Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nov 23-Dec2 2011


La Paz has grown on us as we continue to discover more treasures around town.  The public mercados (indoor farmers markets) have excellent meat, fish, and produce for a fraction of what it would cost back in the States and we are hooked on the fresh tortillas.  We were able to provision for a grand Thanksgiving feast on board Pearl.  We opted for a quiet family meal rather than the grand cruisers Thanksgiving gathering (which turned out to be good since it was a little hectic, hot, and they ran out of food.
We made a whole chicken filled with stuffing on the bbq, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmellows, all the trimmings, and fresh pumpkin pie from the oven.  We actually had time to give thanks and consider all the blessings that we are graced with.  We settled in for family movie time and  although we missed being with extended family, it turned out to be one of our best Thanksgivings.

This is how Salty deals with the boat healing 20 degrees

Our plan to leave La Paz a day later were delayed when a classic “norther” blew down the Sea of Cortez with winds of up to 35 knots.  We stayed at the marina 2 extra nights and left on the 27th for a planned 6 hour sail to investigate and anchor at Isla Espiritu Santo and it’s many beautiful bays.   Unfortunately the norther had not completely died out and we found ourselves bashing into 30 kt headwinds and giving the boat a saltwater bath.  We attempted to anchor in three different bays but even the most protected bays did not provide shelter from the wind and the holding for the anchor was poor.  At one point we tried using two 60 lb. anchors and  a 9 to 1 scope but we still drug anchor on a rocky bottom covered by a thin layer of sand.  We ended up giving up on Espiritu Santo and sailed over to Bahia Falsa and at 9 p.m., anchored in much better shelter and holding.

Passage South

The next day we continued to journey south to make our way to La Cruz and Nuevo Vallarta to meet with friends and family.  Our first stop was Ensenada de los Muertos, a beautiful bay that we had stopped at two weeks before on our way to La Paz.  Here we met up with the crew of Endeavor and Harmony (both were neighbors from Washington) and spent the evening catching up with their adventures.

Annie catches an inflated porcupine fish at los Muertes

We departed early the next morning for a two day/night sail across the mouth of the Sea of Cortez to Chacala on the mainland side of Mexico.  The passage was totally calm and we motored the whole way.  We had spectacular sunrises and sunsets and thousands of dolphins to keep us company, but we had no luck fishing.

Dolphins at our bow during our passage to Chacala

Thousands of dolphins swimming, jumping, and playing in the middle of the ocean.

Beautiful sunrise on our passage.

Dec 2 - Dec 12


We pulled into the bay at Chacala right at sunrise after our second night at sea.  As we were anchoring we see a long poly rope dragging from our boat.  We immediately cut the engine to avoid it getting any further tangled with our prop.  We were all exhausted and it was calm so we skipped backing down on the anchor and got some shut eye and would have to dive later to see how much of a mess we would have wrapped up on the propeller.
Later that day I dove to find that the rope was a long fishing line and attached to a half sunken float.  When we ran over this submerged obstacle it skipped past our prop and wrapped on the rudder and skeg and was easy to remove.  What a relief!

     We have left the arid, dry deserts of Baja and arrived in the rich, coconut tree strewn beaches of the Mexican jungle.  Chacala is a small beach town with one cobblestone road, shops with handmade items, and palapa restaurants lining the beautiful sandy beach.  This was our kind of town.  Not much English spoken here, and our dog was welcome in every restaurant and coffee shop (many with sand floors).  The locals are happy and welcoming and very patient with our broken attempts at Spanish.  We spent 3 nights here and did Christmas shopping, awesome boogie boarding, beach combing, hit the local coffee shop, and really enjoyed the 280 peso/liter beer (that’s 2 dollars) at the beach front restaurants.  We will definitely be back here again.

The walk from the dinghy landing to the beach and town

Shari and Salty along "Main street" in Chacala.
The crew of Pearl enjoying an afternoon cerveza at one of our favorite beachside palapa restaurants with Pearl in the background.
Best latte in Mexico


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