Monthly Archives: June 2013

Summer Happenings

Caleta San Juanico

It’s Wednesday, June 19th, and it’s another amazing day. I’m snugly anchored in the southern portion of Caleta San Juanico, and the sandstone bluffs right behind me are unreal.


Small View of Sandstone Bluffs, Caleta San Juanico

This morning I was up at sunrise, and after checking my anchor position, I switched off the anchor light and checked my battery status. This I can now do with my newfangled battery monitor. All is good there. I started my morning routine by filling the coffee pot/espresso maker with water and espresso, and set that on the stove. While it’s a-brewing, I drank a liter of water and put away the dishes left over from the night before. After I steamed my milk, I sat next to the radio and switched it on, waiting through the check ins until the weather forecast came on. Gary, the guy who lives in El Burro Cove, has been doing this daily forecast for years. He sounds knowledgeable and uses as many reliable resources he can get his hands on. Around 0800, I turned the SSB radio off and the vhf on. I finished cleaning and doing light chores, and checked that my solar panels were optimally angled to get the early sun.

After my normal tooth-brushing, face washing and sunscreen applying were done, I hit the SUP. I wanted to get a nice paddle in before the breeze piped up, and it was forecast to do so today. I paddled against the wind for about 1.5 nm, until I arrived at the southern point of this small bay and beached the board. I wished I had brought my camera and a pair of shoes, as the rocks were rough but the scenery amazing. I gathered a few shells in my beach-combing and enjoyed stretching my sea legs on shore. I must admit, my shoulders, lats and arms are in great shape, but my legs are lacking. They welcomed the long walk. After gathering a few unusual shells, I walked back to the board. I noticed a large cross propped in some rough rocks about 50 yards away. As I stumbled barefoot to investigate, I noted a rock wind-break built nearby. Sure enough, there was a rocky cairn in the shape of a 6′ oblong with a cross coming out of it. A favorite dog? I hoped for that instead of the other options my mind offered up. I dragged the SUP to the water and after tripping gracelessly (I know, me?) over a few slippery rocks, I climbed aboard and paddled along the dramatic shoreline. It really was a sight.


IMG_2453 IMG_2454
Nature’s Refrigerator…                        Nice Black Skipjack (I found out not real good eatin’…)

Soon, I arrived back at Willow. The wind was howling now, so I decided to stay aboard for the remainder of the day. I parked the board and grabbed the bucket of soaking stuff from yesterday’s fish cleaning. I’m getting much better in my fish cleaning, but I still make a heck of a mess. After rinsing my dive bootie, a few rags, and my fish towline, I decided to hit the water. The temperature inside the cabin was already 90 degrees, and it wasn’t noon yet. After a refreshing swim, I made a tall OJ and tonic and grabbed a book. I’m nearing the end of this one, and though I’ve read it before, I still enjoy learning what’s next. Good thing I have no memory… As I recline in the cockpit under the awning, I bat away bees coming to scout for fresh water. The only thing available are the cats bowls of water, and they’re not very large. About 20 pages from the end of the book, it’s time for another swim.

I took another swim, and this water was refreshing. I’m amazed at the air temps, even in 20 knots of wind, and the cooler water helps alot! I decided to move on tomorrow, Thursday, June 20th, and got Willow ready to move.

Thursday morning, I was up before dawn and weighing anchor. I wanted to get as many miles today as possible. Where am I going? Who knows! Could be Mulege, Punta Chivato or Santa Rosalia. Or Bahia Santo Domingo. I’ll just have to wait and see how conditions go. Sunrise was awesome…

Another Incredible Sunrise at Sea

The east southeast breeze kicked up, clocked to southeast, and built through the afternoon. The autopilot wasn’t holding the course with the sail plan I had up, so I reefed the main and dropped the jib and staysail. With just the reefed main, we were doing 6.5 knots, DDW. Nice! I rounded Punta Concepcion around 1530, and had the hook down in Bahia Santo Domingo around 1700. Time for a swim!

Almost Full Moon Rising, Bahia Santo Domingo

It was wonderful there, and I was the only boat. The moon rose just shy of full on the 20th, the last day of Spring, and I had an extra long day of sunshine. Just for me! Okay, maybe not just for me, but I can always delude myself! Friday, I did laundry, boat style, in the morning, and took a long paddle to the beach for some shell hunting in the afternoon. It’s really heating up, and the walk back to my SUP found me in bath tub temperature, chest high water, trying to find a way to be cool. Once back at Willow, I stayed in the water for a while longer, and just thought about the trip so far. I am the absolutely luckiest person on the planet to be doing what I am doing. It boggles my mind…

Later in the evening, two more boats pulled into the bay. One, a Norsea 27, Vela, is also being singlehanded by a guy named Brian. We spoke for a bit on the VHF. Out of San Francisco, he left in March and has been moving pretty much since then. He’s on his way over to San Carlos to put the boat away for the summer. He sounded like a real nice young guy who was out there doing it. I wished him well.

