Friday, 2 December 2016

December 2nd 2016
    It has been many months since we wrote our last blog post. Back in March, things were looking bleak for Davie and sailing in the Sea of Cortez. However, after some excellent medical care by one of Washington’s top oncologists, we are back on Cygnus for a few weeks.
Cygnus in the travel lift ready to launch.
     We were delighted to find her in excellent condition under a fine coating of dust. It took a couple of days of work to ready her for launch. The only glitch we encountered during the launch was that the gear shift cable had jammed in the forward position and we shot out of the sling without delay to the surprise of all.
      Once we were settled on anchor off La Paz,  we took a few more days for minor repairs and provisioning. We had a nice visit with the Doctor who had originally attended to Dave in March. She was delighted to see how far Dave had progressed.
     About five days after our arrival we finally motored out of La Paz and headed for Caleta Lobos. A beautiful cove just a few hours out of La Paz. We set the hook well before sunset and enjoyed a relaxing evening with only two other neighbors. And a visiting sea turtle.

The next day we took the Kayaks to the beach and hiked to the top of the ridge where we were able to view a wonderful panorama including La Paz to the south and the island of Espiritu Santo to the north west.
The view of Espiritu Santo in the distance, from the ridge above Puerto Balandra

Tonight we are hunkered down in and unexpected 20 knot westerly blow. We took the opportunity to rest and work on the installation of our new solar panels.

Another beautiful Mexican sunset.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

La Paz -Mill Creek, WA - Olympia

It's been a long time since the last post on this blog, sorry. A lot has happened, but not much of it has involved sailing. After Cabo San Lucas I motored toward La Paz with stops at Los Muertos, Los Frailes, and Caleta Lobos. I snorkeled the coral reef and did a little hiking at Caleto Lobos and then proceeded into La Paz.
Cygnus anchored at Caleta Lobos
While at Caleta Lobos I started feeling distinctly ill and sought medical treatment in La Paz. It turns out nearly everyone in La Paz is either a cab driver or a medical professional (or at least that was my impression). After about two weeks of testing and diagnosis I had learned that medical care in Mexico is really outstanding, but Pancreatic cancer was a bit beyond their expertise. Pete rejoined me in La Paz and was a great help through a trying time. They recommended that I go to Mexico City for a biopsy but we decided to return to Seattle instead. We put Cygnus in the boatyard at Marina Fonatur and Pete prepped her for a long stay on the hard (I was very little help by this point).

I have had three surgeries (one in La Paz and two at Virginia Mason) and begun chemotherapy at Virginia Mason. With luck they will remove what remains of the tumor this fall after six months of chemotherapy. I am resuming my old job at Geology Division tomorrow. It is truly incredible that the same job was open again, and I feel very fortunate for the opportunity.

My brother Andy has given me his sailboat, a Corbin 39 named Tilikum. I am now a liveaboard again at Swantown Marina in Olympia. Things have come full circle in the past year. The sailing adventure will resume, a little, next winter when we return to La Paz and launch Cygnus for a few weeks vacation. Then she will resume her place on the hard. With lots of luck and some great medical care (both of which I appear to have in abundance) the bigger adventure may resume in a few more years.

Thanks to everyone to following this blog. Stay tuned for some great pix of our winter adventure at Isla Espiritu Santo next year.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Cabo San Lucas



The last week in Cabo San Lucas has been full of mixed feelings. When we arrived, we found a beautiful emerald green bay surrounded by wall to wall hotels and condos. It looked very much like a scene from somewhere in the Mediterranean. The sun was shining, and the water was warm. The bay was abuzz with fishing boats and pangas taking tourists hither and yon. We easily found a good anchorage in the bay, and were soon entertained by the extremely load music and announcements coming from the local hotels. This started around noon and carried on well into the night. In addition, party boats, pirate cruises, and water taxis buzzed by at all hours, turning the water into a washing machine of wake. Later we discovered that the swell coming from both the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez was wrapping around, combining, and making for some extremely uncomfortable conditions. 
Lands End
 The cost of staying at the marina proved to be outrageous at US$86 a night. We could have rented a hotel room for less than that. The price of fuel was over $3 a liter at the fuel dock, and word had it they charged $3 a foot just to tie up at the fuel dock! Purified water cost $.75 a gallon which is three times what we paid in Ensenada. Food in restaurants was very expensive also, however groceries were just slightly more than usual. There is no doubt that the economy here is driven by what the tourists are able to pay. It’s definitely not the sort of place that either Dave or I are comfortable with.
Our wallpaper many mornings

