Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Relaxing in Agua Verde

Pelagia anchored at Agua Verde

Agua Verde (North anchorage)
Our anchor has been down here in Agua Verde for three nights, and it looks like it will continue to stay down for at least a 4th night. Our first night here it was a little crowded (6 boats), but they all left the next morning so we moved in and tucked in behind the reef; now we are pretty well protected. Not that there as been any wind for the past 3 nights -- quiet, starry nights with the only sound being the fish (more later). Only a couple boats here for past 2 nights.

The village of Agua Verde is quiet and seems friendly. Lots of walking can be done around here -- though it is pretty hot in the late morning/afternoon. There are two tiendas: one was open on Sunday and seemed reasonably well stocked. We purchased a large fish (huachinango perhaps) from fisherman. On Sunday, the "Templo Mar de Crystal" evangelical temple was hopping with its amplified preacher, music and singing; the nearby RC chapel seemed oddly quiet (but well-kept), with no one around -- but perhaps they had an earlier service?

Village of Agua Verde is at back, at base of mountains
Agua Verde

The fish? Well, around the boat are 10s of thousands of tiny fish, and the larger fish are constantly going after them. Often jumping out of the water with a loud splash. At night, there seem to be dozens of larger fish (at least 8-12 inches in length) around the boat. All night long, they bang along the bottom of the boat, sometimes making us jump at the noise.

Last night we viewed an object in the sky with what seemed to be flashing red lights. A plane? But it wasn't moving. UFO? We heard on the Sonrisa Net this morning that the red planet Mars should be very visible now here the Sea. So we think we've seen Mars.

Roca Solidaria at sunset
Roca Solidaria: looks like the Matterhorn rising from the sea (with guano instead of snow...)

Beautiful anchorage.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Isla San Francisco: 3rd time's the charm

We got away from the dock in La Paz on Tuesday, and headed up to the islands. Almost made it to Bonanza Beach (Isla Espiritu Santo) but after passing through the San Lorenzo Channel, found there to be 12-15 knot southeasterly winds. Essentially, right into the anchorage. So we turned around and went back through the channel and headed to Caleta Partida, managing a nice little sail much of the way.

There was a Coroumel in the evening, but more south than west, so no seas got into the anchorage.

Next day, we headed out, and had an excellent sail almost all the way to Isla San Francisco. Now, given that our two previous visits to this island we were stuck on the boat due to unpleasant winds/seas, we were a little nervous about giving it another try. Happy to say that we had 2 very calm eves, plus a great day hiking the ridges for some fantastic views.

Isla San Francisco anchorage

Trail along ridge (Isla San Francisco)
Osprey nest on Navigation light tower

Today we headed further north, in calm windless seas. We are anchored at Timbabiche, a somewhat-open anchorage (some north protection but no protection from the south). Hope any south
winds stay away. All going well, tomorrow we plan to head up to Agua Verde.


Casa Grande (c. 1910), Timbabiche

Puerto Los Gatos

Monday, 17 March 2014

Delayed by a Norther...

We had intended to get away this weekend, for another trip north. But we've been delayed by a somewhat rare late-March "Norther" in the Sea of Cortez (and here in La Paz).

32 kn winds

The winds blew for about 20 hours. We saw gusts of 37 knots. Up north in the Sea, gusts up to 70 kn were seen. So, a good time to be tied-up securely in Marina Palmira.

At the docks in Marina Palmira -- checkout the seas out in the bay!
We will head out today or tomorrow (depending on the seas) for a couple of weeks, hopefully making it to Loreto.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Fairwinds SV Green Panther!

Leaving the dock...
... heading to the South Pacific (via Mazatlan & Puerto Vallarta)
We knew it was coming -- eventually we would have to say goodbye to our friends Alena and Chris on SV Green Panther. *

We first met Alena and Chris back in September at the boatyard in Alameda, CA. They were getting new rigging while we were getting our steering fixed. Both our boats were headed to Mexico. But Green Panther was then heading across the Pacific to Polynesia and beyond. **

We next saw Green Panther in San Diego, then briefly in Ensenada. They left quickly for Cabo as they had to meet up with family. And they were running late (they had already missed the Baja HA HA). Weeks later, we came upon them in Ensenada Los Muertos, on the way up to La Paz. We all "convoyed" overnight together (SVs Pelagia, Green Panther, Confidence, Sound Discovery & Mandalay), arriving La Paz early the next morning December 9th in La Paz.

We spent Christmas and New Years (and Jan and Feb...) with Chris and Alena, did a couple trips out to the Magote to (try to) see whale sharks (unsuccessfully), checked out La Paz's Carnaval, and commiserated with them as they worked hard (soooo hard) to get their boat ready for the South Pacific.

Pelagia and Green Panther anchored off the Magote... no luck with the whale sharks

Alena shopping in the Mercado Bravo (La Paz)
Chris filming in the Mercado Bravo (pretending not to be a tourist...)
They managed a quick trip out to the islands, including having the wonderful experience with the sea lions at Los Islotes. They realized they missed a lot and say they will return one day. (But lucky them, they too got to experience a Coroumel!)

