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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ensenada to Mazatlan in pictures…

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A cruise ship looms in the bay at Ensenada

A cruise ship looms in the bay at Ensenada

from the Malecon in Ensenada

from the Malecon in Ensenada

One of many open air restaurants in the market at Ensenada

One of many open air restaurants in the market at Ensenada

a pharmacy...one of many; obviously, it's a thing to cross the border and get your drugs on the cheap

a pharmacy…one of many; obviously, it’s a thing to cross the border and get your drugs on the cheap

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

from a museum, and former jail site in Ensenada

from a museum, and former jail site in Ensenada

the doors to the cells

the doors to the cells

a hazy pic of the volcanic cones at the entrance to Bahia San Quintin

a hazy pic of the volcanic cones at the entrance to Bahia San Quintin

John communes with our dolphin escorts

John communes with our dolphin escorts

and here they are, leading us out of San Quintin

and here they are, leading us out of San Quintin

our view of Turtle Bay from the anchorage

our view of Turtle Bay from the anchorage

view of ricketty fuel pier in Turtle Bay..thank goodness for the mobile fuel panga!

view of ricketty fuel pier in Turtle Bay..thank goodness for the mobile fuel panga!

walking the dirt streets of Turtle Bay

walking the dirt streets of Turtle Bay

I must be pointing to the Slappey in the anchorage, turtle Bay

I must be pointing to the Slappey in the anchorage, Turtle Bay

great wrinkled hills surround Turtle Bay

great wrinkled hills surround Turtle Bay

the 'settlement' in Bahia Santa Maria from our anchorage

the ‘settlement’ in Bahia Santa Maria from our anchorage

we watched as Frigate birds swooped overhead, anchorage in Bahia Santa Maria

we watched as Frigate birds swooped overhead, anchorage in Bahia Santa Maria

early morning haze as we approach Cabo San Lucas

early morning haze as we approach Cabo San Lucas

and here is the famous arch at the head of the Bay

and here is the famous arch at the head of the Bay

Marina Cabo San Lucas, in the thick of it

Marina Cabo San Lucas, in the thick of it

not sure from just where the loudest music blasted....was it here?

not sure from just where the loudest music blasted….was it here?

Marina El Cid...Mazatlan, at last

Marina El Cid…Mazatlan, at last

one of the pools at El Cid

one of the pools at El Cid

watching over the harbor entrance, Mazatlan

watching over the harbor entrance, Mazatlan

waiting on the fishing boats to return to the harbor, Mazatlan

waiting on the fishing boats to return to the harbor, Mazatlan

another resident of El Cid

another resident of El Cid

...and his cousin

…and his cousin

 

…..more to come from Mazatlan, as we celebrate a new year onboard the Slappey; Happy 2015!

 

 

 

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Cabo San Lucas

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It didn’t take much time at all to figure out why most  cruisers avoid Cabo, or stay a minimal amount of time here. We got in very early, and without reservations at first, we just anchored in front of the beach for a time and readied the boat for going in to the fuel dock and marina, hoping to get a spot for a few days. The anchorage was dead calm then, but with the right swell direction, I can see it becoming very rolly and uncomfortable. As we had laundry and provisioning to do, I wanted a dock to step onto, so we called and landed a slip right away. The marina is right in the middle of the tourist district….cruise ships, condo dwellers, loud and raucous night clubs……everything to ensure that you get no sleep at night if you dare to stay there. Music blared, and I do mean blared, until about 4 or 5 AM, stopping just before the sport fishing boats roared to life and began darting out of the marina. Double Uff-da! It is very expensive, but we were prepared for that. It is also hot during the day; quite hot. Turn-on-the-fans-and-don’t-dare-close-the- hatches-hot! We did our best to enjoy it, however, and three weeks from San Diego with little in the way of civilization made that a bit easier to do. Also, having spent 5 or 6 days in Ensenada before coming here made it look even better. Cabo got hit by a hurricane, but Ensenada just looked like it got hit by a hurricane.   People have been friendly; I’m guessing this season is actually rather slow for them. There are hawkers of wares everywhere, but they are not aggressive at all; they’re usually pretty witty. We’ve eaten some good food; nice to get away from opening packets on the boat! We even had some fresh mahi-mahi, compliments of SV Lingerlonger, another Northwest boat we ran into in Bahia Santa Maria. Thanks, guys! Next time we see you, we’ll have some cilantro for you.

Next up will be crossing the Sea of Cortez to the mainland. Let’s hope for a mild passage and safe landing in Mazatlan.

