Half Moon Bay

 

                                                            Half Moon Bay

 

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Half Moon Bay is part of our home waters as we often sail there for the weekend, however, this time was a little different. We were in need of groceries and to do the mountain of laundry that had piled up to the ceiling. We believed there were facilities right at the marina to accomplish our tasks. We checked in with the harbor master in the morning only to learn they had changed their policy about renting bathroom keys to visiting yachts. If we wanted a key we would have to rent a slip at $37.00 dollars a day. In the past we would rent the key for a flat $10.00. In addition the marina didn’t have any laundry facilities. Since there was no easy way to do our laundry we went on to plan B.

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In Mexico we got quite familiar with the bus system so we broke out the smart phone and discovered that Half Moon Bay proper was an 18 minute bus ride away complete with a Safeway and a Laundromat. We chose to re-provision first and set out on an adventure in our own back yard. Safeway had all the things we needed and we caught the next bus back to the boat. A short dingy ride back to Sosiego and that was enough for one day.
The following day we loaded up the laundry in the dingy and repeated the bus ride into town. We found the laundry and started two loads and it was time for lunch. A short walk around this small town that seemed like a post card from the 50’s and we stumbled upon a small diner. I thought we were in scene from Happy Day’s. We both had a Reuben sandwich, mine with a side of fries and Debbie’s with potato salad. The food was excellent. After our wonderful lunch it was time to return to the laundry.

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The Laundromat turned out to be a great place to meet people. We chatted up two couples on Harleys on a whirl wind cross country trip. We shared notes on our adventures and I couldn’t help but note the similarities. We became fast friends and promised to keep in touch. Angie and Paul with Eileen and Larry provided us with endless amusement as they posted pictures of their open road trip to Sturgis and beyond.

Back at the boat with chores done it was time for some fun. We launched the Bali paddleboard and hoisted the sail on Rock n Roll our dingy. Now it was time to take a bubble bath, NOT! Cockpit solar showers are only so much fun in northern climates and Sosiego doesn’t have an indoor shower. Using our collective minds we decided to introduce ourselves to the Half Moon Bay Yacht club in hopes of a shower. We landed the dingy on the beach and sure enough they were very friendly and invited us in for showers and cocktails. With all our needs met we settled in and enjoyed our time here hiking, sailing, and lounging. On our last day we went to dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and ran into our old dock mate Mike. It was time to start weaving the sea yarns while the IPA flowed. A good time was had by all. We finally heard from Brickyard cove regarding our new slip assignment and it was time to push on to home.

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The GRIB files teased us with fair winds and we hoisted anchor and went to the fuel dock to top off the tanks with a thick marine layer not letting the sun through. The fuel dock in Half Moon Bay is a commercial dock and is covered in a thick slime of guano. I have refueled many times on this trip but this one proved to be a disaster. When I tried to stop the pump when the tank was full the handle caught on the lowest setting and continued to pump as fuel ran across the deck. I tried to move the nozzle to the second tank but the hose wasn’t long enough. Debbie gave me more slack on the hose, but I had already soaked our nicest outdoor captain chair. I moved the nozzle into the second tank and grabbed rags as Debbie ran to get the attendant. Several rags where lost to the fuel spill but it was contained on deck. Between guano and fuel, things were a mess. I paid the bill and we got out of there. Did I mention I had to actually rinse my sandals of poop before stepping back on board? YUCK!

We left the breakwater and rounded the green buoy from the west and set sail. We couldn’t believe that we were actually shutting the motor down. The Sail home was truly amazing as the sun broke through the marine layer. The golden gate was in site and the wind clocked around to a broad reach. In other words the wind was coming from behind us. Debbie heard on the radio another yacht call the Coast Guard about customs information. She hailed the yacht and discovered they had sailed all the way from Victoria, Canada. It turned out that we both sailed under the gate about the same time crossing paths within a few feet. Sosiego with single reefed main and stay sail and them flying a blue and white spinnaker only, while toasting champagne on the bow. They yelled out to us “Welcome Home”. What a glorious finish to an awesome adventure. We finished sailing across the bay and made our way back to our slip in Brickyard Cove. It was then time for sundowners with our good fiends Eric and Emmy.

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As I sit safely at my computer in my mother in-law’s (Carol’s) house I’m watching the tracks of hurricane Iselle and tropical storm Julio bear down on Hawaii. Most know of our original plans to sail to the Sandwich Islands. We were originally willing to accept the risk of losing the boat in the advent of a hurricane since we couldn’t afford the insurance. However, after our third attempt to head for Hawaii was thwarted, we resigned ourselves to the Baja Bash and had a truly amazing sail home. Sometimes things happen for a reason!

