Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Still Hanging out in La Paz!

Well Jerry and I are still enjoying ourselves in La Paz. Jerry has finished hooking up the two solar panels...yeah we got more power. Thanksgiving was great fun, Jerry, I, Kate and Dan got a ride from Dario on SV Ballena to Marina Palmera where the feast was, on the way there I noticed that we forgot to pack the utensils, plates, and wine glasses, but at least we remembered the wine.  Luckily there was a little store in the marina that sold plastic plates and forks, and there were some plastic cups supplied.  The amount of food was amazing, there was tons of different salads, some different potatoes, stuffing, green been and other veggie casseroles, some cranberry sauce and twenty turkeys were prepared along with a gallon of dressing.  The only thing we did not see was any kind of yams or sweet potatoes, and with Mexico having an abundance of sweet potatoes it was surprising.  And the dessert, there was every kind of dessert you could think of, some that we tried were a black berry jello that had almonds inside, and a rum black forest cake that was to die for, and of coarse there were pumpkin pie, pumpkin spiced bread and all sorts of pumpkin.  The afternoon was full of thanksgiving cheer.

200 people at the Thanksgiving feast
We had dinner at SV Akupara one night, Kate made her mom's sausage, tortellini and veggie soup, along with some awesome bread that was fresh that day at a local panareia and I made my balsamic salad.  We had a great night, they have a nice center cockpit catch. 

On Sunday, Jerry was not feeling well, but I want with Kate and Dan  to an Art festival up at Marina Palmera and then to a Paella festival.  We rode our bikes up to the art festival which was about 2.8 miles away, it was free to enter and there was a beer and soda booth and a couple of different food booths, but since we were going to the Paella festival after, we just walked around and looked at all the booths of art, jewelry and clothing.  They also had a band that was playing (I forgot the name) with an harmonica player that was very very good.

The band at the art show
After we rode our bikes back toward town and stopped at the Paella festival.  It was 200 pesos to enter, and once in there were 14 or so different restaurants with their best paella.  The festival stated at 2pm and we didn't get there till about 4, so some of the booths were running out, and of coarse it was not as hot as it was at the beginning.  But there were still many good paella dishes, our favorite was a local cooking school, their rice was so flavorful with different spices.  There was a drawing during the event, Dan and Kate won a bottle of win a bottle of wine, but not me...boohoo.  The event was fun, they had an award ceremony for the best paella dishes along with a large mariachi band. 
My favorite Paella dish

The Mariachi Band

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Jerry has been working hard for the last two day trying to get the solar panels mounted and installed before he leaves for the States. The project has been going very smoothly, we had to get some wood and screws and bolts at the Home Depot here in La Paz. We ended up having to use pine wood when we would have liked to use oak or teak wood, but this is at great pattern for when we get somewhere that we can mount them the way Jerry would really like them to. Today will be another day of mount the panels so we can get to the wire installation part and hopefully get some power out of them soon.

Skeeters new bed...Happy Birthday Skeeter
One Solar Panel Mounted
After going to Home Depot and Walmart the last two, while Jerry goes and work I have been going with Kate and Dan on SV Akupara up to the market, on Tuesday after going to the market and filling my backpack up with lots of fruits and veggies we walked up to an American bookstore that had the new cruising guide book for the main land Mexico. Dan also directed us to probably the largest candy store in the world, it was so cute, Kate was literally ‘as happy as a kid in a candy store”, with all their excitement you couldn’t help yourself to buy something, so I did.

Cathedral in La Paz
After hours and hours of walking around La Paz, going to the Cathedral, we decided to stop and have a couple of beers at Ciao Milano and American food restaurant and bar right across from Marian De La Paz, which is where the dingy dock is. There was no one in there so we walked right up to the bar and I ordered three Pacificos, as the bartender was reaching in the cooler for them, he looked back at Kate and asked her how old she was. She told him she was 28 and Dan informed him that they were engaged, he seemed very surprised, but that gave us some good laughs, how do you get carded in Mexico with the drinking age of 18?

