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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Marina Mazatlan

30 October 2007

We arrived safe and sound at 0130 today. Only got to do a little more sailing, but it was enough to give the engine and us a rest from the noise and heat. We've been in and out of the harbor entrance before, but not in the dark. It's a very narrow channel with a bit of a dog leg right at the beginning making it a challenge even under ideal circumstances. But John nailed it using our previous track (in our navigation software), and we were soon tied up to a dock again.

Ziggy went wild with the quiet and the stillness of the boat for the first time in days. But we locked him down below and hit the sack. This morning it only took a few squirts from the water bottle to keep him from jumping off the boat, and he's spent most of the day on deck watching the swallows and snoozing in the shade. Which is odd because he always napped down below when we were at anchor. We'll see if he tries to go wandering after he gets more comfortable with the new surroundings.

Speaking of birds, our sparrow spent the night on the boat. I saw him go to roost just after sunset, and then we lost sight of him during the night when it got too rough to stay where he had perched on the stern. But come sunrise, when I was sitting in the cockpit on watch with Ziggy, the bird came hopping into the cockpit with us. I managed to block him from Ziggy's view and took some bread and water up to the bow to get the bird to stay out of sight. He eventually flew off, we hope to shore. He sure was a cute little thing, hopping at various times on my shoulder, hat, arm, and feet. But loose birds and leashed cats don't make a good mix!

We'll be getting right down to work, especially now that John discovered that he has two months worth of work to try to cram in to the six weeks we planned to be here. So Stan and MJ, don't hold the figgy pudding for us - we might be late getting there!

Linda and John

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Topolobampo

28 October 2007

When the forecasts yesterday began calling for 20-30 kt. E winds nights and early mornings we decided to divert to Topolobampo to anchor for the night and to change down to our smaller jib this morning. We were underway for Mazatlan again by 0845 this morning.

So far it's been a slow motor boat ride made even slower the first day by either a foul current or a fouled boat. We finally put the engine in reverse to free whatever may have been caught on the prop, rudder, or keel. Our speed gradually came back up to normal so maybe that was the problem after all. We've only seen two ships and half a dozen fishing boats, so the traffic hasn't been as bad as feared. Since the winds were light yesterday, the seas weren't more than a foot of wind chop until we turned in towards Topolobampo. By then the wind had picked up 15-18 out of the NW and we had some good following seas.

The town of Topolobampo is 12 miles from the sea buoy. It was close to sunset and we didn't want to go down an unfamiliar channel after dark. We chose to turn left out of the channel after about the fourth set of buoys, and tucked in behind Punta Santa Maria, a low point consisting mostly of sand dunes and mangroves. We dropped the anchor just after sunset and even managed to catch the evening net.

For most of the time underway Ziggy managed to sleep or zone out. He was awake most of Friday night since one of us was always up and about on watch. Then he really slept hard practically all day Saturday. We played with him for as long as we could that evening before the no-see-ums (sand dunes and mangroves - WHAT were we thinking!?) and sleep deprivation drove us to an early bed. Last night Ziggy recuperated from the arduous journey by: 1) shredding a sponge (his favorite unauthorized toy; fortunately this one wasn't dry so it wasn't completely destroyed), 2) shredding a Kleenex and knocking over the other Kleenex box which had been "Ziggy proofed" with a stone coaster placed on top of it, 3) shredding some toilet paper (fortunately not the whole roll; I remembered I hadn't put this away after we were already in bed), 4) getting past the single piece of "Ziggy proof" tape blocking the hole to the plastic grocery bags bin and pulling one partially out, and 5) gnawing on the bag containing an empty cat food can to be thrown away today (our fault for not putting the trash outside). We're usually better about stowing Ziggy tempters before going to bed, but we were too tired and the bugs were the worst we've seen this year. It's almost 11 AM and they're still biting down in the cabin.

So we have another two days and two nights before we expect to arrive in Mazatlan. Other than dealing with the no-see-ums it was a nice break for all of us.

Hey, a sparrow just landed on the cockpit cap rail! John's going to try and feed it some bread and give it a bath with a spray bottle. Will Nakia acquire a new crew? How will we "Ziggy proof" a wild bird? Stay tuned...

