Wednesday, 15 February 2017

New Crew

There are many of these big beautiful trees in La Cruz

I stayed in La Cruz until my new crew showed up.  My mom arrived on Jan 17th just in time for my birthday!  We had a fun night out with live music, sushi and good friends.
The next day we pulled up anchor and headed south, following in the tracks of Searover II.  If you have ever read their blog then you might get a sense that this is not the best idea!  Somehow when there is going to be a change from the nice weather predicted, it happens when they are at sea........and it was a nice 10 to 15 knots of wind predicted, which should have given us a nice downwind ride for the 100 nm overnight passage to Chamela.  Alas it was not to be.  Moms first ever overnight passage started out with some lovely sailing and we did continue with a downwind ride, however as the night progressed so did the wind speed.  The sails got smaller, the seas got lumpier, the night got darker.  Not a great introduction to sailing and not exactly what mom was hoping for when she got on Kialoa!  Luckily she was lying down below when I had a near miss with Searover II at midnight and did not see just how near it was....I say we followed in Searovers tracks but really we left La Cruz at the same time, and due to different courses and the fact that they tried to sail in the light air early in the day they were not leaving us behind yet, anyway eight hours into the trip we crossed paths, very closely.  The worst part is it was totally my fault we got so close, Searover was the stand on vessel, and I knew where he was but just did not get how close it was going to end up, lucky for me Gary is a quick thinker and was able to change course and we avoided a collision.  What are the odds in that great big sea that we would end up in the same part of it........anyway it happened and I am certain that I will very carefully make sure I am never in that situation again!
Mom at the helm
Bahia Chamela, Gary and his cousin Karen
on our very own beach, lucky us!

Alls well that ends well, so after a long lumpy but pretty fast sailing night we arrived at Bahia Chamela and anchored behind Searover, they did leave us behind after the near miss as they are generally a much faster boat.
We spent a few days hanging out on the beach, snorkeling and playing games. With a south wind predicted and no protection there it was time to go.  Once again we left at the same time as Searover II and what do you know, that south wind came in earlier and stronger than predicted so it was a rather brutal upwind slog to the next anchorage that was luckily only nine miles away.  Nine very long miles for Kialoa.  Mom was starting to wonder what the heck she was doing here, this sailing thing was not very fun so far!  The anchorage at Paraiso was pretty tight and we were the third boat to arrive, I don't think that it would have fit many more.  It also provided no protection from that south swell although when you looked at it on the charts it really looked like it would.  However it was a dramatically beautiful spot with amazing rock formations, crashing waves, blowholes and two small beaches.  We ended up enjoying our stay there in spite of the closeness of those rocks and crashing waves.  Mom and I stayed for two nights, one more night than Searover II, and we had a lovely downwind sail in 10 knots of wind to catch up with them at Tenacatita. But remember that cotter pin that fell on the deck in San Evaristo, 400 some odd nautical miles ago. I finally found where it came from!  As I was raising the main sail in preparation for leaving Paraiso I noticed that the large pin holding the boom to the mast was halfway out!  Yikes!  Luckily it was easy to get back into position and now has a new cotter pin to hold it there!

Here is the pin sticking out, the bottom part of the fitting had
been loose and was making a weird clunking sound that I
had been trying to track down.  Thank goodness we didn't lose
that pin!

The anchorage at Paraiso, the dramatic rocks and waves
did not photograph well but sunrise did. :)
A huge raft up potluck at Tenacatita

Mom kayaking in the mangroves at Tenacatita
We got to be a part of a leatherback turtle release in Tenacatita
they are just way too cute!

Just one of the beautiful beaches in the area
During our stay in Tenacatita we went to La Manzanilla, a nearby town, for
an Art Walk.  This boy band was playing terrible music on their homemade
instruments.  The horns are hoses and plastic water bottles.  I give them big
points for effort!
We had lots of fun in the Bay at Tenacatita so I think that kind of made up for some of the not so fun sailing!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

What happened in Dec and Jan

Tropical sunset Mantanchen Bay
Jay was running out of time, his flight was leaving from Puerto Vallarta on Dec 21st.  That was a real deadline, so we made tracks out of San Blas, we spent one night in Mantanchen bay and one slightly rolly night at Chacala on our way to the La Cruz anchorage in Banderas Bay.  Jay made his flight on time and I was alone on Kialoa.  That was a new experience and there were a few learning moments.......I ended up spending a month in La Cruz.  I had Christmas dinner with my lovely friends on Riki Tiki Tavi, I spent time with friends on Avant, Adios and Ultegra, started going to yoga in the mornings, got some projects completed on Kialoa, visited with Marshall (he is the one that helped get Kialoa to SanFransisco way back when) caught the bus to Sayulita, caught up with a high school friend, and bought a new spinnaker pole.  Yup that was one of my learning moments.....
Jay waiting for the bus to the airport and back to cold BC
see you later Jay.
flopper stopper in action
Oh, that spinnaker pole.  During the summer my friends on Searover II and Avant worked out how to make flopper stoppers (these are things that go in the water to help stop the boat from rolling too much in the swell when at anchor and are useful in the anchorages in this part of Mexico as there is often swell entering them) and had parts made as a group project that I was able to buy into. So one of my boat projects in La Cruz was to put my flopper stopper together, which I managed with help from Rob of Avant, and then of course I had to deploy it to test it.  The flopper stopper hangs in the water off the end of my spinnaker pole and does actually attenuate the rolling motion, yay, however during testing the wire to the outboard end of the pole failed and the end of the pole dropped in the water.  I got everything back on board and raised the inboard end of the pole up the mast, everything was going fine till it got kind of stuck and one extra tug on the line while I was looking up sent the pole right down at me and gave me a fat lip and a chipped tooth.  The cast aluminum fitting on the end of the pole had actually broken.  The end result was a visit to the dentist and a new spinnaker pole. Its better than the old pole anyway.

