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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