Friday, September 18, 2015

Caleta Partida to Puerto Escondido

 8/13 Caleta Partida 
Hauled anchor at 1030 this morning to catch the ebb tide.  At 1040, we checked out with La Paz Port Captain, who offered “nice trip” for us.  At 1510, we arrived at our destination and dropped anchor.  This is a nice place and we anchored in 20 feet of crystal clear water.  Got into our swimming attire and jumped in.  It was a bit windy and there was some chop, but the water was refreshing.  Put on a dive mask and checked anchor chain and bottom of boat.  After swimming, we dried off a bit and then went for a ride in the dinghy.  Since it wasn't quite high tide yet, the shoal (shallow) water was even too shallow for the dinghy motor to pass through.  Once we started churning up sand, it was time to turn around and head back to the Shakedown.  We lounged around, had some spaghetti, and read while we waited for sunset.  After the sun was long set, it was dark enough to see more stars than seemed possible.  Nancy pointed out (in an otherwise crystal clear sky) that there were some wispy clouds up there blocking some stars.  After looking through our binoculars, she could make out the band of stars that are collectively known as the Milky Way!  Off to bed....

Spent the night in fairly calm weather.  Took the kayaks out for a ride this morning.  Winds kicked up from the East just as we were paddling back to Shakedown.  Good pretty choppy.  Spent rest of day reading and relaxing, eating dinner and getting some sleep.

Pulling in with Isla Partida to the left and
Isla Espiritu Santo to the right

We'll be anchoring just past the point on the left

At anchor looking East - desolate landscape

At anchor looking South at Isla Espiritus Santo

"Our Beach"

Sunrise between the two Islands
8/15 San Evaristo 
Was a bumpy night starting at 0330, and then hour by hour, had to get up to check status of boat.  Hauled anchor up at 0925 and headed out of the cove and turned north.  Originally had planned to overnight at Isla San Francisco, but when we got there, the swells from the overnight winds were still pouring in, and wind forecast called for the same tonight.  So we headed another 10 miles north into the San Jose channel, and anchored at San Evaristo, supposedly an all weather anchorage.  Was pleasantly surprised and after looking around and nudging the bottom (backing out quickly), we settled on dropping anchor in 18 feet of water at the southern side of the “circle” at 1500.

Had a really windy night from 0100 to sunrise this morning, with the wind dropping down over the mountains to our west.  We had about an hour's worth of calm, then the wind shifted 180 degrees and started howling for the entire day, letting up just before sunset so we could dinghy to the beach and have dinner at Lupe Sierra's & Maggie Mae restaurant. The food was decent and the ambience was nice.  They even gave us a shell and some paint so we could paint our boat/crew names and date of visit.  They would then add it to the collection on the tree outside the restaurant.  Got back to Shakedown just in time to see the wind shift back 180 degrees and start the westerlies again.  Watched a movie.

The Happy Dink enjoying the ride

Approaching San Evaristo

Laying at anchor in the bay

Restaurant entrance

Visitor's tree

The restaurant

View from the restaurant.

Our young friend Fernando doing a show and tell for us

Shakedown at anchor

Batten down the hatches, here come the westelies
8/17 Bahia Aqua Verde
Anchor up at 0855.  Cleared shoal waters and got into San Jose channel to stop and secure anchor and secure dinghy motor for towing.  Another rotten night in Evaristo, checking and rechecking anchorage, as we had consistent 25-30 knot winds from the west (over the mountains) gusting to 35 knots.  Although we thoroughly enjoyed our limited time ashore, we decided that we didn't want to spend another day and night in those conditions.  We arrived some nine hours later at Bahia Aqua Verde, dropped anchor in 17 feet of water at 1800.  It was a real pleasant wind, no waves....lots of protection from both.  By the time the sun had set, there were two catamarans, two power boats, and a large (70') cruiser in the bay.