 

 

Monterey

Monterey Bay

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Monterey bay holds a special meaning to Debbie and I. We learned to scuba dive here, honeymooned here, and is the southern boundary of Northern California waters. We were essentially home and this brought a flood of emotions, some good, some not so good. We had to come to grips with the fact that our adventure was ending and we would have to proceed with”Re-Entry” to main stream life. We wanted to celebrate our anniversary and this seemed to be the best place. Sosiego made her way to the municipal harbor and we radioed the harbor master for a slip assignment. We planned to get a hotel room for our anniversary and wanted a secure place to dock the boat.
The municipal harbor is home to a colony of quite rambunctious sea lions and the bay is a marine sanctuary. With Sosiego secure the first order of business after a 22hr voyage was a good breakfast at Lou Lou’s Griddle in the Middle. The rest of the day was spent resting and catching up on sleep. It was time to re-provision and do laundry. We took the bus to Nob Hill foods and filled a basket. For the trip back we called a taxi which kindly drove us on the wharf to our dock. Next we carried two bags of laundry to the washer dryer in the harbor office building. We decided to accomplish to things at once, laundry and showers. Ah, the showers felt so good.
The next day Debbie came down with a cold that put a damper on our time in Monterey. I spent my afternoons paddle boarding on the Bali while she rested and recuperated. I was fearful that one of the rambunctious young sea lions would try to haul out on the Bali and send me swimming. In actuality they behaved themselves and I loved watching their antics up close as they played. Later, I was able to film some of their antics. For our anniversary we dressed up in our finest boat clothes and took a taxi to our favorite restaurant the Fish Wife for dinner. The food although excellent lacked a little something.
We were finally ready to say goodbye to Monterey and prepare for our next stop. We spoke with our friend Eric Wilbur who suggested our next stop should be Moss Landing to explore Elkhorn slough.

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“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there’s no effort without error or short coming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who himself for a worthy cause; who , at the best, knows, in the end , the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his pace shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

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We set sail on a bright sunny day with a good weather forecast and a nearly favorable wind. After two tacks, changing which side of the boat the wind comes from, we were able to lay the line for Moss Landing. As Sosiego sailed herself to her next port we were treated to a glorious sail and beautiful view of rolling sand beaches. The culmination of this glorious sail was met by a blockade of gray whales feeding off the entrance to Moss Landing. Debbie was able to capture some of their antics on video. We had to weave our way around them avoiding huge flukes and tail slapping.
The Moss Landing yacht club welcomed us at their guest dock for a two night stay. The tide rip is strong in this narrow waterway but kayaking is very popular. We inflated our Twister double kayak and explored the southern basin. There seems to be a west side story going on here as the seals haul out on a sand spit in the north basin and the sea lions occupy a pair of docks in the main channel. We never observed the two species intermingling.
We enjoyed a BBQ dinner at the club with great company including one of the Potter Yachters that had sailed up from Monterey. The weather report was favorable so we set sail in the morning for Half Moon Bay with very little wind and flat seas. We were treated to more antics from the whales including a breaching 30 yards off the bow and thousands of small black and white birds that could only fly inches off the water but swam well under water. The skies were overcast but the visibility good. We made good time and as we approached Pillar point harbor in Half Moon Bay the sun made a spectacular appearance. We easily picked up the southern green buoy and cleared the reef. The waves where breaking lightly at the point and were non-threatening. We rounded the entrance breakwater and dropped the anchor in the very familiar mud off the inner entrance. With the anchor well set we had dinner and settled down to good nights rest.

