Welcome All,
Follow us as we sail Bullwinkle, our Westsail 32, south to California, Mexico, out to Hawaii and back home to Seattle.

Friday, March 29, 2013

//WL2K /March 23-28, 2013

March 28; Santa Domingo Bahia Concepcion
Today we went to Santa Domingo, a small 'bay' at the opening of Bahia Concepcion, to do some beach combing; good shelling. On the ham net this morning we heard from Marlene of Domiana. They were anchored in Santa Domingo, so we were excited they were going to stay long enough for us to get up there and catch up. I wanted to get into the little tienda prior to our departure in case we changed our mind, which we often do, once we got to Domingo to go further north vs. coming back into Concepcion (once we were done shelling.) Unfortunately that decision made our departure at least an hour behind when we said we'd be to Santa Domingo and Domiana had to head north to catch her sailing partners before weather turned. We hope to catch up with Roy and Marlene closer to Santa Rosalia.
The shelling was a complete success in terms of finding what we were looking for; nautilus buttons. Of course that's our name for them. Not sure of their actual name. As soon as we got off the dingy we found handfuls of them. Ed said there were so many it wasn't fun. We spent hours exploring. There were hills of boulders surrounded by layers upon layers of ancient shell.
Back on the boat Ed wanted to go ahead and push north because it seemed the wind had subsided. But as soon as we said that, it picked up and small white caps outside the bay could be seen. Based on the fact that we'd be heading straight into them and its expected to be higher teens over the next three days we choose to stick with the original plan; come back into the bay and just relax. A very comfortable sail all the way back to El Burro.
Still no cell/internet of any kind.

March 27; Playa El Burro, Bahia Coyote in Bahia Concepcion
Left the boat around 7:30ish for the hike to the bell rocks. Right at the start of the trail are the petroglyphs. Really enjoyed checking these out and trying to find as many as we could. 

Three quarters of the way up the trail I'm drenched in sweat; totally soaked. Initially the trail is almost straight up on what looks like a rocky wash. I decide that I'm not getting much enjoyment out of it, so Ed goes on and I head back down to play amongst the rock drawings. Once he hits the switch backs, he makes it look easy, reaching the top quickly, making a video of the 'bell rocks'. Boulders filled with so much iron that when you hit them with another rock, it sounds like hitting a dull bell.

 Afterward we walked the beach and Ed introduced himself to 'Geary the weather guy' who has a home here not ten feet from the water. He does the weather via ham radio for all the cruisers; very helpful. Back to the boat for a siesta and then to Isle Coyote for some snorkeling. A bit chiller further out in the bay and not a lot of fish to be seen in the shallower waters; giant angels, many small rays and the standard smaller fish.

Back to the boat, cleaned up and into Bertha's for some dinner. Delicious. As we ate we watched a game of volleyball-no hands volleyball. Great enjoyment and honestly wow, they were good. Must have been soccer players!

March 26; Playa El Burro, Bahia Coyote in Bahia Concepcion
Motored two coves over to El Burro hoping to check out the Amerindian petroglyphs. We slept in and took our time getting around and by the time we anchored it was to hot for me to do a hike. No wind and many bobos; irritating little insects that won't give you a moments peace. Once we put up the sun shade we got in the water. It was actually very comfortable and both Ed and I swam for a long while, got out, sun dried and got back in. There are a lot of campers on this beach, and palapa homes, along with a ton of ski-doers. This evening under a full moon and clear sky we are listening to competing music and really bad karaoke.  The Mexican families come to the beach and set up their tents end to end back to back on the water front. Big families and lots of laughter.

