Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hanging about and hiking

We have been living off the grid for the last couple of weeks, at anchor, no internet, no restaurants just lazing around, lovely.  We spent about a week in the Bahia Conception then moved south to an anchorage that was beside a massive rock called El Pulpito or the pulpit.  Then we sailed another 10 miles along to an absolutely gorgeous spot called San Jaunico. It’s time to get some laundry done and stock up on supplies so we are headed to a town called Loretto.  

In each spot we have been in we have been on some marvellous hikes. The first one was the highest it was in the Bahia Conception, a marked trail, but not the easiest of footing.  The guide book told us about these rocks with a lot of iron in them and when you bashed them with another rock they rung like a church bell, the sound was unbelievable. 

This is the hike up El Pulpito, an easier walk, except for the beginning where we had to negotiate the bouldery beach before walking up a ridge line around the back of the pulpit. The anchorage is a superb spot if there is any north in the wind and we had it mostly to ourselves. The next day we explored further down the coastline and found a wonderful arroyo or canyon that you would not want to be caught in after a rain. The smooth pathway of the creek was easy to follow down to the sea.

We had a great sail down to San Jaunico, gybing back and forth in a +20 knot breeze, playing in the waves.  I really enjoyed myself.  Our first walk we went across a  neck of land to another bay and luxuriated there on the beach out of the wind before venturing through the rocks to the far side of the bay. It has been cool most days, a long sleeved shirt and a windbreaker are always on hand.  This morning Barry had on shorts, windpants, socks and long sleeved heavier shirt, his fleece and a reversible vest, fleece on one side a windbreaker on the other. We were expecting it to be a little warmer.

Our last hike was really great.  We dinghied over to a beach where we had been told their was a trail up the cliffs. We found it and followed the trail of prairie oysters along the path.  We saw the ranch where the horses were kept, a dwelling nestled in the crook of the hills with the stables below.  

It actually sprinkled a few drops of rain that day, but it kept us cool as we hiked along.  We stood up on this ridge and watched a couple of whales out to sea.  All we could see where these long skinny black shapes. They would be on the surface for awhile and then they would disappear and come up in another area. We stood at different spots along the trail and stared until we could find them again, there were two to start with and then we only saw one for quite awhile.  Barry spotted a ray winging it’s way along the edge of the cliff in the clear aquamarine water.

Janet Diveky showed us where the farmer was located about a kilometre from the beach.  We got some freshly picked peas, carrots, tomatoes, green onions and farm fresh eggs. There were lots of baby goats so he did not have any goat cheese that we had heard was so good. The turkeys were not happy to have us invading their space and gobbled madly at us. We have been playing many hands of bridge and sharing meals, we are so enjoying having George and Janet close by.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Cruising at last

We have been in the water for almost a week now and we are having a great time. We spent 4 days around Guaymas enjoying the peace and quiet as well as the wildlife in the area.  We had a bit of a hiccup with our batteries when we launched so we motored the 12 miles to Guaymas to charge them up. On the way over we saw a seal lazing about on the surface with a flipper and a tail wavering about to stabilize itself. She didn’t pay any attention to the noisy boat thundering by, just hung about doing whatever it is seals do. As soon as we had the anchor down, the bay we were in was alive with porpoises feeding. It is always so special when they welcome you to a new anchorage.

The birds were fantastic, there were herons, ibises, snowy egrets and birds of prey. We have seen the usual turkey vultures soaring about with their easily recognizable wing tips, then we spotted a bald eagle perched atop a cactus, magnificent. We marvel at the brown and white pelicans flying in formation around the boat keeping an eye out for the unwary fish.  The fowl have me stumped though, I can spot the cormorants and some ducks, but there are little guys around that paddle about, unafraid, quite close to the boat.  I want to get a good close look so I can find what they are in one of my bird books. I saw a white bird with bright pink plumage the other day.  I thought it was an ibis that ate a lot of shrimp like the ones we saw in Trinidad.  It was a long way away though and it’s bill looked quite weird.  I think it was a roseate spoonbill, quite something to see.
We were preparing to cross the Sea of Cortez.  They were forecasting a good 15-20 knot northwester to blow through, so we wanted to wait for it to appear.  We took the boat into Guaymas for the afternoon and Barry went ashore and got fresh fruits and veggies.. We hauled up the anchor and got underway at 1700 hours. The crossing was 90 miles anchorage to anchorage and we didn’t want to worry about trying to get in during the daylight.  It was a great sail after the first half hour. We were hard on the wind for the first little while and we were bashing into the waves.  It was going to be a long night, but once we got out of the lee of the large cliffs we had been anchored behind the wind shifted and it was just forward of the beam and the motion eased and we were just flying. It was a cool sail but nothing went wrong and we even slowed down 15 miles out so we could have some light to approach land with.