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The Way Home

The Way Home

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After our wonderful stay in Santa Barbara we kept a weather eye out for the rounding of Point Conception. Of coarse the weather doesn’t pay attention to birth dates, so Debbie agreed to spend her birth day in Cojo anchorage and our anniversary in Monterey. Point conception has a well deserved reputation as one of the nastiest capes on the coast. Converging currents and a squash zone with the pacific high combined with local topography provide a cauldron of boiling water and wind. The cruising guides suggest anchoring at Cojo anchorage to await a lull in the wind to round this cape and head north. Sosiego, at best, can make 5 knots to the good as long as the head sea is not too bad. San Luis Obispo was the next stop 69 miles up the road. We arrived at Cojo to find a cup full of wind and lots of kelp. The kelp goes a long way to smoothing out the wrap around swell from the point and the holding is good between the fields of kelp. We felt our way in and set the anchor long before dark. There is a ship wreck ashore of a full keel sailboat. This view, is a grizzly reminder that the anchorage is exposed to southerly wind and swell. We had a good dinner and settled in early in order to set sail at 5 am and round Conception at first light. The video shows just the wildness of this place.
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We lucked out and found a counter current on the coast and had a relatively peaceful rounding of the cape. San Luis entrance is protected by a number of sea mounts and rocks that must be avoided. We picked our way through and picked up a mooring for the night. San Luis is very beautiful and we had a very restful night. From San Luis to Monterey there is 130 nautical miles of coast with no safe harbor to run and hide. Point Sur juts out from the coast and deserves a wide berth. The weather held and we set sail after a good breakfast. We motor sailed with almost no wind from the west. We were astonished to see the speed on the GPS reach greater than 6 knots over the ground. Our luck held and the counter current was strong here. The wind never exceeded 8 knots but was fair and helped us complete this 26 hr passage in 22 hours. Debbie woke at 6 am to do her watch only to discover we had arrived in Monterey.

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San Diego to Santa Barbara via Catalina

San Diego to Santa Barbara via Catalina

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When cruising, it seems that we rapidly make new friends in new harbors. Unfortunately that means you eventually have to say good bye. Pete and Diane from San Diego welcomed us in grand style. They gave us the grand tour and made us feel right at home. Several pleasant evenings were spent talking around their saloon table while sharing a meal. They are preparing their Cal 39 for a cruise of Mexico. Pete let me ramble on with the memories of our trip fresh in my mind. For instance we outfitted Sosiego with a water maker that has remained, “pickled”, for most of the trip. Sosiego carries 80 gallons of water and we always seemed to have enough. The money would be better spent on actual cruising.

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The overnight passage to Avalon was uneventful except for having to motor. The buoy system on Catalina is unique and as always it was stressful getting the bow and stern secured. Sosiego is like an iceberg with more hull under the water than above, and when a current is running, maneuvering in close quarters is always exciting. Once secure we caught up on some missed sleep before launching the dingy for a shore trip. Avalon is like a small tourist town and with our stern to the beach we had no end to the entertainment, not unlike Cabo San Lucas. We made are way to the beach bar and sampled the local drink known as Buffalo milk. A very tasty dangerous mix of Vodka, Kalua, cream de banana, half and half and ice topped with nutmeg, whip cream and a shot of crème de Cacoa.
To keep the ball rolling we moved on to Two Harbors. They have the same mooring system which gave us no less difficulty. Two Harbors is more remote but does have a nice restaurant and small very expensive market. We were told the cost was due to transportation costs. We found this very hard to believe as the ferry landed twice a day. For example, I looked at a six pack of beer and it was priced 4.00. The 4 dollars was per bottle not for the six pack. We had a lot of fun snorkeling and examining the local fish. The high light was discovering a ray on the sea floor under the shadow of Sosiego with a five foot wing span, absolutely beautiful. We also had a lot of fun playing with Bali SUP as well as the inflatable kayak. Next port of call was Oxnard.
We motored across the Chanel maneuvering through the marine layer and avoiding the crab pots. As we approached the shallow entrance to Channel Island Harbor the swell increased significantly. Luckily, there was only a slight break at the entrance and we rolled in on the swell behind a local sailor. There is a lot of shoaling at the entrance so care must be taken. We were given a slip at the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club for two nights. When I was getting Sosiego ready for this voyage I wanted to be able to empty the holding tank at sea. Although I tested my system with fresh sea water a weeks worth of use at the island proved too much for it. The problem is the combination of sea water and urea salts that combine to encrust all the tubing and pumps in crust. One of the two three way valves fell victim and I was unable do empty the head completely. The lesson here is to keep it simple and after the multiple times I have rebuilt heads, the system I am now in favor of is a cedar bucket or a composting head. Neither one requires holes in the bottom of my boat and will never suffer from this crust. Of course the cedar bucket is vetoed because I want to remain married. The quick fix I made in Oxnard got the pump working but made it impossible to pump out as you will soon learn in our trials at Santa Barbara.

