Friday, February 21, 2014


Last posting we were planning our walk on Isla San Francisco. The island has two anchorages, facing each other with about a mile of sand, scrub and some cactus in -between them. We stay in the one that is most favorable for the weather and sea condition of the moment. Lucky for us we had switched sides the day before our walk and when we walked over to where we had been the day before, boats were rocking -- had more swell than we did -- a tribute to our paying careful attention to the many weather sources we download every morning.

The following day we motor sailed to San Evaristo, a small fishing village on the Baja -- nothing much there, but we had friends that had dropped anchor a day earlier and were hoping for a reunion. Barb and Jay from Jupiter's Smile invited us over for a spectacular Puttanesca dinner. We enjoyed hearing about many of our mutual friends that we hung around with in the Caribbean. Jay and Barb live in Colorado. Others live close by, either in Colorado or in neighboring states, so they keep in closer touch than we do -- including seeing each other during the non-sailing season.

Yesterday we continued our journey north, ending up in a protected anchorage near Timbabiche. We walked along the beach this morning and eventually found the dirt road (following tire tracks) leading into the small village -- it appears to be a moderately sized working ranch. Cows meander about, there are several homes with satellite receivers, and a fairly modern school. An edifice remains from what was once a fancy house for a wealthy fisherman that was never completed. It's been named "Casa Grande" in the guidebooks. We'll post photos when we get to a place with internet.

Tomorrow we continue heading north.

Marlene and Roy
Sent from the boat.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Isla San Francisco

We've been anchored at Isla San Francisco for a few days, one of our favorite spots in the Sea of Cortez. Weather continues to amaze us (and all the other cruisers we hasten to add); uncommonly warm for this time of year, mild winds, flat seas for the most part -- the makings of a fabulous season. The worry expressed by some folks is that the warm water this early might be a portent of more and stronger hurricanes this summer.

Last Monday, Feb. 10, is the last day we picked up groceries in La Paz. I (Marlene) bought my usual bunch of pears to eat with cottage cheese for lunch. Before digging into the new pears, I finished eating 4 that were ripe and in the refrigerator. Well, on day 5, I picked up one from the new batch and it was rock-hard. Hmmm, what to do? I peeled it, cored and sliced it put it in a small pot with water and cooked it! After boiling for a minute, then simmering for a few more minutes, it was perfect! And the juice was great too! I think I've hit on a solution to how to deal with those boxes of pears at at Costco!

We have a walk planned for this afternoon, after which we'll prepare our roast beef dinner -- and maybe get in another Scrabble game tonight.

More later.....

Marlene and Roy

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

We awakened yesterday to a gorgeous clear day. First things first: we agreed to be each other's Valentine. After Roy made pancakes for breakfast we settled into reading -- Marlene finally finished "A Cruel and Shocking Act -- The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination" by Philip Shenon. The book reads like a novel in many ways -- highly recommended! Mid-afternoon we got into the dinghy and headed toward shore. Since our dinghy is so heavy it doesn't have wheels -- we've tried 2 or 3 sets -- they sink into the sand. So, at low tide we leave the dinghy close to shore with an anchor set deeply into land. When we return, the dinghy is floating with an incoming tide. Well, back to our day. We took a hike from where we are on the western shore of Isla Partida across to the eastern shore. It was quite a nice hike, took only about and hour there and back. The view of the sea on the other side of the island wasn't at all like the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race -- there were no breakers in the sea! Water was and continues to be almost flat, mirror-like, and we have no wind to speak of. Today is another day in paradise...

Roy and Marlene
Currently at Ensenada Cardonal, Isla Partida

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ensenada Cordonal, Isla Espiritu Santo

Lots has happened since our last post. We did get out to Isla Espiritu Santo, as planned. Spent three days and nights at that beautiful anchorage. We took one walk along the long white beach and into the shallows on our first day. The southern shore is a frigate nesting area. While taking a dinghy tour of the shore on our second day, we got close enough to see hundreds of birds nestled among the rocks and vegetation. When we got too close, a swarm of adult frigates came overhead, squawking loudly. We took that as a message to retreat and head home to Damiana.

One week away from La Paz and our fresh produce supply had dwindled. Since we were only a few hours away, we sent an email to Lynda and Bob to ask if they were interested in spending another day away from the noise and dust of the work being done on their boat and come over to our "beach at Bahia Falsa" and take Marlene shopping. They very happily did so, so we had another nice visit with them and re-stocked our veggie supply. After that boomerang trip to Bahhia Falsa, we departed, again for Isla Espiritu Santo. We passed by Bahia San Gabriel, planning to continue on to Caleta Partida. Wind was down so we were motoring. Around 12 noon, we were hit with sudden gusts of wind on the nose -- 17-20 kts. We turned right, toward the island, and took refuge in Ensenada El Gallo. The wind persisted all afternoon and through the night, sometimes as much as 25 kts. The next day, yesterday, we decided to once again try for Caleta Partida. Instead we went into a narrow cove just north of the entrance to Caleta Partida. We usually anchor in 10-12 feet of water, so we continued moving further into the cove. However, the high rock walls were so narrow that we didn't have the usual 1/16 of a mile clearance around our boat. In calm weather this shouldn't be a problem. However, the afternoon gusts returned. Roy tried setting a stern anchor but the gusts were too strong to keep the boat steady. We weighed anchor and moved north to Ensenada Cardonal. This is a beautiful anchorage, like just about all the anchorages on Isla Espiritu Santo, so we plan to spend a few days here. There are remains of an aquaculture structure here, as well as a trail that leads across the island to the eastern shore of Isla Partida. We have the hike on our list for late afternoon when the tide is low and we can safely leave our dinghy securely anchored.

