A Travellerspoint blog

Isle San Francisco to Chacala

Beautiful anchorages, more fishing, and a 33 hour non-stop cruise!

We left Isle San Francisco the next day and sailed to Caleta Partida, which is by far one of my favorite anchorages of the trip. We pulled in to this protected cove, only to find 14 other sailboats with a myriad of sizes and styles, already coved out. We pulled up and anchored in about 8 feet of water. Mountains surrounded us on all sides, and the water was shallow with a sandy bottom, and oh so beautiful. Myself and Lauren decided to take the dinghy over to the shore where it looked like it may be good fishing. I ended up spearing a good size fish that turned out to be a type of puffer, which are excellent to eat-if you know how to properly fillet them. Otherwise, you could die. Haha. We had to throw him back unfortunately. After returning to Viva, I decided to take the dinghy across the cove to one more spot that I thought may be good fishing. And was it ever. About 35 feet deep, rocks everywhere, fish everywhere, and despite pretty big waves I dropped the dinghy anchor and jumped in. Just so you know, despite being about 50 miles from La Paz, I’m wearing a wetsuit to stay warm. I located a good size Trigger which I think you all have seen photos of on Facebook. He was staring at a hole under a rock and I was right over top of him. He looked massive. Fish always look about a third bigger under water. I shot him right through the side of the face (sounds brutal but this is the proper technique) and he swam right into the hole with the spear still through his body. He was very strong and did not want to come out from hiding. This was at about 12 feet under water. It took me 8 dives to try and pull him out. I really thought I was going to have to cut the cord and lose the spear. Every dive I had to go down 12 feet, with the spear gun in one hand and try and pull that spear with the fish on it out from under this rock. On the 5th or 6th attempt, I yanked too hard and my right hand slid down the spear and sliced open my ring and pinky fingers where the spear bungees hook on to. Blood was everywhere but I wasn’t giving up. I wanted that Trigger fish! Finally, on dive 8 he came out. He swam with great intensity even with the spear still through his body. It was a tough 20 yard swim back to the dinghy, through the large waves, with at least a 4 pound fish trying to swim off the end of the spear. I made it back and got the spear, the gun, and the fish into the dinghy. I followed with myself and proceeded to pull up the anchor. Or at least attempt to. Just as I thought my adventures for the day were over, my dinghy anchor was stuck under a rock, about 35 feet down on the seabed. I motored the dinghy around and tried to free the anchor all to no avail. My only option was to dive down and free it, unless I wanted to buy Bob a new anchor. So threw the fins back on, strapped on a weight belt, and took a deep ass breath. I used the anchor line to assist my descent, and had to equalize my ears at least 4 times. Maybe 5 I don’t remember. I made it all the way down and got the anchor free and just moved it away from the rock and started swimming back up. It took about 45 seconds or so and was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I actually enjoyed the challenge.
The crew was pumped when I returned to Viva with this big ass fish. Bob said it’s the biggest Trigger he’s ever seen. Lauren filleted it perfectly and we grilled it up for dinner that evening. It was spectacular. That evening after dinner something truly strange happened. A storm cell moved in and we had thunder and lightning! It never actually rained on us, but after a beautiful sunset, watching the lightning in the dark clouds above the mountains was amazing.

