Jake’s Blog July 2017

Hey Guys, Hows It Goin? Well, we have to renew our Mexico visas and to do that you have to leave the country and then come back. I have no idea why that,s the law, it doesn’t make much since but we still have to do it so we departed the great Mexican city of La Paz about two weeks ago to head north towards Puerto Panasco. That’s the closest Marina to the border where we have to leave the vessel and bus across to the states. My brother Jeremy, his wife, and his daughter are moving to Arizona soon and we hope to visit them while we’re in the US. Mostly I’m excited to see my niece Isabella since she was born shortly before we left on this journey so we only got to see her a tiny bit.

When we first left La Paz we revisited Ensenada Grande on the island and headed north from there to Los Candeleros, we did some snorkeling but there wasnt much there so we only stayed for a night to get some rest. We met Waponi Woo from La Paz at Bahia Chuenque where they delivered our freezer foot to us by water… literally, Ryan swam it to us. We all chuckled a bit as we watched him swim over with the foot in the air. From Chuenque we went to Loreto which was a medium sized city with lots of people. The fan for our fridge stopped working and that,s super important so we had to get a couple new ones to replace it and have an extra as well. I also purchased a new fishing lure at a local fishing store “Ferremar”. We stayed at Loreto for probably three or four days and took off. Our next destination was Caleta San Juanico. We read in the “Sea of Cortez” cruisers guide that there was a cruisers shrine at San Juanico where people hang there signs and creations showing they came to this bay at a certain time and we had to hang ours to. We carved in a little board our vessel, names, and the date. We all loaded into the dinghy and cruised over to the beach where Sarah lost her glasses… twice! Luckily we found them both times even if it took a trip to the boat and back to get masks. We left that bay after a few days and headed to Bahia Santa Domingo. We went to the rocky beaches and took a couple pictures but that was it there wasn’t much else to explore at that bay so we stayed for only two days before we got pretty bored. After Santa Domingo, we went to Bahia Concepcion, a very pretty bay that many different people from all over come to camp, fish, and swim at the beautiful beaches it offers, but unfortunately we didn’t stay very long. We got there late at night and left early the next morning to another popular vacation spot, Santa Rosalia. We had a wonderful time there, we met a nice man named Sal who spoke very good English and he invited us to a traditional Mexican birthday party for his uncle on Saturday, we couldn’t pass that up so we payed the Fonatur Marina for a week. The marina had WiFi connection so although it may have been a pretty bad connection, it was good enough for me to play Minecraft with some friends on an online server. When Saturday came along Saul told us he would pick us up from the parking lot to take us to the party at 3:00 so we went up there and we waited and waited for two hours just sitting there in the sun and he finally called and told us he wasn’t gonna be there to pick us up until 6:00. *Siiigghhhhh* So we headed back down to the Air Conditioned boat and waited longer. After a while we heard a knock on the boat and we knew it was him so we grabbed our stuff again and headed back up the dock and the steep ramp and hopped into his Volkswagen Beetle. It felt like a clown car as we all stuffed inside this tiny thing and drove off to his house and sat while slowly more and more of his family members drove in. They had a Pinata and really good food and the party went late into the night, it was a blast. Sadly, we had to leave the next morning so we untied the lines and pushed off. We motor sailed because there wasn’t much wind so we weren’t gonna get very far just sailing. I threw in my new lure and waited hoping to catch a fish, we haven’t caught anything for a while so I was eager to get something. Usually these passages are pretty boring, but this one wasn’t so bad because within 30 minutes we had a fish on the line. “Fiiish Ooooon”, as soon as I set the hook the fish jumped out of the water and I saw its blue and green colors. It was a Mahi Mahi, a species I hadn’t yet caught on this trip. I was so excited to get it on board and eat it for lunch, it fought very well for only being only five pounds or so which was perfect for our family, so we cleaned it and through it in the freezer to eat later. We still had room for more so I threw in the line again and only 20 minutes later there was another on the line, they liked that lure. This one was about three or four pounds more then the last one and Sarah fought this one, once she got it up close my dad and I took over, it was really heavy but we got it on board and cleaned that one as well. Now we’ve got alot of Mahi on board to eat.We arrived at Bahia De Los Angelas at night and the next day we ate some Mahi for lunch. It was delicious and I ate it with ceviche, a salsa like recipe for putting on different kinds of meat. It had been suggested to us by other fisherman and boaters several times and I can see why they suggested it. Bahia De Los Angelas is a small city and has plenty of tiendas to prevision, there’s two Pemex stations to get fuel which we had to do. The two fuel stations took quite a walk to get to so my mom and I walked there that evening with our cart to fill four jerry cans and haul back to the boat with the walker bay dinghy. It took a few hours but we got it done and came back with popsicles to suck on when we got back. Today we left Bahia De Los Angelas and we are now heading to the anchorage called Puerto Refugio to swim a bit and eat lunch. Hopefully we make it, but that’s all for now…
so until next time,
HABI HOBA:)