Passing Nopolo fishing village - water access only
The Sierra Gigantia mountains, Baja California Sur on our port side
Entering Bahia Aqua Verde (Green Water)

The "Isthmus" beach

Looking east from our anchorage

By 1000 this morning, we find ourselves alone in the Bay, although there are pangas about, most of them had already gone out to fish for the day.  The only other human is a person apparently living in a small house on the beach near our anchorage. Spent the morning backing up computer files that (I hate to say) have not been backed up in almost a year or sometimes more!   Nancy got brave and swam with just her undies on.  We took a leisurely dinghy ride around the inner part of the bay and even got some video.  We then beached the dinghy near the man's cabin and walked over to the other side of the isthmus to take a look at what's still north of us out in the Sea of Cortez.  Then Nancy went shell hunting and Hal took a hike up a dirt road to get a bird's eye view of the anchorage. Got some footage and a great view of Shakedown nestled comfortably in green (Verde) waters.  Got back to the boat, watched a small power cruiser come into the bay to anchor, did some reading, ate dinner, watched a movie, and hit the sack.

Sunrise in paradise

"Our Beach"

The power boat was gone by the time we got up this morning around 0700.  Water looked inviting and we planned on a swim at our earliest convenience.  Stopped to swim and have lunch, Nancy having tried out her new fins, snorkel and mask for fit and function.  

Spent the entire day doing nothing but relaxing and reading and swimming.

Today we took the dinghy to the small beach (Isthmus), tied up, and put on our walking shoes.  We headed up the steep hill on the dirt road trail to see if we could find the village from the back side (instead of just driving the dinghy over to it).  Decided we needed the exercise and went for it.  The walk was not too difficult up and down hills, but the sun was doing its work and heating the place up.  We did manage to find the village.  It was fairly spread out and sparse.  There was the church and a school.  We saw a sign on a barb wire fence stating there was a restaurant somewhere nearby, although we never found it.  We were looking for the Tienda (small store) to buy something to drink because we had failed to bring any along.  We finally saw a little girl and hollered to her "Tienda por favor".  She apparently understood what we were trying to say, and we headed her way as her older sister was also making her way after coming out from the house.  We were informed that the little girl, who we now know is six years old and named Jessie, would take us to the Tienda. Of course we were thrilled and followed her (and her little umbrella) "over the hill and through the woods" until we arrived at the Tienda.  We purchased three bottles of soda, one for our guide, and headed back to where we started so we could follow the road out of the village and back the way we came.  But just before we got back, Jessie wanted to show us the goats that (apparently) her family owned.  The sun bore down on us some more, making the trek back a chore.  There was no shade to cool down, so we clogged along and finally made it over the last ridge and down to the beach.  Back to the boat, had a swim, cooled off. Decided we should probably leave the next day.  

Starting "the hike" in good spirits

The trail continues

Nearing the top of first hill

The view is breath taking

"The Sea" in the background

The Village is in sight....finally

The Church

Some of the goats

Jessie approaching goat gate

This one knows how to pose for a glamour shoot

Our guide Jessie

Heading back to "our beach"

We're back to our little slice of Paradise
 8/22 Honeymoon Cove, Danzante Island
Underway at 1130 this morning.  Dropped anchor at 1550 at the south anchorage of Honeymoon Cove.  It was a pleasant journey on a sunny day with a bit of following breeze. Electronic Chart is getting less and less detail, so the two cruising guides we are carrying are helping tremendously in filling in the details of various places and associated landmarks.

What a wonderful place.  Lots of swimming, some seashell hunting on the beach, and without warning, Eric & Pati on Shearwater pulled up.  They were on their way to a small party in Honeymoon Cove, having sailed over from Puerto Escondido (about 3 miles due west).  We joined them a little bit later where they had anchored at one of the northern anchorages of the cove.  The dinghy motor was acting strangely necessitating making the journey slowly.  But we finally arrived and got to meet a bunch of folks who'd come over with Shearwater to spend an afternoon having a picnic and a swim.  The party had to break up as it was getting late.  Shearwater headed back to Puerto Escondido, and we limped back to Shakedown in our dinghy, wondering how long before it wouldn't work at all.  Since we were full from the party, we skipped dinner, did some reading and went to bed.