The next morning we left Partida and headed for La Paz! We were to lose Chelsea in La Paz and gain Diane and Macarena. 2 new crew which would make us 6. We had a great time in La Paz, meeting new friends and going to bars, great restaurants and I got to watch 2 Chieeeeeefs! Games. Which as you know we won both. We did lots of work on the boat, turning the tool room into another bedroom, and lots and lots of cleaning. I ate authentic street tacos, amazing sashimi, and fresh fruit that was to die for. A week at the marina was more than enough, as we were all ready to leave after about 4 days, but it was nice to really get to explore the city. La Paz is not a tourist city like Cabo or Cancun, so I feel we got an authentic Mexican experience.
Viva has a transom shower that we use most of the time for our daily (or every other or 3 days :-D) showers. This is a simple faucet with a hose mounted on the steps on the back of the boat. Only the cold water faucet works, and the hot is corroded shut. So I took it apart to see if I could fix it. What a can of worms. I walked over 8 miles around town asking locals who spoke about as good of English as I speak Spanish, where the plumbing stores were. Well, I found a couple and actually found the part I needed! So I thought. As it turned out, the threads didn’t quite fit. I ended up ordered 2 brand new faucets (one as a backup) for Bob over ebay, and shipping them the Helena in New York, who will be joining us in Puerto Vallarta. Bob was sure they would be around 200 bucks a piece and I got him 2 for 33 dollars. Boom.
On our 5th night in La Paz, Bob’s best friend, also named Bob, who is the Captain of a Mystic 82, a 105 foot super yacht invited us over for “hamburgers”. We walk over to the next marina, and right next to Carlos Slim’s (richest man in the world along with Mr. Gates) SUPER SUPER yacht, was “Online”. Online is owned by a guy named Bill, and Bob is the captain and lives on it 365 days a year. Bill is a guy who when asked, “why have I never seen you in Forbes magazine?” responds, “Forbes is for people who want to be in Forbes”. He wasn’t there, but we heard many stories. Bob’s burgers (hehehe) turned out to be a full flank steak that he had been marinating for 2 days, and he served it with horseradish and roasted potatoes. As a lot of you know, I’m a pretty big foodie, and this steak gave me the freaking chills. Sooooo good. We also got to drink some Cabernet, straight out of the barrel, in real crystal glasses. I should mention that Bob is also the chef of Online. We got to go down to the engine room and look at the 2, 1500 horsepower turbo charged engines. The engine room had over twice the square footage of my sailboat. This evening was a real treat that we definitely didn’t expect.
The day we left La Paz, we first went to a swap meet where we had a shit load of stuff to sell from cleaning out the old tool room. I think Bob made 3 or 4 thousand pesos, and Seth and I bought a new hank-on drifter, 2 rope clutches, a sea-brake, and numerous blocks all for 100 bucks! Captain Bob gave me 3 rope clutches, and I’ll sell one on ebay for 150 and make my money back plus some. That’s how I roll. We left La Paz around noon, and sailed 8 hours to Los Muertos where we did a little fishing and I speared my 11th fish! Oh! And we caught our first fish on a pole trolling! A Skipjack Tuna! It was delicious! I speared a Flag Cabrilla, another “excellent” rating on the taste factor in our book. I also managed to reload the speargun in the water for the second time (this is nearly impossible) and I handed it off to Lauren and she almost immediately shot a good size Parrotfish. Her first with the spear gun! The water clarity at Muertos was as clear as we had seen so far. There were these huge rock hallways that you could swim through and just beautiful underwater scenery everywhere you looked. I can’t wait to come back with my family and close friends and bareboat charter down here for a week. Nikki, Clay, Amber, Greg, Ash, Ryan, Ashleigh, Scott, Amy, Keith, Michael, Renee, Megan, Andrea, anyone who would be down- I’m talking to you guys! Other than plane tickets, we could do it for 75 bucks a night on a boat that sleeps 12. $75 each for 7 people, so with more, the cheaper it gets! 4 couples and 2 singles would be ideal. You can’t beat it! Fishing and a new beach every day! And on a catamaran, it’s barely sailing. No heeling, steady at anchorages, and the wind on the Baja is pretty light in comparison to the Caribbean. Keep this in mind ;-)
