Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hi there we are in Santa Rosalia. It is our next to last stop. We are in the process of cleaning up the boat and sorting out our stuff. This morning I went through all the clothes that we had stored in Ziahuatanejo to choose what we wanted to bring home to Canada with us. It was fairly depressing to put mitts and toques in the bag, but we have packed our floater jackets as well, hoping that we will get some sailing in while we are in Yellowknife. You never know I just might be able to find a ride on the Atlantic Ocean when I am in Sydney, NS to visit with Jennifer.
These pictures are from San Jaunico Bay, the geological marvel. I have put some picture of the Cat´s-Paw IV sign from 1995 on the last blog.

We saw all these birds in a feeding frenzy yesterday. We also saw a pack of about a 100 porpoises, also feeding. We alway feel priveledged to see such natural phenomenums. ( I know the spelling isn´t correct but the spell checker is in Spanish so not much help)

Friday, April 27, 2007

It is bright and sunny and we are sailing at about 5 knots into the wind, tacking, tacking. Barry said he thought maybe we should motor so we would get there faster but why? What do we have to do when we get there? Nothing, so we might as well sail and enjoy the beautiful day. It is rather fun as Mungo is sailing with us and we are having a tacking duel up the west coast of the Sea of Cortez. The two boats are pretty well matched upwind but once we head off the wind Mungo just sails away from us.
Our trip today is the longest we have had for awhile, about 40 miles so we set off at dawn and hope to arrive about supper time. Tomorrow will be another fairly long day and then we will have reached our northern destination on the west side of the Sea, Santa Rosalia. We hope to cross to San Carlos on the Mexican mainland on Monday or Tuesday, weather permitting.
Yesterday we were in this lovely bay, San Juanico, it had very interesting geological specimens everywhere. There were sandstone saddles, rocky spires and coloured striations. We went walking along and one section had fossilized sea life embedded everywhere. Barry was in his glory. We saw a small tree on the beach and went over to investigate. Cruisers from years past had put up signs with their boat names on the tree. There were names on driftwood nailed to the tree, names written on clam shells hung from the tree, also names carved in sandstone stashed under the tree. I was being nosy and reading lots of driftwood when I came upon Cat's-Paw IV. There it was as plain as day, Cat's-Paw IV, Jim, Penny, Teaser (their cat) 95. I was truly amazed to see the sign still there after 12 years and was it ever a joyous feeling to know that the boat had been there before and here it was back again with new owners. I found a piece of driftwood and drilled holes (well indentations really) in it to say Ann + Barry 07. Barry suggested I pound little nails into the holes I had made so after I had finished that we went ashore and drilled holes in the original sign and attached our sign to the bottom of it with some stainless steel wire. I wonder if the next owner of Cat's-Paw IV will ever find that spot?????? I must remember to get in touch with Jim and Penny and let them know once we get back to Sidney.
I have been savouring the sunsets, the bright skies and the endless hills and mountains to store them in my memory bank so I can last until we return in the fall. Hope the Canadian spring is well underway for all of you, see some of you in about 2 weeks, YIKES!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hi there, we are in Loreto, and we have found an internet cafe. Hope you enjoy the pictures.Anchorage on Isla Espiritu. We climbed back into the hills and this is what we saw.

The rocks really were this colour, are they not truly amazing.

Salt pans just behind the beach, they must pump the water into them somehow and then just let it evaporate. Notice the little pile at the edge of the pan, it was very salty stuff. Sandi, Steven and I almost at the top of the island. If you looked to the left you would see the salt pans. This was at Isla San Francisco.

If you look closely at the picture of the ridge you can see me standing up there. Barry says, just go over there so I can get a picture. I went very, very slowly to get there. The boat is anchored in Honeymoon Cove. We found our own mushroom rock at this anchorage.
This cactus is just huge. All the ground cover around it is really prickly so if you are planning to go hiking you should wear pants. We have those shorts with legs you can zip off and on and they came in really handy for hiking. Both our legs look like we have been through a forest of spiky things.

