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

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Across to the Baja

It is a 70nm crossing from the Guaymas area to Santa Rosalia on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez.  A little too far for Kialoa to make the crossing during the daylight hours that we get.  So we left Bahia San Pedro and Searover II (who had a guest and would be crossing the sea at a later date)  at 4 pm and prepared for Jays first overnight crossing.  One of the preparations was throwing the fishing lure in the water.  I have been throwing that thing in the water for a year ......almost everytime we were underway.  I never caught a fish.  Jay threw it in the water and had a fish within 20 minutes!  Fish for dinner!
The remainder of the crossing was uneventful and we spent quite a bit of it motoring along in lumpy seas, with an early morning arrival at Santa Rosalia.
Jay and his fish, you can still see land behind us....

Santa Rosalia is an interesting town, essentially built by a French mining company in the 1800s, it retains its mining town feel.  The copper close to the town has been extracted but there are still mining operations going on nearby.
Old wooden buildings, some of which are just barely hanging
in there
Inside of a church, designed by Eiffel, displayed at a world
fair in France and then purchased by the Boleo mining company
 shipped to Santa Rosalia and reassembled, so the story goes.
A portion of the old Smelter building, slowly being reclaimed
by the forces of nature.
We spent several days in Santa Rosalia.  Long enough to get the US election results.  We did not hear any cheering on the dock that night.
There were some american boats that had been drowning their dismay and were not feeling their best the next morning. 
From Santa Rosalia we started heading south with a stop at Isla San Marcos, Punta Chivato and then into Bahia Concepcion.  Jay was keen to see whale sharks and we had talked to one boat that had seen them in the last week.
We were not disappointed!  There were two of them in the same bay where I had seen them last spring.  And we nearly hit one as we were entering the bay.  Luckily it was off to the side but it was a near thing.

The view from a fish camp at Isla San Marcos
Beautiful sailing weather from Punta Chivato
to Bahia Concepcion

Whale shark!  This one was feeding in the bay where we anchored
Its not a very big one!
The chart plotter logs 5000 miles

On leaving Bahia Concepcion the chart plotter turned over 5000 nautical miles.  That felt like an occasion!  We managed to keep the boat at 5 knots and steer 5 degrees as well to keep it all symmetrical.
Shortly after that we caught two fish!  An auspicious day.
It was a fairly long and boisterous downwind sail to Punta Pulpito.  Kialoa was moving really well with a reef in the main and only a little foresail.  What a great boat! Jay was having a fun time even though we had to hand steer the whole trip.  The wind vane was not behaving well and waves were a bit overwhelming for the tiller pilot.
We arrived in Punta Pulpito in the late afternoon and had a happy meet up with some friends from last year.  The crew of Second Safari came over for fish tacos.  We needed help eating up the fish as my little cooler had packed it in.  No more cold beer on Kialoa, that was a sad day!  
Punta Pulpito is a fairly spectacular chunk of rock sticking up from the sea and with its steep drops and rocky base it made for some great snorkeling and fun hiking.

A compass rose?  Ancient cairn or newer pile? There are
cleared camp sites at the top of Punta Pulpito that look like they
have not been used for many many years.  

Early morning at Punta Pulpito

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Back in the saddle

Good bye Pacific Northwest rain
Change is the only constant.  And so sadly I am back in Mexico without Scott.  We have remained friends but will not be cruising together any longer.  I hope that it will mean that we are both happier in our lives moving forward.  I am slowly adjusting to the change in the status of our relationship.  For me the reality truly set in as I returned to Kialoa and started recomissioning her after she spent a long hot summer in dry storage.
I left Victoria on a rainy October morning and flew into Hermosillo, Mexico. From there it was a two hour bus ride and a short cab ride to Kialoa.  It was really hot in Guaymas. I was lucky enough to be greeted by cold beer and friendly faces on Searover II and Greybeard.

Kialoa needed some cleaning up

Guaymas had been hit by Hurricane Newton in September and there was extensive damage to the Marina Fonatur docks and sadly five boats sank during the storm. Luckily for me all the boats in the dry storage yard were fine and Kialoa was undamaged but in need of a good scrubbing.  Did I mention it was really hot in Guaymas.  So I got some work done in the morning and then it was 34 degrees inside the boat and hard to move so not as much got done in the afternoons.  However I did have a bit of a deadline as my brother Jay was coming to sail with me for a couple of months and he needed a place to sleep.  I had to get the cabin cleared up.

Jays first day, trying not to get sunburnt

Searover II getting a face lift
Launch day for Kialoa.  She has her fresh coat of bottom paint
on and I am touching up the spots that could not be reached
when she was in the stands.
Jay only had to enjoy boat yard life for one day and then we were in the water.  We spent a few days in Guaymas checking out some of the Day of the dead festivities, provisioning Kialoa and finishing up the recommissioning.  Life in Guaymas is nice and there is fantastic street food but as I think I mentioned it was hot in Guaymas. So when the boat was ready we decided to head for somewhere we could go swimming, which is most definately not the water in Guaymas harbour.

Some of the reasons for not swimming in the water.  In the background is an
old abandoned factory that had a big fire one night and seemed to start up again
every night.  The fire trucks would just come back every morning and put it out
Just one of the large elaborate shrines built for the day of the dead

Mexican rock, who knew.  It was good but very loud.
My tall skinny friend
Underway, blue sky and sunshine  :)
First stop was San Carlos, where I got to see my friends on Dreamcatcher.  We spent a couple of nights anchored in Bahia San Carlos.  The day we arrived there was a definate change in the weather and it cooled off quite a bit, however it was still nice and we had a chance to do some snorkelling.
Next stop was Bahia San Pedro, 15 miles further North to get positioned for crossing the Sea of Cortez to Santa Rosalia on the Baja.

