Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ensenada El Cardonel

We left Puerto Ballendra at 13:00 for a 3.5 hour voyage to Ensenada El Cardonel (N24°32.907' W110°23.289') with Jordan trolling a line off the back of Sea Turtle. As SV Moonraker was kidding Jordan about not bothering to fish again (on the VHF radio), he landed a Sierra Mackerel as we were entering the bay!

Two other Canadian sailboats joined the group of us, 1 being Rob and Kim of SV Keetya from Victoria BC, and throughout the evening several other boats also appeared.

El Cardonel is a bay that cuts deep into the island of Partida. When we landed our dinghies "on the beach", we had to hand-pull them in a very long distance as the water was so very shallow. Then everyone walked across the island to view where it drops off to a steep rocky cliff.

Cliffs of El Cardonel

Later, we watched all the puffer fish swimming around our boat and all the rays jumping in the cove.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Puerto Ballendra

Yesterday after our cheaper-than-home dental appointments, we left busy La Paz and headed north up the beautiful Sea of Cortez so we could start seeing some of the many islands. But our first anchorage at 18:00 was still on the Baja California Peninsula at Puerto Ballendra (N24°19.064' W110°20.11') where we met up with friends on 3 other cruising sailboats.

Approaching Puerto Ballendra

Today Jordan jumped in the dinghy to try fishing (with no luck) but he had 3 whales come within 4.5 m (15 feet) of the dinghy once he turned off the outboard. He said that as awesome as it was, it was also a bit nerve-wracking due to their huge mass! Sounds pretty dangerous to me.

Next, we all moved our boats to another nearby bay (N24°19.619' W110°20.004') where we had a potluck dinner with a mesmerizing bonfire beneath an almost full moon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bonding

Today at Club Cruceros (La Paz Mexico) coffee-time, I met a woman who lived in my hometown of Drumheller Alberta, which was quite a surprise, not too many cruisers from Drumheller! Her husband worked at the Q-91 radio station of Drumheller for awhile.

Jordan joined the jam session players last Wednesday evening with his fiddle/violin - a first for him. We all think he did a great job, and when we're not off sailing the islands, he may play again on another Wednesday.

Jordan playing

One day, 6 women sailors got together for female bonding and went off to do some shopping and had a delicious chatty lunch at La Bohemme where everything on the menu was scrumptious. Meanwhile, the hubbies did some "weenie welding" (male bonding). That's a new term I've never heard of before now! I think boat work was accomplished but also a lot of beer drinking. All round, a great day for everyone.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Waltzes of different types

This morning we experienced the La Paz Waltz, a "boat dance" well known to sailors who anchor in the bay here. Sitting in our cockpit, we watched as the strong tide flow and heavy opposing winds moved the anchored boats in circles as they came close to one another, and then, if they were lucky (or anchored far enough apart) moved away, as they appeared to be "waltzing" to and fro.

At first, we seemed to be away from the tide flow so were not affected very much, but then it changed and caught us, dancing us too close to 2 other boats. Needless to say, we weighed anchor and moved to a safer spot. It's very difficult to judge where to anchor when there is a current with an opposing wind as each boat moves in every which way, and not all in the same direction as usual when anchoring in other bays.

Today we realized how lucky we are. I prepared a special dinner for us and then as the CD spun I Can't Stop Loving You Jordan played along on his violin for me. After our meal, this time we danced, treasuring each moment we have as we sipped our margaritas. Here's to you, Tony, my friend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

La Paz

We had a good overnight voyage up from Muertos without fighting too much headwind and made much better time than we were expecting, arriving in La Paz (N24°09.386' W110°19.597') around 08:30 on Monday the 11th. We checked into Marina de La Paz, a very nice place with showers, cafe, book exchange, DVD rental, recycling, and Club Cruceros where cruisers can meet each morning for free coffee and socializing. And Imelda shows up here each morning to sell her delicious homemade tamales and other Mexican treats of which we have partaken.

There are 3 main nets: VHF 16 for Marina de La Paz; VHF 21 for news; and VHF 22 for weather, swapping goods, introduction of new cruisers joining the net, etc. Most amenities such as marine stores, plumbing or electrical needs, canvas places, dental, major supermarket, etc. are within walking distance or a short cab ride away. And a couple of blocks away is the Malecon - a walkway along the waterfront where several sculptures are displayed. This photo was taken in the evening:

Sculpture of mermaid and dolphin along the Malecon

Across the street from Marina de La Paz is a small cafe/bar that has a 'jam' session that we attended with great talent that was a joy to listen to.

We have decided to stay in La Paz for at least a couple of weeks to get several things done that we had originally planned to go to Mazatlan to get done there. Here everything is available, and between chores, we can cruise around to visit nearby islands. So we will skip Mazatlan. We want to get some dinghy chaps made to protect our dinghy from the ravages of the hot sun so it will last longer, get some stainless steel work done, and lots of dental work, etc.