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The passage to Santa Barbara started with a very light breeze and ended with a romping sail into port. I had almost forgotten how much fun sailing is and was able to collect a little GoPro footage of the fun. We planned to hang out in Santa Barbara for a weather window for the rounding of Point Conception, “Cape Horn of the West”. We think Santa Barbara knows how to do 4th of July right. The marina was alive with all members and walks of life to the point I worried about whether the docks would hold up. Every one of age had a drink in their hand and the tenders buzzed around like flies. One small yellow dingy towed even a smaller one with a cooler. Those without tenders either rented paddle boards or Kayaks. The fire works are just off the beach and the show was amazing, including a 15 minute encore. We watched spellbound from the cockpit with sundowners in hand. The next day found us at the pump out with the bottomless tank. I couldn’t figure it out. The harbor patrol drop a die tab in your toilet to make sure you are not pumping overboard in the marina. Well, the pump out just kept going and it looked like clear water. Running below I discovered that I had only half corrected the problem in Oxnard and that we where actually empting the harbor of sea water. We then decided to stay a few more days for Debbie’s birthday and yet again fix the head. Remember, the secret to a working head is lots of vinegar. The acid in the vinegar dissolves the salts.

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Missing Bike

 

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Well the new green transportation has found a new home. We made a provisioning trip to Vons on Sunday. We locked up our not so cheap Chinese folding bikes to the cast iron gate next to the main entrance. We shopped for dinner and bought a sandwich to split for lunch. Now the marina we are staying at is about 2 miles away. Yes sure enough we finished our lunch in the court yard not more than 20 paces from the bikes. With groceries in hand we discovered that Debbie’s bike was no where to be found. Well her bike helmet was there and the lock cut in half. Now I have to ask what self respecting punk kid would be caught dead with a cheap Chinese knock off folding bike? This had to be the work of professionals. Oh well it was a nice day for a walk although the mood of the day changed for the worse. We are headed home for a visit and will be setting sail soon for the Islands. Spring is all around us and we are watching a family of ducks with new chicks that are hanging around our dock. This gave us hope until a local pointed out the Hawk hanging around. We’ll keep a head count on the chicks and hope for the best.

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Tar Pit Harbor

 

Tar pit Harbor

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Well what can I say? Sosiego has moved right in to the place she was born. She was a kit boat that had been fitted out right here in Point Loma. She is very comfortable here and barely tugs at her dock lines. The sun is always shining and the temperature is mild. Debbie and I have settled into life here. We have even rented a slip for a month. We ride our new bikes almost every day to Liberty Station to shop for dinner. It’s almost exercise by osmosis. Everyone is doing it and it just feels so right. We have met more wonderful people. Pete and Diane are preparing a new to them, Cal 39 to go cruising. They are experienced campers and sailors but have never cruised so they are full of questions about our journey. We have spent whole days just shooting the breeze with them and they have shown us San Diego. We have toured both the Maritime Museum and the USS Midway. Now if we can just break the anchor out of the tar pit!

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The Maritime Museum of San Diego was a great experience. We were able to board the Star of India, The Berkley ferry, and my personal favorite the HMS Surprise. They are traditionally rigged which holds great fascination with me. You were able to visualize how sailors of old climbed those masts in a sea way with no protection. The entire image of those seamen leaves me in awe.

 

 

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The USS Midway museum was an awe inspiring tour. You are provided with a set of head phones and an audio device which feels like a personal guided tour. The ship takes up a city block and is 9 stories tall at the bridge deck. In five hours we were only able to cover the flight deck and hanger deck. There is just so much to see and hear. The presentation on recovering (landing) aircraft was outstanding. The presenter was a retired Navy pilot who had made over 800 landings on Midway. Or to put it the way he did, “ the landings were controlled crashes as they hit the deck under full power in case they miss the cable.” The launching via catapult was equally fascinating. Consider that they launch an aircraft every 45 seconds in to a 35 knot wind with no life lines. We also enjoyed the tour of the bridge and the control tower. You really need two days to explore everything she has to offer. We even lost all sense of reason and attempted the flight simulator. I drew the line at barrel rolls. Our next stop will be The Channel islands. Until then, fair winds and following seas.

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Ensenada to San Diego

 

 

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Ensenada to San Diego

We decided to rent a car from Hertz to make a road trip to the U.S. of A. to visit the kids and Katie our dog. Little did we know what we were in for at the border. I have sailed past the border a few times now but this was the first time by land. Once we were thoroughly turned around in Tijuana we asked directions and found the on ramp to the border and the Sentri lane. Debbie is fluent in Spanish and did not know what this meant but we were fully educated very soon. There was no exit from this lane even if we wanted to. The line moved relatively fast and soon we where talking to the C.B.P (California Border Patrol). We where promptly chastised for being in the wrong lane and sent directly to the full search line. The Officer who greeted us lacked any sense of humor and promptly threatened us with a $5,000.00 fine for getting in the wrong lane. The Sentri lane is for people who cross the border daily and have been subjected to background checks and have a special I.D. Well, we did are best with the yes sir’s and no sir’s and cooperated with the search. Let’s just say The Mexican border patrol was much nicer even when they searched us. The house was in good shape on our return and was sporting a new billiards table in the front room. Katie was healthy and we received good reports from the neighbors although the gardener seemed to be on strike

