Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Puerto Balandra to La Paz - November 18-23

We had a nice motorsail from Ensenada de los Muertos to Puerto Balandra.  The pictures in our cruising guide had enticed us to visit this anchorage.  We figured the pictures had been touched up, because no place could be that beautiful.  Well, the photos were spot on.  This place was truly amazing!  The light aqua water that led into light green, clear water.  The snorkeling was fantastic!  The coral was very much alive with greens, yellows, and pinks.  We saw bunches of trumpetfish and needlefish, porcupine fish (Annie even found a dead washed up one on the beach with her foot- ouch!), king angelfish, panamic sergent major,various wrasse, and bunches of sea urchin.  We even saw a tiger snake eel washed up at low tide.  (can you tell we recently purchased a fish guide?!)  It was almost perfect at this anchorage.  The only issue with it here was the open exposure to weather.  We had some wind and more importantly, waves from the SW entering this anchorage which made for some pretty rolly days and evenings.  Our anchor held us just great though, so we weren't too bothered.


Many times we  have the beach to ourselves.

After 3 nights of rolling around at anchorage, it was time to move on.  Besides, we were out of milk, tortillas, and beer.  We headed over to the lovely town of La Paz and anchored in the bay for the first night.  We were able to get a spot at one of the local marinas for the rest of our time here(Marina de la Paz).  We plan to leave the day after Thanksgiving and visit some more of the beautiful anchorages around this area.  While in La Paz we've been able to reprovision.  We walked a ways to the local "Mega" store.  There we were able to find most everything we needed.  (and one thing we didn't- a headache from the pulsating techno music blasting from the electronics section of the store!).  We've enjoyed seeing the town and visiting a couple of public mercados, coffee shops, local book store, and beautiful Cathedral. Unfortunately, we haven't been to good about taking photos while in la Paz.  We'll try to get some today. 

Enjoying coffee, cookies, and internet at a local coffee shop.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ensenada to Ensenada de los Muertos

Ensenada November 2-5
We were able to check into Mexico without a hitch.  We had planned to stay here only 2 nights but strong winds were forcasted for the next day, so we stayed one extra night.  The cold front provided a good blow and a lot of rain, but we made the best of it by getting the kids homeschool done and swimming in the indoor pool.  We were itching to get south, so off we went on the 5th.

  Grey whale swimming formation with us outside of Ensenada

Ensenada to Bahia Tortugas November 5-7
We had great wind and were able to sail much of the time on this passage.  It turned out to be a very eventful trip.  Not long after leaving Ensenada, we heard what sounded like a loud release of pressure.  Upon investigation, we found a 40ft grey whale swimming right beside us!  It practically touched our hull!  That really made our day.  The next day while cleaning the decks, Bob found a small squid on deck.  The girls promptly asked if they could discect it.  Yummy!  They had a ball looking at all the different parts of this creature.    About an hour outside of Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay), we started trailing a fishing line in hopes of catching dinner.  It couldn’t have been more than 20 minutes after we splashed the line when we got a bite!  We had caught a beautiful 25 lb. Yellow tail tuna!  We had a most delicious bar-b-qued fish dinner .  With the remainder of the tuna, we made ourselves a huge supply of poke (raw fish with soy sauce, green onion, ginger, sesame oil, onion, and ginger).  It was sooo good and lasted us a few days (I think that’s all Bob ate for 3 days straight-he was in heaven!).  Our stay in Bahia Tortugas was quite brief as we were focused on sailing South.  We were entertained by dolphins in the anchorage the one night we stayed there.

