Bienvenudos A Mexico!

Your background music for this blog – In Ensenada. (Jacque- you are in my thoughts with this one!)

 

Ensenada’s Port Flag. Landmark. Largest flag- EVER!

18 October 2017

I am so excited.  It seems forever ago that we untied the lines in Tacoma.  Even longer since we left Colorado and family/friends behind for this journey.  We have gone from an idea to a goal and to even living aboard all while enjoying the comforts of being stateside.  I have been teased that I may not survive without a Starbucks, but surprisingly while I did enjoy it, it really was more of a special treat to enjoy with friends.  I honestly haven’t missed it.  Don’t get me wrong, if available, I will be tempted for “old times sake” but I am not dying without it!  The excitement of now being in another country by sailboat has taken its place.

Estamos  Mexico!  We arrived into seaport town of Ensenada or Bahia de los todos Santos after 1730 on Wednesday, 18 October.  We hailed three times on the VHF for the Port Authorities to notify them of our arrival.  There was no answer.  We had our slip assignment from Baha Naval Marina so we docked ourselves, stern in and port tie which is the captain’s favorite  and put up our “Q” flag or the yellow flag signaling our “quarantine” until we could be officially checked in.  Nothing to do but wait until morning and rules are that no one leaves the vessel until cleared. A young lady from a neighboring boat ran out to help with lines but seeing that we had it under control, smiled and went back to her boat. We noted there were several boats in port, mostly flying Canadian flags.  John started speaking to someone toward the end of the dock in a power yacht, meanwhile I had another gentleman walk by and started a pleasant conversation letting me know that he just returned from the grocery and his full back pack was less than $50 and he would be happy to share any information we might need.  His strong thick accent was certainly not Canadian.  Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, “Ernie” had been living in Canada for several years before making his way down to Mexico in his sailboat. We chatted briefly and I shared that my mom was also German and she hailed from Garmisch Partenkirchen.  He knew Garmisch well as he was a hang glider for many years and would often fly from the Wank, one of the bordering mountains of the beautiful city.  But this would have been forty years ago.  Based on his age, and my age at the time, I had to half wonder if he were one of the hang gliders that I was speaking to when I was up on that mountain as a pre-teen.  It is a small world after all.  The thought passed as quickly as it came, and Ernie was off to his boat.  John returned having met another “John” who said the showers were nice and if we needed a key to shower, he would loan us his.  He and his wife were here for a few days and would need some engine repair done.  We appreciated his kind offer and we were ready to settle in for our official check in process in the morning.

“Q” flag up!

19 October 2017

Every country seems to have a slight twist on how things are done.  When we checked into Canada, only the captain left the ship with the information regarding the boat and the crew.  Returning to the US was a similar procedure.  Mexico requires the captain and the crew to present at customs.  Out of respect for the offices, it is recommended to not show up in a t-shirt and shorts.  So John pulled out a business casual shirt and pants from his office days (yes, he still has some!). A sundress and light cover sufficed for me.  Some travelers have used “agents” who, for a fee, will assist them in the process.  Others simply do the process on their own and some do well while others struggle with the challenges of language and efficiency. We were thrilled to find that Baja Naval provided us the service with Carlos, not an agent, who spoke wonderful English (self taught over a course of three years!).  Carlos walked with us over to the Port Captain’s office and translated all of our necessary forms for us to each of the offices.  Ensenada is the only city currently that provides all the offices under one building.  It only took us three hours!  Our biggest snafu at the office was John’s identification.  His passport is Jonathan. His driver’s license is John.  The USCG documentation lists John.  This is No Bueno as far as the Mexican offices go.  They pondered, shook their heads, asked others, pondered again while Carlos explained everything as they were determining whether they would let the difference pass.  It wasn’t looking hopeful but then Carlos noted something in the paperwork.  Fortunately MY name is also on the USCG documentation. And my passport as well as driver’s license match as well as match to the documentation.  I was three for three!  We were able to pass for that reason only.  There would be one more form but as the Port Captain is busy in the mornings, we would need to come back in the afternoon. Carlos said he would be happy to take care of it for us.  We used our exit port for the country of Mexico as Ixtapa, however looking at the map afterwards, we should have used a different port.  There is a chance that we may need to pay to leave from a more southerly port.  Hindsight, and I don’t remember reading this anywhere on the internet or books, is to use the last port you intend to be in before changing countries on your papers.  Since we are unsure of where we might be jumping to the next country from, if we used the last available port, we can always clear the country earlier From an earlier port without difficulty.  However, if we decide to travel further south in Mexico such as Puerto Chiapas, we may have to pay.  That was the port I should have used whether we went there or not.  This has yet to be resolved and we can ask in Cabo San Lucas or La Paz.

