Monday, November 30, 2015

Puerto Escondido and Loreto

We are anchored in Puerto Escondido, about 15 miles south of the town of Loreto, waiting out over a week of continuous northers.

We arrived here on Friday afternoon (27 November). We spent the day in Loreto, hitching a rides to and from with other cruisers who had rented cars. Loreto is a very old, pretty little town. We enjoyed some good food, some locally brewed craft beer, walking around town and socializing with other boat people.

The north winds are forecasted to continue howling until Friday. It's also getting steadily cooler, both air and water. There isn't much to do in this port, so we've decided to rent a car and take a little road trip up to Santa Rosalia, a place we very much wanted to visit by boat but those plans are being thwarted by weather. We'll leave tomorrow and stay overnight at a small hotel. On either side of that trip, we'll be tackling some boat projects and catching up on our reading. It's kind of like being stuck inside at home for a week because of rain and going out to the movies for a break. Only it's on a boat, due to wind and a break at a beautiful historic town.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving in Bahia Los Gatos

via satellite

We spent Thanksgiving anchored in Bahia Los Gatos, having arrived the day before from Isla San Francisco.

Los Gatos is another amazingly beautiful Baja anchorage. At each end of the crescent shaped bay there are massive rock formations, pink-red, striated and smooth like what you would seen in southern Utah. In between is a sandy beach with the towering Gigante mountains as a spectacular backdrop. Many pictures to come when we can get upload them.

Shortly after we arrived in Los Gatos we were greeted by Rob, who came by to invite us for drinks with his wife Nancy on board their boat Shindig. We ended up enjoying several hours of conversation and more than one bottle of wine. Rob and Nancy came down to the Sea of Cortez from the Bay Area in the 2012 Baja Ha-Ha and have had their boat based in La Paz ever since. They spend October to June cruising in Mexico and the summer "couch surfing" at their friends' houses back in the US. They provided an experienced perspective of a lifestyle that we want to learn more about.

By Thanksgiving morning, Shindig and the other two boats in the Los Gatos anchorage had left and we had the place all to ourselves. We hiked to the top of one of the rock formations and then around the other one to the next beach south of us. I scored a major find, spotting a turtle's shell lying in the sand which Renee is working on cleaning it up to be a keepsake from our trip. We followed our hike up with snorkeling another rock reef, this time without my shivers and cramps and with several types of rays.

I started off our Thanksgiving dinner by drinking my last bottle of Lagunitas IPA. After almost a month of drinking Mexican beer, it was absolutely delicious and I savored every sip. We cooked our "Pollo de Celebrar" and ate it with roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, mushrooms in escebeche and a can of cranberry sauce I found in our pantry when I was cleaning it out before we left. Dinner was accompanied by a 2008 Rafanelli zin. Coincidentally, the canned cranberry sauce had a 2008 "best used by" date. Both were delicious, although I would give a nod to the Raf which cellared a bit better than the cranberries. It will be a memorable Thanksgiving, distinct from the traditional family gathering on land in a familiar surroundings. It brought to mind another treasured Thanksgiving dinner memory, one with just my daughter Hannah and I on our boat Ariadne years ago, anchored in Ayala Cove off of Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.

While hurricane Sandra won't have any impact on us, another norther is building, so we decided to proceed directly to Puerto Escondido this morning, rather than battle higher winds and bigger seas getting there on Saturday. We arrived in the late afternoon and are snugly anchored with a couple of dozen other boats in this very large natural harbor. We'll stay here for quite a few days to wait out the weather, visit the nearby town of Loreto and get some more of the never ending boat maintenance/repairs/projects done.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Swimming with Sea Lions and Other Fauna

via satellite

Yesterday we hiked up to the rim of our anchorage in Caleta Partida. We rode the dinghy to get to a trail in the cove next door to the south. The trail follows an arroyo that winds its way up nearly to the top of the ridge. The hiking was moderately difficult. The mosquitos were very difficult.