I woke up at about 530 a.m. on the 13th to head to our last anchorage, Los Frailes, which took us about 8 hours. 8 hours is seriously such a short ride on a sailboat. I mean that not only was it only about 50 miles, but 8 hours flies by. But this 8 hours may have been the best of the trip. Banana pancakes for breakfast, dolphins in the bow waves, HUGE whales off our port beam, and we caught a freaking Dorado (Mahi Mahi) on one of the trolling lines! The book rates this on as “none better”. We filleted it up immediately and put it in the fridge for dinner. Lauren mixed up some white Russians to celebrate and other than losing our basil plant off the stern right as we pulled in to the anchorage at Los Frailes, it’s been a perfect day. I suited up to do a little fishing, but unfortunately I didn’t have any luck. My spear tips needed to be sharpened so I came back empty handed. I had a really cool moment however, when I went down to chase a trigger fish and ended up going after a flag cabrilla. I shot, missed, and retrieved my spear, and on the way up took a second to look around. I was about 20 feet below the surface and could see the light hitting the top of the ocean, I was surrounded by 2 different schools of fish and 100’s of aquarium fish. It was beautiful moment to have by myself, and mother nature as my only companion.
We met on deck at 5:45 the next morning to begin our 33 hour crossing to Isla Isabel. We double reefed the main, fired up the engine, and we were on our way. Everyone enjoyed the full day sail and we ended the evening watching "Australia" together in the cockpit. My watch was from 7-11pm and I ended up staying up until about 4a.m. due to a couple cups of coffee. I woke up around 7, and went back to sleep around 8 until at about 10 when I heard Bob yelling at me to come look at the 100s of dolphins swimming around the boat. There wasn’t another boat in sight, the water was super calm and there were easily 250 dolphins all around, with about 20 swimming right off our bow. I’m sure you all saw the video on facebook!
We arrived at Isla Isabel around 1230 pm and dropped anchor on a rocky anchorage. We attached an extra float just in case we had trouble pulling it up. We didn’t. The island was an old volcano that erupted 1000’s of years ago and left a huge crater in the middle that is now a lake. The island has tens of thousands of frigate birds, the largest concentration in the world. There are also 1000’s of blue footed boobies, and 1000’s of iguanas crawling around everywhere. Back on the beach there were about 10 fishing huts and the local fisherman that stayed there were the only humans on the island. They hooked us up with some lobsters they had caught the night before and we ate them for breakfast! We spent the early part of the day snorkeling and spear fishing the north side of the island. Lauren shot a Flag Cabrilla, and I got another Trigger Fish, Pacific Grunt, and a Colorado Snapper! Maca kept saying she was seeing these huge fish that she thought were sharks. I told her it was unlikely but that I would keep my eyes open. I was guiding Lauren over to a good spot where I knew a bunch of Snapper were hanging out, and on the way there I grabbed Lauren's ankle because I thought I saw a shark! I pointed at it and basically said "WTF is that a shark!?" through my snorkel and by the time I finished my sentence that she obviously couldn't understand, she shot the damn thing! As it turns out it wasn't a shark, and it was too big and it got away, but it still makes a great story! We decided last minute to leave the island around 2 pm, so we could get to Chacala on the mainland a little early so we could have an extra full day there. I stayed up until about 1130, and we dropped anchor at about 1230. I was out like a light and didn’t hear a thing! I woke up around 7 a.m. and looked out my portlight. Greenery, palm trees, beach, beautiful houses and beach bars were all I could see. The smell was completely different than that of the baron dessert of the Baja. Although I loved the Baja, it was refreshing to be in the tropics and see some actual plant life! There are about a dozen Tiki hut style beach bars all along the beach, and it’s mostly filled with Mexicans, not a tourist destination at all like one would expect. Diane decided to go home from here on the second day and we spent an evening at a restaurant sending her off properly. Today will be our last day here at Chacala, and we will head south for La Cruz tomorrow.