Bahia Tortugas to Bahia De Magdalena November 8-11
We were again able to sail much of the time.  At one point in our passage we had fairly steep beam seas and a strong quarter beam wind.  Not the most comfortable ride, but what can you do, right?  Luckily that only lasted for about 6 hours.  On this passage we caught another yellow tail.  It was much smaller, about 12 pounds, and we stupidly let it go, due to the copious amounts of fish we still had.  Well, wouldn’t you know, within the next few days we ended up losing 3 of our lures, and therefore putting a hold on our fishing.  We are waiting to get to La Paz where we can resupply ourselves with fishing accessories.  The day before arriving at Mag Bay, we were graced with the appearance and show of 4 beautiful Orcas.  They were putting on quite a show, jumping out of the water and flopping on their backs.  It looked as though one was a young calf.  They swam right under our boat and then  off into the sunset.  What a treat!  The morning we began entering Magdalena Bay, Shari was on watch at sunrise when she and Salty heard very strange noises.  It sounded like numerous kids doing belly flops in the water near our boat.  When they looked closer  they saw bunches of rays jumping out of the water and “splat!” landing flat on the water.  They continued their show from 5:30-6:30am.  Absolutely amazing!  Luckily Bob saw it, but the girls were fast asleep and missed it.
We were anchored in Magdalena Bay by 7:30am and on the beach shortly after.  The air was so warm as well as the water.  The beach was covered in shells and various bones from sharks, whales, and dolphins.  We all enjoyed it here, especially Salty!  He hadn’t been on shore since Ensenada and had loads of energy to burn off.  We stayed here about 36 hours.  Our next passage took us around and past Cabo San Lucas to a lovely bay called Los Frailes.

 Evening watch handoff at sea

Magdalena Bay to Los Frailes November 11-14
The passage was quite uneventful.  We began seeing more traffic (other pleasure boats and large ships) as we came closer to Cabo San Lucas.  We were more than happy to pass right on by Cabo and all of its bright city lights.  Los Frailes was a wonderful sight when we arrived.  The water was warmer than we could believe and the most beautiful clear aqua color.  People were jumping in off their boats all over the bay.  Of course, Bob had to join in on the fun.  The sand was warm and welcoming.  We played for hours there.  We all got some snorkel time in too.  There were numerous types of tropical fish swimming with us as well as pelicans diving in for a snack.  There was even a dog fish swimming around us.  He had black and gray spots all over as well as 4 legs!  Salty always has to be near us, even when we’re out swimming.  At night we pointed a flashlight into the water and were blown away by how many fish were swimming around us.  They had glowing orange eyes that made the water look like it was on fire when the light shined on them.  It’s been getting dark quite early here which has been great for star gazing.  Bob and I took Salty for a walk on the beach our last night here and for fun we brought some wine.  Salty had a great time as always playing with his Frisbee as Bob and I enjoyed an excellent night of stargazing.  There were soooo many stars out, it was almost impossible to find the constellations!

Los Frailes to Ensenada De Los Muertos November 15…
We left Los Frailes early in the morning to arrive at Los Muertos in the daylight.  We had a nice passage motor sailing the whole way.  We aren’t sure how long we’ll stay here, but it will probably be for a couple of nights.  There’s a resturaunt here with internet, so we’re definitely taking advantage of that.  After this we will slowly make our way north to La Paz, stopping on the way at some beautiful anchorages.  We will update the blog again once in La Paz.  We hope everyone is doing well back home.  Our love to you all.
 Bob's prize catch outside of Turtle Bay

Our attempts at making sushi while underway to Bahia Magdalena.

Annie doing a cannonball of the boat at Los Frailes.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Marina Del Rey to San Diego 2011

While in Marina Del Rey, Bob went to work, and Shari, Marcy, and the kids checked out the town. Venice Beach was a favorite. The girls had a great time playing on the beach. Sadly, Salty wasn't able to join us as they don't allow dogs on the beaches (lame!). Anyway, there was plenty there to amuse us without the dog. After catching some rays we headed over to the skate park. The skateboarders were unbelievable! We were all in awe of their talent. Next to that was the "roller disco" area. It's a good thing I didn't have my roller blades with me or I would have jumped in for some groovy fun and totally embarrased the girls! It was a great throwback watching these skaters shake their booties!