Last night we hosted SV Akupara and SV Lisa Maria, who had Randy and Jenny on board from San Carlos, all over for dinner. Kate and Dan brought some dorado and rooster fish, we had a fillet of dorado left and Kathy on Lisa Maria brought a Chinese salad and chocolate cake that was outstanding.
Kathy, Mark SV Lisa Maria; Jenny and Randy; Jerry; Dan and Kate SV Akupara

Today is Thanksgiving and Marina Palmera is hosting a potluck dinner at three, we are going with Dan and Kate who is bringing mashed potatoes and we are taking a bottle of red wine. It should be a great time with 200 of our closest friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Solar in La Paz!

Full moon the first night in La Paz

Well what can I say, we love La Paz, this is such a great city, and amazing city.

Jerry had the largest "gringo" large quasadilla

SOMF at anchor in La Paz
It has everything from your local 10 peso tacos to home depot and even a solar shop, MZ Solar to be exact. The amazing thing was these solar panels with controller and wire are the same if not cheaper than buying them up in the states and trying to bring them back down after having to pay the duty on them. Here these US brand solar panels have no sales tax or duty to pay, so we bought two. This is going to be a great addition to SOMF for we have been having to run the generator a lot this last month of anchoring out to keep up with the battery power used by all the things in the boat, especially the refrigerator. When we started in October the generator had 1200.4 hours on it and when we got to La Paz it had 1294.3 hours on it, so yeah we have been running it a lot. I am not saying we are complaining, it has been a blast having our friends over for cocktails and having plenty of ice without having to buy any, and being able to laundry without having to wait for a port with a laundry mat. But with these new solar panels we will be able to have an extra 260 volts of power coming into the boat when there is sun, and luckily we are in Mexico and even in the winter there is always sun.

Well after buying the panels yesterday and getting them on the boat, with about a 10 knot wind which was a feet in its own, we started trying to decided where and how to mount the panels. Dan from SV Akupara had some advice about mounting them with rail mount that he used for his, so we went to Lopez Marine shop, which if you don’t mind paying the higher prices has everything, got a couple of rail clamps and a gasket for the wire to go down through the deck to the batteries. The panels will be mounted to the rails in the aft deck one on each side. With a few other thoughts about what we need to start the project from Home Depot, we decided to take a brake and play a couple of games of cribbage. After Jerry kicking my butt on two games we went to dinner with Dan and Kate on SV Akupara, which we were so happy so see again after they left us in Escondido. We were going to go to this taco stand that they knew about, but with this being Mexico and I guess last Saturday was a holiday for them, it was not open, so we decided to go to Mr. Azucars which Jerry and I had gone to last time we were here with Steve from SV Liquid 8. After having a great dinner and catching up on the last week of their travels and of course the shot of tequila that you get after a meal no matter what time of the day it is, we came back to the boat.

Kate, Dan, Jerry and the owners of Mr Azucars
About 3am I heard sound like the anchor was pulling on some rocks, when up to check it out and realized the snuber and the safety line on the chain by the windless had fallen off. And La Paz being known for the “La Paz Waltz” because the current is so strong in here, every time we swung around I was hearing the chain being pulled on the windless. Jerry saved the night and everything was nice and peaceful again.

Today we are going to go to the open air market which is supposed to have great produce and meat, then off to Home Depot for parts for the solar panel project and then to Wal-Mart for a few items including a new bed for Skeeter, after a 1 year of cruising with all the salt water it is time for a new one, plus he deserves it since his birthday is the 24th… Happy Birthday Skeeter!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This is an old post...I am not sure what happened...But Go WSU Cougars!

Well it is 10am on Sunday the 14th and Jerry and I are motoring out of Puerto Escondido heading south to Agua Verde.  This morning I got some great news...the Cougars beat the Beavers 31 to 14...Go Cougs!  Steve from SV Lilly is a cougar alumnie and so is his son, and in true cougar fashin they had their WSU flag flying high on their mast. 

