring (no one ever discusses US politics). One cruiser was asked what time she and her husband go to bed. She indicated they go to bed at cruisers' midnight, or 2030!! We got a few good thoughts of what's to do when Peter & Babs join us. However, we were warned not to go into the water in Ixtapa, or we'll find ourselves swimming with crocodiles! No thanks!! Unfortunately we didn't have any luck connecting up to the internet.

Dec. 11, 2007: I did a load of laundry and flew our colors this morning. Folks in dinghies did a double take and then waved as they went by! The cruising rule is "do one project a day", so Jim fabricated a new mounting for the refrigeration thermostat...it broke months ago and although he repaired it, he never secured it. After that was done, we hopped in the dinghy and went ashore. The wheels are a royal pain to lower and pin in place. There must be a better way, but we haven't come across it yet. We walked along the beach down to the hotel and back, about 1 mile each way. It felt good to get out and walk! We had hoped to have lunch at the palapa, but it was closed. We later learned that it is closed on Tuesdays. Figures! In late afternoon we were invited to Spirit Quest; it was Doug's birthday and several of us were invited for cake. Doug and Cathy are hard-core divers. They have spent months out at the Socorra Islands (about 350 miles west of Puerto Vallarta) diving with the huge manta rays, sharks and humpback whales. Doug played a DVD of videos that he had put together of their dives -- absolutely amazing...but not amazing enough to make me want to learn how to dive! We will head to Barra de Navidad tomorrow. I think I counted 7 more anchorages between here and Z'town. I'd like to bypass Barra, but we are in need of food (canned black beans high on the list!) and we've heard rumors that there is free wi-fi in the lagoon. We'll see!

Olive Ridley Turtle

Dec. 10, 2007: We were underway for Bahia Tenacatita at 0900. Sea conditions were perfect and it promised to be another beautiful day in paradise! As Emily B's speed was greater than ours, we let her take the lead. We started coming across fishing long-lines (lines baited and hung that go for hundreds of yards/miles out in a straight line from off shore out to sea). We lucked out and cruised across the first one without getting tangled; it caught us by surprise, as we thought we were seeing trash in the water. The fishermen use green soda bottles to mark the lines -- tricky to see when the wind waves are picking up. We got caught in one; thankfully it did not wrap itself around our propellor and Jim was able to free it by simply using a boat hook from the swim platform. From then on, we were on our toes, carefully scanning the horizon. Whenever we saw bottles, Jim would put the boat in neutral and we would coast over the line. We passed several turtles, rays and a couple of whales. There were 16 boats at anchor when we arrived, including a 62' DeFever, Spirit Quest, that we saw at the 2006 DeFever Rendezvous. We joked about having another DeFever Rendezvous in Tenacatita! It's quite hot here -- 82 degrees inside and out. Emily B and Legacy (Brenda and H, who were on the hard with us at Baja Naval) stopped by to say hi. By 1900, neither of us could keep our eyes open, despite the fact that we'd slept well. However, the heat seems to be getting to us and we both got sunburned on the trip down from Chemela. So we climbed into bed, turned the fan on and read for an hour. It is so nice to be in a protected anchorage where we are lulled to sleep by the gentle motion of the boat.

Islas Passavera and Colorado

Dec. 9, 2007: Shortly after 0900 we followed Emily B to Isla Passavera, a small island within Bahia de Chemela. The guide books indicated that there was intimate anchorage for 2 boats, however, another smaller boat could have fit. The island was covered with cactus, some of it sticking straight in the air with boobies in the branches and other cactus was long and curvy, hanging over the guano-covered rocks. Spotted rays glided by, sometimes jumping out of the water and landing with a smacking sound. We lowered the dinghy and headed towards Isla Passavera -- lots of birds but not much of a beach to land onto. So we headed to Isla Colorado, a quick dinghy ride away. The beach was tempting, the surf break not too bad. Jim lowered the dinghy wheels for the first time and then aimed the dinghy towards the beach. When the wheels hit the sand, we climbed out, grabbed the dinghy's lines and tugged, to no avail! It appeared that the wheels were rubbing against dinghy's tubes. Jim quickly turned the wheels around so they were no longer rubbing and they worked just fine. Unfortunately there was really nothing on the beach other than some sand crabs. Getting the dinghy off the beach and back into the water without drowning ourselves probably would have made for a good laugh on America's Funniest Home Videos! We didn't have to go more than a few steps and we were suddenly in water over our knees. I asked Jim if I could get into the dinghy and then proceeded to attempt to climb in just as a wave went underneath us. When I tried a second time, Jim commented that it looked like he was trying to land a large tuna. Now how's that for a romantic compliment?! We had another great dinner with Dean & Jennifer and returned to our boat at 2030.