We have been in Conception Bay before, 12 years ago, and although it is somewhat familiar it is good to get to know it again.  Our good friends Janet and George Diveky were anchored in the bay waiting for us. How wonderful it was to be greeted by them when we arrived.  They have given us the inside info on where to take our garbage, when the fruit and veggie lady comes and where to get the best internet.  We are headed to their trawler for dinner tonight. 
I am so happy to not have to go up and down the ladder every time I need to use the washroom.  I smiled with pleasure at the thought the head was close by every time the urge came upon me during the last week. It is so wonderful to be afloat again.  It is too bad a boat needs to be maintained so much!  Barry was cursing it a few times in the past weeks swearing we should sell right now.  Near the end of three weeks I was almost ready to agree.

We have no set plans for the winter.  We are just going to mosey about in the Sea of Cortez, exploring new anchorages and getting reacquainted with old favourites. My brother is going to return with his wife and spend about a week on the boat just gunk holing about.  The freedom of not having an agenda appeals to us. 
The internet is really slow here so I have taken out the pictures, sorry.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

In the water

We are in and off to an anchorage, yippee 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Part has arrived

Whoopee, the part we have been waiting for arrived, 3 days after the original estimated time, but it finally got here. Now Barry just has to put it on. I left him to it and I am currently sitting at the laundromat listening to the dryer rotate. 

We have been busy doing odd jobs, one of the biggest was refastening the railing on the deck which had come loose.  Despite our extremely careful measuring on the inside and outside of the deck we were off by over 5 cm when we drilled a hole through the deck, something to do with the curvature Barry figures. Epoxy fixes  that very small hole!!  We also recaulked around all the ports.  The rail is now sanded down to bare teak and since I ran out of varnish, the choice is oil it or just leave it au naturel for the season. Barry has always claimed he likes it bare so maybe I will just leave it and see how it looks next year.  

We have been enjoying some lovely sunsets. This one is behind the boat 

this one is the view from the front.  The pics were taken on different days. My brother and I did climb up that peak to the right.  He got to the top of one part whereas I declined to go to the summit.  I was not in good enough shape to do it and I knew the footing would be tricky getting down. I did not want to take the rear end out of another pair of pants as I did when we climbed Pico in the Azores.  I was so tired then and my legs were like jelly so I slid down the difficult parts on my butt and wrecked a pair of very nice shorts. 

In the top pic you can see Bob waving at the top of the cliff.  The view is looking back towards the Marina San Carlos and then to the left of the marina a little further away is the boat yard.  I anticipate we will go in the water soon, so keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


I have run out of varnish after 5 coats.  I should have thought about it and bought more, oh well. The floor looks great.  It takes 24 hours to dry in warm weather and I have been able to put on a coat a day. Yesterday I did not finish until about 1600 hours and it was cool overnight and today so the floor was still tacky.  We had booked a hotel for 2 days and I thought we might only stay for one night but now I am glad we stayed two.  I stepped from doorway to doorway to get our breakfast food and we went out to the local taco place for lunch. 
This morning I took the sander to all the edges of the floor that were on the wall.  The varnish had dripped over the edges and I was worried once the boards started swelling in the humid air out on the water we would never be able to lift the floorboards and acesss the bilge or the pipes or the electric wires!! I handed the pieces up to Barry and he fitted them in and we were done!
Afterwards, we had set off to the store with our trusty Subaru and filled it up with staples for our three and 1/2 months of cruising. It was quite the jaunt, first choosing and buying it all, then hauling it all up the ladder and stowing it. It took us 4 hours.  Thank goodness that is over.  

Barry is painting the bottom and I am changing the boat from a workshop to a living space.  Time to go make the bed and put all the tools away in their designated spots. 