I thought I had the mosquito situation covered, but to our dismay, we discovered a the beginning of the hike that the insect repellent I normally keep in my daypack had fallen out in the boat. We decided to push on despite the numerous hungry bugs. For me, that means getting bit and dealing with itching bites for an hour afterwards. For Renee that means getting bit and itching welts for days. She sacrificed more for the sake of the mission.

We scrambled up the rocks and boulders of the arroyo, through patches of mesquite, sage, cacti and other desert vegetation, some of which was in bloom with various shades of red, orange and yellow flowers. The arroyo is in a canyon between two ridges and seemed to wind endlessly as we made our way uphill, gradually gaining altitude, but always being reminded that we weren't there yet by the steep walls on either side. We finally reached a point where it was possible to climb up the canyon wall to the rim. From the top of ridge we could look down on Intermezzo and the other boats lying in the blue and turquoise waters of the anchorage. A perfect spot for a picnic lunch. Except for the mosquitos. You would think there wouldn't be any, or at least fewer, at the top of a breezy ridge. Wrong. There were more. We gobbled down our sandwiches as we swatted continuously.

It was considerably quicker hiking down the wash than going up, partly due to gravity, but also due to a much better perspective for picking out one's route to clamber down boulders. The prospect of getting out of the afternoon heat and mosquitos and into the cool water at the end of the trail helped too. That water did feel awfully good when we got there.

We followed up our hike with snorkeling at a rock reef at the north entry point of the anchorage. It was a good spot, but I discovered that snorkeling in cool water after hiking all day in hot sun while being bled dry by insects results in me shivering and getting leg cramps. I am such a weakling, we had to cut the snorkeling part of our day short.

Back at the boat, after a restorative bottle of red wine and a nice dinner, I made sure to get the insect repellent back into my pack.

This morning we moved on from Caleta Partida. Our ultimate destination was Isla San Francisco, but first we had to swim with sea lions. At the north end of Isla Partida are two small islands called Los Isletos. There is a colony of sea lions there that are familiar with divers and snorkelers being in the water with them. We figured we could anchor the boat in a small cove near the Isletos and then ride the dinghy the mile or so out, grab one of the mooring balls put there by the national park.

We anchored Intermezzo in Ensenada de Embudo, a narrow cove just big enough for Intermezzo to anchor in with sufficient swinging room. We left Intermezzo to look after herself while we dinghied over to Los Isletos through bumpy seas and tied up to a mooring ball. We donned our snorkel gear and rolled off the boat into the water. I quickly realized that we had made a mistake, as there was a about a 2 knot current sweeping us out to sea. We swam hard back to the boat. Apparently I can swim steadily at about 2.2 knots but Renee can only make 2.05 knots. I got back to the dinghy with some effort, untied it, fired up the outboard and rescued her. Ladies, I'm the guy you want around when there's trouble.

We moved the dinghy to another mooring ball outside the main current stream and tried again, one-at-a-time this time so that Renee might have the opportunity to repay her outstanding lifelong debt and rescue me. The debt is still outstanding, as I did not need rescuing and made my way to the sea lions. It was amazing! There was a young adult and two pups swimming in the shallow, rocky water. The young adult would hide behind a large rock and dart out to "surprise" the pups when the swam by. One pup came up to me and nibbled playfully on my fins. They have somehow figured out that nibbling on fins doesn't hurt humans. Nonetheless, I kept my hands and fingers close to my body in case the pup hadn't been fully schooled yet. Renee had a similar experience when it was her turn, with the pups swimming under, over and all around her, also with the requisite fin nibbling. The only turnoff for me was that swimming in water shared by lots of big mammals lacking sanitary facilities and
next to rocky islands totally covered in guano is more accurately called "swimming in coliform bacteria" not swimming with sea lions. We tried not to swallow any of the water.

When we returned to E. de Embudo we took advantage of its small, very private beach to have a picnic lunch and for me to work on getting rid of my board shorts tan line. I was very cautious about how long I exposed the beluga whale-white parts of my body to the sun. Some progress was made, but I still have a ways to go.