March 25; Mulege
Dingying up to the beach this morning we noticed that the beach is getting busier. We thought it'd be emptying out after the weekend. Pat pulled in at 8:30ish this morning to give us a lift into Mulege which lies about 12 miles north. We mentioned how much busier the beach seemed and he reminded us that Easter weekend was coming and said the beach will be packed. Rides will be set up and there will be lots of celebrating.
Very hilly country through here and not much more than Cardons...until of course we get to Mulege. It is an oasis of green. The Rosalita river runs through the town out to the sea and creates a jungle of palms. Having had a hurricane just three years ago, the water from the river virtually wiped out everything in its path taking many buildings in the valley. Not deterring anything, a fancy resort popped up right in the flood zone with litter from the hurricane still visible all around. Visited the mission which was built in the 1700s. So cool inside you'd think it had air conditioning. Large ex-pat community here and they have helped the community bringing in a couple of fire trucks, an ambulance and helping the schools. Picked up breakfast at the town center fish taco stand (Ed said not as good as the one he found in La Paz) and lunched at Dunnys. Picked up some fresh groceries and took a taxi back to Playa Santispac.


March 24; Playa Santispac, Bahia Coyote in Bahia Concepcion
Dingyed in for breakfast to Ana's, which is now Lupias. Lupias holds church services on Sunday mornings, so we walked over to the pulapa bar. We waited an hour for our breakfast-which was delicious-watching other gringos drink with theirs. I guess 10a isn't that early. Afterward we beach combed (not much in the way of shells) and checked out the surroundings. Went to Lupias for dinner and met another couple that now have a home in the next cove over. Pat offered us a ride into Mulege, the town about 10/12 miles up the road, in the morning. We accepted happily.

March 23; Caleta San Juanico north to Bahia Concepcion
Last night we spent a rolly night at the southern end of Caleta San Juanico after sailing from Isla Coronados. And that was with a 'mild' southerly. It was too windy and rolly to get off the boat and check out the beaches; which was fine as I hadn't been well all day having caught another mild sinus cold of some kind. We left at dawn this morning to be sure to catch the southerly coming today as to get some sailing in heading north (saving fuel) and trying to get to a good spot for some northerlies that are supposed to start tomorrow and run for about three days. I'm very disappointed because I really wanted to do some beach combing here. This area is supposed to have a lot of obsidian, which I really wanted to pick up for our rock-hound Isaac. Hopefully we'll find some at our next stop which is 12 hours away.
We saw a couple of Blues and small pod of Mink whales today. One Blue getting closer to the boat then any so far. Arriving in Bahia Conception, it was a bit to windy for Santa Domingo (good beach combing) so we went on to Bahia Coyote anchoring at Playa Santispac at about 6:30p. We haven't seen this many boats in one spot since La Paz. Many campers on the beach. We'll dingy in in the morning but tired this evening. We'll have dinner and listen to a little Jack Benny for a laugh.

Friday, March 22, 2013

//WL2K /Anchored Caleta San Juanico

We moved north about 14 miles today, up to Caleta San Juanico a cove on the Baja pennisula. Light SW winds until we got anchored up then 12-15 ESE winds into the anchorage....a bit rolly. Tonight the wind is directly from the west, right off the beach at 12-15. Hopefully it will die down a bit so we can comfortably explore the beach and surrounding hills.
posted by radio

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Isla Coronados; March 20

First let me shout out to the sista-HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRISH!!  Hope you're having a great day.
From Ballandra yesterday we came to Isla Coronados.  It was blowing hard as we got closer to the point to come into the cove so we decided to anchor on the southern side until this morning.  So far a great day with a hike part way up the cinder cone.  White sandy beaches broken up by rocky areas that are supposed to be good snorkeling.
Just another tequila sunrise

White sandy beach

Found a wasp nest on the trail

Where's Waldo?

Here he is...he would not move.  We
gave him a wide birth.

We ended the day with cocktail hour(s) on L'Ange, John and Mitsy's boat, who we met in Costa Baja.  Joined by Dale and JoJo from La Buena Vida it was a very fun evening.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

North to Isla Coronados

March 18; Puerto Ballendra
Ed took in a couple of hikes while I combed the beach for anything cool. I came up with a fairly large paper nautilus. Come to find out they're very hard to find and the size I got is rare! Sweet find. I'll let you look up what a paper nautilus is – not even sure of it's official name. Tomorrow we're headed to Isla Coronados. We're going to meet up with some friends say hello and stay the next day as well-more northerlies, but not too strong.
Paper Nautilus
March 17; Isle Carmen, Salinas and around the island to Puerto Ballendra
Sailed to Salinas, temp anchored and walked into the salt ponds (after Ed took a back end into the drink when a wave came up behind the dingy as we landed and were getting out.  I laughed all day-him, not so much.)  This place looked like snow and ice. It was very cool to see. No longer a salt mining area, everything has been left to rot.
A chunk of salt

We spent the rest of the day sailing over to a cove called Puerto Ballendra. We had to round three points and we hit 7 knots...that's fast for our boat. We haven't sailed like that since our first time out of La Paz.