Posted by SailingRitters 10:37 Comments (0)

Timbebiche` to Isle San Francisco

Dolphins in the bow waves, dinner with good friends and service for the first time in days!

The next morning we departed Timbebiche` for San Evaristo! A little town I was very excited for because I heard you can get cell service here if you stand on the right hill, and I hadn’t talked to Nikki in about 9 days. I was pumped. It took us about 5 ½ hours to motor sail there, and we were fortunate enough to get a couple dolphins (the kind you are thinking of) swim beside us and in our bow waves! I got some awesome GoPro footage of them, and it was truly a majestic experience to see these beautiful, sweet, and playful creatures swim alongside us. We all just wanted to jump in and swim with them! I couldn’t help but think of the picture of two of my best friends, Greg and Ashlynn Stiles, that they have in their bathroom of them in Cabo (about 100 miles south of here) and the expression on Greg’s face with a Dolphin basically jumping right over them. I always laugh at it, but when you see these water mammals up close, majestic is the only way to properly describe it, and an expression of an 8 year kid old at Disney World, is the only face to make. Pure awesomeness, people.
We came around the point at San Evaristo to see A.J.’s boat anchored out, as well as a 36 foot Union cutter- a truly beautiful work of maritime history. As we pulled up to anchor, I hollered at the old salt on the Union, telling him I loved his boat, and he said thanks and asked, “where are you from?” to which I replied, “yeah! We have some rum!” Everyone cracked up because it was clear that I honestly misunderstood him over the sounds of our engine and the howling wind. Good times.
Bob told us that the last time he was here, there were only about 3 houses. Now there are about 40, a good size tienda market, and a damn good restaurant called Lupe and Maggi Maes. I immediately went to the hill to call Nikki and my parents and that really lifted up my spirits. My awesome Fiancée, giving me all the details to the Chieeeeeeeeeefs! Win over the broncos, and then the call dropped. I called back and told her thanks for all the details, I can watch the replay later- tell me about you! So we got to chat for about 20 minutes, and then I called the parents, talked to them, and headed down to meet the girls at Lupe’s. Other than the fact that they were out of ice (which we went to Viva and brought him a few bags for our drinks ) the place was a gem. As was Lupe. We had 2 orders of Ceviche, 2 orders of Sashimi (that was booommmmmb) and a total of 6 tequila and 7-ups (actually really freaking good) and the total was 530 pesos. About 25 bucks. So, since it would be another week until we got to go to another restaurant, we went back for dinner with A.J., and with Rick and Dan, a father and son who came in on a 42 foot Catalina who knew Bob. Great guys. We had a ball eating out at this tiny little restaurant, and then going back to Viva for a couple beverages and good conversation. I wish there were enough data here to post more pictures for you guys. Hell, it may be La Paz before I get this posted, so maybe some pictures will be possible there! I went back to Lupe’s again this morning and had huevos rancheros for breakfast along with some fresh papaya and fresh squeezed lemonade. I think one more visit before we depart in the morning may be necessary. We shall see. That’s all for now. I’m going to spend my afternoon reading Steinbeck in the sun, enjoying 82 degree weather.
We set sail from San Evaristo at about 8a.m. on 12/1/16. There are what looked like 2 floating UFO’s on the eastern horizon that Bob and I joked about every morning as we complained about the sun always being directly in our eyes until about 8:30a.m. while we drank coffee before everyone else woke up. As we approached the “UFO’s” on our departure, the closer we got, the more the horizon revealed of this little island, and what we thought was 2 separate islands, was actually one. It was uninhabited and small, but just on the other side was Isle San Jose`, which held our destination, Bahia Amortajada. This bay had something we hadn’t seen yet- a lagoon with a running creek that acts as the natural drainage system. The perimeter of the creek and the lagoon is filled with mangrove trees whose roots run down into the water and act as a habitat for 1000s of fish and sea creatures. It was only about 3-4 feet deep in most places under the mangroves, but it was creepy as hell. I hopped off the dingy and snorkeled over to the shore with my spear gun and shot a fish within 5 minutes. By far the biggest fish I had caught so far, and as it turned out, one of the best! Red Snapper baby! I slayed one more little guy about 20 minutes later, a Barred Pargo, which is rated “very good” for taste. About the time I made it back to te dingy and got the Pargo strung up with the Snapper, I noticed the little devils we were told only come out at night- hay-hay-nays (no-see-um bugs!) These little black bugs bite hard and leave a nasty itch. I was not risking it so we loaded up the dingy and got the hell out of there. It sucked leaving such a fantastic fishing location, especially since we are only about 50 miles from La Paz, and the further south we go in the sea, the sparser the fish are. If I get 15 with the spear by the end of the trip I’ll be happy. I’m at 7 now-4 days to go. I better get on it. We left Amortajada promptly, and motored about an hour south to Isla San Francisco. We were the only boat there until a very sleek looking motor cruiser with a 30 foot beam came in, followed by an 85 foot 50 million dollar yacht, then a 60 foot multi-million dollar yacht, then a trimaran, and a center cockpit 50 foot or so sailboat. We were excited to have company, but sometimes the privacy of your own anchorage is something to be treasured. I like it when I can pee of the stern and there is no one there to see .
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Posted by SailingRitters 07:12 Comments (1)

A few boat pics

A few pics. I'll post my latest entry tomorrow ish.

Posted by SailingRitters 12:00 Comments (0)