Check out this fish s teeth. okay I can not find the apostrophy so you will just have to imagine it is there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We are gradually making our way north. We are once again traveling with Mungo so it is great to have company. We have been seeing other boats that we have gotten to know so it has become a real cruising community. Today we are motoring to a spot that is 9 miles east of Loreto. Loreto has a population of about 8,000, so we hope to be able to go there tomorrow and get some fresh fruits and vegs. which are in a fairly short supply on Cat's-Paw IV at the moment. Loreto does not have a port so we hope to get there fairly early in the day tomorrow, anchor the boats and then go ashore and find a market and an internet site. I want to be able to add some of the great photos we have of the anchorages and terrain around here, as well as see the pictures of my new grandson.
We spent last night in a hurricane hole called Puerto Escondido, they charged us an outrageous amount to ANCHOR is that location, but we were sure safe from any big winds. The anchorage is backed by the Sierra La Giganta (3,674 feet). We didn't get a chance to try and clamour up any of those slopes. We spent the night before in Honeymoon Cove where Barry and I climbed up to the top of the hill and took some great shots. Barry climbed up in his Crocs and afterwards said it was not a good Croc climbing spot!!! We had brunch today at the Hidden Port Yacht Club in Puerto Escondido and it was great to meet some folks that call this area home and share good food with them. There was some fresh fruit on the table and Steve, Sandi, Barry and I gravitated to that dish fairly quickly. It is overcast and there is no wind so we are happily making water as the miles pass under the keel.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We are making our way slowly northward, enjoying all the Sea of Cortez has to offer. We had a lovely spinnaker sail the day before yesterday. It was only 10 miles, but all we put up was the big blue and white sail and just floated down the channel. At one point we had to beam reach and then things got a bit exciting and the boat perked up and went for about 15 minutes, that was great. There were several boat we knew in the anchorage so the night we arrived we ended up having a 5 boat pot luck aboard this 40 foot cat. It was great of them to offer their boat, there was so much room, we all took our plates, cups and utensils as well as our food so when we all left so did the mess. It was great.
Yesterday we went out hunting amethyst with another couple. We hiked over a hill on a road and then went up a dry ravine. It was wide and filled with sand and boulders. You could see where other people had broken open rocks and left them for others to collect if they wished. Barry found the best amethyst and I managed to find one that was faintly purple. I am going to keep it though because my finds are few and far between. We were gone over 5 hours, from 9 in the morning until almost 3 in the afternoon, by the end I felt like all the moisture had been sucked out of my body. It was hot and windy and if I licked my lips I immediately had to put some sun block on them or they felt totally dried up.
There was a small store in the village so we stocked up on fresh fruit and veggies, as they were, apples, oranges, tomatoes, jicima, fairly basic fair. They had a water purification plant in the village so we were going to fill up our water tanks, but "Antonio", the water guy, had gone to La Paz and although we tried to find his "hermano" (brother) we didn't quite figure out where he was supposed to be and our water jugs came back to the boat empty. Barry had the water maker working for about an hour, (about 4 gallons worth) and then it quit again. He talked to one of our buddies and hopefully has figured out a method to fix that thing otherwise we are going to have to very careful with our water for awhile.
Today we sailed 25 miles into the wind all day. The waves weren't too big so they did not slow us down too much although it took us 11 hours to sail the distance so if you figure out the miles per hour, it is not great!! We are both pretty tired, we will have to spend a couple of days at this anchorage as there are bigger winds forecast for the next couple of days. We get our weather from a cruiser's net on the ham radio. We have two weeks left before we have to cross the Sea to get to the spot we have decided to leave the boat for the summer. There should be some great places to see between now and then.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Well, the last I heard ________ Samuel Martin and his mom are at home doing just fine. I spoke to Trish again on Thursday and she sounded like things were going well. The Samuel would be after his Great Grandpa Sam, so Trish said it was fitting that she had been re-potting her tomatoes when he decided to come into the world. Our niece, Laura Shanks was in Calgary for spring break from her teaching job and had offered to give Trish and Graeme a hand, so she was in Invermere and Trish sounded very pleased to have her help. What a kind, considerate thing for Laura to do. Hopefully things are still going along fine. Apparently my brother has some baby pics and offered to post some so you will all get to see this little gaffer before I do.
We are at Isla San Francisco, about 15 miles north of Partida Island. The island is about 7 miles east of the east coast of the Baja Pennisula. There is a beautiful long sandy beach, backed by mountainous red shale hills. We walked across the sand spit, where we saw salt ponds, then scrambled up a hill and got a great view of the anchorage. I swam back to the boat from shore, about 300 meters, the water is definitely getting colder as we head further north.