March 16; Isle Carmen Punta Colorada
Decided to hang in seclusion, get some down time and continue whale watching and reading.

March 15; Isle Carmen
Anchored at Punta Colorada. On the sail over we whale hunted and found two giants-Blues. Something to behold even from the distance we were they looked like giants. There blow is so high it can be seen a few miles away! Awesome.
Really good snorkel spot. It was so warm we couldn't wait to get in the water, although still chilly so still using the wet-suits.

March 13; Puerto Escondido to Honeymoon Cove; Isle Danzante
The car people forgot about us and couldn’t come pick up the car...Mexico. Ed had to bring the car back and then they drove him back to the port. We did not get off the ball until about 1p.m.
Anchored just across the water in Honeymoon Cove. Great anchorage with good hikes and beautiful vistas.

March 12; Loreto
The car was delivered at 9 this morning and we loaded it up. This port is out of fuel so we have to bring in the gas jugs, fill'em up, bring them back to the boat fill'er up and repeat. Also loaded our rubbers so we don't get soaked this time going back to the boat.
Loreto was a nice little town. The drive was scenic along the water. It's historic district (primarily one street) is cobble stoned and lined with trees that arch over it. The main square is charming, having the mission that was the head and start of all missions along the Baja and (now) state of California coast. The museum at the mission was nice but, of course, only had a portion of the information in English. So, not knowing the history, I have no idea why the Jesuits were ousted and replaced by Franciscans. One can only figure they fell out of favor with the church...
Although lovely, I would have, in hind sight, preferred to go to the mission in the mountains.

Stopped at the supermercado to pick up groceries and headed back to the boat with what I guess was a migraine. And not being able to go straight to sleep – meaning we had to put on our rubbers, unload the car, load it all in the dingy, unload it from the dingy onto the boat...I've never had so much pain in my head – ever! It hurt so bad it made me physically ill. What really took the cake is that the water was so calm we needn't have bothered with the rubbers.

March 11; Puerto Escondido
Blue skies, sunshine and times of very calm waters. Went into to the offices to rent a car, did some laundry while up there. Grabbed a couple of new (old) movies and got soaked coming back to the boat. The wind picked up a bit and literally soaked us. Watched movies and read. That's it!

March 10; Puerto Escondido
Blue skies, sunshine and windy. The winds started about 5 this morning; about 20 knots. Not bad (comparatively) but I won't be heading in on the dingy (Ed might.) Today ended up being movie marathon day. We watched a season and a half of Foyle's War, read and kept an eye on the dingy. That's it!

March 9; Puerto Escondido
Blue skies, sunshine and calm waters. After breakfast we headed in to do another hike. We side stepped our route to check out the abandoned buildings all over the port. There are streets laid out like they were going to build housing at one time – it really must have been something when it was first built. We went by the API building where the cruisers have their pot lucks and where you can check out DVDs and books. Great collection; we'll be watching Foyle's War when the blow starts (yes Cathy, I'm through all of the movies you (and Molley) brought!) We then checked out the small beach behind the building and got caught up in finding a particular shell that I need. We actually spent a couple of hours doing that so we didn't end up doing a hike. Stopped by the small tienda to pick up a few things and they had a brick of Tillimook aged white cheddar-yummm. Ed was concerned it was too much cheese. Got back to the boat and sliced up an apple and we ate one third of the brick with it...too much cheese – HA! The rest of the afternoon was very relaxing and laid back with the exception of some frantic Mexican chatter on the radio. A lady sounding like she was in great distress needing help. My heart was sad for her. Sometimes it doesn't matter what language is spoken, the meaning is clear.