Our trip should take about 4 hours, SV Escape left about 20 minutes before us so we will see them down there.  I need to go and put our fishing poles out.. Here fishy, fishy!!

Going to La Paz!!

Sunday November 21st

Well after a very rolly night of the swells hitting us right on the beam Friday night, we again decided to pull up anchor and leave Isla San Francisco without going to shore for day two. We were disappointed that we were not able to go and explore the Island; we have heard that it had many outstanding hiking trail.

rough seas for this yacht going north as we left Isla San Francisco
Caleta Partida Anchorage
Oh well it was off to Caleta Partida which is an anchorage on Isla Partida 28nm. It was a great motor down, we did not put up the sails due to it being only 4 hours down and with the wind in front of us it would have been a lot of work. This is another one part of the Natural Marine Park system and I was not sure if Skeeter could go to shore, so we enjoyed a nice calm evening on the back of the boat having pork chops and watching Chuck while we were making water. About 10pm the wind started to pick up and so did the swells. We were getting swells from the bow and from the beam, oh yeah we were bobby horsing and rolling from side to side. So in Los Gatos we were rolling from side to side and in Isla San Francisco we were getting hit head on, and now in Partida we were getting hit by both. We were both ready to pull anchor and head 21 nm to La Paz. What we thought was going to be a rough ride because the wind was about 20 knots from the west-southwest ended up being a very calm and enjoyable trip.

About to enter Canal de La Paz
We are anchored now, and I am going to take Skeeter into shore, since he has been such a good boy without being to land in 3 and half days.
Can we go to shore yet?

Isla San Francisco!

Friday November 19th,

Well again due to the weather patterns that are headed our way we decided to pull up anchor and head over to Isla San Francisco which was 38nm south on our way to La Paz. On our way we go through what is called Canal De San Jose, which goes between Baja and Isla San Jose. This is heard to be great fishing throughout the channel, well we had no fish but we did see dolphins and a lot of Manta Rays jumping in the water.
We had a hitchhiker with us!
Again this anchorage was beautiful, pulling in there were 3 other sailboats along with motor yacht Eliana. The water was so clear; I almost think it was clearer than in Agua Verde. After anchoring Jerry went in the water to check on the anchor to make sure it was set, talked about going to shore, but due to this being part of the National Park system in Mexico we were not sure if we could take Skeeter to shore. After a couple of games of cribbage and dinner which was the rest of our dorado, we decided to watch some TV while the generator was on for the water maker and that we would go to shore tomorrow.

Los Gatos!

Thursday November 18th,

Well we pulled up anchor at Bahia Agua Verde around 8:40am this morning, we were going to stay another night because it is such a great anchorage, but after listing to the weather on the SSB we decided to get a move on south before winds start to pick up like Don on SV Summer Passage was saying. We had a great motor sail down for 18 nm to Los Gatos, which is one of my favorite anchorages be have been in. On our trip down caught and released the smallest skipjack tuna I have ever seen, I don’t even know how it got hooked. We also caught and kept a dorado, it was a female but it was about 8-10 lbs and since we have been good and have released two smaller females, we thought we could keep this one, now we just have to release the next two females that we catch. Yeah we caught some fish…yummy lunch today!

When we pulled into the anchorage around noon or so and the swells were really picking up from the east and we started rolling pretty hard. We were able to drop the hook and start fixing that fish lunch, there were only some kayakers on the beach. Later that afternoon two other sailboats came into the anchorage, we were not able to go to shore, because it was two rough to get the dingy motor onto the boat.

Sunset in Los Gatos

Watching the moon rise

We are thinking of staying another night here in Los Gatos, so hopefully we will be able to go to shore and explore tomorrow.

Bahia Agua Verde!