Emily B in Chemela

Dec. 8, 2007: Another slow day on board as we continued to replenish our systems with rest, although we each managed a couple of small projects. After lunch, we changed into our bathing suits and hopped overboard. It was 85 inside and outside and the water was extremely refreshing! Jim snorkeled under the boat, checking the bottom and said that the ball of fish was huge -- easily several hundred or possibly even a thousand! Occasionally a boobie would drop out of the sky and dive into the water about 2' off our side, rewarding itself with dinner. At 1700 Dean and Jennifer arrived for happy hour and dinner. We sat on the flybridge in the relatively cool air. I had made meatballs from scratch so tonight's dinner was spaghetti & meatballs, salad and brownies for dessert. Yum! We could hear the music from the multiple palapas on the beach. All day long I had looked at the small village, longing to go ashore and feel solid ground beneath my feet, but the surf break has been quite high since we arrived and neither of us felt like daring a beach landing. Ah, so close yet so far!!

Dec. 7, 2007: On watch last night, I noticed a bright light in the sky, blinking on and off slowly. I opened the door and confirmed that it was not a glare from something inside the cabin. The light blinked a few more times and then suddenly there was a very bright horizontal flash, the horizontal line being longer than the light itself, and the flashing stopped. Hmmm...did I see a UFO? I began thinking that pretty soon I was going to see little green men. I wonder if Stephen King thinks up his stories while standing night watch?! We arrived Bahia de Chemela at 0800 local time (now in Central Time Zone). Dolphins greeted us; Emily B was the only boat at anchor. We secured the boat, touched base with Dean & Jennifer, and Jim set the low depth alarm. Then we climbed into bed. Just as we were drifting off, the depth alarm went off briefly. It went off again a couple of minutes later. Jim finally got up and turned the alarm off. We later discovered a huge ball of 4-8" fish enjoying the protection from the boobies and frigates provided by the boat. As they swam around underneath us, they would set off the alarm! We spent the day resting, napping on and off, and reading. At 1700 we dinghied to Emily B and joined them for dinner. Thank you, Jennifer, for cooking! We brought with us one of our nicer bottles of wine. We have received several emails from boating friends who have congratulated us on our successful passage...a 3-day passage isn't something that a motorboat our size normally undertakes.

Dec. 6, 2007: Day Three: So how do we pass the night watch hours now? I've progressed from silently singing "A my name is Alice..." Jim was on watch and noticed flying fish leaping out of the water, startled by the boat's presence. So he got our brightest flashlight and aimed it at the water. Green flying fish leaped; the brown ones, however, had gold devil-eyes, made irridescent by the glare of the light. Spooky! We are definitely getting punchy and doing silly things like slow dancing in the middle of the salon floor and getting our feet twisted up in the carpet! Virtually no boat traffic, other than one northbound sailboat on a collision course with us, but no one on deck or in the cockpit and no one answered Jim's hail. By 1500 I was more than ready to have this passage finished. DC seems resigned to the fact that he can't go on deck. He now stands with his front paws on the door sill sniffing the air. No wildlife other than being seriously checked out by a boobie and a frigate.