The girls had a blast playing near the rocks at Venice Beach.

In the background is one of the awesome skateboarders.

"Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah baby..."

Marcy, Sydney, and Annie watching the skaters do their thing.

On one of the evenings Marcy generously took us girls out for a scrumptious dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It was sooooooo good! I highly recommend the key lime cheesecake and vanilla bean cheesecake.

We were able to get a bit of work done on Pearl while here as well as a provisioning trip to Costco. We were so anxious for Bob to get home so we could get out on the big blue once again.

From Marina Del Rey we motored sailed to Santa Catalina Island. For the first 2 nights we anchored on the south side of the island in Catalina Harbor. We enjoyed the quiet, beautiful waters of the anchorage and also checked out the little "town" of Two Harbors. We happened to be there on the Lats and Atts Cruiser's Weekend. There was live music, informitive cruising seminars, and fantastic people. For the weekend we motored over to Isthmus Cove where the party was taking place. We met two especially wonderful families there; the Mather family (Jim, Emma, Phoebe, and Drake) who just returned from a 5.5 year cruise around the world on s/v Blue Sky and Dan, Donna, Avery, and Luke who own a beautiful Vagabond ketch that they plan to start cruising full time on next year. Sydney and Annie had such a great time playing with their kids and Bob and I loved meeting cruising families. Before we knew it, the party was over and it was time to move on. We moved to another anchorage on the north side of the island where Bob cleaned the hull, I mended our mizzen sail, Annie went kayaking, and we all relaxed with the quiet of the cove.

 While at anchor in Catalina Harbor, a beautiful 3 masted ship pulled in and anchored near to us.

 Annie did a fabulous job at the helm as we raised anchor and drove out of catalina Harbor.

 The water at Isthmus harbor was so pristine.  The color was absolutely brilliant and oh so clear.

Sydney and Annie had such a good time with their new friends, Phoebe and Avery.

It would have been wonderful to stay at Catalina Island longer, but we promised the girls some roller coaster fun, so to Newport we headed. We tied up to a bouy off of Balboa Island for 3 nights. Our first full day there we rented a car and made our way to Knotts Berry Farm. It was roller coaster heaven for the girls! We've never gone in so many circles or been hung upside down and twisted around so many times in one day! The rest of the time there was spent checking out and enjoying Newport and Balboa Island.

 See that big loop behind Bob and the girls?  Well, that was the funnest ride at the park!  The pictures can't do it justice.

 This ride was called the Boomerang.  It loops around a bunch of times and then reverses.  Crazy ride!

 This was one of our favorite rides.  The "cars" spin around as you cruise along the tracks of the roller coaster.

Everyone loves Snoopy!

From Newport we headed straight down to San Diego. We had a lot to do before entering into Mexico. Luckily we were there to see the Baja-Ha-Ha "ers" off. We are looking forward to catching up with some of them down the road. While in San Diego, we visited the Midway aircraft carrier museum. Having Bob there to show us around was great. Papa (Shari's dad) drove over from Phoenix to see us. He brought us all sorts of goodies to help us catch fish while in Mexico (we already have a great recipe for ahi poke-can't wait!). It was wonderful spending time with him. He was so very helpful in our reprovisioning. While anchored in both La Playa and Glorietta Bay, Bob was able to get some dinghy sailing in. We made great new friends and hooked up with old friends heading south. We spent Halloween here and the girls were able to re-supply themselves with an ample supply of candy.

 The girls enjoyed playing "air boss" on the Midway.

 The girls made friends with a couple of birds in San Diego.

 Sydney dressed up as Aphrodite and Annie was a pirate for Halloween.  Both the girls designed their costumes themselves.  

Bob and Salty enjoying a beautiful San Diego evening.

 Leaving today, November 5 for Turtle Bay, Mexico.  We're not sure when we'll have internet again, but will try to update our blog when possible.
Mmmmmm.  Fish tacos in Ensenada.