March 8; Puerto Escondido
Woke to a quiet morning. No movement at all last night. Sunrise gave the most spectacular colors on the mountains and with the clouds, made for some good pics. There are clouds moving high over the mountains but dissipate as soon as they move over the peaks. Very cool to drink my tea and watch how they shape.

Hiked into Steinbeck Canyon up a very rocky wash. On our way out to the highway (canyons on the other side and a mile+ from port) we hitched a ride with a Vancouver native, Dick, who lives in a small town near here in winter. He said we will eventually hit a solid rock wall but ”if you hunt around there is a small cave with a way to get up to the other side and that's when the really good stuff starts.” Well we hit that wall but his cave hole had a big boulder in it. Someone, however, had tied up a knotted rope and bolted a ladder to help get up over the giant boulders. Ed got up there but when I tried, fear took over and I couldn't go further. Ed said that he thought I could get up, but coming back down would have been a problem because you have to look straight down over the boulder somewhat blindly. So we enjoyed our snack bars and headed back out. There was a small trickle of water coming out of the mountain creating little pools of water that the butterflies and wasps used as watering holes. Very warm hike, but the breeze through the canyon helped cool us. We stopped at the Medelorama (similar to a 7-11franchised out by the beer companies) for some fresh fruit. Grabbed a 'pop-sickle' on the way out only to find out it wasn't mango, but frozen eggnog (no labels; homemade.) Ed enjoyed his, me not so much. On our hike back to the port, Nancy and David pulled over to give us a lift. They hail from Australia and plan to live on their boat. Spent the rest of the afternoon listening to frustrated boaters on the net. This is not a very well run port; we've heard that what workers remain are overdue for pay.

This evening brought the start of some winds. It would be howling one minute and die to nothing the next. Sunday and Monday are supposed to be the big blow.
Couldn't get a car for tomorrow, so we'll do another hike and try to get one on Tuesday. We'll need to haul our jerry cans as they have no fuel here and don't expect any for at least another week (or more.)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

//WL2K /Heading North toward Puerto Escondido

March 7; Agua Verde to Puerto Escondido
Because of another forecast three day blow, we decided to pull anchor after our cuppas. Agua Verde is open to the north and the forecast is for increasing winds today/tomorrow and sustained through Sunday. I have no desire to be fighting it as we did in San Everisto, so we went straight to Puerto Escondido. We do hope to come back and explore Agua Verde. Only one small whale blow and fluke sighting today. So many more islands up in this area. It is truly gorgeous. If I were to 'season' in the Baja regularly, I believe I would do it here vs. La Paz.
Puerto Escondido (hidden port) was built around 2003/4 and obviously very nice at the time. It is completely hidden by the landscape. In the time the actual port was built, they had over 100 mooring bouys. Now, not so many and very few are set up properly for use. After calling the port and verifying that we could take any bouy, and then calling again to verify what bouy we took, when we went to register we were told we have to move. The bouy we were on was for big boats only. Very elegant bathrooms/showers make you think you're in for a treat, but there is no hot water. So we'll stick to our warm cockpit showers! There is supposed to be good hikes including one through Steinbeck Canyon, which is the area Steinbeck wrote about in his book 'Log of the Sea of Cortez'. We'll also rent a car and head over to Lorato for a day visit.

March 6; Los Gatos to Agua Verde
Woke to overcast skies but comfortable temps. By the time I had my tea brewed all but one boat had pulled anchor. Chatted with Jeff and Harmony on Serenity as they fished for their dinner. Young couple enjoying Cortez before heading south to El Salvadore. After breakfast we pulled anchor and headed up to Agua Verde. What a great day- not far out of Gatos we saw several whales. Motored to where we thought they were headed and cut the engine. We were all alone on top of the sea with no wind. Nothing could be heard but the blow of whales. Massive blows. At one point we were in the middle of a triangle of them-although none 'close' to the boat. It was so cool. We were sure they were 'Blues' because of their size and dive sequence. All were grey in color and we could tell they were of the Rorqual family. I barely caught a picture and that ONE was not great, but magnified we could see that it had a slight hook to the small fin located far down on the back. This slight hook made us think it was either, Fin, Sei or Byrde (but not Mink because there was no white.) But another set of pictures looks like we did see some Blues. You decide (once we get the pics up.)
The magnificence of the Sierra de la Gigantas mountains is well...magnificent. The layers of colors, the size...truly a site. I told Ed that I thought this must have been what it was like when the Grand Canyon was full of water! Except of course only on one side ;).
Agua Verde is a beautiful spot. Unfortunately the overcast skies didn't allow for the turquoise of the water to come through. As soon as we anchored we donned our wetsuits and took a dive (yes, the water is still very chilly.) Ed purchased a pole spear before we left La Paz and he decided to try it out. At this point the fish have nothing to worry about.

