Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Damiana is for sale!

Our sailing days are nearing the end as we make plans to do considerably more land travel. We've taken good care of Damiana and have updated and upgraded her systems so she is ready to resume cruising with her new owners. For more information or to arrange to see Damiana, please send us an email: or call us at 415-987-6477.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Our cruising season ends :-(

According to plan, we expect to leave La Paz tomorrow around noon and drive to Loreto, the first leg on our long drive home.  We have spent the last 10 days doing boat projects, getting Damiana put to "bed" for 7.5 months, and even found some time to visit with friends.  A big plus to staying at Costa Baja Marina is the chance to go swimming in their "endless pool," a gorgeous large pool that looks as though it's continuous with the Sea when seen from the beach chairs.  A last minute project, getting the front panel on the refrigerator repaired, got underway today by Pedro, the carpenter.  He'll finish up tomorrow (due here at 8 a.m.)  We are almost all packed and will do the last minute packing while Pedro finishes up.  Tonight, our good friend, Alex (Maitairoa) took us out to dinner as our final send-off for the season (Sue is stateside).  It is with heavy heart that we leave this year.  We have more than ever become quite attached to life here in Baja California, especially the islands, and, of course, La Paz, which has been our favorite for years.

We'll resume the Damiana Blog upon our return in January, 2014.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Last stretch

As planned we spent a few more days at Isla Coronados, celebrated Patty's birthday -- I made Rum Cake, my best ever -- Meridien and Gia joined in the festivities!  Eventually we headed south and met up with Jay and Barb from Jupiter's Smile, who we hung out with over in the Western Caribbean.  We spent an evening together at Punta Colorada, Isla Carmen.

As we were sailing toward the end of Isla Carmen before heading up to Punta Colorado, we saw a remarkable sight: hundreds, maybe even a thousand or more, dolphins swimming in a line across the width of the channel between Isla Carmen and Isla Danzante,  The line was perhaps 4-6 deep with dolphins with not much room to spare in-between them.  They stayed in that formation, heading north until we couldn't see them anymore.

The next day we continued heading south and stopped in our favorite: Agua Verde.  As luck would have it we had a chance to enjoy two evenings with friends from Interlude and Oya.  Both evenings we were treated to goats on the move.  The first night we saw about 50 or so spread across and along boulders right in our anchorage -- we got some spectacular photos.  The next night we watched as their herders, 2 dogs and a puppy that lagged behind, herded them single file over the boulders, onto the beach and then disappear through more boulders at the entrance to the anchorage.  What an unusual sight!

From there we continued on to Puerto Los Gatos for an evening, and yesterday we continued on our southward journey to Isla San Francisco, where we are today.  We'll head into La Paz tomorrow and send this off once we have internet contact.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Return of the North Winds

Shortly after our last posting we left Isla Coronados to stop at the Loreto roadstead and pick up some groceries before heading down to Juncalito along the coast, just north of Puerto Escondido.  Friends of ours, John and Patricia (sv Trick) have a palapa there and since they offered to drive us back to Loreto on Sunday to pick up fresh produce at the Farmer's Market, we spent a few nights at anchor in calm Juncalito.

Weather forecast was for a brief return of north winds in the Sea, so we scurried over to Marquer on Isla Carmen to get a head start on getting up to Punta Colorada before the winds picked up.  We arrived at Punta Colorada late one morning and stayed at anchor for three nights while the wind was pretty steady at 15-20, gusting to 30 at times.  Roger and Karen (sv Meridien) were there also, giving us a chance to get together for an evening.  With not too much to do except stay holed up on the boat, I (Marlene) tried out a new recipe for chocolate bread.  Pretty awesome.  We have another one to try before deciding on which one to incorporate into our repertoire.

By the weekend, winds had eased up, so we headed back toward Isla Coronados, stopping for one night's rest at Juncalito.  On Sunday, yesterday, we took Damiana back to the Loreto roadstead.  This time John and Patricia picked us up at the dinghy dock and drove us to the Farmer's Market, then to Pan que Pan restaurant for incredible omelets.  Along with them were two new cruising buddies: Lulu and Steve (sv Siempre Sabado).

