Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Los Frailes

06:00 - After a rough voyage from Cabo San Lucas, we pulled into Bahia Frailes (pronounced FRY layz) (N23°22.781' W109°25.395') as we watched a multitude of bat rays somersaulting out of the water for several minutes. The Mexican bay was full of them! We later went ashore and Jordan snorkelled as I basked in the sun rays. There is not much here. A few fishing huts along the beach but they appeared to be deserted, a few RVers, and a couple of hotels further down the road.

A few days later, fishermen appeared on the scene and moved back into their huts. Some even had their made-up beds outside where they would sleep under the stars each night. Kind of romantic!

Moon over Sea Turtle in Los Frailes

(The latest photos on our little camera are gone as the camera was dropped in the water. Oops - no photos for awhile unless we pack the larger, heavier, and more expensive camera around with us. New purchase added to the list!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Satiated and submerged

Cabo San Lucas of Mexico is a very busy place and has been a very rolly anchorage for us. The bay is full of sight-seeing boats, cruise ships, water taxis, and the never-ending jet skis. The shore is lined with hotels as far as you can see.

Very busy bay

We decided to treat ourselves to a glorious dinner called Surf 'n Turf at La Galeria. This treat consisted of plátanos (cooked banana) with almonds, crispy veggies, blackened Mahi Mahi, large coconut shrimp, large mango shrimp (substituted to replace steak), lobster tail, and salad, with 2 free margaritas. All devoured outside along the water's edge where we enjoyed 'people watching'.

Heading back to Sea Turtle in our dinghy, a young on-shore fisherman's line got tangled up in our outboard motor, but after Jordan dismantled part of the prop, he was able to remove what seemed like miles of line. Unfortunately, he dropped a ring of keys that included a padlock key still inserted in the padlock into about 6 metres of water. And of course they all sank because of the weight of the padlock even though they were attached to a floating key ring. Good thing we have spares on board!

All in all, a fabulous day!

It rained all day on Monday which was welcomed as it washed all the salt off the boat. So Jordan rewired the wind generator (no, not the windvane) directly to the batteries. Hopefully, the generator will spin more efficiently and produce more energy.

Topped up the diesel tanks today and decided to check out with the Puerto Capitan as the anchorage is so very rolly and uncomfortable here. It cost the exorbitant amount of $5 for 2 days of anchorage. LOL. Pretty good for such a touristy town.

We left at 17:00 and pounded into the wind for the first time ever (motored directly against the wind). Felt like riding a bucking bronco! Eased up a bit around 20:30.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cabo San Lucas

Have you ever wondered what it's like to look around and see no land? And how that would feel? It's quite an eerie feeling but I find it also exhilarating! Especially the sound, or should I say the lack of sound - no traffic, no sirens, no voices - just the gentle sound of ocean waves lapping against the boat. It's so peaceful and so beautiful.

Once again, we saw dolphins, spinner dolphins, we think. Something we never get tired of seeing.

We've been trying out some delicious Mexican products from the market - not sure if Chayote is a fruit or veggie - but it is sure good raw. Peeled then sliced very thin and dribbled with freshly squeezed lime juice is our favourite.

We arrived at Cabo San Lucas (N22°53.356' W109°53.919') at 11:30 after sailing past the famous arch. The arch is being touched up with cement as it's starting to deteriorate...


Friday, December 25, 2009

Relaxing day with friends

We went for a relaxing stroll on the beach of Bahia Santa Maria (Mexico) with no one in sight and walked to the sand dunes. And those footprints in the photo all belong to us!

Judy atop sand dune looking out towards Sea Turtle

Another sailboat, SV Adios, pulled into the bay - a family we had met in San Diego. We invited them and their 2 young teenagers to join us for a BBQ fish dinner, and after an enjoyable meal and visit, we pulled anchor at 22:00 to head for Cabo San Lucas which is at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula (about 1,160 km SE of San Diego).

We began by motoring so we could turn on the watermaker as our water tanks were getting a little low.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bahia Santa Maria

Winds picked up pretty good yesterday on our voyage from Turtle Bay (Mexico) so we sailed. Jordan threw out a line and caught a beautiful Dorado (Mahi Mahi) fish. He's doing pretty good at supplying delicious food for our dinners!

Good for several meals

Shortly afterwards at 11:00, we pulled into Bahia Santa Maria (N24°46.855' W112°15.175') and set anchor. We had the bay all to ourselves. There are only a couple of fishing huts at this tiny village. Later in the day, we explored the long sandy beach which is known as Sand Dollar Beach - there were large sand dollars scattered everywhere! We of course collected a few.

