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Thursday, December 15, 2005


15 December 2005

We enjoyed our time in Bahia Chamela, and this time spent most nights anchored off of the village of Punta Perula (aka La Fortuna). One windy day put us on a lee shore so we moved out to the islands for a night, and visited our second favorite deserted beach. The water temp is in the high 70's so we're swimming every day again, which is practically a necessity given the much higher humidity. Unfortunately the two things I most wanted to do in Punta Perula didn't work out this visit. The panaderia (normally open only on the weekends) was closed because the baker was in Guadalajara, and our favorite taco place (again open only on Saturday and Sunday nights) didn't open until 8 PM which was just too late for us to bother with by ourselves. The only reason we even discovered it last year is because we got to drinking margaritas on Maggie Drum and went in to town so late that it was about the only thing still open!

The best thing about our visit occurred by pure chance on Sunday night. First we decided not to go in to town for tacos. Then we turned down a dinner invitation from Secret O' Life (that's how tired we were from the long hike we took with them in the afternoon). Long after sunset we were hailed by them on the VHF to turn on our Christmas lights, which we'd forgotten to do, so there was some chit-chat on the radio with them about how everyone's lights looked. If it hadn't been for all of the above we never would have received a hail from Finisterre letting us know that they had arrived in the anchorage after dark (so they didn't know we were there until they heard us on the radio) and were leaving before dawn the next morning! Their dinghy was stowed on deck so we rowed over for a visit and got to see the "new" Finisterre, glowing white in the moonlight. Yes, since they're headed for Central America Mike convinced Kay to give up their hot dark blue hull for the coolness of white. It looks great and they had only good things to say about the work done by Opequimar in Puerto Vallarta. It was a bittersweet visit since we know we won't be seeing them for some time, but I would have been so disappointed to have missed them. Talk about almost passing ships in the night!

From Chamela we sailed to Careyes on Tuesday and spotted five turtles along the way, two of which appeared to be very attached to each other, we hope on purpose. Careyes is a beautiful spot but the sound and sight of surf pounding on the surrounding rocks (which are lit by spotlights at night!) is unnerving to say the least. We anchored in front of the deserted Club Med where there is only a little sand covering the coral. Our stern anchor drug a bit during the night which put us sideways to the large swell. We ferried 50 gallons of water from the hose at the cement pad near the base of the center palm tree on Playa Rosa. This was accomplished by anchoring the dinghy outside the surf at high tide. I jumped in the surf and waded to shore to fetch the hose and wade it back out to John in the dinghy, where he filled our five garrafons. During our second trip we watched the photo shoot in the corner of the beach. Everyone was fully clothed so guess it wasn't a swimsuit shoot!

After clearing the anchorage we set sail at 11 AM from Careyes bound for Tenacatita. Had a lovely slow sail with our big jib until it got really light and John set the spinnaker. Saw whales, rays, bill fish, and dolphins, but no turtles (attached or otherwise). Unfortunately the breeze was too light by the time we rounded the corner into the bay and we had to motor the last 45 minutes to the anchorage. We are set bow and stern anchor close against the western shore (Dragonfly's spot last year) with seven other boats. We'll probably stay here until Overheated arrives from La Paz with our goodies, and then go into Barra de Navida a few days before Christmas.

Linda and John

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Skype survey

We recently downloaded Skype to our computer and opened an account with them. We were hoping to be able to use it to call friends and family whenever we have internet access, rather than using the expensive Ladatel phone cards here (.50/minute to the U.S.). We didn't have too much luck using the wireless internet at Marina Palmira in La Paz, calling from our computer to a landline. Voice transmission was in and out and often the person we called couldn't hear us at all. We know it depends mostly on the amount of bandwidth available, but we're hoping that a computer to computer transmission will work better than calling land (or cell) lines.

