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.

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.


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.

Thursday 7 January 2016

Ensenada Mexico

   We’ve been back on Cygnus here at Ensenada since January 2nd. The day we arrived it was sunny and 21 degrees C. The boat was in good shape other than a broken dock line. The folks at Baja Naval took great care of things. Since then the weather has deteriorated. We have had tremendous rain storms and so much surge that we have broken two more lines. Many of the folks tied at the dock have left to anchor out due to the surge and breaking of lines. The folks at Baja Naval have been very diligent in caring for the boats with absent owners. Kudos to them!

   We have had great fun learning to shop and get directions in Spanish. The locals are very patient and accommodating. We have found food to be very inexpensive, with delicious fruit and vegetables. Now if I  can just get Dave to eat them! No, seriously, we are both enjoying the wonderful food and beverages at a fraction of the cost of home. Examples are two avocados for 25 cents, a papaya for $1.00, four large chicken quarters  for about $1.00. When we left B.C., we saw broccoli for $4.50 a pound, here it is just over a dollar. Fish too is very inexpensive, although it is difficult to know what your buying if you don’t  know the language. For example, the best looking fish was called Pescado Angel. It turned out to be shark. It could be great but we weren’t  game to try it just yet. We settled for two nice halibut filets for about two dollars.

   Yesterday we went on a shopping trip and got caught in another deluge. The streets were literally rivers. It was impossible to cross without wading. It’s  obvious this type of weather is very unusual, since the storm drains are simply unable to accommodate rains such as this. We were completely soaked when we returned.

   Today, after another rockin’ an rollin’ night, we awoke to find a sailboat had sunk in the marina next door. Just it’s  mast was visible in the slip. Cygnus came through in good shape after sliding some heavy hose over the dock lines to help prevent chafing, however the afternoon brought bad luck. Some heavy surge came through and caused so much strain on the dock lines that it sheered off one of the samson posts. These are stout solid 2 3/8” by 4” posts that the bow dock lines attach to. They also stabilize the bowsprit. So, now we have a fairly large repair job on our hands which will delay our departure for a few days. Finding the proper wood and hardware here could be interesting in itself. Since we have no proper way of securing the bow to the dock, and are sick of breaking the boat, we have joined our friends on anchor. 
This isn’t  quite how we imagined our Mexican  portion of the trip beginning, however, it goes to support the saying “Cruising is doing boat maintenance and repairs in exotic locations”.
Sunken boat.