Bob left on Thursday morning.  We spent the night before at a RV spot because if he wanted to dump his grey water he had to pay as much as it cost to stay a night so we moved from the boatyard. It was great to have 110 power, and the showers were truly a wonder.  There was a room that had a changing area and a sink and them separate areas for the toilet and the shower.  It was as big as our second bedroom back in Red Deer. The thing was the water was very hot and it came gushing out, no economy shower heads there, what a treat. I just heard he is home now.  He dropped the trailer off just south of Las Vegas and then booted it home in the truck. It was just great having him here to help, Barry gave him all the meticulous jobs that you needed to really pay attention to detail to complete properly. He was great at them. I truly enjoyed his company hiking as well. He and Barb,his wife, are planning on coming down to do some sailing in March.

Monday, January 21, 2019


This is what the boat looked like for the past 10 days. I took every sheet I owned and covered up the books and all the other bits we have stored, extra sails, tools,dinghy wheels, etc. It was a losing battle trying to keep the sawdust off of everything, but the sheets did help. We took all the cushions off and stored them in Bob’s truck.
 We have finished sanding and trying to fill in the holes and then stain the filler. We would smear the filler on then sand it down, then stain the little holes. The problem was that the filler would stay in the wood grain and there would be minute particles that stayed white around the original hole. It is driving me crazy.  Perhaps I should not have tried to fill the holes, oh well too late now.

I have two coats of varnish on and it is not coming off.  This is the view of the pieces of the cabin sole I can remove and my work area behind the boat, thank heavens for the wall. They look pretty good from 3 meters up. They will be a lot better than they were so that is what counts I guess.  

Bob and I went hiking yesterday morning. We scrambled up the first hill and then found a path leading us to the top of the next peak.  It was a gorgeous day and the views were stunningly in all directions. We marvelled at the many varieties of cacti, large and small and some were flowering.

When we got down I hurried off to a local beach to support a march for women against violence. They hadn’t even started the spearheaded when I had arrived and it was going to be 40 minutes until the Zumba dancers and an hour until the marched.  I purchased a t-shirt and left a donation and scooted back to the boat to put the second coat of varnish on. 
Bob has been busy changing the bearings on the wheels of his trailer. He managed to find a place that sold them in Guaymas and somehow communicated what he needed. We are really enjoying having our car down here, trips to the new Home Depot occur regularly.  I have convinced Barry that our corroded covers for our 110 electrical plugs need to be replaced so there is another trip in our future. 
The engine part we are waiting for is supposed to be shipped to us tomorrow. Who knows when it will arrive, in the meantime I can continue to varnish. Polishing the top sides comes next, my wrists hurt just thinking about it. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Guess What?

We are finished scraping the cabin sole, all the varnish is gone, how exciting! Here Bob and I have just discovered that teamwork really works. Usually when heat gunning by yourself, you blow super heated hot air on the boards then you put the gun down and scrape that section pick the gun up and do it again. When you put the gun down it cools off and so it takes extra seconds to heat up. With the two of us working together the gun stays on, the board stays hot and you can go about 4 times as fast.  It was awesome, when Barry took this picture he commented on the fact that we were doing the job and we were co-operating there was no fighting going on!

Here is Bob getting ready to put the finishing touches on the whole floor, boy did it ever feel good to be done.  Now I have to sand about half more and I want to fill in a bunch of dings that have appeared in 14 years. The staining of those patches will be the tricky part, I am not sure how close I will be able to match the colour. After that I will put the first of 8 or so coats of varnish on while the guys will polish the topsides and prepare the bottom for some touch up paint. 

Here we are at sunset at the spot we arranged to have dinner with our friends. The company was great and the food was good, and the setting was magnificent. It was good to get away from the boatyard. 

Yesterday we decided a little more R & R was in order and that the dinghy motor needed testing. We loaded the dinghy and the motor in Bob’s truck and went and launched it. There had been a bolt that was seized on it and Barry took it to a shop and they freed the bolt and Barry decided to have them change the oil.  Well, the guy put too much oil in it, twice as much as was called for and as we chugged out of the marina, the motor started smoking. We turned around and Barry ignominiously rowed back in. He let us off at the closest dock and then rowed another 300 m back to the launching area. So much for our lovely sojourn out on the water.  

The weather has been perfect, temperatures in the low 20’s during the day and mostly sunny. At night it cools right off and the trailer is not plugged in, so there is no heat and we are sleeping with 4 blankets on. It is warm and cozy in the queen sized bed, what luxury.