The Port Captain’s office as well as Immigration, Customs, Banjercito for the TIP. One stop shopping!

The “red brick building” as described as the Port Captain’s office looks more white than red to me.  It is off the main waterfront but an easy walk.

Carlos from Baja Naval was AMAZING and walked us through the process. We did not need an agent.
We are ‘official’ in Mexico! The Mexico flag will be flown the entire time we are in the country.
Lovely SV Bella Nave in her slip. Surge was insane!

Back to the boat to get back into some cooler clothes!  Shorts and t-shirts!  Next up will be the supermarkets for food.  We have a choice of three within walking distance.  Soriana, Calimax, Mayorista.  The two smaller ones seemed to be a little more expensive.  The Mayorista  was larger and prices seem to be better (cheaper).  Again, the biggest challenge is knowing what you want and a) they don’t have it here or b) it’s there but packed slightly differently.  Thank goodness for pictures on labels!  We again filled two 20L backpack/drybags with food and total expense was approximately $50US.

Pineapple juice to drink and limes and lemons with the hope of some ceviche in my future!

Lemons, limons, oranges, avocados and a cucumber.  The produce is insanely cheap here.  At the same time, you need to use it quickly as the heat here tends to speed up the ripening time.  C’mon fishy fish!  Our plan is to spend two days here, one to clear in to the country and the other is to get a few provisions.  The captain and I differ strongly in this area as he is a minimalist and figures everyone has to eat.  I, on the other hand, like to make sure we have enough food for 6 weeks or more and then maybe a little more!

Palm trees and flowered bushes everywhere.

Ensenada’s streets, while dusty and hot, are lined with palm trees and flower bushes.  Colorful candy to the eye.

Water and light show choreographed with music every night in the park near the marinas.

Just above the marinas, is a large park which has a water experience along the marina.  Every night around nine pm, the music and choreographed light and water show begins.  Every night!

It appears their telephone boxes have also gone by the wayside.
Pharmacies on every block, Ensenada is also a big market for medications that are expensive in the US.

The captain is always about “getting business done first”.  So, that means, the clearing in process, finding a grocery story (or in our case – three!) and provisioning with needed items and returning them to the boat before we could explore and possibly, just possibly get something to eat….again, anyone who know the machine, affectionately at times but not at others, Captain John is that he begins his work and simply doesn’t stop for breaks until it is done.  Poor Tony and I thought we would die of hunger (okay, mild exaggeration) while John was working on a wiring project.  Many nights it was 8:30pm before dinner would be made.  Now begins a new process for us.  Once we had the food back to the boat, before  we bring it on the boat, is a ritual all boaters are familiar with- cleaning produces and removing cardboard and labels, transferring foods to our own storage containers.  Bugs, specifically cockroaches like to lay their eggs in cardboard and glue of labels.  Those pesky, unloved, unwanted creatures are not welcome here!  So that took more time.  Finally, we were free and could explore a little bit of the town.  Everyone is out, “Señor, come eat here, best price, best fish tacos, you like fish tacos? Time to eat, Señora, you look hungry!” See??  Even the sellers could see the look of famish on my face! We stopped at one outdoor bar where “Juan” encouraged us to have a drink, “best margaritas in town” when John asked him where would he (Juan) go for best tacos.  Juan pointed us with directions in English, his English was excellent, down the street.  So in gratitude, we drank with Juan and would have tacos after.  During this time, another patron joined us and his story of being in Ensenada.  Soon a much older appearing gentleman showed up with a box around his neck and two silver handles.  These would be held by the customer as he increased the voltage until the customer wished or could take it no longer. The blonde guy said it was great for the health, promoted heart health, strengthened muscles and he always felt better afterwards. A third guy came up and held one hand piece and the blonde guys hand while his other hand held the second hand piece, completing the circuit with both of them, allowing the electricity to run up where they were both gritting their teeth and loosing their grip. Do you think there is anything wrong with this picture? Call me crazy, I will stick to my multivitamins.