Sarah’s Blog July 2017

Hey everyone! After we left La Paz we headed to a bunch more anchorages up the west side of the Sea of Cortez. First we went to Los Candeleros and did a bit of snorkeling. Then we mosied on up to Bahia Chenque. There we found Waponi Woo and Ryan swam to us and gave us a freezer foot because ours broke. After that we swooped in to Loreto and we got ice cream and we tried those styrofoam chips that look like wheels. My dad got a part for the boat but I can’t remember what it was. There was a restaurant that we went to and we took a picture in front of the colorful Loreto sign. I was sneezing the whole time we were there so I think I’m allergic to Loreto. Shortly after that we set off for Caleta San Juanico and that was a fun place. We swam all the way to shore and there was a shrine tree and we put our plaque in the tree as well. Later we traveled to Bahia Conception and all we did there was catch some zzzzzs. We left the next day and made our way to Santa Rosalia which is actually a marina. The docks were really slim and the wifi was good and there was a pool and a nearby park. We stayed at Santa Rosalia for nine days and it was fun.
Once we left we went to another anchorage called Bahia De Los Angeles and got gas. We snorkeled at Puerto Refugio and that was fun. Then we left again to Bahia Wilard and just spent the night zzzz then left to go to Bahia San Felipe and that is a marina. That’s where we are right now and we haven’t done anything yet but its not a very good marina because it has bird poop everywhere and smells really bad. That’s all we’ve done so far so untill next time,
Habi Hoba
Sarah G Dayton

Diana’s Blog 06/17

 

Here we are in the later part of May and we have managed to stretch our week long splurge, of paying moorage at the Marina de LaPaz  to relax and celebrate our feeling of having “arrived” in the more calm inner waters of the Sea of Cortez free from the big waters of the Pacific Ocean, into a month long splurge in the name of getting some necessary boat projects accomplished and the fact that the cost of moorage per day is reduced significantly if you commit to staying for a month versus paying the daily rate.

We have decided to go out to the islands that lie just outside of the LaPaz Bay to do some exploring and spend the next three weeks finishing up school and then head back in to LaPaz for the WiFi connection to get the kids’ mandatory state testing done on the 7th of June, and to pick up a new 12 volt freezer that we purchased (that we imagine is going to add ice cream and ice into our already sweltering days and improve our attitudes greatly) that some friends are bringing back with them from a quick trip home to Washington for a few days.

We finished our brightwork boat projects, reloaded the boat with all of our “stuff”, moved a couple of stacks of materials for the next two boat projects to a nice little place that a couple, from the church we have been attending in LaPaz, let us use to store our materials until we get back, went to the grocery store and provisioned up for the next few weeks, and set off for an island adventure.

We started off on the Southeast side of Isla Espitiru Santo at Playa Bonanza for our first night. It was the longest sand beach on the islands but we never went to shore to walk it because the east side of the islands is the weather side for sure and the anchorage was very rough due to wind waves and sea state. The next morning, we decided to head up to the northern tip of the islands to find a more protected anchorage and to explore some “rocks” that are home to a very tame sea lion colony that loves to swim and play with snorkelers.

We  watched as snorkelers from some local tour boats swam with the sea lions but the kids decided that they would rather watch other people swim with the sea lions than swim with them themselves, and I do have to say that I secretly agreed with that choice. After watching for a bit we decided to find an anchorage and decide to dinghy out to the rocks if we wanted to visit the next day. So, we headed for Ensenada Grande.

Upon approaching Ensenada Grande we explored all three lobes of the bay and decided to settle in the southern most lobe which was home to a long term scuba tour camp with a row of tents, palapas for common areas and shower stalls made of bamboo like you would see on a survivor reward outing. We had a peaceful night in that bay and the next morning we went for a hike in the very desert like terrain and caught glimpses of the large California hare and listened to an animal symphony echoing back and forth across the canyon that we later discovered was chipmunks communicating with each other probably warning each other that we were coming.

The next day, we went snorkeling and were able to see some great coral reef areas with lots of colorful angel fish, some skinny starfish, trigger fish, sargent majors, blue tangs and wrasse. Darius was moved to go charge all of the underwater cameras and then the next day we snorkeledagain to get some video of the awesome reef areas. We also set a stern anchor to try to fly on the Spinnaker like a swing over the water, but the seas changed and we had to let the stern anchor out on a buoy and didn’t get to fly the sail after all, so we’ll try that again later.

After three days we decided to move over to the center lobe of the bay, to an unoccupied beach area, to have a beach fire and roast some hot dogs and beans.