The landscape-seascape here is amazing. Forgive me if I've drawn this comparison in a previous post, but imagine the Grand Canyon filled halfway up with beautiful blue water, with lots of narrow side canyons whose dry arroyos lead to sandy beaches with turquoise shallows. The water so clear that you can see the many fish that are everywhere. A plentiful, diverse mix of sea and land birds. And virtually no people, no rules, freedom to do what you want and get swept out to sea if you aren't paying attention.

We ended our day at Isla San Francisco, about 17 nm NNW from Los Isletos. There we checked the weather and were surprised to discover that hurricane Sandra had sprung up in the 36 hours since we last checked. It shouldn't be a problem for us, but reminder that we should be checking weather bulletins more frequently than that. We'll re-route a bit to make sure we're in a safe harbor if/when the storm passes by us.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hurricane Update

I'm rapidly getting more familiar with interpreting the text weather bulletins we can access via satellite. It helps to being a quantitatively-oriented (i.e., a geek) with a good grasp of analytical geometry. It also helps having Eric Mears, a sailor with Baja experience that I met via the Leopard cat owners forum, watching out for us and emailing us additional narrative information. Thanks Eric and I'll "pay it forward" to a fellow sailor when I get the opportunity.

I plotted the forecasted track of Sandra for the next few days and calculated the distance to our projected position, taking into account the errors reported for the track forecast. Then I looked at maximum wind data reported for the four compass quadrants and distance with respect to our projected position to evaluate potential hazards.

It looks like we won't see any significant effects from Sandra today or tomorrow. However, by Thursday night, we might see 45 knot winds with 55 knot gusts, if the track deviates by the maximum error; in other words a worst probable scenario based on the most current forecast. So, we'll make sure we're in a snug harbor by then and will be monitoring the forecast closely in the meantime. Our anchor tackle can handle that sort of wind no problema. It might make for an interesting Thanksgiving dinner, though! A true test of my culinary skills, cooking my Pollo de Celebrar in 55 knot winds!

Hurricane Watch

via satellite

Hurricane Sandra is quite far south of us and doesn't look like it will affect us, but there is a pretty significant error range in its predicted track northwards. We're going to be conservative and extra cautious and proceed at flank speed to anchor in a known hurricane hole, Puerto Escondido. It will be a long day's unplanned slog to get there, but better safe than sorry.

We're watching the forecasts and computer weather models carefully. Maybe we'll get lucky and this one will veer off or peter out and we can return to our regularly scheduled program.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Caleta Partida

via satellite

We're "off the grid" again and it feels good! La Paz was nice, but I really enjoy the natural beauty of Baja a lot more.

Yesterday we sailed north from La Paz along the west coast of Isla Espiritu Santo. I say "sailed" because we were actually able to sail the first half of the trip even though it was upwind, but at an angle that Intermezzo can handle without complaining and dragging her feet. The wind was right on the nose for the second half and Intermezzo just doesn't consider sailing that way ladylike, so we motored. The silver lining of motoring was that this allowed us to take a detour between some beautiful small islands lying just off the coast of the main island. Renee took a million pictures which I will post when we have broadband again.

We are anchored in Caleta Partida with about eight other boats. This anchorage is in the gap (partida) between Isla Espiritu and the smaller island just north of it, Isla Partida. It is geologically the crater of a long extinct volcano, which is evident by the steep topography of surrounding hills. It is very peaceful, even with the other boats around us and plenty of breeze to keep it nice and cool. Today we are going to do some amphibious exploring, hiking the south ridge of the anchorage this morning and snorkeling a reef at the north point in the afternoon. I tell you, all the effort it takes to obtain material for this blog makes for a tough life.