It was very handy to have a Walmart and Costco nearby, and Dave finally was able to replace the failing house bank of batteries with a set from Costco. We were also able to find some “real” beer at a local brew pub called Baja Brewing Company. They are located right in the marina, and I highly recommend the Peyote Pale Ale for those that enjoy some hops in their beer, somewhat expensive, but a wonderful treat after a month of Mexican brew. Apparently you can buy it in bottles somewhere near Walmart, but we were unable to locate the store.
New batteries ready to be installed.

The wildlife has been very entertaining also. The Pelicans don’t seem to bother fishing. They just mooch from the local sports fishermen, and you can almost walk up and touch them. A sea lion in the Marina kept us laughing by hitching rides on the sterns of boats as they entered and exited the harbor. In addition, a large school of herring took up residence under Cygnus’ hull for the duration of our visit.
It’s been a wonderful time since leaving Olympia in June of last year. Dave and I have had many great adventures. We have seen three beautiful countries, amazing scenery, great sailing, wonderful people, and great food, beer, wine, and margaritas! However, I think for now I have had my fill of the cruising life. As Dave is fond of saying, “It’s time for me to get back to my little garden”. I will leave Dave to carry on the adventure, and I wish him all the best. I do this with a heavy heart. I feel extremely bad about leaving Dave to sail alone. It’s not an easy task at times, but if anyone can do it, he can.
Now I’m finally on the plane that will take four and a half hours to fly over the countries that took us over seven months to visit by sailboat. It seems almost unbelievable. Granted, we did spend about six weeks of that time in Quesnel and the Seattle area.
This is my last post to this blog. I look forward to following the rest of Dave’s adventures along with the rest of you. I’m sure they will be most interesting, and in many ways I will wish I was there with him. I wish him all the best, with fair winds, sunny skies, and friendly seas!
Adios from Pete.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Bahia Magdalena and a few other places

Uh oh, it's been a bit too long since I put up a blog post. Bad Davie, no second Margarita until this post is published.

Pete and I left Turtle Bay at 0'dark thirty with light winds forecast for several days and about 50 miles to get to the nearest anchorage. We spent one night at Bahia Asuncion, then landed on the beach to get groceries and a nice lunch in the town. That afternoon the wind came up while we sailed to Bahia Hipolito. We spent 2 nights there, getting a few small projects done during the down day. We could not make the beach landing there because the surf was too high. Then it was on to Punta Abreohos (litterally 'open your eyes' because of some very hazardous rocks). We could not go ashore there either because of surf, and we could barely sleep with the boat pitching and rolling. So, with groceries a bit low, we set off for the 150 mile run to Bahia Santa Maria. I expected 2 nights on the ocean to cover this distance, but the wind came up from the NW at about 15 knots. This let us arrive late on the second day.
A good days fishing!

Tiny Tuna. Our First! VERY tasty!

 
 We beached the kayaks at B. Santa Maria despite the high surf because there were Mangroves ashore. Neither of us had seen Mangroves before, so we were determined to explore. After a fairly successful landing (no swimming), we discovered that they really do stink. Still, very cool to see so much vegetation in the desert. Launching the kayaks went well for Pete. I got a free swimming lesson when the surf rolled my kayak. Then I hurt my knee when I ran after my paddle and water bottle. Seems to be a torn meniscus, like I had a couple years ago. It's healing OK but takes quite a while. Pete climbed a nearby mountain the next day while I took Ibuprofin for the swelling.


Mangroves

Dave re-hanging the radar reflector.


Then it was time to motor on to Bahia Magdalena. 2 nights there and a few desparately needed groceries (not much of a store there, do not plan on getting much) helped. We had lunch at a restaurant on the beach. 2 pangas (small power boats) filled with whale-watching tourists beached and the restaurant filled to overflowing. Pete went back ashore later that afternoon and bought 3 lobsters from a local fisherman. We BBQ'd those for dinner and sailed off the next morning. It is another 150 mile run from B. Magdalena to Cabo San Lucas. This time it did take 2 nights of keeping watches on the ocean to get there. We motored in on Sunday Jan 31, set the hook, and stayed...
Lobstrosity killer!