Our new anchorage

Peeking around the corner towards Puerto Escondido
and the mountains behind

"Our (new) Beach"

NJ snorkeling near the reef
We had read in our cruising guides about different weather patterns at different time of the year for this area.  One of them (Mr. Chubasco, obviously a close cousin of Mr. Murphy) chose to visit us in the middle of the night...."A chubasco is a violent, but short-lived squal, usually accompanied by thunder, lightning, rain, and strong winds.  Chubascos are a summer time convection storm that can hit at any time from the late afternoon to early morning."....  We think it was around 0100 when the boat started acting funny and it was time to check the anchor.  Since we had anchored fairly close to shore in around 15 feet of water, it was wise to check that it was still doing what it was meant to do...hold the boat where we wanted it.  A quick look at our "anchor watch" setting on the GPS showed that the boat was not where it was supposed to be.  It was pitch dark outside, the wind had come up and was blowing fairly brisk from the North.  We had anchored in this spot because all forecasts had shown winds from the south, and we'd be protected should something like this occur.  The motor was immediately started, the spotlight pulled out, and a quick look around showed that the water level had dropped several feet and we were uncomfortably close to the little reef that was now looking like dangerous rocks close on our port beam.  The now activated depth gage was showing two feet of water below the keel, then zero feet!  We put the boat in gear and pointed north, started heading out into deeper water.  Then the fury of the Chubasco finally pounded down on us, almost turning the boat 180 degrees and trying to drive us into the beach, lightening, thunder and rain (as advertised).  We were having a difficult time getting our bearings to figure out which way we need to go.  The anchor GPS was a bit of help, but the spotlight no longer was, as the batteries had gone down enough so to render it useless in heavy downpour.  Thank goodness there was lightning, as it was the only time we could get a fix on where we were and which way we now needed to go.  We were even in reverse for a number of minutes, backing away from the beach.  And all this time, the anchor was still out there somewhere underneath us, or perhaps front, left, right or behind.  We finally got some traction and found ourselves pulling into deeper water and making enough headway for the compass to give us an idea which direction we were going.  We were now in about 135 feet of water heading in a northerly direction, with 90 feet of anchor chain and anchor hanging below us.  The waves kicked up by the Chubasco were now very uncomfortable, somewhere in the neighborhood of steep 8 footers, but we had to stop the boat to haul in the anchor.   Anchor up at 0255!  The Chubasco was finally backing off somewhat and finally petered out about 0315 or so.  What a storm!.......We spent the rest of the night/morning just heading north into the waves, at enough speed to keep steerage.  About 2 hours later, we turned around and headed back south at slow speed to arrive at the entrance to Puerto Escondido at sunrise.  By 0700, with seas now down to 2 feet and the sun beginning to rise, we were outside Puerto Escondido, somewhat exhausted (ya think?). We took some time to straighten up the boat and slowly made our way into the harbor. 

Three miles to Puerto Escondido 
Arrived Puerto Escondido and hooked onto a mooring ball (next to Shearwater) in the inner harbor at 0900.  Time to rest......

Friday, September 11, 2015

Adios La Paz - II

On the Malecon looking out an Ensenada de La Paz
Well, it looks like this post is finally going to get off the ground.  We've had intermittent wi-fi for awhile, but other things got in the way of sitting down and publishing this.  It's a bit long, but we're getting slowly back on track.
Picking up from where we left off in mid-May....

Repaired Ice Machine (replaced shaft pin with a length of drill bit), repaired Maytag washer (Had to order replacement wiring harness from control panel down to the motor.  The existing one decided to melt and smoke and cause the machine to stop working altogether.), got a new chain installed at the local bicycle shop on NJ's bike.  Norpro (main generator) finally works again after receipt and replacement of blown capacitor.