We had a great beach fire and then another day of snorkeling and then settled in for the night, which came in with wind and heavy seas and set the dinghys to slamming into the side of the boat. Darius untied the hard dinghy and moved it to the side of the boat against the fenders and in the process the inflatable dinghy got caught in the fetch under the post of the windvane and the bolt sliced a hole in it and it immediately deflated and started to take on water so we had to quickly pull it on deck and try to manage to get it secured enough that the wind would not catch it and blow it back off.

We were sharing some choice thoughts and then decided that we truly were blessed when we found the hard dinghy in the ferry lane in the Puget Sound even though it has been more work to tow and stow that boat, it is now the only dinghy we have on board.  It won’t support our five horse motor but we can row it very well and it will never pop so we are considering the walker bay inflatable add on pontoons for more stability and then perhaps it will support the motor, or we will shop for another hard bottom inflatable dinghy (and put the rudder back on thewindvane so there is no way for anything to get stuck under it again).

The next anchorage we picked, El Cardoncito, was a tiny little cove that says there is enough roonm for two small boats to swing, but we anchored fairly close to shore in about ten feet of water with a catamaran out a bit farther than us and then we were followed in by a small sailboat who anchored closer to shore than we did and there was plenty of room for a power boat to join us in the deeper water the next morning. It is a long narrow cove that has steep rocky sides and great snorkeling along the walls.

We were all excited for another day of snorkeling except Sarah who was worried about the thought of one of the many puffer fish that we saw at the last snorkeling site possibly getting too close to her and getting scared and puffing into her like a porcupine with it’s  poisonous quills and who knows what would happen then? But, the rest of us convinced her that we had left the puffer fish behind at the lastanchorage and she braved through some more snorkeling, well masking because she is convinced she can swim faster without a snorkel and she doesn’t need it to breathe anyway because she can just stick her head out of the water and take a breath….so 10 years old.

Jake and Darius have been on some missions together, taking videos underwater, gathering firewood for beach fires at night and even a midnight fishing adventure when the boat was surrounded by a school of sea bass…small but biting none the less so, catch and Dad will release, because they might poke me with their spines, and a bit of cast netting as well.

As we have been exploring all of the coves and bays along the islands, we have been looking for the blue footed boobie, a small white bird with bright blue feet that uses these rock walls that have been eroded by wind and water to small honeycomb like rookeries. So far, we have seen sea gulls, turkey vultures, and some hawks, but the closest thing to a blue footed boobie we have seen was when a lady with blue fins snorkled by with her swimsuit top half off. We have two more weeks of school to finish and we are headed to anchor in El Mezteno, another small protected cove much like El Cardoncito but hopefully with more authentic blue footed boobies than we have come across so far.

We anchored close in at El Mezteno, snorkled a bit on both sides of the anchorage and spent a couple of nights and then decided to head further south to the northern lobe of the two lobed bay at Ensenada del Candelero. The winds had begun to change and the seas were coming at us from the south, which made for a pretty rough anchorage for a few nights.

The  kids swam to the middle of the bay to check the extent of the reef and reported back that there was not much to see. We headed for Ensenada de la Ballena by way of a circular route around Isla Ballena because we had been told that we could get cell service at that point. A couple of hours hunting down and waiting for poor connection and a few facebook video uploads and we got settled into the anchorage.

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Jake and I went ashore and found lots of fiddler crab holes and lit a small beach fire and then rowed back to the boat. We stayed here for two more nights and then moved on again to Ensenada La Gallina in search of calmer waters and more wind protection.

We found upon anchoring that we were immediately greeted by bees. Many many bees, so we dug out these cumbersome screen doors that we have been keeping safe for such a time as this and were then able to manage a couple of nights there before heading further on.

Next we headed for Bahia San Gabriel and explored that bay which houses an out of use pearl fishery. We made our way as close to shore as possible, which was still a very long ways out, and began to smell the ripe odor of guano and then noticed about fifty or more birds circling overhead and the flies that come along with the guano that come and fill the boat faster than we can swat them away with someone on flyswatter duty full time. We looked at the situation and decided to sail across the channel and stay in Puerto Balandra, where we have stayed peacefully in the past.

We anchored in Balandra along the northern shore and were able to row to the beach in the mornings to do some yoga and to row into the long head of the bay to get sodas. We swam and played for three nights and then decided to head to the next bay when we were kept awake by increasing seas at odds with the terrible wind.

Captain D. started the motor, Jake and I pulled the anchor and we headed straight into the wind at a whopping .8 knots of progress. We decided to skip the next anchorage because we judged it to be less protected from the seas than the following one and so headed on at our slow but steadily increasing pace.

We made our way into Bahia Falsa as the weather and seas were calming down and dropped our anchor as close to shore as possible because there is a palapa restaurant that had some burgers with our names on them, eventually.

We set, the anchor and checked out our swing and made the decision that we may just be too close to shore for our comfort for overnight, and so, pulled the anchor, moved out a bit further and reset the anchor. All happy now and the wind is gone and now we are hot again, but we haven’t been hot for a week, so hot is good.