Dec. 5, 2007: Day Two: During the night, we passed a few of the sailboats that had left Man of War cove on Monday. We arrived at the most western point of the Baja (Cabo Falso) just as the sportfishing fleet out of Cabo San Lucas was headed out -- rush hour and not fun!! Boats everywhere, the radar looking like it had a case of the pox, most skippers paying attention, but one in particular was not. We had to sound our horn at him as he was changing directions and coming right at us. If you are ever fishing out of Cabo, do NOT take the boat "Eureka"! It definitely feels like we've arrived in the land of summer. We are both in shorts and the doors are wide open. I watched a bill fish (marlin?) jump out of the water at least a half dozen times. I've not seen one in person before -- this was very spectacular! Other than seeing a couple of large tankers, there was no one in sight. I put Andrea Bocelli on the stereo and we chilled. Spent time on the flybridge. Jim showered on the aft deck. We are all still doing well; either napping or pushing the caffeine. The cats are also doing fine except DC is beginning to get cabin fever; he really wants to go out on deck. I eventually dug out the catnip and toys, which made both cats happy for about 30 min. Jim and I decided to adjust our watch schedule by one hour. The morning (Amigo) net begins at 0700 and evening (Southbound) net is at 1900; Don the weatherman gives his forecast on both nets and they start one hour after Jim gets off watch. By adjusting our schedule, Jim will have an uninterrupted 3 hour break.

Dec. 4, 2007: Day One: The weather forecast looked like it was still a go for us. After changing the engine oil, we got underway by 0900. The seas at the entrance of Mag Bay were extremely confused and we wondered if we would have to turn around and wait another day, but things settled out shortly after we were south of the opening. A panga with 2 fishermen approached us and pointing to their mouths, asked if we had comida (food). Jim quickly made them 2 ham & cheese roll-ups and we included a couple packages of crackers. They seemed very appreciative; we just hoped that they didn't call all the other pangas in the area telling them that the white & blue boat was giving away free food! Seas were very comfortable with virtually no wind and no wildlife either. Speed varied between 6.3 - 8.1 kts. I'm not sure whether our speed is affected more by current or tides.

Dec. 3, 2007: The Capitain de Puerto (Gregorio) arrived at our boat in the morning; however, he discovered that he had forgotten to bring along necessary paperwork for our check-in/check-out. In the process of our conversation, he mentioned that he was going to make a trip to San Carlos later on. We told him that there were 4 of us who needed to do some shopping. He agreed to let us ride with him and said he'd return for us in an hour. In the meantime, he went around to the other boats in the anchorage (it was a mass exodus so there were only 4 of us) to see if anyone else wanted to go. As promised, he returned in an hour and it turned out that there were 6 of us. San Carlos was about a 20 min. ride, at full speed. We arrived at low tide, no pier or dock in site. So everyone rolled up their pant legs and hopped out of the boat and into the water. We agreed to meet back on the beach at 1300 and headed off into town. We did some grocery shopping with Karma while Komora visited the Migracion office (and no, I still didn't find a can of black beans!). It wasn't difficult to find one another as San Carlos is basically a one-road town. We had lunch, after which we headed back to the beach to wait for the Port Captain. He showed up around 1400; his panga was on a trailer being towed. We were told to climb into the boat and then told to hang on tight (at least we think that's what we were told). The trailer was backed into the water and the truck slammed on the brakes, freeing the panga from the trailer. Another speedy ride back to Man of War Cove, but we still hadn't completed the check-in/check-out process and it was now 1500. Gregorio indicated he would return in an hour, however, we wound up on Karma, along with Komora, saving the Port Captain some time. Gregorio has been the Port Captain for 15 years and has wonderful reputation with the cruisers. We returned to Mañana at 1930, had dinner (not lobster) and called it an early night.

Dogs and Dinghies!