Loreto to Los Gatos

Fish, Clams, and an ever-changing scenery

sunny

11/20/16
It took us about an hour to motor from Isla Coranados to Loreto where we anchored just off the main port. We all hopped in the dingy with all of our trash and trolled up to the dock. Our first destination was the Ferr Mar, which is a dive and fishing shop. We took both of the spear guns off Viva that were in desperate need of new string and rubbers. The guys at the shop were super helpful and we were able to get everything we needed for about 1000 pesos- a little less than 50 bucks. I also purchased some professional dive gloves for about 20 bucks and a weight belt for about 15. The weight belt makes it a lot easier to stay under water when clamming or spear fishing. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to float in the salt water here. Even with a 5lb spear gun and 0ver 6 pounds of weights on my waist I can float just fine. When you’re just chilling and drinking a beer you can float and tread water with just your feet. It’s freaking awesome. Anyway, the girls went across the street and each purchased a new dress from a thrift store, then we went back to the dingy to return to Viva really quick to drop off all of our new gear. After that, we returned to land to go to the grocery store. There are 2 in the town of Loreto, the Ley market that is the local store and then another market targeted towards gringos that is much more expensive but probably had a better selection. We went to the Ley first to see if we could get everything we needed, and we could. We asked a couple guys in a truck how to get there and they told us to jump in the back and they drove us there! We tipped them 20 pesos, that they tried to refuse, but we insisted. The people in Mexico are so nice. It is truly incredible how sweet everyone is. At the Ley we bought lettuce, cucumbers, avocados, pickled ginger, vanilla, sliced bread, frosted flakes, jalapenos, baking soda, juices, zucchini, tomato, a few other things I’m forgetting, and 2 fifths of El Jimador tequila. Total price? $37 dollars American. Should have bought a case of tequila. So freaking awesome. We once again returned to Viva to drop off our groceries. I’ve become a pro at driving the dingy, and Bob loves it. As he says every time we learn to do something new on the boat, “Hey! One less thing I have to do!” Bob is hilarious. Always joking, always kind. I drove back to the dock again to go out to eat at the Blue Anchor Restaurant where Bob had been the entire time taking advantage of free WiFi. We went upstairs to a covered area where they had a little bar and sat down at the table next to Bob where we ordered margaritas and appetizers. I had two margs, shrimp ceviche, and a plate of mackeral sashimi served with jalapenos, red onion, and a balsamic soy sauce. 5 star delicious. I was in heaven. The view was magnificent overlooking the beach and ocean. After about an hour, Ben showed up to take us to his house to use his WiFi so we tabbed out. My total was 320 pesos. I gave her a 500 and asked for 100 back using my translator on my phone. That’s right- all that including a good tip was only 20 bucks. 2 apps and 2 margs. I love this country.
We hopped in Ben’s truck and rode about 5 minutes to his lovely home. Ben is a retired wallpaper hanger- well he owned the company and obviously did quite well because is house was beautiful. It also had no wallpaper in it. It was pretty cool to see the surrounding area packed because they were filming a movie, but it also meant that bandwidth was low so download speeds were only about 5 mbps and upload was only .19 mbps hence the absence of my gopro videos online. We got a tour of the house, picked about 15 lemons from his tree in the backyard, and then he took us to a liquor store where we picked up champagne, Grand Marnier, other margarita liquor`, and some Malibu. Mom and Steve, they had Vueve` but it was normal priced unfortunately. We went with the Asti. Then we went to a nursery where we purchased 2 spearmint plants and a sweet basil plant.
We departed Loreto in heavy winds and huge waves directly on our beam (the side of the boat). We had about an hour and a half crossing to Isle Carmen, a 20 mile long island that had a protected anchorage where we could stay for the night. The island had wild long horned sheep and we actually saw 3 the morning we left, which is rare. I got some gopro footage. The next morning we decided to head south, round the tip of the island and head back north to go to Bahia Salinas, directly on the other side of the island. There is an old shipwreck in this bay that was actually pretty disappointing, but the clamming was AMAZING. Lauren and I gathered 175 Chocolates` in about 2 hours. We had never clammed before. We would dive down anywhere from 5-10 feet and you look for to black holes very close to each other. When you get close enough, you can see the bi-valves of the clam, that are those black holes, but no sooner than you see them, they close up and disappear under the sand. So, you dig your hand down in the sand about 3 inches and pull those mothers out! I could get as many as 6 clams in one dive. It was very fun and extremely satisfying. We ate all 175 that night. They were beyond delicious.
The next day I shot another Grunt fish over by some rocks and we fried it up that night. We also collected about 75 more clams. Would have had more, but I was busy chasing Gafftopsail Pompano fish, that are supposed to be excellent. I shot one, but it didn’t penetrate and he got away. No Bueno.