The kids had two more days of school to finish up and so we worked toward graduation burgers on Thursday night.  We had a rough row to the beach on Thursday, as the current was going pretty strong across the bay, but we made it in, ate our awesome hamburgessa con papas and  then Darius muscle rowed us straight out and toward the southern shore and we made it safe and sound albeit a touch damp, exactly to the side of our boat for an excellent deboarding of the dinghy.

Bahia Falsa is the calmest anchorage we have been in for about a week, which isn’t saying much, so we are sticking it out until we run out of something so essential that we cant go on without it. (So far we have been able to use paper towels when we ran out of toilet paper,  Darius was able to talk the restaurant into selling us six large bottles of water, and we ate the foods that you would normally give to the mailman for their canned food drive, but we learned that we can make it 23 days on what we normally keep in the cupboards.) Thank God for Ritz crackers because the bread and tortillas have been gone for weeks. We are so looking forward to our new freezer when we get back.

Early Monday morning, as the end of school testing appointment is Tuesday, we will head into La Paz. We are looking forward to buying toilet paper, ice cream, and showering, in that order, a unanimous family decision with no objections. We are set to re-provision the boat, do some laundry, wash down the decks, and play with some kids that have recently let us know on a Facebook post that they have arrived in La Paz as well. We will be busy with some more boat projects, dinghy shopping and some intense summer reading until we set off again and see where the wind takes us next.

 

Diana

 

Baja Bash

 

Hola Amigos…

How’s my Spanish? Just thought that since we are now traveling through Mexico we should put a lot more effort into actually speaking the language. It seems that the cassette tape language lessons that we have been listening to must be at least slightly beneficial, we are still relying on pantomiming our conversations, which it takes all four of us to have with one poor unsuspecting Mexican person who may have inadvertently stopped and greeted us with “Hola, Como Esta?” We seem pretty able to communicate but it may be more due to their willingness to understand English than our abilities to speak Spanish, but I am thankful for those High School Spanish Classes oh so long ago.

We sailed to Bahia Tortuga or Turtle Bay from Ensenada by way of three anchorages for very short but much needed rest stops.The first stop we made was at Isla San Martin in the late morning for an 8 hour rest. We pulled in and were greeted by a man in a ponga who offered Darius a lobster in trade for a Cerveza and some Cake. We Don’t tend to have Cerveza on board as Neither of us are beer fans but clearly we should have reconsidered our choices at the last tienda. Darius promised the man two wine coolers and three Cervezas and some cake for 5 lobster. The man agreed and went to check his traps with the two wine coolers already in his boat and you won’t believe it but we never saw Raphael again…guess his catch wasn’t what he expected or he didn’t want the cake as much as he said he did. So, sans lobster, we headed off toward our next layover spot, Punta Baja.  

We arrived at Punta Baja at 12:30am, in dense fog, with a 5 knot current going against us. We were approaching land at no great pace and it took all of the power our engine had and more guts than we knew that our crew (me) had but Captain persistant pants got us close enough to shore to get past the long 40 foot deep bay and into a more reasonable 18 feet of water that allowed us to set our anchor with 7:1 scope, so 150 feet of heavy to retrieve in the morning chain. The hostile anchorage and sea state made for a rough rest and so we headed right out from that anchorage at 7 o’clock the next morning for a 125 mile passage across a huge bay to get to Isla Cerdos.

Shortly after sunrise the next morning we rounded the northern tip of Isla Cedros but had to travel down the east side of this long Island for about twenty miles to get to the anchorage. As we passed the first fishing village we were circled by a ponga with 5 men in it who had been out fishing and had a beautiful huge fish laying across one of the benches in the boat. As they approached us, we congratulated them on their catch but they told us it was just a small one. Then, in perfect English, the man in the bow asked if we had 5 cigarettes because they hadn’t had cigarettes on the island in many months. Captain generous pants tossed a pack of cigarettes to the men and they were so thankful that they kept telling them that we saved their lives…I’m not sure that they weren’t headed across that 125 mile bay to find cigarettes in their small ponga on their own when we came along.

I guess word travels fast and Mexican ponga fishermen are very friendly because we were circled and waved at by that and several other pongas all afternoon until we arrived at the anchorage and set our hooks and took a much needed nap in the peaceful lee of the island.  We slept and then headed out on our last leg of that passage arriving at Turtle Bay around 10 the next morning.

We pulled up to the town of Bahia Tortuga passed up several anchored cruising boats, fishing boats, and pongas to get as close to shore and the protected 12 foot anchorage as was possible and set our anchor just ahead of a tropical storm which settled in that evening and blew at 40+ miles per hour all night while Captain “Is That all You’ve Got” pants sat a storm watch in the cockpit overnight while our anchor held firm and others around us slipped back on theirs. It seems that Darius may not have been the only one watching over us that night.