One of my projects was rebedding the starboard side cabin top
hardware.  There had been a leak over the summer so it was time.

rebedded and leak free

While I was at it I thought I would clean up the mess on the
under side.

Some paint added much more light to the head and
it is nice not to have a mess of wires any more.
It is a small world.  This is Lisa, who I knew in high school, she now lives and
owns a breakfast cafe in Sayulita, just slightly north of Puerto Vallarta.
In this picture she is standing outside my Aunties house in Sayulita.  As you
can see it is for sale in case you are interested in a lovely home in Sayulita.
It was fun to catch up with Lisa and I enjoyed the bus ride over the hill from La Cruz
Heres a horse picture just because.

Monday, 16 January 2017

San Blas

The travelling fish band

The area around Isla Isabela is quite shallow with depths of 100 - 200 feet.  This means there are lots of fish, which means there are lots of long lines.  We had some light wind on the morning we left and were able to sail, which was a good thing, the first long line we spotted got hooked on the fishing gear we had trailing behind....after that we were better about spotting them.  The long lines are anchored at one end and have pop bottle floats every 200 feet or so with a flag at the far end about a mile away.  There are many stories of entangled boats and wildlife.  Kialoa with her full keel was able to pass over them but we were glad not to have the engine running as they could have easily been sucked into the propeller.  We picked up a troupe of fish on the way.  I have never seen fish travel with the boat before but this small group was with us for about an hour.  Jay tried interesting them in his fishing lure but they were intent on their goal and did not bite.
Kialoa doubles as a dryer
 The entrance into San Blas is very shallow and we had a bit of nail biting trip across the bar and up the river to the marina.  San Blas is renowned for its mosquitos and jejenes, and they were there, but with some bug spray and long pants and shirts at the right time of day it is manageable.  Here we had a chance to do laundry and reprovision.  It is a lovely mexican town and was once the main customs port for the spanish on the west coast of mexico.  Due to the shallow river depths and bugs the center of commerce moved further south.  The old spanish fort has been restored and commands an impressive view of the town and surrounding area.
The slow moving rivers and mangrove swamps in this area also provide a perfect breeding ground for crocodiles.  Along with the crew of Airsupply we spent an interesting day touring up river and seeing crocodiles in the wild.  Keep your hands to yourself!
A historic church in San Blas, the canadian flag is providing
shade for one of the local vendors!

heading up river
A crocodile

The curious cat fish
We are not in the desert any more!  

The Galapagos of Mexico

A beautiful sailing day

Jay and I left Los Frailes on Dec 7th making way for Isla Isabela, also known as the Galapagos of Mexico.  This small island is 30 miles off the mainland coast of mexico, some 70 nm south of Mazatlan.  It was a 214 nm journey from Los Frailes.  As I planned for a 4 knot average speed we gave ourselves 48 hours to make the passage.  The first day out we had beautiful winds, as predicted, and far exceeded our 4 knot average planned speed.  As our arrival time was looking to be around 2 am we had to start slowing down, and slowing down some more and in the end drifted for a while near the island waiting for daylight.  The anchorage is tricky, wide open to the south with lots of rocks and reefs, it is important to take good care.  Jay snorkelled around and found us a small sandy spot to drop the anchor.  We had timed our arrival to coincide with a period of very calm weather and were delighted that the predictions held.  It gave us 3 days to explore this very unique spot.  The birds are phenomenal.  Every bush is full of frigate birds, and not just a few, many!  The grassy areas are the home of every variety of boobie.  This is their breeding ground and due to the remoteness of the island the birds are not frightened of people and tend to just watch you walk by.
There is a small fishing camp and an old research station but other than that it is untouched.  We had some fantastic snorkeling trips.   The rock formations underwater were beautiful.  This wild, remote island definately lived up to our expectations.
Kialoa at anchor, Isla Isabela

Rugged cliffside

A small collection of the fishlife

The Igaunas were not very concerned about us.
Trees full of frigate birds
A closer look at a fully ballooned male

Blue footed boobies involved in courtship
Jay and the fish

Next stop San Blas!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Some people love heights

