April 3 - Up at 0500. Anchor up at 0615, and we're underway. Destination: Bahia Ascuncion, about 50 miles (est. 10 hours) south. An interesting start, to say the least, as we motored out of the bay and ran into some significant swells and tides contradicting each other, making for a washing machine effect. Got out into deeper water, and left most of that behind. Just as we were getting settled in, having just raised the staysail and halfway through raising the mizzen sail, we were approached by a fishing panga with three fishermen greeting us and holding up fish, asking if we wanted to get one. NJ jumped at the opportunity, so we had to stop the boat, drop mizzen sail onto the aft deck, get the fish across (as panga bumped into us) and then pass the 200 pesos ($13.95 for a 35 lb. yellow tail tuna) across on their next pass on our port beam.
|The Yellow Tail before butchering began|
April 4 - 0600 up and making coffee. The night wasn't as restful as expected. Had to wake up at midnight to ask NJ to shut off her reading light, take off her glasses, and stow away her kindle. After agreeing, she nodded back off to sleep. A second shaking and repeat of request finally got the job done. Checked on anchor, seemed ok. Got up at 0400 to check on anchor, ok. Got up at 0530, checked anchor, went back to bed, couldn't sleep, so got up to make coffee. Since we're spending the day here, a nap later on was in consideration. 1100: finished making 42 gallons of fresh water into tanks. Spent most of day in cockpit or below decks because the wind coming out of the west had picked up steam and blew a steady 15-20 starting around 1000. Took advantage of the time by bagging the fish NJ had labored over half the day yesterday, and put the pieces in Food Saver bags and jammed them into the freezer, which is now fully packed. Made some fish burgers for lunch and NJ had shashimi.
|NJ and Reed discuss "stuff"|
April 5 - 0705: Up to make coffee. Brought Honda Gen to foredeck to provide power for the Fein multi-tool, in this case, saw blade to make minor modification to the temporary pulpit to allow anchor stem shackle to come up normally instead of having to turn anchor by hand to squeez it through. Took generator back to aft deck. Started Honda gen to heat shower water. It was a COLD morning, 52F at 0705. Thought we were back in San Francisco Bay Area! Anyway, we decided to haul up the anchor and make our way to San Hipolito today. Anchor up at 1030, heading 124 degrees, zero wind. Raised the staysail. Motored all the way, averaging 4.5 knots and turned into Bahia San Hipalito around 1500 in 18 knot SW winds which had just picked up to that, and finally got anchor set at 1600, after dragging it for a bit because anchor rode got hung up as it jumped the bow roller and we just had 40 feet out in 27 foot depth. Finally got it unjammed, let out more scope, anchor grabbed and we were set. Although about 300 yards from where we had initially planned to anchor. By 2100, the wind turned from SW to North, just like someone turning on a switch. There was a 2 minute lull and then we were turned around facing North instead of SW. Watched the sun set, had a couple of Yellow Tail Tuna burgers (yum!), and a movie.
|Leaving Bahia Hipoloto behind...|
April 6 - 0645: Put coffee on. Temp outside is 62F (a bit better). N winds 14-18. Went up on deck to check wind speed, noticed a seagull all comfy on the foredeck and wet forward to politely ask him to go somewhere else. He flew off as I approached and then noticed he must have been the last one to leave the party last night...bird shit EVERYWHERE! Went aft and noticed that the party apparently had overflow seating there as well. Turned on our saltwater wash down pump and rinsed off as best as we could. Pulled anchor at 0820 and got underway with motor/stay sail up. At 0930, raised the mizzen sail. Not much wind but comfortable with the sails up (wind brakes). From 1045 to 1130, swapped out the CQR anchor with our Danforth. Seems most, if not all anchorages we've been to lately are sand bottoms. Danforth anchor should be better suited for this type of bottom. The CQR had dragged a bit previously, so the switch was made. 1325: dropped mizzen sail, as some fancy navigation was in store as we approached Punta Abreojos, and didn't need a flapping mizzen sail distracting us. Wind was now directly on our stern. We turned the corner around the point into Bahia De Ballenas (Bay of the Whale) and were pleasantly surprised to see two sailboats that we knew from Turtle Bay anchored there. S/v Orion, crewed by Jonah and Megan, as well as s/v Nomad, crewed by Robert and Margo. 1515: Anchor down. About 10 minutes later, we received a VHF call from Nomad, asking if we might be interested in a whale watching minutes later, Margo called and told us of the tour in the morning, as Nomad and Orion had made reservations to hire a panga out of the lagoon, some 12 miles SE of the anchorage, and they would be departing at 0600 for a 1030 rendezvous with the panga, and costing $60 U.S. per person. We looked into each others tired eyes and realized we would have to rise at 0430 to take our dinghy over to Nomad by 0545.
