Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cabo to La Paz

Outside a fish eatery at Marina
Cabo San Lucas
We now pick up the story on the 19th of April, as a trip was necessary to get diesel and gasoline at the fuel dock.  Took two trips in the dinghy  because we have only three diesel jugs and we wanted them filled twice.  The Honda 2hp outboard was acting up making both trips to the marina a bit dicey.  Then, after returning to Shakedown the second time, it decided to quit altogether.  Attempting to start it again resulted in pulling out the starting lanyard!  Removed the motor from the dinghy, mounted it back on it's storage bracket, pull it apart, rewound starter cord, bolted starter coil back on motor, put it back down on the dinghy, pulled on the it came again...time to give it a rest.

"I" say where we need to go...

Statue at entrance to a rock store

The "Dinghy Dock" where there was no room for an actual Dinghy!

One of the pubs along the Cabo Marina promenade

A country-themed restaurant near the launch ramp (steel horse
and rider)

Another sunset...happens every day, yes?

Apr 21: Today we went for a walk to Wal Mart.  It was laid out just like the one in downtown Ensenada.  Bought a new pair of shoes for the Captain, since the pair purchased some four months ago had the soles just about worn through.  Covered the sails finally as we had decide to stay until at least next Tuesday.  

Along the way to Wal Mart with "Land's End" in the distance.
If you look REALLY close, Shakedown's in there as well...

Wal Mart and small mall in over NJ's shoulder.

On the 22nd, the Princess Cruise Line's “Star Princess” pulled in and parked (anchored) nearby.  They started shuttling passengers off to the marina in a couple of their own launches, and a band of "water taxi's" came out from the marina to lend a hand.
Cruise liner pulling into the bay in the early morning

The crew of Shakedown overlooking Bahia Cabo San Lucas

And we thought all of these closed down....

More shops along the Marina promenade

We enjoyed a couple of craft beers in this place.  Animals
seem to be a staple out in front of various eateries/breweries

Marina is still recouperating from last year's hurricane "Odile" 

The food was great

The architecture was great

The seals were happy to get free meals from the swim step

We met and befriended Alexis Rodriquez "A-Rod", who
showed us around town and came along on our dinghy ride
to "Land's End"

On the morning of the 28th, it was anchor up at 0655 and we were underway from Cabo at 0700.  Arrived in Bahia Frailes at 1720, and anchor was set.  Was pretty breezy and a bit bouncy, but there was a nice view, sun went down, we ate and went to bed.  

The only photo we got of Cabo Los Frailes as we departed while
the sun was rising....
Apr 29th:  Anchor up at 0550 this morning.  Trying to get a head start so we arrive a bit earlier than we did here in Frailes yesterday.  Good thing we did leave an hour earlier because we spent the first two hours barely making 4 knots.  But as the day wore on, we steadily increased to 5.2 to 5.4 knots for a few hours, and we ended up arriving at Ensenada de los Muertos about an hour and twenty minutes earlier, with anchor being set at 1600.  Cleaned up a bit, had some refreshments on our lido deck, had dinner and a movie and hit the sack. Time for “Sleep of the Dead” tired.

Caught a fish on the way to Los Muertos but found out locals
don't eat it, but use it as shark bain (Red Bonito)

Pulling in to Ensenada de los Muertos


April 30th:  Had decided to stay for at least another day, so we got up, sun was shining, little fish were romping about next to the hull, the temperature was already 79 by 0700.  Paradise found?  Rowed dinghy to shore, dragged it up the beach past the high tide mark, met Scott, an Austrailian that had made Mexico his home and was camping on the beach with family and friends, and then walked the beach toward the south to where the “new” private development of Bahia de los Suentos.  Some very nice homes.  
Safely on the beach...Shakedown in background

Walking towards the Los Suenos development

Looking back towards the restaurant and Shakedown

Each of the homes had a pool at least this size...

Common grounds and meeting/BBQ spot

Taking it all in...

More of the Common Grounds

Walked the beach back past our dinghhy and to the restaurant at the north end of the cove (Ensenada).  We met a staff member, Ramon, who gave us a bit of a history lesson about the place, then we had lunch.  Great place to eat, and we told Ramon we'd be back tomorrow, since we decided to spend at least one more night.  As we finished lunch, noticed the wind kicking up a bit from the south east.  Didn't remember seeing that on our Grib files, but we went back to fetch the dinghy and row back to Shakedown.  It was a bit tricky, as the surf had begun to come in, but we got through it ok, and about 10 minutes later, were safely aboard.  The wind continued to rise, I checked the Grib files and found that indeed, the wind was scheduled from the east/south east at 10 knots or so.  By the time we were way past 16 knots rising to 18, the wind waves from the open Sea in front of us were kicking in fairly well.  Let out another 30 or so feet of anchor line for a bit more piece of mind.  We basically sat on the foredeck and watched the waves crash into our bow and lift it some 6-8 feet and drop us again.  It was 83, we were in swim suits, and NJ started complaining about getting cold (wind chill apparently a factor).  We finally got into the cockpit, which stopped the wind chill immediately, and we felt all of the the 83 degrees.  Around 1900, the wind had dropped down to 10-12 knots, and we were feeling more comfortable.  An hour later it was back below 5 knots.  The waves, however, which were spawned some 10 or 15 miles out towards the east, kept up their rhythmic pounding.  We watched two movies, and snacked for dinner (because of the huge amount of food we'd consumed at the restaurant), and went to bed. 