The “electric man” who zaps you with energy!
John y Juan!

Okay, with only one margarita which was very strong, we were on our way.  Down the street of Miramar.  Miramar is a controlled environment.  The police of Ensenada are trying to keep the city safe for tourism.  They have allowed one street to have the problems contained.  Miramar.  Sellers of illegal substances can be found here as well as sellers of flesh, including transgender.  However, it was this street we were warned of that is also home to a great taco stand.  As we were heading off, Juan bounded up behind us, apparently done with his shift. So off we three went, the street darker but busy with people and activity.  Our street taco stand was without fuel to run the grill!  Fortunately, Juan had a second choice just a block further.  I might have been biased by the hunger that consumed me, however those were some of the best street tacos ever!

Was it the hunger speaking? These were some mighty fine carne asada street tacos regardless!
This particular place will stay open most if not all night!

20 October 2017

Today we are looking for a washing machine.  For the boat.  Now this maybe where I lose you with this sailboat fantasy. Sure, you have seen the great food photos I posted.  You may have even seen my video clips on Facebook showing the dolphin encounters.  Did you ever wonder how we washed our clothes?  Some of the bigger or newer sailboats may have a washer and dryer on board.  We don’t.  When in a marina, we have used their laundry facilities.  Coin operated  washer and dryers.  At some point, we may even find that it helps the villagers who offer to do laundry inexpensively.  Until then, we have to do it ourselves. By hand. Yes, we were in pursuit of a bucket. For $3.50 we found a lovely grey bucket who will become our new washer.  The life lines on the boat will become the new dryer.  We also plan find more street tacos.  This time at a place called La Guerrerense.  Set up on a corners of Alvarado and Lopez Matteos), this stand with it’s five uniformed employees cut and shuck fish, avocado, onions and more, all before your very eyes to make you a fish or ceviche style tostada or other similar meals.  The several customers surrounded it with a few sitting on the six chairs close by.  This tasty nugget of Mexican culinary has met with many famous chefs, one being Anthony Bourdain.  So, of course if it is good enough for him, it is good enough for us.  And good it was!

Ceviche tostada – BEST EVER!

As we continue our walk about, with a large bucket in hand and our bellies full, we have have noted many of the pharmacies have this statue outside their door, promoting the famous “blue pill”.  Hmmm……except for the color, and the appropriation of hair above the neck, I would say that the two below are identical, wouldn’t you?

I will let YOU caption this one. Evidently Viagra is a big hit here, it seems many of the pharmacies have a blue pill guy like this outside their door.

Back to the boat and everything is processed and in order. We sat up on the main coastal walkway to people watch.  John and his wife Lynn, are also planning on heading south in their power yacht. Their boat, experiencing some mechanical issues require a part that is difficult to find in any of the local marinas so they are going to drive back to San Diego, see family and take care of some business affairs as well as pick up the much needed part and return in one week.  They both seem excited about life and enjoying it on their boat. As our evening began, our last evening in Ensenada, we found that could have maybe enjoyed another day but we we were anxious to move on.  We enjoyed everything we saw and everyone we met.  We look forward to seeing some of these same people along our journey south.

Gracing the top of our dock, we are looking for safe passage as well from the patron saint of the mariner.
We must have seen this guy and his dog twice and even three times daily on the coastal walkway. The dog was never without his sunglasses.
Last sunset at Baja Naval and Ensenada.

20-21 October 2017

Bahia Colonet (or on the gps “Colnett”)

Leaving Ensenada in the morning would give us a full day to travel.  The winds would be off our starboard and give us a great sail.  With our passage down the coast, our winds were inconsistent. We now seem to be enjoying the possibility of more regular and consistent sailing wind.  After all, we are a sailboat.