Washing machine electrical harness to motor....ugly!
Took a few bicycle rides around town down by the Malecon and out along the shore of the Ensenada La Paz.  Joined Tuesday Dart Nite at La Costa restaurant (a bunch of cruisers trying to hit the side of a barn door with a medicum of success).

City map to help us get around
Scene out of some futuristic movie?  "We'll take over
if you don't give us fish scraps!"

This is the guy they're waiting for...we actually saw him
get attacked by one of the Pelicans.  He was none too

The Malecon looking south

The trash and recycle cans along the Malecon

Malecon looking south

The Malecon looking north

The new Whale Museum (wasn't open yet)

Blue Whale bone outside museum

Stopping for lunch along the Malecon
Had a surprise fuel issue. It seems, that during fillup of diesel and gasoline jugs in Cabo San Lucas,  the attendant filled the Gas jug with diesel fuel.  Didn't know it until had to fill all three outboards and the portable genset with fuel....bad thing.  Luckily, Jimmy (s/v Sea Otter), being the recognized local guru of everything small motors, cleaned and serviced all of them.  

At the end of May, we flew to Tijuana, walked across the border, were picked up by brother Vern and stayed at his place a couple of days, got dropped off and walked back across the border, caught a cab to Tijuana airport, got our new 180 day visas and flew back to La Paz the last day of May.  

Bought new primary anchor (Lewmar Bruce-style claw 66 lbs.)

It's amazing what you can find if you look hard enough.  Managed to find an replacement ball valve to swap out for a faulty one in the fresh water system.  

Hurricane Blanca, the second of the season, made an idle threat to the Baja Peninsula on June 7th, and due to last year's damaging Hurricane Odile, had everybody making a great deal of preparations for it's imminent attack.  Turns out, the worst we (in La Paz) saw was a couple of wind gusts in the high 30 knot range.  

After the storm
NJ visits dentist several times to get tooth repaired.  

Visited El Cayouga restaurant a number of times because they had really good food, entertainment, and it was a very short walk from the marinas.

Fantastic one-man rock-n-roll show!

Patio dining at El Cayougo

NJ and Richard share a "funny"

Hal's new favorite drink....clamato-n-beer

Pati & Eric (Shearwater crew) cutting a rug

On the 12th of June, we hauled out to refresh the bottom paint.  We found out we could remain onboard during the haulout, but one look at the onboard temperature gauge caused us to get to the Bed & Breakfast, Casabuena, and move in there for the duration of the boat repair work.  

After six years between haulouts, the bottom didn't
look as bad as one might expect...

Moving Shakedown to its designated spot

And this was before it got warmer!
Casabuena court yard and swimming pool.  Our room
is just to the left of the far end of the pool
 The owners, Milton & Su Su were simply superb hosts and a wealth of local knowledge. We were really luck to have met them.  We are, however, still awaiting Milt's call to let us know the newly designed t-shirts are ready.....
Our air conditioned room awaits us!

The communal kitchen and "living room"

A nice place to relax after a swim
While we were at Casabuena, we were wandering around to find a place to eat dinner.  We were really in for a treat when we found a Pizza place called El Mural.  It was clean and the family-owned business, which had just celebrated one year since opening.  They had just the best pizza and salads that we've tasted in a long long time.   Had pizza nite with Shearwater crew a few days later, and then later with John & Linda Botts.  

During the haulout, we attended a Cruisers Party on Magote (Summer Sailstice).  We got the dinghy up on the beach and ran right into Michael Rossi (s/v Lunacy) whom we'd gotten to know up in Richmond, CA.  Turns out he was the one putting on the party.  We caught up a little and promised to run into each other another day out there on the waters.