April 7 - 0420: Woke up before the 0430 alarms were to go off. Started warming coffee right away, as we had little time to drink it, get dressed, get the dinghy in the water, and a few hundred yards over to Nomad. It was a very rolly night and not much good sleep was had, but we managed to hop aboard Nomad at 0555, tied dinghy to back of the boat, and we were underway at the crack of dawn in company with s/v Orion. We arrived at the entrance to the lagoon about 1030, both boats anchored and all six of us were picked up by the panga and zoomed into the lagoon area (still about 3 miles away from where we anchored). Due to shoaling and swirling water, boats larger than pangas are strongly discouraged to enter this area. We found out why and we were traversing the backs of breaking waves as we headed to the whale calving area. What a treat this was! Nothing like getting really up close and personal with these behemoth mammals and watching the calves (babies) frolicking and showing off. Almost like going to a petting zoo, as the panga driver and Jonah were close enough to pet them. Of course millions of pictures were being taken and sharing should be fun. When our two hours were over, we headed back to where the sailboats were anchored, paid the panga driver, and climbed onto our respective vessels. Jonah and Meagan (Orion) were going to continue southwards from there, and the rest of us headed back to the anchorage, the last half of the trip being a some messy ride into 20 knot headwinds and chop, and crab pot float dodging. There was quite a wind blowing at the anchorage, as has been the case every afternoon for the past few days, and getting back into the dinghy and rowing over to Shakedown was a bit of a challenge. Robert had driven past Shakedown a ways, turned Nomad to give us some protection from the wind as we boarded the dingy in the chop, got the oars onboard, and pushed off. Was a bit tricky factoring in wind and wave speed and direction to row to end up at our boat. But it was done and we managed to get onboard, and tie the dinghy off at the back of the boat. Phwew! Checked our anchor monitor and noted that we had dragged some 450 feet during our absence, but the anchor had reset somewhere around an hour prior to our return. Decided to let out more scope, but after about 20 feet was pulled from the chain locker, ran into a snag down below, which necessitated a trip to the chain locker to untangle a small mess in there. Having accomplished that about 25 minutes later, back on deck, let out the remaining rode (total 250'), and are holding well. We are at 26' depth... We got a call from Nomad, letting us know they would be departing very early in the morning. We wished them luck and told them we would catch up sooner or later. Awhile later, we received another VHF call from Nomad letting us know they, also, were tired and would not be leaving in the morning. The wind and the rocking and rolling at this anchorage is not conducive to restful slumber. We had spaghetti and salad for dinner, watched a movie (through the bungee cord horizontal through mid screen to keep it in place during the rolls). The rolling slowed down a bit as we hit the sack.
|Pelicans are at home EVERYWHERE!|
April 8 - The rolling started around 0430 this morning once again. Got up, bound and determined that we were going to get out of here this morning...until I pulled up weather info and decided it might be worse “out there”, so we're in for another day here at anchor. We may be able to leave tomorrow evening around 1900. Will keep close eye on that opportunity. Honda Gen shut down. Assuming low oil level shut down, added more oil and poured ejector cleaner into gas tank to ensure injectors remained free of gunk. (The Gen had shut down due to electrical overload when watermaker was powered on (after nearly two hours)). Gen does not start. Diesel genset starts but provides no power. Water tanks so stirred up that water pump failed due to debris from bottom of water tanks clog up pump intake. Swapped out water pump with one that has inbound screen filter. Works for 10 minutes and fills up screen with “gravel”. Cleaned strainer three times now, and the junk keeps on coming. Cleaned it out enough to get load of laundry done. Had to hang laundry out to dry because we have no generator to run the dryer. Just another day of the cruising life.