Linda and John

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bahia Catalina

25 October 2007

Yesterday morning we visited the Marina San Carlos Pemex (fuel) dock to top off our diesel and water and rinse off some of the dirt we accumulated in the Bahia San Carlos anchorage. Almost every afternoon for the three weeks we were there the wind blew out of the NW at 20-25 knots and didn't die off until after 8 PM. The boat (including the rigging) was coated with a layer of dirt, and we'll have to get the rest of it off in Mazatlan. For the most part the weather in San Carlos was very comfortable, with temperatures in the 80's during the day and down to the low 70's at night. But as much as I usually prefer low humidity, it's been so dry (down to 20% even) that no amount of lotion has kept my skin from drying out!

That should soon change as we head south to Mazatlan where it's been warmer and more humid. Since we already had the anchor up after getting fuel we decided to motor a few miles south of Bahia San Carlos here to Bahia Catalina for a change of scene. Just a couple of miles outside of Guaymas harbor, Catalina is a charming anchorage with one sand and two rock beaches, an islet, a big cave/blow hole, lots of birds, and water black with bait fish. Unfortunately, being so close to Guaymas and its associated fishing industry, the beaches are littered with plastic garbage, there's a large abandoned fish camp (waterfront property or just an eyesore?), and fishing pangas come in and set nets all night long. It's kind of entertaining to see all the rusty shrimpers and seiners coming and going past the entrance to the bay, but also a little nerve racking to see so much commercial traffic after so much time spent with only other recreational boats to think about. This morning I even saw a huge tanker headed out to sea, and we saw the car ferry coming in. We'll have to be extra careful when we leave at o-dark-thirty tomorrow morning.

We would have left this morning except that John woke up yesterday feeling punk, and later we discovered he was running a low fever. So he rested yesterday afternoon and went to bed early, and aspirin and Tylenol helped bring his fever back down to normal today. We'll leave tomorrow instead, and plan to arrive in Mazatlan sometime on Monday (early if we motor, by dark if we sail some).

Ziggy finally went for his first swim yesterday. At 5:30 PM, 15 minutes before John was scheduled to run the evening marine radio net, John was busy stowing fuel cans on the stern of the boat. Ziggy is daddy's little boy and loves to "help" John, so he was right there in the thick of it. Unfortunately the new configuration caused him to misstep, and John watched him fall head first into the 69 degree water. He immediately started swimming up the port side of the boat which was too bad because, a) the kitty rescue rope is off the starboard stern, and b) the swim ladder (usually hung off the port mid-ships) had been stowed for the passage, and hadn't been redeployed (who was planning on going swimming in that cold water?). Although we had previously discussed exactly what we should do in the event of a cat overboard, pandemonium reigned, and Ziggy swam all the way to the bow of the boat before John was there with the fishing net to scoop him out. He'd had to swim against some thankfully small wind chop, and his strangled meows sounded like he was swallowing water. I was right there to wrap him in a dry towel and we even had warm water ready for our evening showers that we used to rinse off the salt water. He didn't struggle too much with that, so he either needed the warm up, or was just in shock. I wrapped him up in another dry towel and he was still shaking. But thanks to the low humidity and his own efforts at bathing, he was soon dry and back to his normal self again. We were thankful that John was right there when it happened, and I guess that's a good demonstration of why he insists on keeping Ziggy locked down below at night!

Based on the weather forecasts we don't expect to do much sailing to Mazatlan, so we're hoping for a relatively smooth motor boat ride. We'll try to check-in and let you know how it's going.

Linda and John

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Short trip to the US

19 October 2007
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

We made a quick trip across the border this past week to pick up some things we'd ordered for the boat and to do some US style shopping. This time we went to Tucson where we stayed with friends, Alain and Mary of S/V Blue Moon. They have a lovely desert home complete with javalinas and quail, and we were treated to delicious meals made with exotic ingredients such as whole wheat fettucine, fresh basil from their garden, and romaine lettuce - not things you find every day in Mexico, especially not in BLA!

They invited us to bring Ziggy along which, in spite of my misgivings, turned out very well. In fact John and I both felt that he was better behaved on the trip than he is at home, perhaps because it was all a new experience for him. He was very quiet in the truck, mostly sleeping the whole way. We put him in his soft carrier to cross the border and he didn't make a peep. Technically he's still an illegal alien because he hasn't had all his shots yet, but the border guard missed him since the carrier looks like luggage.