Approximately 65 n.m. south of Ensenada, this landmark looks like a nose on the map.  We anchored in where we would describe a nostril being but not near the cut.  One of things we are working on is timing.  Nothing is more stupid than coming into an unfamiliar place after sundown.  Charts can only be so accurate and we have found that the Garmin maps tend to be off.  This is a bit disconcerting and makes the need for good visual representation imperative to safely staying afloat. We came in at dusk, arriving with the breakers to Punta Colonet.  We can hear the breakers roaring in our ears.  The voraciousness of the sound of Niagra Falls comes to mind.  The water begins to shallow up to eight or nine feet under the keel.  The area is noted for being congested with kelp.  Yet the sheer bluffs which are the protection from the wind and surge seem so far away.  Darkness fell quickly after we set the anchor in what we deemed to be the best place for us based upon depth (down to six and seven feet now) and placement to the bluffs. The breakers here are violent, loud and constant. It is a recommended anchorage where the hopes of a someday breakwater, marina, and cargo terminal will be built.  Perhaps the breakwaters could tame the breakers.  However currently it remains a desolate fishing village that few people could be seen.  A couple of pangas and surfboards sit on the rocky beach. The anchorage has considerable movement from the surge.  Maybe this was just part of a new normal that you don’t have in many places of the PNW. It was around eight pm when I thought food might be good for us. The gimbaled stove was gently rocking with the surge.  Japanese chicken curry and pasta. Two pots on the two burner propane stove.  I don’t remember where John was when the first wave hit.  A phrase that John’s dad uses comes to mind when I think about those first few moments.  The gimbaled stove was likely fifty degrees off of its normal position and it was “all assholes and elbows” as everything went flying in our tiny house.  Once again, this crazy thought of “what the heck am I doing when I could be home wasting time on the internet?”.  We have not internet service at this time.  The sliver of a moon providing no real light to speak of is already in the western sky.  John is on deck timing the waves and yelling down to hang on.  I have the flames out now.  Dinner is the last thing on our minds.  well not completely last as I am imagining the mess I will be cleaning up.  John sees some lights coming from ashore.  The  fishermen in the village most likely knew that the breaker line was about to change and waited for the their opportunity to help.  They began shining their lights on the bluff, making motions towards it.  We had to up anchor and move and they were attempting to guide us from on shore.  We are so thankful for their good intentions.  The challenge is did they realize how the water was becoming more shallow under our keel? Not all sailboats have the same draft.  We believe they wanted us to come in further.  We motored in approximately one thousand yards and out of the surf.  This was enough to make us feel more comfortable with depth and still have less surge.  We were still fairly far from the bluffs.  I did actually get the meal finished and it was definitely needed and wanted after the pre dinner excitement.  I think we most likely fed our stomaches around 9pm and then it would be a poor attempt to sleep without being pitched out of our beds.  With the gps and anchor alarm set, the surge continued to test our anchor (a Rocna) and our skills used in setting it.

I am so thankful that the anchor alarm did not go off with any alerts during the night.  It did not mean that we had a restful sleep however.  It was a pitiful attempt and we were both as tired for it.  We would be moving on to San Quintin today and the hope of a better night’s rest.  As always, Captain John gives me a time for departure (and allowing myself an hour to wake up, get ready and morning cup of coffee or two)  but he begins talk of getting underway within fifteen minutes after I am upright and moving. I need my morning time to wake up.  I could wake earlier however, that just means we would have the same situation- only earlier.

 

21-22 October 2017

Ahhh……Sunsets.

Always working on something. It’s a boat. Captain John loves projects. This is the whisker pole project.

