Thursday, January 5, 2017

Delivery to Guaymas-- and up for sale!

Our beloved Sound Discovery that brought us down to Mexico from Juneau, Alaska is for sale. Just in the past several days we delivered her from La Paz to Guaymas, where we will store her away for the hurricane season in Marina Seca Guaymas.

Even though she is being "put-away," everything is ship-shape and ready to go for a Sea of Cortez adventure, or a trip further south. We are planning on storing the running rigging to prevent sun damage, as well as the head sail. everything will be covered and cleaned to the best of our abilities. 

If you are interested, please shoot me an email and I can send all her listing information, as well as photos of interior/mechanical, etc: giselle.mae.miller@gmail.com


Friday, December 30, 2016

Becoming a "Two-Boat Family" (hopefully not for long!)


It’s been quite the busy two weeks since we showed up in La Paz. We’ve been slugging our way through the great learning experience of buying a new boat—together. Throughout the last couple of weeks, I’ve quizzed Clif on his original experience of purchasing Sound Discovery in Tacoma, WA, and it turns out he was so excited to get the boat and bring it to Alaska, that many of the jobs we’ve been doing as of the last several days are new to both of us.

S/V BarDan in Marina Palmira
So. Big news is—we found a boat! S/V BarDan, a 1985 Hans Christian 38 Traditional, has been sitting in Marina Palmira, here in La Paz, for a little less than two years. It was listed for the entirety of last cruising season (Spring of 2016) with La Paz Yachts at a higher price, and was reduced in September for it’s second season on the market. I saw this boat on the La Paz Yachts website in November, and jokingly told Clif that I was holding out for “the turquoise boat,” which was BarDan, with it’s very identifying green hull. I assumed that the boat would be sold and gone by the time we reached La Paz, but it seems to have waited for us!

Teak decks are beautiful but need to be replaced.
The first full day in La Paz we went to look at the outside of the boat at the Marina, noticed a couple things right off the bat that would need to be done to elevate this old beauty to an ocean-crossing vessel, but nothing that put us off. Returned the following day with the La Paz broker, and chose that night to put an initial offer on the boat—allowing us an allotted time for a survey sea trial, and several other visits from boat contractors in the area for quotes of specific jobs. It’s actually been terribly exhausting: lots of heading out to the marina early in the morning (which is a two-mile walk away from the safe place we anchor out dinghy), spending time digging through bilges and drawers, meeting workers for quotes, having mixed feelings about how much work we actually were/are willing to make this boat what we want it to be, and walking back into town, the two-miles, usually in the dark (stopping for a taco or three), motoring our dinghy back to Sound Discovery which had been out at anchor, and then going to bed. On top of all that, the weather has been very windy, which means little sleep for both Clif and I (getting up at night to check the anchor, check the dinghy, listen to the water slap against the hull… those things).

Initial look inside BarDan-- Clif examining where he can put the spear guns and fishing rods. Facet needs to be replaced, and we will probably re-plumb the three other facets around the sink for sea water and water-maker purified water. (*First question I had, "Are the hats included?"

Today was our very windy sea trial. We got our first experience of the Hans Christian in some choppy seas, brought the engine up to temp, unfurled the chocolate brown tan-bark jib (green and brown sails… kind of reminds me of a girl scout uniform—just thought of this now- hah!), and had no big surprises. We then brought the boat to one of the local haul out yards and were able to inspect the hull out of the water, and plan on continuing the hull survey tomorrow morning. Everything looked normal for an older boat—very few, small blisters that will need to be repaired and some sanding and paint work on the rudder—all things we could do at Gabriel’s yard in Guaymas.

We also did a little boat swap-a-roo today which confused the heck out of all the Marina Palmira Dock 4 residents. We hauled anchor on S/V SD and motored her into Bardan’s old slip that it has been occupying for quite some time. Now, all of the sudden the same young couple sailing away in the Hans Christian reappeared in a Cal and are scrubbing the decks vigorously…. ¿Qué pasó? Why yes, we are the very same crazy young couple. To be honest, everyone in the marina and in the cruiser community that we have met or used the assistance of, have been very positive and excited about out decision. It’s a beautiful boat, and with a little TLC (C=$$) we have the energy and the excitement to revive this boat to its former glory.