We're starting to plan our itinerary for the next couple of weeks. There a so many beautiful and interesting places to see! It's hard to choose which ones that fit within the time we have before we need to set sail south to Puerto Vallarta for the holidays. The town of Loreto is our next milestone, which is about 100 miles north of us, with lots and lots of neat places in between. It's about 500 miles from Loreto to Puerto Vallarta, which is a substantial distance to sail and we need to take into account sitting out bad weather somewhere along the way. By my reckoning, this gives us about 17 days to explore the Sea of Cortez. That may sound like a lot, but it will mean passing up three places of interest for every one that we are able to explore and probably not getting much further north than Loreto. Sounds like we'll be coming back here someday!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Moving On From the Calles de La Paz

We're ending our pleasant layover in La Paz tomorrow, leaving for Isla Espiritu Santos in the morning. From there until we reach the town of Loreto, we will be visiting relatively remote anchorages, most of which are located in areas designated as national park or conservation zone.  We provisioned the boat to be self-sufficient for the next two weeks, including a fancy whole frozen chicken labelled "Pollo de Celebrar" ("Celebration Chicken"), for our Thanksgiving "turkey".  It should serve as the center of a decent feast for the two of us.

Renee went on a photo journalistic walk yesterday to capture some scenes from the streets of La Paz to supplement my description of the city in my last post.

Participants in the Revolution Day celebrations returning from the parade

One of the many public art installations along the malecon

The famous and popular malecon of La Paz

La Paz had a significant pearl industry until early in the 20th century

People enjoy strolling along the malecon day and night.

Another scene from the malecon
Palm trees on the malecon getting blown by the frequent winter northerly winds

We walked up and down the malecon dozens of times and never grew tired of it. It's not your typical touristy waterfront; more of a local treasure and part of La Paz life.
Regional Museum of Anthropology and History

One of the many small mercados

A pretty typical commercial street corner

A residential street in the old part of town

Residential street in a newer section of town.

Catedral de La Paz
...and a modern church

The town square

Artwork in progress; a painted gourd using paints made from local natural pigments

The artist at work


Frutas y verduras 
Another artist at work, this time with modern media

La Paz has tons of public art, some serious, some whimsical

Lots of murals, too

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

La Paz

The wind is finally dying down and we're back to enjoying La Paz. I really like this town. It's about the same size, population-wise, as Santa Rosa (270,000 or so). It feels about 90% local, 10% tourist, which is also similar to my perception of Sonoma County. I like that combination because it makes a place feel grounded and "real"...with good restaurants.

The sidewalks, roads and buildings are often roughly constructed and not well maintained but the city is clean and safe. The historic center of the city is immediately surrounded by small streets with a variety of retail businesses that seem to be doing well. Beyond the center residential areas are mixed together with commercial areas, clearly unplanned but not unattractive.  The traffic seems manageable and it's safe and pleasant to walk anywhere.  It is clearly a very middle class city.  I haven't seen the extent of poverty I'm used to seeing in Mexico and there is limited evidence of wealth, save for some very nice yachts in the marinas and some fancy cars on the road. The people are friendly, confident and seem to like where they live. Enough English is spoken to be helpful, but not enough to get lazy about making the effort to speak Spanish first, which is appreciated and encouraged with friendly assistance. If I were thinking of a place to live in Mexico, La Paz would definitely be on my list.

So, somebody (I won't name who) commented sarcastically on one of my recent Facebook posts, "Rough life."  Just to remind those who might think otherwise, this isn't a luxury cruise that doesn't involve a fair amount of work in between the beautiful beaches, water, weather, etc. Yesterday, while the boat was a bucking bronco, I washed the interior of the boat to get rid of the salt film that had accumulated over the past six weeks. The day before it was  total wash down of the outside of the boat, plus repairing the deck wash piping. Today Renee and I stowed all the gear that got dislodged over that period (or hadn't been stowed in the first place!) and started fitting the venting underlayments for the mattresses to prevent condensation and mildew when we get into tropical climates.  Here's the rest of the "To Do" list for our time in La Paz; read it and weep for us (especially Dan Reiter):