Sand Dollar Beach

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Total calm

We left Turtle Bay (Mexico) at 11:00 with very little wind - with sails up, we could only reach a speed of 3 knots. We call it snail sailing! Once again, we had the sailor´s delight of a visit by a school of dolphins playing in our bow. Soon afterwards, we decided to motor-sail.

By evening, the seas were unusually glassy calm. No swells, no waves. Are we lost? Are we motoring on a lake? I never imagined an ocean could be this calm.

Barely a ripple...

Warmest evening ever - first time that I did not need a jacket during my night watch. When doing a check during my watch, I saw that the boat waves were producing a phosphorescent effect and shooting drops of water out that, when landing, looked like stars in the water, or a mini fireworks effect, as all the droplets landed. And the phosphorescence from the churning prop of the boat was trailing about 12 metres. I had to wake up Jordan so he could share these amazing sights with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Turtle Bay

With very choppy seas, we motored into Turtle Bay Mexico (N27°41.159' W114°53.355') at 11:30. This is a very desolate village of less than 1,000 people but a very welcome all-weather stop after a long tiring voyage.

We spent time with cruisers that we had met in San Diego (SV Maestro), and after a sunny day of trolling for fish one day in the Bay with them, they invited us for delicious lunch AND dinner aboard their luxurious 72-foot sailboat. Great people, conversation, and food!

A little tricky to go into town if the tide is not high - the steep ladder up to the fuel dock (the only dock) is in no way connected to the wobbly dinghy platform. So if the tide is low, you will have to jump up to 3 feet to reach the first rusty rung of the ladder!

Another option is having fuel delivered to your boat

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flying fish

We left Ensenada in stiff winds and sailed at 6 knots with the head sail hoisted. During the 3-night passage, Jordan performed a couple of boat jobs. With Sea Turtle's engine stopped and sails down, he stood on the outside of the transom and held on to the windvane to tighten a bolt but ended up getting wet so he next launched the dinghy so he could use it as a work platform to attach a new eye to the transom.

Back on board (both Jordan and the dinghy), he later riveted the spinnaker pole ends to the new pole which was used to sail wing-on-wing by also using the whisker pole. But we can't fly our spinnaker sail yet as a line needs to be run to the top of the mast.

When down below, we heard a bang and then a vibration, a previously unheard type of sound. Jordan immediately went up and with deck lights on, discovered not only numerous small squid but a large flying fish flopping around (we believe that the flying fish are trying to catch the squid). If the fish don´t plop down on the deck, they soar across the boat from one end to the other, which is quite an amazing sight.

Checking out the wing span before returning this flying fish to the ocean

During the next several days, we were finding small squid in all sorts of places!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Heading off again

Today we returned to Mexican shores and completed the check-in process successfully with the beautiful Puerto Capitan. We were expecting the Capitan to be a man so were naturally but pleasantly surprised.

Jordan bought a Hawaiian Sling (a type of spear gun for fishing), we walked around the Global Market some more trying to find a coil for the old outboard so we can sell it, and checked out Gringo Gulch - a touristy strip where we got a lime presser. This fresh pressed lime juice will be used on Jicama and fish, and of course in tasty margaritas! (Jicama is a sweet root vegetable that looks like a turnip and is good in salads and salsa.)

We then left Cruiseport Village Marina at 16:30 to head for Turtle Bay, around 275 miles SE of Ensenada and half-way down the Mexican Baja Peninsula.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Discovering the town

At Ensenada (Mexico). we checked into Cruiseport Village Marina, located behind a breakwater which provided protection from the surge, and the bilingual Harbor Master Vanessa drove us to Immigration and Customs and handled all of the necessary paperwork and copying of forms at 4 of the 5 check-in stations - in and out in less than 2 hours. As the Puerto Capitan (that's Mexican - not a spelling mistake!) station is not manned on Saturday or Sunday, we will check in with him on Monday.

At 1 of the stations, you press a large button. If you get a green light, you pass. If you get a red light, you get inspected. We got green.

We met Andy, an old salt from Alaska, who kindly offered to drive us around and took us to the very large Global Market that covered many, many street blocks. We took the opportunity to stock up on an abundance of different fruits and veggies. We even tried out prickly pear cactus for dinner!

The weather was a bit rainy so we're hoping for more pleasant conditions tomorrow...

Friday, December 11, 2009

MEXICO!

We sailed until 02:00, then motor-sailed. Jordan caught a 7-8 lb Pacific Bonito (tuna). We´ve been referencing a book called Ken Schultz´s Field Guide to Saltwater Fish for identification to avoid eating anything poisonous and have found it to be very comprehensive.