Thursday November 18th

Well we made it to the beautiful anchorage of Bahia Agua Verde in about 4 hours we had a great motor down on Sunday the 11th. There was not a lot of wind so we did not try to put our sails up and focused more on fishing. We caught and released another small female Dorado and lost what I think might have been a male dorado..oh well. Agua Verde really means beautiful green water, and also has spectacular surroundings. When we pulled into the anchorage it was just SV Escape and us. Later that afternoon SV No Problem pulled in along with Motor Yacht Eliana, which by the way is going to be the next boat that Jerry and I cruise on.

motor yacht Eliana
While are time there I went snorkeling with Becky and Kelly, all four of us walked through the small little fishing village and stopped at two of the small tienda’s, in town there is also two churches and a little school.

Roca Solitaria, Jerry and I fished around
As always we had some awesome dinners, one in particular were some Chocolate clams that were steamed then cut up with potatoes, onions, cheese, bell peppers, and them wrapped in tin foil and grilled…Yum Oh. Jerry and I had these in Bahia Concepcion with Dan and Kate, and I have to say Becky did a really good job. We had many other great nights of drinking and eating; Hogfish and Snapper that Kelly speared were also some good eats. On Wednesday Miro and Dasha, who were from the Czech Republic that were living a great live of traveling in their van and just living their dream, took Jerry, myself, Kelly, Becky, and another lady off of SV No Problem along wish Skeeter of course up to see the cave paintings found from previous inhabitants.

Miro and Dasha
Walking through the palm trees up to the cave

The ancient hand paintings

Skeeter and I ( this is right off the beach from the cave paintings)
Jerry and I had a toss up whether to go back up to Puerto Escondido with SV Escape to go watch the Baja 1000 races in Loreto or to just keep heading south. After much thought, because I am sure the races were a blast, we decided to keep heading south since that was our plan and goal all along. We still want to be in La Paz by Thanksgiving, and now Jerry found out that he will be flying back to Stockton in early December because his son is getting married. Congratulations Jeff and Jen!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More fun times!!!!

Well we are getting ready to leave in the morning to head south, next stop Bahia Aqua Verde, which is 23nm south. Just wanted to tell everyone what we have been up to these last 4 days here in Puerto Escondido. Wednesday and Thursday Jerry and I just hung around on the boat going to shore with Skeeter to run and play. Jerry had Mark from SV Orchid over to help clean the bottom of the boat, the barnacles were starting to get pretty thick so it took him many hours, but it got done and we much appreciated it. Kate from SV Akupara was really sick for the whole time here so she did not get off her boat much, we walked up to the store with Dan a few times to stretch our legs and get some provisions. On Thursday the Hidden Yacht Club here in Escondido played Mexican Train Dominos which was fun to watch, I got there late so did not play but still fun.

The boys cooking!!
That night we invited Kelly and Becky over for Jerry’s famous and delicious Camarones a la Diablo.

Friday Jerry, myself, Skeeter and Kelly and Becky from SV Escape walked up the canyon, which is known as Steinbeck Canyon. Last February when Jerry and I were here we did the canyon, but it was bone dry, so we were hoping that there would be some pools full, but unfortunately there was still no water. This time Kelly took us farther than we went last time going through some harder areas and small holes. Skeeter was able to make it almost the whole way with some help from Kelly and myself. It was fun to see all the large pools, or what should have been pools up farther in the canyon. Becky and Kelly were here last October and said that the pools were all full, so it looked different for them with no water in them.

very little water left

another dry pool
 Then later that night SOMF hosted another little get together with SV Akupara, Kate was felling better so she got to come, SV Escape, Kathy and Steve from SV Lilly and Mark from SV Orchid for a fun night of appetizers and cocktail. I attempted to make empanadas that I had a recipe from a cocktail party book that I had, well after three hours to make a 30-minute dish they were ready and edible. To say the least it was another great party. Today was a lazy day, walked up to the store with Kate and Becky while Jerry helped Kelly put his bow pulpit back on. Then I made some spaghetti with the left over filling from the empanadas that I made the night before, and have to say it was much better today. Tonight we are having Kelly, Becky, Dan and Kate over for some burgers and margaritas, it has been so much fun going to anchorages with the four of them, unfortunately we are going to have to say are goodbyes soon cause we are all going to be going our separate ways. I am sure glad Jerry and I got the chance to meet such amazing people, but that is what this cruising life is all about, and we love it.