View from the bowsprit on the sea trial!
One of my quotes from one of the local Mexican workers who came to survey our decks and give us a quote of some of the work was as follow, “She is already a beautiful boat. She just needs a little lipstick.” Imagine in broken English. J


Things that I have reflected on as of late…

-       ALL BOATS are projects boats (We’ve looked at quite a few boats). Saying “We don’t want a project boat” is like saying “I want a house I never have to clean.” Even brand spanking new boats off the factory floor have problems, and then you’re just paying more to fix the same things.
-       We are becoming what cruisers down here call a “two-boat family.” We will now have to deal with the movement and moorage of two boats, until Sound Discovery is sold. This hit me a little harder today as we pulled Sound Discovery into Bardan’s Marina Palmira slip and I began to scrub her decks.
-       It’s important to focus on the projects that get her cruising on and the water… while still remembering that if there’s any work you want done, do it now! So you can appreciate it! We are realizing that a lot of boat owners wait to improve their own boats before they sell, and they never get to enjoy the fruits of their labor! We want to put in the work early, so we can enjoy the boat to the fullest.

And finally…

The name. This is probably going to be hard for the previous owner, since I know he is actively planning on following our blog and adventures. Since the boat is currently named after the owners (Barbara and Dan—hence BarDan), we are going to change it. The boat was originally dubbed Meridian, then at some point during it’s ever green life was called Toad Hollow—which is showstopper of a boat name. We have come to settle on one we both like, and honors our adventure beginning in Alaska—as well as sailing back to Alaska: S/V Sedna. Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the sea and mother to many Arctic sea mammals. Her legend varies, but is used as an explanatory myth for the creation of sea creatures such as seals, walrus, whales… etc. Like many legends of Sea Gods and Goddesses, she is cast into the sea, and the blood from her wounded hands or her fingers (depending on the story) become the warm-blooded animals of the sea.

I actually studied several versions of this story during my Alaska Youth Literature Course for my Masters of Education in Fairbanks, and created several pieces of artwork for to accompany the legend. In seeking a mermaid/siren/sea goddess figure, we thought that Sedna would be good to attest to the strength and the mermaid like qualities of our new home.

Here is another summary from the Artist Antony Galbraith http://fineartamerica.com/featured/sedna-antony-galbraith.html :

Sedna began as a beautiful young woman, courted by many suitors, but none pleased her father. Then a mysterious stranger appeared, claiming to be a great king in the north, and convinced her father to let them marry. Sedna went to live with her new husband only to discover that he was a cruel Skua (sometimes it is a Raven) in disguise. She called for help from her father who came to her aid and as they escaped in a small canoe, the angry Skua sent a terrible storm to topple them. Sedna fell into the water and clung to the side of the canoe to keep from drowning. Her father, fearing that they might both die, cut her fingers off so she sank down into the icy depths. As she sank, her severed fingers became seals, walruses, porpoises, dolphins, polar bears, whales, and sea otters. She became an important figure for the hunters of the north who relied on her generosity to survive. If Sedna felt slighted, she would call her sea animals to her and the people would starve.

Will I be protective and extra hypersensitive of all my fingers and digits while sailing this boat? Yes. Always. Am I already like that on Sound Discovery? Yes. And as I am not hunting any warm-blooded sea creatures, but rather swimming with them, I think Sedna would approve. Have we ever run into a boat with a cooler name?! No!

Image of Sedna by artist Antony Galbraith.
_____________________________________

We will keep you all posted on the final part of the boat purchase process, but until then, you’ll just have to enjoy photos of Sedna as she prepares for haul out and getting some work done to spruce her up for the trip back to Guaymas

Since we are going to be in La Paz for a month, we do have a mailing address that you can send mail to, which is through the local yacht club. If you’re interested in sending any snail mail, it can be addressed as follows:

Clifton and Giselle Miller
S/V Sound Discovery
(or maybe S/V Sedna in a couple weeks!)
APDO Postal 366
La Paz, BCS, México CP23000

Also-- If you know anyone interested in a great little Cal 34 that's ready to go cruising in Mexico, send them our way. Have anyone interested email me at giselle.mae.miller@gmail.com. We're going to be setting up a page here shortly on our blog title "FOR SALE" which will have all the information.