  • Change oil, filters and raw water impellers for diesels
  • Install tether padeyes at helm
  • Install safe
  • Repair mainsail tack
  • Install flag halyard cleats
  • Clean bilges and replace bilge pump float switch
  • Re-tie solar panel cables
  • Repair jib sun cover
  • Refill prescriptions
  • Replace hardtop bolts
  • Install engine room automatic fire extinguishers
  • Install stern Sampson posts
  • Provision boat for two weeks remote cruising
But tonight we're going to dinner at a really good restaurant we found in town.  So don't start weeping until the morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


We are waiting out another "norther" in Marina Cortez in La Paz. Intermezzo has been bucking on her docklines like a crazed bull all day. I've been cleaning the inside of the boat and, ugh, it has been awful.

This marina is new and quite nice and the staff are very attentive and friendly. On a normal day, no complaints. But instead of a solid breakwater, like most marinas, this one has a floating wave attenuator. Clearly conditions are beyond the capabilities of this structure to do its job. I have worked on engineering projects with wave attenuators in the past and, honestly, clients have never been happy with them. They work great in principle and 90 percent of the time, but the other 10 percent just doesn't cut it.

Here's a quote from the marina's website,

The marina was designed by yacht owners and marine architects to ensure maximum comfort, ease of access and safety. Our design team visited  marinas in every major port in the World, researching, reviewing and studying details down to the width of the docks, the placement and quality of the materials, to come up with the features that the World’s best marinas share – and then we added some of our own. There is no marina  like it.

Yes, there is no other marina like it. Except perhaps the open sea on a rough day. Actually that would be more comfortable because my docklines wouldn't be snatching every five seconds and jerking the boat sideways.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Caleta Lobos

Caleta Lobos.
Intermezzo is anchored on the fringe of shallow water in the bottom lobe of the cove

We are enjoying our best anchorage so far, Caleta Lobos, a relatively secluded cove only about 10 nm from La Paz.  The water is all different shades of blue, surrounded on three sides by steep desert hills with cacti and with a beach and some mangroves at its innermost portion. The coral around the perimeter of the cove is quite healthy with lots of fish, which makes for nice snorkeling, right off the boat.

Two-thirds of the trip here was mostly motoring upwind...again. The last third was beautiful sailing on just the right points of sail to let Intermezzo stretch her legs. I really enjoyed it, especially after six hours of diesel engine throbbing. As quiet as our engines are, they are thunderous compared to sailing.  Plus, the motion of the boat is so much nicer under sail.

If the rest of the Sea of Cortez is as nice as this, I don't think I will want to leave!

Baja coastline on the way north to La Paz.  These hills are actually covered with green vegetation. We hadn't seen that yet.
Standing on the anchor in 5 feet of water in Caleta Lobos. An advantage of catamarans is that we can get into shallower water than most other boats.  Gives us room to breathe, plus often lots of marine life to watch in the shallows. 
Intermezzo at anchor in Caleta Lobos. Beach and mangroves in the background.

One of the many thousands of different shades of blue water in the Sea of Cortez. Cacti hanging on for dear life.  
This osprey liked sitting on our wind sensor and was so big I'm sure would have broken it. I had to keep shoo-ing him/her off by banging on the shroud. 

A beautiful Caleta Lobos sunset looking towards La Paz.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bashing and Lost Water

via satellite

Yesterday's passage from Los Frailes to Los Muertos was a long, windy, bumpy uphill slog. Intermezzo frequently launched herself off waves as punched through them, crashing down into the trough with loud bangs and lots of water over the deck. Ten hours of this was a bit wearisome. And the bashing was frequent and violent enough to break several pipe supports. This caused the fresh water pipe to our deck wash to break from its fitting, dumping 100 gallons of precious fresh water to dump into the locker and drain overboard. I suppose that's better than 100 gallons of water sloshing about somewhere inside the boat, but still not something you want to happen.

