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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Sea of Cortez, #3, or We were Texans once, and young

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What’s heat to a Texan? Just the state of things and no complaining about it. I know I never complained about it. This was because we were living in the land of air conditioning. Anyone can tolerate heat in the land of air conditioning. I felt virtuous at the time for keeping our thermostat at 81 in the hottest part of the day. Here on the Slappey  in the steamy Sea of Cortez, we can only hope for 81. If we’re lucky, it will stay below 90 in the cabin. Below 90 is just tolerable, down in the cabin, with all the sun blocked by foil portlight inserts, strategically placed towels, and 4 cabin fans blowing.  Still the sweat pours. The anchorages are beautiful, but we don’t get out in them much.  We can swim when the water is clear and inviting, which it often is, but one cannot soak too long in salt water, underneath the  relentless sun. There is nowhere to hide from the relentless sun, except holed up inside the cabin.  The early morning is good for a row around in the Portaslappey. Around sunset, it’s nice to sit out and watch the light change from the  cockpit, as it is at daybreak. Other than that, not much is happening here with the crew of the Slappey. I had visions of hiking these gorgeous hills. All the guidebooks show hiking trails, and talk them up. Who hikes in this heat? Peter O’toole, that’s who….as Lawrence of Arabia. No one else. So, you cannot know what something will be like from a guidebook, or even a blog, until you get out there for yourself. Heat was the thing we came here for. Relentless sun would have been such a blessing in the Northwest. Right about now, I suffer from acute ‘Grass is Greener’ syndrome. We still have a few anchorages to check out yet, but we cry UNCLE soon. San Carlos beckons, and it’s only 77 miles across the Sea from Santa Rosalia.

Sea of Cortez # 2, or ‘Hang on Slappey, Slappey hang on.’

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So nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, and nobody expects a category IV hurricane would hurl itself towards the Baja peninsula and try to hit it in the first week of June. Still, that’s Blanca for you. After slowly meandering up the Coast from La Paz, getting a good dose of spectacular scenery, and clear and turquoise water, we pulled into Puerto Escondido last week, just looking for a bit of civilization. Lucky for us it’s also a pretty good hurricane hole. We haven’t had any internet since leaving La Paz, not even cell phone access, so our news was coming from the SSB radio. There are two morning ‘nets’ where all the boats in the area who go in for that sort of thing can check in with their boat names, crew aboard, destinations, and any questions. Both nets have weather discussions, and Blanca was becoming a thing to talk about. Still, it wouldn’t actually come ashore and threaten Baja this early in the game. No other hurricane had ever done so. We got into port and tied to a (recently replaced and beefed up) mooring ball in the inner harbor,  and promptly travelled up to the office area with the Portaslappey to find out that yes, Blanca could and probably would spin up and hit us somewhere close. That was the consensus. Oh boy. Even the famous northwest boat Jake, with Jake and Sharon aboard, decided to take their sails down. I did not want to think about taking down our sails and trying to live amongst them in the salon of the Slappey. Luckily for us, over the next several days, the likely track of the storm modified to strike not the Sea but the outside Pacific coast, and probably as a tropical storm and not an actual hurricane. As we speak, it is Monday, June 8th, and that is what has occurred over the last 12 hours. We were prepared for some feisty winds, with double lines on the mooring, all extraneous canvas and accoutrement removed or bolted down, but thankfully our sails still up and tied tight. I think we got some gusts over 40 knots, but nothing prolonged, and some rain but not even as much as we all hoped for to wash off our salty boats. It’s still gusting here in the inner harbor, but nothing scary. I’ll just think of this as a ‘training’ hurricane. In other news, it’s really hot. There are a few bees, but no giant swarms. John got stung with a few jellies, and the food situation is still good. I happen to like Puerto Escondido just fine, and so we may stay a bit longer after the storm. There are showers ashore, laundry facilities, a mini-mart, a couple of restaurants nearby, and the cute little town of Loreto we can get to by taxi (so by expensive taxi, but not too terrible if you can share the van with somebody else.)I think I count about 40 boats in the inner harbor, with more braving the ‘waiting room’ anchorage on the outside. That’s a pretty good dose of socialization. The anchorages on the way up were beautiful, but you can’t eat scenery, or talk to it. We do have a spot of internet here, but probably not enough for a proper blog post with pictures. That’ll just have to wait.