Some Sea Trial Photos from yesterday....
 



"S/V Sedna" gets hauled yesterday afternoon. Surveyor and yard owner look at hull-- which is in relatively good shape for an older boat. You can see in this photo that the rudder needs a sanding/paint job as well as new zincs.

Dan (Surveryor) and Clif inspect hull.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Alive and Drinking Tequila in La Paz--


December 16th, 2016-- Caleta Lobos, 10 nm north of La Paz
Enjoying all of our wedding gifts on the boat! Thank you!
 
Listening to the main halyard softly vibrate while eating dinner is a welcome sound. After a windy couple of days sailing, the occasional light breeze through the anchorage is blissful. Two-hundred and twenty four miles due south from Algodones, the air is almost twenty degrees warmer and stagnant. An occasional bark of a sea lion on a nearby rock interrupt my peaceful, yet hot meal (both the food and the indoor cabin temperature).

We are sitting just ten nautical miles north of La Paz in a tiny bite called Caleta Lobos. Fond memories of bring Clif’s parents here and anchoring in the exact same spot three years ago. It’s been just over three years since we first motored into La Paz, early in the morning, calling into the Cruisers’ Net and announcing our arrival—via Juneau, Alaska. We haven’t been back to La Paz in the past three years, we’ve been busy (getting married and such).

Since my last post we’ve been busy. We got Sound Discovery in the water, brought her over to El Mero for a couple of days, just outside of Guaymas, said goodbye to the truck and tossed the dock lines…

First jump into the water of the season!
… with one small catch. A very brief sea trial to start. We cast of on Monday morning around 10:00am, motored about two miles out of the harbor and realized we were leaking a significant amount of diesel from one of the copper tubes delivering fuel to our engine. A minor problem at first turned into a major problem when Clif went to tighten the connection that was leaking and the pipe cracked—just split. Engine was cut. No wind. We were dead in the water two miles out of Guaymas, surrounding by three or four massive shrimp trawlers.  Luckily, it was only 10:30… and luckily we had a running outboard and our own strong dinghy. We put our dinghy in the water, attached the outboard and tied the two boats together, proceeding to tow Sound Discovery (for the second time) under our own dinghy outboard power. Within an hour we were back, and Clif magically steered the sailboat into the exact same slip with just the dinghy motor at propulsion. No one on the dock apparently noticed our incredible feat, but I was in awe and so proud that we could take on the task ourselves.

The afternoon was spent retrieving the truck again, which we had prepared to leave in Gabriel’s yard, and then driving around to fix the broken tube. The quick fix: cutting it shorter. It worked! Clif was able to stretch the piece of copper tubing and make it work. The happy engine started up right away without any qualms.

Sailing the entire crossing saved fuel but was tiring.
ROUND TWO: Ate tacos. Put away truck (again). Walked to the boat. Drank several margaritas with all of our dock mates aboard Batwing, a famous Chinese junk-rig, in celebration of making our engine run, which resulted in a slight hangover the following morning. Left the dock at 8:00am, engine running smoothly and motored our way towards San Carlos for our “shakedown” before doing out cross. Arrived in Algodones Marina Real around 12:30 to full out diesel and water tanks.  We had full plans of anchoring in Algodones or San Carlos for the night, but after a quick swim to the beach and back (our first swim of the season!) we decided to scoot across the sea. We had several friends that had also planned to make the passage the same night— sometimes these crossings happen in herds—so we joined.

We sailed our entire crossing. It was windy, but uneventful (compared to last year). Most of the night we saw between 15 and 20 knots of wind from the north north-west, and sailing quickly on a beam reach directly south (aiming 170-180 degrees south), for about twenty four hours, keeping a cool 5-7 knot hull speed. This spat us out just east of Isla Carmen and Loreto—where I was hoping to get some cell service, but wasn’t able to do so. Since the wind was still steady, we chose to sail our way further south to Agua Verde—where we anchored on Wednesday night, 28 hours after we began our passage. We woke up early the following morning and motor sailed our way to Isla San Francisco, 15nm north of Espiritu Santo.