Entrance to restaurant.  They are trying to rename the place
to Bay of Dreams instead Cove of the Dead....

The launch ramp next to the restaurant

Nearing the restaurant entrance

Shakedown in the bay behind the cacti

The "view" from our table
We got our first swim in and the water was fantastic!

May 1st.  Was up on an off as the breeze shifted north and the wind waves were now hitting us broadside.  Up a couple more times during the course of the evening checking on anchorage.  Woke at 0700, got coffee on, started the laundry (now that boat was holding level, finally).  Late in the afternoon, the winds had died down sufficiently to row over to the restaurant and have a couple of brews and salsa & chips.  Talked a little bit more with Ramon, our server and “tour guide”.  Nancy rowed all the way back to Shakedown...what a feat of strength!  Got dinghy aboard and made ready to depart in the morning.

May 2nd.  Anchor up 0555, and heading out from our fine visit at Ensenada de los Muertos. Had a good motor sail through Cerravlo Channel, the .4 knot current pushing us along quite nicely.   At 1414, we crossed from Sea of Cortez into Bay of La Paz through a relatively small, and shallow (48 feet), San Lorenzo Channel.  We had decided to stop at Puerto Balandra for an overnight, as it looked so cozy and was just a couple of miles inside and south of the channel.  We arrived and dropped anchor among several other boats that wanted to tuck in behind a bight that could offer some protection against southerly winds. Turned off the engine, mounted the folding ladder in preparation for jumping into the water. Happened to check Iridium email and received message from our friends on s/v Nomad that they had stopped here as well, and the overnight blow had caused an eventual emergency evacuation by all boats because of the waves that had been generated  by the southwest blow.  So we took that as a fair warning, up came the ladder, started engine, and off we went towards La Paz.  

Approaching Bahia Balandra

Bahia Balandra...we'll come back another day...
Ten minutes into a two hour trek, the wind started kicking up.  20 minutes later, we had 25-28 knot winds on our starboard beam, to say nothing of the white caps covering the entire visible bay off to our right.  So, with the sun about an hour away from setting, we got to the new channel entrance conflaguration (which wasn't on our chart, by the way) and managed to barely miss grounding, then having found the correct buoy (#1), we then made our way into the harbor.  And even in the harbor, the wind waves were quite potent, to say nothing of the wind.  Then, when attempting to drop anchor, discovered the “temporary anchoring fix” made way back in Turtle Bay, and, of course, Mr. Murphy, made an already difficult situation, more so...

Heading into La Paz

Still heading into La Paz

La Paz shoreline (Malecon)

At anchor in Bahia La Paz

May 3rd:  Spent the morning blowing up the RIB and then by noon-thirty, had it hoisted up and over the side, added oars, fuel tank, and motor.  Started up right away (sigh of relief)! We decided to take a dinghy exploratory trip and check out the three marinas that lay just to the south of our anchorage.  While we were inside Marina La Paz, checking out the fuel dock, we met Brad walking down the dock and chatted with him about the area in general. Brad is from Seattle and owns an Island Packet, but we didn't get the name yet.  We then went around the backside of the fuel dock, and while slowly wandering amongst the slips, who should we see but our friends Robert and Margo working on their sailboat, Nomad!  A joyful rendezvous ensued and we got caught up since last seeing them as we headed out of Mag Bay heading to Cabo.  We then found the dinghy dock, took a short hike to the first Oxxo store (sort of like a 7-11), bought some necessities, and headed back to the marina and took the dinghy back to Shakedown to spend the last of the afternoon on the Lido Deck. We also found out that the SW winds (Coromuels) kicked up and played havoc with the boat and the anchorage.  We now know what the “La Paz Waltz” is.  The strong  NW tidal current flooding in vs. the 20 knot SW winds vying for control of your yacht.  Wow!  Took a photo of what our boat was doing for nearly 24 hours in relationship to the anchor.  Had dinner and a movie in lumpy seas and called it a night.
Photo of our "anchor watch" on the small chart plotter.  The
arrow at center is where our anchor is.  The little triangle near
the top is boat's position.  The lines are the track the boat travelled
during a 22 hour period....the La Paz Waltz
May 4th:  Took dinghy in to Marina La Paz dinghy dock and attended our first meeting of Club Cruceros 0930 Coffee Hour.  Met Robert & Margo (Nomad) there, and introduced ourselves to several members at the gathering, including Al, who has lived in La Paz for 12 years now and is good friends with Tom (Big Left Turn), and Bob Walker (s/v Cactus) who got us hooked up with the haul out facility next door (Alejandro, owner's Son) at Don Jose's boatyard.  He also later called Alejandro and asked if a slip was available and we got a positive response ($14.00/foot) and will be moving into it tomorrow at slack tide around 1100.  What a score for us!  We then took about a 1.5 mile hike to the Mega store (supermarket and general goods, similar in size to Wal Mart.  We will be going back again!  The store is contained in an outdoor mall which has a large movie theater (Cinemex), mall-type stores, restaurants, bank, and even a Blockbuster.  After returning to the dinghy dock, we piled our goodies in the dinghy, fired it up, took the short trip over to Nomad and picked up our laptop bag, which they had graciously offered to hold for us while we went shopping. Got back to shakedown and began fitting out the boat for docking tomorrow.  Required rummaging around in the lazarette to find dock lines, etc.  We are now ready for our 0900 meeting with Alejandro regarding haul out plans, and then go back and bring Shakedown to her new home for awhile.   
Around town