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The return trip turned into an epic affair which I will try to relate to you now. We made it all the way to the grapevine with only two close calls of cars trying to side swipe us. The second one sent me on to the rumble strip but otherwise we faired well or so I thought. We arrived at rush hour. I know, great planning right. Another motorist honked and pointed to the rear tire. I found the nearest exit and began a dialect with Siri for the nearest gas station. A word to the wise, DON’T listen to her. She is bat shit crazy! She wants to see that tire go flat. Once we pulled in to the station I tried to air up the tire but it was beyond hope as a loud hiss began. So what do you do at 5pm In L.A. with a Mexican rental car with a flat? Hertz of Mexico, although of the same name and sign as U.S., is an entirely different company. OK how about plan C. across the street was Ortega’s tire shop. You know the type where you can find second hand tires with no questions asked. Yes I did the unthinkable. When the tire was removed and it was noted that the tire had a previous patch on the sidewall I pleaded with the guy to just re-patch it. He said it wasn’t safe and proceeded to try and find a replacement. When he came up empty, he went for it .To his credit he succeeded. We found a Best Western and called it night not wishing to attempt a border crossing at night. Clearing into Mexico went well. The border patrol were very courteous and they just wanted a look at are folding bikes that were in the back seat. The trip from the border to Ensenada was no less trying. There was a major bike ride from Rosarito to Ensenada with thousands of riders. The main road was closed and we where diverted to secondary roads that where very congested. When we finally arrived at the marina the finish line kept us from actually being able to enter the Marina.

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We looked forward to returning stateside and found our weather window. We proceeded to clear out of the country. Cruise Port Marina is by far the best marina in Mexico. Not the most modern or the newest, but their staff are the most helpful. A special shout out to Enrique who helped us with the paper work and secured our zarpe. I must also give a heart felt thanks to locals Gary and Spike who lent me a fuel polisher rig that allowed me to empty the port tank and clean out some algae and unplug my fuel line. We set sail at 5am and were greeted by a pod of over 50 porpoises at day light. We made good time and arrived at the police dock in San Diego before night fall. The following morning customs cleared us in at the dock and where very nice and efficient. Back in the U.S.A.!

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Turtle Bay to Ensanada

Turtle Bay to Ensenada

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We refueled with the help of Jesus and his panga (open fiberglass fishing boat with go fast motor) after setting the hook in Turtle Bay. The wind had piped up off shore and we weren’t going any where for a few days. Patience, Patience, Patience….. Debbie and I were off to town to explore and soon found a small restaurant named Morocco with good fast wifi. We went there for lunch each day to check the weather web sites, in hopes of finding a good weather window. On our last day in Turtle bay we ran in to a delivery crew that appeared a little rough around the edges. They were delivering a Lagoon catamaran from PV to San Diego. The crew said it had been a rough trip up the coast with wind and sea on the nose the entire way. Then, the Captain walked in and introduced himself as Woody. Debbie and I both know him from reading the Latitudes and Attitudes magazine. He sailed a 29 foot Cal around the world, writing about his adventures along the way. It was great reading. We chatted for a few minutes and then Woody gathered his crew and they were off. We opted for one more good nights sleep and to let the sea settle down.

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In the morning we raised anchor and set the Vertical Dacron Stabilizer (main sail) and motor sailed out of the bay and around the point. There was a fair amount of kelp to be avoided and that was another good reason to transit this area during day light hours. We had planned to anchor at the north east tip of the island of Cedros but we felt that our weather window would evaporate if we wasted the night sleeping, so we endured yet another,” cape effect”, and pressed on. We where rewarded with a wonderful nights sail across Bahia Sebastian Vizcaino to the mainland. We needed to clear the point further west so we spent the day tacking back and forth We decided to head for Punta San Carlos anchorage for the night. We had a rousing sail on a beam reach and arrived before dusk. We settled ourselves in by anchoring in 30 feet of water with just a little swell. We sat down to a fine evening with a home cooked meal and a movie on our miniature DVD player.