We arrived to see the four volcanic cones that signify San Quintin.  There are two estuaries which have ever shifting bottom contours and depths.  Our anchorage would be off of Play Santa Maria.  Our anchorage at San Quintin at night was, well, again rolly.  Pronounce that with a long O’ sound.  It’s not actually a word but it should be.  It should be in every sailing vernacular.  The breakers were insane as they skew your perception if you are unfamiliar with the sounds.  Violent, thunderous and never ending.  At night with the rocking of the boat, the inability to use sight to help determine perception, it feels like you are going to fall off the earth. Again, it sounds like Niagra Falls.  During the day, it was a much different picture.  We could see the four cones of volcano cones.  We could see people on the beach of Playa Santa Maria,  playing in the surf with the sounds of kids peals of laughter.  Yes the breakers were still loud, but having your sight to place it into perspective makes it much less frightening.  The hotel is visible but there doesn’t seem to be much more.  There was one other sailboat that came in where we thought it was the shallowest, a part of the ever changing bottom of the estuary.  They did not stay long and we did not see them leave or where they went. We still had T-Mobile internet service which seems crazy as there is nothing here.  In fact, during our trip along the coast, we have had mostly great service.  As we took off this morning, a slow leisurely pace to Punta Baja, we were joined by five or so escorts of dolphins.  This experience never gets old, even if these dolphins found the sailboat to slow for their taste. They came up upon our stern, swam along either side and then were gone. Maybe ten minutes of dolphin therapy at most.  I’ll take it.  We were hoping that Punta Baja will be a little more protected and a little less “rolly”.

The sail started off well but by 1300 the winds cut back to 6kn. The “A” sail wasn’t able to sail full as the winds slacked back even further. For those of you who don’t know what the “A” sail is, it is the asymmetrical sail which you often see in beautiful colors flying in front of the sailboats.  We have a luscious bright red and yellow asymmetrical sail.  It was new and was part of the suit of sails that Bella Nave came with.  While it isn’t what Captain John would have ordered, it is bright and colorful and we love to see it out sailing.  If you have a chance and are on the internet/Facebook, check out our friend Tony’s “A” sail.  His boat, SV Magic came with a wonderful A sail that he was surprised when he first saw it.  Purple with a hummingbird on it!  I would have liked that one too!

22-23 October 2017

Punta Baja- we would leave here around noon to pass Sacramento reef in daylight.  Sacramento reef is just below the water line and as such is a dangerous area without good sighting and careful navigation.  We did NOT, repeat NOT, want to do this one at night.  Plus this would include an overnight sail to San Benito Islands.  We have tried to split the travel up so it is enjoyable for us.  Many sailors will approach this path differently.  The Baja-ha-ha, an organized rally out of San Diego, even has sailors who will vary although many will “follow the herd”.  This is not meant to be disrespectful or rude.  They have large parties, social gatherings, informational seminars and an organized radio contact system.  This provides comfort for those new to this as well as providing a social aspect.  The Baja-Ha-Ha typically will sail longer legs to get to the end destination of Cabo San Lucas quicker.  We have time.  Captain John does not have a sense of “follow the herd”.

Hmmmm….. sunrise. Looks like my sunsets, only it happens earlier.


UFO’s and other surprises of the night.

The names in the story you will read, have not been changed to protect the innocent.  In fact, it is only a regret that we do not have photos or video to back this up.  I hope that someday, Captain John will find it as amusing as I do when I find myself giggling at the serendipitous times the memory surfaces.

Ahhh, a beautiful night for sailing!  It sounded violent with crashes  above deck while I was attempting to sleep prior to my shift.  Crash! Bang! Boom! I am sure these things as well as the rushing of the water against the hull meant nothing more than we are speeding through the water.  Surely, Captain John would come down and ask for help if he needed to go out on the foredeck.  ( Or not.  As I also came to find out later, that the pinstock came loose on the mast, dropping the whisker pole two- two and half feet.  Approximately thirty minutes later, the line used to extend the whisker pole snapped from evident chafing.  None of which he came to ask my assistance.  I have a reason to be angry as we agreed, no one out on the foredeck alone.  If that person were to slip, fall off etc., when the other person would wake up later, there would be too many miles for recovery.  However, that is a different story. ) The change of sails is noted and sleep is still difficult to obtain.  Eventually I find it.  I have barely settled into a comfortable position and sleep when I hear Captain John saying it is now 2200 and ready to start my part of the night.  Sadly, in retrospect, I should have stayed awake.  For then I could have watched Captain John in his glory, sails full as he sped down wind, surely with a smile on his face…only to have it smacked off by some furiously fast projectile from the sea, flapping as fast as it could and startling him out of his rapturous thoughts before flinging itself on to the cockpit sole and then to the opposite combing before flopping quickly off into the darkness of night, leaving only scales behind. Oh how this story reminds me of the day out in Commencement bay when a bird carrying a large fish, tried to knock me unconscious  while I lay basking in the sun’s warmth.  He laughed so hard then.  Or maybe it was for not waking me while he went out on to the foredeck.  I felt this was ocean karma.