The main items we ended up tackling during our haulout was removing all the bottom paint down to the wood planks, smoothing hull and painting it with three coats of primer and two coats of bottom paint.  We removed a couple of layers of chewed up keelbord (worm board) and replaced with new ones.  Friend Eric (Shearwater) and Hal spent a couple of weeks removing old pulpit and designing, fabricating a new one.  Mizzen sail slides were all replaced because a couple of them had broken off during the trip from Mag Bay to Cabo San Lucas.  On the 1st of July, the boat was plunked back into the water, leak checked (ok) and we headed back to our slip in the Marina Don Jose.  We had spent 18 days and $8,600 to get this work done, and we think it was well worth the time and expense.  The Abaroa family (who own & manage the marina and two boat yards adjacent to each other) did a great job! 

At rest for the next 18 days

Getting all the old stuff off

Mock up of new bow roller (by Eric)

Re-fastened portions of the bow that was damaged in our
San Carlos wind storm back in April

"Our Carpenter" who was always in good spirits and did a
great job on our repair projects.

Old keelboard chunks being removed

First layer of primer paint

Eric sizing up the pulpit "knees"

Test fitting of some of the pulpit boards on the knees

New keelboard being added

Pulpit taking on shape

Had to lift Shakedown twice to move keel blocks to make
room for new keelboard

Eric and his creation

Keelboard is finally in place

First layer of bottom paint 

Primer is on and we're ready to "splash"

Time to get back into the environment where this boat belongs!
Had to finish the pulpit at the slip.  The newly fabricated bow roller was delivered on the 4th. It didn't fit right so had to go back.  It returned on the 6th, and the pulpit was finally completed on the 7th.

Ernesto (the welder), Eric, and Hal getting the stainless bow
roller knocked down into place between the "knees"

The New Pulpit!
Marlin on the hoof!  We were luck enough to catch up with one of our neighboring boats just after he tied up to his slip.  There in the back was a 450 pound Marlin awaiting skinning, chopping, and distributing of meat.  We were lucky enough to be handed two 5-lb. slabs of the white meat (towards tail end of fish).  Lots of shashimi and marlin steaks.  

A mighty big fish

Greatful recipients

On the 12th, we went to "Cap'n Kaliroy Keith's" (Richard Radcliffe's) place to watch Wimbeldon mens final on his TV.  We met a few new folks, including his wife, Josephina, and the next door neighbors, John & Linda Botts.  Got the bug and joined Keith's Mon/Wed/Fri morning tennis doubles sessions.  Even talked Eric & Pati into joining and we all had a lot of fun in the ensuing Mon, Wed, Fri sessions.  

Watching a double's match

Kaliroy Keith in rare good form!

John & Linda Botts at La Mural Pizzaria
John & Linda brought Nancy and Pati along to Cabo to make a Costo run to load provisions on Shearwater and Shakedown.

We celebrated Pati's B'day with dinner at Bandidos Restaurant right behind the marina/boat yard.  Although the food was less tasty than we had hoped for, we had a good night and Pati got to wear "The Hat"!  

Eric, Pati & Hal

Nancy, Pati & Eric
Shearwater departed on August 3rd.  We took our dinghy out to say goodbye.  We helped them get their anchor untangled from an abandoned mooring line.  We told them we would catch up to them in a couple of weeks if we got our long awaited for mail and some spare parts.  

Shearwater, with Eric & Pati onboard pulling out of La Paz
We continued on for the next couple of week with tennis (and tennis lessons for NJ).  Got hull cleaned by one of the divers serving the area, got some medications from local pharmacias,  and we later made a Walmart run with the help (and his truck) of our friend Pat (s/v Ballena).  Our next door neighbor Chris also provided transportation support to pick up odds and ends prior to our departure. 

On the 9th of August, we departed Marina Don Jose and anchored out in the Ensenada just about the same spot as when we came in.  Had John & Linda for dinner, stopped by Kaliroy Keith's place for a farewell drink, and departed La Paz on the morning of the 13th for points north.  You already know that was the morning this blog segment was supposed to have been posted.  That's life "out there"