|January 20, 2006 - Yucaipa - We arrived at mom & dads about 2:30AM after much packing and driving. Dan is going with us and he drove his new Dodge with Thomas and got there a little earlier. |
January 21, 2006 - Yucaipa - We went tackle shopping with Dan as he is salivating over catching some fish on the trip. Went to dinner with mom and dad and then when we let Lola out she immediately got skunked! The night before we leave of course.
January 22, 2006 - Cabo San Lucas - We got up early and drove to the airport, mom will drive the car back to their house. We had a mountain of luggage but were early enough that there were no problems. We arrived in San Jose del Cabo and almost escaped but the aduana wanted papers for the dog and cat. We had them but had not made copies so after some tense moments and begging he let us through. Usually we have trouble with the US Customs Service. We rented a van and started the drive to La Paz. Dan stopped in Cabo at the Costco to shop for good beef which he got although at a very high price! We ate in Todos Santos on the Pacific side of Baja, a popular gringo town with good surf, then on to the boat.
January 23, 2006 - La Paz - The boat was like we left her thanks, Marina Palmira. While we had the van we went shopping at Soriano’s and then barbequed one of Dan’s expensive steaks on board. Then after a few shots of tequila everyone except Wendy went to play pool. Wendy has a stiff neck and even though La Paz is much warmer than home it is still cool for stiff necks!
January 24, 2006 - La Paz - Anais and Wendy went to town to do a little more shopping and something mysteriously sounding like tattoo. They came back with both and stories of Anais’ tattoo. Dan and I did boat chores all day and Wendy made a great dinner of camerones a la Tonio.
January 25, 2006 - La Paz - Waiting for weather to make our crossing so more boat chores and school work. I met a Mexican who needed to work and hired him to sand the teak from the cockpit forward. Dan then grabbed a brush and put the first coat on in several years. Going to look great, of course not as good a sanding job as me esposa’s. We went to Rancho Viejo and had the famous arrechera and then of course to La Fuente’s for ice cream. We practically support La Fuente’s ourselves. We should buy into the place!
January 26, 2006 - Crossing to Mazatlan - Don’s weather sounds better today so plan on going tonight. We’ve had bad luck this year with Don’s predictions, he is based in Ventura Ca. and uses hi-band (SSB-HAM) radio to communicate all over the west. He does this as a hobby and we are all grateful for his expertise. We get his weather for the west coast of Mexico and then look out the port and hope! Anyway, while Wendy did school with the kids Dan and I put on another coat of Cetol (varnish). Wendy then stowed what she could as Dan and I got the boat ready to go. We left at six at night in order to get to Mazatlan in the morning. We had wind on the nose leaving La Paz and into the night, somethings up!
January 27, 2006 - Crossing to Mazatlan - Earlier just after dark we started seeing lightning along the coast of Baja to the south. Dan was on watch and I had reefed the sails for the night. I decided we needed to get going because these storms head north which would be towards us so shook out the reefs to get more speed. As we sat there we got more worried about lightning. Wendy did the 10PM - 2AM watch and had watched the lightning the whole time closing in on us. Dan had the next watch but I stayed up to watch the weather. Shortly the strikes started closing in on us and the wind started to pick up so we shortened sail. It came on pretty fast as we had to shorten sail again very quickly. Soon we were under double reefed main alone as the wind built to the 40’s (new wind speed record for our gauge - 47.8 kts.) and Persistence was doing over 8 kts. We had strikes all around us including one from cloud to cloud above us and I finally threw out an old battery cable attached to a cap shroud mostly to appease Dan. After an hour or so it all died back to 15 kts again but the rain continued all night and day.
January 28, 2006 - Crossing to Mazatlan - Rain all day and since we are going downwind it wants to blow straight under the dodger. Mostly mild wind all day and 15-25 by late afternoon and night. Again Wendy went off watch in rainy but mellow weather at midnight. At about 2AM I awoke to the sound of all hell breaking loose and jumped up to talk to Dan. The autopilot had decided to head upwind and had changed course as the wind built from about 15 kts. to 40 again in a matter of minutes. We wrestled down some sail and got back on course again and hung on for about two hours. At some time during this I went below to see how the off watch crew were and I was amazed that down below the motion was comfortable and the sounds of wind and water were much quieter. Up above whitewater was all we could see when the rain slowed down. Guess what, Persistence handled it like the boat she is. Wendy decided on a Kelly-Peterson and she definitely is built to handle the seas! We got into Maztlan early and got into the showers and dry land. The sun came out and no sign of bad weather. We ate dinner in town at Ceballa Redado.