We are once again back at Isla Coronados with plans to leave at the end of the week to return to La Paz, a week earlier than originally expected.  Roy has an appointment with an eye doctor who will then order a new pair of glasses for him to replace the ones he lost at Bahia Conception.

Last but not least, Roy captured a jumping dolphin on his video camera today!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dolphin Season and More Small World

We've been heading south, stopping along the way for a few nights at a time at some of our favorite anchorages.  When we pulled into San Juanico there were so many boats there that it looked sort of like a parking lot!  Nonetheless we spent two nights there before continuing on to Isla Coronados, which seems to be our base this year in the Central Sea of Cortez.  While there we were visited several times by large pods of dolphins.  I (Marlene) tried capturing some short video with our small digital camera.  I was so disappointed in the wide angle (can't zoom when in video mode) that Roy finally decided to get into cameraman mode and charged his video camera batteries.  Today he captured some footage -- but then before we even reviewed it it was time to weigh anchor and get over to Loreto in the morning calm to pick up some groceries.

As we left the dinghy dock and were walking along the malecon a young couple approached us and asked us how long we have been in Mexico.  They had seen our boat at Isla Coronados yesterday while they were on a tour and saw us anchor at the Loreto roadstead.  Turns out they have a 32' Valiant in Seattle and are thinking about sailing it down to Mexico and wanted to know our opinion.  We encouraged them and told them about our experiences.  Musing over the fact that they have a 32 Valiant I asked if they know Betsy and Richard who owned Qayaq, also a 32 Valiant and also from Seattle, sailed it to Australia and sold it there -- and are now back in Seattle.  YES!  We spent some good quality time with Betsy and Richard before we went in different directions: us to Florida to get Damiana and they to the South Pacific.  This young couple advised us that Richard and Betsy have moved over to the "dark side."  For non boating friends and family, that means they've bought a motor vessel.

More later.....

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Adios Bahia Conception

Last night we hosted a pizza party.  Folks from Persistence and Indara joined us.  The way a pizza party works is for host boat to set out lots of pizza toppings and make the dough.  Friends bring over other toppings, salad, etc.  Roy manages the BBQ and I (Marlene) make the dough and roll them out, one at a time.  Roy "bakes" side one of the pizza and then one couple turns it over and puts toppings on the cooked side.  When they finish their masterpiece, it goes back on the BBQ to cook the toppings.  We had three pizzas prepared in this manner.  We learned about this method from Bruce and Alene on Migration during our Jellybean days.  In fact, the folks on Persistence were on the 04 HaHa with us, and as it turns out, DRUM ROLL: SMALL WORLD TIME: the recipe we use was given to us in hard copy by Bruce and Alene.  The note on it says it was given to them by Maureen and Riley on s/v Alouette de Mer several years ago when they were cruising Mexico.  Turns out that the folks on Indara were in Mexico several years ago and know them!

This morning, we weighed anchor around 11 a.m. and motored up the channel.  During the day, the Daring Dolphins had an encore performance.  This time I was ready and got a short video clip of them inside our hulls.  Limited bandwidth though -- will have to upload at a later date.

Tonight we are at Ste. Domingo again, planning to spend tomorrow here putting finishing touches on the dinghy chaps we've been working on.  We need to beach the dinghy long enough to measure the seam for the bungie cord that cinches it tightly around the outside.  Once that's done, cord sewn inside, we'll have only a few connections to do on the inside and, voila -- a new dinghy chaps -- the main reason we bought the semi-industrial sewing machine while we were in Panama two and a half years ago!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Spectacular Dolphin Show -- Again!