Kathy, Steve, Kate and Dan

Jerry and Mark

Dan and Becky

Kelly's spot on SOMF
We will be heading out of Escondido in the morning sometime, not sure when we will have internet again, but will be sure to update our adventure when we do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Puerto Escondido

lovely sunrise from San Juanico
After we left San Juanico around 8:30am on Tuesday we arrived in Puerto Escondido 3:30pm.  It was an nice easy 38 nm motorsail south with the winds picking up to 12 knots in the afternoon.  As always we fished all the way but nothing, not even a bite.  When we arrived SV Akupara had already been moored for 2 hours, and we followed SV Escape into the anchorage.  After having Dan help us with the mooring ball, Jerry went to shore to pay and to get the internet code, and I kayaked over to SV Escape to start cocktail hour with Becky.  Kelly and Becky invited us and Dan and Kate over for fish dinner, it was the sierra that he speared back in San Juanico, and boy was it yummy.  There was some big news of the night, the night before Dan proposed to Kate, and she said yes...so congrats guys. 

Puerto Escondido Anchorage and Mooring Field
dingy ride back from shore
Today Jerry, Skeeter and I went to shore to meet Dan and walk up to the little store 1 mile up the road to get some provisions.  It is a beautiful anchorage, protected from most all wind directions which is good because we heard on the net this morning that there might be some heavy winds comming in the next couple of days.  So we are not sure how long we will be here, but we are enjoying every minute of it.

Caleta San Juanico

view of anchorage from SOMF

Well we ended up staying in San Juanico 4 day just because it was such a wonderful anchorage.  We arrived on Thursday the 4th after a kind of rough day of cruising.  We ended up hooking 3 skipjacks but released them all due to that kind not being very good eats and that they are really bloody, then we got two of our fishing lines really tangled and after trying to untangle them for about 45 min we gave up and cut the line to start over.  And of couse the swells were getting larger as we got closer to the anchorage and we hooked up a sailfish, a very large one at that, and when we slowed down the motor the swells hit us right from the beam, our two 5 gallon jugs of water broke in the aft cabin, and we ended up haveing to cut the line from the sailfish, so needless to say it was an exciting fishing day, but unsuccessfull for keeping anything.  We pulled into the beautiful anchorage around 3:30pm, dropped the hook and Dan and Kate from SV Akupara came over to help us put out a stern anchor because the anchorage was a bit rolly.  After all was said and done, Skeeter and I jumped into one kayak and Jerry in the other and went to shore to play some bocce ball on the beach with the other cruisers. 

The next morning after I made an awsome frittata, Skeeter and I went to shore on our kayak and Jerry started the watermaker to make some fresh water since we lost all of ours.  On Saturday after lots of snorkeling and diving we all went hiking on the trail around San Juanico. 

view from the top of the hill

That evening we had Kate, Dan, Kelly and Becky over to the boat for dinner, which they all caught and cooked, and some much needed "Pain Killer" cocktails that Becky had the recipe for from the Caribbean.  Kelly speared a grouper, and Kate caught another grouper while Dan caught a trigger fish...all I can say was we had a feast, oh yeah, I made a great salad.

On Sunday was another beautiful day of snorkeling, diving and playing on the beach, that evening we all had a bonfire and roasted hot dogs, I made a pasta salad and Becky made the most amazing ceviche, it was a great night of laughing, singing and playing with hermit crabs...yeah I said it, playing with hermit crabs. 

On Monday a lot of the other boats head south to Puerto Escondito, while Jerry and I stayed one more day in San Juanico.  On shore there is a cruisers shrine that has momentos from cruisers from years past, so of course we had to leave a plastic scull head with our names on it.

The next moring after the net Jerry and I pulled up anchor and headed south to meet up with everyone in Puerto Escondito.