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In the morning we raised anchor and set sail for Bahia San Quintin. It was only 60 miles north, and according to the guide was a safe anchorage. Well, perhaps the guide was over exaggerating. Debbie warned that she had read about a couple that had lost their motor when trying to leave the anchorage. They didn’t have enough wind to sail out of the impact zone and lost their boat there. Upon arrival we were spooked due to the five leviathans swimming around the mouth of the estuary. You can hear them sing through the hull of the boat and I had the foreboding feeling of a loud sleepless night. Little did I know the whales were the least of our worries. Around midnight I got my first wakeup call as Sosiego came up short on her anchor rode. A large tidal shift put us in the path of a raging river with over a 6 knot tide rip under our keel. The Bruce anchor held and we didn’t drag, but restful sleep was out of the question. In the morning we came on deck to discover the surge breaking not 20 yards off the bow and all the way across the bay. I believe we set a new personal record in raising anchor and getting underway.

We had to cover 114 miles to get to Ensenada. This makes it an overnight passage and of course the wind was not favorable for sailing. We needed to go further west, again, so that required tacking back and forth. The next morning we arrived at the entrance to the bay only to find it shrouded in fog. It persisted making it difficult to see the point. We used our instruments and entered the bay for Ensenada. We arrived at Cruiseport Marina village around 1:30 pm. Deb made several attempts to contact the staff by radio, but no one answered. A watchman pointed us to a slip and we tied Sosiego up for a good rest.

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The next day the staff gave us a ride to the port captain and assisted in the checking in procedures. Customs, Immigration, and the port captain are all under the same roof. The one building made checking in very convenient to say the least. With Sosiego secure, we rented a car and headed home for a visit. We made the trip in one day. The only problem occurred at the border crossing. In the maze that is the border we followed the signs to San Diego. Unfortunately we ended up in the line that said Sentri. Debbie speaks Spanish and didn’t know what the word meant. So we continued on only to discover it was for daily commuters. They actually go through full background checks before they are given a special pass. We where searched, chastised, and threatened with a 5,000.00$ fine if we ever did it again. Apparently we aren’t good at smooth transitions.

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After the long and arduous journey, home was a welcome sight We are doing the necessary evil of ordering parts, going to the doctors, doing taxes and as much visiting as possible. We should return to the boat on Thursday the 1st of May. Until next time, may you have fair winds and following seas.

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Cabo revisited again and again and ….

 

Cabo revisited again and again and …

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After leaving Paradise village in Banderas bay we set sail for Hilo Hawaii. Ahh the best laid plans of mice and men. It was a little disconcerting that you can’t just leave when you want. To leave, you must go through a checkout procedure that entails Immigration, Port Captain, and customs inspections all of which must be scheduled. Well the weather doesn’t follow the schedule and what looks like a good window today falls apart tomorrow. Once we checked out we where cautioned not to stop at any Mexican ports. Well the wind we needed to cross the sea of Cortez evaporated. Mike from PV sails had said on the radio that the window had closed and as well as our opportunity to sail to the trade winds. He was right and after two days of motoring we new we needed to divert to Cabo San Lucas for fuel. Three days and four nights of motoring before we finally punched through the cape effect (too much wind on the nose) to land in Cabo.  We anchored off the beach and jerry jugged fuel to the boat with an eye on the weather. We were now 300 miles closer to Hilo and only a couple of days from the trade winds.

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Ok plan “B”

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So what do you do when a passing panga upsets your dingy while you are refueling the outboard and rips the gas cap off and overboard on a Sunday in Mexico. Well  I went after it,in hind sight not such a great idea. The water this time of year is crystal clear and I easily located it in 30ft of water. I put on the fins snorkel and mask and made a surface free dive that ultimately ruptured my weak right ear drum. Hey, I recovered the cap. I’ve ruptured that ear drum before due to swimmers ear as a kid so I didn’t think to much about it. Our weather window opened and we set sail again. After two days of boisterous sailing and no sleep I had an ominous feeling and told Debbie I wanted to return to Cabo, and forget sailing to Hawaii. We did an about face only to discover that my ear was badly infected. We carry oral antibiotics but this was an outer ear infection that could permanently destroy my hearing. Ahhh welcome back to Cabo. Upon arrival I went to Amerimed and was treated by an awesome ENT doctor. We also officially checked back into Mexico which turned out to be a two day ordeal. A lady at the port captains office lost her purse and returned to the office and accused everyone that had been there at the same time of theft. Luckily we were still there and were not in possession of the purse. The response from the local police was impressive as three squad cars and six officers some with machine guns took her statement. We also learned of the drama that was playing out on the high seas on the sailboat Rebel Heart. A family with a one year old daughter had to be rescued and they lost their boat. At this point I felt that Hawaii was just not to be. A big high pressure system settled over the Baja coast and created the perfect opportunity to bash back up the coast to home and no way to sail to the trades. So we went with the flow and are now anchored in turtle bay awaiting the next weather window to head for Ensenada.