More later....

Roy and Marlene
Sent from our boat email

Friday, February 7, 2014

Microphone, continued

We were hailed by Lynda and Bob that they were at the beach, and didn't have the microphone!  They went to where we said the store was and couldn't find it.  So they wanted to take us into town to find it.  I (Marlene) went with them while Roy stayed at the beach.  Got to the intersection and they were right -- no Icom store.  Well, there is conflicting info on the list and internet.  At one time there was a dealer near 5th de Febrero.  The dealer I spoke with is near 5th de Mayo.  Ooops, about 20 blocks away.  Once I called and spoke to the woman (Spanish language only -- somewhat of a challenge) at the store (Fernando was not there), she said "Cinco de Mayo."  We hopped right over, picked up the mike, and all was well!  Tried out the new mike a few times so far by checking into some of the nets.  Was told by one friend that my voice was booming -- and they are in Barra de Navidad, way south on the mainland!

Yesterday Bob and Lynda drove back to our nice beach and we all ordered lunch from the restaurant.  The beach has pure white sand and is so shallow that you could wade out in knee high water for maybe as much as 200 yards.  After walking the dinghy out quite a way, Roy hopped in and rowed the dinghy even further before the water was deep enough to lower the motor.

We are leaving today to head over to Isla Espiritu Santo.
~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bahia Falsa, near La Paz

Yesterday after running last minute errands in town and putting the car away, we looked at each other and said, "it's just 3 p.m. -- we have plenty of time to get to Bahia Falsa," which is just around the corner from our marina at Costa Baja.  Once out on the open water in the warmth of the sun and the glistening sea, we were relaxed, very happy to have left when we did rather than wait until the following morning.  We arrived here in plenty of time to prepare and cook our first pressure cooker meal of the season, pork chops with vegetables.

At 7 p.m. we tuned into the evening net on the single side band radio and went to grab the microphone to check in and let our friends that might be listening that we were in radio contact.  Yikes!!!  The microphone was missing!  After a thorough search of the boat we concluded that we left it at home on a shelf in the garage.  We had taken the radio home so Roy could clean and test the tuner.  We had several thoughts: contact friends that might still be in San Diego to ask them to pick one up for as at the ham radio outlet.  Another was to ask people here in La Paz if anyone had a spare microphone for our particular radio, and also to contact the local single side band radio dealer to ask if they have one in stock.  After many emails and phone calls to various venders in the U.S. to inquire about someone sending one to us, we learned that the local shop has a similar one in stock.

Friends Bob and Lynda from Tahoma are going to the store to buy it for us -- and they'll drive out to a small beachside restaurant near where we are anchored to bring it to us.  We often remark how wonderful our cruising friends are -- they even go way out of their way to help friends whenever they can.  This is but one of many stories that cruisers have about similar situations.

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

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Heading out to the Islands

Much as we love La Paz, after one month of boat projects it's time to head out to the Islands!

The big job was having Damiana hauled out at a local boat yard to get a fresh coat of bottom paint, get a new through-hull installed for a new instrument, and install our new propellers. Upon arrival at the new, wider, lift, we were visited by a panga with boat yard workers telling us that we had to go to the old lift, and they led the way. They assured us that it was wide enough, saying that they had hauled Moorings catamarans out at their small lift. Well, if you flatten out the palm of your hand, that's how much clearance there was between Damiana and the cement wall at the widest part of the boat. It was harrowing at the least! Their work was quite good, a redeeming factor, so by the time they had to lower our boat down into the water, again with the smaller lift, we were a little more relaxed.

We've enjoyed a few get-togethers with friends and even discovered a new bakery (mmm, croissants -- Mexican style). Neighbors, Ruth and Ken, from Santa Maria are vacationing in Cabo. They drove up to La Paz -- we invited Lynda and Bob from Tahoma to join us for lunch at Tamarindo.

We've shopped and shopped for provisions -- not counting canned and packages in our pantry, we have enough goods in the refrigerator and freezer to keep us going for at least a month, maybe six weeks. Once you leave La Paz, fresh vegetables aren't available until you reach Loreto. This time we thought ahead and purchased several packages of frozen vegetables! With lots of avocados, limes, onions and tomatoes on hand, we'll make Guacamole as a salad substitute, using green and yellow peppers and cucumbers as dippers. Weather has been extraordinary. January 2013 was much colder than this year. We haven't used flannel sheets at night, and afternoons are so warm that we wear shorts, t-tops, no sweaters! So far, this season has gotten off to a great start!

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