The Orionides skies continues to throw shooting stars.  We watched one that flew so slowly that you could watch the colors of its burn change as it approached and penetrated the atmosphere.  Unlike most which are barely catchable, this one we felt we could almost call someone to let them know it was coming.  The beautiful wind that so gloriously carried Captain John was now subsiding as I attempted to guide the boat as much as I know how.  It was quickly becoming futile.  Finally, Captain came up and we gave in to using engine power.  Oh well, it was great while it lasted.  He returned to his slumber as I watched for more falling stars, trying to match up constellations with my planisphere and occasionally finding my eyelids had closed on me.  What?  That is not supposed to happen.  He said to wake him short of the San Benito Islands, where we were hoping to make a anchorage.  He popped his head up early however, unable to sleep and so it would be that I happily would try to sleep again.  I think I could do it this time.  And I did. It seemed so short.  Before I knew it, it was time to get up and get ready to anchor.  The sky to the east had this unusual yellowish pinkish orange hues melding into the black.  He assured me that this is normal and this is what “morning” looks like.  I commented that it looks just like “evening” and that  I like mine happening later.

San Benito West or Benito del Oeste – the island we were hoping to anchor in has a small bay.  It is deep and there are numerous fishing boats scattered in it.  The surge was pretty strong again and any dingy ride to this remote village would be unpleasant.  We could see a church and a school.  Imagine living on this little island as a family.  We did bring some items to use for trading as we needed.  Dang it.  San Benito Island Central or Benito del Centro is the smallest of the three an is home to elephant seals and sea lions but not for anchoring.  What?! This is where all the Elephant seals are and also not conducive to anchoring?  How would I get to see any?  We did not head out to Guadalupe Island which was probably a good thing as we did not get a SEAMAR pass in Ensenada.  It is similar to a Park’s Pass.  Guadalupe Island is a national biosphere and it is required to have a pass.  I am running out of opportunities here.  This is a big part of my adventure in traveling. People and animals.  More often than not, it is of the animals whether on land or in the water.  I enjoy social outings but would rather spend time with a few good people than in the presence of huge crowds.  Of interesting note as well, the Garmin Mexico charts we returned to San Diego to purchase showed us sailing over land when our depth sounder showed over a hundred feed and missed showing another island that is present.  The Navtronix on the iPad however, has been almost on point every time.

Since San Benito did not pan out as we had hoped, we will continue on to Cedros Island.  It wasn’t recommended as a stopover in the guidebooks and Cedros Town was hinted at avoiding completely.  I think I must have asked at least five times “Is this Cedros?” only as it seems so big.  Sitting out in the cockpit, I am sure we were both catching a bit more slip intermittently.   Then I vaguely remember hearing Captain John say “dolphins”.  Well that helped spark my interest away from sleeping!  I grabbed the camera phone and headed towards the bow.  They were coming in from all directions again. What started as four – six quickly became twenty four or more, playing a shell game of which dolphin am I as they switch places swiftly and easily.  It takes a trained eye to follow a single dolphin.  Mine is not trained.  Their communication sounds were clearly audible as they spent the next half of an hour playing at our bow. As quick as they arrived, they were gone.  Well, now that was dolphin therapy.