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Punta de Mita and the Whale Tale

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Punta de Mita and

The Whale Tale

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We provisioned the boat In La Cruz de Huanacaxtle untied the dock lines and set sail for Punta de Mita with hopes of catching a wave. The wind was very light and forced us to do some motoring but the sun was bright and the sky was clear. Punta de Mita is the northern point of Banderas bay and is a popular surfing destination with many hotels and beach side palapas. As we approached the anchorage I was concerned with the size of the ocean swells and that it might be a dangerous anchorage. The closer we got the more boats we saw in the anchorage and the better I felt about anchoring here. Once the hook was set I assessed the landing situation on shore. Let me explain. When your only option is landing your dinghy on the beach, the size of the surf becomes a huge issue. What’s great for surfers is not so good for the dinghy. A beer run was absolutely imperative and I set off to make a beach landing in the large surf. After three failed attempts I considered anchoring the dinghy past the surf line and swimming. I set an anchor and just watched the awesome show of nature with an increasing thirst. I watched another cruiser with a fast dinghy and a surfboard, ride the back of a wave past a makeshift breakwater of rocks, safely make it to shore. I had my opportunity but was still cautious because of our very wimpy dinghy motor. I watched a truly impressive set of waves crash over the entrance and hit full throttle. It was more like I put putted my way in only to be caught on the wrong side of the wave. At that point it was more like surfing and it was towards the anchored pangas. Luckily the rocks broke the power of the wave and I landed with out so much as an extra drop of water in the dinghy. The depositivo was quickly located behind all the pangas and Corona was secured. The trip back was a little more eventful in that I had to power over a couple breakers and got a good bath but stayed upright. Back aboard Sosiego we had a fine dinner and beautiful night.

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The next day the surf had gone down quite a bit so we inflated our Bali paddle board and headed for the beach. The beach proved to be more rock than sand and the surf was still breaking. An instructor suggested paddling out past the breakers so Debbie could try her hand at the paddle board. I swam next to her and tried to give her tips. I failed miserably as an instructor and when we headed for shore I neglected to  tell her to bail before hitting the shore. She suffered her first surfing injury with a scraped up foot and nasty bruise on her leg. We went back to the boat for hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, band aids, and tequila. The next morning I made a go at surfing while Debbie went to the spa. A painful story best told by her some other time. I’m not that steady but I was able to catch a dozen or so waves and ride them all the way in. By the time Debbie was done I couldn’t lift my arms above my head. So cool! That evening we had THE best meal so far in Mexico at one of the beach side restaurants named Tino’s.  She ordered the Camaron de Diablo and I had Sea Bass on green garlic mashed potatoes. So scrumptious!  A truly wonderful evening with a beautiful sun set. The next day we ran into Oso Negro (black bear) who is a surfing instructor who grew up in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. He spoke passionately about his home town and told us the story of the town’s name. Apparently in the town square there is an ancient Huanacaxtle tree.  The branches grew and formed the sign of the cross, thus the name La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

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The return trip turned out to be a whale watching trip. The only problem with watching whales is that some times they want to watch you or give you a high five with there tail. We where motoring again due to lack of wind. Without warning a humpback surfaced next to the boat and dove under us. Debbie got to high five his tail as he slipped under the boat. I was down below and all I heard was her exclamation of, “WHALE!” and the sound of the whale song through the hull. I grabbed the camera with the hope of some great footage but alas he dove deep no more to be seen.

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The ATM Pirates of Banderas Bay

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Our return to the La Cruz anchorage for the Sunday farmers market was met with a bit of bad news. I know everyone has experienced credit card fraud at one time or another but the banditos of Banderas bay have achieved a new level of treachery. We suspect that when we visited one of those independent local ATM’s my card was compromised. After telling our tale to other cruisers they told us to only use ATM’s that are attached to a physical bank. They where sophisticated enough to use a bank ATM to withdraw max cash each day during our stay at Punta de Mita. When they ran out of money they actually transferred money from savings to checking. We put a stop on the card and Travis C.U. made things right but we where told that unless there is blood shed the local authorities don’t care. We now pay with cash only, lesson learned.