January 29, 2006 - Mazatlan - Dan, I and the kids rented quad runners and went sightseeing all over Mazatlan. In Mexico you drive quads right on the highways!
January 30, 2006 - Mazatlan - Anais, Dan and I went surfing at Playa Bruja while Wendy did (yuck) laundry. The waves are okay but it is a beach break so inconsistent. I took Dan out to Isla Pajaro off of Mazatlan a half mile diving while I fished. He went under the water and I didn’t see him for an hour, I was a little concerned and grateful when he surfaced. He brought in a bag of scallops but no langostas (lobsters). By the time we cleaned and cooked up 20-30 scallops it was maybe half a cup full not enough for dinner exactly.
January 31, 2006 - Mazatlan - We loaded on a bus and went to the Centro Mercado for lunch, very good prices - $2-$3 for a big lunch. Wendy bought some Rosarios (necklaces) for luck, I guess the crossing has started giving her religion or superstition! We wait for good weather.
February 1, 2006 - Mazatlan - Wendy, Anais and I went surfing at Bruja again. Wendy came back a bright pink! We took the bus and I left my backpack on the bus trying to get the boards off. I chased after the bus to no avail and then caught a Pulmonia (a cross between a golf cart and VW). We caught a couple of the wrong busses before I saw the right one. It had made probably twenty stops since last I saw the backpack so I wasn’t to hopeful (it contained my wallet and credit cards-a lesson learned) but there it was when I got to my old seat on the bus. The bus was completely full with people standing in the aisle and my backpack took up a whole seat. Luck and the honest Mexicans were on my side! Thomas and Dan did Mazatlan together this day.
February 2, 2006 - Mazatlan - We planned our escape but when I started the engine smoke came out of the engine room! I had tightened the alternator belt during my usual predeparture routine. I switched to the spare alternator and the same thing again. Luckily there was a Mexican mechanic (Raphael) on our dock and he took the alternators to town to check them out - we won’t leave today.
February 3, 2006 - Mazatlan - First time ever something mechanical stopped us from leaving! Raphael showed up around 10AM with both alternators, his advice - don’t tighten the mounting bolt so tight it pinches the body of the alternator together - they are both all right. Phew! We couldn’t wait to get underway so we left earlier than planned but had the most glorious gennaker run we’ve ever had to Isla Isabela. It was 15 kts. And the sail was tamed for once, usually I have to continually trim that sail but not today. We had to slow during the night in order not to get in too early.
February 4, 2006 - Isla Isabela - Got in at sun up and hooked up two sierra. One got off but the other we landed or is that boated? It was a large about 5lbs. (they only get to 6) sierra. Enough for dinner for us all! We couldn’t wait to explore the island, it was once the subject of a Jacques Cousteau special and very unspoiled. Thousands of nesting birds everywhere! The frigates use this place as one of their few nesting spots and their nests are usually on trees only 6 feet high so you get face to face with the hatchlings. Such beautiful fuzzy white babies! We hiked all around the island including to the crater inland. The lake in the crater has some funky water with all the bird droppings and no flush system. We talked some with some young researchers as iguanas ran around us. I took the kids and Dan diving and snorkeling again no langostas! Lots of sea life everywhere. At one point a whale surfaced about 50yds. from the boat so the kids and I chased it around the anchorage in the dinghy.
February 5, 2006 - Mantanchen Bay - We left Isabela before sunrise in order to get to the San Blas area before dark. No wind all day so motored the whole day - but---- out around a large white rock in the middle of nowhere I decided to do a 360 to see if we could catch another sierra, as we finished rounding it I spotted a large fin on the water. It turned out to be a whale shark!!! What a wonderful sight, it is something all the cruisers look forward to seeing. It cruised with us for about half an hour at one point even touching the bottom of Persistence! We got a great picture of it skimming along with its mouth wide open coming right at the transom! The creatures are very docile, the next one I promise to jump in with. They skim along the surface taking in krill for food. They grow to 60 feet although this one was small at about 20 feet. We made Mantanchen in time to catch a ride with Cliff a local american restaurant owner into town. We ended up at the San Blas Social Club for Super Bowl. After that we explored the old Spanish Fort and church that I had seen way back in the late 60’s. It’s been restored as a tourist sight now. The old Spaniards built ships here to explore the new world and Junipero Serra started his journey from here. It was great to be back in San Blas again my old surf hangout. The waves were small but the shape was good.