Some people love heights, I am not one of them!  When Jay and I were putting the sail cover on the main sail shortly after arriving in San Evaristo a small cotter pin fell to the deck.  As everyone knows this is cause for alarm, where did it come from?  I checked every place on deck that I knew would need a cotter pin and there were none missing.  So the only other place to look is up the mast.  And it must be checked, a lost cotter pin can mean a lost mast, so up I went.  Luckily for me it was flat calm in San Evaristo and so my trip to the top was without incident.  I carefully checked every single connection from the top to the bottom.  There was nothing amiss and all cotter pins were where they should be.  So the loose cotter pin remains a mystery, but a good inspection of the rigging is never a bad thing.
Jay and I slowly worked our way towards La Paz, we had some lovely sailing, endured a rain storm (see photo below) and some flat calm motoring.  We checked out the huge mangrove lagoon at Amortajada, had a brief stop at Los Islotes and enjoyed more good snorkeling on the way.

The dodger nearly got wet in the rainstorm!

Just one of the birds that call Amortajada home.

One of the rocks at Los Islotes.  These rocks are home to a large
sea lion colony, many of them are young and curious and approach
people who come to snorkel with them.  It is quite a thrill to be
in such close proximity with these beautiful wild animals.

As much as I love being in the water with the sea lions I do find them a little intimidating and prefer to have someone in the water with me.  Since one of us had to stay on Kialoa as she drifted in proximity, I did not join Jay in the water this time.

We arrived in La Paz in early Dec and spent three days shopping for groceries, doing laundry and picking up some of the things that are easiest found in cities.  As the plan included heading south to the mainland coast, a place Kialoa has not been before I also needed to pick up the appropriate cruising guide.  It is always good to find out about where you are going before you get there!
Jay and I departed La Paz Dec 3, motored north into light but slowly building winds.  As we approached the San Lorenzo channel and our turn east and then south the winds built enough that we ended up having a beautiful downwind overnight sail to Los Frailes, a large bay on the southeast corner of the Baja Peninsula.  This bay has fantastic snorkeling and is just around the corner from Cabo Pulmo Marine park which is a large shallow bay that has extensive coral reefs and is completely protected from fishing and gathering.  It was a hot hike over a dusty road to the beach at Cabo Pulmo but very worth it. The snorkeling was great and the water temperature was becoming much warmer as we got further south.  It was so nice to be snorkeling without a wet suit on!
These funny looking fish are called Mexican lookdowns.

Just one of the sea turtles we spotted while snorkeling.
and one of the beautiful and bright parrot fish.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Puerto Escondido for a hike

Jay and I continued south from Punta Pulpito, with stops at Caleta San Jaunico and Los Gatos, and with a small side trip to tow a fishing panga that had a broken down engine to shore.  We then met up with Searover II at Isla Coronados.  Isla Coronados is a volcanic island with some beautiful white sand beaches and a somewhat challenging hike to the peak.  The beginning of the trail is lovely packed dirt and lined with rocks so there is no chance of getting lost.  As you start to gain altitude it becomes all rock that is somewhat loose and footing can be tricky and the only way to stay on the trail is to follow the not always so obvious rock cairns.  As you come to the steepest part is is loose pea gravel stones that give way under your feet, two feet up one foot back.  However the view from the top is extremely rewarding and makes the effort worthwhile!
Just some of the residents of San Jaunico

A drascombe sailing the bay at San Jaunico, it is part of
a wilderness leadership school that is based out of
Bahia Concepcion.

Jay practicing his freediving

One of the views from the top of Isla Coronados, looking over the anchorage
towards Loreto.
Jay and I made a stop in Loreto to replenish the larder on Kialoa.  At Loreto you must anchor off the small harbour, which is only big enough for Pangas and dinghy in to shore.  While shopping it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the palm trees because if the wind comes up then the waves build fast and its a wet ride with a full dinghy back to the boat.  Luckily this time it stayed calm and we stayed dry.  It was a lovely slow spinnaker ride the rest of the way to Puerto Escondido where we tied up to a mooring ball just as it was getting dark.  The next day after checking in with the Marina, Karina, Gary, Jay and myself shouldered our packs and headed up the road to the Tabor Canyon.  After hiking there last year we had thought that it would be a cool place to camp for a night.  And it truly was!  There are some parts of this "hike" that are quite challenging for me and Karina.  Luckily for us Jay and Gary are both experienced rock climbers and they were able to help us negotiate some of the trickier spots.  The canyon has spectacular rock formations, lovely freshwater swimming holes and beautiful greenery.
Karina making a crossing

The view from one of the more open areas

Jay heading further up

Our camp, there were not so many flat spots and it was
rocky but the mountains are beautiful.

Gary and Karina enjoying one of the beautiful freshwater pools
From Puerto Escondido Searover headed towards La Paz and Jay and I on Kialoa headed to Agua Verde, still one of my favorite places!  
An Osprey enjoying its lunch, Agua Verde