The last morning at Bahia Salinas, we all got up early and went back to the lush clamming spot to load up before we left. We ended up collecting about 125 more which gave us over 5 gallons of clams. As I was diving for clams, about 20 feet from our dingy, 3 Pampano’s swam right up next to me. I popped up, yelled at Seth who happened to be in the dingy, and told him to toss me the spear gun. He made a perfect throw about 5 feet in front of me. I dove down, grabbed the spear rifle, flipped the safety off, and within about 10 seconds of the gun hitting the seabed, I turned, fired, and got my first Gafftopsail Pampano. It was one of my finest moments of the trip thus far, with the excellent assist by my brother. We ventured back to Viva, basking in the glory of all of our clams and the wonderful Pampano we would eat later that day. We showered, stowed things away on Viva, fired up the starboard engine and headed south to our next destination, Caleta Chico.
It took about 4 hours to get down to Chico, which was a tiny little cove, with room enough only for one boat, and we were lucky enough to be it. We had a little service for about 20 minutes as we were approaching, and I was able to get about 8 messages to Nikki, but unfortunately she didn’t get to respond in time. I haven’t talked to her in about a week now, which is by far the toughest part of this trip. I was also able to find out that the Chiefs lost to the Bucs. That was tough, too. The opening of Chico was to the north, which made it a little bumpy in the night, but every other side was protected by mountains or huge rocks. The rocks had many faces and a strange feel to it. But the snorkeling was fantastic, despite the jellyfish, and we were able to gather some cool shells on the beach. We had ran out of horseradish for cocktail sauce for our clams, so I drove the dingy over to a resort about a mile away and Lauren went in and got some. For free! Haha. They thought she was a guest . We also pulled up to a super yacht in the same bay and asked them first, but they said they were all out.
We stayed another night in Chico, and then departed for Agua Verde, which we were excited for because they had a couple little mini markets. By mini markets, I mean buildings smaller than the saloon of Viva, and with less food. But, we were able to reload on eggs, sugar, potatoes, zucchini, and I bought some candy to hand out to the local kids who were running around. It was quite a culture shock to see the little village, but it was very clean, it had two churches, and a school that everyone was very proud of. By the time we returned to the dingy, the waves had picked up immensely. I’m glad we decided to buy 36 eggs, because we lost nine, and our clean and dry clothes departing the beach. But, we made it back safely to Viva, and hung out with our friend A.J. who cooked a wonderful dinner of some fresh fish he had caught that day. We have cooked fish twice now in this same style: Make a tin foil boat, line the bottom with potato slices, cover those with onion slices, and put your fish filets on top. Season the hell out of it and cook it on the grill for about 15-20 minutes. The onions may be the best part! We sat and ate our dinner as we admired a 200+ foot luxury cruise ship, lit up to perfection with the mountains and the colors of the sunset behind it.
We left Agua Verde, and headed to Los Gatos, which had a whole new style of rock formation. They were big, smooth, and red. It looked as if a volcano spilled out hot lava and it melted at the base of the jagged rocks above. I went lobster hunting with A.J. for the first time, and even though I didn’t get one, I improved my diving skills, diving as deep as 25+ feet, looking under rocks for these clawless lobsters. I haven’t timed it, but I think I can probably hold my breath for about 45 seconds or so. Going down that far requires equalizing your ears at least 3 times which makes the water pressure bearable.