Yesterday as we were half way down the channel entering Bahia Conception a large pod of large dolphins joined us!  Three at a time swam between the hulls, accompanied by 2 or more along the outside of both hulls.  When they got far enough in front of us, they did a u-turn and went back to the end of the line.  In the meantime another group of 8 or 10 swam through the same way, followed by another group!  As the ones in the middle, swimming between the hulls, came out in front, they dashed across the front of the hulls, showing off their agility and brain power, never once touching the boat!  They followed us in all the way and stayed with us until we were safely anchored!  They looked up at us from time to time.  With Roy busy at the helm all I could do was applaud and wave.  I like to think they appreciated that!

Weather warmed up considerably since the wind has died and humidity is rising -- bringing more bugs our way.  We stayed inside during the mid day heat and played a game of Scrabble.

Since we are without internet or phone, we're dating this entry.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~
April 5, 2013

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gymnast Dolphin

We left Punta Chivato a few minutes ago, heading toward Bahia Conception when we were suddenly surrounded by a pod of dolphins, jumping and diving all around us.  Then this one very talented dolphin while in the air, did a roll over so his belly was straight up, then rolled back down -- did this several times to our delight.  Ooops --- caught us off guard; camera not in use :(  but what a spectacular sight!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Santa Rosalia

We arrived here yesterday late morning, checked into the marina, then went and picked up some produce at the stand close by.  Last evening we went out to dinner with friends on the boat, Bullwinkle.  We hadn't seen them since La Paz, and it was great to hear about their first season cruising.  This morning we did our laundry, then did a big shopping trip in town and got together again with Bullwinkle to have hot dogs at the famous hot dog stand, where everybody that visits Santa Rosalia dines at least once during their visit.  All were very satisfied, even more so after we devoured our paletas.  Back to Damiana for a little more conversation before we hugged "adios amigos."  We leave tomorrow, heading for Bahia Conception, hoping to spend several days there, enjoying the various anchorages and beaches.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

More Fun and "The Vortex"

We sailed to San Juanico as planned and spent a few days and nights, continuing our social life with Warren Peace and MaToWi at happy hour and dinner time.  From there we had a long day of sailing up to Santa Domingo, at the mouth of Bahia Conception.  Since it's currently Semana Santa in Mexico, where large groups congregate on beaches and party well into the night (with loud music), we decided to not head down into Play Santispac, a favorite cruiser anchorage.  We spent one night at quiet Santa Domingo, walked the beach looking for shells -- and the next night at the anchorage at Punta Ines/Punta Conception.  On Thursday, we had our last evening together on board Warren Peace.  MaToWi and Warren Peace crossed the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos on Friday and we moved up to Sweet Pea Cove on Isla San Marcos, near Santa Rosalia.  We plan to head over to the town of Santa Rosalia tomorrow and then back to San Marcos before heading south.

When we hooked up with MaToWi and Warren Peace we were warned that they were sucked into the Vortex operated by boat gremlins.  We heard of many minor and a few major glitches that affected their boats requiring repairs underway.  We had lots of laughs over these sometime amusing incidents.

We suspect that our close proximity for two weeks expanded the reach of the vortex:  our radio transmission flaked out one day (Roy has since done some cleaning of the contacts and it's better but not perfect), the carburetor on our dinghy motor has  uttered its last breath, our dinghy sprung a leak that needs patching.  Or, maybe it's just that all boats are sucked into (and out of) the vortex -- the usual comment when things like this  happen is, "well, it IS a boat!" 

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Continuing on northward!

After our stay at Agua Verde, we stopped in for a night at Puerto Escondido, had a great dinner at Domingo's in Loreto, did some shopping while in town, then took off and spent one rolly night at La Lancha on Isla Carmen.  We passed on the idea of taking the walk to Vee Cove and instead sailed down to Isla Coronados where we are now.  The first night here we had a Burger BBQ here on Damiana; Warren Peace and MaToWi joined us and we told stories and laughed for hours!  Last night we had happy hour on the beautiful beach at the southwest end of the anchorage.  As we write this, we are having breakfast and readying the boat to sail up to San Juanico, one of our favorite anchorages.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hike of the month - AKA Agua Verde Death March

Since we'd been up the hill, down the hill, through the cemetery and on to the lagoon where horses are often found at the north end of Agua Verde, we organized a hike that included Sharon from Warren Peace, Bill and Vickie from MaToWi and Dale and Dena from Double Dharma.