April 9 - 0600 up for coffee, 60 degrees F. Brought dinghy on deck at 0700. Put 15 gallons diesel in starboard tank. Spare fuel tanks now empty. 0820: Anchor up! We are OUTTA HERE! Next stop is Bahia Santa Maria, some 140 miles away. 1900: 50 minutes to sunset. We have motor sailed 48.3 miles at 150 degrees. Started out grey and choppy mess. Average speed was 4 knots for the first 5 hours. All sails up with exception of Jib, which is still bundled up and tied up inside the temporary pulpit (and is full of bird shit). Sun finally came out at 1500. We'll see it set soon, and probably get more sunset photos as a bonus. About 95 miles to go to next anchorage.
|Getting ready for the ride in the dark|
|Underway in better than average weather|
|Approaching Bahia Santa Maria|
April 11 - 0800: Up to make coffee. 0955: anchor up. Heading to Mag Bay. Switched to a full port fuel tank, as starboard tank now has only 15 gallons remaining. A fun little trip, but had a not-so-fun episode running through the crab/shrimp pot minefield. Managed to miss all of them and then kick back and enjoy the sunshine and 15-18 knot following wind and seas. After negotiating the entrance to Magdalena Bay, which looks just like the entrance to San Francisco Bay, minus the GG Bridge, we had just crossed into the bay when we were greeted by 25 knot winds on our port beam. What a surprise. After recovering from the initial onslaught, we finally got on a heading generally towards our goal, and motor sailed about 40 degrees off the wind, giving us enough boost to make 4.5 knots, vs the 3.1 knots we were making head on. And all this time, we were convinced we could not sail this boat upwind? We finally made it to Man-O-War Cove, Puerto Magdalena and dropped the anchor at 1640. Again, tie things up, eat dinner and hit the sack.
|Coming into Santa Maria Bay|
|Just enjoying the day...|
|Eagle-Eye on point watching for crab/shrimp pot |
floats in this "mine field"
|Rounding entrance into Magdalena Bay|
|Puerto Bahia Magdalena (Man-O-War Cove)|
|Mag Bay anchorage|
April 12 - 0800: Finally got up after a crappy night, having arisen at 1230, 0210, 0330, 0515 and 0710 to check on status of boat as we went through our first serious thunder storm and huge winds and wind waves. Not comfortable, but anchor held just fine, and it provides some solace that switching anchors to the Danforth was the correct decision. We were in contact with crew of Nomad around 1000 and discussing potential days events. We agreed that until the wind dies down, currently 15-20 knots and rising, there would be no going ashore. Wind finally died to 10-15 knots around 1600. Sun was out all day, so solar panels were gulping it down. Had enough solar/wind going, were were able to run the water maker for an hour on battery/inverter power, producing 21 gallons. Began troubleshooting the diesel genset, and it didn't take long to find the likely culprit. The massive capacitor in the electrical connection “box” blew up. Have seen capacitors fail, but have never seen a capacitor actually blow a hole in it's side (and oozing capacitor blood) as well as blowing it's lid half off. Prepared and sent (via Iridium satellite) email and a couple of photos to manufacture's rep that sold us the new replacement alternator back in October while we were still in San Diego. Can't wait for their reaction....got dinghy ready and made haste in 10 knot winds to shore, only to find out the one store in this small fishing village, was closed. Probably due to it being Sunday. Stopped into the adjoining Restaurant, which had an Open sign posted, only to find a guy and probably his young son sitting on a sofa watching TV. I asked if “store open?”...got a “no”. Back to the boat, where NJ had been busy making bread. It came out of the oven smelling fantastic, and since there were two loaves, and we knew crew of Nomad had no bread left, rowed a loaf over to them, piping hot. Believe they were extremely pleased. We managed to eat almost half a loaf of bread while still warm. A little red wine topped it off! Had some more yellow tail tuna for dinner and it turned out to be too late for a movie, so we read a bit and went to bed.