This morning, Saturday, I decided to head a little farther into Bahia Concepcion to either El Coyote or El Burro Cove. The first real weather concern popped up on the radar yesterday, but I feel pretty good about things. There is no recorded occurrence of a hurricane making landfall on Baja in the month of June, and only one in July. It’s just something to be aware of, watch out for, and have a plan for escape, management, or deluge. This place I’m at, Bahia Concepcion, is roughly 25 nm long, north to south, and is basically smack dab in the middle of the inside of the Baja peninsula. Though pretty dang hot, I think I’ll hang for a week or so, as long as the monsters hang with it. They are undeniably hot, and have a tough time escaping the heat. Kai is pretty quiet about things, and stretches out on the cabin sole. Makani, Fat Red Boy Cat, is vocal, whiney, and constantly cranky as he looks for different ways to escape. The belly-up, all fours extended outward position he assumes is pretty funny…

Cat Yoga

At 1500, I’m happily anchored in 8′ of water in El Coyote Cove, in front of some pretty fabulous palapas and homes. I’m looking straight into a building with the master bedroom completely exposed, as with the heat, there really is no need for walls… I’m gonna take a swim, put up the boom tent, and try to cool down this boat a little. I hope you all are well, happy and healthy. Again, I will be back in La Paz, just over 200 nm away, by the first of August. Take care and know I love and miss you all. Best Fishes…



Today, David and Rhonda from Swan, Ken from Drifter, and I rented a car to drive in to Loreto.  We wanted to do a little banking, sightseeing, provision, and get some fuel.  Oh, and we had to stop at Taqueria el Rey on Suarez.  Amazing, phenomenal, gustatory, satisfying, flavorful, fresh and whatever other adjective you can find to describe the best fish tacos on the planet.  It’s a small, whitewashed building, very clean, with two rows of plastic picnic tables and chairs, seating at a short bar in front of the cooks, and a serving shelf with all of the homemade condiments on it.  Very simple.  A husband and wife own and operate it, with the husband doing the cooking, and his wife serving and cleaning.  They are very friendly and pleasant, and just want you to enjoy their food.  No problem there!  At times, when not in school, their 8 year old son very efficiently buses tables and brings you your just squeezed orange juice or lemonade.  He’s got a huge smile for everyone.  The line is out the door come lunchtime, and it’s filled with locals.  You know it’s gotta be good!  I had three, count ’em, three huge tacos with fresh caught parrotfish as the fish of the day.  Finish that off with a sweet, fresh glass of cold orange juice, and my eyes about rolled back in my lil’ head.  We all just kept looking at each other and shaking our heads.  It was good….

IMG_2434        IMG_2440    IMG_2442

These are all from El Mision Loreto

We walked through town and visited the mission Fr. Junipero Serra built in the 1600’s.  The construction was impressive.  The walls were about 3.5′ thick and of hand-hewn stone.  The ceiling beams were of beautiful 12×12 logs adzed to get the right shape and cut.  There was an ancient confessional that was hand built.  Looking at all of this, we were amazed at the labor, design, and craftsmanship that went into something like this, in the 17th century!  There was tilework stating that this was the beginning of the El Camino Real in Loreto.  The whole area was simply beautiful.

Rhonda and I went into a curio shop near the mission, and spoke with Marisol and her husband for a bit.  Marisol had a huge smile for us, and we asked questions and ooohed and aahed at the items for sale.  After spending about 30 minutes in the shop, Marisol offers us a shot of tequila.  This is shopping!  Dave came in and enjoyed a bit, also.  They really got a kick out of the crazy gringos, and we did buy a few things.  Pretty fun.

After that, we got down to business of provisioning for the next few weeks.  First stop was El Mercado Pescadores, and it was clean and very nicely stocked.  We probably spent an hour there, crossing things off our lists in order to try and sink our boats again with food.  After, we stopped off at the well, kinda like Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, but really not.  I wasn’t too impressed, especially after a cockroach that could kick Makani’s butt crawled out of the fresh eggs for sale.  It wasn’t too pretty.  I bought some chicken and tortillas, and that was good enough for me.  We stopped at the bank, and made our way back to Puerto Escondido to offload and then reload onto our respective boats.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I’ll top off the diesel, do a last load of laundry, a last internet check in, and depart Wednesday morning.  I’m not sure where, but I’d really like to explore the nearby islands of Loreto.  I hope everyone is enjoying this almost last week of spring and getting ready for summer!  Congratulations to my sister, Missy, and her husband, Andrew, for tying the knot on the top of Half Dome this last weekend!  Adventure runs in the family!  I’m so happy for you both, and Andrew, what a way to begin Birthday Week!  Take care, Everyone, and know how much I love and miss you!  It may be 4-6 weeks before I hit the internet again, so know all is well, and there are no problems associated with the computer silence.  Much love…