We started out from the beach at the north end of Agua Verde. A half hour later we arrived at the lagoon, and alas, the horses weren't there! Bill, being curious, walked further on and motioned for us to follow. We got to the end of what appeared to be the land-locked lagoon and then on to the beach north of Agua Verde. The adventurous women on the hike started heading south over rocky terrain while the guys looked over the beach area. Eventually the guys followed and, wow, were we in for it. Rocks under us, over us, all around us, ledges to traverse, etc. We soon found another beach area, the one seen in the guide books north of AV. Wow, we thought, maybe we should call John, home on Warren Peace, and ask him to pick us up. We contacted him on the radio, he agreed, but in the meantime we continued heading south.

More traversing the rocky path until we saw what we thought was one of the huge boulders at the entrance to Agua Verde. Wow, we all thought, wouldn't it be great if we could get back to our dinghy on the north end without having to go back over the rocky terrain, back through the lagoon, cemetery, and up the rocky hill. Just then Bill called out from his forward position, "Beach!." We called John to cancel his rescue mission! Well, yes, it was the beach all right, but not before we traveled another 15 or so minutes over rocks, boulders, all this "cross country," giving new meaning to that term.

The beach we got to was still on the Sea side of Agua Verde, just a short walk over the sand spit to the dinghy landing inside the anchorage. Exhilarated, we congratulated ourselves on our discovery: a route that we're sure that more adventurous cruisers will want to use! Entire time from start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes, including time to wander around cemetery, lagoon and beaches.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Three days of sailing!

We were able to sail with Spinnaker for about an hour before the wind picked up and we had to resort to our usual sails. But sail we did -- the entire way to Caleta Partida. Since southerly winds were predicted for the next day as well, we left early in the morning, heading for Isla San Francisco, sailing all the way! Enroute we were in contact with another two boats. We all anchored in the north anchorage, got together in the evening on Damiana, and with southerlies still blowing, all planned to continue heading north. Yesterday, the wind was so brisk that Damiana was sailing at over 7 kts for quite some time, even hit over 8 kts for a while! We sailed the entire way to Puerto Los Gatos, went in to assess conditions, and decided against staying there for the night: the high easterly winds roughed up the sea in the small anchorage, suggesting a rocky night. Given that it was already 3:45 pm, we reluctantly turned on the motors so we could reach Agua Verde while we still had some light. We arrived at dusk and by the time we finished anchoring, it was dark. We'll stay here today and probably move further north tomorrow if we have southerly winds.

Marlene & Roy

Friday, March 15, 2013

Out to the Islands!

Yesterday around noon we quietly slipped out of La Paz, with a little trepidation since our previous departures all boomeranged with one problem or another.  So far, so good.  We spent last night at Caleta Lobos, had a nice visit with Peter on Max Grody.  He has been an active cruiser for 20+ years and we shared stories.

Today we rigged the spinnaker before taking off for Caleta Partida, about 14 miles north of us.  For once we have south winds, mild so far, but we hope enough to get there entirely under sail.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Source identified, fixed, and ready to take off

While installing the water heater, Roy had to remove a bracket holding up a hose.  Wow, when the bracket screws were removed, black liquid dripped down the wall into the bilge of the compartment where the water heater and water maker are located.  Eureka!  That is the odor that has perplexed us for the last 18 months!  Turns out that a prior owner had incorrectly installed a through hull that is only a few inches above the water line.  Over time it loosened, unbeknownst to us, and while underway, ocean water got into the hull, and collected there.  Ocean water is organic; it doesn't take too long for it to foul when in a confined space.  Alas, it had no exit portal -- that is, until Roy spent several days taking care of this nasty problem.  We hope that it's done forever --- and if not we'll have a much bigger job done in a boat yard over the summer.