|Mag Bay at its finest...s/v Nomad at calm rest|
April 13 - 0600: Up and at 'em. Coffee heating/brewing (we each have our own percolator because coffees are different “flavors”). The night was so calm, had to get up anyway to see if we had grounded or something. The town completely shuts down all lights. Only a flashing light at the Harbor Master's office indicates anything is even there. Had to check relative positions of our boat to Nomad and a ketch that was anchored here when we arrived, but didn't like lighting up his anchor light. Had to get spotlight from the locker, and shine it around to finally find his whereabouts. Having located him, was satisfied that everything was as it should be, went back to bed. Hopefully we'll be able to get into “town” and check in with the Harbor Master this morning. The ketch left the anchorage this morning, so it's just us and Nomad. We were hailed by Nomad crew, and Margo offered us a lift to shore in their dinghy. We gratefully accepted and about 1100, we were picked up, made the short run to shore, parking just beneath the Harbor Master's building, and made the short hike up the hill to check in. The place was locked up and no sign of life in the vicinity, so we walked down the hill towards “town”. Luckily, Margo spoke Spanish really well, so we had an easier time trying to figure out why the restaurant was closed, as well as the “grocery store”. Met a man by the name of Martin, who, after 15 minutes of discussion told us that the Harbor Master was in San Carlos, the grocery store is no more, and, for a price, he arranged a Panga trip for us to San Carlos to shop and buy more diesel. We went back to our respective boats and waited for the Panga to pick us up. About 1300, the Panga driver, Eduarto, pulled alongside of Shakedown, we loaded our three empty diesel jugs and empty canvas shopping bags into the Panga, hopped aboard and drove over to Nomad, where only Margo was to come on the trip. What a great ride we had as we spent the next 35 minutes skimming across the sometimes extremely shallow, clear water, finally arriving at San Carlos. We tied up to a small dock, Eduardo helped carry the diesel jugs, and we were met by Ricardo and his pickup truck with an empty Panga trailer hooked to the back. We drove to the other side of town, found out the fuel dock was closed for “lunch” and would reopen at 1400, so we drove to a small, but fairly well stocked, grocery store. We managed to get everything on our respective shopping lists, and even got some cash back at the check out stand. Hauled our goodies to the truck, and it was time to go back to the fuel station, which was now open, fill the diesel jugs, and head back to where Eduardo and his Panga were waiting. Loaded everything aboard, said fond farewells to Ricardo, who was really helpful, and were back to our boats by 1600. The panga trip cost 2,000 pesos for the entire trip and truck. Not bad at all. Two hours later, Robert and Margo joined us for spaghetti dinner aboard Shakedown. Margo had produced a short movie she'd shot at the whale watching lagoon, and we really enjoyed and made a copy to keep. After they departed it was lights out for us.