(**Side Note-- This whole time we’ve been hearing on the VHF radio, through several nets and eavesdropping on conversations, that there will be a strong northern blowing in on Saturday-Sunday, and not letting up until next Wednesday, so we were rushing a tad).

A big long push for one thing… one thing on Baja that makes all of this pushing worth it: swimming with baby sea lions. We’ve been motivating to return back to Los Islotes, a little sanctuary of a sea lion rookery, since we came here three years back. Such an incredible experience to be in the water with these little guys! The mothers with slide into the water and hover a good distance off, while they’re young come and nip at your fins. The really curious ones will touch you with their fins, and they absolutely go bonkers when Clif and I dive down to meet them. One of the pups actually stole my snorkel off of my mask (which was already falling off slightly), and swam around with my snorkel for several minutes. I had to swim around the reef to find the culprit, and when I did, he gave it back as if he was in trouble!  The swim was a welcome break to our long hours behind the wheel.
Play time with the sealion pups...

Unfortunately… what I DIDN’T know, while I was swimming with these cute little ones, was that my Delorme Tracking points and messages that I had sent the previous days had not appeared on the website. Which meant no communication with family and friends after our crossing. While the Mexican Navy was scanning the radio for any sound of our voice, we were bobbing up and down with sea lion pups.

I didn’t realize any of this until late this afternoon, when we were barely close enough to La Paz to get one bar of service and receive some frantic family texts. We immediately called the Capitania de Puerto via VHF, and informed him of our whereabouts and arrival to the La Paz Area, and were able to text our family back in response.

Outcome: Shit breaks. Technology doesn’t work sometimes. And there isn’t much cell service in Baja… as it is quite desolate. Our Delorme Tracker is not bomb proof, but we will have to clear up some problems with the company and figure out why the points and messages we were sending were coming through okay on our end, but not the other. Before we left for our trip down the coast, we had read that using Satellite trackers were helpful as an emergency tool—but created constant communication, which is great, but kind of like being plugged into a phone 24/7. It can cause more worry and frustration for those not on the boat. Clif didn’t want to have one when we started, but it was purchased reluctantly to stay in communication with family, particularly on the outside coast. Now it has finally gotten us into trouble with our parents! So we shall see how long that little device sticks around.

FYI. In the unfortunate emergency where our vessel actually needed assistance anywhere, this is a following plan:

-       VHF radio on high power if we felt like we needed our presence known--- even before we needed assistance. Check in with anyone who can be reached or relay to the Coast Guard (Mexican Navy).
-       VFH radio on high power for assistance when needed.
-       Delorme system has an SOS status, which we would turn on (but obviously needs to be checked now.)
-       In the case that our boat was sinking, we would send out a Mayday VHF call,  turn on our EPIRB and leave it on, and inflate our life raft, as well and remove our dinghy outboard and oars. We also have a ditch kit with a second EPIRB (unlicensed, but still signals distress) and several hand-held VHFs.

We have a great little boat—she is strong, has lived a long sturdy life, has held up through some rough weather, and has a smart captain!
____

December 17th-- In La Paz and safely anchored...

As a a quick addition to my blog post, I wanted to let everyone know that we are happy and feeling very confident in the EMS system in Mexico. We were hailed on the VHF by the port captain this morning as we were sailing into the La Paz area. The port captain had Clif spell our names, describe our boat for a second time, and clear us into the La Paz. The Coast Guard in the states was able to inform my father that our EPIRB had NOT been activated, nor had we been transmitting any VHF distress signals-- so that was a little assurance.

Please take comfort in knowing that I am currently on my second margarita, sitting on the malecon in La Paz, and just got served a hamburger! SO I'm done typing. Leaving you with more sealion pup photos!

Much love. Giselle




Saturday, December 10, 2016

Deja Vu? Back in Guaymas---

It’s been a week since we arrived in Guaymas, and it feels a bit like Deja Vu in Marina Seca Guaymas (Didn't we just do all this eight months ago?? The answer is yes.): cleaning the copious amount of red dust and dirt off the decks of our pretty white and green Cal. She faired remarkably well this past summer through one major hurricane that hit Guaymas and San Carlos, hurling 120+ winds. Several boats in our yard did have some major damage, and we heard from the guards that our light Cal was rocking in her stands and they were constantly running between all of the lighter boats tightening up stands and lines that had blown free. Miraculously, we only have one line break loose that, a cheap plastic thing that was taking the place of our jib halyard.