We had a great sail up here today, the winds were out of the north about 15-20 knots so we just flew along, upwind, the waves were not large so did not slow us down. The wind vane behaved and left us little to do except admire the scenery. Barry says the mountains around here remind him of Drumheller, the coloured striations are quite striking. Mungo is traveling with us once again and it is great to have their company. We spent 3 days in Partida Cove, then moved north a couple of coves yesterday.
It was Steven's 55 birthday and we took Freedom 55 pictures and went on a great hike once we had got to our new anchorage. We sailed between the 2 anchorages and Mungo motored, so Mungo was the chase boat and were going from one side of us to the other taking pictures. Steve got some great shots of us under sail, I can't wait to share them with you. The hike we took involved climbing up a dry gulch that was infested with all sorts of boulders. It was a good scramble but we called it quits before we saw the other side of the island. We retired to Mungo and indulged in red wine, steaks, potatoes, salad and chocolate birthday cake with candles. I figure that should be a very memorable birthday.
Right now Barry's head is stuck in the water maker, it decided to give us grief and started making very weird noises, I don't want to ask to many questions at this point so please keep your fingers crossed that Barry can get it working again. We are pretty short on water and didn't think anything of it because we have a water maker!! We may get a lot dirtier and a lot thirstier in the next month if he can't fix the problem. Fortunately just talked to one our buddies on another boat on the ham radio and the spot he is in, just 10 miles up the coast has a water purification plant right on the beach. NEWS FLASH, all of you crossing your fingers must have worked because the water maker is humming away producing water again, WHEW!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Well big news, our oldest daughter Trish and her partner Graeme had a baby boy on Sat. April 7 at 0145. Baby Martin, as yet unnamed, was a light weight at 6 lbs. 5 oz. arriving on the scene 3 weeks early. Mom and babe are fine although in his hurry to arrive in this world he decided he should exit face up instead of face down like most other babes. This necessitated a drive into Cranbrook, over an hour from home, where a cesarean section was performed. I spoke to Mom today (thanks to Warm Rain and their sat. phone) and she is anxious to get home but they want to keep her and baby Martin at least another day to make sure all is well. From my point of view it was really hard not to make Barry turn around and go back to La Paz so I could fly home to help out our little girl. She is a competent 32 year old woman who has a loving, caring partner so I am sure they will be able to cope just fine with our grandson. She must be a real Lange though because her water broke as she was re potting her tomato seedlings!!!!! Her Grandpa Sam would have been proud of her.
We are really enjoying the Sea of Cortez. We are about 15 miles north of La Paz at Isla Espiritu Santo. The group of islands it belongs to has been designated a world heritage site and it is not hard to see why. The crystal clear water is surrounded by mountainous hills that are covered with reddish stone and soil. The cactus grow wherever they can get a footing and some of them are over 30 feet high. There are white sand beaches in all of the coves and the clarity of the water makes the snorkeling wonderful. There are coral reefs on almost every rocky shoreline and the fish and mollusks as well as the plant life are unusual and quite varied. The variety of plant life we noticed while ashore was astounding, all the small flowers that grow out of the rocky soil and the myriad of types of cactus everywhere. We have been exploring on land, walking on paths through desert conditions, through mangroves, and down coral beaches. We won't be near an internet cafe probably for the rest of the month so I will have to make sure to add a lot of pics once we hit civilization.
We have met up with boats that we haven't seen since we entered Mexico. We had a lovely pot luck dinner with 2 other couples on Easter, what a nice way to share that day. More buddies are crossing the Sea of Cortez as we speak (can I say that??)so as well as beautiful countryside to explore we have friends in almost every small bay, life is good, I guess you can't have everything, my heart really is in the Cranbrook hospital with our daughter, baby Martin, and his Dad.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The sunset was spectacular crossing the Sea of Cortez, notice how flat and calm the seas look. Barry managed to snap this shot of this leaping dolphin, not an easy task with a digital camera with a delay.
We are in La Paz, at anchor decided not to go into a marina, have done quite enough of that lately although it is very convenient. We were going to leave Friday morning to get away before the Easter break. We took our laundry in to get done today and Barry said it would be done at 2:00. I went about 3:00 to get it and she left at 1:00 and won't be back until Sat. so I guess we are here until she opens on Sat. morning. Oh well, it is supposed to be a lovely own, now we will have an extra day to explore.
These pictures were taken at Balandra Bay, the water really is that colour, I didn't touch up the picture. I guess that "mushroom" rock is a local landmark, but it has fallen down a couple of times so now it is unknown if it is real or a fake one they put together so the landmark remains. Notice we are in our wet suits, the water is definitely cooler over here but was it ever clear, you could see really well. Ian and Ness are oceanographers so we learned a lot snorkeling with them.