So all you friends and family out there - let us know what your experience has been using Skype, and email us your account name so we can try calling you from Barra de Navidad (our next opportunity for internet)!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Passage Observations

6 December 2005
Pacific Ocean South of Cabo Corrientes

This is the fourth day of our non-stop passage from Muertos on the Baja peninsula to Punta Perula (Chamela) on the mainland coast of Mexico (south of Puerto Vallarta). We're both a little sleep deprived but still in good spirits. This has been an easier passage than others even with all the sailing we're doing. It's been a bit rolly in the downwind parts (most of it) but it's basically been one tack without too many sail changes, and no winds over 15-18 knots. Although there have been several times (like now) when last year we would have motored through the slow bits, we have finally learned to slow down and take the wind we're given. I think our summer in the Sea of Cortez really helped us over that hump. As long as we have no reason to hurry, what's the rush? A slow spinnaker sail is much more pleasant than listening to the engine for hours.

Late last night we re-entered the area with what I have dubbed "paparazzi fish." This is a phenomenon in the ocean which looks like basketball sized flash bulbs going off underwater. It can last for several minutes and we assume it must be fish disturbing the phosphorescence in the water. During my second night watch last night there were dozens of these surrounding the boat, and then they were joined by the bigger cannonball flashes and glittering white torpedo streaks of dolphins playing with the boat. What was interesting about this (other than the fact that it was incredibly beautiful) was that as the dolphins eventually disappeared so did the smaller flash bulbs. Leaves you wondering where the party went.

As reported earlier by John, he found a flying fish on deck this morning. Later I looked up just in time to admire one flying along above the water's surface when all of a sudden it took a wrong turn and landed clear up on the cabin top. We had already eaten lunch so I threw it back over the side. They are really beautiful little fish, about 4-6 inches and a deep sea blue color.

7 December
At anchor off of Punta Perula

About an hour after writing the above yesterday the wind died and we had to turn on the engine. So we mostly motored after sunset and finally slowly picked our way into the anchorage. If anything bad had happened people probably would have said it was our own fault - heavy overcast blocked all starlight, we were tired, and it was the dead of night. But in our favor we had two navigation tracks on the computer from our previous visits, GPS, radar, depth sounder, calm wind and seas, and slow ahead speed with me up on the bow periodically shining a spot light out ahead. Had the weather deteriorated we would have stood off until sunrise, but as it was we dropped the hook at 0230 this morning and crawled into bed soon after.

The jet lag feeling and another heavy overcast day didn't prevent us from stowing sails, cleaning up the boat, reassembling the dinghy, and jumping in for a swim to another boat to introduce ourselves - all before lunchtime! It's good to be back on the mainland for a change, but it feels very strange to me after being in Baja for so long. Smells different, looks different, is more humid, and even the water feels different (I think it's less salty here). Will be fun to explore it again now that we are "sophomores."

Linda and John


Well we arrived early this morning at about 0300 after a slightly tense entry into the bay. There is 100% cloud cover, no moon and Chamela Bay has no lights to help with the entrance. If we hadn't had our previous tracks to follow (the computer stores every place Nakia goes) we would not have attempted the entry. We just took it slow and let the autopilot steer the boat along our previous route and had no problems what so ever.

We have nothing planned for today, that is we intend to do exactly nothing, except eat a hot meal and take a hot shower.

It's still cloudy with a little rain now and again so it's a good day for being quiet anyway.

John and Linda

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Almost there

We have about 70 miles left to go and should arrive some time before midnight. We're not too worried about entering Chamela at night, it's our policy not to enter a strange harbor at night or in adverse weather, because we've been in Chamela twice and have very good GPS tracks for both times.

The wind died early this morning and after and hour of 'playing' with the sails (shaking out a reef, polling out the Jib, reefing again, pulling in the pole) I gave up and started the motor. We only had to run for 2 hours under power before the wind filled in again and we set sail.