We spent three weeks in Turtle Bay and got to experience all sorts of mexican culture from Carnival,to a circus, street tacos, buying boat parts from an auto parts store, and shopping for “crazy glue” in a town that sleeps in the  afternoon and comes to life at dark. We took a dinghy trip to the beach and had a GoSun cookout with the other boaters in the bay, mastered doing laundry in a bucket and hung it to dry all around the boat because we looked just like everyone else in the neighborhood and counted our blessings including having a water maker on board when the whole town ran out of water for “maybe 3 weeks or a month”. 

Finally the winds changed from 40+ to 0 and then to a more reasonable 15 and we decided it was time to once again head south and we set off for Bahia Magdalena or Mag Bay with 3 other boats. We all have different styles of boats with different sail configurations and we travel at different speeds but the wind was up and the waters were calm and it was time to head south. We were the third boat into the anchorage that we landed at in Mag Bay a full 8 hours behind the other two boats who settled into a different anchorage than we planned due to radio problems, engine problems, navigation issues, and trouble powering through stronger than expected currents.  The anchorage was very rough, wind and currents were pushing us hard offshore for two days and then the wind and seas settled and we were ready to start our last leg to Cabo San Lucas.  

 We pulled around the cape and headed into the harbor at Cabo San Lucas and we felt like we had finally made it. We  looked forward to real showers, doing laundry in machines, and Sarah could smell french fries for miles. The beaches were sandy, the water was warm, Jake saw huge fish jumping, and we were ready for some MaiTais on the beach. We pulled into the inner harbor and went into a marina for a few days to get our chores done, enjoy the city, get some delicious food and restock our groceries. We let captain sleepy pants and crew get some much needed rest and recovery from a lot of hard work that it took to get this far. After 4 days we went out to the anchorage in the outer harbor but that was rough so after two more nights, we headed off to round the east cape and head into the Sea of Cortez. 

Our first stop on the Leg to LaPaz was in Las Frailes, where we were able to dinghy out around the point and snorkel on a reef for a day and camp on the beach with a campfire for two days and really relax and enjoy our surroundings in a peaceful anchorage. Darius and I got to take some walks on the beach holding hands and to really enjoy having each other to share this amazing journey with. Sometimes God presents you with opportunities to really take a look at what you’ve got and really be thankful for your life and for the beauty around you and for each other, and this few days was that for us.

After feeling refreshed and renewed, we set off for the next leg with the intention to stop at nearly every anchorage we passed and enjoy a night or two and then head into LaPaz to resupply. After an overnight trip we were headed toward our first anchorage when Captain D saw a window to make it one anchorage further up because we would have to travel up a narrow channel with a strong current and if we continued on we would approach it early in the morning on an incoming tide with light winds in relatively calm seas… all signs said Go For It! So we did. It was still a very difficult leg as the wind picked up on our nose and the current against the boat’s top speed had us going at about 0.4 knots (a long trip at that speed) but the next morning we pulled into Puerto Balandra, which was the prettiest anchorage I have been in.

So, April is a pretty awesome month in our family because Darius and I both have birthdays and our anniversary is in April too. I picked Balandra to anchor in for my birthday and we celebrated by baking a cake and lasagna in the GoSun and playing at the beach which extended way out into the middle of the bay at two  to three feet of depth. A really huge sitting pool with palapas for shade that we found out were available to rent. From Balandra we ventured out on dinghy excursions to Playa Tecolote where we ran into stinging jellyfish that were so small we could barely see them in the water and scorching hot sun with only our picnic blanket and oars to make shade for ourselve, but an adventure it was.

Our next stop was in Caleta Lobos where we spent a couple of nights and found some amazing snorkeling on a small coral reef just inside an island that sits in the middle of the opening of the bay. Jake was a bit stressed that the miniature barnacles that were on the rocks we left the dinghy tied to were going to rub a hole in it and Sarah freaked out over the jumping sand crabs. Darius and I sucked it up and got them over their issues, literally, and we all enjoyed snorkeling over many beautifully colored fish and coral and we even saw some sea urchins and all kinds of colorful wormlike creatures. 

Next, we traveled a few more miles to Bahia Falsa and found a Palapa that sold cold water, margaritas and really good hamburgers, so we splurged, for four days in a row. Needless to say, it’s been a while since we had eaten burgers or those french fries that Sarah smelled a month ago heading into Cabo, but that she never found. We met an interesting fellow named Jose who is a waiter at the palapa restaurant who was raised in the US and we spent some time talking with him over a campfire on the beach in a pre-birthday celebration for Darius (Captain Birthday Pants likes beach fires almost 

as much as sunsets). We had lots of fun and even dinghied across the bay to explore an abandoned palapa restaurant building

that we were admiring from the beach for it’s interesting look. Then Darius’ actual birthday arrived so we baked brownies

in the GoSun and headed to LaPaz to hunt down some celebration ice cream.

