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Thursday, February 16, 2006


16 February 2006
Bahia Santiago

It started with a sore throat on my birthday. Now I'm beginning to get over my cough and congestion, but John's coming down with the same thing. Yesterday morning we dinghied ashore, walked out to the highway, and took the bus to Comercial Mexicana (one of the big U.S. style super market chains) with Joe and Cindy from Maggie Drum. Other than a delicious Valentine's Day lasagna dinner and pinochle on MD, it was the first time I'd left the boat since my birthday in Barra. We shared a taxi all the way back to the dinghies with our groceries so the trip itself wasn't particularly arduous, but the highly air-conditioned hike up and down the store aisles probably didn't do us any good. It's a good thing I bought another jumbo box of Kleenex! We've heard from boats now making their way north after SailFest that a similar bug made its way through the Zihuatenejo fleet.

We saw quite a bit of fog early yesterday, and when we woke up this morning the anchorage was socked in. We suppose this must be due to the colder water temps we noticed on our way down from Barra. It's 72 degrees here in the anchorage, but we logged 67 offshore at one point. This is quite a change from just a few weeks ago, but not a problem now since we won't be doing any snorkeling until we're feeling better.

I think being ill is the hardest thing about living on a boat, and it's even harder when you're cruising. Your "nurse" (the well partner) can't exactly hop in the car for cough drops, DVDs (thank you Maggie Drum for loaning us your collection!), soup, orange juice, and a People magazine to cheer you up. And with both of you cooped up on a small boat the lack of personal space will eventually make both parties testy, to say the least. The good thing is that it's harder to catch anything nasty out cruising because you have less exposure to germ carriers.

I forgot to mention that John stepped in a hole and took a hard fall on concrete around the same time I was catching my cold, and he now has a purple bruise the size of a cantaloupe on the outside of his thigh. A couple of days later he tripped and fell against a stanchion, so he has a matching (though smaller) bruise on the other thigh. Both of these falls were the result of things I did or didn't do so now I have three strikes against me (being the cause of his two spills and a cold) and am serving my time!

But the sun is shining, the days are warm (high 70's), the nights are cool (high 60's), the fish wake us up during the night bumping into the hull (big fish chasing little fish?), John's back into playing Pokemon Pinball on his Gameboy (he now owns a high score of 12 billion points), and I'm reading a wonderful novel that I will be sorry to finish ("Swimming" by Joanna Hershon).

Life is good!

Linda and John

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mainland vs. Baja

John originally called Baja, "Mexico, Rev 2" because it was so different from the Mainland. Now that we're back on the latter I thought it would be fun to compile a list of what makes them different for us.

Mainland (November through March):
Butterflies in lots of cool colors.
Birds and beautiful bird song - Tropicbird, Heermann's Gull, Heron Family (Great Blue, Little Blue, Green-backed, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, White Ibis), American Oyster Catcher, Crested Caracara, Black Vulture, Belted Kingfisher, Ani, Swallows landing on Nakia in the Barra Lagoon, Yellow-winged Cacique, and many others we can't identify.
Greenery and thick woods/jungle mean that you need trails and roads in order to do any land hiking.
Higher humidity makes hot even hotter.
Beach landings (actually it's harder during the takeoffs) in the dinghy are often wet unless you time the swell sets just right.
Almost impossible to enjoy a light air sail because of the Pacific swell rolling the boat and slatting the sails.
Larger numbers of transient cruisers (many leaving for the South Pacific or Central America) makes many anchorages crowded (25-50 boats at a time). Large active VHF nets covering just about all areas; lots of radio traffic. Rare to have an anchorage to yourself.
Wildlife - It was nice to see turtles again; we've had fairly consistent whale and dolphin sightings on passages.
Burning garbage and disco noise - Maybe because many anchorages are off of larger towns (especially the favorite hang-outs like Chamela, Tenacatita, and Barra de Navidad).

Baja (April through October):
Desert flora (rocks and cactus) make hiking easier in all but the thickest cactus areas.
Dryer climate makes it a bit easier to deal with the heat.
Air temps make snorkeling and swimming that much more inviting.
Easy beach landings with the dinghy since there's no swell in the Sea of Cortez.
Light wind day sails from one anchorage to another are extremely pleasant on the flat water of the Sea.
Smaller group of cruisers based in fewer areas makes it easier to get to know people. Summer is especially great due to the smaller community. Even the SSB and HAM nets are more fun and relaxed. Not hard to find places to be alone when you want to be.
Wildlife - We had some incredible up close and personal experiences last summer which I'm not sure we'll ever be able to duplicate (squid, orcas, rays).
Fishing seems to have been much better in the Sea.

Linda and John

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Joe Cindy Linda and John drinking margaritas at the rooftop bar for Linda's Birthday.