|Rounding the point into San Carlos|
|The San Carlos Panga Dock|
|Performing a Quality Control check on the diesel nozzle|
|And THIS nozel is for the big guys...|
|Hauling our goodies back in the Panga|
|Eduardo (driving) and Margo|
April 14 - 0630: Coffee and 61F. Just getting light outside. Haven't seen flat glassy calm like this since can't remember when. Had to take a photo just so we don't forget what is “should” be like. Had a fairly productive day getting the boat ready for the trip to Cabo. Finally got the Jib sail up and ready to be put to use. We've been looking at weather data and the forecast is light winds for the next several days, but we probably need to keep moving if we're ever going to get to La Paz. But we're enjoying Mag Bay's calm nights and sunny, even if breezy, days. We were visited by the Port Captain this morning about 0930. He had pulled along side in his Panga and apologetically asked if we were sleeping (or did he wake us up). Told him no, asked him to bring his pram around to our port side so he could use our boarding step to come aboard. He spoke zero English and we spoke zero+1 Spanish, but he came below with his ledger, we gave him a seat in NJ's lazy boy, he handed over the book so we could sign in to his log, gave him a cup of coffee, and did our best to communicate with him. As it happened, a laptop was powered on and a review of recent photos was being made when he came aboard. We used the photos to help us communicate with him, i.e., a photo of the crews of Shakedown and Nomad attempting to enter his Harbor Master building the previous day. He laughed and verified that he was indeed in San Carlos yesterday. But we also found out that he had visited Nomad yesterday via his Panga and checked them in, as Robert remained behind when we made our Panga trip to shop in San Carlos. Just prior to his departure, we gave him a bag of school supplies to give to the children of the small school in the fishing village here. He also got some anti-inflamatory cream because he was complaining of soreness in back of his neck and shoulders. He departed and made a beeline for Nomad. We later found out from Margo that he had breakfast with them, and that he had been describing his wife's condition, not his. Finished reviewing photos (for next blog). Some small, neglected, projects were completed and the Sayes Rig (self steering under sail) was made ready. Required some juggling of where to store stuff that had been strapped to aft railing, but it was done. The small sail was attached to the rig, and the paddle assembly is at the ready for when we do finally get underway. We were invited over to Nomad for pre-sunset pu-pu's and arrived on Robert and Margo's sailboat at 1700. Exchanged some photos, had snacks, a good chat, liquid refreshments (naturally) and headed back about 90 minutes later. We had a small dinner of leftover spaghetti and decided to fore-go the movie, read a little bit and were in bed by 2000 or so.
|Went to check in with the Port Captain...locked up and nobody home. |
He came alsong side of boat the following day to have us sign in.
What a nice guy!
|Looking down on Puerto Magdalena Bay|
|Shakedown and Nomad at anchor in Mag Bay|
|Osprey having breakfast|
|Construction materials for old whaling camp buildings|
|Defunct whaling building|
|Some old whale bones laying about...several piles in the village|
|The Port Captain told us the population numbers were much less.|
|The village restaurant....not open, even though the sign says it is....|
April 15 - The problem with going to bed a few hours early, one tends to wake up proportionately earlier. So wide eyed and bushy tailed, up at 0520 to put on the coffee, read a bit (finished an e-book that had been started in Turtle Bay), then updated the Ship's Log. Tightened “fan” belt on main engine. It felt a little loose and the RPM indicator needle in the cockpit gauge was bouncing up and down way too much as we entered Mag Bay. Started main engine to test gauge, and it was working perfectly. Set the RPM to 850 and started making electricity into the house batteries at 38Ah. As a sideline, our hot water was heating up for showers this morning, as we have an engine cooling water bypass that runs through the hot water heater, heating the water via the coils within the tank. An hour later, started water maker to make 21 gals (1 hour). We should be set for the rest of the day, if the sun ever peeks out from a totally overcast sky. We were picked up by Robert and Margo and headed for another beach landing. We walked along the shore, picking up a couple of really nice shells along the way. We stop and admired a new construction project that, as we found out (via Margo), that it was going to be a place for fishermen from Los Carlos to spend the night if they needed to, and also perhaps to rent out to tourists. The project appeared to have a ways to go, but looking good so far. On our return trip, we continued past the dinghy and found a Tienda (a little grocery shop) that met most of our immediate needs. Bought three leg quarters of local (free range) chicken, some cookies, carrots and bananas. Robert and Margo purchased a few items as well. We headed back to the boat and made ready for an agreed upon morning departure.