March 5; Timbabiche & Los Gatos
Rose early to leave the channel in calm seas. Headed to Timbabiche in Bahia San Carlos. Very mild breeze leaving the channel - just enough to keep it cool, then flat calm and it warmed up quickly. The dolphins were back swimming with the boat. Such a site to watch them under water at the bow. Saw one manta jump...the three we've seen over the last two days have done two consecutive flips out of the water and then we don't see them again. Almost like they were sleeping then startled awake. Odd. Reached Timbabiche, anchored and checked out Casa Grande; a ruin now, and like walking onto an old Eastwood movie set. It is told that the original owner, a boatless fisherman, found and sold a 5 caret pearl. That pearl financed the building of the house and a fishing fleet. After his death, his heirs didn't know what to do with it so they just left it. I can just imagine how grand it was in its day.

Back to the boat and a couple of sea lions having a romp; jumping in and out of the water. Raised the anchor and headed a couple miles north to Puerto los Gatos. A bay with beautifully red colored rock bluffs. We anchored, put up the sun shade, had a little snack, watched 4 more boats come into anchor and, right before a nap, some pangaroos came by and asked if we wanted to buy some fish. Instead of buying we traded them a steak and three beers for two fish. Good size orange ones; have no idea what they were. Afterward we headed in for a hike up the bluffs. Every time we head in for a hike on similar rocks, Ed's reminded of the original Planet of the Apes and in most cases I agree. Absolutely beautiful looking out into the sea over to Santa Cruz, San Diego and Santa Catalina islands from the top of the mountain. Right before coming down we heard then saw a whale. To dark and far away for pictures, but a great site none the less. Back at the boat Ed grilled up the fish. I thought they were horrid. Ed didn't mind them and ate both (with a lot of Johnnys and lime.) Live and learn.

March 4; San Jose Channel
Happy Birthday Salvatore! Hope it was a great day for you.
Woke to a gorgeous morning. Waters so clear we could see our anchor. Had our cuppas and raised the hook. There was just enough wind for us to do some sailing during the crossing; 3 knots, which finally died back to nothing. Slow but beautiful. Had a visit from a group of dolphins, which we haven't seen since Los Mueartos and saw two giant manta rays do back flips. What an awesome site and just so random.

Flat calm and burning heat for most of the day. Rigged up a sun shade over the cockpit and I'm sure we looked like hippies on the loose. Hit the channel and caught a current which gave us more speed. At about 3:15 mid channel we hit a north wind at our nose with a little chop; although nothing like when we were here last, it still amazes me how quickly the winds come up. Anchored at Mangle Solo point with the wind dying by dinner. This would have been a fun place to investigate; having a forest of Cardon cactus, but the channel can churn, so we'll move on at first light. A very quiet calm night.

March 3; Isle Partida
We said goodbye to many friends on the dock in La Paz Marina Palmira this morning, fueled up and headed out. Finally have a weather window that allows us to go north. Many boaters must have had the same idea because it looked as though we were leading a parade leaving the harbor. We saw more boats on the water today then we have in all our months here. Unfortunately, a window weather to go north down here is similar to the San Juans in the summer, very little or no winds. So we motored to one of our favorite places, Ensenada Grande on Isle Partida. Because there wasn't wind, we had our first real visit with bobos too; pesky little nat like insects. Dinner, a bit of star gazing and a quick read before bed.