Dec. 2, 2007: As predicted, the wind was blowing from the north at 15-20 kts and Christa and I were debating whether we really wanted to go to San Carlos; it would have been an extremely wet ride. The matter was settled when our driver never showed up! Guess dad wouldn't give him the keys! In fact, several hours after he was to have taken us to San Carlos, he and his family sped by in the panga, waving as they flew by. Jim and I have a severe case of cabin fever. We've been off the boat for a total of 2 hours in the past 12 days. Given that Thanksgiving has come and gone and it is now December, I felt it was legit to decorate the boat for Christmas. Because we still have a few long passages ahead of us, I only put out the soft goods -- placemats, towels and my wall hanging. I will finish decorating when we get to Z'town. Don's weather is still predicting a calming trend with the winds beginning Tuesday and a good 4-day weather window, so at this point, we are thinking we'll leave here Tuesday afternoon and go straight through to Ipala, which is on the south side of Cabo Corientes, or south of Puerto Vallarta. Our navigation software indicates it will take us 65 hours, which is almost twice as long as our longest voyage ever. The course will allow us to change our minds at Cabo San Lucas, but right now, we are thinking that we don't want to pass up the opportunity afforded by a nice long weather window and also beginning to feel the pressure of having a long way to go and a short time to get there. Buck up, Jan and make Judy on Encanto proud of you! Will we really do it? Will I go bonkers? Will I kill the captain? Who knows? With us, Plan B is only a half step behind us! Remember those dinners that I cooked several days ago? Well, we had one for dinner tonight (it was very good!) and hopefully the other will still be good in 2 days. I'm hoping that the same kid who was to be today's taxi driver will remember that I requested langosta (lobster) tomorrow (at $2.00 per lobster). And I REALLY would like to find a can of black beans!!

Man of War Cove

Dec. 1, 2007: Caution! Contents may have shifted...! At 0700 we got up and listened to the weather. The wind is expected to shift around to the NW at 20-30 kts. later today and continue through Tuesday. We walked around the boat, righting items and checking lockers for anything that may have moved. Surprisingly, Jim discovered that the air compressor that lives in the eyebrow space on the flybridge had been knocked over (it's been there for 5 years and has never moved). No boat damage, other than 2 of the 4 lines pulled out of our flopper-stopper. We finally got a look at Orient Express in the daylight. She was listing to port against the rocks, most likely a total loss. Given the fact that we have run out of bread and it appeared that we'd be here several more days, we decided to up anchor and move to Man of War cove, about 5 miles north of Punta Belcher. As we approached the cove, we saw about 12 boats, mostly Canadians with a few Seattle stragglers -- we felt right at home, despite the fact that they were all sail boats! Shortly after we arrived, a panga with 3 boys in it stopped by wanting to know if we wanted to buy lobsters or if we had any basura (trash). I said "not today" to both questions. The youngest boy then looked at me and asked, "candy?" Ah! Si, tenemos candy! Jim rummaged in the cabinets and came back with a handful which was meant to be shared, but all the candy went into his one little pocket! I took advantage of the warm sun, did a load of laundry and flew our colors (I hung our underwear out for all to see). Jim and I enjoyed time relaxing on the flybridge with a cup of coffee. Days like today are much more appreciated after nights like last night! Many of the sailboats are "kid boats", meaning there are kids on board. We had previously been invited to a birthday party, and although we did not attend, we watched dinghy after dinghy pass by us, many filled with kids of all ages. At 1600 Karma came by and we rode to shore in their dinghy. There's no getting around it. You have to climb out of the dinghy into the water, hopefully not deeper than your knees, and the water was rather invigorating! The same boys that had stopped by greeted us and walked us to the tienda. Christa was able to buy eggs and milk and I bought crackers and refried beans. Afterwards we walked the pebbly beach in the company of a young girl who was absolutely smitten with Christa and her blonde hair (people in the latin countries are in awe of people with blonde hair) and one of the fishermen stopped us to ask the price of a used radar. Turns out that Orient Express was stripped as soon as the sun came up. Richard negotiated a price for a ride to San Carlos via panga tomorrow morning -- 100 pesos per person. San Carlos is a much larger city with good grocery stores, but it's about 10 miles north of here. Karma joined us for tuna, couscous and a cucumber, tomato and cheese salad dinner. As they were leaving, we heard music and singing coming from the next boat. Apparently many of the kids congregated onto Maryke Violet and had a little jam session. Although the music wasn't the best, the voices were sweet. We turned the anchor light off for a few minutes and turned our heads upwards towards the sky. It's amazing just how many stars are up there! We are releasing the tension, little by little!