February 6, 2006 - Mantanchen Bay - We hired a panga to do the jungle boat cruise. I had done the same thing seems like a hundred years ago. On the way to the swim hole we saw lots of turtles and a few crocodiles-yikes! We stopped first at the cocodrilo hatchery (why do they do that?) then on to the swim hole rope swing! Wendy was kind enough to watch the local croc while we swam and jumped. The water was very clear and clean and warm. We ate lunch there before our return. On our way back we bought the famous original banana bread from one of the probably twenty famous original banana bread tiendas!! Back when I used to surf here an american girl married to a Mexican started selling this organic bread and typical of Mexico now this is now expanded all over the bay! Dan and I went to the Corona store and he got some great deals on shirts and a backpack and cervesas.
February 7, 2006 - La Cruz - At dawn we left for the 9 hour cruise to La Cruz in Banderas Bay. We got there in time to have pizza at Philos the local cruiser hangout. I got very sick with the turistas I think from eating coconut bars in Mantanchen Bay.
February 8, 2006 - La Cruz - While I came back from death (Wendy started me on antibiotics) The rest of the crew went on into Puerto Vallarta by bus. They gave Dan the tour of town and then dinner on Vagari with our good friends Stan and Rhea at Marina Vallarta.
February 9, 2006 - Marina Vallarta - We moved into the marina so we could do laundry and provision for the next jump. We had Mcflurry’s and Mcpatatas at Mcdonalds that night, why don’t they sell Mcpatatas in the states?
February 10, 2006 - Marina Vallarta - Dan met up with a retired friend from CDF living and cruising down here today while Wendy and the kids provisioned at Walmart. That night we met up with Dan & Lorraine from Zephyrus and Stan and Rhea from Vagari at a great Italian restaurant in the marina. We shoved off for Chemela at midnight.
February 11, 2006 - Chemela - DOB!!!!! Dog overboard! During the morning we hooked a fish and while I pulled in the other lines Lola got so excited she leaped overboard. Luckily it was very calm but stopping a 32,000 lb boat isn’t easy. Dan and I looked at each other and we knew someone had to dive in - not the captain! He dove in like the hero he is while we got the boat back to him. It took awhile, we need to practice our COB skills, and by the time we got them aboard we had one shaking dog and one scratched up hero. Lola is forever banned to the cockpit on the leash underway!! Worse yet we lost the fish. We anchored in Chemela in the afternoon and took a quick tour of town.
February 12, 2006 - Chemela - We moved over to Isla Colorado for the day for diving and snorkeling. Dan couldn’t find clear water but on our way back to the boat in the dinghy I spotted a large crack in the shore cliff and asked Dan if he thought we could snorkel in there. We got Wendy and Anais and went back to try it. Anais, Dan and I snorkeled into a crack only about 3 feet across with a surge of about 2 feet going back and forth, what a feeling although Anais was a little jumpy about the whole thing. At the end there was a big opening to the sky letting in light and inside the cave were lots of bats, very cool, something I think all snorkelers and divers want to do. We left for Tenecatita Bay in the afternoon a short hop down the coast getting there early evening just in time for Dan to do a cervesa run. We caught two sierra on the way so naturally fired up the Barbie for dinner.
February 13, 2006 - Tenecatita Bay - We took our dinghy through the mangroves over to town where we snorkeled at the “aquarium” and then had lunch with our good friends Eric and Terry (and their dog Quinn) from Mija. Lunch was excellent!
February 14, 2006 - Tenecatita Bay - Valentines Day! We all had candy Wendy had brought with us and everyone exchanged candy hearts. Dan and I tried again to go diving but still no clear water. The kids caught upon school work while Dan sanded teak and I did engine maintenance. I then took Anais wakeboarding for the first time and she was able to get up on the third try. She boarded all over the anchorage. We went surfing where Anais met up with Matt from Tirama a 16 year old from Santa Barbara.