The Past Few Weeks…


Old Architecture of La Casa Grande, Tembabiche

I’m sitting at the bar at the Villa del Palmar Resort in Puerto Escondido.  There’s free wifi here (as long as you eat or drink, but that’s not a bad thing…).  I come in during the morning so I’m only paddling against 10 knots of air and have 15-20 knots at my back when it’s time to go back to Willow.  I am really loving the SUP, the ease of getting it aboard when it’s blowing extra hard or for a short passage, or, for deflating and stowing.  It’s serving its purpose very nicely, and I get to pretend I’m paddling with my friends from Hokuloa…  Great time…

I’m trying to take advantage of the internet access while I have it.  The past few weeks without it have been a bit sublime, but I need to qualify that.  It has been heavenly to be anchored in a secluded spot, just observing the wildlife, playing in the water, fishing, and working on Willow.  I love the convenience of being able to contact you all through the super mysterious medium that is the internet, but when I’m away from it, I’m reminded of years’ past.  The first time I was down here was in the late 80s on a ketch called Seramin.  We left La Paz for Cabo, and there weren’t even payphones!  You had to go to a small building with a bank of rotary phones, talk with an operator who didn’t speak english, and make either a collect call, or a credit card call.  Frankly, it just added to the adventure.  On the boat, there was a sextant and tables for navigation, and a satnav unit.  We had a SSB receiver only for weather.  The satnav worked twice a day, and you had to make sure it was on and tuned, at the right time, in order to get a position.  We couldn’t use the sextant yet, as the sun was passing over land, and not the horizon of the water.  Unless you had a HAM or SSB license, you weren’t communicating with home, unless there was an emergency.  Now, we have access to satphones, email aboard, satellite email, TV and internet access.  You can make a satphone call to the router who will tell you what direction to steer your boat in order to avoid weather, ships, pirates, or other trouble.  What’s the fun in that?


Fog Creeping Into Bahia Candelero

At least for me, I prefer to take responsibility for my course, my own weather routing, my own work, and my own safety.  That’s all part of the adventure, mystery, fun and success.  Granted, it won’t be all those things all the time, but when it’s not, I can only look in the mirror, and point my big fat finger at myself.  Hah!


Company in the Anchorage…

Another Ventura-based sailor, Ken, and his Baba 30, has joined us over the past few days.  His fine boat is finely outfitted, and provisioned!  He’s cooked some amazing meals!  I must qualify that with the fact he has a vehicle in La Paz, and goes to Costco in Cabo when the whim strikes him.  Ribeye for dinner a few nights back…


Goats on the Bluff.  If you look below the cactus, you can just spot the sheepdog!

Oh, and I have to tell you about the goats!  In Agua Verde, there are about 3 dozen goats roaming the village, and in the afternoon, the surrounding bluffs.  One day it was so hot in the afternoon, the herding dog took the goats to some rocks on the beach that were in the shade.  One smart puppy!  These goats are fat, happy, colorful and vocal.  One or two of them wear bells around their necks, so it’s easy to see and hear where they’re wandering.  I loved watching their scamperings on a daily basis.  The goat cheese, homemade, was pretty dang good, too!

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today.  The computer’s battery is just about to die.  Have a great day, and Go, Hokuloa, Go, for their race today.

I miss and love you all.

La Paz to Agua Verde

Makani Guarding the Booty...

Makani Guarding the Booty…

I’m comfortably tucked into the cove in San Evaristo, about 55 nm out of La Paz.  It’s Friday afternoon (May 24), and I just sailed the longest 9 nm I think I ever have.  I left the cove at Isla San Francisco at about 0930 this morning, and arrived here at around 1430.  That’s less than 2 nm an hour, and boy, do I know it.  The prevailing breeze is now out of the south for the rest of the spring and summer, and I tested that today.  I ghosted out of San Francisco with the self-made pact that I wouldn’t turn on the engine unless I was traveling under 1 knot for more than 5 minutes.  Don’t you know, I was averaging 1.1 knots for hours.  Finally, the very light breeze filled in, and I was able to sail DDW (dead downwind) for the remaining 6 nm.  That means keeping an eye on the wind indicator at the top of the mast and your sail trim, adjusting the sail trim or your course, as the very light breeze would shift through a 30 degree arc.  Can you say chiropractor??  Finally, I was able to gybe around and beam reach to the little cove that is San Evaristo.  I’m anchored in 7′ of water, Willow’s tidied up for the night, and I’m enjoying an adult beverage.