Nov. 30, 2007: We woke again to rain. The forecasted storm with south winds had stalled and the winds were predicted for later in the day. Christa and I had hoped to take another walk on the beach but the weather did not cooperate. As predicted, the winds began picking up in mid-afternoon. I made the mistake of continuing to read (although Jim had suggested that I stop an hour before I did) so I was a bit queasy. By supper time, we felt like we were riding a bucking bronco. The wind waves and swells were large enough that the bow would ride high, causing the swim platform to smack the wave as it passed under us. Anything that wasn't secured or already on the floor ended up on the floor. We stuffed our cabinets with rags, towels and even one of my jackets and then latched them closed. Forget dinner -- neither of us was hungry and even if we had been, we didn't dare turn on the stove; a few crackers was all we cared for. I laid on the settee while Jim sat at the helm station doing anchor watch. Around 2000 a "Mayday" call was heard. Jim responded to the caller ("Orient Express") when no one else did. The caller indicated that they had run aground at the entrance to Mag Bay. Sure enough, we could see their navigation lights, but there was nothing we could do for them as our Spanish wasn't good enough to call for help. Another cruiser who spoke fluent Spanish broke into the conversation and acted as intermediary. The mayday ended around 2230 with the two people on board being safely removed from the vessel. We woke at 0100 and noticed that the seas had calmed considerably, allowing us to get some decent rest the remainder of the night.

Nov. 29, 2007: We woke up around 0300 to the sound of steady rain on the cabin top, to the point where we had to get up and close the port lights. Jim climbed out of bed at 0700 to listen to the weather. According to Don, Bahia Magdalena is the splitting point of a cyclonic storm 300 miles west of here. Mag Bay south was to experience 25 kts of wind out of the south. Mag Bay north was to experience winds from the north. So here we sat, in Mag Bay, wondering if we'd get nailed from the south or north winds. In any case, they were expected to begin in the afternoon and go through the night. So much for heading south today! Many of the Canadian boats that had been anchored in Bahia Santa Maria up anchored and moved into what we all hoped would be a more protected area. I deemed it a good day to sew -- I made a Christmas toilet seat cover, fixed Jim's sandals and did some quilting. At 1500, after the rain had finally stopped, we lowered the dinghy and followed Richard and Christa to the beach. No real surf break, but we still had to step into the chilly water in order to pull the dinghy up onto the beach. This point houses the remains of an old whaling station and a fish camp is located on the point. After the walk, we were invited back to Karma. Jim had offered to help Richard diagnose a problem with their single side band radio. While the guys worked, Christa and I chatted. She used to work as a kitchen designer so I found it fun talking to someone who enjoys that type of work (I love interior design). We stayed for dinner, finally returning to our boat at 2030. The winds never materialized inside the bay, but we did have decent size sea swells, evidence of weather on the outside!

Nov. 27-28, 2007: Jim was antsy hanging around the anchorage waiting for late morning before we could continue south. He prefers to get up early and get underway. So we checked the guide books and decided to move our destination further south, which would allow us to leave sooner (we did not want to arrive in the dark). The captain had a minor brain fart when he forgot to open the thru-hull valve after he reinstalled the cleaned sea strainer. The engine temperature went up ever so slightly before he caught it. Luckily he had made little markers for our gauges indicating the normal operating temperatures just the day before. No harm done, other than to his ego! We settled in for a 22 hour cruise. The seas were perfect -- no wind, swells or wind waves. Unfortunately we had no dolphins, but we did see a few flying fish. We arrived Punta Belcher at 0745, which is a few miles south of Bahia Santa Maria, inside Bahia Magdalena (Mag Bay for short). After securing the boat, we headed to bed for a few hours. Once up and about, I made a turkey and rice casserole, which was divied up for two nights' meals. In the mid-afternoon, we lowered the dinghy and went over to Karma, finally meeting Richard and Christa after talking to them in several anchorages. They are a lovely couple on a 55' trawler. Chris (Misty Michael) stopped by too. He and his wife are from Canada and are on the 3rd (of 4) trawlers in the anchorage. Christa and I swapped reading material before Jim and I returned to Mañana, where we made raviolis with meatballs for dinner. We've been able to listen and check-in to both the Amigo and Southbound nets. We learned that the Bluwater Net was dissolved a couple of years ago. We are trying to decide when to leave here...a "norther" (winter storm that comes down from the States) is predicted for the entire Sea of Cortez and the southern crossing area for Sunday & Monday. Our initial hope was to cross Sat. and Sunday...we may delay for a few days, but whether we wait here or in Cabo remains to be seen.