Others didn’t fare as well--- You can read more about the hurricane damage up here in Guaymas and San Carlos in this Latitude 38 articles: http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/lectronicday.lasso?date=2016-09-07#.WEzHcpI5SuU

A good example of our engine access.
Completed a few new projects in the yard this past week. I became a decent boat plumber and fixed a few leaks in our water lines. I read somewhere online that if you see silicone or plumbers putty anywhere—it’s a shoddy plumbing job at best—to which I said, I AM a shoddy plumber and promptly used both. Clif replaced two thru-hull valves to our sewage system intake and outtake. Both were totally corroded through, which explained some of our sewage system problems last spring. I made a half-ass attempt at cleaning our oily bilge, which has been gross since Clif purchased the boat in 2012. We have a uniquely deep bilge, which is about impossible to clean. I’ve heard of couple storing wine in their bilges… that will never be the case in our little Cal.

After completing several other chores (replaced shaft packing, bottom paint touch up), we started up the engine and scheduled a “splash” time with the travel lift. Got the boat in the water one week after we arrived exactly! I think we hold multiple records for preparing our boat in the yard. We hate living on the hard that much. Plus, the boats are meant to be the water! Once the all the thru-hulls are good, bottom paint good, engine running--- get her in the water! Too many people come down and get absorbed in some serious projects and end up spending a whole month living on a boat that your have to climb a ten foot ladder to access.

Another shot of SD flying!
Once in the water, we made our way to “El Mero” the inexpensive city docks outside of Guaymas. There are several other cruisers here doing the same thing we are doing—letting the boat settle in the water, prepping sails, checking bilges…etc. One of our chores once we get in the water is to climb the mast and run a couple spare halyard, usually Clif does this and I hoist, but I wanted to try this year, so I did! My first time all the way up the mast! I made a little harness for my phone and tucked it in my shirt so I could take plenty of pictures from above. Afterwards, my inner thighs were sore from hugging the mast so hard with my legs. Clif just monkeys his way up, and I literally did a koala hug all the way to the top.

We planning on headed to San Carlos area tomorrow (20 miles north) to do a quick sea trial and see how the boat is doing in the water, and then schedule our crossing to Baja.

I climbed the mast for the first time! Crazy.
In closing, I wanted to let folks know— we are in the market for a new boat! Clif and I have been looking at slightly larger and slightly heavier boats. Sound Discovery is an excellent coastal cruiser, but gets tossed around a little too much for my liking once we get into higher winds and heavier weather. We’re interested in purchasing an older blue water vessel, cutter or ketch rigged, heavy displacement and more room for family and friends to visit comfortably (Our Dads will both understand why!). I am particularly fond of the Tayana 37s, Hans Christian 38 Traditional, and Clif has been avidly looking at Kelly Petersons, Valiant 40s, and other larger, tried and true ocean crossing vessels. We spent a two days last week looking as some of the boats for sale in San Carlos and Guaymas— nothing popped out too much, but we’re open and enjoying the process of looking.

So that’s our exciting news! It’s also making us pretty excited to sail south to La Paz and check out what they have to offer as well.

Preparing to unplug after tomorrow, but will keep this up to date as much as possible!

--Giselle

Sound Discovery at El Mero today, outside of Guaymas.



Saturday, March 5, 2016

North to Alaska! This rush in on...

Hello family and friends--
Two good days of sailing in a row with Rob aboard, out of Loreto.


It's that time again (although slightly early this year... in order to accommodate a certain exciting event happening April 9th): time to swap our Baja sailing shorts and flip-flops in for our Juneau fishing bibs. Clif and I are both officially hired on as crew members for the M/V Mist Cove this summer, season beginning April 18th, starting in Port Orchard, Washington. Clif will be returning again as Lead Deckhand (fishing guide/skiff driver) and I will be coming on as the new Guest Coordinator. Part of my position will be taking and compiling photos/videos of guests and crew each week, so I'm hoping to keep this blog up throughout the summer, recounting some fun Alaskan Cruising adventures and photos as well.