Kayaking at Caleta Partida

They are on their way, eventually, to Australia. Both are academics with PhDs (Chris a microbiologist; Alena a marine biologist) and Chris has a line on a job down there. We will miss them. (And they will surely miss Michelle's famous "Chicken a la Pelagia").

We wish them Fairwinds and Good Luck. Hopefully we will see them somewhere down the road.

Check out Green Panther's blog:  http://www.greenpanther.org/index.php/ship-s-log

** After 41 days at sea, Green Panther arrived at Atuona, Hiva Oa (Iles Marquises) on June 2, 2014. Congratulations Chris & Alena.

*We have already said goodbye to other friends -- for example, Dave and Betty-Anne on SV Confidence -- but we are hoping to seen them next season here in Mexico.

UPDATE 2015: The next time we would see Alena and Chris (SV Green Panther) would be August 2015 in Whistler, BC. They flew from Brisbane, Australia (where they now live and work) to the USA (family visit), and then came up to visit us for backpacking in Garibaldi Park

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Party time in La Paz: Carnaval!

La Paz's Carnaval is 6 nights of partying. We managed only 3 nights....

It was great fun, with tons of music (bands every 1-2 blocks), food, funky carny stalls (several with a Chucky" theme), and even funkier midway rides. For safetys sake, we stayed off the rides (knowing how expensive a medivac flight north can be....)

Our favourite band: Ritmo 4

Crowds on the Malecon

One of  the two midways
Hmmm... not sure what is in these hot dogs...

The blanket sellers were something to watch and listen ...

The theme this year was  "Universo Infinito" (Infinite Universe). The parade floats had a definite "alien" theme...

Parade is about to start as the sun sets

Don't throw the confetti-filled eggs at the floats...

Who knew aliens need bikinis?

Yes, that's a beard...

Yes, it is the Jetsons

Toy Story


Muzzled polar bears and aliens... huh?

That's more like it...

OK, these guys are guys

Carnaval in La Paz is a very family affair -- whole families were outside and the kids were clearly having a great time. That notwithstanding, beer and drinks were freely flowing along the Malecon, and the bands played late into the night (3am plus).

To San Evaristo and back...

On our third trip to "the islands", we finally made it up as far as San Evaristo, a small fishing village on the Baja peninsula 50 nm north of La Paz. (After two beautiful days on Isla Espiritu Santo in El Mezteno.) The San Evaristo anchorage was beautiful, and walking in/outside of the village we got to see some interesting "wildlife".

San Evaristo anchorage

San Evaristo

First, were the friendly dogs on the  beach, including one low-rider wearing a t-shirt. Next, walking on the road, Michelle exclaims "What was that bird? Was that really a roadrunner?" Yes, indeed, Michelle sights her first roadrunner, running along the dirt road. No Wiley Coyote following it. Too fast for our camera. Finally, a herd of burros, parents and 2 little ones -- all nervous of us.

Salt-drying area behind San Evaristo

Skittish young burros

Sea turtles were seen in all the anchorages

The tienda at San Evaristo was a little rustic but surprisingly well stocked. One can purchase potable water from the desalinization plant.

We next returned to Isla San Francisco (our previous trip we had 25-30 kn northerlies in the anchorage). Arrived to beautiful calm, sunny weather. Good for a swim then drinks with friends on Sound Discovery. But... yes, later that evening came the Coroumel southerly winds, straight into the anchorage. It was a very uncomfortable night; we are just not lucky with Isla San Francisco.

Sunset at Isla San Francisco (before the Coroumel...)

A little after 5am the next morning, we had visitors from SV Cahoots (Toronto) come over and join us to listen to the Men's Gold Medal Hockey game between Canada and Sweden. We had invited them over the day before for the 5am game. Bringing coffee, tea and cookies, Jim & Margaret knocked on our hull wondering why no lights were on. We were recovering from lack of sleep due to the Coroumel (and perhaps the Sound Discovery margaritas) so had slept in. Up we got, and we listened to Canada win the game.

[We have SiriusXM satellite radio, so were able to listen to the mens' and womens' hockey games. We LOVE our SiriusXM; allows us to stay in touch with home, listening to the CBC. ]

After the game, we quickly left Isla San Francisco for better protection at Caleta Partida (Isla Partida). Amazingly, we had an excellent sail most of the way, albeit with SW winds on the nose.  A couple days later, Chris and Alena (SV Green Panther) joined us. Then another couple nights at El Cardonal, including a good hike, then a last night at Caleta Lobos, near La Paz, before returning to the mayhem of carnaval.

Looking down at El Cardonal anchorage (Isla Partida)

Sam and Peter from SV Jugette (CS36 from Ladner, BC)

We went swimming at every anchorage. With the exception of the difficult night at Isla San Francisco, it was a very nice trip.