Dolphins Escort Us

Nov. 26, 2007: Another good travelling day. We left Bahia Asuncion at 0710, arriving Punta Abreojos at 1520. We were able to check in to the Amigo net this morning, but were not able to pick up the weather with Don. Dolphins played in our bow wake and sea lions strained to get themselves out of the water enough to check us out. The sea lions are such curious creatures! For the most part of the day, we had a favorable current. Abreojos means "eyes open", and it is a very appropriate name because the coast line around this anchorage houses reefs, rocks and lobster pots. I cooked a frozen shrimp stir fry for dinner; not the greatest but fast and easy. We tried checking in to the Bluwater Cruisers Net, but no joy again tonight.

Sleeping Sea Lions

Nov. 25, 2007: We were underway at 0745: destination - Bahia Asuncion. Every voyage should be as nice as today's...sunny, no wind, virtually no sea swell and only 8 hours long. We passed several sea lions resting/sleeping. They lie on their backs with their flippers sticking straight up in the air -- a very strange site! As we approached the anchorage at 1530, we were greeted by dolphins and sea lions. The sea lions mimicked the dolphins jumping and diving around us, something we've not seen before. We anchored next to "Mariana", a boat/couple we met in Ensenada. They rowed over to us at dinnertime to say hello. "Frayed Knot", the DeFever we met in Turtle Bay, arrived a couple hours behind us. We had our Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner and then spent the rest of the evening reading. We were in bed early...we have another 50 mile day planned for tomorrow.

Full Moon on the Rise

Nov. 24, 2007: We slept 11 hours, waking to the gentle motion of the boat. We've come to the conclusion that neither our minds nor bodies are accustomed to cruising, making the past 48 hours difficult at best. When we did this trip the first time, our minds and bodies already had about 1500 miles experience. So we think we'll harbor hop the rest of the Baja, or at least as much as possible. Today was a day of total relaxation, doing whatever we felt like doing, in addition to a few boat chores (there are always boat chores). In a way, Mother Nature helped us by supplying 20 kt. winds for most of the day, allowing us to decide we really didn't feel like lowering the dinghy and going into town, which we probably would have done had the wind not been present. In mid-afternoon we hailed Anabell and asked to have our fuel topped off. We were quoted 5.67 pesos per liter, but when they presented us with the bill, the price was actually 6.75 pesos. We weren't happy, but paid it; the price was still a reasonable $2.30/gallon. We figured topping off the fuel will allow us to make a run for Puerto Vallarta should we have a good weather window when we get to Cabo San Lucas. We had a frozen chicken parmigiana for dinner. We now have leftovers for the next few nights...and that's a good thing! (ps. Karma is the large motoryacht on the left side of the photo.)