We will be leaving the dock tomorrow morning to anchor out, with talk of perhaps heading to an island on the weekend with 2 or 3 other cruising boats. There we will go fishing (so far we have been able to keep our fridge stocked) and join up for a social evening. Yeah, I know, cruising life is pretty tough...will keep you posted when able.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life of leisure

It's been a great stay here in the well protected Cove of Muertos (Mexico). We met up with several boaters, most of whom were from Canada! And we finally got a chance to do a lot of updates to our blog with Internet access at the friendly restaurant. I have also been adding a couple of pictures that Carol & Kelly of SV Intrepid have shared with us since our camera went swimming, such as the following:

Colourful flowers at the restaurant on the beach

We have been testing out a lot of ceviche lately and really loving it. So simple...soak lightly cooked fish (or shrimp) in lime juice for a couple of hours (some people say that you don't need to cook the fish - just soak it in lime juice - but we feel more comfortable cooking it first), chop up and then add chopped tomatoes, white onion, red onion, cilantro, more lime juice if needed, and a bit of clamato juice and salt. Scoop up with tortilla chips or salted crackers - so delicious! 

We heard about a hotel down the beach so we decided to take a walk and check it out. Wow! Absolutely fabulous place that used to be a private home which is now used as a hotel. The owner still spends time there when he is not in San Diego. It has several majestically tiled infinity pools, 18-hole golf course, tennis court, spas, numerous water activities, white sand beaches, and it even has a desalination plant.

The restaurant has an antique model train set-up that spans the entire upper area. Unfortunately, the train operator was away so we were not able to witness it in operation but we did go upstairs to check it all out. Great place to spend some holiday time if you want to get away from it all.

Check out their website at www.gransueno.com to see this luxurious place just down the road from where we have Sea Turtle anchored. Maybe you'll feel the need to visit here (Gran Sueno means Big Dream).

Time to move on...pulled anchor at 20:30 to head for La Paz. There hasn't been many places with grocery stores since San Diego so we definitely need to reprovision, plus do laundry and wash all the salt off Sea Turtle once again.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Muertos Cove

We haven't been doing too much at Los Frailes (Mexico) in the last couple of days but I did manage to finish sewing the new compass cover. And yesterday while Jordan was trolling in the bay, he saw 2 whales passing with 1 repeatedly breaching and flapping its large fin on the water. He called me on the VHF so I too was able to see them.

We walked a long distance to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a cold beer, but when we arrived, the restaurant/bar was cerrado (closed). We later found out that Dave of SV Mista Breeze did the same thing!

Winds finally calmed down and predictions sounded good so at 00:15 we pulled anchor. Seas were a bit choppy but much better than the first time we tried to leave here. We had wind on the nose for a bit, but again, not as strong as the first time we left Frailes to head north up the Sea of Cortez.

After motor-sailing all evening and morning, we pulled into Ensenada de los Muertos (N23°59.366' W109°49.693') at 13:00 and found a beautiful open-air restaurant/bar (meaning no doors or windows but covered by a thatched roof) right on the beach with friendly English-speaking staff.

Beach restaurant (once again, courtesy of SV Intrepid)

Too bad it's so difficult to reach the shore from a dinghy. There are 2 sets of extremely haphazard stone steps to shore that are tied by rope to the floating minimalistic dinghy wharf. One set of steps is missing most of the sharp jutting stones and the other set is built for giants! The entire area has no lights so you must be sure to bring a flashlight at night.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

So windy

We've been spending a lot of time with some fellow cruisers, SV Adios, who have shared a lot of boating tips and great recipes. They also informed us that occasionally at 09:00 a truck shows up with fresh produce to sell, which we all took advantage of.

Cool clouds of Los Frailes (courtesy of SV Intrepid)

The guys have been snorkelling (still too cold for me) and fishing and Jordan lucked out with first a small Sierra Mackerel and then another huge one that Adios cooked up for everyone to feast on on New Year's Eve. This is a very delicious tasting fish.

We decided to hand over our Little Pea Green Book. We chose the close-knit family on Adios as hosts to continue this Great Big Adventure. What is the Pea Green Book? To discover the adventures of Pea Green, see below:

Click here www.peagreenbook.blogspot.com or the blog link on the right side of this page entitled "the Little Pea Green Book". (Note that the link on right will also display snippets of new entries so you will know when that blog has been updated without having to open it to see if there is anything new.)

It has been very windy everyday here, making for wet dinghy rides and feeling boat bound, but it finally eased up today. So we decided to pull anchor from Los Frailes (Mexico) at 23:10, but after a couple of hours, heavy headwinds and seas turned us back as we were only making a couple of knots per hour.