In the meantime, we now have the boat provisioned, cleaned and ready to get back out to the islands.  We plan to leave tomorrow around noon.
~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Water heater installed!

Roy did a wonderful job of replacing the old water heater with the new one!  It's now connected to the motor and after we check the antifreeze level tomorrow we'll be able to put the boat back together.  For the past few days everything from the starboard side of the boat has resided in the salon and cockpit.  To celebrate the successful installation we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Azul, the primo restaurant here at Costa Baja marina, actually listed as the best in all of La Paz on some websites.  We had a nice visit after dinner with folks on Moon Drifter and Iron Rose.

We have another perplexing problem: a foul odor in the watermaker area -- we'll get on that tomorrow, hopefully identify its source and fix it!  We expect high winds and seas over the weekend, but with luck on our side, we'll leave the marina on Tuesday.  Our plan is to SAIL and not turn the motor on until we head back into the marina.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Road trip details...

Our return trip to Damiana started on Friday afternoon when we left Santa Maria, drove to Oxnard, had dinner and overnight with Len and Norma, then on Saturday, drove to Roy's Mom's house.  We stopped at Phoenix bakery to pick up their famous strawberry whipped cream sponge cake decorated with "Happy Birthday Mom."  David. Linda and Cambria drove over to her house, we all went out to dinner to have an early celebration of her 92nd birthday.  On Sunday we crossed the border, and as stated earlier spent last night at El Rosario.  Our drive today was pleasant, very little truck traffic, sunny skies, and we drove all the way down to Santa Rosalia.  Tonight's dinner was at El Muelle, a restaurant we had visited many years ago, and the food was even better than we remembered.  We expect to be back in La Paz late tomorrow.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Road Trip

Two weeks ago we left Puerto Escondido, shortly after the water heater arrived, one full week after it was expected to arrive.  In the meantime, I (Marlene) started having some symptoms that were peculiar, didn't abate, even got worse, so we decided to hustle back south to La Paz, get the car, and return home for some tests.  Wouldn't you know it, we left PE heading for La Paz, and we had southerly winds.  Oh no....three days of motoring in the "wrong" direction.  We drove for another three days, arrived home, had a few tests, couldn't find anything seriously wrong, so we did an about face and headed back to Damiana.  We are currently in our favorite motel: Cactus in El Rosario, had dinner at our favorite Mama Espinoza's, and will leave in the morning, heading south.  With all the obstacles we've faced this season, northers with really cold temperature that wouldn't quit, broken propeller, broken water heater, medical problem, we're hoping to have a few months of warm weather sailing.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Back to Puerto Escondido

We left PE as planned Tuesday to spend a few days sailing and at anchor at night.  We spent two nights at Punta Colorada, Isla Carmen -- beautiful spot.  During the one day there a crowd of kayakers spent the day on the beach and then just before dusk headed south.  Yesterday we had a very nice sail for most of the day to Islas Coronados and had a pleasant, peaceful night at anchor.  Bright and early, we motored over to the Loreto roadstead to go to town to buy groceries and are now heading south to Puerto Escondido (wouldn't you know it -- the winds are from the south!).  We expect the water heater to be delivered sometime over the weekend and once here, we'll have a few days of installation -- which means the boat will be a mess -- everything from the starboard side will be in the salon.  Such is life when cruising.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The nicest thing about cruising:

We had a nice surprise a few days ago.  We heard a familiar voice (English from England accent) responding to someone hailing "Trick."   We met and hung out with them in La Paz in 06 and 07.  When I called them on the radio I asked, "do you remember Jellybean?"  An immediate reply: "Marlene, is that you?"  So John and Patricia came over, yakked for several hours catching up and then went out to dinner with them.   Yesterday we went to Loreto with them in their car, did a little shopping and went to lunch at their favorite restaurant: Orlando's, a great new find for us.

We ordered the new water heater today, thanks to Martin on The Cat's Meow who arranges for deliveries from the U.S. here in Puerto Escondido.  Sometimes everything works out just perfectly!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

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