|Sunrise as we were departing Magdalena Bay|
(s/v Nomad driving into the Sun)
April 17 - 0001: 95.3 miles behind us, heading 120 degrees (magnetic). It is dark. No moon (won't rise until an hour before sunrise), no stars (overcast), just lots and lots of dark. Making 5 knots under power/sails. 0800: Have been underway for 26 hours now. Checked port fuel tank (using our low tech dipstick method) and determined we had sufficient fuel to continue to our destination. We have now travelled 134 miles, it is a gloomy, overcast morning and the seas are sloppy. Insomniacs should have a good time in these conditions because normal folks can't get much sleep, if any. 1100: Making water for an hour (21 gal). Sun starts peeking out around 1400. This is a good sign and the water is cobalt blue and pleasing to the eye. We finally round both Cabo (cape) Falso and Cabo San Lucas and drop anchor in Bahia San Lucas at 1645 in about 18 feet of water just off the beach of an enormous hotel...one of many. Lots of activity on the water here (as advertised in a guide book) mostly by the jet-skis zipping around the bay, some paddle boarders, pangas, tour boats, other pleasure craft. We set up our chairs on the foredeck to watch the show and have some beer. Looking forward to a comfortable, quiet sleep after this 176 mile leg of our journey.
|Cabo San Lucas in our grasp....finally.|
|Coming around the Cape|
|Time to anchor and rest|
|Our view from across the bay (Bahia San Lucas)|
April 18 - 0700 or so....a couple of wakes hit us this morning to shake us up and start the new day. Sun is out and view is great. We're looking forward to our first full day in Cabo San Lucas. Had some coffee and then proceeded to get “unbuckled” by dropping the dinghy, hauling out the two spare solar panels and laying them on foredeck (the normal mounting currently not available because of a scrunched up jib sail resting there), putting the Bimini back up just behind the dodger, providing shade to the cockpit, putting oars in the dinghy and mounting the 2hp outboard in it as well. We decided today would be a fact finding dinghy ride into the marina area to see where we could get fuel and provisions, and where to get rid of our collection of trash. We set off into the churning cauldron of water created by the aforementioned jet skis, “ride” boats, pangas, etc. Finally got into the busy marina and just kept looking around at all the “stuff” to see. Modern shops and a huge variety of tourist related boats and mega-yachts and normal yachts. There was still remnants of the hurricane that struck here last year as some of the docks had yet to be replaced/repaired. We stopped for lunch, having a pizza to share at Captain Tony's. Then we proceeded to find the dinghy dock, but could not. Finally parked the dinghy at the haul out area, walked to the Marina Office, which was closed, turned around and saw the sign for the Dinghy Dock right behind me. There were three “dinghies” parked there. A 18' pram marked as belonging to the Harbor Master, a 35' power boat, and a 40' catamaran(!), leaving zero room for a regular dinghy like ours. Found out later, when we stopped at the fuel dock and spoke with an attendant, that the catamaran was indeed a “dinghy” belonging the super-mega-yacht Attessa, which lay at anchor just outside of the harbor entrance. Go figure. We found out we could get diesel, gasoline, dump trash at the fuel dock, and that there was a docking fee for the service (20 pesos per visit by the dinghy). Oh well, it's Cabo. Everything is more expensive, according to the few locals we spoke with. Everybody at the marina complex seems to speak English to one degree or another, so practicing our Spanish is somewhat difficult, as everything we try to say in Spanish is responded to in English....got back to Shakedown around 1530. At 1600 we decided it was time for the “Lido Deck” and set up chairs on the foredeck and watched to comings and goings all around us. We were still full from lunch, so just had a couple of snacks and called in dinner. Around 1700, everything that floats seemed to be rounded up and towed to the marina for overnight storage. Many boats came out, filled with people, just before the sun went down, so we assumed they were all being booked as a Sunset Cruise, because they all scurried back into the marina as soon as it set. That was it for the first full day here.
We're now as far south on the Baja California peninsula as we can get. Looks like we may finally have some famous Baja weather....will let you know next time.....