Welcome to Mexico! We anchored alongside a few other boats (N31°51.44' W116°37.59') at Ensenada upon arrival in the early afternoon, our first Mexican stop.

Mexico has one of the largest flags in the world

Upon anchoring, we headed up to check in with Immigration and, at first, found this to be a bit more complicated than expected. We finally figured out through speaking limited Spanish that we had to first check into a marina as being at anchor is no longer allowed at Ensenada.

The other boats that were anchored were only allowed to do so as the unprotected docks they had been at earlier had fallen apart during the recent storm, with one derelict boat sinking and one boat sustaining damages. As it was getting late in the day, we stayed at our anchorage for the evening.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finishing up

We drove to Newport California (southern USA) with some friends yesterday which was a treat as we did not stop there on our journey south and of course went to Minney´s Yacht Surplus. Minney's is owned by Ernie Minney and is a great place where yachties can buy, sell, and trade boating equipment with a motto of "We keep boating affordable".

Jordan has been very busy getting everything ship shape - adjusted the windvane, added 1 last hose to the watermaker, and procured a spinnaker pole. We also got the required 2 Mexican fishing licenses (1 each), checked out of the United States of America, and finally, left the dock at 23:45 for an overnighter to Ensenada Mexico!

The air was quite chilly.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Water spout

We were at anchor by the San Diego Yacht Club and it started out as a normal day. Strong winds were blowing, as forecasted. (Even though the weekend had passed, we were allowed to stay at our anchorage due to the weather predictions of a gale.)

We were watching Notes on a Scandal on our DVD player when all of a sudden Sea Turtle heeled 60° first to starboard and then to port, with her toe rails in the water! Everything went flying.

We found out later that a twister passed through and went right over our boat and a couple of others at 80-90 knots causing the unexpected heeling. The gas dock´s 40-year old sign was demolished as well as the odd tree.

Unfortunately, it also flipped our dinghy, submerging the outboard motor which was not able to be fixed. But we were lucky enough to find a great second-hand one a couple of days later at a nearby shop for a reasonable price - and it runs better than the one we had before!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Playing hopscotch

We could only stay at the Police Docks in San Diego (USA) for a maximum of 10 days every 45 days. After our 10 days, we moved to a free anchorage, available on weekends only, and made a reservation 24 hours in advance as required.

Then we moved to an anchorage at Glorietta Bay at Coronado (about an hour away) for another 3 days, available only during weekdays, and also requiring a reservation 24 hours in advance.

After that, back to our original anchorage for our last 3 allowed days. Quite a hopscotch routine! If you wish to remain longer in San Diego, you must move to rolly waters that have a longer stay-period. PS You can´t buy any boat parts in Coronado.

And leaving the United States, well you can't just go to the Customs Dock as you do when checking in. You have to go downtown to check out, quite a distance away, and then must leave the US within 48 hours. Will sure be glad to get to Mexico, away from all the regulations!

We've spent the last several days doing the last boat stuff, where everything is easily available, before our next stop in Mexico. Jordan has attached dinghy wheels for all the upcoming beach landings. And he removed the boat propeller and had it re-pitched as the RPMs were too high for the speed of Sea Turtle. The test run after reattachment indicated a faster speed with lower RPMs so the re-pitching was a successful manoeuvre. Next big job is to try to find a spinnaker pole so we can fly our colourful spinnaker sail in light winds.

We have also spent several days with family and friends who have been in the area and came for a visit. Here's our smallest and cutest visitor so far...

Abbey, Jordan's sister & brother-in-law's dog

As far as tourist things, one day we visited the USS Midway, a recently decommissioned aircraft carrier of 1927. It used 260 gallons of fuel per mile and 10 tons of food per day. Jordan especially really enjoyed going through it and seeing the engine room...a guy thing...

Communications room - big change from nowadays!

Another day, we toured the non-profit San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Park was not originally intended to have public access but it was later opened to the public as more funds were required to keep it in operation. It's dedicated to protecting and preserving wildlife and habitats.

The Park breeds endangered species as most animals will not breed in zoos and require a natural setting, which the Park provides. It also provides a home to animals that have nowhere else to go, such as the African elephants that were to be slaughtered in Swaziland and 2 injured condors that will later be released from the Park.

We spent 5-6 hours walking all around the 1,800 acre Park and were able to get very close to several of the 3,500 rare and exotic animals. Our photos show only a few of them - check our Photo Gallery in the Past San Francisco album at the end of the set - and I identified all that I could remember.

In the evening, we watched a toe-nail clipping of the moon setting until it was sitting on the horizon - just like a happy smile!