Dancing with the Geckos

After being robbed, our morale was low, our cash was low and so were our food stores on Sosiego. So at the suggestion of friends we headed down the beach to eat at the 3 palapas restaurant. After arriving and looking at the menu we knew we didn’t have quite enough cash, so we had to hang our heads low and leave. We walked further down the beach and didn’t see anything worth while. So off we headed across a littered field next to a run down hotel. Eek! It was almost dark and if you come from the city you know that you don’t want to put yourself in these situations. So we walked with our heads high and at a nice clip. We finally made it full circle and back into town. We got some munchies and still had a little cash left. So it was time to put back some bounce in our step. We stepped out of the blues and into the Gecko Rojo. We had a couple of beers and the band was playing older rock and roll. I had just enough liquid courage on board to ask the band if I could dance on stage and I rocked it with them to Queen’s Crazy little thing Called love. I had a blast and could see a new career in my future. The nxt morning we woke happy with a renewed view of the cruising life. Cruise with caution but still enjoy every moment.

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 We are now finishing boat projects and preparation for the sail to Hawaii so we moved from the anchorage to a slip in La Cruz when the red tide made its appearance. The water literally turned red from  nasty red algae and it stunk to high heavens. It smelled so bad  that we went back into the marina to stay. We ended up pulling all the anchor rode out on deck to dry out because it made the boat smell like death.  Back in the marina we met up with Ken and Cari on Bula. We had planned a trip to Costco and rented a car for the day. We ended up having a wonderful time shopping, having lunch, and driving around Puerto Vallarta. Costco turned up the ever allusive cans of chicken breast that we have been looking for since we arrived in Mexico. We were also able to get all the non perishables that we needed for the trip.  All in all a good day.

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Buceria and the Kissing Bridge

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Mike from North Sails of La Cruz put on a free seminar on surveying your rig for problems before making the jump across the pacific. We had decided to head for Hawaii for easier access to plane travel and to not rush through Hawaii. My goal has always been an ocean passage and this more than fills the bill. The second slide that Mike posted in his presentation was, I swear, Sosiego with her off center rigging at the chain plates (where the wire that holds up the mast attaches to the boat). Well thanks Mike for giving me another boat project.  The good news was that all I needed to fix the issue was a few stainless washers and that’s where the fun began. First can anyone tell me the translation of stainless steel washers in Espanol? Right, well Mike helped me with that and according to him a little shop in Bucerias, just past the bus stop past the church and past the arroyo before the second stop light before the Mega. Right! Of course he couldn’t remember the name of the shop.  Bucerias is another small artsy fishing community. The first hardware store we stopped at had heard of the, “Nuts and bolts shop” and pointed us in the right direction. The shop was very small but it had pictures of nuts and bolts on the doors. Score one for the away team.  Debbie and I returned later that night for dinner and to find the kissing bridge. The bridge is located among the many small shops that sell arts and crafts, all be it a little too high pressure sell for my likes, but they had some quality items. We ended up at Miguel Angelos for dinner. We split a surf and turf meal that was comprised of huge shrimp, N.Y. steak and spiny lobster. Yeah! The entertainment included a solo guitarist ex cruise ship player and cockatiels. One of the patrons decided to bring the bird over for closer inspection and placed him on my hand. The waiter turned him on his back and he played dead in my hand. Very cool!  We headed back to our home on the water to spend the next few days waiting for signs of a weather window to head out.

From Green Beer to Paradise

We found out that our time to head on to Hawaii was coming up so we made reservations in another marina that is close to the Check out Captain in Nuevo Vallarta. The last night in la Cruz was Saint Patrick’s day, so we hung out with Cari and Ken. We started the evening at the Gecko Rojo listening to Irish tunes and drinking green beer and having jello shots. We were all getting hungry so we chose to walk to a little restaurant that serves tacos. Big surprise, tacos in Mexico. Unfortunately it was closed. Our second choice was pizza so onward we went to Falconi’s pizzeria. Damn fine Pizza. We had a wonderful evening and were sad to say Goodbye to our new friends. However, it was time. The following morning Joe inspected the rig and we left La Cruz to our stern.

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Paradise Village is another Marina that you could actually stay here and never wander off the property. It has three swimming pools, a yacht club with a restaurant, a commercial shopping center that includes McDonalds, laundry and even a place to get your hair cut. Why would anyone ever leave? Well, they also have a lot of Mosquitos. Joe and I became appetizers the first night we were there. Now we have to bathe in Off or we wont have a spot on our body that doesn’t have a new bite. Well, this is it folks. We will do our final provisioning and our departure date is set for March 24th, 2014. Winds should be fair and we will hopefully make it to the big Island of Hilo sometime in mid April. Sosiego is signing off until we have some more adventures to tell you from the big island of Hawaii. May you all have fair winds and following seas.

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