We pulled into Marina de LaPaz on good Friday as the city is closed up and the beaches are filling up with locals heading to the beaches for Easter. We headed into town to find any source of ice cream which we learned there are actually two mexican words for,(Helado or Nieve) and after a short walk up the malecon we were successful! We spent the next few days getting groceries on board, getting our alternators (yes we broke three alternators) repaired, doing laundry, exploring some of the local breakfast restaurants (Darius always loves breakfast), and celebrating our anniversary (matrimonio). We have met some great new people along our travels and are set to spend a bit of time here to explore more mexican culture and share love life and adventure along the way. Hasta Amigos.

Onward to Mexico


Change is in the air as we travel from San Diego, our last US port to Ensenada, our first port in Mexico.  We were told that the crew must stay on the boat until the captain goes through the process of clearing customs, immigration, the port captain, the bank and the mexican insurance agent. We have been listeing to Spanish lessons during dinner for a couple of months now and let’s just say that immersion is definitely going to be a better method for Darius. With the forms that he had to fill out, which we were able to view online but were unable to translate, the kids and I thought our chances of ever seeing Mexican terra firma  were at best pretty slim.
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Upon arriving at the entrance to the harbor, we were attempting a radio call to the dock master for landing instructions and discovered that our newly enhanced cell plan that extends coverage to Mexico only allows us to receive calls but not to place them with the phone skills we currently possess. So in trying to figure out what VHF channel the marina monitors, we stumbled across a cruisers forum that gives weather, safety, and other necessary information (such as the name of a dentist in town who speaks English) and we interrupted the conversation  to introduce ourselves and get pointed in the right direction. We got docked and with all the necessary paperwork in hand Darius took off for the dock master’s office and the kids and I got busy doing school and cleaning up the boat. About 15 minutes later Al, our traveling buddy shows back up at the boat and says that Darius needs a picture of the serial number of the boat motor and that all of us had to do this first paperwork macarena. Remember, we sailed in the elements for 20 hours overnight, did some cleaning, made breakfast, worked on school lessons, took a picture of a dirty greasy motor that I had to crawl down into a hatch to access, and now I have to look respectable because the dock master’s clerks are going to lead this dance for us. Oh what a beautiful mess to be in. So speed hair and toothbrushing all around and we were off with an actual possibility of being allowed into the country.
We got lots of help, read lots of signs, talked to all variety of Mexican beaurocrats, paid $533.00 USD, and were welcomed into the country for 180 days. Woohoo! So we were returned to the dock, which is part of a hotel resort with swimming pools and all of the amenities.
FB_IMG_1487371415786We decided it was time to get some culture and venture into town for some authentic Mexican street tacos for dinner by way of city bus. It was an adventure finding the right bus to get back to the boat but we made it in time to take a swim and relax in the hot tubs.
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We spent the next day grocery shopping which was a test of my Spanish skills but it seems that I did alright. We have had tostadas, donas, fruit salad with pineapple, papaya, honey and lime, we made pico de gallo, bean and cheese sopas, and this morning we had to google the words on the package to figure out that we were having turkey chorizo with rice and fried eggs. No complaints about the food yet.
We adventured through another trip to the grocery store for water and some freshly baked tortillas, Darius tackled an auto parts store and a lumber/hardware store on his own and then met me at the pharmacy to purchase an inhaler. The pharmacist didn’t speak any English and after Darius’ cherades antomime she put her finger up and lead him to the binaca. One more game of “asthma” charades and $2.60 and we were out the door.
We did our repair on the boat and spent a second evening in the pool and then decided to stick around Ensenada instead of heading south because a storm front was moving in. Since our posh moorage didn’t agree with our not as posh budget, we headed over to an anchorage and set out two anchors with chain in series and checked the weather on the Internet to see that this storm is now moved to potentially a category 5.
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So, now we say our prayers and write our blogs and read our book and wait for this weather to pass and look forward to the next 3 weeks with nothing but sun in the forecast.
Diana