I left La Paz Tuesday morning (May 21) and traveled a whopping 4 nm to Playa Pichilingue, where I anchored in front of a small marina and hotel.  There, I tucked into shallow water to protect myself from the nightly coromuels that blow out of the southwest, sometimes gusting to 30 knots.  These winds originate from the Pacific side of the Baja, and move to the lower pressure side, La Paz Bay.  If the Pacific is feeling her oats, she shares them with us over here on the other side of the Baja.  I left Pichilingue Wednesday morning (May 22), headed to my favorite spot of Ensenada Grande about 22 nm away.  There was a robust southeasterly blowing, and after reefing main and the jib, I was flying toward my destination.  I arrived about 1530 and tucked Willow in for the evening.  The coromuel reached us there that night, but it was a good thing for Willow, as the wind generator topped off her (new) batteries.  Yippee!

Thursday morning (May 23), I left for  Isla San Francisco and enjoyed a nice sail for half the journey.  After 10 nm, the breeze shut down, and the engine did the trick for the rest of the way.  When I pulled in, there was one other boat, and I was stoked!  Short-lived, 3 maxi-yachts pulled in towing their jetskis, other PWCs, and generators.  I was glad I wasn’t spending more time there.  The highlight of San Francisco was when I watched the full moon rise just above the mountain.  I’m thinking I got a nice shot.

           San Francisco Sunset

Isla San Francisco Sunsets

Tonight, I’ll paddle the SUP over to Swan, Dave and Rhonda’s boat, for dinner and a surprise birthday present for Rhonda.  It should be a fun time…


San Evaristo Sunrise (Casa, cow, truck and outhouse…)

It’s a few days later, and I’m a few miles further up the coast.  I’m anchored in a place called Tembabiche, and it’s absolutely inspiring.  The geography around here is so different.  I’m reminded of the Grand Canyon, Utah and Wyoming.  It’s very apparent this place used to be underwater as the different water level lines are so obvious.  Right where I’m at, the hills look yellow to me when compared to the pinks, browns, and beiges of the hills and mountains surrounding the area.  I’m in a small bay that’s open to the south and southeast, but the wind’s blowing from the southwest, or shore, so there’s no fetch.  The breeze is most welcome.  My thermometer topped 100 degrees today, and that’s in the shade and breeze!  It’s warming up!

I arrived here yesterday afternoon after a windless run.  There’s been a bunch of kelp in the channel, so I was continuously reeling in my jigs and clearing them of the weed.  About 5 nm from my destination, I was reeling my Rapala minnow in when I watched as a young dorado followed the jig and took a chomp.  He had alot of spunk for a youngster, but after 15 minutes of letting him tire, I was able to land him.  After bleeding him, I put him back in the water, tied to Willow by his tail, to stay cool until I could get to cleaning.  I was close to Tembabiche, and just wanted to get the hook down.  My cleaning technique has improved immensely, and soon I had some lovely fillets cooling in the icebox.  I was able to clean the cockpit of fish stuff, put my sail covers on, and relax with a beverage.  As I was doing so, a panga came up alongside, and I met Jaime and his young son, Angel, who had some of my least favorite food crawling around their boat.  Yup, I had lobster last night for dinner, and again for breakfast this morning.  YUM!  I felt very decadent.

Today, I’m waiting for Dave and Rhonda of Swan to catch the breeze and make their way up here.  I need to clean my prop, but the bottom’s been doing well.  Batteries are charged, water tanks are full, and life is good.  This is a spectacular spot…

It’s the last day of May, and what a month.  Right now, I’m anchored in the south lobe of Agua Verde, and it’s utterly calm.  Just after 10 PM, the gazillions of stars are out, no moon, and no air movement.  The past few evenings have found me as the lil’ social butterfly of the fleet.  I’m just not used to this!  Dave just rowed Rhonda and I back to our respective boats after Friday Night Pizza and a Movie.  You know Friday nights, right?  Well, it seems there’s a tradition aboard a few of the boats for a movie night.  And Chicgaila and Roy Wood of Sea Note added a bonus pizza to Friday night movie night.  Plus, plus, plus!  Chicgaila made us a pizza to die for, with some lobster and macaroni salad, and some beautiful wine.  Rhonda made a chocolate pudding dessert, and it was time for a movie.  No Captain Ron for us, rather, Roy Disney’s “Morning Light.”  It was a really good movie about some kids who were given the keys to a TP52 to race the TransPac on.  Pretty amazing.

As we were being rowed back, we all were humbled by the stars, the still air, still water, with phytoplankton showing us pools of green light as a response to some unknown stimuli.  It was beautiful.  This afternoon, I was reading in the cockpit after all my chores were done when I heard a bell tinkling.  What the?  Yup, a herd of goats was wandering by on the bluff just above Willow.  I don’t have a good close up lens, but I tried to catch some photos.  All in all, a beautiful day.  I’ll talk about the sailing to here tomorrow.  Night, all…