February 15, 2006 - Barra De Navidad - We moved over to the marina to wash the boat and do laundry again. We had a lot of salt built up on deck from the trip down from Chemela against the wind. What a place the Grand Bay hotel is, five star so the pools and slides are mucho fun. Anais and I start a daily ping pong routine, at least I can whip her in something! On our way back we cruised the anchorage to visit boat buddies, we talked with Alan & Margeret from Effie, he’s from Booneville and went to school at South Fork. We did dinner in Barra at The Alcatraz mmmm very good.
February 16, 2006 - Barra De Navidad - Pool fun and laundry day plus Dan and I did the check-in with the Port Captain (a big improvement over last year where it cost us $40-$100) for free, yea! Wendy and Anais shopped around town while we did this. That afternoon I met Bob Hoagin from Hoagin Sails about the new jib being too long. He took the sail and will cut it down to fit, we will send the bill on to Quantum. Anais and I went surfing in 6’ waves at Barra, sometimes I am in awe at her braveness. She gets out there and looks so small. Very fun day of surfing with the classic red sunset as we paddled in. Afterwards we ate at Bananas a great restaurant on the beach.
February 17, 2006 - Barra De Navidad - Dan leaves tomorrow -boo hoo- so the kids finished up their school work to send home to Mike (we miss you Mike) then we all went to the hotel for swimming and ping pong at the pool. We went in to Melaque for dinner but couldn’t find the right restaurant and ate a very mediocre meal. Fortunately, we found the local Bing ice cream to make up for it.
February 18, 2006 - Barra De Navidad - Took Dan to Lucy’s for his ride to the airport. He had met a couple from the boat Sandpiper (Tom & Amy) and had ended up a couple of nights here and had arranged a ride. We will sure miss his energy around here. I put the last coat of Cetal on Dan’s anchor box as a tribute. No more surf!
February 19, 2006 - Jessies B-day, we love you! Miss you! We hung out today had two for one burritos at the Sands and swam at the pool. After walking around town we picked up the sail, it fits!! The kids bought some bracelets in town then we had popcorn and a movie on board.
February 20, 2006 - Aydens B-day, we love you! Miss you too! A slow day with a visit from Gail and Houston from Blue Moon whom we had met in San Carlos last year. They dropped off clothes for us in Agua Verde that we had brought down from the states and carried everywhere. Wendy had some excellent tortilla soup in Barra, she vows to learn how to make some soon. Tomorrow we leave south.
February 21, 2006 - Bahia Santiago - We checked out of Barra and headed south with the unusual south wind (it seems not unusual to us) so no sailing. Wendy and Anais decided to tan some previously untanned areas and found out it didn’t take long to overexpose those parts. Santiago had 7 other boats in the anchorage. Last year hardly anyone stopped there, Denali and Persistence had the place to themselves. This year we heard of quite a few who stopped there. We plan on provisioning at Mexicana Commercial tomorrow.
February 22, 2006 - Passage to Caleta de Campos - Happy B-Day Faith. We miss you and love you also! A huge school of fish had taken up residence under Persistence, thousands, and a very large fish was eyeing them, we think it was a Crevalle Jack. T&A and I tried catching them but to no avail. We dinghied early to the beach and caught a taxi to Las Hadas for shopping. The Commercial is in a real mall so we did some window shopping and had lunch at the food court. We pulled the hook about 3:30PM and headed south towards Caleta de Campos, an overnight passage. Sailed out of Santiago away from the beautiful sunset and hooked up a good size fish who managed to save himself until we pass through here again. We had 10-15 kts until night and then calm into Caleta.
February 23, 2006 - Caleta de Campos - We dropped the hook at about 9:40AM the only boat here. The water is always exceptionally clear here and you can see all the fish checking out the shade under Persistence. Every once in awhile a large predator fish buzzes through, if we could just figure out how to snag one! Anais, Thomas and I took Lola to the beach and walked the whole way around. This beach feels like the South Pacific very cool! We chased crabs and threw sticks and met a couple with their kids. T & A played in the surf for hours with their daughter while I visited with them. We ended up riding over to Nexpa, the surf camp, and had lunch there. I blew it not bringing the surf boards as the surf was very good late. A left point break, many surfers staying in palapas on the beach. We’ll take a nap and head for Isla Grande tonight.