We rounded the south end of Cedros, past what is known as the Cedros Island Yacht Club (what appears to be abandoned buildings) and continued motoring the contour of the island for a reasonable anchorage.  Some guide books suggest that if good weather to continue on to Turtle Bay rather than stopping here.  We chose differently.  We have had two nights of poor sleep, and now an overnight too.  We really just want some good rest.  Captain John needs to do further work on the whisker pole.  We are both getting a bit short and crabby.  We saw a few shallow areas along rocky beaches where seals and sea lions were hauled out.  We travelled further towards Jose’s but the island contour just did not look as protected.  I also wanted to be closer to the sea lions.  We turned around and went back to the first real bay after CIYC.  Shallow and extremely clear blue water. 70 degrees! What?! Could it be? This might be the water we can actually do a saltwater bath in!  We set the anchor and took in our surroundings.  This huge island.  A huge rock out in the ocean.  No cell phone service. A few twiggy looking trees interspersed among steep inclines of reddish orange rock.  Desolate.  The sound of rocks falling as the waves crash upon the rocky beach and quirky pull the rocks away again. On the beach, often in groups, are sea lions. We can hear their endless barks of chatter.  Some are deep guttural growls, while others are a higher pitched bark.  Occasionally is something that, that just sounds wrong.  It sounds like an elephant. Pelicans line the outer pinnacle rocks like sentries while a few float upon the water looking for the next fish.  There are seals and sea lions swimming, doing flips, and basking in the water.  This feels like a Jacque Cousteau moment.  We see the fisherman have been here too, as their floating buoys marking their pots are nearby.  Not many, maybe three at most.  Their pangas go by in the evening as use line fishing as well.  My “patio” oversees the beach and the quietness is broken up by the incessant chatter of sea lions on the beach.  I love all their different sounds.  I wonder what they are chatting so much about.  We have two nights here before moving on.  I think I am going to like it.

The heat from the sun baking the island and the northerly wind has increased our cabin temperately substantially. It feels as if the heater has been turned on.  We have an invasion of kelp flies evidently.  They don’t bite but they are as annoying as anything.  They love the light.  Tonight is movie night on the boat.  We have a movie and popcorn.  And kelp flies.

24-25 October 2017

Elephant seal (male) obvious, his compadres are a little more difficult to pinpoint.
Family outing day for the Elephant seal family?
Cedros Island
Cedros Island and beach of Sea lions
SV Bella Nave off of Cedros Island
Evening off of Cedros Island
Love this cutie!
I feel fairly certain, coloring and rings on the neck and odd shaped snout should be a younger elephant seal.

Day one in heaven, or Cedros Island.  We slept in late, myself even later. For whatever reason I was awakened around 0130.  I saw a panga not far off our bow. Light on but no engine.  I thought I would watch awhile and then thoughts of safety crept into my head.  John woke up and we had a brief discussion.  The fishing pole was still out, we would bring that in.  Well, there was not time like the present to try the safety grates he manufactured to fit the companionway.  We did not feel unsafe but felt it would be the best thing to do.  We do carry safety items to give us some protection such as bear spray, fire extinguisher, and of course a machete and a taser. So back to sleep we went and it truly was the sleep of the dead. 1000 rolled around before I did.  I could smell the aroma of coffee calling my name.

On with the swimsuit and off with the kayak.  Oh my lovely kayak!  How I have missed you.  Weather and a surgery kept me from using you as much as I liked, and now we are going to explore the rookeries!  Paddling up wind with the hopes of an easy float back was my intention.  That and better lighting onto the beach with the sun behind me as I pulled out the 35mm camera.  I went as far as I could to keep the boat in sight even if ever so small it was but a speck against the island.  Skirting the shore, I was careful to keep a respectful distance.  In the PNW, with whale watch etc., you are educated that a safe distance from sea mammals is one hundred yards.  Considering there are rookeries with the babies now nearing 3-6 months, that seems fair.  Since the protective moms are there, even more fair.  We have all had to face a mom like that, in many mammal forms.  That fact that these animals weigh in at six hundred pounds up to close to a ton, well that pretty much says that I don’t want to give them any reason to be concerned by my presence!  My first group floating in the water with the surge appear to be elephant seals! They have then wrinkles in the neck, the elongated nose and no forehead.  The nose or proboscis evidently grows more with age.  It would not appear that two males in this group are very old however I did not stop to ask.  Next group appears to be Stellar sea lions by coloration.  Oh, there are a bunch of little ones!  While cute and adorable and I would love to get closer, we know that wherever there are babies, there are mommas.  I am a safe range away.  Again, that whole protective instinct is real and I am not willing to inflect any reason that they need to afraid of me.  Too late. A call out from one of the sea lions caused all of the little sea lions to take to the water where they could be more mobile than on the beach.  With that, twenty or more little sea lions waddled and dove in the water while I turned out to sea even more and away from where they were diving in.  While I was watching them and paddling away, I did not notice until I turned my head as  a sea lion tried to splash me as it surfaced and dove right next to me.  Checking me out or a warning, it didn’t matter.  These were not the seals I was looking for!  I continued my paddle, remaining off shore a reasonable distance and had my camera ready with a telephoto lens.  I would love to have a longer telephoto lens but we have what we have.  Photos or not, paddling along and having younger seals and sea lions pop up around you to see what you are is rather fun.  They do not appear afraid, merely cautious.  They spy hop, then stay up and watch, then dive in and swim under the kayak just to pop up and see you from a different angle.  Move quickly and the seem to follow you.  I paddled back towards the boat and continued up the shore line.  Hours passed. I can’t tell you how happy I am that we chose to ignore the guide books and stay here.  I thought I should check on the captain and his ongoing projects.  While the galley appears to be turned into a workshop again, there are plastic and metal shavings everywhere.  The whisker pole is once again functional.