Linda saved a flying fish from our decks yesterday, Nakia probably frightened him and in his hast to evade us he ran head long into the cabin side. She was right there to put him back into the sea before he ran out of air. Unfortunately she wasn't around early this morning when a small squid landed on deck. I found him this morning nearly dried on the side deck (too old to cook for breakfast :-)

We'll make one more update to YOTREPS from Chamela and then that will be our last report to them, hope that's made following our progress easier for everyone.

John and Linda

Monday, December 05, 2005

Better wind, rougher sea

The fun ended yesterday just before sunset. The wind had finally built to 15-18 out of the NE and we were really moving along when the seas began to build too. By midnight we were rolling badly and had to double reef the main to keep it from blanketing the jib. If there's any silver lining in this cloud it's that we were really moving the whole night doing 5-6 knots for over 12 hours straight. If we can keep 5 knots up we should be in Chamela Tuesday afternoon. That would suit me fine as I have trouble sleeping when the sea is this rough, and am a little sleep deprived already.

PB&J for dinner last night, yep it was rough. This morning Neptune delivered a flying fish on deck for breakfast. Looked like it had been there for awhile so we passed.

John and Linda

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Progress, slow but progress

We sailed 19 out of 24 hours yesterday. Unfortunately most of it was to weather. Once the wind came up after leaving Muertos it was from the SE, exactly the direction we wanted to go. So we spent all day and a long way into the night sailing close hauled. It wasn't that bad, except for right at sunset when the wind built to 15 kts. This doesn't sound like much but we have the big jib on and that really is the top of its wind range.

After sunset the wind shifted a little into the south so we were able to make better progress towards our destination. At 0200 the wind finally gave up (after we had four hours of average 2.3 knots) and we started the motor.

The best thing is the seas have been flat and sailing so close to the wind the boat hardly rolls, so sleeping is very comfortable.

Today the wind is light (maybe 5-8 knots) and out of the NE so we are close reaching directly toward our destination. Will hopefully be there on Wednesday.

Chicken Teriyaki for lunch today with lots of broccoli, yes it's that calm.

John and Linda

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Slow Start

Well we got under way for Chamela this morning at 0900 local and the wind promptley built from the SE. Just the direction we want to go. So we're sailing slowly (3-4 knots) hard on the wind trying to make some progress without having to run the motor.

The wind is supposed to fill in from the north soon.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Arrived at Muertos

We arrived at Muertos after a long day of motoring, only sailed 3 hours out of 12. It will be good to get under way after a good nights sleep though, the weather forecast continues to be favorable for our trip south.

Caught a small Dorado outside of La Paz, but couldn't get it in the boat, it shook off the hook. Also two small Sierra, but we're not interested in them any more.

Just keeping you all updated...

John and Linda

Tracking NAKIA on the web

While we're at sea we'll be posting regular position reports to YOTREPS

To see where we are go to http://www.pangolin.co.nz/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=WBD3734

John and Linda

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pictures, finally.

Hi Everyone,
We're getting ready to leave La Paz tomorrow morning and make our 3 day crossing to Chamela. Since we have such good internet access here in Marina Palmira we've decided to share some of our most recent pictures with you. They are posted most recent first - hope that's not too confusing, but that's how the blog is. (Muchas gracias to SolMate, Milagro, Slip Away, and Ceilidh for use of several of the photos posted here! )

We should arrive in Chamela (south of Puerto Vallarta) on Tuesday or Wednesday, and we'll be sure to keep the blog up to date during our passage.

John and Linda

View from the top of the hill over Marina Palmira. La Paz is out to the left, and the land in the background on the right is 'El Magote,' a peninsula that makes up the northern shore of Bahia de La Paz.

Sailing in the Sea of Cortez is not all light winds and fair weather as the skipper of See Ya, a Newport 30, found out on a dark and windy night just last week. He was entering the La Paz channel at 2 am when he strayed into shallow water and ran aground. High wind and powerful waves soon broke the keel and rudder and drove the boat onto the shore. The next morning several local cruisers worked to salvage anything valuable. The boat, uninsured, is a total loss.