February 24, 2006 - Isla Grande - About 2 miles off of Isla Grande we stopped the boat in dead calm to transfer fuel. I looked in the water and saw hundreds of jelly fish! The kids and Wendy got a bowl while I scooped them out with the bucket. There were all kinds- string of pearls, blue flower looking ones, clear ice cube types, and normal tentaceled types. When they were in the bowl some even ate each other. The string of pearl jellies got as long as 10’, we heard they leave a nasty bite if you wrap them around a leg or arm while swimming. As we closed in on Isla Grande I started reeling in the poles for anchoring and sure enough a big strike. We started motoring in circles as I pulled on the pole, but I couldn’t get any line in and the fish felt like he was on the bottom wedged in rocks. Anais took over the pole and had the pole in a complete U-shape as we both pulled on the line, about half an hour later we pulled up a large Crevalle Jack over 20#’s. What a fight that was, too bad they are not that great to eat. The only other boat in the second cove was Star Dancer whom I had wondered about only a few days before. We met them in La Paz last year working on their generator. Ends up they sailed all the way back to SF and back here again. We went snorkeling on the coral reef and fed lots of fish although the water was not very clear. Then over to Star Dancer for munchies and friendly talk. Oh I have to mention that Lola loves to do tide pools and when I let her go she stepped on an urchin - ouch! Wendy pulled about half a dozen out and now she limps.
February 25, 2006 - Zihuatenejo - Left Isla Grande midmorning for the short hop to Z-town. Feels like home again as we spent a month here last year. We even got our old spot back in the La Ropa anchorage! We couldn’t wait to go to Any’s for those great tamales, just like we remembered. We went by Ricks bar and saw some old friends from last year. Kim and Linda from Endeavor who are heading west soon.
February 26, 2006 - Z-town - Anais talked us into a daily swim to the beach so all except Thomas swam in then we walked to the end and back. Anais jogged and swam back and got Lola and the dinghy before Wendy and I made it back! Lola is always the hit of La Ropa beach as there are many tourists who walk this beach and want to meet her. She is still limping though. The kids caught up with old friends from town and we ate dinner on the square where every Sunday is a happening. We talked to Jesse and Mom & Dad to tell everyone we made it safely.
February 27, 2006 - Z-town - We swam to the beach again and met Nacho, a raccoon type of animal, called a coati, who lives in the mangroves. We saw some when we were in the San Blas area and this one is recovering at a local hotel that helps sick animals. He lets us pet him but bites us playing around, his teeth are more like sandpaper so no blood. There are also love birds and a parrot. T&A reconnected with Megan whom they knew from La Paz last year. She’s off Seabird 5 with her dad Stan and they are heading south soon. Megan went with us to town where Anais shopped with no luck for a bathing suit. The kids along with Megan stayed in town until 10PM.
February 28, 2006 - Z-town - Did the beach swim again and back, even Wendy swam back this time. I can swim both ways now without stopping getting in shape all of us, even Thomas. Now we feed Nacho and the birds treats when we get in. Yea, I finally get the watermaker going again. It hadn’t worked since we layed up last year and we need it here in the anchorage. I had to plumb in another pump to the primary to get it to work. I checked in with the port captain, no charges again. We also got the Mex cell phone to work again. Anais has been trying to find Daniel, her boyfriend from last year.
March 1, 2006 - Z-town - Started Spanish classes with Shirley at Ricks bar then did the daily swim and Nacho thing! Anais finally met up with Daniel at the beach and then we all went to the movies together. We saw La Pantera Rosa (The Pink Panther) and had pizza after. The weather is perfect here - 85 degrees air and water! But back home the rain never stops! Talked with Cary, no water at the house and some trees have fallen across the driveway because of land movement, Dan and Bob are helping Julissa.
March 2-11, 2006 - Z- town - Every day life aboard at anchor in the most beautiful bay in Mexico! Including: Swimming to the beach as many days as possible, Spanish classes 3 days a week, laundry, grocery shopping, wakeboarding and the movies. Some new things : Lola riding the boogie board to the beach during our swim, turtles mating next to us, Anais and I surfing with our Mexican fiend Hiram at Playa Linda. The waves were overhead and Anais was brave as usual. We got the tube out and shook the heck out of the kids in the tube while the wilder ride was in the dinghy pulling them! Some biggies: Thomas got a tattoo (I’m the only holdout in this crew, I told them I would only get mine in the Marquesses!) and Anais broke up with the boyfriend by text message (she didn’t know how to say it in Spanish so she used the translator and cell phone!).