Yum! Our first grilled lobsters.


More from sunny Cabo San Lucas in the next post.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

GPS tracklog for Cygnus through Cabo San Lucas Mexico

Click here to download and view Cygnus' track from Olympia, WA through Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In order to save power on the batteries it became necessary to turn off the GPS most of the time during the leg from Bahia Magdelena to Cabo San Lucas. The track here shows only the times it was on.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Turtle Bay

A Mississippi stern wheeler mysteriously appears!
The voyage from Ensanada to Turtle Bay, just shy of 300 nautical miles, took us only 3 days. The first 2 consisted of a variety of winds; NW in the afternoons and into the evenings, one morning of a brisk offshore breeze from the SE, and little to nothing at all in between. Still, we managed about 150 miles in the first 48 hours underway. The forecast before we left on Monday had called for a more serious wind to develop on Wednesday. It was correct. All afternoon Wednesday we watched the wind and the seas grow. Pretty soon we were going about 6 knots (hella fast in this boat) with roll, pitch, and yaw sufficient to prevent already tired sailors from sleeping much. From noon Wednesday to noon Thursday we sailed 132 miles! Later Thursday afternoon we sailed into Turtle Bay and set the anchor.
Yacht carrying ship at Ensanada



We slept about 12 hours that night, and on Friday morning went ashore to explore the town. On Saturday our friends Don and Heather aboard their Hans Christian 38, Buena Ventura arrived from Ensanada. Some other Washington State cruisers arrived Saturday and Sunday. One boat, Carumba, is from the same marina we left in June. It turns out that everyone arriving from Ensenada knows all about the boat with the broken Sampson post. We have been told that we are famous on the cruiser radio nets.

They're sure taking a long time with my cervesa!


San Bartolome (Turtle Bay)

Dave resting under the only tree for miles.

Cygnus almost in the surf zone!

Sunday we moved the boat to a part of the bay away from the town but at a very nice beach. Pete and I went ashore to do some amateur geological exploration of nearby landforms. After 4 years of working alongside some of Washington State’s best geologists I was on my own puzzling out the shales and basalts of the beautiful hills Pete and I climbed to the top of. Tim Walsh would surely still be elaborating on what we had seen if we had had him along. We explored ashore again this morning (Monday). This time we went to a mesa about a mile south of yesterday’s hill. There were an amazing number of seashells eroding out of the exposures all the way up the mesa. Fantastic desert landscapes we got to look over.

Now we are back in the town of Bahia Tortuga (Turtle Bay) and getting ready to travel further south.

Monday, 11 January 2016

On January 8th we spent the day shopping for wood and hardware for the repairs to Cynus’ samson posts. We bussed out to Home depot, but only found glue and epoxy there. Then we bussed back into town and went to a wonderful wood supply store named Zacatecanos that graciously cut us six pieces of clear 2 ¼” X 4” X 5’oak boards and then planed them to size. All for about $30. Such service is seldom seen north of the border, and is greatly appreciated! We hopped back on the bus and even though we had no idea if we were on the right bus, someone helped us out and we found our way home. The wonderful, helpful nature of these folks continue to amaze us.

Planing the oak planks.

    The next day was a busy one laminating boards and fitting the supports for the samson posts. After all was dry fitted, Dave gave everything a liberal coat of penetrating epoxy.
  Our friends Don and Heather of Buenaventura arrived in the evening from San Diego. They have sailed from Victoria, and we have run into them periodically on our way here. The next day we gave them a short tour of the marina area, and went for tacos and beers for lunch. Another coat of epoxy and we fell into bed.
Monday was a rushed day. We arranged for purified water to be delivered to the dock. (The water here is not drinkable. Even the locals don’t  drink it.) While we waited we took our laundry to the Lavamatica and asked them to wash and dry it for us. Then on to the chandler to pick up a new stainless bolt ($21!) for the samson posts. We then checked out with the Port Captain and went back to the boat for the final fitting of the posts. With that we were ready to leave.

The new samson posts already christened with Ensenada mud!

    We left the dock, and for some strange reason, I  forgot to get on board. After a fashion I  managed to make the leap and we motored over to Cruiseport Marina where we found no fuel dock, so we carried on to Marina Coral, fueled up and sailed out on fair winds.

Sunset over Islas Des Todos Santos.