Fortunately we had about 80 gallons of water in our second tank. So it wasn't a matter of survival, it was a matter of whether or not I could take a shower, which after a day of continuos salt spray would be really welcome. Since we had motored all day, the batteries were fully charged and I could run the watermaker for a few hours. That made enough water to permit our typical "navy shower"; burst of water to wet body, water off to soap up, burst of water to rinse off. You can cheat by using shampoo and conditioner and get two more luxurious bursts!

We arrived at Los Muertos just before 4 pm and used up the rest of the daylight troubleshooting the water system and cleaning up the boat. Unfortunately, this left no time for the beautiful white sand beach or a visit to an inviting looking cantina overlooking it. It would be nice to stay another day here, but we want to push on due to a favorable weather window for getting to La Paz.

Weather conditions look good for today through Monday and then turn really ugly on Tuesday. So we'll use the next couple of days to get to La Paz. Today we'll make our way to Caleta Lobos, about a 45 nm journey. Caleta Lobos looks like a beautiful overnight anchorage and we will make brief stop to check out scenic Puerto Balandra on the way. Caleta Lobos is only 10 nm from La Paz, so we can spend some time exploring there in the morning before setting off for La Paz.

We'll take a berth in a marina in La Paz and figure on spending about five days there taking care of "business" and several boat projects. However, these "norther" weather events are really what will dictate our schedule, more than anything. When they are not blowing, it is really nice; when they are it's still nice, but arduous saling to get anywhere

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Wind, Engineering and Dinner in Los Frailes

We are sitting out strong northerly winds in Bahia Los Frailes. This is a fairly remote and pretty anchorage, mostly a long crescent of sandy beach with a massive rock headland its north end. We're tucked behind that headland, from which the bay gets it's name, Los Frailes with means The Friars. A couple of the rock formations do look a bit like guys in robes climbing up the steep slope.

The wind has been blowing really hard, up to 30 knots for many periods through the day and night. Our anchor has been holding perfectly and our heavy chain dampens the effects of the wind shifts and gusts. Normally the chain is so heavy that it hangs down nearly vertical from the bow of the boat, even in moderate winds. Not in these conditions, though. The anchor chain draws pretty tight at 25 knots, which causes the anchor bridle to start chafing on the Code 0 bowsprit stays. We retracted the bowsprit to stop this from happening and I am happy to report this is the first time I did this without dropping either the shackle or shackle pin in the water! I took this as an opportunity to sew leather chafe protection onto the bowsprit stays. I think I looked like a very able-bodied seaman dangling over the bow of the boat, bare-chested in 30 knots of wind. Unfortunately, there is only a small audience present in the anchorage to be awestruck at my rugged manliness.

I took a run along the beach portion of the bay. I was impressed at my pace and the ease of running the two miles to the southern terminus of the beach. Then I turned around to run back and realized that the 25 knot wind at my back was really helping me along. The upwind run was like running uphill while being sandblasted. My skin was pink and nicely exfoliated at the end of the run.

We have been struggling a bit with getting our dinghy on and off the beach. We have a environmentally-friendly but very heavy four stroke outboard. It takes almost all my strength to drag the dinghy through the sand with that weight at the stern. Many people of dinghy wheels to make this easier, but I think they look stupid on a boat. I have now devised an alternate solution to the problem. I bury the dinghy anchor in the sand a few boat lengths forward of the bow and then loop the anchor rode through the bow eye, which is smooth enough to act like a block and give me a 2:1 mechanical advantage. That's enough to make job a whole lot easier. I am going to work on refining the system, adding a proper block at the bow and bringing a small fender to use as a roller under the keel of the boat. Yes, I am still an engineer.

Last night we had Jose and Gina from Carthago over for dinner, our first social gathering on Intermezzo since arriving in Mexico. They have also sailed from San Francisco and are on a two-to-three year voyage across the Pacific, perhaps around the world. They are young, but very competent sailors with a great, honest attitude about their adventure, the good and the bad. We enjoy their company and good conversation and look forward to continuing to connect with them over the next few months as they are on a similar path as our own until heading out on their "Puddle Jump" to the Marquesas.