26 October 2017

Leaving my little slice of heaven, otherwise known as Cedros Island.
Our view to the north, Cedros Island.
Our first fish, Tuna! This poor guy quickly went on to become my first ever attempt at ceviche. It came out great!
One little guy on our beach, okay, his beach, to say goodbye.

Our fishing has not gone well to date.  We have lost two lures – one to kelp and the other simply went back to the sea the same way it came to us.  It was a gift of the sea since we found it attached to our mooring line in Avalon.   Captain John decided his fishing knot skills of days past were for trout and not for the fish we were looking for.  So he read up on the correct knots.  Now we have a choice of these tiny rubbery squid like thingies…. or my new color blasting, wiggly jiggly big eye skirted lures that he is sure will catch a two hundred pound marlin or the like, which would simply be too much for us, our gear, and our freezer storage to handle.  I assured him that I researched these and did not just buy them because they were pretty….  So, with the new not and a wildly purple and black skirted lure, we set the line.  It wasn’t fifteen minutes when the line started buzzing and spinning off the reel!  Is it kelp again?  No, this time the kelp was fighting back!  Within ten minutes we had the prettiest yellowfin tuna on board.  For those of you who fish, you know what has to happen next.  For those of you who don’t, well, let’s keep it that way.  Quickly Captain John took the task at hand to fillet the fish and hand off to me.  Part would become ceviche for tonight and the rest would be frozen into meal sizes.  While I continued to do this, things became quiet on deck.  Then the whizzing noise again!  What? He had thrown the lure out again!  Now we had a Pacific Bonita on the line!  So he brings that one in.  The filleting process begins again.  Keep in mind that Captain John has this quirky fastidiousness and has to have a clean boat around him or it drives him nuts.  So after the first fish, the boat received a nice rinse down.  Now we have fish guts for a second round.  Clean and repeat.  I am preparing the second fish when once again, I hear the whizzing sound.  All I can do is smile, after all, my lure is doing quite well, isn’t it!  We stopped after the third fish.  One Tuna and two Bonita’s.  That will do quite nicely.  Now off to Turtle Bay.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Bienvenudos A Mexico!”

  1. What terrific update and geezo, Deb, you will make a fisherman out of John yet. Soo fun to read all about happenings and love that you had ‘up close and personal’ with your sea creatures. Presume, you will be posting more pics of those as well. We must have John’s catch as time goes along but good to know you won’t starve. Last night’s news story was “two gals lost at sea for five months”. They had two dogs with them but the sharks were circling their 50 ft boat for sometime and they were indeed scared. Started off from Hi to Tahiti and engine quit, then had trouble with the mast and couldn’t raise sails, so just out there drifting along, way off course. US Navy to the rescue and they were mighty happy to see them. Guess they had plenty of time to keep a ‘journal’. Oh my! Have great weekend and enjoy the fish tacos and fresh fruit.

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