The countdown has begun! Wedding time is quickly approaching! We crossed the border and drove into Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, and have already had contact with several close friends telling us of their travel plans to Alaska for the wedding-- it's very exciting, and just plane fun to hear from friends coming from across the country to join us for the celebration! (Kim, Leah, Brady!!) Also great to check in with vendors and have everything lined up. My hard work in January seems to be paying off. We have a couple musical groups that have joined the line up of events, including an amazing local group that will be playing at Louie's on Thursday night (April 7th) for our Family/Friends meet-and-greet, and a very fortunate collaboration of musicians playing at the ceremony from Seattle, and Anchorage. It's going to be a week of music and good company!

Rob and Clif take a quick bath in San Juanico after working on the engine.
Our last week on the boat we had Clif's dad, Rob, join us in Loreto, and aid in our crossing back to Guaymas. I think all of us would say the highlight of our week together was whales, whales, whales! After our trip to Lopez Mateo to see the gray whales, we happened upon a full-grown blue whale hanging outside of San Juanico, just as we started out crossing. We stopped the boat completely just to watch the blue whale surface, it's enormous blueish-gray mass just rising out of the water barely to breathe. Once the boat was off, the whale surfaced several times incredibly close to the boat, once just meters off the bow! The thing was huge!! We only saw a small portion of it's back out of the water, but were so close that we could see the white shape of the rest of the whale, including the tail, underneath the surface. Slightly startled by it's close proximity, the whale did a deep dive right under the boat, showing it's fluke as it descended-- a rare treat!

Sound Discovery leaving the free docks for haul out.
With the help of Rob, we managed to get the boat put away in three days: one day at the "free docks" outside of Guaymas, and two on the hard, in Marina Seca Guaymas. We made a long to-do list and quickly crossed off everything, even having time to kill on the last afternoon. The drive up to Phoenix was long and hot, but supplemented by some last minute Mexican food before we crossed the border. Rob flew out of Phoenix yesterday morning, back for Reno, after a short visit with my grandparents living in Surprise.

North to Alaska!

Clif and I are planning camping our way up the coast again, through LA, Big Sur and into the Bay Area. We have to stop off in Occidental for what is becoming the semi-annual switching of gear. Rob has joked about putting our names on the backyard gear shed at their home in Occidental and having it become our first primary residence as a newly married couple. All tank tops and shorts are going to be switched out out for rubber boots as rain gear. Clif has gone so far as having a "Boat Company" tote, just full of all his Alaskan outdoor gear-- so he can just swap one box out for another.

I will be arriving back home, in Juneau, on the morning of March 22nd, and it the ground running with wedding prep-- mostly fun decoration chores. Clif will be taking a fire safety class in Seattle for work, and flying into Juneau on Easter, that following weekend.

Our little month of sailing was short but sweet. Extra wind this time, which kind of held us in place, but still got time on the boat.

Adios Sound Discovery-- Until next season, when we're ready for some sunshine!
Hello Mist Cove!

Watching the sunset the night of our crossing back to Guaymas.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This Month Aboard Sound Discovery...

Buenas Dias de Loreto--

I'm writing from the comfort of land while the wind picks up off the Loreto shoreline. This week the wind has been up high, so we have been hunkering down here in Loreto with good friends waiting for some good wind and weather to cross back over to Guaymas. Clif's dad, Rob, joined us last Sunday, just in time for the Norther to start blowing, and he will be crossing with is as an extra hand, but we have been enjoying land adventures and the home/company of a Reno couple, Rosie and Ken, long time friends of Clif's family. Thank you Rosie and Ken for letting us take over your house this week--- laundry, wifi, amazing meals up on the top deck of the house-- we've been spoiled! All the while, Sound Discovery is sitting tight and snug on anchor in Puerto Escondido, 20 miles south of Loreto in a little wind protection.

Beach walk in Agua Verde.
Since I last posted photos (our first pass through Loreto), Clif and I sailed down to Agua Verde and Caleta Los Gatos, two popular cruising spots south of us. The second we passed Loreto that water got warmer, the wind died down, and the sun got hotter. Amazing what a little adjustment south can do! We had some wonderful sails downwind and hot, flat-calm motoring days back up to Loreto area. All of our destinations have been centered around accessibility of good spear-fishing spots-- making the majority of our meals this year fish tacos or pan-friend fish fillets! Clif and I have both improved our fish-frying skills drastically. Turns out... the secret is coconut oil. We've gone through some serious coconut oil, and have taken to using it whenever we cook with the skillet.