We discovered that Ziggy isn't much of a shopper when we took him (in his carrier) into Pet Smart. He didn't care which toys we picked out or what kind of food we got, he just wanted back in the truck. He loved staying in our big room at Alain and Mary's - his tail went up like a flag as he explored foreign territory. We put him on his new leash and harness and he had a ball outside, but it was time to leave after he tried climbing a prickly pear cactus (only two spines in his right paw).

When we got back to San Carlos John made several trips by dinghy to transfer all our new purchases to the boat. It seemed like an impossible task but it only took us about a day to stow everything. We went through and cleaned out the major storage bins to make room for everything, and managed to find a few things that could be sold or tossed.

Yesterday we bit the bullet and took Ziggy to the vet for the "big event." He's only about four months old, but most shelters nowadays do it at even younger ages. We dropped him off and went back to pick him up after a couple of hours. It's a good thing he was still pretty out of it because it was a windy, wet, and bouncy dinghy ride back to the boat (of course today it's nice and calm). We tried keeping him in his new carrier (one of the hard, airline kinds) but he wouldn't fall asleep and seemed agitated so we let him out and took watches, mostly to make sure he didn't jump up or fall down since he still didn't have full use of his hind legs. He's back to normal today, and even goes in his carrier for naps (with the door off).

We are now waiting for Kiko and some forecasted northers to pass before making the long passage to Mazatlan. We should be leaving San Carlos sometime by the end of this coming week assuming nothing else comes up.

Linda and John

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dorade Dance

video

Shot Sept. 1, 2007. Linda was really glad to catch this on video, Ziggy can't do it any more. He's too big!

October Ziggy pics

9/5 Head out the hawse pipe next to his kitty rescue climbing rope

9/5 Buster, Ziggy. Ziggy, Buster.

9/7 He doesn't fit in the small mixing bowl anymore!

9/12 Scary kitty on the main boom

9/13 Climbing "tree" made of dead cordon wood (future hiking sticks)

9/13 Outboard fin perch

9/13 Kitty overboard rescue rope

9/22 Climbing the main sheet

9/22 Wrapped in his "binky"

9/22 Ziggy on his "binky"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Arrived San Carlos

3 October 2007

We anchored in the Bahia before Noon today and are both very wiped out. Motored the first eight hours, finally were able to sail the next eight hours, but the wind dropped to almost nothing in the early evening and we had some very sloppy seas making us roll beam to beam. The end result of that was Ziggy throwing up for probably the first time in his life. I even saw it coming when he began nervously licking his lips. The good news was that he deposited it on the hardwood floor and not on a rug. He was not a happy camper with all the noise and motion and people up all night long, but now we're settled in here and he seems fine. It was definitely more stressful making a crossing with a pet since not only to you have to tend to yourself, but you have to make sure the animal is okay too. One of our first purchases will be a harness since we didn't dare let him loose on deck with the boat rolling so terribly, and he cried to get out any time we were both on deck. Fortunately we have a framed screen that slides in the drop board slots, and with the hatch slid closed he can see us but he can't get out.

We only sailed a couple of more hours this morning and the rest was a motorboat ride. John had to dodge a Navy ship after midnight but other than that it was an uneventful crossing.

John has gone to get the truck out of storage, and we plan to do laundry and internet first thing in the morning. Then it might be off to the vet's for Ziggy's first set of shots. We should be here in San Carlos for at least a week or two.

Linda and John

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Underway for San Carlos

2 October 2007, 0915

We left Ensenada Pescador early this morning and are motoring east in a flat calm sea. If we run into SE winds, we may head for San Francisquito, about 40 miles south on the Baja. But if it stays calm or we get the forecasted N wind this afternoon, we'll keep going across the Sea of Cortez to San Carlos (about 140 miles). We would expect to arrive in San Carlos by tomorrow early evening.

We're trying to keep Ziggy in the cockpit or down below to avoid any more catastrophes like getting his head stuck under the handrail. But he's a rambunctious boy so I doubt it's going to be easy. Fortunately, as long as we're playing with him, he's happy to be just about anywhere. Right now he's taking a cat nap to build up his strength for the next round. I just hope we can keep up with him!

Linda and John