Fish boat or bird rest?

Searover II pulls into Bahia San Pedro looking good!
Gratuitous sunrise picture.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The long way home

Our drive home was fun, and we took our time and smelled the roses.  Actually what we did was visit with friends and family on the way and checked out some of Scotts old haunts in Orange County as well.

First stop Phoenix, where we visited with these two lovely people.  Fred and
Roberta have been a big part of Scotts early life.  We had the pleasure of
celebrating their daughters birthday with them while we were there.

After a couple of nights in Phoenix, we had a long driving day and made the Southern California coast.  Orange County, famous for its ...... not sure what. Not my kind of place but lots of other people seem to like it.  The weather was pretty nice and so were the beaches.  Traffic was not!
We spent some time with Scotts longest running friend Ronny, and his wife Amy.  Scott played disc golf with his still going strong Sunday Drivers group of golfers.  Minus some, plus some.  I guess things do have to change over the years.

Lesson learned, always disconnect the battery when leaving
a car stored long term, even if you have a solar charger attached.
One new battery later we were not having any more problems.

LA freeways, how many lanes!!!!!

I found a spot of beauty in the midst of a lot of Urbania in
Orange County.

A trip on the Balboa island ferry in Newport Beach was also
a trip down memory lane for Scott.

Zoltar dispensing some wisdom.

We left the crowded beach communities of Southern California on Monday morning and headed to the hills.  More specifically the community of Twain-Harte in the golden hills east of SanFransisco.  We had a wonderful visit with Scotts cousin Bruce and his wife Rhonda and got to check out this very picturesque part of the world.

Bruce, Rhonda and Scott, at the old jail.  Bruce used to be a
chief of Police.  Seemed appropriate.

Like I said, picturesque.
The squirrels liked it here too.

After two nights in Twain-Harte we again headed north, but only as far as Sacramento.  One lovely and scenic drive later we arrived at the home of Jim and Mary, whom we had met and made friends with on the beach in Mexico.  We had planned a two night stay but plans change and Yosemite became a goal but the weather wasn't very nice, so we had to wait for it to improve.......one week and an amazing trip to Yosemite later we again headed north.  It was a long driving day, Sacramento to the north side of Seattle, but put us in good position to get on a ferry to Saltspring the next day. Which was the day our extra insurance ran out.  Phew made it!

Mary signing her first geocache find!  

The grandeur of Yosemite was difficult to capture.

Talk about a long way up!!!

The waterfalls were magnificent!

Our hosts, Jim and Mary

Mt Shasta added some more spectacular scenery to the
drive north.

Home in time for the Round Saltspring Race!
Now best get to work!  Looking forward to next season!

Friday, 27 May 2016

To Guaymas to haul Kialoa

We departed from Punta Chivato at 3pm on April 15th, the weather was fine for the 70 nautical mile overnight crossing from the Baja to mainland Mexico.  Since we only average around 4-5 nautical miles per hour our expected crossing time is minimum 14 hours with a dawn arrival in Guaymas.
It was mainly a motor across, I did try some sailing as we left Punta Chivato, but when boat speed was reaching 1.2 nm per hour the crew got restless and the motor was started!  I guess two and half days to get to Guaymas is a little long!  We had a nice uneventful night and were greeted with a lovely sunrise and a fresh breeze as we approached the mainland coast.  Sails went up and we had a delightful broad reach sail for the last two hours of the trip.  The dolphin greeting committee just outside of Guaymas harbour was icing on the very lovely cake!
Once we arrived in Guaymas it was time to get to work.  Decommissioning the boat for 6 months of storage is a lot of work.  All the canvas and running rigging must be washed, dried and put away.  Anything that might have gotten salty needs cleaning.....you can not imagine how many things might get salty on a boat......Food needs clearing out, cupboards cleaned, clothes sorted, teak oiled, engine serviced and the list goes on.
We were soon joined by our friends on Searover II and Greybeard who had also decided to make a switch from the dirt yard where we all hauled out last summer to the government run Fonatur yard in Guaymas.  The pricing was equivalent, charged in Pesos not USD, and the Fonatur has a cement yard. It is also close to downtown Guaymas and all the wonderful street food as well as many hardware and marine supply stores.  It is common practice in the marina industry in Mexico to bill in USD.  Works for the Americans but can be less wonderful for us Canadians when conversion rates are not so favorable.

One other reason we liked the Fonatur, it had a pool!  We had lots of  happy hour
get togethers after a hard day of boat work, cooling off and relaxing with the
crews of Searover II and Greybeard.  What a special treat!

This guy was out fishing all the time on his homemade craft.
His paddle was a couple of bucket lids nailed to a board.
Hard work! I think the fender tied to the side is for a little
extra stability.

Guaymas has some beautiful old stately buildings, in need of repairs.  This one
is for sale if you are interested in restoration work!
Where have all the Woolworths gone?  Apparantly to Mexico!

Kialoa being parked in her spot.

On the morning of April 26th we said goodbye and piled into the car, along with Karina from Searover II, and departed Guaymas.  We dropped Karina off at the airport in Hermosillo in a reverse of our trip down and proceded to Phoenix Arizona.