The Baja Ferry went steaming by, it takes people from La Paz over to the mainland, Mazatlan is one of the stops. It reminded us of the B.C. ferries. We hope everyone has a Happy Easter if I don't post again before then.

Monday, April 02, 2007

We are safe and sound with anchor down in Balandra Cove, about 10 miles north of La Paz. We wanted to be on the hook for a day or so before going into La Paz. The scenery is gorgeous around here, very stark and rugged and quite different from the mainland. The water in our bay is turqoise and there is a lovely sandy beach. It looks like a good spot to go and explore. I think we are really going to enjoy this last month of cruising.
We are on the west side of the Sea of Cortez otherwise known as the Gulf of California. We have about 40 miles yet to go to get to La Paz, so we are planning on stopping at an anchorage about 20 miles north. We are in a channel at the moment between an island and the Baja Peninsula. There are rays jumping out of the water on one side of the boat. Last night dolphins were leaping about 4 feet out of the water right in front of the boat and I think we saw a swordfish, there were whales off in the distance as well. There was an absolutely beautiful sunset last night, perhaps we will see more of them in the Sea. It has been an uneventful crossing, we sailed the first 15 hours then have motored and motor sailed since then, the ocean was just flat calm. We could be sailing now but want to make our anchorage before dark. Hopefully the wind will pick up enough that we can do some sailing later on.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

We have left Mazatlan and are headed for La Paz. We said that we wanted to cross the Sea of Cortez by the end of March and we have managed it by the skin of our teeth. La Paz is on the southeast side of the Baja Peninsula. The water is supposed to be very clear and there are lots of lovely anchorages in the Sea of Cortez so we are looking forward to the next month. We left Mazatlan about noon today, Sat. and it will take us about 48 hours to cross to the other side. I will send in position reports so anyone who is interested can follow our progress.
Mazatlan was a lot of fun. We took in a classical guitar concert at the arts school downtown and we heard the student jazz band play the other night. At the guitar concert there were 6 students and the professor who performed as well as a singer and a percussionist. The girl who sang had a lovely voice and was quite accomplished, the percussionist added a lot to the guitar performance, we really enjoyed him. The jazz band was a little tentative at first but got into things as the performance progressed and by the end they were all enjoying themselves and playing wonderfully together. We had social engagements almost every night, Mungo our buddy boat was there and it was great to get together with them. Steve had gone back to Canada to attend to some business so it was too bad we missed him. We met up with Ian and Ness a couple that were in our Vancouver Island fleet group, so we have now met everyone from the group that is in Mexico except for Jabula.
We got a lot of shopping done and figured out what supplies we needed to have on hand for putting the boat on the hard and managed to find most of them. We noticed as we were coming into Mazatlan that our genoa needed more repair in the area that we had fixed it. There were a couple aboard a sailboat that run a sail repair business and we were able to get them to put a more professional patch on. They picked our sail up on Thur. and were able to get it back to us by Friday night, great service.
Barry also went through a big rigmarole with our fuel. He had just topped up the tanks and was talking to people on the dock about this sludge that we had been getting in the inspection drainage bowl that is by our filters. Someone suggested that he open the tanks up and have a look inside, there was something looking back at him!!! There was algae growing in the fuel and the edges on the tank were covered with it. We called someone and they came by and pumped all the fuel out, remember the tanks were full. Then they wiped the tank down and Barry filtered all the fuel as he put it back in the tank. The fellow had suggested that we get rid of all the fuel but it was about $150.00 worth of fuel so Barry opted to filter it. He left about 8 inches in the bottom of the containers the fuel was in and it had sat there for about 3 hours so the sludge had settled to the bottom. We were very lucky to be able to get both of these repairs done in a timely manner so that we could still leave when we planned. We got lots of advice about what kind of biocide we should be putting in our tanks to prevent algae growth, and of course there is the camp that says that you shouldn't put any in at all, who knows.