That evening, A.J. joined us for dinner again, and a cove a couple miles to the south that we left for at around 4 p.m. He had caught a Dolphin (not what you’re thinking) aka a Dorado, or as you probably know it, a Mahi Mahi. As our fish book describes the Grunt fish as very good, the Pampano as excellent, the Dorado is described as “none better”. We grilled it in our new favorite style and even though it was about twice as much fish as we normally have, we ate every last bite. I always say to Nicole, “I know I’m eating something truly exceptional when the flavor gives me the chills”. I got the chills more than once during this meal. Never have I had fish so delicious, so fresh.
We sat around after dinner and taught A.J. to play Presidents and Assholes, and I had to tell him that the girl who gave me the deck of cards for the trip, put together a whole little gift basket for me, and her name is Andrea Johnson, and her father Alan, goes by A.J. as well! By the way, thanks, Andrea, and on nights it’s too windy for cards, Bob has a magnetic set that we use that would be perfect for windy nights down at the Armbrusters!
In the galley of Viva, there are two sinks. One that pumps in saltwater, and one that supplies our fresh water, which we make aboard about every other day. We produce about 10-15 gallons an hour and can hold about 140 gallons. We can do this strictly on our 4 85 watt solar panels, but this is not desirable as our refrigeration system tends to lose a little power and will rise from 40 degrees to about 50. So, we invert power for charging devices, making ice, making water, and doing laundry while we are under way with one or both of the engines, or while we are at anchor with the Honda 2000 generator that is a truly remarkable source of power. One gallon of gas will power us for about 7 hours- sometimes more. Cheap energy, and its relatively quiet. Anyway, back to the sinks- the salt water sinks is used for rinsing and the fresh for cleaning. The problem with everything in a saltwater environment is that eventually, it corrodes. So one can imagine, a faucet that pumps nothing but saltwater will corrode rather quickly. After two years, our saltwater faucet finally bit the dust and we had to replace it. Seth and I went to town, taking off the old one, tag-teaming the socket wrench in tight and awkward places, and drilling new holes for old scrap plumbing parts we had to use to get the brand new faucet installed. And after about an hour, we had it working perfectly! Quite the success, and then it was time to sit and read a book- John Steinbeck’s “The Log from the Sea of Cortez”, appropriate, don’t you think?
We left Los Gatos and went right around the corner to Timbebiche`, literally about a mile away. The melted lava-looking rock was gone, but A.J. had told us we could find clams here. And we did. Not nearly as many as we did at Bahia Salinas, but enough to get a good dinner out of. My middle finger on my right hand had been sore for a couple weeks and it was finally starting to feel better. Clamming in Bahia Salinas didn’t help, I know, but since it was feeling ok I decided to clam there in Timbebiche`. Before I went out though, I decided to make a PB&J to tie me over for a couple hours. You won’t believe this shit- I f ing sprained it/reinjured it opening a goddamn jar of strawberry jelly. You can’t make this shit up. Already dressed in a wetsuit, I taped up my finger and went out. I used my left hand the entire time and was still pretty successful. I gathered about 60ish Chocolates` and 2 big-ass white clams that were at least 8 inches under the sand at a depth of about ten feet under water. I could feel the clam hanging on and digging deeper into the sand as I tried to pull it out. It was a gratifying feeling finally pulling it out. So much in fact that I tried to yell “hell yeah!” through my snorkel underwater, but couldn’t quite get it out because it took about 40 seconds or so to get that thing out of there, and I was out of breath!20161123_161306.jpg20161117_093003.jpg20161203_173301.jpg20161203_173241.jpg90_20161201_135902.jpg20161123_175601.jpg20161116_173825.jpg20161117_132454.jpg20161113_121717.jpg