Off-Watch Crew

Nov. 22-23, 2007: Happy Thanksgiving! The morning began with us playing the "what's that noise?" game. Jim discovered a can under the settee that was thumping against the cabin side whenever we rocked, which was almost constantly. We did 2-hour watches during the day and at 1800, switched to 3-hour watches. The first 3-hour watch was difficult. I have not yet been able to get myself "in the zone", so I was thinking up anything and everything I could to keep my mind alert. My second 3-hour stint (0000-0300) was horrible! I'd used up all my tactics during my first shift! For the most part, the ride was uneventful, which is always a good thing! The winds stayed below 15 kts and the sea swells were predominantly 3', with the occasional 5 or 6' swell, but there was a long period between them. Despite the relatively benign conditions, Jim, DC and I all suffered a mild case of mal de mer so our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a can of Progresso chicken noodle soup. Only our skittish little Jerry was in top form! Dolphins and porpoises played in our bow wake; we spotted whales in the distance, although I saw one up close and personal to tentatively identify them as Sei whales. Seas were very confused at the south end of Isla Cedros, where Isla Natividad and Punto Eugenia all come fairly close together. In the midst of catching things that were falling over, we were also playing dodge 'em with crab pots and kelp paddies. A panga sat at the entrance of Turtle Bay; I joked that it was waiting to see if we needed fuel. Sure enough! Enrique pulled his panga up next to us and asked if we needed fuel! Although we told him no, he stayed on our aft corner, as if to claim us from any other fuel panga. We had lunch and rested a few hours. Another DeFever similar in size to ours pulled in after us, and Karma pulled in 3 hours later. I think this is a first -- at anchor are 4 sailboats and 3 trawlers! We had our Thanksgiving dinner tonight. I had purchased a package of frozen turkey breasts in Ensenada. The box indicated that they could be cooked on the stove top or in the oven, but unfortunately gave no specific directions! We baked them, but they weren't very good -- even the cats refused to eat the pieces we cut off for them. However, the rest of our dinner was tasty, and we celebrated the holiday drinking wine given to us by friends, John and Balbina from Chula Vista.

Nov. 21, 2007: The other trawler in the anchorage introduced themselves this morning ("Karma"). They are also out of Seattle and indicated a desire to travel together down the Baja coast; they are seasoned sailors but don't have much experience with the Mexican coast. Both boats left the anchorage around 0900 -- it was too rolly to stay and get any meaningful rest. It was a gray day with large sea swells, but virtually no wind, so it wasn't a lumpy ride. Dolphins and porpoises rode with us periodically. We plotted a course for San Quintin, but thought we'd take a peek at the anchorage at Isla San Martin to see if it looked good. Isla San Martin is approx. 10 miles north of San Quintin and is a remnant of an extinct volcano. The island is composed of lava and a large crater is in the center of the small island. We arrived Isla San Martin at 1315. The anchorage looked calm; although there were a few kelp paddies we dropped the hook. Karma joined us 30 min. later. The cats and I took a 2-hour nap while Jim plotted possible routes for tomorrow. There are a few anchorage possibilities between here and Turtle Bay, but given the fact that we left Ensenada 9 days later than originally planned, Jim thought he'd prefer to make time now and lounge when we get to the mainland. We had chili and biscuits for dinner and went to bed early. Tomorrow will be a 27 hour run...ugh!

Mexican Shrimper

Nov. 20, 2007: Gael Force drove us to the port captain's office at 0830 so they could witness the process. Three people behind the counter proceeded to talk to one another as if we were invisible. When we finally got someone to handle us, it was "Ms. Frigid". We almost felt like apologizing for interrupting her day. To make a long story short, Ensenada's check-out process required copies of ALL our paperwork, plus we were given 2 new forms to fill out, one of which required 3 copies. We walked thru the downtown core searching for a copier, dodging crowds that were forming to watch a parade. We returned to the port captain's office about 45 min. later and got a very nice worker, who checked us out with no fanfare. Finally! We slipped the lines, put the boat in reverse and left Cruiseport at 1100, arriving at Marina Coral for fuel at 1145. Unfortunately we arrived right behind a mega yacht that was taking on over 2000 gallons of fuel, and ran the fuel dock's fuel tank empty. So it wasn't until 1530 before we could head out. By then it was too late for us to attempt anchoring in Isla Todos Santos or Punta Santo Tomas (a night time anchorage entry) so we headed for Bahia Colnett, an anchorage we've been to a couple of times and knew it would be an easy one to enter in the dark. We dropped anchor at 0015 next to another trawler. When Jim came back inside, he said, "something's breathing out there!" Hmmm...animal, mineral or vegetable??? I hoped it was friendly! We set the flopper-stopper, however, it was a very rolly night.

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