Diana’s Blog

Blog November 2016 -Diana

Well, it’s November already and we have had quite a journey so far. We are sitting on the boat at anchor in San Diego Bay and are taking in all of the beauty we are surrounded by, Sarah is appreciating the palm trees, I love to look at the lights of the cityscape at night, Jake is appreciating the sunshine in November, and Darius is enjoying the hunt for WiFi…like hunting for wabbits only different. We have had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together and for the most part that has been a wonderful thing. It is one of the many things that we have to be thankful for this thanksgiving season.
I have had an opportunity to shop for groceries in more than a few seaside ports along the way, finding some good bargains, some interesting new fruits and veggies, and I have taken many long walks hauling groceries in my wheeled cart which is a bit bulky for some of the streets with lots of traffic but no sidewalks which has been the case in many California towns.
In Eureka, we walked several times in our 5 weeks to Grocery Outlet which was a dinghy ride and then a mile walk or to target which was a 1.5-2 mile walk over a highway overpass bridge and then through a residential part of town. We were also blessed with rides for shopping trips on a few occasions by friends we were so luck to get to know.
In Bodega bay we walked around the head of the bay to a tiny little organic market which challenged our food budget with milk that cost $8.55 per gallon and had and interesting selection of “natural food items” but not so much in the way of staples. As we took a shortcut through a campground, Jake smelled the campfires and was stricken with a strong need to build our own campfire for smores roasting. So, we dropped off our groceries, found Darius and went off toward an equestrian trailhead park to find a firepit and build a fire. We played in the sand all afternoon and the kids found a bag of change…an afternoon of blessings of all sorts. We were also able to go explore the UC Davis Marine Research Lab and learn a lot about creatures being cared for off the California Coast, including the white abalone and at the conclusion of our tour, our kind tourguide asked about the kid’s homeschooling and our adventures and then blessed us with a ride back to the boat.
At Half Moon Bay we took a family walk…mostly because I accidentally heard Darius say “we walk, that’s what we do” to someone that he met on the dock. So, we walked…to Safeway…that google maps said was 3.7 miles away. It was a beautiful walk along an embarcadero that bordered the high bank surf beaches where Mavericks takes place and meandered through equestrian trails and camp grounds and beachfront streets. We did our shopping and decided to take a more direct route home, which lead us along a dark unlit highway with sidewalks that come and go without warning, which makes pulling the cart of groceries quite a feat. We had a few days to just sit on the beach and watch the kids fly kites and play in the water. Our first opportunity for Mai Tais on the beach…or bottled wine coolers because the travel better. If I had to pick a place to spend more time along the California Coast, Half Moon Bay would be the place. It was beautiful, the showers were long, hot, and free, and the weather was nice. Somehow, my fitbit says I walked 10.2 miles (Don’t tell Darius…He thought 3.7 mile was too far to walk and tried to talk the kids into hitchhiking, but he succumbed to their safer, more reasonable requests to just keep walking).
Our next port of call was Monterey, where we were blessed with wonderful weather, some opportunities for learning and exploring, and we met a great new friend and traveling buddy. We took a day to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While we were walking along the boardwalk to the aquarium, a city worker who was repairing a street sign, asked me if we were headed to the aquarium and when I said yes, he blessed us with three free tickets. Wow, thanks so much, what a blessing! We learned a lot that day, about fish, sharks that travel the same trip we are making, whale migration, and so much more! While we were in Monterey we also had a day to spend going through the museums and learning about the Native Californians, the Spanish explorers, the missions, the US Military actions that claimed the west coast for the US and the history of the fur traders and shipping along the west coast.
We took a long walk to provision in Monterey at Safeway. I knew it was quite a distance but I was not prepared to walk up the 18% grade…Which when he looked up at it, Jake said “Mom I think we can make it if we use our hands and our feet to clim it”. It was ominous but we were able to make it up the hill and back down again with a cartfull of groceries and no melons rolling down the hill racing us to the bottom or any other tragedies we predicted, thanks to Jake and Sarah pulling on the cart to keep it from running me over…teamwork!
Next stop was in Morro Bay. We enjoyed paddle boarders, kayakers, and dinghy drivers every morning and evening who stopped to chat on their way by. We took a couple of trips to Albertsons, for groceries and parts to repair Darius’ glasses, which was a nice mile or so walk, only slightly uphill, from our anchorage. We met many very interesting people, walked to town to buy the most delicious cinnamon rolls one morning and spent a few days enjoying that we had finally found summer weather with the kids swimming and kayaking and surfers all over the place because the surf was high while we were there.
Santa Barbara was our next port and that leg was a little rough as we managed to break many parts of out lovely little ship, from overheating the motor to breaking another part of the boom attachment component as well as the masthead pulley from which we fly our spinnaker. We had some fog, some rough weather, rougher water and many obstacles (oil platforms) to navigate around under sail, with no main due to the broken boom and the heavy weather (35+ knots of wind). We rounded point conception and then within five miles or so, in the darkness, we had no wind an no forward propulsion, but we did have a buddy boat. So, Darius commandeered the Iko Iko, put the captain down for a nap and towed our boat into the harbor entrance at Santa Barbara, where the kind gentlemen from the harbor patrol hip tied to tow us into a slip.
We took this opportunity to make our repairs, walk to 7-11 (because my crew works better fueled by slurpees) and to play on the beach. We restocked our supplies at an interesting little Mexican market that had a really nice meat selection and a meat cutter who’s English was limited. I requested 10 chicken breasts and I believe he packaged 10 lbs of chicken breasts. So, that week, we enjoyed really good chicken in four or five different preparations. We also had a chance to try a variety of Mexican pan (sweet breakfast breads). Adventures in cooking and shopping!
Next, we headed out on a leg to Newport Bay…Wow, what a place. It looks like a something between a Hollywood movie set and a Mediterranean seaport. It was so busy and cool and filled with people having fun on the water. We took a trip by dinghy and then an hour walk to a boaters used parts supermarket to try to find some more permanent part to fix our boom issue. We shopped until the store was closed, bought nothing, and decided that we could easily spend another day or two looking over their wares. But, moorage was expensive and the people in the mooring office were not friendly, so, off we go again, but not before the kids evaluated the beach a let us know that the sand was too chunky and not right for a sandy beach.
We made it into Mission Bay and registered with the port feeling like we had arrived at our first real destination point and were welcomed into port by the lifeguard office and told we could stay for free for 72 hours at which time we could secure a permanent slip, move on, or have the boat impounded. A little different welcome than we had envisioned. So, we went ashore, had lunch with Darius’ uncle JR, and then raced back to the boat because Penny and Rod Gunn rented a boat and came out to visit us. A much warmer welcome from our friends and family than the port authorities! We had fun talking and visiting and playing at the beach.
Jake and I decided to take a trip to the grocery store, Ralph’s this time, bu dinghying up to the head of the bay and then taking a half mile or so walk. We set off at about 3:00pm and made our way to the waters edge only to find that the tide was low, very muddy kind of low and the only dock belonged to a resort, but we decided to tie up and take the risk. We did our shopping, helped onto the right path by the Mexican resort gardener who helped us get through the gated part of the hotel storage yard and onto the main street. Jake was pressuring me all through the store about how long it was taking and then finally we were finished and on our way back, back through the yard and side gate of the resort, through the Hawaiian luau at the patio bar and out onto the dock to meet face to face with a locked gate between us and our dinghy as evening is approaching and daylight is dwindling. I had to go back through the maze and into the hotel lobby to ask them to open the dock gate. He was kind, but not negligent in his obligation to his duty of letting me know that it was private and the public was not welcome to tie up there. I apologized and he calloed a security person to let us through. When I got back through the maze to Jake and my cart of groceries, I was met by a security guard letting Jake and then myself know that the dock was private and not for public tie up. I apologized again and assured him that we would never tie to the dock again and he finally saw fit to open the gate. So, by now, it is truly dark and Jake is not happy about dinghying back up the entire length of the bay without proper lighting even though the bay has a five mile per hour speed limit and the water and weather were nice. We settled on using my phone flashlight as a stern light and he was much happier.
After three days, we headed out again for San Diego Bay. We were welcomed by the San Diego Harbor Police for a vessel inspection and we were invited to stay in the harbor at anchor for free for up to 90 days. So, here we are in sunny San Diego, not a calm as mission bay but we traded that for the amazing lights of the cityscape from the bay and an opportunity to rest and be thankful for where we have been, what we have been able to see and learn and the people we have met along the way. Oh what an adventure!20161111_165506