The Sea Ya having her mast removed.

Here's the view from the top of Isla San Francisco. This is looking North. The Baja is on the left. In the foreground is tiny Goat Island where a dozen or so families make their homes. In the background on the right is Isla San Jose.

After sailing from Bahia Salinas we anchored off a special place called Moon Cove. The attraction there is an incredible arroyo made of white sandstone, shell fossils and volcanic rock. We spent a beautiful afternoon hiking in the arroyo and taking picktures. Here's a closeup of a scallop shell embedded in the sandstone.

John stopping for a drink of water near a cactus. The walls in this part of the trail are pure white sand.

Here's Linda showing off her rock climbing skills in one of the water fall coves.

Linda on the rocks again.

Linda and MJ taking a break on the 'Park Bench'.

More rock formation at Moon Cove.

Here are John and Stan showing that they can climb rocks too.

More rock formations at Moon Cove.

Here's John trying to figure out how to get over the hump.

More Sea of Cortez sailing. This time from Bahia Salinas to Moon Cove. This time we're using our big jib instead of the drifter. Linda's at her usual spot on the bow.

We took a walk around the abandoned town of Bahia Salinas on Isla Carmen. This was a salt production plant where they evaporated sea water on the low land and skimmed off the salt. It closed some time ago when another plant on the Baja opened up. All the buildings still exist and it's a fun little ghost town to explore.

The heavy equipment was left pretty much where it stood. Over time the caretaker started planting cactus in the forklifts.

Here's Linda steering one of the fork lifts. It's obvious why she didn't sit in the driver's seat.

We had a beach potluck party to celebrate the demise of hurricane Otis. Jan from Slip Away handed out Tootsie Pops - Linda and I got the 'blue tongue' kind.

Here we all are at the 'big restaurtant'. Burgers and beers for about $5 per person.

A trip into town for tacos. It's a short 5 mile drive on dirt roads from SoBLA to town, but we're all cozy in the back of the truck and Jay is a good, slow driver.

Another light breeze sail in Bahia de Los Angeles. Linda takes it easy in the shade of the drifter.

We took a long walk along the shore at Bahia Pescador. Here Linda shows off her balancing ability using her umbrella to steady herself. (Normally she uses the umbrella for shade.)

Here's one of the rock pillars we found along the shore.

We dressed this cactus up for a pic.

Here's a picture from one of the tougher hikes we did. This is above Puerto Don Juan. ALl of these rocks are 1-2 ft square and offer good footing. You have to be careful though because the gaps between the rocks are big and you can easily twist an ankle if you mis-step.

Here's another pic of the hills above Puerto Don Juan. This is Stan picking his way down.

We had a potluck beach party for Jo's birthday. Here's a picture of the men folk. Left to right: Darrel from Over Heated, Bob from Nuestra Isla, Lance from Milagro, Ed from Easy III, Stan from SolMate, Jay from Ceilidh, and John from Nakia.

Here's a picture of the women of the Sea of Cortez. Left to right: Jennifer from Nuestra Isla, Linda from Nakia, Rita from Over Heated, Jo from Milagro, Janice from Ceilidh, and MJ from SolMate.

I went out fishing one morning to catch 'whatever' and was surprised to hook this nice dorado. The strange part about catching this fish was 1) it was from the dinghy and 2) it was only about 50 ft off the shore!

Sailing in Bahia de Los Angeles was often light and mild. Here NAKIA sails out of the anchorage at sunrise with nothing other than the drifter for a sail. The wind was 1-3 knots and the water was absolutely flat.

We like to do a lot of hiking on the Baja. Here's a picture of our favorite hiking buddies on a hill overlooking Bahia de Los Angeles. Left to right, John, Stan, Linda, and MJ.

This is the view out of the little anchorage of Pata and Bota at sunrise. This spot is just big enough for one or two boats and is very sheltered from the North and South. We liked it a lot.

Here is a picture of NAKIA at sunrise in Pata and Bota.