Posted by SailingRitters 08:08 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Sailing, Speargun Fishing, and meeting new friends!

From Santa Domingo to San Juanico to Isla Coranados

I woke up on the 13th of November at the beach at Santa Domingo at about 6:30 a.m. which has seemed to become my normal time of rising. I put on 2 pots of hot water on the stove for coffee before going up to the deck to watch the sun rise. I am attempting to catch every sunrise for the rest of my trip with the GoPro. Captain Bob woke up shortly after I did, and it was kind of funny because about 45 seconds before he opened his stateroom door and blurted out his usual “there is some life” talking about me, phrase, he was snoring. Cracks me up! I handed him his coffee press mug and I told him I would go forward to take the bridle off the anchor chain so he could raise the anchor with the electric windlass. Once that was done we went around the point of the Bay of Conception and headed south for San Juanico, a mere 47 miles away, and one of Bob’s favorite anchorages.
I started cooking breakfast for everyone once we got underway. A Mexican version of corned beef hash and eggs- chorizo hash and eggs! Lauren was impressed and thrilled that she wasn’t the only one who could lay down a bomb-ass meal. It turned out great and I had terrible heartburn all damn day-it was worth it.
We had a great wind of about 15 knots blowing out of the north which allowed us to unfurl the genoa and increase our speed- we had the port engine running as well. Seth and I had a great idea to set up what’s called a barber hauler, which usually pulls the genoa sheet inboard to allow the boat to point higher into the wind, but since we were running downwind, we set it up to pull it outboard which allowed more surface area of the sail to accept wind and we went from hitting high speeds of 12 knots to 13.3 knots. It was a gratifying modification and Bob was impressed. He estimated 8-10 hours for the trip and we did it in 7.
Lauren busted out the ipod and asked, “Do you guys want to listen to CCR, The Eagles, or Elton John?” and Bob replied, “In that order!” which was hilarious because I was about to reply “yes”. So for the next 5 hours or so we jammed out, drank Rosetta’s (a mimosa with grapefruit instead of OJ) laid out in the sun and enjoyed the beautiful mountains of the Baja, just a mile to our starboard beam. We noticed the cruising family on “Zimovia” the 50 foot Maple Leaf monohull that we met and now know as Garrett and Nicole, and their 3 kids, Scott, Ellie, and Dee. They arrived a day after we did at San Juanico.
San Juanico is beautiful. Turquoise blue water, 3 or 4 sandy beaches and many giant rock formations, one that looks like a giant skull with only the eyes and forehead sticking out above the water. I put fins and snorkel gear on immediately and dove down to see what was going on under us. Unless you’re around rocks, there really aren’t many fish or sea creatures, but I did free dive down about 17 feet and get a clam, but it turned out to already be open, which is no good. That evening as we were having some drinks in the cockpit, one of our lines went off and we had our first fish! I travelled 2000 miles and can you guess what the first species of fish I catch was? A got damn Catfish!!! Hahaha. It was a 2lb long-barbeled catfish which is actually pretty rare and we fried that sum bitch up with some tempura batter and had it as a little hors de ouvre and it was magnificent.
Bob wanted to take us to his favorite snorkel location he has ever been to, so we hopped on the dingy and rode for about 30 minutes back to the opening of the bay where some crazy awesome rock formations stood, towering like skyscrapers made from solid granite. We beached the dingy (it has wheels) on the west side of a rocky beach and started to dive around. Seth began rock stacking. After about 30 minutes, Bob realized the waves were too big a fierce to get the dingy back in the water so we all had to lift and tow the 300+ pound dingy over a 40 or 50 yard hilly rock beach to the east side where it was a bit more calm and we were able to get out to the sea and curve back to the west to get back in to the anchorage. We needed a lot of weight in the front because the waves were so big, so I was the last one to jump in the dingy and I had to steer us back in. Using a brand new Yamaha 15 hp outboard was reassuring, but climbing 10-15 foot waves with 5 people in the boat was F ing crazy. I handled it well and got everyone back safe and sound. We were soaked and laughing by the time we were halfway back to VIVA. Lauren recorded the entire ride back on her GoPro. You can now call me,” Captain of the Dingy”.
The next day, we noticed “No Problem” and “Ally Cat”, who we were anchored with down by Bueno Ventura pull in and anchor out as well. Next came “Zimovia”, and it was just awesome to see the same people again. Ben and A.J. of the former 2 boats came over for cocktails last night and they brought us a Halibut salad that A.J. made from a Halibut he caught that day. Bomb.com. I picked A.J.’s brain on clamming, hunting for lobster, and spear gun fishing, and he offered to pick me up this morning and take me spear fishing with him. So, after a couple eggs and a cup of coffee from 630-730, A.J. rolled up and both Lauren and I hopped in his dingy and we went to the same spot we nearly got stranded at the day before. Fortunately, the waves were much calmer today and for what seemed like 45 minutes, 2.5 hours went by and I speared my first 2 fish. Besides sailing, spear gun fishing is the most fun I have ever had. I speared a Wavy Line Grunt considered to be “very good” table fare and a Mojarra Grunt, also considered to be very good. I thought they were both snapper :-D
The fish were good- nothing spectacular, but I’ll get better fish soon, I know it! They were a simple white fish, but with some peach chutney on top and some gnocchi as a side, not to mention the homemade blue crab chowder that A.J. brought, it was a pretty damn good meal.
We departed San Juanico at about 730 this morning, 11/16, and motored 4 hours and 47 miles to Isla Coranados, about 6 miles from the city of Loreto. I have 3g here and was able to talk to my beautiful Fiancée for about 15 minutes, and my pops who updated me on the CHIEEEEEEEEEFS! I’m using my phone as a hot spot to upload this and awaiting the girls to return from their hike up the mountain so we can cook up some fish tacos with the leftover fish from last night. We’ll be in Loreto tomorrow and we get to go to Ben’s house, so maybe I can upload some videos then. Unfortunately they will be uploaded to facebook instead of the blog, so keep an eye out. I love and miss everyone! Talk to you soon! Adios!
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Posted by SailingRitters 13:55 Comments (1)

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