Jake’s Writings 11.21.16

Hey Guys, so now we are in San Diego bay and we are on the anchor next to Al and he has to go to work so he’ll be off the Iko Iko for a while.
On the way down I threw out a fishing line off his boat and I caught a few long skinny fish with teeth that I cannot identify and I also caught another bonita. We went to the farmers market to pick up a few veggies and dips and we went to seven eleven to grab some drinks. After that we explored the bay a little bit in our dinghys, that was fun. Al and I raced our dinghys and although he has a six horse power motor and we have a five, I still won because I’m lighter than him so I plane out better. Al took the day off to go get his vehicle so he can drive to his clients. Right now we are having electrical problems. The gauges aren’t working because something is going on with the alternator and the Perko switch so our engine isn’t charging the batteries. At least we didn’t come tmp_7749-20161106_141634-2100366989into this bay because the engine is broken and we have a while to fix it. That all the info on this bay I have right now. We will keep you updated on what’s coming up but, Until next time,
⚓HABI HOBA⚓

Sarah’s Writings 11.22.16

November 22, 2016
It’s about time we get anchored and save some money. It costs a lot of money to go to these marinas and a lot of stomach to stay out at sea. We went to Morro Bay anchorage and we were rafted to a friend we met in Monterey named Al. Jake got to help him get to Morro Bay with us because he was alone. Al is also traveling to San Diego.picture-1

We came to Santa Barbara and we played at the beach and got slurpees at seven eleven to put aside the fact that we broke our boat… Again (boom, moter, spinnaker pulley). We went to Newport and after that was Mission Bay, we didn’t do much in those places. Finally we are here in San Diego! It’s awesome here other than the anchorage is very wavey and it rains a lot. San Diego looks like Seattle with palm trees. We are right next to an air port and it’s really loud. We got our generator up and running so we can have electicity. That seems to be all that has happened so far.
⚓Habi Hoba⚓
Sarah G Dayton