We took a little break from galley cooking while in Agua Verde. Clif made an actual Valentine's Day reservation with a small palapa-restaruant on the beach, run by several local ladies. We dined under a little palm-fronds roof on homemade chicken mole! My first meal of authentic chicken mole since Sound Discovery has been in Mexican waters. (My Dad will understand why this is a milestone, I've been asking for mole in restaurants since we started sailing down the outside coast.) It lived up to all of my expectations!

Happy Spearfisherman! The Blunthead Trigger.
Clif has been enjoying his new dive toy, the Lunocet Pro Monofin, having great success with monofin spearfishing as well. One day, while I had cell service and was chatting with my sister sitting in the cockpit, Clif swam up quietly and said, "Giselle, I need your help." I peeked over the side of the boat, told my sister I had to go, to him holding onto our side ladder with a huge trigger fish, the biggest one either of us had ever seen-- later learned it was a Blunthead Trigger. Needless to say, we were eating trigger fish tacos and ceviche for DAYS.

Yesterday, Clif, Rob and I took a day trip across Baja to see the Gray Whale mama and baby pairs rearing in the shallow, protected waters near Lopez Mateo. This time we hired our own panga to take us our and saw dozens of mama-baby pairs, so many excited to play and interact! Rob was up front in the panga when one of the young calves was swimming back and forth under the bow of the panga and got some good whale pets in! We also were fortunate enough to see a mama Gray do several "head-slap," bringing her head all the way our of the water and looking and the world around. Another amazing day out there getting close to the curious and playful whales!

What's Next...

Rob petting the baby Gray whale the surfaced under our bow!
Now that Rob has arrived in Mexico, we are Guaymas bound. Once the winds calm down, we are going to sail up to San Juanico (San Basillio area), and make the crossing from there. The weather looks nice and calm for a crossing this coming weekend (Feb 27th/28th)-- and with three of us, I might even get a chance to sleep! (Unlike this past one... where we were doing some serious sailing all night). Once we're in Guaymas, we will schedule a day to haul-out, do a couple days of thorough clean-up, and then hit the road for Phoenix. Our goal is to be up in Arizona by the first weekend on March. Depending on the timing, we would like to do some camping on our way back north, passing through Occidental, Bend and then eventually Seattle before flying up to Juneau. Working our way slowly north for our wedding.

Until then, we are going to soak up as much sun as possible--- wearing sunscreen and working hard to make sure I'm tan-line free for wedding dress time!

Looking forward to seeing family and friends as we move up the west coast!




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A week of wind and waves---

Quick Hello and check in from Loreto--

We've finally made it down to Loreto after a week huddling in San Basillio (known better as Caleta San Juanico by cruisers), waiting out a long norther. The winds began about two hours after we dropped anchor in San Juanico, and didn't hesitate until about a week later. Strong north north-westerly winds blew constantly across the small bay where about 3-4 other boats took refuge. However, despite the grounding wind, there is not other place we would rather be stuck! We chose to cross to San Basillio for a reason! Diving, spearfishing, hiking, beach combing, goat-milking and cheese making were all on the agenda. We caught a small fish per day, and enjoyed getting to know both the cruisers and campers alike (San Basillio is a popular road-trip stop as well).

Since we have limited wifi this morning, and I trying to get all of our chores done this morning before the wind picks up, I'm just going to attach some photos from the past week and do a more in depth post from Puerto Escondido, an anchorage and marine about 17 miles south of Loreto.

Enjoy--- more soon!

Giselle

Clif bringing the dinghy ashore in San Basillio (aka San Juanico).

A full backpack of produce after I visit to Jose's Garden!

Dishes: Don't be fooled by the sunshine and blue skies-- it was cold this day!!

It's Alive! Beach combing.

Jose's goat head out to pasture to munch on desert brush.

A view from a hike above San Basillio. You can barely make out our boat-- the tiny white spec in the second cove to the left.