Bahia Santa Maria

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Here we are about 2/3 down the outside of Baja now, with only the one passage left to go to get to Cabo San Lucas. This one was not our longest to date….it only seemed like it. We had winds and seas that Slappey tries to avoid, yet there we were, out in the middle of it. Seas were truly uncomfortable, and sometimes breaking just behind the stern (back end of the boat.)I actually poured my bottle of olive oil over the back of the boat during one hairy bit of my watch. I figured it was just an old wives tale, but John says no, it really does make a little slick behind you and keeps the waves from cresting…for a time. It may have been overkill, but it felt like the thing to do. We were being tossed around like so much Cesar Salad. The sailing was practically dead downwind, a hard angle to sail, as you have to tilt the stern out from the wind a bit, and then do it again the other way, to keep somewhat on your rhumb line. When it happens really fast, and you didn’t actually plan for it, it’s called an accidental jibe. We had three of them in quick succession. Uff da.  Dang those sophisticated chart plotters; they make you want to avoid anything that takes you away from your waypoint! We made it, though, albeit with almost no sleep that first day and night, so we were bushed. It improved quite a bit the second night. We had a bright, full moon the whole night. If only we could have had enough energy to enjoy it!

Bahia Santa Maria is a round bay with a little lagoon at one corner, though we are anchored too far out to see the actual lagoon entrance. It is also ringed on one side by those nice, bare, Spaghetti Western-looking mountains. The other side is a low beach, over which is another bay called Bahia Magdalena. On one side of that bay is the Port of San Carlos, which is probably why we can get decent internet with our Telcel stick. We were so tired coming in that I don’t think I can face leaving again for the next 2-day beat until Monday. We will just stay on the boat, read, rest, try to hear interesting things on the high frequency radio, and plot the next leg of our trip. We have a couple of neighbors today, one of whom we met in Turtle Bay. More boats may arrive, which is always entertainment. Everyone gets out their binoculars and tries to identify the boat, or the flags on the boat. It reminds me of being at my Grandparents’ house on the back porch, and having everyone turn and stare at any car that came down the driveway.

The next update should come from Cabo San Lucas, where we hope to get a slip in the marina for a few days before crossing the Sea of Cortez for the mainland.

Dec. 1st, in Turtle Bay

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Turtle Bay is about halfway between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas, our intermediate goal. We got in around 11 AM after two days of a really easy passage from San Quintin; that was also an easy passage of about 25 hours from Ensenada. We had light winds we wanted to sail some, and little swell to rock the boat. The swell did turn ugly about 2 hours outside Turtle Bay, so we got a little taste of Washington/Oregon Coastal cruising again for a time, minus the fog.  

From what we can see of the town in Turtle Bay , not having gone to shore yet, it seems to have more development than I was led to believe. We hear there are a few little grocery stores and one bigger one, plus a few restaurants, which may or may not be open. This little town makes a living from cruisers coming down the Coast of Baja, as this is a stop every year for the 100-plus boats of the Baja Ha Ha, and also every other year there is a power boat rally which is also a big one, and they stop here on the way. There are also fisherman in the area, and lots of charter fishing boats who come in.  So when there are few boats in the anchorage, the townspeople may not be manning their shops. Some of them are said to work the rally and then close for the year, as they can make enough in one whack to last them. I count about 8 or 9 boats in the anchorage now.  Yesterday, that would have included a famous Northwest boat, the pretty wooden Schooner Martha. We have been leapfrogging them down the coast, ever since Morro Bay in California. They are ahead of us now, and they left here yesterday.

Today was fuel day; this is really the only refueling stop until Cabo San Lucas. There is a ricketty, stationary (not floating) tall wooden pier which would be a nightmare to tie to for fuel, so luckily they also run pangas with a fuel tank and pump right to your boat! Not cheap, but consider the alternative! It was also shower day. We both used our little bathroom shower, cold water only, for the first time. It had always been avoided in order to keep the boat dry, and because we were not at a latitude to take a cold shower until now! We’re just barely at a latitude to do it now, in reality. A few shocking screeches later, and we were both clean and comfortable.

We will go ashore later and see what we can see. The setting itself is beautiful; the bay is ringed with those bare, lunar-like mountains. In contrast, San Quintin was a low beach, with a series of volcanic cones at the entrance. We rested on the boat, and had a very nice Thanksgiving there, as it was dead calm in the bay, and very warm and sunny. Dolphins came all the way to the head of the bay, almost to the beach!  I was equipped with my Costco Thanksgiving in a box….a pre-cooked stuffed Turkey breast with cranberry glaze, which when warmed in the oven was actually very tasty.

I don’t know how long we’ll stay here; the next leg is about 235 miles to Bahia Santa Maria. I need to gear up for that one, so we may not leave till Thursday or Friday. After that, we’re only two more days to Cabo and a short rest before crossing the Sea of Cortez for mainland Mexico, to the real hot and sunny weather we’ve been chasing.