Beginning of 5th of February street

Our first super grocery store (Wal Mart type layout)

Haven't seen blue fish before

Octopus is a fairly popular food item here

Club Cruceros coffee hour

Cinco de Mayo!   Met briefly with Alejandro, and agreed that he needed to see the boat sometime after we brought it to our slip.  We sauntered over to Club Cruceros to chat with some folks and have coffee and cookies.  Then it was back to Shakedown, tied dinghy to aft end, started engine and began a slow drive over to Marina Don Jose to get to the slip at 1130.  Docking went perfectly, with a couple of guys from Don Jose's helping tend the lines. Got all snugged up, and spent the remainder of the day removing and folding head sails, washing down decks, cleaning anchor rhode, and hanging out to dry, hanging our shade canopy over foredeck, and so on and so forth.  Had dinner at the restaurant just across the street from Marina La Paz with Robert and Margo (Marlin rancheros stuffed pepper thing). Was great!

May 6th:  Got bicycles out of their bags today, did some minor maintenance to chains, then took a ride down the Malecon to Marina Palmira.  Met Tom Brown & Jeane Walker of La Paz Cruisers Supply (and s/v Eagle).  Stopped at a place called Tailhunter, which we will go back to because it's just fun to be there.  Robert and Margo (Nomad) dropped by to watch the sunset.

We think this is a pretty fun place to sit and enjoy the view

This photo is for Brother Vern!

The bar above the bar

In case you get lost...
We found another huge store with a layout like the Mega and Wal Mart.  The sell just about everything in these stores.  Eggs to car tires....

The other "mega store" within easy walking distance

LOTS of fruits and veggies in this one!

Each town we've visited along the Baja peninsula has had a prominent church building.  La Paz is no different.  This one happens to be on the street (5th of February) that we walked the length of and back to get some idea of what is around us.  We still have many more such walks to take.  

The church in La Paz
Nancy displays 14th Anniversary flowers
Yes, there is a Home Depot here as well....
We celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary on May 12th.  Flowers and dinner with our friends Robert and Margo (who left the next day to head north in the Sea of Cortez, haul their boat and visit family up north for a few months).   It just happened to be Tuesday, so we had the same meal (daily special) of Marlin stuffed pepper!   A few days later, went for a bike ride out of town to see if the big-box stores were within reasonable distance.  They were about 30 minutes out.  Stopped at Home Depot and picked up a few things.  There is also a Super Wal Mart, a Sam's Club, a Soriana (super-supermarket), a bowling alley, a Macy's-sized store called Liverpool and a number of smaller mall-sized stores loosely connected.

We plan to be here for awhile.  Because we've almost exhausted our 180-day visa, we're required to exit the country and re-enter for another 180-day visa.  Luckily, the boat has a 10-year visa, so we don't have to move it.  So we'll head up to Tijuana towards the end of the month, and make that happen.  When we return, we'll haul the boat out of the water here at Don Jose's Boatyard and get the hull scraped and painted, get some repairs made and build a new pulpit and fabricate new bow rollers after we are back in the water and tied up to our dock.  Many of the boaters here are heading for their homes up north during the summer.  Hurricane season has officially started in the Eastern Pacific as of the 15th of May. We've been informed by Mexican officials that they are forecasting 19 storms, 11 of which may be hurricanes of various strengths.  It's too early for us to plan what action, if any, we'll take as we get closer to "actual" hurricane season (most likely August/September/October)...

Meanwhile, we'll just enjoy the days as they come.  We've seen 92 degrees, but we've also seen 62 overnight degrees.  Mostly in the high 70's to low 80's.  But we've been here a mere two weeks as of today (the 16th) so there's little personal history to go by.  We'll continue to explore our new temporary home and post anything that's interesting...

Until next time....