The weather looks like we can leave here tomorrow and make some progress towards La Paz over the next few days until the next northerly blow appears. The weather in the Sea of Cortez is mostly driven by what happens in Southern California. A storm from the Pacific there results in strongly northerly winds a couple days later here.

While we're waiting for the weather to calm down, we'll go snorkeling on the reef at the base of the headland. Maybe it will calm down enough that we can venture around the point to the famous Polmo reef, which is a national park and UNESCO site, serving as a model for coral reef recovery and preservation. I'm really hoping to be able to dive it before we leave.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wating Out a Norther in Bahia de Frailes

(via satellite)

We left San Jose de Cabo this morning after spending a couple of days in the marina there. It is a nice town with a somewhat touristy old town center surrounded by real local neighborhoods.

Now we are in Bahia de Frailes, tucked behind a massive rock headland to shelter from northerly winds. The weather forecast is for a pretty strong blow tomorrow and Thursday. This spot is really well protected with our oversized ground tackle it should be a pleasant couple of days of walking the beach, swimming, snorkeling and, as always, boat chores.

The trip here was not pleasant. The wind was blowing 15-plus knots on the nose. Intermezzo's tacking angle is over 100 degrees, so sailing directly upwind for any distance is depressing as we lose a noticeable portion of the ground we gained as we change tacks. It wouldn't be so bad if the tacking angles weren't so prominently displayed on the chart plotter track. We sailed for a bit, going nicely through the water at over 6 knots, but making less than 3 knots velocity made good (VMG) to our destination. So we turned on the motors.

The wind wasn't the worst of the conditions. It was the chop. Square, closely spaced waves, not big but big enough to cause constant pounding and shipping of water over the bows. I made the mistake of assuming that Renee had closed the forward deck hatches, only to discover that the were not fully dogged down. We got the port berth matress and bedding pretty wet and had quite a bit of cleaning up to do after we anchored. I doubt we'll make that mistake again. The nice thing about sailing in the desert is that things dry quickly!

The benefit of motoring is that we have hot water. Taking a hot shower on a boat in a remote anchorage is true luxury!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pictures from Leg 2, The Baja Ha-Ha Passage

Intermezzo is in the marina at Cabo de San Jose. She's been washed and we've re-provisioned for the next leg of our journey north to La Paz. Laundry is being done for us (9 kilos for $8!) and we'll fuel up tomorrow morning when we depart.  This is a much nicer and quieter town than Cabo San Lucas and the marina is new, well-run and has a good restaurant-bar. We leave for La Paz tomorrow and it will take us 5-6 days to get there, allowing for planned stops and to wait out some high northerly winds on Wednesday and Thursday in an anchorage.

I'm writing this from an internet cafe. The marina internet connection is way too slow. We struggled to find a place with wifi so we could connect from our laptops. We didn't anticipate that would be difficult, but it was. I'm struggling a bit with the digital infrastructure here, but at least I have a fast enough connection now to upload some pictures from Leg 2, San Diego to Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Ha-Ha.  

Here they are:

First night out of San Diego, sailing in moonlight

First fish!

Approaching Bahia de Tortugas at sunrise

Chillin' in Bahia de Tortugas

New headgear for a new lifestyle

Entering Bahia de Santa Maria at sunrise

Intermezzo anchored in Bahia Santa Maria

Start of a hike up the hills above Bahia Santa Maria 

The Baja Ha-Ha fleet with Magdalena Bay beyond

The Pacific coast north of the bay.

Jeanne kicking back, enjoying her book

Renee and Jeanne on their kayak excursion

Exploring the mangroves by dinghy

Mangrove estuary inside Bahia Santa Maria

Fisherman unloading freshly caught hammerhead sharks

We got to sail at decent speeds once during the trip, reaching. The rest of the time, it was slower sailing dead downwind or motoring at 5-6 knots.

Approaching Los Arcos at Cabo San Lucas

The skipper partying with his beautiful crew in Cabo!